Boulder and the Rockies

Boulder and the Rockies, Lost Gulch Overlook

Boulder and the Rockies, Lost Gulch Overlook

Made a detour up Flagstaff mountain en route to the office this evening, stopping as usual at the Lost Gulch Overlook. It’s a popular spot, and a few sunset watchers were still around. It was also windy (though not cold) so I shot a quick panorama before calling it quits. I’m sure there’s a great image to be had from this spot, though it needs a day with low cloud or fog in Boulder Canyon…

Icelandic memories

The onset of a particularly busy spell at work means that there are unlikely to be many firings of the shutter or new images this month! It’s that time of year, however, when thoughts turn to possible summer destinations. A return to Iceland is a mighty tempting prospect…

Looking over the plains, near Geysir

Looking over the plains, near Geysir

Gulfoss, Iceland

Gulfoss, Iceland

Midnight sunset, Iceland

Midnight sunset, Iceland

Pre-dawn planets

For the next week or so you can catch five planets: Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter, together in the sky before dawn. They’re not very close together, but today I tried a time lapse of Venus and Mercury rising before a very slender crescent Moon in the pre-dawn sky. Not perfect framing and bit too much light spill from Denver, but you do get to see them all (Venus is the brightest object, then Mercury rises along the same track toward the right of the frame)…

Hiking in the Lofoten Islands

As I’ve said here before, the hiking highlight of last summer was a wonderful day hike in Rago National Park, on the Norwegian mainland. The Lofoten Islands, on the other hand, although great for photography, were a slight disappointment as far as hiking goes. The trails we tried were not in great condition, and we came back underwhelmed by the islands’ hiking potential.

Six months on that assessment seems a little harsh. The memory of slogging up steep and muddy trails has faded, and looking again at some of the images we actually made it to some damn impressive locations! The best hike was a partial loop to the summit of Ryten via Kvalvika beach, which can be seen in the panorama below. The hike makes a moderate traverse over the low pass at the center of the photo, before descending to the beach, which is not accessible by road. It’s a popular spot, but no less impressive for that. From the beach a steep trail – more a route really – scrambles up to the lake seen at the left, before doubling back for a more moderate ascent to the summit of the mountain. On the descent you can make a loop by taking a left at the trail junction near the lake (Forsvatnet) and then a right at the next junction to come back to the road at Bergland. On a sunny day, this makes for a great day out with a lot of variety.

Panorama from near the summit of Ryten

Panorama from near the summit of Ryten

Another hike we tried was the route to Munken, via the Munkebu hut, starting from the village of Sørvågen. The trail here parallels a chain of lakes into the high country in the interior of the island. As with the Ryten hike, parts of it could benefit from the loving care of a trail crew, but you get great views both down to the coast and across the island.

Looking down on the coast road from the trail to Munken

Looking down on the coast road from the trail to Munken

For reasons that are now not completely clear, we decided to stop just before reaching the Munkebu hut (visible perched on a rocky outcrop in the image below), and didn’t tackle the final ascent of Munken itself. Our turnaround spot still had a pretty wild vista though.

Hiking toward Munken, in the Lofotens

Hiking toward Munken, in the Lofotens

The website 68 North is the go to resource if you’re considering either a photographic or hiking trip to the Lofotens.

Lofoten coast

Continuing my re-appraisal of images from last summer I found this image from the coast of Norway’s Lofoten Islands. Hiking along the coast on a rather murky day we turned around at this point, but not before taking some photos of the waves crashing into a small rocky cove.

Rocky coast, Lofoten Islands

Rocky coast, Lofoten Islands

More Fuji experiments

My first experiments shooting with a Fuji medium format rangefinder (a GW690ii) in Iceland led to very satisfactory results. During the rest of the summer and autumn I shot a few more rolls, which I’ve only now gotten around to processing and scanning (such are the trials of film!). I’m afraid the laboratory work this time around has not been a total success… I was delighted (and surprised!) to find that my local camera shop could process B&W 220 film overnight, but less pleased with the results. The actual processing seems OK (there’s a light leak on one frame that may be my fault), but the advertised “high resolution” scans are mostly junk. It will take a while to find a more robust scanning solution and see what the real quality of the images is, but for now here are a few frames that the lab didn’t mangle too badly!

Lofoten Islands, Norway

Lofoten Islands, Norway

Lofoten Islands, Norway

Lofoten Islands, Norway

Mitch Begelman

Mitch Begelman, hiking in Utah

Boulder and the Plains

Heading to the office this afternoon I spied some promising-looking clouds to the west, and with thoughts of a backlit orange sunset behind the high peaks made a detour up Flagstaff Mountain to the Lost Gulch Overlook. It’s the nearest place to downtown that offers a clean view west to the Indian Peaks, and as usual for a decent day there was a small crowd there to see the sunset. Alas, sunset didn’t happen. Returning to town, though, I found a pull-off I’d overlooked before with a great view over Boulder. On the right day, this might be a good location for sunrise too.

Boulder from Flagstaff Mountain, twilight

Boulder from Flagstaff Mountain, twilight

Hiking the Natural Bridges loop

Utah’s Natural Bridges National Monument was established way back in 1908, but it remains off most visitors to the Utah desert’s radar. It’s a small, rather old-fashioned park, with a beautiful loop drive that takes you right past the main attractions: Sipapu, Kachina, and Owachomo natural bridges. The first bridge you encounter – Sipapu – is the second largest in the world, and an impressive sight. You don’t need to do any hiking to see the bridges, but the 9 mile loop hike which connects the bridges via stretches of beautiful canyons is highly recommended. I’ve done it twice, and it makes for a wonderful moderate outing in the desert.