Friday, January 16, 2015

Still finding Solitude.

Solitude Mountain Resort is a new and unfamiliar playground for me. Finding the ideal shooting spots can often take years to learn and I have a hard time with that. Fortunately, the other day I was  introduced to my new favorite action hero, a veteran athlete and Big Cottonwood local by the name of Jason West.
This was going to be a great day!
A locals knowledge is good, but a veteran athlete's is really good! As a bonus some new terrain was opening and with the warmer temps and clear skies it would be a challenge to find the lighter snow.
After a big traverse we found some surprisingly light and unnoticed lines to work with.
Solitude is a quaint ski resort soon to experience some upgrades from the recent acquisition with Deer Valley.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Mindshift gear bag review

I was recently fortunate enough to test out a unique new photo backpack style bag by the makers at a sister company to The particular model I got to work with is the rotation 180  Panorama, and is the smaller of the 2 photo dedicated models. After sizing it up with my Canon 5D MK III and lenses I decided to use my "lighter rig" Fuji's mirrorless X-T1, 10-24 F4 ois and 18-55 F2.8-4. I had been using a Lowepro 200 AW bag all summer long with this kit for lighter shoots and a lot of mountain biking and would now try similar lighter Winter adventures with the Panorama.
I had to test this bag in bounds at a ski resort before it goes in the back country so I opted for the world class runs of Alta ski area, with the towering Mt. Superior in the back drop.
I decided to make some "mark ups" to the areas I liked and dis-liked on the bag to help with the visuals.
Let's start with the straps, ample padding and great curvature to stay snug around the neck and comfortable on the shoulders when loaded down.
I had to utilize the tripod attachments in order to mount my skis in case Main chute opens and I have to dash up there. This eliminates bringing a tripod though. Would like to see the typical "snack pouches" I've gotten used to on all my other packs? It shouldn't hinder the rotation 180 at all and would keep the idea of not taking your bag off for access more consistent.
There is a top strap on both sides for what I hoped to hold a pair of skis, there just isn't a lower strap to stabilize the skis. The top strap seems more for extra clothes or for tightening a lighter load. Also would like to see a shovel slot somewhere. Once again I don't think ski mountaineering was the intention for this sized bag I just wanted it to compete with my Lowepro 200 AW that does hold a shovel in the back compartment. Great zipper pulls though and easy to grab with a ski glove too.
This is the whole concept of the bag, to not remove your back pack every time you use your camera! The apex of this bag I believe is the speed and unique way at which you can access the main camera compartment without taking the bag off. To get the full schematics please visit the site to see in greater detail how this works and the accessories you can add on at .
The hipbelt can be used separately for smaller trips and I also found that if you rotate the hip bag forward before loading a lift you can keep the back pack on while the lower compartment compresses enough keeping you deep in the chair instead of feeling like your getting pushed off the whole time. Not fun!
There is a hydration pouch on the left side (2 liters or smaller) which I didn't get to test because all of my bladders are 3 liters and I did try all of them with no avail.
It would be nice to have seen a strap system underneath the main bag for extra clothing or a lighter tripod attachment too.
I think this bag is revolutionary for "fast access" photography when time constraints are against you like in bounds ski-action on a powder day, mountain bike rides with impatient riders or even back country skiing where a speedy exit in hazardous conditions would keep your gear with you? Mobility and speed are the advantages with this system.
 Will this totally eliminate my other bag and be the end all to the perfect smaller bag search, not yet. If you want gear protection while hiking, the fastest access ever to your camera with room for a day hike I would highly recommend the Panorama! My take is a very critical one because this helps progression and I realize there is always room for advancement in man made objects.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The air out there!

This is going to be a short post, because I had to test out some new product (good plug) before the air gets any worse in our beloved city of Salt Lake. As an outdoor adventure sports paradise you might find it odd that there is such a battle with something as simple as breathing while enjoying life outdoors. There are often many smaller contributors to poor air quality but sometimes there are large contributors too. I won't go into detail but (bad plug) has been independently tested to be a MAJOR player in the degradation of Salt Lake city's AQI (air quality index). It doesn't stop some of us, but it does slow many people down from enjoying the city they pay taxes in. Today is an orange day or USG (Unsafe for Sensitive Groups). If you are ever curious about your air just visit .
Perhaps I should follow the girl with the dog and run away from the brown cloud?
Yes, that is the downtown of SLC.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Last photo of 2014

I decided to brave the cold of the Canyons Resort last night for their NYE torchlight and fireworks display. With the help of a clear sky, 3/4 moon and ample snow cover I managed to put together one decent compilation image of the festivities. Make 2015 a great year!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Years eve 2014

If you could be anywhere (of course you will be somewhere) where would it be? So many amazing choices this year, but we have decided to be chilling in Utah somewhere near a frosted landscape of white. I have seen many memorable New Years fireworks in my past home town of Steamboat Springs Colorado but only recently have I experienced the fireworks displays of the Wasatch mountains of Utah. Which one is better...................  Hopefully for you, the one you are at this year!
As a photographer I tend to battle with this more then most people because I can only photograph one location a year. And the next problem is where to get the most bang for the click? I've been shut out due to fog, rain, "dud" fireworks and even once driving around too much. So this year I hope you all enjoy a great display of lights, camera or action with some really cool people.

Prints available at

                                                               HAPPY NEW YEAR!





Monday, December 29, 2014

Five day photo challenge?

I couldn't wait to be nominated by any of my photog bro's for the "black and white five day photo challenge", so I decided to create my own and stiffen up the challenge a bit. I feel as photographers one photo a day is not very trying and even more so choosing photos that had already been produced meant time in front of the computer instead of behind the camera. I decided to create all five of my B&W images from my most recent back country trip in the Wasatch mountains of Utah. This was my first Winter visit to this spot in Big Cottonwood Canyon but I knew where I wanted to end up, I just wasn't positive of the route I would take. Fortunately I found a trail right across from where I chose to park and a skin track was already in place.
This was only 2 days after Christmas but everyone up here was enjoying the "gifts of white" under and in between the trees like it was Christmas morning all over again!
My goal today photographically was to find some scenes that would transfer over to clean black and white relics of the untracked Winter landscapes amidst a bustling back country playground. By the time I hit my summit the sky was beginning to fade but the trees were ever so frosted and the lack of tracks made for some great moments.
I often look for defining lines or an element of surprise to add dimension to an unfinished composition, like the animal tracks here in this pristine "pow" field.
If I was shooting skiing this would have been an epic spot to leave some marks, but the sheer pleasantness of no other skiers was absolutely perfect for my assignment today.

Worried that no one would know I was here, I was forced to leave something behind for the next visitor of this little paradise.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A chilly ride on the Divide.

First morning back in Colorado and I had the pleasure of snow biking with my brother and his Winter biking buddy Steve. Turned out to be a little cooler then the expected 22 degrees on Rabbit Ears pass at 6:00am, more like 9.............I was hoping it would become bearable enough to take out my mini rig (Fuji XT1) and get a few images without losing a digit or two as I knew we were headed to a great overlook. If my guessing was correct, we would arrive there just before sunrise.

The trail in was groomed the night before so there was no trail busting ahead and we barely needed head lamps to see on our way in too. My hunch worked out as the sunrise was a mere 10 minutes from our arrival. I had only been to this point before skinning in on skis.The bike was twice as fast, but this was only a quarter of our loop today.
 The views are real nice looking over towards the Never Summer range and Rocky Mountain National park.
 And to the north we have the iconic Rabbit Ears structure and past that is the Wyoming border.
Rounding out the aspects, we have a half moon sitting over my two riding partners as we finish warming up our extremities. Total time in the saddle was 2 hours for the epic "dawn patrol". Thank you to my patient Winter biking buddies!