Mornings in Denver

Mornings in Denver

Here's a baker's dozen pics from one of my trips to Denver.  I got up early and caught a magical sunrise, which made it all worthwhile.  And by the way, these pics are from 5 years ago.  Why am I sharing them now?  Well, there are a couple of reasons, so click on in and have a read!

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Denver architecture

Denver is a cool town, though I assume it gets overlooked a lot by folks who fly in there and immediately drive up to the mountains.  Can't blame them really, those are some great mountains!  But, I think the city is well worth a visit too.  I always find cool stuff to shoot when I am there. 

This is one such example.  There is a large complex downtown which is the Center for Performing Arts, and it appears to house several different event venues.  I've been in here and shot twice - once to avoid the rain, and once to avoid the snow.  :-) 

This was on the "avoid the rain" night and I was out shooting with Justin and Rick.  The rain was coming down pretty good, and since we were nearby, we popped in here for some shots (and to dry off a bit).  I can't resist shooting interesting architecture, so I was pretty happy to have the wide angle lens all set up and ready to go!  Cool place huh?

Sunrise in Denver

I am a big fan of shooting at sunrise - I know, it’s hard to get up!  But more often than not, I am rewarded big time for my efforts.  Sure, I have my share of wasted mornings but generally I find that I get great light and of course there are no people around.  That makes it worth the risk for me.  I prefer to have empty scenes, especially because I normally shoot in cities, which are obviously full of people.

This photo is from a nice wintry morning in Denver, CO.  I had been up and about before most everyone else, firing off shots here and there and generally enjoying the hell out of it, despite the reasonably cold temps (it had been snowing).

As I was making my last little stop on my route back to the hotel, I came up on the 16th Street Mall just as the sun was trying to break through the thick clouds.  The snow had melted, which left a nice wet sheen on the pavement, and gave me a lot to work with.  That’s one of the great things about shooting in HDR - you just can’t get all this sort of stuff in a single frame.

Sunrise on the 16th Street Mall

Do you ever find yourself in absolutely the WRONG place when the light gets all awesome?  It happens, and it never stops sucking when it does happen.  You don’t really get over it, or used to it.  It always sucks.  But what can you do about it?

I know what I do.  I fire away at anything I can so at least I feel like I am being photographically productive.  The pictures don’t end up being remarkable, or special in any way, but at least I made an effort.  You have to capture some light.

That very thing happened on this cold, wet, and otherwise miserable morning in Denver.  Don’t get me wrong - I love Denver - but I was cold, wet and miserable.  I had fired some nice shots prior to this, such as this one of Union Station.  So the morning wasn’t a total bust.

But a while later I found myself on this street corner at the bottom of the 16th Street Mall, and the sunrise light was getting all fabulous, and I literally had no where I could go to get a great subject for this shot.  So I just fired away from the street corner, and had to deal with it.  It happens.

I also went ahead and did a quick Before & After comparison on this shot. Normally my comparisons are a bit more dramatic...cause you know, I like moving sliders around LOL...but in this case I feel like the changes that the HDR brought out (and of course, my processing choices) were a bit more subtle.  Just thought I would share.

DenverHDRBeforeAfter.jpg

Denver busy-ness

This was a fun shot to process, but I realize there is all kinds of crap going on here.  It’s very busy, but what the hell, right?

I took this one in Denver, CO on a rainy afternoon.  I had been in the Convention Center shooting with Justin Balog and Rick Louie, both talented local photographers and great guys.  After finishing there, we started walking down the street, stopping at this little train station thing.

Since it was raining, we of course stayed under the covered area and shot at some of the passing commuter trains running by.  But at some point, I turned around and decided I would shoot this scene.  Yes, it’s a busy mess but I really like how the left side seems so cold, and the right side is so warm.  There are a lot of lines going this way and that, and though it’s busy, I thought it worked.  

What do you think?

Towards Union Station

I grabbed this shot on a cold, snowy morning in Denver, CO recently.  I love getting out and shooting in the early morning for a lot of reasons, but one of the primary reasons is that you can capture scenes without all the busy-ness of the day.  Things are still quiet and calm and you can enjoy your creative time without the distractions of lots of cars or people walking into your shots.  :-)

For this shot, I was really drawn in by the long colored reflections of the various lights shining on the wet street.  I just love how those look.  I was also making my way towards Union Station, which has that wonderful “Travel by Train” sign in bright neon on top.  I just love that sign.  Plus I love train stations, so it’s like a double-dip of awesomeness, first thing in the morning!

If you want a closer view of that sign, or of Union Station, you can click here.

Christmas tree lights

Just thought I would share a colorful Christmas-related image today.  This is one I captured a couple of years ago during a cold but beautiful blue hour up in Beaver Creek, CO.  It has been posted here previously, but it's been a long time, and I don't think anyone really saw it then.  :-)

Oxford blues

Anyone remember the movie “Oxford Blues” from back in the ‘80’s?  It starred Rob Lowe as an American scamming his way into Oxford University to pursue a girl.  It was pretty dumb, as I recall.  Most ‘80’s movies were not memorable, except the ones made by John Hughes.  Those were awesome.  Well, and Raiders of the Lost Ark.  That was awesome, too.  Hang on.   I also loved Fletch – but every guy does – and I am digressing so let me get back on topic here.  This isn’t a movie blog.

Anyways, that movie is where I got the title of this shot which I took recently in downtown Denver on a cold, snowy morning.  I had just shot their Union Station and was walking back towards my hotel when I passed this scene.  The morning blue hour was beautiful, and the reflections and colors just caught my eye.  I love shooting in cities and sometimes you just get all the right elements in a scene.

The Denver Performing Arts Complex

Here's another shot from my recent trip up to Denver, CO.  As I mentioned in this previous post, the weather kept us essentially inside that evening, and as such we ended up shooting at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

This space is a great one to shoot in, namely due to this incredible arched ceiling.  I love stuff like this, and was glad to have the chance to shoot here.  At one point early on there were a couple of security guards who told us we could shoot anywhere on the ground, but not up on the parking structure which gives this nice view you see here. 

Of course, we just waited for them to be out of sight, and Justin led us sneakily onto the elevators…and moments later we were up here.  Rick and Justin (both being locals) were kind enough to let me go shoot this spot first, since once we were in position to take this shot we would easily be seen by the security guards, and likely asked to leave.

So, I ran out to this spot, set up and fired away a few brackets quickly.  As I was wrapping my last set of shots, I saw the security guards walking along the ground way down below, but they never seemed to notice me.  It's nice when you get away with things like this.  :-)  

Blue hour at Union Station

There are two things that I really love to shoot: train stations and neon signs.  Union Station in downtown Denver has both, and is a real beauty of a structure as well.  On my recent trip up to Denver, I knew I wanted to catch this place in the morning, either before or during sunrise.  I definitely wanted to get a shot with that fabulous neon sign all lit up.  It's just so cool.

So, I got up early and walked in the cold about 10 blocks down to the station.  There was a light snow blowing in the air, and having just come from warm Texas, it felt like I was in the depths of winter.  When I arrived and saw that construction barrier I was a bit disappointed, but the light was excellent and I knew the HDR process would give me some nice light across the streets as well.  It ended up being pretty awesome, actually!