Tag Archives: snow

The Moment: The Matterhorn Eclipses the Moon

A nearly full moon passes behind the Matterhorn's summit.

It took nearly an hour to discover what was happening.

We had hiked up to this meadow just outside Zermatt, on the trail that eventually leads to Zmutt and the North Face of the Matterhorn. It was getting hot, and Varenna was inspecting the gravel on the trail, handing her best specimens to Mom, and then pushing her stroller like the big girl she was proclaiming to be (“bick guhr! bick gurh!). We were all content, and not planning to go too far. After all, this appeared to be it: the iconic view of the Matterhorn, the one that conjures visions of alpenhorns and men yodeling “Ri-co-la” into the crisp glacial air.

But as we turned to head back to town, the moon was suddenly quite noticeable and on a very interesting course.

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Fall Color at the Maroon Bells

The Maroon Bells in fall color outside Aspen, Colorado(Click on images for a larger view)

I’ve struggled to photograph the Maroon Bells in the past. Struggled because of two things: (1) everybody has photographed them and an original angle is getting more and more rare, and (2) they perfectly face to the east and, as a result, are often 2 stops more bright than their surroundings, making an even exposure especially tricky.

A six-month-old girl plays near the Maroon Bells outside Aspen, Colorado

But then my wife took our daughter there for a day trip this past October (I was attending the Colorado Governor’s Conference on Tourism in nearby Snowmass) and she returned with a series of astonishingly original photos of the Bells. How did she overcome my two stumbling blocks?

Solution #1: visit the Maroon Bells with an adorable baby and let her eat the dirt on the shore of Maroon Lake — original photos abound — and …

Solution #2: visit in the fall when the sunlight is slanted and the exposure is more even.

The Maroon Bells and Maroon Lake in fall color outside Aspen, Colorado

Our daughter’s middle name is Autumn, and this being her first fall, well, it was especially meaningful to have the two of them join me in Snowmass for the conference. After the day’s sessions, I’d take Varenna off of Mom’s hands for a little bit, and go for a short jaunt through the aspens with her near the hotel. She’d squeal and kick with delight at being outside, at facing forward in the Baby Bjorn carrier, and at the sights and sounds and smells of the woods. She’s a Coloradan by birth, and already she is acting like one.

Enjoying the Maroon Bells in autumn, Aspen, Colorado

So when the conference ended and I had a little freedom to wander, we returned to Maroon Bells as a family and spent a few hours in the aspen glades and along the lake shore, watching a blizzard of leaves flutter over the lake as autumn had one last gasp before winter.

Close-up of the Maroon Bells outside Aspen, Colorado

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The Canon 5D Mark II (and Happy Halloween)

2009-10-30-Canon-5D-6859_2(Click on images for a larger view)

Things just got a lot more interesting with Tanager Photography. On Wednesday, our new camera arrived: the Canon 5D Mark II, an upper echelon camera with an incredible 21.1 megapixel full-frame sensor and HD video capabilities. Paired with the Canon 40D we’ve been shooting with, we now have even more expanded coverage for weddings, portraits, events and of course, our travels.

So its been an interesting week beyond just the new camera. What’s Halloween in Colorado without 14 inches of new snow … in the city? We carved a pumpkin last night (OK … Hailey carved a pumpkin last night), and I plopped it on the porch to photograph it (above). I was blown away at how the 5D balanced the inner glow of the pumpkin, the moonlit sky, the street light, and the streaking traffic on Holly St.


Hailey is knitting a baby blanket for our child, which made for an interesting test subject. Same with lighting a match. On day one of the blizzard, Hailey baked some beer bread, which I promptly photographed fresh from the over. I feel like I’m just scratching the surface on this camera’s capabilities.

So here’s the big deal with the Canon 5D for me. The camera shoots at high ISO settings with little trouble. ISO basically means how sensitive the sensor is to light. The higher the number, the more sensitive, the better the camera does in lower light (like churches, indoors, dusk, etc.). Many cameras (40D included) do OK through 400 ISO. At 800 ISO, you are pushing it and asking for a bit of post-production work to have less grainy, less noisy images. I pushed the ISO to 3200 on some of these images, and experienced very little grain or noise in the image.


I’m sure I’ll be posting a lot of new stuff in the coming weeks. Hailey and I might even do a maternity shoot together. We’ll try to avoid cliches, but we certainly have a lack of baby bump images. Stay tuned.

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Pastoral Barns and An Acid-Trip Rabbit

Where the hell have I been? Over two weeks since my last blog post, and — I hate to say — there are very few excuses to levvy. I’m just a negligent blogger. Have I been busy? Yes. Have I been sick? No, but I’m getting there tonight. Have I been traveling? A smidge.

This past weekend, Hailey and I headed up to the family condo in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and had ourselves a little fun on 65-inches of packed powder. We even bought some skis. Yes, hard to believe, but this native Coloradan of nearly 30 years has never owned a pair of skis. Sad, shocking, sacrilegious even (to some). Alas, I’m now official. Funny thing is, I have always loved skiing. I’ve loved it since I started taking lessons with the Eskimo Ski Club in sixth grade up at Winter Park. But I’ve always rented, and until this family condo came within reach, I’ve conveniently put off buying skis because I didn’t see myself skiing often enough. Chalk that up to the exorbitant price of lift tickets and the horrific traffic on I-70.


Anyway, the weather over the weekend was splendid. Endless, uninterrupted blue sky (just look at that sky above left…photo credit goes to Hailey on that one), highs in the 40s and zero wind. While I haven’t yet figured out how to juggle skiing with photography, I did come up with a good strategy for shooting Steamboat this weekend. If I have a problem with shooting up there, its that I’m getting too familiar with the place. I need to see it new again, each time, which gets harder with each trip. So, my new plan is this: less is more.

Rather than drive all over the place looking for new things to capture, I’m just going to pick one or two spots and really work at them. In the case of MLK weekend, I picked the iconic Rabbit Ears Motel sign and the famous Steamboat barn, one at blue hour, the other in mid-morning when the ski area has emerged from shadow.

2009-01-19steamboat-5260The heart was a nice touch and not done by us. Thanks to whomever drew it in the snow ahead of our visit.

Things are a-brewing for Hailey and I. We’re piecing together a vacation, one that promises to be ever-so-photogenic. I’ll let you know where we’re headed once we’re confirmed.

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