Friday, July 30, 2021

Family Trip 2021 - Utah


 This year's big trip was to visit some of the national parks in Utah that we'd never seen before.  We told friends we'd be gone anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks and had the time off in preparation.  The plan was to go until either Cami and I or the kids had reached that point where we'd had enough traveling.  As expected, the trip went closer to the 1 week mark than the 3 week mark.  I think it was 9 days total.  Utah is such an amazing place were every different area has its own unique landscape.  All the canyons and deserts and rock formations make it look like you're on an alien world!


Arches NP and Moab

We spend the first 3 nights in Moab with Grandma & Grandpa.  They stayed in their camper and we stayed in a tent and it was HOT.  None of us got much sleep at all the first night even with the tent uncovered and sleeping out in the open.  The temps were just too high even at night.  Luckily, the campground where we stayed had a pool.   We'd been to arches before, and forgot how cool it was. We spent a couple evenings here exploring and shooting the sunsets and the stars at night.  One of the mornings, Dad and I took the ATVs to Gemini Bridges, another cool set of arches off the beaten path a little.






Sunset over the Fiery Furnace - Prints available



Starry sky over Skyline Arch - Prints Available


 Goblin Valley

Mom and Dad left for home and we continued on toward a few cool locations that we thought would be fun for the kids.  Goblin Valley was simply awesome!  The whole place is like a jungle gym with cool tunnels and mushroom shaped rocks to climb on.  We spent hours just running through the area and exploring all the fun "hoodoo" rock formations with the kids. 

 





 

 Capitol Reef NP

Capitol Reef was maybe not as dramatic as far as the landscape features as these other places, but would probably be one of the places I'd like to spend the most time.  There were very few people here for a National Park, which was surprising to me.  I left the family at the hotel (they needed a break for this evening) so I only got one afternoon/evening here.  If I did it again, I'd definately spend more time here as there were so many cool trails to explore.  I ended up doing a hike up Cohab Canyon and then to Sunset point for...uh...sunset. 

 





Sunset on Capitol Reef - Prints Available


 Calf Creek Falls

This hike was 6 miles round trip through the desert, so a bit long for Kolby's little 4 year old legs.  They were both troopers though and made it (at least one way) all by themselves.  The end of the hike is this crazy little oasis in the form of a giant waterfall with an ice cold pool tucked into a canyon.  It was like something you'd see in a tropical island.  These falls are apparently becoming very popular for tourists, but we didn't see too many other hikers here at least compared to what we're used to in our front range mountains.  The kids went for a swim and had a blast before the long hot hike back to the car.  When we reached the car again, Kolby must have had 2 lbs. of sand that he dumped out of each of his shoes.  We were cranky after this hike and ready again for the pool at the hotel.  Good times!

 

Calf Creek Falls - Prints Available

Bryce Canyon NP

Bryce was way cooler than expected.  What an interesting area with red, white and orange spires sticking up all over the place.  You can hike down through them too.  This was also a nice spot because this national park is at a little higher elevation so it wasn't so hot here.  Sunrise with the Thor's Hammer rock formation was the highlight.


Sunrise with Thor's Hammer - Prints Available







 

 

 

 

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Crystal Mill Acrylic Painting
Paitning - Crystal Mill - Prints Available

 

I just finished up a painting of a Colorado classic, the Crystal Mill.  I've been in the Aspen area many times, but have never actually made the drive to see the old ruined ghost town of Marble and this beautiful scene.  It's such an iconic spot I had to paint it!  I'm sure I'll make it up there in person sometime.  

The painting itself took about 20 hours.  I actually have been staying after school each day with my daughter and we work on our "art projects" for about an hour before we go home.  That way, we make sure to make progress toward the final product, be it ever so slowly.  This type of painting is very tedious and requires a lot of attention to detail.  It felt good to finish this one!  This might be my last painting until the fall.  I'm excited to switch from painting to drawing mode in the near future and start some projects I've been wanting to do for a while.

 

 

Friday, January 8, 2021

5 Colorado Photography Locations You Can Drive To (No Hiking Required)

 


If you're photographing the high mountains of Colorado and don't really feel like going on a strenuous hike, you might want to look into a few locations that have easy access for your low clearance 2 wheel drive vehicle.  This might especially be true if you are visiting from near sea level.  Altitude sickness is a thing!  Here are of few of my favorite spots that you can shoot just by getting out of your car:


1.  Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park

 

Rocky Mountain National Park is a great place to visit.  If you want a true alpine experience above treeline, take the drive along trail ridge road.  Enjoy alpine wildflowers, unique rock formations and stunning views of Longs Peak and the Continental Divide.  All of this can be had from pull-offs along the road.  Keep in mind, there is a National Park fee and this place can get crowded on summer weekends.  





2. Chautauqua Park, Boulder
 
 
 
The city of Boulder sits along the base of the Front Range foothills a short drive from Denver. The most iconic features here are the Flatirons - huge rocky crags that shoot out from the landscape.  Great views can be seen from the entrance.  In fact, the above picture was taken standing in the parking lot!





3. Crested Butte


 
 Crested Butte is called the "Wildflower Capitol of Colorado".  A super neat town with abundant foliage and aspen groves all around it.  From here, you can literally just pick any road to drive down and see great views.  Kebler pass is a great spot in the fall.  It boasts the largest aspen grove in the country...err...world!





4. Dallas Divide
 
 

 The Sneffels Range near the historic town of Ouray is known as "Switzerland of America".  The mountains here are unique and jagged rising abruptly from the landscape below.  Taking Hwy 62 from Ridgway to Telluride goes along the Dallas Divide.  Prime country here.  You can't trespass onto this pasture land that is own by Ralph Lauren, but the best views are along the road anyway.  Once when standing here, I could hear elk bugling and cattle mooing at the same time.





5. Great Sand Dunes National Park
 

 
 Want to go to an ocean-less beach in the middle of the mountains?  The Great Sand Dunes are a true natural wonder.  The highest ones rise up to an elevation of 9,000 ft.  They are super fun to play in with kids, (or adults) but are a bit of a workout if you want to climb to the top.  No worries though, the prime photography spots are near the entrance to the park.  



Got any other easy access photography spots?  Let me know what else could be added to the list!