Had to Go Again

Skiing powder
Skier: Dan Chehayl.

It has been so great to have winter back again… I had to go track up some more powder this morning. The weather was mostly socked in and snowing today, unlike the glorious lifting clouds of yesterday. But, another four inches of pow didn’t hurt at all.

Below is a helmet cam video from the first lap of the day. Excuse the video quality… my video editing skills suck almost as bad as the helmet cam itself. I didn’t even include the second line because the video was full of awful blinking-black frames.

Snowboard helmet cam
Click here to watch the Quicktime video.

Box Canyon

Box Canyon and Ouray

Today two things got me excited… first, a return of winter with cold temps and snow outside! Woohoo! Secondly, I got to try out my new Olympus Zuiko 7-14mm ultra wideangle lens. This thing is an awesome hunk of glass, with a big bulbous front element and a huge angle of view. I shot this photo above from the bridge over Box Canyon, and you can see all the way from the depths of the canyon, to Ouray and the mountains above town. Pretty sweet. It’s a heavy lens, and I imagine I’ll probably use it less than 25% of the time, but it will be a nice option to have for really big landscape scenes with big foreground.

I’m Covered in Sand!

Self Portrait in the Great Sand Dunes

After three completely sedentary weeks at the computer, this last weekend I was desperate for some wilderness action, so I headed out on a backpacking trip in the Great Sand Dunes. My initial plan was to do a simple three day hike up and back the Sand Ramp Trail along the eastern side of the dunes. But on the first night I was feeling ambitious and decided to hike all the way around the dunes! Read more about the trip below, and be sure to check out my gallery of photos from the trip.

Continue reading “I’m Covered in Sand!”

A Sunset

Sneffels Range and Ridgway

horsefly mesa sunset

This evening I had my first real photo shoot with the Sony A900. What was almost an amazing sunset over the entire Sneffels Range turned out to be nothing too exciting. But nevertheless I put my new camera through the paces, and I must say it was frustrating!

My first impression is that the user interface sucks. Of course every camera takes some getting used to, and I probably will get comfortable with it eventually, but still I think it’s safe to say that the Olympus interface is WAY more intuitive. When I first started shooting the Oly E-420, it immediately “clicked” with me, and I loved it. Not so with this Sony, which I find has dials all over the place and strange series of button presses to make it do what I want, like a Simon Says interface. I can only hope to get better at it.

On the positive side, the viewfinder is amazing – so large and clear and bright that you can see every little thing in the composition, and manually focus by sight. It also makes it really easy to use graduated neutral density filters.

Ouray Ice

Ouray Ice Climbing
Climbing in the Ouray Ice Park.

Yesterday a sparkling new Sony A900 24mp SLR camera arrived via Fedex, with a few lenses, so today I figured I’d go take it for a spin. What better place to go on a cloudy day than the Ouray Ice Park, just a few blocks from my house? See a few more photos below.

Ouray Ice Climbing

Ouray Ice Park

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting much recently. Indeed, I haven’t been DOING much recently, except sitting at the computer day and night for over a week straight, building websites. But it’s been good, because the weather has been so disturbingly warm and spring-like for the last few weeks that the snowboarding hasn’t been too tempting. So I’ve gotten a lot of work done, finished a couple long overdue websites, and am finally caught up and on schedule again. I still have some very busy months ahead of me, with over 10 websites queued up already. Nevertheless, I’ve been realistic with my scheduling, so I will be able to get out more regularly for some backpacking and photography again. And hopefully some more snowboarding if it ever snows again…

The last month has been so warm it is worrisome. Sure the warmth is nice… in APRIL!!! Wearing t-shirts in Ouray in February is not nice, it is disconcerting, especially when it’s like this for weeks on end. We can only hope that this is just Colorado weather wackiness, and not a deeper problem with global warming. Meanwhile, the snowpack is turning to mush, and the ice in the ice park looked positively soggy today. WINTER, WHERE ARE YOU? COME BACK!

Dead Cricket Gulch*

Backcountry Snowboarding
Parker McAbery snowboards down the guts of a big gulch.

Today four of us did an exploratory hike up to about 12,400′ on a high windy ridgeline. We ended up riding a pretty heavy duty 2400′ line that we had scoped out from across the valley yesterday. The last two days have been a lot of fun, exploring new terrain and learning more and more about every nook and cranny of these mountains (sometimes the hard way).

Continue reading “Dead Cricket Gulch*”