Saturday, March 16, 2019

Roxborough State Park, January 2019: Fountain Valley Trail

After a brief stop at the park visitor center to warm up a bit, I headed back out to hike the Fountain Valley Trail. The combination of blue skies and fresh snow was too inviting not to!

Roxborough State Park, Fountain Valley Trail
One of my favorite things about shooting in winter is how the sun stays low enough in the sky that there's no rush to get landscape shots.  Even mid-morning the light is still great.

Roxborough State Park, Fountain Valley Trail
I don't know why I like shooting thickets so much.  Maybe it's because their chaos is so different from the orderly composition I typically look for.

Roxborough State Park, Fountain Valley Overlook
This scene from the Fountain Valley Overlook is the biggest composite I've ever done -- 24 images, HDR-blended and then merged into a single panoramic.

Roxborough State Park, Fountain Valley Trail
The many footprints made it clear that I was far from the only one who thought the hiking conditions were perfect!

Roxborough State Park, Fountain Valley Trail
Ever since my road trip last summer I've been really into taking panoramics, even of scenes that don't necessarily scream for them.  This spot along the trail is a perfect example.

Roxborough State Park, Fountain Valley Trail
I've never been reluctant to shoot directly into the sun, even before I was bracketing my shots and blending them for HDR in Lightroom.  To me, the sun makes for a great visual anchor.

Roxborough State Park, Mule Deer
I stumbled right into a small herd of mule deer and didn't really feel like I could switch from my 18-104 wide-angle lens to my 80-400 zoom in time.  So I went with what I had, and feel like at least this shot of the dominant buck turned out all right.  Not sure why he seemed to be snarling at me, though.

Roxborough State Park, Fountain Valley Trail
Like I said -- not afraid to shoot right into the sun.

Roxborough State Park, Lyons Overlook
I hesitated briefly before trudging up to the Lyons Overlook.  Really glad I did, as the detail in the formations here seemed to the sharpest of the entire hike.

Roxborough State Park, Lyons Overlook
I love that little formation with the one pillar jutting up above the others so much.  Somebody really has to come up with a clever name for it.  I've got nothing -- looks like a stretching turtle or extended finger to me.

Roxborough State Park, Lyons Overlook
One last panoramic, and I was finally done gorging on the winter scenery.  These few hours were exactly why I drove up from Texas!

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