Thankful for…

Thankful for...

Family.

Photo taken with a Nikon film camera ~25 years ago by my dad, of my siblings and I (I’m on the right). Digitized using a Nikon D800, Nikon 50mm f/1.8 and Nikon bellows with a slide copier attachment.

Hiking Long’s Peak: Redux

Hiking Long’s Peak:

A slideshow

So, I made a slideshow for the Long’s Peak hike, which I blogged about in laborious detail here: https://jletookthis.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/longs-peak-my-first-fourteener/

I know some people appreciated the timelapse-slideshow I made of my Europe trip, so I decided to do the same to all the photos from the hike.  You can watch the video in HD on Vimeo, or in the embedded video below.

Long’s Peak: My First Fourteener from Justin Le on Vimeo.

In August of 2011, some friends and I attempted to hike Long’s Peak – one of the more well-known fourteeners in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. The journey is grueling, and reportedly perilous. Would we make it? Watch the video to find out!

I blogged and posted some photos of the hike a couple months ago (https://jletookthis.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/longs-peak-my-first-fourteener/), but then I decided I’d put together a timelapse-style slideshow of the hike with all the photos I took. These photos were shot in raw, and were taken straight out of camera with no editing or cropping, and batch exported to jpeg.

Gear: Nikon D700, Nikon 20mm f/2.8, Sigma 24-60mm f/2.8

Song: Arcade Fire – Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)

http://vimeo.com/34117404

Crater Lake and Content Aware Fill

Crater Lake in July

Crater Lake National Park (Crater Lake, Oregon)

This past July, my brother and I were able to take a roadtrip across the US.  One of our stops was Crater Lake National Park.  If you ever find yourself in Oregon, I would definitely recommend taking a trip to Crater Lake National Park.  If I recall correctly, it’s about a 5 hr drive from Portland, OR, or just over 3 hrs from Eugene, OR.  You can drive almost all the way around the lake, and there are some great little hikes in the area.

My brother and I hiked down to the water, which is where I snagged this shot.  The water stays close to freezing year round, but that doesn’t stop tourists from jumping into the water from a rocky outcropping. If we would have known, we’d have worn our swim trunks and taken a dunk as well.

Tourists taking a Dip in Crater Lake

If you’d like to learn more about Crater Lake, I’d recommend you check out the wikipedia entry for Crater Lake, OR: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crater_Lake

On Content-Aware Fill:

For most photos, I tend to only use Adobe Lightroom 3 for my post-processing needs.  However, sometimes some photos have distracting elements that just can’t be fixed in camera or in Lightroom.  For times like this, I use Adobe Photoshop CS5.  CS5 has a new feature called “Content-Aware Fill” which allows you to easily select distracting elements, and the program automagically fills in that area helping it blend it into the background.  For the first photo, I used content-aware fill to remove a distracting rock from the foreground (on the lower right side), and some lens flare that I found distracting.

Here’s the original photo:

Crater Lake in July, Original Image

And here’s the final image, which can also be seen at the top of the post:

Crater Lake in July

So, it’s not a huge difference, but I think it’s something that definitely improves the final image.

Gear:

Here is the basic gear I used to take this photo (Linked to Amazon):

Adobe Photoshop CS5

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3

SanDisk Extreme Compact Flash

Nikon D700

Nikon 20mm f/2.8D

Nikon EN-EL3e battery for D700

The Smith Avenue Bridge…

…At least, that’s what I assume it’s called. After leaving my friends’, Andrew & Carrie’s, wedding in Saint Paul, MN, I went straight instead of taking a left turn. I ended up going under this bridge, and started to turn around right after the bridge. I thought the lights on the bridge looked cool, so I decided to stop for a few photos of the bridge. Unfortunately, the old UV filter I have on the wide angle lens I like to use (the Nikon 20mm f/2.8) that came with the lens when I bought it used, was actually literally, old.  Anyway, the old “haze” filter left some haziness in the flare of the lights, so those didn’t turn out so great. But, here are a few others which turned out pretty good, I think, anyway.  Let me know what you think.

Meanwhile, I’ll probably start browsing for a new multicoat UV filter for my lens, or remember to remove it for those kind of shots.

Long’s Peak: My First Fourteener

Just over a month ago, I, and 6 of my friends, embarked upon a journey. A journey of modestly epic proportions. A journey that many have done before, but none of those people were us. We were going to hike Long’s Peak.

We had all traveled to Estes Park to celebrate, our friends, Rob and Julie’s wedding, and after the wedding, we took a week to enjoy Colorado.  During the week leading up to our hike, we had been discussing whether or not we would attempt Long’s Peak.  If you don’t know about Long’s Peak, it is the only fourteener (where the summit is above 14,000 ft above sea level) in Rocky Mountain National Park.  I’ll let wikipedia describe the Keyhole route for you.

The hike from the trailhead to the summit is 8 miles (13 km) each way. Most hikers begin before dawn in order to reach the summit and return below the tree line before frequent afternoon thunderstorms bring a risk of lightning strikes. The most difficult portion of the hike begins at the Boulder Field, 6.4 miles (10 km) into the hike. After scrambling over the boulders, hikers reach the Keyhole at 6.7 miles (10.5 km).

The following quarter of a mile involves a scramble along narrow ledges, many of which may have nearly sheer cliffs of 1,000 feet (305 m) or more just off the edge. The next portion of the hike includes climbing over 600 vertical feet (183 m) up the Trough before reaching the most exposed section of the hike, the Narrows. Just beyond the Narrows, the Notch signifies the beginning of the Homestretch, a steep climb to the football field-sized, flat summit. It is possible to camp out overnight in the Boulder Field (permit required) which makes for a less arduous two day hike, although this is fairly exposed to the elements. 57 people have died climbing or hiking Longs Peak. According to the National Park Service, 2 people, on average, die every year attempting to climb the mountain. In the summer of 2005 a Japanese climber was blown off a ledge after reaching the summit. On September 3, 2006 a man fell 800 feet (244 m) to his death when some rocks let go while he was descending the Loft route. Less experienced mountaineers are encouraged to use a guide for this summit to mitigate risk and increase the probability of a summit.

-From Wikipedia

CAUTION! ACHTUNG, BABY!  This is a very photo heavy post.  Click at your own risk.  There are dozens of photos in this post, so those on a 56k modem should probably join us in the 21st century and get some hi-speed internet! (j/k but, you know, seriously, it might take a while to load.)
Continue reading