To the Balkans!

Europe,Kotor,Montenegro
Kotor Evening : Prints Available

Evening over the town of Kotor and the Boka Kotorska, a fjord off the Adriatic Sea, Montenegro.

Tomorrow we fly to Sarajevo for a month of traveling through Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Croatia! I have visited this beautiful region before back in 2004, and have longed to return ever since. Our rough plan is to rent a car in Sarajevo and head south into Montenegro where we will hike and backpack in various mountain ranges down through the rugged chain of the Dinaric Alps. Perhaps we will also have a chance to raft down the Tara River, a turquoise river that cuts through the deepest canyon in Europe. Eventually we’ll work our way back up along the coast and through Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, before heading up to Germany for my sister-in-law’s wedding!

I’ll probably update the blog while I’m away, but in the meantime check out my photos from my previous travels in Montenegro and Croatia back in 2004.

Rockin Fourth in Ouray

4th of July,Colorado,Ouray,San Juan Mountains,fireworks
Fourth of July in Ouray : Prints Available

The town of Ouray, Colorado rockin on the Fourth of July.  Ouray is one of the most unique places in the world to watch fireworks; each boom echoes around the mountains.  The sounds of the echoes are just as awesome as the fireworks themselves!

I hope all my fellow American readers had a great 4th of July! Ouray was as rockin as ever — almost literally after the parade when Maj. Rasmussen, a fighter pilot from Ouray, roared through the valley in his F-16 on full afterburners. Incredible! Turn up the volume and check out this video of it:

Beer, water fights, beer, barbeques, more beer, and then we sweated out all that beer with a wine hike up to our favorite terrace over Ouray to watch the fireworks. What a day!!!

“Moving Mountains” 2016 Calendar Published in Germany

Weingarten 2016 calendar
“Reinhold Messner, Moving Mountains” 2016 calendar featuring photos by Jack Brauer.

I was pleased today to receive a package of calendars compliments of Weingarten, a major German calendar publishing company. They have published a 2016 calendar in Europe featuring 12 of my photos alongside inspirational quotes by the famous mountaineer Reinhold Messner.

Maybe someday in the not-too-distant future I will even be able to read those quotes on my own without my wife’s translation help! But they sound nice, and I’m stoked that my photos were chosen to accompany the words of such a legendary mountain man. The printing quality of the large-format calendar is impressive, with an elegant design and an attractive glossy finish over the photos. Danke schön, Weingarten!

Seek Outside Exposure: The Ultimate Panel Loader Backpack for Backpacking Photographers

Mt. Sneffels, San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Seek Outside Unaweep-Exposure panel loader backpack up by Mt. Sneffels, San Juan Mountains, Colorado.

I have a knack for spotting good backpacks. Just by looking at pictures I can usually tell if a backpack is going to be a good heavy hauler or not. So when I stumbled upon Seek Outside’s website and studied the pictures of their backpacks, I was practically salivating — they just looked good. Really good. And they’re based in western Colorado, an extra bonus.

So I emailed them asking if they’d consider custom making a panel loader for me. I’ve written about panel loader backpacks before and why they are the best type of backpacks for hiking photographers. Panel loader backpacks have a big zipper that wraps around the backpack, enabling easy access to the main compartment. A photographer can place his or her padded camera case inside and have quick access to it, rather than having to dig down through the top like most backpacking backpacks. And unlike most photography-specific backpacks which fail miserably for serious hikers in the ergonomics department, a backpack from a real outdoors company will almost always perform much better on long hikes and backpack treks.

Well, I heard back from Seek Outside and was delighted to discover that not only are they based in Ouray, the same town I live in, but I also already knew the owner Kevin Timm! Why I didn’t realize all this before I cannot say; I must have been hiding under a rock (which is kind what living in Ouray is like, come to think about it!) I was also delighted to hear that Kevin had already been thinking about producing a panel loader and was eager to hear some of my input. The end result is the Seek Outside Unaweep-Exposure panel loader backpack, a lightweight heavy-hauler and quite possibly the ultimate backpack for the backpacking photographer! Read on to find out why I am so enamored with this backpack. Continue reading “Seek Outside Exposure: The Ultimate Panel Loader Backpack for Backpacking Photographers”

Cosmic Sneffels, Take 2

Colorado,Mt. Sneffels,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range,stars, Milky Way, galaxy
Cosmic Sneffels : Prints Available

Mt. Sneffels in the Milky Way on a new moon night in June. The green color behind Sneffels is airglow, a common phenomenon of natural chemical reactions in the atmosphere.

On Wednesday I hiked up towards Mt. Sneffels to attempt a redo of a similar photo I took two years back, this year with a white, dust-free snowpack. I also came equipped with a brighter lens that’s better suited for night photography, so the details of the Milky Way are rendered much clearer in this photo than before.

The last two times I’ve visited this spot I camped with a tent, but on Wednesday I opted to travel lighter and go for an all-night hike instead. I reached my summit at 7pm, watched the sunset, and relaxed up there bundled up in warm clothes until finally the Milky Way was positioned directly above Sneffels at around 1am. I continued shooting until about 2:30am, then made my way back down in the dark, reaching the trailhead at sunrise! Sleep can wait…

One Fine June Day

On Wednesday Claudia and I went for a ski in the morning, and a wine hike in the evening!

Mt. Sneffels, Sneffels Range, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, Gilpin Peak, Potosi Peak, June, 14er, panorama

Looking at the south side of the Sneffels Range in early June.  Mt. Sneffels (14,156 ft.) is just about in the center; Gilpin Peak to its left looks bigger from this perspective but only because it’s closer. Potosi Peak is off to the right, and the town of Ouray way down the right side valley.

Ouray, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, panorama, June

Enjoying some wine from a nice vantage point over the town of Ouray (7,792 ft.), San Juan Mountains, Colorado – June.

Mayuary

Colorado,Red Mountain Pass,San Juan Mountains
Frosty Ironton : Prints Available

A frosty May 23rd morning that looks more like February or March!

Colorado,Red Mountain Pass,San Juan Mountains, skiing

Skier: Claudia Brauer.

During most of May, storms from the southwest have been lining up back to back pushing moisture into Colorado. Though it’s been raining quite a bit in the valleys, all that moisture has fallen as snow in the mountains, where it has often felt more like February than May in the mountains! We’ve been enjoying some great powder lines during the last few weeks; see more ski photos below! Continue reading “Mayuary”

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