Monday, August 31, 2020


Once at the top of the mountain, there were some amazing views. The day I hiked there were lots of clouds and even a chance for rain. But, I used these to my advantage as I took some long-exposure pictures of the moving clouds. 

To create this picture, I combined a bunch of long-exposure pictures of the clouds with a regular picture of these two people sitting in the chairs. For each of the long-exposure pictures, I erased the area where the people were sitting, and just kept the clouds. I wanted to keep the focus of the image on the mountains. When I was taking the picture, I thought about where the focus should be and chose the mountains because that is the main idea for the image and what you will look at longer. 

Friday, August 28, 2020


Up Above

On the Aspen-Snowmass website, one of the hiking trails they suggest is the Ute Trail. Now, I didn't really realize that when they say the difficulty is hard, they actually mean it is hard. The first mile and a half of the trail was brutal. The trail goes up many switchbacks as it crisscrosses up the mountainside. Luckily, there is a great view of downtown Aspen at the halfway mark, which kept me motivated. 

I took this picture about a quarter mile up the from the rock, as I was looking back on some hikers behind me and Aspen behind them. I like the picture because of the leading lines and colors. There are lines from the trail and trees, both of which point to the mountains behind the hikers. I also like the colors of the landscape. Of course, there are lots of greens from the grass and trees, but there are also some browns, blues, and even a few yellows from the wildflowers. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020


Slowing Down

This next picture comes from Hunter Creek Trail. The trail itself is relatively easy as it follows Hunter Creek up and into Red Mountain. This spot came after about an hour and a half hike. We were just about to turn around, but I wanted to take a few pictures on a bridge over the river. My dad wandered off to the other side of the bridge to see what was there, which is where I took this picture. So moral of the story, always wander off! 

The other side of the river had a little ghost town with some trails running through it. I saw these people hiking through and wanted to capture the moment. With the ghost house on the right side of the frame, hikers in the middle, and the mountain range and clouds in the background, the picture came together beautifully. 

Monday, August 24, 2020


Down the Mountain

After a grueling hour and a half hike, we made it to the top. We were met with familiar views, as this is the same spot where we have skied before. But still, the view was just as incredible as when I saw it the first time. 

We had hiked the trail towards the end of the day (about 5), which meant that the shadows were long and lighting was not as harsh. As we were walking down the service road, just a few hundred feet from the top of the trail, I saw my dad walking in the shadows. I thought it would look interesting if he was walking and the background was the mountain peaks. Luckily, I captured him while he was in the sunlight, which allows him to be seen more easily. And in the background are the chairlifts, clouds, and mountain peaks. The whole picture comes together as the perfect scene from the top of a mountain hike. 

Friday, August 21, 2020



This next adventure comes from the newly redesigned Vista Trail on Snowmass Mountain. Earlier that day, both my dad and I saw that this trail had been redesigned and was open for the first time that day. We did some research and found it was about 1.9 miles long and had an elevation gain of about 1,300 feet. That ended up being an underestimate, and the trail was actually 2.4 miles long. It doesn't sound like that much, but that extra half mile was brutal. Unlike Ditch Trail or Cozy Point Hill, Vista is a trail mostly surrounded by trees. I wanted to showcase this by waiting for my dad to walk a little ways ahead of me, then taking a picture showing just how tall these trees are. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2020


Into the Mountains

Soon after the trip into the past, I biked up Cozy Point Hill, yet again. From the Snowmass side, once you reach the top, you can either turn around or keep going. This time, I went a bit further than I had during previous rides up the hill. Shortly into this new section of the trail, I found a wide, flat area of land that the trail cut through. I pulled my bike off to the side and waited for someone to bike through. 

The picture that I posted is actually two different pictures that I combined. The first is a long-exposure of the clouds in the sky. If you look at them, they should look less defined, have less structure, and look like they're moving. The second picture is the biker. I froze his motion to give him more structure and to make him look more like a biker and less like a moving blob. But combined, the two parts work very well together and capture my exact idea I had when taking the picture. 

Monday, August 17, 2020



Our next adventure takes us to the Ashcroft ghost town. The town of Ashcroft was originally a silver mining town, but it's population quickly fell when the silver deposits ran dry around the 20th century. What remains are multiple buildings, including saloons, bars, a hotel, and a school. When I was taking pictures of Ashcroft, wanted to capture it in a different way than most people see it. I went off the trail a little and down by the river. There, I was able to capture Ashcroft along with the nature that surrounds it. 

Friday, August 14, 2020


Mountain Side

The next hike we went on was the Ditch Trail Hike. It is a relatively easy hike, with very little elevation gain. To get to this bench, it is only about a 15-minute walk. As we were hiking the trail, we started walking behind these two people. They sat down on the bench that is located just off the main trail, so we went up a smaller trail to another bench. Our bench was higher than there's, which created an interesting vantage point. I was able to find an angle to take a picture of them without trees being in the way (for the most part), while also capturing the landscape around them. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2020



This next spot was just a short hike up from the last one. The reason why I titled this pictures 'Selfie' is because of the two people taking a selfie. When I was taking the picture, I saw them taking the selfie, but I thought they were out of the frame. It turns out that they were not, but I think that them being in the picture is a good thing. They show just how small humans are compared to everything else around them. 

Monday, August 10, 2020

River Crossing

As we continued around the Grottos, I found a spot on the river that looks directly at a bridge. I knew it would be a fascinating picture if I could capture someone walking across it. After a few minutes, these two people crossed. Unfortunately, I could not edit this because my access to Photoshop was restricted (I am hoping it will be fixed sometime within the coming days), but I figured this would be a good time to explain how I edit. 

I begin editing with a 5 step/star editing process. The first step is checking every picture for proper exposure and focus, the basics. Whether it's 7 pictures or 7,000, I look at every single one. And if it's a picture that is satisfactory, I give it a star. The second step is halving a series within a shoot. A series is a group of pictures of a single object. For instance, every time I took a group of pictures from the same location in the Grottos, that is a series. So, if the series is 10 pictures about these two people walking across this bridge, the 5 best would advance to step 3. Step 3 is like an advanced version of step 2. The difference is that in step 3, you take the best picture of the series. In step 4, I look at the best of the best pictures from the entire photoshoot and narrow them down even further. This is the first step that compares different series with each other and is the final step before I start editing them. Yes, I haven't even edited them yet. After step 4, I edit all the pictures. You never know how a picture is going to look until after you've edited it. Looking at the final, edited versions of the pictures, step 5 chooses the final pictures. 

This 5 step/star process is designed for you to look at all your pictures, evaluate them, then take only the best of the best. It takes a little bit of time and patience, but this process will help you evaluate all your pictures and chose only the absolute best ones. 

Friday, August 07, 2020


The next spot we visited was the Grottos. The Grottos is known for its ice caves, but I like the river that flows through better. The hike in the Grottos is simple. It's flat (relative to a Colorado hike), there is typically a lot of other hikers around, and it's wide open (not dense trees). I took this picture right at the beginning of the hike. I saw the waterfall and people and knew I wanted to capture it. I ended up taking the picture as a long-exposure to draw out the movement of the water. But, before I took the long-exposure pictures, I took a few faster shutter speed pictures to freeze the movement of the people. Then when editing, I combined the two pictures such that the people are sitting still while the water is flowing. I think it turned out really good if I say so myself. 

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Top of the World

As I continued my bike on the hill, I found this bench. To access it, you had to bike off the main trail and onto a smaller one. But, the small detour was very much worth it. To the west, you could see Snowmass Village and mountain, and to the east, you could see the entire town of Aspen. This picture is facing west towards Snowmass. The mountain that you see right above the flower is Mt. Daly. It is easy to recognize because of the stripe that goes from the top left to the bottom right of it. 

Monday, August 03, 2020

Snowmass Village

The next pictures I want to share with you come from my many adventures biking around Snowmass Village and Aspen. This picture comes from Cozy Point Hill. I'm not entirely sure why they named it this, the hill is definitely not cozy or pointy, but it sure provided some great views. This first view is from the top of the hill (after a 45-minute, brutally hard bike ride) looking at Snowmass Village. I especially like this image because the leading lines lead to the vanishing point. Leading lines are lines that direct your eyes to the back and focus point of the picture. Editing wise, I did very little. I added some contrast and lightened the shadows, but for the most part, the picture you see is exactly what I saw when I took it.