LoToJa

Outdoor photographs

Every September, the Saturday after Labor Day, there’s a little bike race from Logan to Jackson, WY. Known as LoToJa, it is billed as the toughest one-day bike race in the United States. Over 200 miles, climbing 10,000+ feet over three mountain passes, that’s not an idle boast. We were at the start at 6:30 to see son Brad start his third race, twice as a single rider, once as part of a four man relay team. He finished under 10 hours, making his average speed over 20 mph. Here are some pictures from the start.

Summerfest

Outdoor photographs, street photography

Summerfest is Logan’s annual celebration of the arts, held on the Logan Tabernacle grounds. For three days every summer it’s a gathering place for artists of all types. This year I entered a photograph in the photography contest and was lucky enough to garner third place in the amateur category. This contest is unique in that all entries, whether photographs or paintings, must be of something within Cache Valley (they even give a map showing the boundaries) and it must be completed within a five day window immediately prior to the start of Summerfest. I had taken this photograph in May, and had to re-create it between June 8 and 12, get it printed, framed and delivered by noon on June 12.

Handyman special

Here are some other photos of Summerfest itself.

Night Photography

Outdoor photographs

Last month (January) we had the full blood moon lunar eclipse. Like millions of other people I went out to see what I could capture in photography. About 8:30 on a 20-degree night I drove out to the western part of Cache Valley, away from the city lights, where the mountains and trees were far away. The moon came up, but it was cloudy. I watched from the bed of my pickup as the clouds flitted back and forth in front of the moon as the shadow of the sun crossed the moon’s face. I had my camera set up on my tripod. I don’t have a long telephoto lens so I was using the 50-200 mm lens that came with the camera. Because of the low light I used manual settings, with the aperture at f/8 for good depth of field and toying with the exposure, anywhere from 6-20 seconds. It was difficult to center the moon in the focus ring of the lens, so auto-focus wasn’t working. I was in full manual mode. Most of the shots weren’t worth keeping but one, after some elementary enhancement and cropping, turned out not so bad for kit equipment.

After the clouds fully obscured the moon, I wasn’t ready to quit just yet. I still had a little feeling in my fingers so I decided to try some time lapse photography of the road and passing cars. Focusing on the road was a lot easier than focusing on the moon. I got the picture framed and waited for a car to come along. Then I hit the shutter button and waited for a 7-second exposure.

Finally, I took one of the road I was on. The long exposure gave a ghostly quality to the scene.

A Winter’s Day

black and white, Outdoor photographs

“In a deep and dark December, I am alone” from Simon and Garfunkel’s I am a Rock. In the song, the singer is gazing from his room at empty streets below on a freshly fallen, silent shroud of snow. It’s clearly an urban scene, probably New York from a walk-up apartment.

Here in Cache Valley we don’t have many walk-up apartments that look down on empty streets shrouded in freshly fallen snow. But we have plenty of silent fields. To me the song is in black and white, the colors of emptiness, loneliness and silence.

Open Fields

Outdoor photographs

Monday afternoon I left work early and took the family dog (the black one) pheasant hunting. I fully expected not to shoot a pheasant, not even to see anything, and I wasn’t disappointed.  But I got several great shots nonetheless. The two hours spent in the field brought back memories of a half century or more ago when I spent happy hours with my dad hunting in the western part of Cache Valley. Back then we had more luck, but the cold wind, dead grass and cattails rustling against boots, cows in nearby fields, the occasional shotgun blast of a fortunate hunter, clouds hanging low over mountains, fighting with the sun for control — all were reminders of what a beautiful place I live in.

October

Outdoor photographs

October is my favorite month. It’s a transition month. You begin wearing shorts and sandals, chasing the last days of summer, and end in jackets and boots, scraping frost off the windshield in the morning, sometimes using the air conditioning in the afternoon. Skies are impossibly blue and seem so close you can scratch them with your fingernail. Leaves carpet lawns, sidewalks and roads. Here are some memories of October.