Tuesday, June 05, 2012

A Better Sunset Ride from Bennett

A long and busy day at work today, I was ready for a nice long ride after dinner!

I chose to head out on Quincy Road east and north towards the town of Bennett and it's large grain silos, thinking they'd make for a good photo subject.

There was a strong wind blowing in a north-westerly directly that kept trying to shove me and Valencia over the road's center line but it amounted to no major issues.  On two wheels though, I think the ride would have been more than interesting.

I arrived at Bennet, at the beginning of the "Golden Hour", that time of day when the sun casts everything in a very mellow yellow light.

 On Quincy Road, I liked the way the setting sun cast light on
the power lines, making them look like spider web lines.

The older and smaller of the grain silos in Bennett, CO

As the sun was sinking lower and lower into the horizon, I rode on back towards Quincy Road via CO79 and ended up just in time to pose Valencia in the empty parking lot of the Aurora Race Track which is located near the Aurora Reservoir.

You know how you shoot many pictures in the hopes one or two shots will come out OK and usable?  The motorcycling gods must have been smiling upon me and Valencia this evening because I had several very nice shots come out.  I've been, for several years now, been trying to get that perfect sunset silhouette shot of the motorcycle against the setting sun.

I give you Valencia, and a gorgeous Colorado Sunset:

 At the start of the shooting, my Panasonic Lumix in "Sunset" Mode

 A broader view of the sunset a few minutes later
Still in "sunset" mode with the camera.

 The above was shot in HDR "Art" mode
I retouched it a bit more as well

The sun has set and the after glow is still quite bright in the sky

Here's one of the earlier shots, heavily retouched
to get the burning sun effect.....

As I was riding away from the race track, the after glow effect of the sun light coming now from below the horizon served to continue the beautiful light show all the way home:

I hope you liked the sunset shots, for me it was quite the sunset ride.  I hope you got in a good ride today as well!

Monday, June 04, 2012

To Perry Park with Valencia

A lazy Sunday with no chores to get done, no oncall duties, just the day off to ride around on Valencia, my 2011 Ural Patrol Sidecar Rig.

This time I forewent the  dark clouds that were gathering over the Front Range Mountains and instead headed south through the town of Parker and towards Castle Rock via the Crowfoot Parkway.  CO105 was the objective road for today, a favorite of motorcycle riders, it didn't disappoint today with bright sunny skies overhead and very light traffic.

There was however some large bicycling event on the road, occupying large portions of the northbound lane on CO105 and causing us in the southbound lanes to slow down a bit.  This was fine by me as Ural owners are rarely in a hurry, by choice.

I turned off of CO105 onto Red Rock Road and into the Perry Park Country Club development.  I was going to introduce Valencia to the cool rock formations in Perry Park, the last time I was there, snow have covered the ground.  Today, not so much.

 The backside of Camel Rock

 Camel Rock

 Saint Andrew's "Drive"

At the corner of Red Rock Road and Perry Park Blvd

I wandered among the rock formations, trying the dirt trails up until the point where the road was too rough. Soon enough though, it was time to head out of Perry Park and head south towards Palmer Lake and the town of Monument.    From there, it was east on CO105 towards Parker Road which I took northbound.

A slow meandering loop ride, perhaps 130 miles at the most.  The weather was quite warm by the time I got home shortly before 3:00 PM and the air conditioning inside the house felt very good!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Stormy clouds for Yoshie

It was time for Yoshie, my 2006 Suzuki V-Strom/Dauntless Sidecar Rig to get some exercise this past Saturday.  No real destination in mind but having spotted gray clouds over the Front Range Mountains, we found ourselves headed their way.

Yoshie and I rode the southern half of the beltway that almost circles the Denver Metro Area, getting off at the Wadsworth Blvd exit so we could get onto Deer Creek Canyon to see what we could see.

What we saw was dozens and dozens of bicyclists riding up and down this canyon road, must have been some event that drew so many there.  I turned off and headed towards High Grade Road and Pleasant Valley Road, still not escaping the bicyclist and but at least there were fewer on these steeper mountain roads.

Soon enough we were in Conifer and we took CO73 towards Evergreen, still trying to get closer to the storm clouds.  We did get sprinkled on but it didn't last long now was it heavy enough to cause me to stop and put on rain gear.  It was here though that I found out my horn wasn't working, bummer.

Once I got to Evergreen, we rode on CO74 eastwards towards Bear Creek Canyon Rd in the vicinity of the town of Morrison.  Traffic was remarkably light for a weekend but I wasn't complaining.

The skies were solidly gray overhead but I was not having much luck finding suitable cloud formations to use as a backdrop, so I settled for some rock formation shots:

 A view of the curvy roads one can enjoy on Bear Creek Canyon Road
west of Morrison, CO

 I see this ring-like rock formation each time I cruise through 
Bear Creek Canyon, this time I stopped to get a picture of it for you.

It's not really an arch though it is similar to one....more like a couple of
rock columns joined at the top into an arch.

Since I was in the neighborhood, Yoshie and I turned into the Red Rocks Park to check out its rock formations in the gray light that pervaded the area.  The park was crowded with cagers, parked in spots which precluded good shots for me.  Still, managed to pose Yoshie in a couple of spots for you:

I left Red Rocks Park and entered Morrison via CO93, cruised on through and then connected with US285 to get back on the C-470 super slab and once again traverse the bottom half of the Denver Metro Area.  Merging onto the E-470 Tollway, it was pretty light traffic again after the usual chaos that is E-470 on a weekend.  I got off the Gartrell Road exit and saw some interesting cloud formations off to the west and north.

I was rained on twice while on the expressway, but neither event caused a lot of water and Yoshie and I outran the rain each time.

Stopping near the Cherokee Trail High School, I was able to get a shot of the cloud formations which had caught my eye, turning around, I saw that the storm clouds had followed me off the mountains and were almost overhead!

 Near the Cherokee Trail High School, north of Smoky Hill Road
That's the Aurora Reservoir in the distance.

Now heading towards home, I saw this gap in the storm clouds where the Front Range Mountain peaks were visible.  I made a quick stop near the weather radar "golf ball" on Smoky Hill and got the above and below shots:

There was plenty of lightning and thunder by now so I made a quick stop to fuel up and then headed on home.  I made it with plenty of time to spare before the little rain we got started coming down.  As I write this, the counties to the SE of us were getting "Severe Weather" alerts, with reports of winds gusting to almost 60 mph!    I guess the storm just blew right over us and decided to give the folks to the SE of us some grief instead.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Valencia Sunset

This past week, Thursday, it had been a cloudy day with a cold front passing through the state.  I headed out after work to a nearby spot where one can see the front range mountains clearly when the haze is not too bad.

I give you the following shots of the sun setting over the Front Range.

 The pictures above and below go together....
Really liked the warm orange colors of this sunset

 I also liked the way the Front Range mountains were cast in silhouette

 The above and below pictures go together, above showing you a closeup
of the sun as a cloud formation seems to split it in half