Wildlife photographer Michael Nichols wanted to photograph a 300-foot-tall redwood in a dense forest with no clear lines of sight. So he built a custom camera rig to take tons of close-ups to stitch together.
The result is a stunning composite of 83 different shots of this incredible tree. Look for a huge foldout of the image in the October issue of National Geographic, and here’s a video of Nichols talking about the process of capturing the image.
As this may have very well been the last trip of the year, we wanted to make it a good one! VDutchDub from suggested I join him on Sunday to hit Spring Creek instead of Twin Cone on Sunday. I was supposed to hit Twin Cone with some co-workers that were itching to get out and do some REAL wheelin’. Well, the plans for Saturday fell apart so it was game on for Sunday.
We met up at what is becoming the usual spot, Starbucks in Downieville. I was surprised that it was only going to be 4 of us, but also relieved. Those kind of trails can get lengthy if you have 10 or 12 rig to get up a really hard spot. By the way things turned out, it may have been dark by the time we got off the trial if we DID have that many rigs. Already aired down and disconnected, we headed out right on time at 9:30.
Just as we started up the narrow trial, we hit some traffic that would turn out to haunt us the rest of the day. There was a TJ coming back down the trail because he wasn’t able make it up the first obstacle, and was planning on meeting up with the other 3 TJs in his group by taking the bypass. This guy more/less refused to back up a little, forcing us to back all 4 rigs down the trail to the next turn out. Rich let him know that it wasn’t going to get any easier: “Hey man, I don’t want to ruin your day, but they call that obstacle ‘The Gatekeeper’ for a reason. If you can’t make it up that you may not make the rest of the trail.” Little did we know we’d see this guy again, and extend our day out a couple hours.
As we approached the first obstacle rightly named ‘The Gatekeeper’, there was a HUGE CJ sitting there pointed up the switchback we had to go around to start up the obstacle. I was already not sure about what I was going to expect around the corner. As we turned the corner I was more than surprised to see a massive rock, slanted to the right with 2 hug boulders at the bottom. “Whoa” was all I could think.
Rich started up and after a little sliding and tire spinning he seemed to get up without too much difficulty. The big Jeep that was there when we got there decided to go before me, picked the hardest line, and walked up with it like nothing. I’m not sure if he even noticed there are an obstacle there! Now my turn. I followed Rich’s line between the large boulders at the bottom that we just narrower than a jeep, this made you have to go over one of them. This turned out to be something I couldn’t make happen. I was sure close, but just couldn’t get enough traction in the loose dirt with both of my open differentials to pop me over that rock. I ended up having to getting winched (drug) over and along the rocks about 5-10 feet. In the process of trying to get over this obstacle, I managed to put a HUGE ding in my rock sliders and tear up one of my AEV wheels. Well, at least it’s on the passenger side…won’t have to see it much!
Jim was able to follow me up taking a different route. Took him a bit, but he made it on his own. He even made for some good shots with one of his wheels going airborne. Rick, of course, seemed to make it way too easy.
The route up to the second major obstacle was lengthy and offered some spectacular views of the canyon.
As we reached the second obstacle, we find that we have caught up to the group of TJs from the beginning of the trail. The first one of the group seemed to be pretty well equipped, include ARBs and a decent lift. the second and 3rd didn’t have too much of a problem getting over, the 3rd looking to be not much more than a stock Rubicon.
The 4th guy was apparently trying to prove something to someone. He spouted out the line he was going to take, which seemed to be an impossible feat for any of us in the vicinity. This guy’s TJ was barely built underneath, maybe a 2-3 inch lift, and 33s’. He did however have some fancy rock sliders and a rear bumper (which wasn’t gong to fair very well), and some bright green stickers that read ‘Ghost Riders’. As to no surprise, this guy went strait up a rock and completely wedged himself in a hole. He was a very heavy footed driver, that decided to try and back himself off the rock against everyone’s disagreement and caught his exhaust on another rock, bending it down toward the ground. This locked him into a few choices: 1. Go forward and try the rock again (we know that wasn’t going to happen), 2. Throw it in reverse and gun it again and destroy the exhaust and probably do some undercarriage and/or mechanical damage, or 3. Break out the Sawzall and hack the bent part of the exhaust off so he could safely back off the rocks. This guy chose option #1 and gave it a good goose…queue music:
There he was stuck even worse on the rocks. After farting around for 10-15 minutes, they finally conceded to using Rich’s winch to pull up up the rocks. We tried to help these guys and guide him up the rocks to minimize any further damage, but they made it clear they didn’t care about damage. Rich continued to drag this guy up the rocks (very patiently I might add), and nearly tore this guys rear bumper off. These guys were also nice enough to remove all the rock in the holes on this obstacle making it more difficult for us, even against our suggestion to use other ones nearby. *SIGH*…I’m still shaking my head at these guys as I write this. I guess I wouldn’t have been surprised if 50 funny dressed performers with big shoes and red noses was going to jump out of one of their rigs next.
Once these guys were free and clear, we made our way up the obstacle. It wasn’t easy took all of us at lease a few tries. Certainly doable, we all made it, and didn’t take too much time. This might have been where I dinged my cross member too.
Clearing this obstacle made way for the Rock Garden. This is a 10 yard section of the trail littered with 2-4 foot boulders and the holes between them. Rich was up first, and was first to show us which lines weren’t going to work. We had a tough time getting him through this section. You really had to be on the perfect rocks on the perfect line to get through each section. Seemed like there were 3 small sections all together at the beginning that were tough and it gradually got easier all the way through ‘The Garden’. After quite the battle getting Rich through, it helped figure out what may help me. I had a battle, but certainly less time to get through this. Rich had convinced me that using the ‘full throttle’ technique was going to be best for me, and it seemed to prove so. Jim had a little better luck than I did, bouncing around all over he employed the same method I used to get through. Now Rick…well Rick was Rick, and just kind of tip-toed over everything, making it look easy.
On we went though some continued lightly rock section to the top of the mountain. A quick right got us on the Saxon Mountain Trail for our descent into Georgetown. As we came around a bend we popped out of the trees and a windy shelf road lay ahead of us with view of the canyon and Georgetown 3000’+ below us. What a spectacular view!!!
Winding down the road seemed to take forever, but seemed to get better and better as we descended, and got more and more inundated with the brilliantly yellow-gold leaves on the aspen trees as the evening sun lighting them up like they were powered by electricity.
What a great trail to be the official close out of the year. Yeah we might still be able to hit a trial or two more this fall, but I’m going to call that THE trail of 2009 for me.
Thanks Rich, Jim, and Rick for making it an even more enjoyable time, and of course my wife Karen for deciding to come along.
Good day on the trails today! I joined up with some of the fellas from and headed up to Empire to run Bill Moore Lake Trail and Mill Creek Trail.
The drive up was was an uncommonly windy one. If you know what it’s like driving Hwy 93 on a windy day, it’s always a adventure, especially when your vehicle isn’t exactly ‘aerodynamic’ in any fashion. I Can’t imagine what truckers have to put up with.
After meeting up with everyone at Starbucks we headed out with me leading. Apparently I was the only one with at least recent experience of Bill Moore and the area, and had a CB.
The trail was pretty good no issues all the way up the trail. We got ourselves warmed up with the little bypass-esque section that has you getting real tippy toward the drivers side as you pass a large rock at door level on driver side. After that we had a good easy going time with some nice flexy spots here and there as we made our way to the lake
Just before the lake the is a HUGE rock sitting in the middle of a large cleared out area. I instantly planned to have that as my first priority after we left the lake. Once at the lake, the guys made good use of ‘Poser Rock’ while we stopped and had lunch.
After getting a snack, and when we were done standing in the cold wind, we mounted up and headed out…I had an appointment with a big ‘ol rock. This rock seemed to be a big hit for everyone, even those that just happened to be there watching. I made a slow crawl up and over the rock, showing everyone that when you come off you’re most likely going to be smacking something on the rear of your vehicle. I took a pretty good shot to my gas tank skid plate.
After the rest of the crew had their fun scaling this rock, we moved on back down to Mill Creek Trail. A couple of the guys headed out to take care of over things, leaving 8 rigs.
Not far into the trail, Jim blew a tire, caught the sidewall on a rock and punctured it. That’s one reason it helps to air down your tires. Unfortunately, all he had was a stock spare. It wasn’t too bad since he only had 30s, but he sure need to be careful now. After Jim was all setup, we moved on up a much better trail as far as actual rock crawling goes. Lots more small obstacles and narrower trail. AS we got to the top of the hill, one of the guys stopped, he had broken the frame side bolt on his upper right control arm. It took a good 30-40 minutes, a new bolt, hammer, a sawzall, and some cussing to get him back in action.
Off we went down the really long hill to the bottom of Mill Creek, crossing the creek for a second time. It seemed like we went down for a LONG time! before we hit the bottom. As soon as we got to the bottom, a light rain started. This was starting to make the trial a little more interesting as the terrain began to get slicker. We had some great obstacles to get up and over on the way back to Bill Moore Trail. There was also some REALLY great scenery of the changing aspens throughout the trail.
Certainly a good trail ride. No catastrophic breaks, weather held up pretty good, and no complaints of my leadership.
On our recent trip to Gateway, CO for labor day weekend, I knew the scenery was going to be spectacular and was hoping I’d get a chance to get the camera out and get a good time lapse shoot in.
Unfortunately, the full moon was going to keep me from getting a set of a starry night, but being that we were smack dab in the middle of a beautiful canyon, full or green vegetation and gorgeous rock formations, I didn’t give it a second thought.
Mike showed me a fantastic shot he got right out his front door of Thimble Rock highlighted by a stunning rainbow, and right then I knew where I had to setup. There were clouds building as they came over the mountain behind the house so we knew a rainstorm was eminent. I quickly got all setup and started grabbing images hopeful that we’d get a little rain followed by that rainbow. I was excited to see a rainbow show up in a time lapse!
Eventually the rain came and it started REALLY pouring. I of course had setup the camera under a ledge to keep the rain off, but unfortunately, I couldn’t keep the wind from spraying the lens with a fine mist. I ran out every 5-10 minutes and tried to keep the lens dry, but that ended up just making it worse as I had shifted the shot just a little several times. Over the course of about two and a half hours I grabbed about 900 frames of some rather drab weather, no rainbow, and only a second worth of sun in the end video:
So it wasn’t much of a video, but a good trial run for that spot.
Determined to get some good weather shot, I setup again the next night around 5:00p. I could already see that it was going to be a beautiful evening with some dancing clouds creating a kaleidoscope of shadows on the mountains.
I setup my camera on Kindra and Mike’s patio pointing Northwest down Unaweep Canyon facing Thimble Rock and Driggs Mansion and captured a video that is certainly going to be a challenge to top:
I can’t believe how well this turned out! If you look close you can see that I even captured some cars going down the road (00:11, 00:13), the horses and donkeys strolling around (00:10), and even Aliyah and Karen on a little walk around the property (00:30). I may be easier to see it in the full HD video (link below). This one was just over 1100 frames, giving me 37 seconds of video.
Just got back from a much needed break from the day to day mess and thankfully feel like I got the mental reboot I very much needed.
We spent the long weekend in Gateway, CO staying with our friends Mike and Kindra at their awesome home nestled in the heart of Unaweep Canyon. From their house they have an incredible view of Thimble Rock and Driggs Mansion out of the HUGE windows of their great room. I couldn’t help to just sit on their comfy leather couch and zone out, lost in what laid before my eyes. Kindra and Mike get to spend their days living in a house that most of us want to get away to…sigh…Jealousy.
Getting Settled In To Our Mini-Vacation
The weather over the weekend couldn’t have been better, mid to low 80s with partly cloudy skies. We did get a refreshing couple hours of rain on Saturday that cooled things off just enough to enjoy the warmth of the bonfire we huddled around that night. It also provided the perfect opportunity for me to grab a breathtaking time lapse video from their front porch (more on that in the next post).
We also had the company of our other friends joining in the ‘reboot’. Emily and Rob brought Owen and the twins, Lisa and Mike brought Jack and Julianne, and Monica and sweet little Lizzie rounded out the group. The kids were so great the whole weekend, they just couldn’t get enough of each other and were a treat to be around.
On Saturday, Kindra and Mike took some time out to ‘de-WMD-ify’ the nuclear Jalapeños and prep the traditional stuffed Jalapeños wrapped with bacon, and Karen whipped up the pico salsa for dinner. A nice lunch was whipped up for a picnic and headed down to Gateway Canyon resort to have some fun at the park.
After nearly getting drenched by a sudden sprinkler storm and some groups pics, we headed back to take some naps. As most napped, Mike and I discussed a place for me to gather a set of pictures for a time lapse of the growing storm. We had hoped for a rainbow similar to the one he shot not long ago, but really never got it and the video was rather non-impressionable, gloomy, and dull.
We took the break the rainstorm gave us to eat a great enchilada and Mexican chicken casserole dinner, and spent the rest of the evening huddled around the bonfire chatting away once the rain let up.
The Hike to the Key Hole
The next morning Karen, Mike, and I headed across the highway with our side set on the key hole sitting next to Thimble Rock. It took us a good 45 minutes or so of bushwhacking through thick Scrub Oak, Mountain Mahogany, and Cedar trees to reach the base of the key hole. We had to scale across a small cliff to get there, which ended up being a little hairier than I expected. Maybe I was just a little weirded out from our last trip still. Once we go to the key hole, it realized this things was WAY bigger than it look from the road. If I had to guess, the opening looked like it was 50-60 feet easy. It narrowed as it got to the back end, closer to 15-20 feet. Climbing up through the other end revealed the expansive view of the next canyon over looking the valley. Mike climbed back down and up the little cliff on the side of the cave the took him out to the top of a spire at the side of the large opening of the key hole. Mike took a few minutes to take in the view, and even give us the Crazy Horse move.
Once through the key hole we continued up and around the mountain to the peak directly above it. This required a lot more climbing that just walking up steep grades, especially when we got to the top. I even had a close call at the top with a wobbly rock and a 10 foot drop below me…too many close calls in too short of period lately. We spent a few minutes at the top taking in the sites, a few pictures, and hollering back at the house. We got responses so we started our trek toward the bottom, with a big ‘?’ of what lay ahead of us as we were going down a different way that we came up.
Part way down we came across a rock about the size of a couch that was somehow just teetering on the edge of a cliff. We did our best to get that thing to fall, but we were only able to get it to just rock a little.
On we went down through tough downhill grade and up, over, and around the thick vegetation all over again. Karen helped us locate some of the local cactus species by using an odd technique called ‘OWW! I just sat on a **BLEEP** cactus!’’. I think she was just showing us another way to identify them other than grabbing them. We certainly appreciated her concern to keep us aware and to avoid these!
We finally made it to the bottom with scratched up forearms, torn pants, and parts of the vegetation lodged in our skin. Was a bit of a rough hike, but definitely worth it.
Now the relaxation starts…
After getting back back to the house, showering and enjoying a burger and beer, it was time settle in for an afternoon of just being a pile of mush. Mike and I fired up an episode of Band of Brothers and just vegged out. We eventually all got back up and moving around after a couple hours. Kindra rounded up Bubba and Prince and saddled them up so the kids could get a ride. The kids sure had a lot of fun, but the adults just may have had more!
After soaking into the relaxation and watching the kids ride the horses, I got up and setup the camera for another run at a time lapse. I had a good feeling about this one as the weather was choice, the sky was scattered with some clouds providing some great shadows on the valley and surrounding rocks. Unfortunately, this was about the time that everyone but Karen and I had to call it a weekend and head home. Mike and Lisa and family left shortly after Emily and Rob’s crew, and Monica a few hours later.
Mike, Aliyah, Haley, and I took the 4 wheelers out to get Bubba back behind the cattle guard, and then took a little stroll across the property. Haley and I were on the little 125 w/o suspension and she sure was enjoying the bumpy ride.
The night came quickly, and eventually Frog and his girlfriend showed up for our poker game. Poker went well, but that’s because I took top prize! It was would have been fun either way though anyway. I kinda lucked out as Mike didn’t realized his straight with a huge pot was missing a 7. DOH!.
A soak in the Jacuzzi topped off the night, and sure helped me sleep well. Oh, and having an actual bed didn’t hurt either.
The next morning we were up and out of there early, there was traffic but not too much.
Thanks everyone, especially Kindra and Mike for hosting this, for a great weekend! I had a really great time with you all I can’t wait to come back again next year!
OK, I gave it another shot…can’t say it’s much better. I tried to set the exposure to what I thought would be a good, normal one for most lighting conditions. You’ll see how it wasn’t quite set right, might want to put your sunglasses on…
OK, so a little better, but still need more practice!
A couple weeks ago we attempted the ‘Tour D’Abyss’ hike. This ‘route’ starts near the top of Mt Evans, heads down about 800 ft. into the gulley then up the east ridge ~1500′ ft. to the summit of Mt. Bierstadt at 14060’ ft.
We started off from Mt. Evans around 8:00am. It was a bit chilly, 28 degrees with the wind chill, but as we made our way down into the gulley it was warming up quickly, especially once we got out of the wind.
The way down was a little sketchy, lots of sand and loose rock, but manageable. Once we got down into the gulley it was beautiful, lots of green grass and tons of wildflowers! We made our way up to Abyss Lake along a nice smooth trail. Once at the lake we stopped for a bit at and had a snack before we took on the ridge.
After our snack we searched around for a decent looking way to get up the ridge. Once started, we were ascending very quickly but it sure was steep climb. We didn’t get a break from hand-over-foot climbing until we had climbed 600-700 ft. Once there it was bouldering over larger boulders to the ridge. The ridge itself was very nice at the top had a great view in each direction. After a quick break, we headed along the ridge and up another 500 ft. to the top of Bierstadt, running into a Mountain goat making a similar journey over the ridge as well.
Poor Karen was having a headache problem, and by the time we hit the summit of Bierstadt were pretty beat. We actually discussed trying to somehow bribe someone into a ride back to our car on Evans! LOL! Part of the problem is that we really didn’t plan very well for the trek across the Sawtooth, and by looking at it were were very unsure about how to safely get across it. Because of this, and the sheer effort it would take to get over the Sawtooth and back up to the top of Evans, we decided to abort the mission and just head back do town Abyss Lake.
The climb down to the lake was ugly and it was much steeper than I expected. We were literally sliding down the hill on our butts in some places. It took us a good couple hours to make it back down the 1500 ft. to the lake. At this point I was definitely ready for this hike to be over with but we still had to get around the lake, down the gully, and then an 800 ft. climb back up to the car.
Another hour and a half passed and we made it to the bottom of the gully where we need to head back up to the car. I was beat down by this point and didn’t have, well ANY, great thoughts about the climb up I’m looking at.
We started up the bottom where it was just a steep hill, making frequent stops due to fatigue and just being winded. By the time we were half way up the ridge we were now climbing. This was the type of climbing we both are definitely not skilled or experience at. The type of climbing where we are requiring good handholds to make it up each few feet. I even got my self stuck in a spot, with not much of a good hood on anything. At once point I had even looked back down below me trying to plan how I was going to control the fall to minimize injury I was sure I was about to take. Luckily Karen had been able to get around in another spot and had somehow found a good handhold under a boulder so she could get her foot out to get me a handhold. No exaggeration here, I was was in a REALLY bad spot, with 400+ feet of rocks I would have just tumbled down if I had fallen. YES, I certainly agree that at this time were we in a STUPID position. We eventually made it to the top and hobbled back to the car.
This may have been some of the most difficult hiking I’ve ever done, and possibly the dumbest. I certainly plan on going back to do the route I had intended to someday, but will be better prepared.
I need to say ‘I Love You’ to my Karen and ‘THANK YOU!’, you may have saved my life that day.
Some time ago, I ran across some amazing work of Ross Ching as well as a myriad of other artists creating stunning time-lapse videos with just a DSLR. Not only were they time-lapse videos, but they were HIGH-DEF (1080p) videos. When I ran across these I had just purchased a Nikon D90 and was anxious to give this shot.
Some time had passed and I really didn’t get into it, but would occasionally check back to Ross’ site and others I had collected and continue to be amazed.
Finally, with the help of a gift courtesy of NewsGator Technologies in the form of an Amazon gift certificate, I decided to pick up an intervalometer. This little device plugs right into the camera and I can set it to take as many pictures as I can fit on my memory card in as little increments as 1 sec.
It took a few tries before everything lined up well enough around the pond (weather, flowers, correctly setup equipment, etc.) for me to get a decent set of exposures to get something out of it. I captured 1616 shots on 10 sec intervals, enough to make 55 seconds of video. Yeah, it’s a little shoddy, and I have some more trials and learning to do yet, but I think it’s a good start 🙂 :
I have to report, and give my opinion on something that has shook me to the core.
During the recent election, Proposition 8 was passed to take away the legal recognition of a gay marriage in California. I saw news of this yesterday. I’m not gay, and as I’ve never really been either way for or against the sexual preference of others, I actually found it strange that I kept trying to figure out 1 question in the back of my head all day long yesterday: "Why would someone vote against gay marriage?".
Throughout the day I saw different videos on this subject, most of them showing people talking in a rather angry fashion about how gay marriage should not be allowed, but never saw any REAL justification coming out of the pitiful holes in their head. These people just seem absolutely ignorant, disrespectful, and selfish to me. Do they really think that this is how the modern world should operate? Why do you think that you have the right to indiscriminately take the right away of entire population of people that just wants to be left alone to be happy? I hope that a look at the rest of the people in the demographic that voted for does not show other such beliefs to be just as ignorant and self centered as this decision.
I also saw a clip that put a lump in my throat, which was immediately followed frustration and anger at those that would do this to another person. It was a short byte during a news report about the protests that have erupted over this decision. It was a very sad looking guy choking out 1 sentence that will stick with me for a long time: "I have never felt less like a human being". It was hard to watch the look on this guy’s face, and I can’t get the image out of my head.
People who know me may be surprised that I would write a blog post such as this, let alone even take the time to even blog. But I have lots of respect for those that can embrace true happiness. A trait which is all too often taken for granted and not see for what it really is to someone. It’s like that old couple slowly making their way down the sidewalk. He’s barely hobbling along with a slight limp with a look on his face of confusion at the world. She’s hunched over and confined to a walker and in an obvious struggle with pain in each step she takes. I always catch myself at first taking the selfish road and thinking to myself "Gosh, I hope my health holds up the rest of my life so I don’t end up in that situation." Just as I think that thought they look at each other with a look that nothing could possibly interrupt or distract them from, followed by a simple kiss and a smile of happiness that seems to raise the surrounding temperature a few degrees. This to me is an example of TRUE HAPPINESS. We should all be truly blessed to ever find happiness at this level.
It’s this same sort of happiness some possess with each other that will pull their families through what may be the worst chains of natural, economical, and war-time disasters our society or generation may ever face. To those of you who have voted for Proposition 8, YOU are taking this happiness away from people. Who do you think you are that you think you have a legitimate reason to take this away from them? Can someone fill me in on what that reason is?
What would you have to say about a mother and kids left behind one fateful day in September, 7 years ago? If you could vote to give them back the happiness they’ll be missing with out a husband and father, would you do it? Does that make you any different than those that took this happiness away from them? You should be ashamed.
I was just married this June. It made me happier than I ever dreamed it would have. Yes, DREAMED. For these people, they are already struggling with the acceptance of the general population. You Prop 8 supporters continue to try to infect and disgust everyone else with that same lack of acceptance. The right to a legal marriage between 2 happy people is more than a dream, it’s about equality. Think about what it would take for you to be in a position to "have never felt less like a human being". Of all the causes you could possibly support in these tough times, you pick this?
I may not be the best writer to convey my feelings and opinions, so I end these thoughts with the words of Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment from last nights episode of Countdown. This may be one of his best ever, and drives home a point that can be said no better than this:
To my best friend, love, and new wife Karen: As we are both as happy we have ever been together, let’s forever strive to find a higher sense of happiness and never let anything or anyone stand in the way of it. I Love You. ‘To Blave.’
To all those that this has affected: keep fighting against this injustice, there are many of us out here that are behind you!