Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Family Portrait

I'm probably visible as a camera-shaped speck in the reflection in somebody's eye.  We woke up a few weeks ago to big falling snowflakes, but by the time we bundled up and got out there, they were done.

Bird at 8 o'clock!  BIRD!

The little hunter never rests, even when he's supposed to play nice.  Except for the 21 hours of sleep each day.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Brandon Part I

Brandon belongs to a growing class of people who do two maddening things: kick my ass and make me look fat.

While that's entirely true, it's not the whole truth: he's an up-and-coming young gun, an absolute beast of an athlete who will go a long way in the sport of triathlon.  He's also a good dude who I must take care not to insult too heavily, as he also makes delicious pizza.

I'm spending some time with him to "help build his digital presence."  Translation: ordering him around while I fiddle with the camera and the strobes.  I revel in this, because it's the only time I can make him suffer without being at risk of perishing myself.

Our first session was running; you'd better believe you'll see some swimming and biking before too long, too.  And for anyone keeping track, he's coached by the inimitable Nenad, so don't expect Brandon to be getting any slower anytime soon...

Flying down the trail

Resting between bouts of pain

Aforementioned bout of pain

Check out his corner of the web here, or go stalk him while he sells shoes, or look for him at the pointy end of pretty much any race within a 100-mile radius of Reno.


Monday, December 3, 2012


A few weeks ago, Ethel and I escaped to Portland for a weekend visiting our peeps there and enjoying a momentary change of scenery.  It seems that we've been heading there about once a year; it's a city we enjoy visiting and our friends there are awesome people (awwwwwwww).  Our visits usually coincide with Southwest fare sales; this time we had the distinctive luxury of planning our getaway while on vacation in Europe.  Southwest's site was SOOOO slow from our cafe internet connection in the Dolomites. :)

Sunset (I don't care if you get sick of these; I'm a sucker for being glued to airplane windows)

We rarely have an agenda in Portland; we're interested in coffee and food and whatever else is of immediate interest.  This trip featured some fall colors, so that prompted various explorations around Chase and Lauren's neighborhood.

Drab and bright

Mighty pink


Local growth

One of our lazy days, we pushed east into the Columbia River Gorge and hiked along Eagle Creek to a variety of waterfalls.  Even though it rained continuously, that's no reason to have a bad time.  Also, makes me grateful for waterproof camera gear.

Autumn approaches

At Punchbowl Falls

Damp growth

Metlako Falls churns in the distance

Diffuse light bathes the leaves

Murphy's new boyfriend; goddamn treehuggers


The hike was capped off by a trip across the river into Washington (White Salmon, specifically) for tasty nibbles and microbrews, neither of which are in short supply in the Pacific Northwest.
Our other pursuits included visiting Jon and Willi at Perch to drool over comfortable couches, going to a vintage-Halloween-themed acrobatics show, eating ourselves silly at food trucks, exploring dodgy parts of town via running shoes, and eating the best sushi of my life at Bamboo.  Not to pontificate, but wow.  While Reno's sushi represents a nice intersection of the quality and price curves, making a near-unbeatable value proposition, it's gonna be tough to forget what we savored at Bamboo.

Olive acts alert in between naps

Good times.  In other news, I got back from Stockholm late last night; the week was a total whirlwind of business, nonexistent daylight, and expensive everything, but it was awesome nonetheless.  I oughta be caught up to that point in my photos sometime in the next few months...


Monday, November 26, 2012

Graeagle and Lost Sierra

A few weeks ago, Ethel and I multi-tasked and spent less than 24 hours just over the evil California border.  We had two missions: first was celebrating Megan's birthday in Graeagle, and second was volunteering at the inaugural running of the Lost Sierra 50k/22k, organized in part by our friend DFunk.

We arrived in Graeagle when Megan's party was well underway; they'd be going late into the night and we'd be getting up long before their toxins got metabolized.  No worries though, we shared some laughs around the firepit before we turned into our tent for a few hours of fitful sleep.

Murphy stays warm in her alien pod (gets cold quick in the woods!)

The firepit does its thing

Oreo emerges from the shadows

Out of the house without disturbing the sleeping hangovers, we found the start line of the 50k right in Graeagle and spent a few minutes kicking around in the cold before heading out on the course.  Our goal was to find a couple cool spots on the trail to photograph the racers.  We didn't really know where to go ahead of time, but we figured it out, and all was well.

Without pontificating too much, I'll just say that I'm generally displeased with the photos that are offered to racers, so I wanted to do better.

Assembling for a safety meeting

Eventual women's winner SBR is just a few miles into a long morning here

Murphy gathers rays

In between our photo sessions, we stopped in at the ~halfway aid station; it was a quick stop the first time through, but we stayed longer after we came back in from the next photo spot.

Cheerful forest gnomes (this aid station had margarita sno-cones)

DFunk in da house!

Rough duty at the aid station...anyone seen Tammy?  I heard she was missing...

Finished with our official duties for the day, we found the finish line and just missed DFunk's arrival there.  However, we did get to watch SBR come across as first woman; so stoked to see her first ultra win!

Tuukka wonders where he's goin' next...

...and settles for a beer

The racers had loads of good things to say about the difficulty of the course, and there's a good chance that this race will be very well-attended in years to come.  Sign up early!  We hung out for a couple hours in the shade at the finish expo before retreating back to Reno and taking a well-deserved nap.

I'm about to hop on a plane for Sweden for work.  Only be gone a week, and I'm oh-so-curious to experience the 6 hours of daylight we'll be graced with.  Stockholm is roughly 0.99 degree of latitude away from being my furthest point north ever, but certainly the coldest and darkest trip to the north I've ever had...brrrrrrr.

Be well.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hunter Creek

OK.  Whew.  That whole slew of posts from Europe is done, and I needed a little break from writing.  Life has been a bit nuts, too, so a breather was in order.  Fortunately, I've kept shooting a bit, so I've still got fresh material for you vultures.

A few weeks ago, Chase and Lauren came to Reno for a friend's wedding, so we took advantage of an opportunity to go for a hike on a lovely late summer afternoon.  We hiked up Hunter Creek to the waterfall, and while it's an oft-photographed Reno feature, I'd never been to it in my short 32 years.  So please accept my apologies if you've seen enough of this spot, but here's my take on it.

Main attraction (top bit reminds me of a hairdo)

The way the water flowed around and through the big log fascinated me, so I played with that a bit.



And then I decided to take a closer look at things that perhaps other people charged right past on their way to the main attraction.

Detail I

Detail II

For the 2 of you faithful 7 readers who care about how these photos are made, all but "Fast" and "Slow" are the product of me standing in frigid water and turning the dials on some tilt-shift lenses.  If I recall correctly, "Main Attraction" and "Detail I" are with the 17, and "Detail II" is with the 90.  And this time, tilt-shift is used for good and not evil, making more things in focus instead of less.

Anyhow, I've got a good backlog to work through now, which is just as well, because I continue to be more busy than I'm comfortable with.  Enough bitching from me; enjoy your day!


Friday, November 9, 2012

Belgian Grand Prix

I've got a soft spot for Formula 1.

To me, it represents the pinnacle of both motorsport and engineering.  I'm willing to concede that World Rally drivers meet or exceed the skills of F1 drivers, but an F1 Grand Prix is nonetheless a spectacle to behold.  I had been to the US Grand Prix twice in Indy, but it had been a dream for a long time to go to Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium and watch these carbon fiber rocketships carve up that hallowed ground.  When we were planning this trip, it was going to be shorter, right up until we saw that the race in Belgium was only a few days after we were planning to go home.  Done deal!

Thus, we took our side trip from Amsterdam, rented the most awful car I've ever piloted (Opel Agila, if you're curious), and made tracks for Aachen, where it was both cheaper and easier to find lodging than it was anywhere near Spa.

Most awful car ever, not even worth steering

If you've never heard F1 cars in person...bring earplugs.  Walking to the track from our parking spot ~3km away, the songs of the F1 cars' engines started to sound as though they were nearby.  I knew better; when one is actually nearby, it's eardrum-splitting, a mechanical shriek that threatens to tear the space-time continuum.  In short, it's fantastic.

Rife for pillaging

We wandered around the track to find some good viewing spots; Saturday was practice and qualifying, which we were stoked to watch.  We also wanted to find a good spot to watch the race Sunday.  Unfortunately, for photographing F1, access is everything, and while we could get close to the track, there's no substitute for the angles the actual photographers are able to get.  As such, most of my photos look largely the same; I had to work hard to get things to look different without being able to be at track level or high above etc etc.

Eau Rouge, awesomest corner in all of motorsport

It was special to me to see Eau Rouge; it's a downhill-uphill right-left corner complex that they go through at about 170mph.  What's hard to see from in-car footage or normal broadcast footage is just how much elevation gain there is and just how blind the sightlines are.  Slamming the car into the track surface at the bottom of the complex and aiming it in hopefully the right direction under 4G of cornering force has got to be a puckering moment no matter how many times you've done it.

Forza Ferrari!

Red Bull approaches corner

Toro Rosso accelerates away

Corner entry lockup

Lotus mid-corner


Come race day, it turns out we had vastly underestimated how much bigger the crowds would be, as well as how early they'd show up for good spots to sit.  To put it bluntly: we got hosed.  In hindsight, it would have absolutely been worth the extra 200Euro for awesome grandstand seats.

Misty morning on race day

High class

The amount of transport and logistics required to put on an F1 race is mind-boggling; it's not called a traveling circus for nothing.  When they fly away to races, they fill 3 cargo 747s to the brim with their containers; it's NUTS.

Line of trucks

I nearly got arrested for getting myself to this vantage point

When an F1 car is at race pace, its speed through corners is staggering.  It's only after viewing slower cars going through the same corners that it's readily apparent just how fast they are; accelerating, braking, cornering, and changing direction with forces that would pluck our heads clean off our shoulders.  And the SOUND!!!

Our prison view

There's no doubt that our vantage points were better on qualifying day than on race day.  That's OK, though, F1 is an experience worthy of some discomfort.  Even if that means standing for 5 hours at the only unoccupied spot at the chainlink fence to have a shot at seeing the race.


Ed drinks again

Murphy spectates

Slicing through

Tired and dehydrated from our long day in the sun, we shuffled back to the Agila with our ~100k compatriots and retreated back to Amsterdam.  Sadly, after only another day there, our trip came to an end and we departed back to the good ol' US of A.  A month is a good long while to be away from home, and I can only hope to be able to travel on these timelines more in the future.

Thanks for sticking through these incessant posts from Europe.  It's fun for me to look back through them; memories fade fast as life keeps charging ahead.  We will now return to our regularly-scheduled programming, whatever the hell that actually is.


Past Detritus