Rocky Mountain Road Trip

Comments on Photography

When I was younger, I got rather serious in my efforts as a photographer. I even did color darkroom work in my dorm room at SMU. My last year or so at Davidson, a group of my friends insisted on viewing and critiquing every roll of slides, unedited, whenever one would come in the mail. That was a great discipline, since slides have to be right in the first place in terms of composition, exposure, etc.

Later I discovered that when I traveled, I got carried away with taking pictures instead of doing things and enjoying what I was seeing without looking through a viewfinder. So I decided that I was better off to leave my camera at home. I traveled on four continents during that time. As the year 2000 approached, I decided that I had become less serious about photography, but still enjoyed it. So before I left for Eastern Europe, I bought some slide film. I promised myself that I would use restraint and spend more time enjoying things other than taking pictures. And if I didn't, then I'd quit taking a camera along again. Prague turned out to be a real challenge, so I did give in to spending a chunk of time just photographing Old Town. Next to the Charles Bridge I found a shop that sold slide film, so I bought more film every day. I didn't take along my SLR and gear, but used just a compact camera with a zoom lens. So far I've scanned in just a few shots from Helsinki.

In 2001 I visited Seattle and took the Empire Builder to Glacier National Park. For that trip I took color negative film. For posting those pictures on the web, I will probably do better to scan in the negatives rather than the prints. That's a distant project, coming almost surely after I scan in what I want to of the Eastern Europe slides.

For my 2002 Alaska cruise, I decided to buy my first digital camera. I found a Casio model with a Canon lens that received review ratings up with much more expensive cameras. Memory was still so costly that it came with an IBM hard drive that fit the memory card slot. It held a whopping 340 MB, as I recall. The camera took 4-megapixel pictures, but I shot most pictures below full resolution to save space. That doesn't sound like much resolution by today's standards, but I have on my wall a framed 13"x19" print of the Grand Pacific Glacier, and it looks great, even cropped down a little from the wider version I have on the web.

Over time I've replaced my travel cameras several times with pocketable, but good quality, Canons, an S95, an S120, and then for this Rocky Mountain trip, a GX7 Mark II. It is not quite as compact as the S models and has a little shorter zoom range. But it has (what they call) a 1" sensor. Since it shoots 20 MP pictures, I can use cropping to zoom in and still have more resolution left than i did with the S models zoomed in. All three Canons can shoot Camera RAW, so that is my preferred mode. In late afternoon I would put it into exposure bracketing mode, so it took three shots whenever I pressed the shutter button. All that eats up a lot of memory, and it didn't take long for me to fill a 32GB card. A few of the pictures I've posted were made with my iPhone 6S, which of course is always with me. Some of the photos that include me were made with Torrey's Nikon SLR.

I've been enjoying going through my picutres from this trip. I've been really pleased with the performance of the camera. And I'm happy to share some of the photos with you on this web site. However, many pictures are so detailed and the vistas in the Rockies are so spacious, that I regret what is lost when they are downsized to fit on web pages. So use your imagination to sense what it was like to be there. Better still, take a trip yourself. I hope my pictures may inspire you to do so.

A couple of years ago while I was preparing for the web some pictures from a recent trip, I read an article that suggested one go through their trip pictures soon after they get home. They will bring back and reinforce memories from the trip, and that works better the sooner you do it. I realized that was happening with me at the time. So I decided to set up web pages for my past trips, working in reverse chronological order, and added a travels section of links near the top of my home page. So I'm really doing these photo web pages for my own benefit, but am glad that others can enjoy them, too, and friends can catch up on where I've been and what I've been up to. If I live long enough, I hope to scan in more pictures from slides and negatives from earlier trips. For now, I'm still able to travel enough that just keeping up with recent trips keeps me from making much progress on the early ones.

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