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.

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!

Impromptu Rescue on Red Mountain Pass

Ouray Mountain Rescue Team

At 6:00am this morning, I met up with 12 friends in Ouray to head out for a day of cat-skiing in the mountains near Purgatory. Packed in four vehicles, we headed up Red Mountain Pass in the darkness and dumping snow. Several miles up the pass from Ouray, my friends in the lead truck noticed a set of tire tracks disappearing off the road into oblivion. Anybody who has ever driven the pass knows how scary steep and treacherous this road is – in places carved through sheer cliff mountainsides. A closer look down into the canyon revealed the dim glow of headlights in the bottom about 400 feet below.

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Home Sweet Home

house, snow

After a seemingly endless series of flights, followed by a harrowing late-night drive through a blizzard, I have made it back home to Ouray! Thus ends my 7 week adventure in New Zealand. I woke up today to waist deep snow… oh yeah. Gotta love coming home to a place that is just as beautiful as any other place you could vacation to in the world.

It’s a bit daunting to try to ease back into the swing of things here. Heaps of emails, phone messages, print orders, and web projects to get moving on. And last but not least, 3200 images from New Zealand to go through! Where to begin??? I’ll probably start posting a few new photos on my gallery site every day or so, and I’ll hopefully be able to launch a complete New Zealand gallery page within the month.

And of course, with all this new snow, I hope to be making some turns soon. Glad to be back!

Ouray from the Air

Ouray Aerial

[+] On a plane ride from San Diego to Denver yesterday, we passed right by the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado. I had a great aerial view of Telluride, Ridgway, Ouray, and the vast expanses of the San Juans. It was helpful too to be able to see where the aspens are still colorful, and I hope to get out and photograph them in the next few days. In this shot (if you click on the photo to see the larger version) you can actually see the streets of Ouray, tucked into the mountains at the head of the Uncompahgre Valley.

Twin Peaks from Ouray

Twin Peaks Ouray

Twin Peaks, as seen from my porch, in Ouray. This is the view I see out of my window every day as I work on the computer. It’s pretty torturous to gaze up there wishing I was hiking when I’m stuck in the office! As you can see, the fall colors are filling in around here. We also got some thunder and pouring rain from these dark clouds, which is a bit unusual this late in the season.