Scenes from a Colorado overflight

We recently did a bit of family travel — on our way from Denver to Phoenix, we were fortunate enough to have relatively clear skies and a late afternoon flight.  Perfect for some aerial twilight photography of various spots in Colorado and the four corners region of the U.S.

First up for you, Colorado Springs (top of frame) seen over the snow covered Rampart Reservoir, not far west of town.

Over the Rampart

Colorado Springs is one of those places I normally see while driving through (in this case, on I-25) — from that perspective, the mountains form a wall to the west of the city.  But from above, the fact that the mountains are essentially a (tall) rumpled plateau is much more evident.

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Spirits of the Ancestors

A muted, somewhat ghostly shot for you — from Upper Antelope Canyon in Arizona:

Spirits of the ancestors

A few things to note if you want to visit either Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon for photography:

  1. Only the upper canyon has nice, wide alcoves like this; also, it’s easier for people with mobility issues to move in, thanks to its relatively-wide sandy floor.
  2. You need to move fast (and get a little assistance from your guide) to get a shot of an alcove that doesn’t have other people in it — this is particularly true for the upper canyon.
  3. It helps to visit the upper canyon in the winter — you can see light rays in various places in Summer, and since this is well-publicized, the place is even more crowded then.
  4. The upper canyon has a two-way pedestrian flow (as opposed to the lower canyon, which has an entrance on one end and an exit on the other), so there can be jostling as people try to go their separate ways.

Cuba travelogue: food

By far one of the biggest adjustments we had to contend with when visiting Cuba was food.  Not the food we ate — not at all.  Tourists get treated to food of a quality and in a quantity comparable to what you’d find in visiting many places across the globe.

But the locals don’t get off so easily.

What's available

This is a bodega, the Cuban version of a ration center.  We visited in mid-month, when clients were few and the stock (as you can see from the shelves) thin.  From what we were told, though, bodegas are very busy places on the first of the month — when Cuban citizens can come in with their ration books and collect (at relatively low price) their month’s stock of staple foods.
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Sugar Skull

A while back, I bought a used Olympus E-PM2 off eBay and had it converted to full-spectrum usage (i.e., I had the anti-IR filter removed from its sensor).  Add an IR filter to its lens, and you can get some interesting effects with the setup — so I took it up to the mountains to the Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Championships:

Sugar Skull

After split-toned processing, this is an infrared image of the “Dia de Muertos” snow sculpture, created by a team from Wisconsin.  This sculpture won the “Artists’ Choice” award this year, well-deserved if you ask me.  The level of detail that the sculptors could achieve with packed snow is impressive.

The Visual Palette: a book review

VP_250A few weeks back, the publishing company Rocky Nook sent me a copy of a recently released title by Brian Matiash — it’s called The Visual Palette: Defining Your Photographic Style.  Now that I’ve had time to read through the book and digest it, I thought a review / critique would be helpful to this blog’s readers.

At its core, The Visual Palette is about the process of developing / uncovering / growing your own personal photographic style, and learning to apply it in your work. About being personal and intimate in your photography, rather than distant and formulaic. Continue reading