Category Archives: Photo Friday

Photo Friday: Sorry for the Lack of Posts

I’ve been out o’ town lately (in Denver — see photos below), shooting a video with the inimitable Timmy O’Neill and the talented Mr. Jim Aikman. Plus I’m getting hitched next week to the wonderful Kristin M–, preparations for which event have had us running around like a pair decapitated baryard fowl.

Life is good, but busy. Too busy to post anything of substance. I’ll get some more stuff up soon after our wedding. Until then…

– The Blockhead Lord

The ever-patient Kristin M--.

The ever-patient Kristin M–.

Timmy O-- freeing "The Nose" (and "The Eyeball") of a public sculpture in Denver, Colorado.

Timmy O– freeing “The Nose” (and “The Eyeball”) of a public sculpture in Denver, Colorado.

View of the Coors Field from our crash pad in Denver.

View of the Coors Field from our crash pad in Denver.

Denver street art.

Denver street art.

Indoor art at the Hyatt across from the Colorado Convention Center.

From a walkway leading to a side entrance of the Colorado Convention Center.

From a walkway leading to a side entrance of the Colorado Convention Center.

Photo Friday: Nikon D800 Time-Lapse and Some Birds

Just playing with the D800 some more. So far, I continue to be impressed. Two things on my wish list (and, it sounds like, everyone else’s wish list, too): 1) faster frame rate and 2) smaller RAW image size option. Anyway, minor nits. Of course, now that the D600 looks like a real option on the horizon, I’m starting to wonder if I’ll regret having dropped $3000 on an FX camera when I could have gotten a $1500 FX camera with many of the same features. Ah well, the best cure for inklings of camera-buyer’s remorse is to use the tool to create some cool work.

The following images were captured during last weekend’s Living Traditions cultural festival in downtown Salt Lake City. Strangely, I took most of my favorite images that day at small pop-up tent with a few guys and a bunch of birds, located near the festival entrance. I’m not sure what the booth was all about, but the birds were fascinating to observe.

But FIRST… here is a (somewhat underexposed) time-lapse video straight out of the D800. The camera’s automatic time-lapse function captured the images and stitched them together, in camera, into a .mov file. Pretty slick! For you pros out there, it probably makes more sense to capture hi-res .jpg files with the interval shooting mode and then create your own animation in Quicktime Pro, but for fun projects, this is a very neat little feature.

A parrot outside the Living Traditions Festival in Salt Lake City.

A parrot outside the Living Traditions Festival in Salt Lake City.

A fuzzy young owl.

A fuzzy young owl.

Dancers at the Living Traditions festival.

Dancers at the Living Traditions festival.

The falcon cannot hear the falconer.

The falcon cannot hear the falconer.

Baby birds waiting to be fed.

Baby birds waiting to be fed.

Photo Friday: Welcoming the D800

Succulent on the coffee table. Shot with a Nikon 105mm f2.8 Micro at 1/60 sec, f3.2.

Succulent on the coffee table. Left is the full, right is a 100% crop. Notice how unobtrusive the grain is in the crop, despite the fact that it was shot at ISO1250. Shot with a Nikon 105mm f2.8 Micro at 1/60 sec, f3.2 (click to see a larger version).

I just picked up a Nikon D800 from Pictureline, one of the best camera shops I’ve been to and certainly the finest shop in Utah. I have been shooting test frames around the house, and so far I’m impressed. The dynamic range, noise at high (1250) ISO, autofocus, overall usability, and overall image quality are superb.

I had to download a RAW update for Photoshop, and still can’t seem to get things working with Lightroom (I think I have to buy an upgrade), but I was able to open and pixel pick through a couple dozen images. They are definitely superior to the shots from my old D700, and far better than those of the D7000 I shoot with now. I’m anxious to get this thing out and capture the Salt Lake Valley and surrounding Utah landscapes, which deserve every iota of the D800′s 36mp full-frame sensor power.

So far, the only thing that I am not pleased with is the Live View feature. When you zoom in to focus on an image, the view is very noisy. I have read about this as a possible problem to be solved with a firmware update. Hope it doesn’t prove to be a problem down the line… Until then, here’s a quick example of the detail you can get out of the D800.

Photo Friday: Living Creatures

As an aspiring photographer, science and nature lover, and generally curious fellow, I find few things more fascinating and aesthetic than the forms of living creatures. They are at once alien and familiar. A strange mirror, they show us something of ourselves we are quick to forget.

Look at the frog, with its smooth, glistening folds of skin — can you not see some obtuse hint at our own origins? Look at the long muscles of its leg, not so unlike our own quadriceps. Look at the bulge of the belly, the short, chubby forelimbs; do they not remind of that rotund man at the gas station with his tight watchband and straining shirt? Regard the wide-set eyes and broad mouth; are they really so different from ours? View a frog from head on, add a jaunty hat and a pair of spectacles and what do you have? The gent you passed on the street the other day, grinning with a distant look in his eye.

The deer, the grasshopper, the squirrel, the snail, the giraffe… they are our not our charges; they are our brethren. They eat, mate, seek shelter from the elements and from predators. Had they only the words, can you imagine they would express sentiments so different from our own? But as they cannot speak, the best we can do is observe them closely and learn the lessens their ancestors have been teaching our ancestors for time immemorial.

A frog at a birthday party in New York.

A frog at a birthday party in New York.

Male deer in suburban Boulder, Colorado.

Male deer in suburban Boulder, Colorado.

A grasshopper in my yard in Salt Lake City, Utah.

A grasshopper in my yard in Salt Lake City, Utah.

A mother squirrel looking for her baby, who fell from a tree in suburban Boulder, Colorado.

A mother squirrel looking for her baby, who fell from a tree in suburban Boulder, Colorado.

A snail on my dinner plate, or Ce n'est pas dîner.

A snail on my dinner plate, or Ce n’est pas dîner.

A giraffe in the Denver Zoo.

A giraffe in the Denver Zoo.

Photo Friday: Some Shots from the Camera Phone

No time to chat. But here’s a quick Photo Friday gallery for you. All images taken with my Android Inspire’s 8mp camera phone.

Photo Friday: City Life

I lived in New York City for four years, Brooklyn another four. Though I was in school for much of that time, the city itself was an education. I snapped a lot of photos of the urban experience, but most of them are on film and exist only in that frustratingly difficult to share analog format. (If you’re ever in the neighborhood, stop by and we can leaf through the pages of my many albums.) Following are just a scanty few of the interesting scenes I managed to capture with a digital camera.

Photo Friday: A Farewell to Mozzie

Mozzie and K

About a week ago, a Facebook message caught our eye. It was from the Friends of Animals adoption center, Furburbia, a classy operation up in Park City run by diehard dog lovers. The message said that a litter of Aussie shepherd puppies had come in unexpectedly, and they all needed to be moved out of the center and away from other dogs while their vaccinations took effect.

K– and I have a dog already. His name is Bodhi. He’s an intelligent blue heeler with resource guarding and other issues. Still, we’ve long wondered what would happen if we got a second dog, so we decided to foster one of the pups from Furburbia as an experiment.

We picked up the puppy on a sunny afternoon and brought her home. From the start she was sweet and mellow. A little nervous, but happy to snuggle in anyone’s lap. She was painfully cute. The prototypical puppy, with soft fur, floppy ears, and a happy little yap that came out during playtime. We named her Mozzie and spent the week getting acquainted, knowing all the while we weren’t going to keep her. It was hard though. She won over everyone she met with her excess of cute. Every once in a while, we crossed into the “what if” territory, but always pulled back. Our hands are full as it is, and our little rented bungalow is pretty well at capacity, too.

As for the Bodhi experiment, things went better than expected. The two would play for hours on end, Bodhi, at two years old, acting every bit as goofy and puppy-like as the ten week old Mozzie. A good sign for a future when we might be more ready to bring a second dog into the house.

Today we will say goodbye to Mozzie. A friend of a friend has already vowed to meet us at Furburbia when we drop her off in the afternoon, so they can be sure to get her before anyone else. It’s not easy to give her up, as she’s already managed to tangle herself up in our heartstrings, but it’s the way it must be. With that, I dedicate this Photo Friday to Mozzie the dog. May she have a long and happy life.

Photo Friday: Seven Utah Bouldering Spots

This is actually a belated Photo Friday post. You’ll have to excuse me, as I was in Joe’s Valley bouldering yesterday and didn’t get around to putting it together. On the up side, I grabbed one more photo to add to the gallery. Unfortunately, I also grabbed a nice sunburn.

Every spot pictured below is worth a visit except Stansbury island. That area has very little good bouldering and is also home to an active shooting range. The geniuses who were shooting there during our visit did not seem particularly concerned with safety; from up on the hillside, we could see their bullets sending up dust plumes less than fifty feet from where we parked, seemingly outside the island’s loosely designated shooting areas. Of course, no one stopped shooting in our direction as we walked back to the vehicle, very visible in our brightly colored clothing and with a massive crashpad sticking up in the air. The constant echoing report of the bigger guns alone was enough to put us on edge for the few hours we were there.  Proceed with caution.

…And I guess I wouldn’t drive too far to go to the Ogden Boulders, either, although they do offer some good lines and are perfectly climbable on a sunny winter day.

One classic granite bouldering spot I frequent that’s not represented here is Little Cottonwood Canyon. Maybe I’ll get a LLC-specific gallery together for a future Photo Friday post. Until then…

Andrew B. working Resident Evil

Andrew B. working Resident Evil (V10), New Joe's, Joe's Valley, UT.

Nate W. warming up at the Ogden Boulders

Nate W. warming up at the Ogden Boulders, Ogden, UT.

An unknown climber on Golden, at the Triassic Boulders

An unknown climber on the moderate classic Golden (V1), at the Triassic Boulders, UT.

The Blockhead Lord posing down on some unknown hard problem in Moe's Valley

The Blockhead Lord posing down on some unknown hard problem in Moe's Valley, UT. Photo: K. Marine

Chris S. sending Ju (V7), on the Big Red Monster Boulder

Chris S. sending Ju (V7), on the Big Red Monster Boulder, Ibex, UT.

The Blockhead Lord on a random slab on Stansbury Island.

The Blockhead Lord on a random slab on Stansbury Island, UT. Photo: K. Marine.

The Blockhead Lord on an unkonwn arete problem outside of Moab.

The Blockhead Lord on an unknown arete problem near the Big Bend Boulders, outside of Moab, UT. Photo: K. Marine

Photo Friday: 11 Shots from Oz

Years ago, I took a trip to Australia for my friend’s wedding. I took a month for the trip, so I’d have time to go climbing and exploring the countryside. I rented a Subaru in Sydney, learned to drive stick and drive on the wrong side of the road, and went on a mini-walkabout. It ended up being one of the greatest trips of my life. (Up there with the trip where I proposed to my fiancée in Paris, a trip to Greece with my parents when I was in my teens, and the RocTrip China trip.) I could easily write a five-thousand word travelogue about my time in Oz, but I have neither the time nor the inclination. Instead, I’ll share a few selected photos of the thousands I took. Happy Photo Friday!

A view of Sydney Harbor

So first I flew to Australia and got a hotel in Sydney. I was sure to find one with a nice view of Sydney Harbor and its famous bridge, which offers tours up on top of the arched supports.

Roos on the horizon

Then I drove out to the countryside for my mate's (that's Aussie slang for friend -- "G'doy, moite!") wedding which was at a nice country club. On the way, I passed a lot of roos. That's Aussie shortspeak for Kangaroos. Roo bangers are not people with a kangaroo fetish, but sausages made out of kangaroo meat. (Think: bangers and mash, the British dish... Australians are descended from British stock, you know!)

Wallaby and wallababy

Here's a shot of a roo and its joey (joey means offspring -- love it!). These were plucking around country club. They're as common as deer on the East Coast of the US, but much cooler to watch. I mean seriously, they jump to get around. Crazy!

Taipan wall in the Grampians

This is the Taipan wall, a climbing area in the Grampians, which is a National Park. (If you look closely, you'll find a climber in a red shirt hanging on rope somewhere on the wall.) Taipan may be the single raddest sport climbing crag in the world. The routes are long (150 feet or more), runout (in Aussie fashion), and ascend gorgeous lines on perfect sandstone pockets, edges, and slopers. I traded belays with some locals and a nice Austrian couple who were on an around-the-world climbing trip. Lucky there were there, as I was all flying solo on this trip.

Taipan under moonlight

Taipan under moonlight.

Herpin' at Hollow Mountain

Herpin' at Hollow Mountain. Here, Klaus, one of the Austrians mentioned above, holds one of the Grampians-area lizards, of which there were many. We found this one just around the Hollow Mountain Cave area (see below). No reptiles were harmed in the making of this photo.

Klaus goin' for it in the Hollow Mountain Cave

Here we find Klaus goin' for it in the Hollow Mountain Cave. This V8 sat at the very lip of the 40-foot deep cave and guards the end of the famous Wheel of Life, which is boulder problem / route that was originally graded V16 by Japanese climber Dai Koyomada. I think Klaus sent this rig. I can't remember.

Chris Webb Parsons gunning for Wheel of Life

Here's a shot of one of the locals I climbed with. His name Chris Webb Parsons. While I was in the Grampians, he was very close to sending Wheel of Life (pictured here). When I had to head back to Sydney, he handed me the keys to his house in Sydney and told me I could crash a few days until my flight left. He was going to stay and work on Wheel, he explained. I did, and he did, and then he sent the Wheel, which was, I think, its second ascent. Helluva nice guy and really very strong, too.

Flower field

After a week in a tent at the Grampians, I started to get a little funky. On the way to find some showers in town, I drove past this nice little scene. Australia is full of vistas like this. Because the population density is so low, it's not uncommon to get a view without any man-made structures. Oh wait, there's a barn there in the distance. Never mind.

The climber's life

Another one of the nice locals who made me feel at home. This fellow had a nicely appointed climber's road-trip van and a plucky pup to go along with it.

Syndey Aquarium

Before heading back to the States, I decided to take advantage of my time in Sydney and hit the aquarium there. I haven't been to many aquariums, but this one seemed excellent. Here, the sharks get to watch the people watching them, thanks to a handy glassed-in walkway.