Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Ancient and Honorable Order of the Squirrels

My girlfriend and I were bored, and looking forward to getting out of Denver for a bit, like we do every weekend. I put together a suggestion list of what to do. When I added one that read "Join the Ancient and Honorable Order of the Squirrels" she laughed and said that had to be what we did.

In order to join, all you have to do is hike up Devil's Head in the Pike National forest, around a mile and a half. Then you clamber up the stairs set in the side of the mountain to the lookout tower. This is the last manned lookout tower in the Pike National Forest.  The Ranger lives in a cabin at the base of the tower. He has no running water, but he does have electricity. He hikes out for supplies weekly and stands watch from about 9 am to sunset. Aside from the crowded weekends during the summer, it's a pretty quiet existence. He just waits for smoke, and then uses the 1908 vintage smoke plotter to radio down the mountain and alert the closest fire stations. That, and hand out membership cards to those who have made the pilgrimage and joined the order. I'll have some further pictures when I have time to develop them, later.

There's always something interesting, and off beat, you can find to do in this state. Moving here was a good idea.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Quest for the Holy Grail

It's sneaking up on me again. The urge to just find some backwood gravel road and ramble for a bit. Somewhere with big sky and rollers. Somewhere without a lot of traffic and people. Maybe somewhere with leaves turning when there's a touch of chill in the air. And if it has a good cheeseburger waiting at the end of it, it'll be perfect.

I feel a bout of map reading and using Google Earth coming on. I'm searching for my Holy Grail.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New Love Affair

Kodak Portra 400 and 600 in 120mm and 35mm
Polaroid 680 SLR Impossible Project PX680 Beta
I love this stuff.

Kodak introduced a new Portra film in September of last year. I finally got around to shooting some and I must say, it's impressive. Very impressive.

The grain of this film is like air. you can't see it but you know it's there. It's incredibly small. It's also amazingly nice. The technology behind it comes from the Vision 35mm film they shoot movies on. It's also specifically designed to be scanned instead of printed optically. I'm sure it can still be printed with light through glass, but that's fast becoming a rare thing. Most folks do a digital print cycle.

The skin tones are perfect in this film, requiring absolutely no adjustments whatsoever. Skin tones are so hard to hit with digital, this was a refreshing change. Less time using photoshop is always a great thing.

Since the introduction of the 400, they have also introduced a 160. I haven't shot any in 120 as of yet, but I'm planning to as soon as I can.

The only fault I can find with this new film is the price for 35mm. The 120 is priced reasonably, but the 35 seems high. Of course, cheap film isn't, in the long run.

In an era when film is supposedly dead, I'm glad to see the direction Kodak is moving in. Two new film stocks in the last year- Ektar and Portra. I'm in love with them both.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Artists Materials

Original Diana No.151, Great wall Plastic Company, Hong Kong
Kodak Ektar 100
Been a bit quiet around here lately.

My girl's bike is over at Turin, waiting to have the bottom bracket rebuilt. They're slammed, and it's taking a while. Not much riding in the mean time, since we ride together more than we ride seperately.

So I've been trudging around on foot, seeing the sights. I sometimes stimulate my creativity by taking photo walks during lunch. Just to make sure that part of my brain is still kicking over, even if it's not really needed for the day job.

So I look around and see new things when I do this. Or old things in new ways.

An artists materials are where they are found.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Wants and Desires

I was amazed the entire time I was on the Katy Trail how few people were on it. Our entire ride, we saw maybe 20 other folks on bikes in 230 miles or so. Plus 10 on horses. That was it.

I can't begin to imagine how crazy a path like this would be in Denver. You'd have a hard time getting on to it. You'd be hard pressed to see the chat at all, it would be so covered with riders. But, judging from the condition of the sidewalks and the complete absence of cross walk signals, people in that neck of the woods don't go outside very often.
Our paths are crowded, like the Platte River Trail toward Mineral. or not very attractive, industrial, and smelly, like the other end of it.

I don't think the average Missourian knows what coolness resides in his back yard. And some days, I'd much rather be riding those trails.