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Old Aug 4, 2011, 2:09 PM   #11
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Thank you, banksy, kev, paniolo.

#12) On the highway to Rocky Mountain is a rest area strategically placed at the top of an incline to give the visitor a glimpse of what's to come -- snow-capped mountains even in 85-degree (29.4 Celsius) summer heat.


#13) This bend in the road was the first realization that we can touch the snow. We saw many people going up. But it was a steep climb. The people were careful going up and slow going down. So we passed. At the rate things were going, we were pretty sure there'd be more snow up ahead.


#14) Sure enough there was. "Above the tree line", you just walk to it.


My wife took the last photo.

Last edited by vvcarpio; Aug 4, 2011 at 2:11 PM.
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Old Aug 7, 2011, 9:39 AM   #12
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Very NICE! Rocky Mountain is on my "visit" list
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Old Aug 7, 2011, 10:04 AM   #13
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Beautiful!

Your wife's not a bad tog either!
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Old Aug 9, 2011, 1:33 PM   #14
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Thanks, cmoy, JeannieBug.

#15) From the highway pic in #12, you can see there was virtually no clouds. As we went up, clouds began to appear.


#16) When we reached the top, there were clouds galore.
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Old Aug 9, 2011, 2:03 PM   #15
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Wow, this is just fantastic!!! #'s 2 and 9 are my favourites. Well done!
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Old Aug 9, 2011, 2:03 PM   #16
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And 16 is just plain stunning Well done!
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Old Aug 9, 2011, 9:17 PM   #17
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Wow vvcarpio!

You've shared a magnificent series of photos of a majestic area of your country. That is probably one of the places I'd like to visit if I decide to go to US, it's quite different than most parts of Australia - and the mountains and pine forests are superb photo material!

Pretty much every photo is great, with some being exceptional imho, eg 4, 5, 10 & 16. I love how the clouds and sky are so vivid. Also that the sun has a great 'radiating sun beams' effect (that's determined by a lens's specific aperture, right?)

I'm curious - did you use HDR technique (taking photos of the same scene, perhaps on a trip at various exposures - and blending together)? There appears a lot of dynamic range captured. The photos with moving cars (eg #11) - seem to indicate a HDR technique was employed.

Thank you again for sharing the photos, and the stories behind them. I'm amazed that you could drive so far up all the way by car. (I love hiking / aka 'bushwalking') - but can appreciate the convenience of having roads there too - so long as the feeling of the place isn't disturbed by too much infrastructure and too many tourists / visitors at once.

What camera equipment did you use to take these photos? It seems quite a few of the photos are using an ultra-wide setting. If you wouldn't mind sharing what camera gear and general settings, eg how wide, etc I'd appreciate that (to cure my curiousity).

Regards

Paul
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Old Aug 10, 2011, 11:25 AM   #18
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Thank you, Ned.

Thank you, Paul. I was using my Sony A350 (before it broke down fortunately after coming back to NY) and Tamron ultrawide 10-24mm lens. Yes, you’re right, the aperture at max f/22 caused the sun’s radiating beams.

They are all HDR images. I use Dynamic Photo HDR5. The sky in each image, however, is not HDR. I use Topaz ReMask to create a layer of the HDR-generated foreground and combine it with another shot that has the sky properly exposed.

(I e-mailed Media Chance – maker of DPHDR – who replied, “At this moment the exif data are not preserved.” So my images don't have exif data.)

I use Topaz Adjust for post-processing. I use the “spicify” preset for the foreground but with the Details sliders matching the settings of the “mild details” preset. For the sky, I use the “vibrant” preset with again the Details sliders matching the “mild details” preset. Doing so allows me to create sharp images at my camera’s native resolution -- 4052x3096.

I’m glad some would like to visit Rocky Mountain. So I thought I’d put a few more of our experience.

While there I remembered a documentary I saw about Lewis & Clark. They were expeditioners sent by then President Jefferson to find a river passage to the Pacific. (My son said they crossed the Rockies farther north.) When they encountered Rocky Mountain they forced their way up only to find that it was not a single mountain wall but a whole slew of mountains. They (and their team of about 45) had to climb every single mountain dragging their canoes along which they would need once on the other side. When I saw Rocky Mountain was when I got a real sense of Lewis & Clark’s determination.

At Rocky Mountain we just drove through Trail Ridge Road -- the “beaten path”. According to the RMNP website, it is open Memorial Day weekend in May through Columbus Day in October. There are other roads and hiking trails I’m sure but Trail Ridge Road was recommended at the Visitor Center when I asked for the best way to see Rocky Mountain.

The first shot I took (just past the gate after paying $20 per car admission good for one week) was at 3:35pm. We were near the highest elevation at Lava Cliffs, over 12,000 feet, at 8:07pm before turning back. I just realized now we spent nearly 5 hours driving with not a dull moment.

At Lava Cliffs, we turned around and went down the way we came because, to be honest, we were pretty unnerved by the drive up the top of Rocky Mountain. We were not used to driving in single lane, curved roads at high speeds with ravines on either side. We didn’t want to continue on and possibly encounter roads that looked even more treacherous.

On the way down I had a headache. (My wife and kids were fine, though.) We were advised by the woman we met on the plane, Wanda, to drink plenty of water or coffee to prevent headaches at high altitudes. So I’d advise bringing some Tylenol, just in case. Aleve, which my wife brought, helped in my case.

I think Trail Ridge Road is a scenic highway done right. I don’t think it disturbs nature. Rather, I think the highway complements the mountainscape. Nature’s majesty may have something to do with inducing good-behavior on the visitor’s part but I think the man-made structures and overlooks with the visitor’s comfort in mind also elicit reciprocity. I may have just been overly excited and overly appreciative but at the time while driving along Trail Ridge Road I can’t help but think that if America had the permission to build highways everywhere, the most beautiful spots on earth would probably be made easily accessible to everyone -- including those on wheelchairs at Mount Everest.

#17) One slice of the 360-degree view at Lava Cliffs.

Last edited by vvcarpio; Aug 12, 2011 at 9:03 AM. Reason: Oops -- it's spelled "Lewis" not "Lois"
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Old Aug 10, 2011, 7:15 PM   #19
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Hi again vv
I think your posts in this thread (including the last one) highlight the real value that such an online forum can have, being more than just 'sharing of photos' - it's a place to live a bit in another's shoes, inspire the spirit of adventure and see part of the world outside one's own experience. (That's one of the reasons I enjoy participating in the Biweekly Shoot Out - taking a challenge, sharing and seeing what others' output from the same challenge is. Particularly as I'm in Australia and most of the posters in this forum are in the northern hemisphere, it adds interest to see the different seasons, geographical and natural elements).
Thank you for generously documenting both your photography for these photo (equipment, technique and post processing) as well as more of the 'retracing' of the Lois & Clark discovery /l adventure that you and your family undertook. The earlier explorers certainly had many more real, logistical and practical challenges back 'in the old days'. I have traced parts of a few similar expeditions in Australia, across areas that Europeans first explored, travelled to and documented here.
Have you had your Sony A350 repaired? (or replaced?) Indeed - it's good that your camera didn't break down while you were there... that would have been frustrating - though at times it's also important to realise we can't capture everything in our lives in photographs and live practically... so it's good to appreciate the visual / aesthetic beauty of some moments for what they are, even when we won't / can't photograph them.
Altitude sickness can be a nasty thing... and even dangerous (it is documented that some people get heart attacks if they go to extreme altitudes too quickly, though usually it's more than 12,000 feet than you did).
It's good to hear that you think the Trail Ridge Road is done 'right'. I am all for making beautiful parts of the world accessible (including to those with mobility impairment). I've seen areas of great beauty made very accessible in Europe, Asia and Australia. At the same time I do not want all places to be that easily accessible, as I think many (other) parts of our amazing world should be 'as is' with no roads and minimal walking. There should be a balance of amazingly beautiful areas accessed by wheelchair and others only accessed by foot (for the fit) - as part of the sense of achievement when you reach a remote summit, or 'hidden river / lake' is in knowing you just could NOT get there any other way than by: hiking in (or being possibly being winched down by helicopter in an emergency). In Tasmania, where I grew up, there is quite a good balance of that. But its population density is a lot lower than most other parts of the world.
I've not ever tried or used Topaz Adjust, nor Dynamic Photo HDR5. I have Photomatix- which blends 3 photos together to great outcomes. There are a few other post processing techniques and software packages which produce better dynamic range photos (also using 'Highlights & Shadows' in Photoshop, or similar, can help).
Again, thanks vvcarpio for the enjoyable photos you have presented.
Have a good day.
Paul
PS - photo #17 is also a stunner! Thanks again for sharing.
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Old Aug 10, 2011, 8:17 PM   #20
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vv,

Exquisite pictures, most of them, with the first as a favourite of mine. Brilliant. Congratulations. Beautiful

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