Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer: Blog https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog en-us (C) 2024 Dusty Demerson. Please do not use our photos without permission (Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Wed, 24 Jan 2024 17:14:00 GMT Wed, 24 Jan 2024 17:14:00 GMT https://www.imagescolorado.com/img/s/v-12/u457364609-o793157954-50.jpg Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer: Blog https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog 90 120 How the Art Happens - Autumn Gold https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2024/1/how-the-art-happens---autumn-gold Autumn Gold

Autumn GoldAutumn GoldDelicate golden aspen leaves decorate small snow-covered trees of a Colorado aspen forest.

After watching the aspen leaves change color for more than 30 autumns here around Crested Butte I can say without argument that the fall colors are happening 3-4 weeks later than they did when I moved here in the late 1980s.


One benefit to this later color change is that the chance of getting snow while the leaves are still on the trees has gone up a bit. It used to be a rarity to get snow and colorful leaves at the same time. Now we can usually count on at least one snowfall during our brief experience of fall colors.


Sometimes it only takes a dusting of the white stuff to create a unique image. "Autumn Gold" was found on one of those mornings which left us with just a touch of snow and no wind to take it out of the trees. I think the delicate nature of the scene with just a little snow and just a few yellow leaves was what invited me to explore this aspen grove. I liked the subtle contrast and bright forest gifted to me on this chilly morning. The scene seems almost monochrome except for the leaves. It's almost minimalist at least in its color palette.


I used a long 300mm telephoto lens to compress the space and throw the background a little out of focus. I did this to try and keep your eyes focused on the leaves in the front of the scene. This allows the out-of-focus aspen trunks to support the tonality and shapes in the photograph without competing with the actual subjects. At least, that was the idea. You get to decide whether it worked or not.


I love finding these softer, delicate scenes in nature and feel like they bring a calming influence to our busy lives. This one may have to find a space over my bed next time I redecorate!

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #aspenforest #coloradofallcolors #crestedbutte #crestedbuttefall #crestedbuttephotographer #fallaspenforest #fallcolor #minimalism #minimalistphotography #nature #photooftheday #picoftheday #pictureoftheday art autumn color colorado crested butte fall forest landscape photo photography snow the art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2024/1/how-the-art-happens---autumn-gold Wed, 24 Jan 2024 17:14:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Full Blue Supermoon https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/12/how-the-art-happens---full-blue-supermoon Full Blue Supermoon 2023

Full Blue Supermoon 2023Full Blue Supermoon 2023The Full, blue, supermoon rises over Crested Butte Mountain on August 30, 2023.

Last August we were blessed with two full moons in the same month. The second one is called a "Blue Moon" and has been the subject of many poems, songs, stories, lies, and fables. And, at least a few photos.


I have a perfect view of the eastern sky from the deck on my condo so even though moonrise came close to conflicting with my bed/reading time, I decided to try a photo I had in my mind for a long time. I had a rough idea of where it would rise and I had two nights when the moon looked full. I set up my beast of a Really Right Stuff tripod and my beast of a telephoto lens, the Tamron 150-600 zoomed out to 600mm. Even though this set-up is extremely rigid and the lens features vibration reduction, any of my movements on my 44-year-old deck would create vibrations I did not want. Using an electronic cable release, I had to stand perfectly still to get the trees and the moon both sharp as a tack.


My first attempt seemed to have everything working as required but after viewing the images the next day, I discovered the ski patrol's radio tower was in the center of every picture. It looked like another tree through the viewfinder. At least I had one more night to attempt the photo!


The second night had the moonrise about 50 minutes later so, now, this project is really starting to eat into my bedtime. Fortunately, the moon rose a few hundred yards farther north and I got perfect trees in the foreground. One amazing thing about watching the moon rise through a long telephoto lens is how fast it moves. I only got about a dozen images before it had risen above the trees and into the night sky. This was my favorite image with the best balance between Supermoon and the forest below. And that's how "Full Blue Supermoon 2023" came to be captured as it rose over the forest on Crested Butte Mountain in Colorado.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #bluemoon #CrestedButte #crestedbuttephotographer #D850 #fullmoon #landscapephoto #landscapephotography #landscapephotographymag #landscapephotomag #Nikon #outdoorphotography #outdoorphotographymag #Reallyrightstuff #rockymountains #rrs #supermoon #tamron Art Colorado Crested Butte forest Landscape Photo photograph Photography The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/12/how-the-art-happens---full-blue-supermoon Wed, 27 Dec 2023 13:00:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Fall is Looking Up https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/10/how-the-art-happens---fall-is-looking-up Fall is Looking Up

Fall is Looking UpFall is Looking UpLooking up through a fall colored aspen forest near Kebler Pass.

In a tall, golden, aspen forest looking straight up toward the sky is a popular concept. I have made similar photos many times but they kind of all looked the same. This fall I decided to try something a little different and utilize a lens that I only use on rare occasions.


About the lens. Nikon makes a 10.5 mm super wide angle lens which I used to use to capture dance photos at wedding receptions. It created a very different point of view, especially when held overhead, and provided a bit of variety when creating an album or slide show of the wedding celebration. The lens has been hanging out at the bottom of my camera bag for years!


Since visual perspective is the entire point of this composition, I decided to push the perspective to my limits and grabbed the lens at the bottom of the bag. Wow! Did it make those trees look tall? The field of view is so wide it also captured cars in the parking area and my friend Lois who was running around with me that day. It took some manipulation to get the scene composed without those distractions. Then there was the sun. I almost never want the sun in my photos since it dominates the scene. Our eyes or brain seem to want to focus on the brightest object in a photo and the sun will always be the brightest element. But, in this scene, since it became only a small starburst, I liked it.


As I process a photograph I have software that can remove lens distortions which I use with nearly every photo. But, with this image, it made the tree trunks straight. I decided I liked the curving trunk perspective a little better since it adds some mystery to the composition. Since I was looking straight up there is no correct orientation for this photograph. I wanted the trees to dominate the scene so I placed the starburst sun in a less dominant position lower-right. The stark contrast of the yellow leaves and blue sky is a major reason that aspen groves in Colorado are in such demand by photographers and other visual artists.


I hope you enjoy "Fall is Looking Up". It was a lot of fun to create.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #aspenforest #coloradofallcolor #CrestedButte #crestedbuttephotographer #D850 #fallcolor #Keblerpass #Landscapephoto #landscapephotographymag #Nikon #outdoorphotographymag #outdoorphotographymagazine #persective #photooftheday #picoftheday #pictureoftheday #wideangle Art aspen autumn color Colorado Crested Butte fall forest Landscape Photo Photography The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/10/how-the-art-happens---fall-is-looking-up Fri, 27 Oct 2023 15:56:27 GMT
How the Art Happens - Castle Magic https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/10/how-the-art-happens---castle-magic Castle Magic

Castle MagicCastle MagicFresh snow, brilliant leaves, and spots of sunlight team up to create a beautiful scene at The Castles near Ohio Pass in western Colorado.

The Castles are a commanding visual presence rising out of the West Elk Wilderness Area. They seem even more commanding while the leaves are changing every autumn.


I have visited this overlook every year and have so many images of The Castles that unless some kind of magic is happening I don't bother to set up the camera. But, we got a good snow storm to welcome the fall color this year so I had to spend some time checking out The Castles. When I arrived the sky was quite cloudy and there was no sunlight on the mountains or the forest. But I could tell that things were moving and starting to break up. So I set up my monster Really Right Stuff tripod with my Nikon D850 and the Tamron 150-600mm lens. Then I had to wait.


I'm pretty picky about having sunlight on mountain peaks in most of my photographs. It took quite a while for The Castles to become fully illuminated and a took a few photos along the way. I never know whether the light is going to get better or worse and those pixels are pretty cheap insurance that I'll at least get something. Eventually, the sun did cooperate and painted The Castles with brighter, warm light helping them to pop out of the surrounding snow. But then I saw the yellow patch of aspens just below. What if the sun hit that too? Wouldn't that be cool?


The wait got a lot longer but eventually a spot of sunlight moved across the valley and landed right on that patch of yellow aspens. My patience paid off with what is probably my very favorite photo of "Castle Magic". I enjoyed hanging out with the other photographers at the overlook. Each one of us was hoping for something a little different during our hour and a half together. I'm not sure everyone got what they were looking for but I was pretty happy.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #castles #crestedbuttephotographer #landscape #landscapephotography #landscapephotomag #nikon #outdoorphotomag #photooftheday #picoftheday #reallyrightstuff #rrs Art autumn Castles Colorado Crested Butte fall Landscape Photo Photography snow The art of photography wilderness https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/10/how-the-art-happens---castle-magic Wed, 18 Oct 2023 16:01:02 GMT
How the Art Happens - A Grove of Light https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/10/how-the-art-happens---a-grove-of-light A Grove of Light

A Grove of LightA Grove of LightAfternoon sunlight fills a panoramic aspen forest decorated with autumn leaves.

Last week I was asked to photograph a family retreat above a ghost town. The property is a gated private ranch today. I met the original developer many years ago as they were putting in the gate and got him to send me an email granting me access to the abandoned cabins which are great foreground subjects with mountains in the distance. I had never been past the old cabins.


As I was driving to the home I was amazed that this hidden grove of aspen was in full fall splendor. The grove went on and on filled with perfect yellow leaves. There were no green, red, brown, or crimson leaves, only yellow. Since the grove was at the top of the hill, it was filled with warm, afternoon light. The recent winds had brought many leaves to the ground creating a yellow carpet matching the canopy. The scene went on and on for hundreds of yards. Finding trees that stood out was a challenge.


Once I found a couple of trees a little closer to the road, I decided the scene needed to be photographed in a panoramic format. I use this format frequently to reduce boring foregrounds and sky. Plus, this format looks great over a bed, sofa, or fireplace. To create the panorama, I used nine separate photographs overlapped by 50% and stitched together into a single image. This technique requires some special equipment including a super-sturdy tripod. The tricky part of shooting panoramas is keeping the camera and lens perfectly level while capturing the sequence of photos. I use a bracket for this specific purpose made by the maker of my tripod and ball head, Really Right Stuff. The bracket has built-in levels and rotates left and right, up and down. It really is the "right stuff"!


I hope you enjoy "A Grove of Light".

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #coloradofallcolor #crestedbutte #crestedbuttephotographer #fallcolor #landscapephoto #landscapephotographymag #nikon #outdoorphotomag #photooftheday #picoftheday #reallyrightstuff Art aspen autumn color Colorado Crested Butte fall Landscape Photo Photographer Photography The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/10/how-the-art-happens---a-grove-of-light Thu, 12 Oct 2023 17:15:46 GMT
How the Art Happens - The Calico Forest https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/9/how-the-art-happens---the-calico-forest The Calico Forest

The Calico ForestThe Calico ForestSpots of fall color in a Colorado aspen forest near Crested Butte.

The Kebler Pass Road leading west from Crested Butte is highly regarded as one of the premiere fall color routes in the USA. During late September through mid-October, it's not unusual to see well-known photographers and artists from all over the country, even from other parts of the world. I've even met photo workshops from Mexico and Japan during the peak of fall colors.


Usually by the middle of October, our temperatures are consistently below freezing at night and we've had a few snow storms come through. This type of weather plays havoc with the leaves and bare tree limbs start to replace the vibrant colors of the forest. I don't know of many photographers who seek these stark landscapes. But, I do. These barren landscapes evoke entirely different emotions than golden leaves.


"The Calico Forest" was discovered on October 17, 2010, on the west side of Kebler Pass just before dropping into Erickson Springs and The Dark Canyon Trail. I love that the bare trees surround more protected areas with pale, yellow, leaves. I also like the red and brown oaks and evergreen's contribution to the warm palate of colors. It just feels like autumn to me even though it's a little moody. The 300mm telephoto lens helps to compress the distance within the scene and kind of scrunches the forest into a smaller space.


Even though this is one of my favorite fall photos, it has never sold. I guess it only triggers my emotions and other viewers find it boring or depressing. What say you? Does "The Calico Forest" trigger any kind of emotional response from you? I would love to know.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #autumn #coloradofallcolors #CrestedButte #crestedbuttephotographer #d700 #fall #fallcolor #Kebler #keblerpass #landscapephotography #landscapephotomag #nikon Art autumn color Colorado Crested Butte fall Landscape Photo Photography The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/9/how-the-art-happens---the-calico-forest Wed, 27 Sep 2023 19:06:55 GMT
How the Art Happens - Crested Butte Fall Panorama https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/9/how-the-art-happens---crested-butte-fall-panorama Crested Butte Fall Panorama

Crested Butte Fall PanoramaCrested Butte Fall PanoramaPanoramic view over the town of Crested Butte, Colorado near the peak of fall colors.

Almost nine years ago, to the day, I photographed the peak of fall colors over Crested Butte, Colorado. Then I forgot about it!


This past week, while waiting for our leaves to color our forests enough to take pictures, I started updating my website. I don't do this very often because it's not as much fun as getting behind the camera and finding new scenes. It was worth the effort though. I found this 9-year-old photograph that I never shared with anyone. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I saw it. I was like..." where did this come from?"


I absolutely love that the blue sky offers such a color contrast with the warm autumn tones of the leaves and grass. I love the variety of the warm tones too. So many of our fall color photos only show one color. Yellow! I do wonder how other viewers feel about the view down Maroon Avenue. Does it add or subtract from the photo? I'm torn between enjoying its leading-line effect versus whether I could have filled that space with more foliage if I had stood 50 feet to my right.


So often in September, we can't even buy a cloud. I'm happy with the few I got flying around the peak.


I chose a panoramic format because the foreground and empty sky would dominate the scene and add nothing to the final result. I do this frequently. It's all about eliminating stuff that does not contribute to the image. I'm pretty inspired by the minimalist approach. While this photo is far from minimalist, the idea of eliminating superfluous space is a technique I try to use in every photograph.


Well, I hope you enjoy my lost and found photograph this week as the leaves around Crested Butte begin their annual show. "Crested Butte Fall Panorama" is now available on this website. I've moved all of my "fall color" Colorado photos to a single gallery so they're easier to find. Feel free to poke around and enjoy lots of fall photos from Colorado.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #aspenleaves #coloradofall #crestedbutte #crestedbuttemountain #crestedbuttephotographer #fall #fallcolor #fallincolorado #imagesofcolorado #panorama #panoramic #photosofcolorado Art autumn Colorado Crested Butte fall Landscape Photo Photographer Photography The art of photography winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/9/how-the-art-happens---crested-butte-fall-panorama Wed, 20 Sep 2023 12:00:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Ruby Owen and the Dyke https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/8/how-the-art-happens---ruby-owen-and-the-dyke Ruby, Owen, and the Dyke

Ruby Owen and the DykeRuby Owen and the DykeRuby Peak, Mount Owen, and the dyke tower above the colorful aspen forest at the peak of fall colors.

This is one of Colorado's most iconic fall color photographs. That's probably why it's never sold very well in galleries. Everyone interested in photography has a version of this photograph. An older version of mine filled the space above the baggage claim area at the Gunnison-Crested Butte airport for the past 10 years or so. It was 10' tall and 40' long.


There are several elements that make it a successful image. Beautiful backlit aspen trees near the peak of fall color are one. Perfectly puffy, but not threatening clouds are another. The range of colors from green to yellow highlighted by that red patch is yet a third. I prefer the panorama format for this scene since a traditional view includes too much sky or the ever-present campers and horse trailers at the lower edge of the forest.


I usually plan on photographing this scene just before sunset but this late morning view allowed the west side of the dyke and mountain peaks to end up in the shade providing a nice contrast with the colorful forest and sky.


The overlook where this photograph is captured is the base camp for a whos'-who of photographers. I have run into the late John Fielder there on many occasions and photo workshops from Mexico, Japan, and Europe. As I said, it's an iconic photo! Please enjoy this version from 2021. I'm sure you'll see plenty more over the next two months. "Ruby, Owen, and the Dyke".

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbutte" #crestedbuttephotographer #keblerpass #landscapephoto #landscapephotomag #Nikon #outdoorphotographer #panorama #panoramic #reallyrightstuff #RRS Art aspen autumn Colorado Crested Butte dyke fall forest Kebler Pass Landscape mount mountain mt owen panorama panoramic Photo Photography Ruby The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/8/how-the-art-happens---ruby-owen-and-the-dyke Tue, 29 Aug 2023 18:34:59 GMT
How the Art Happens - Shiprock Summer Sunrise https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/8/how-the-art-happens---shiprock-summer-sunrise Shiprock Summer Sunrise

Shiprock Summer SunriseShiprock Summer SunriseFirst light of sunrise hits Shiprock, New Mexico

I have wanted to photograph this vantage point for a few years. A few weeks ago I got the chance to visit Shiprock, New Mexico at sunrise for the opportunity to capture this mountain from the air.

The day's adventure began at 4:30 am. The drive from Cortez, Colorado to this scene is about 45 minutes, mainly in the dark. I arrived just before sunrise and found a place to get off the highway and set up the drone. The sky was mostly cloudy but there were a few holes I would have to count on to illuminate the mountain and fin. Once I got into the air things started happening quickly. I realized I was way too close to Shiprock to get the full length of the fin in my photos. I needed to be about a half mile further south. The clouds were building on the eastern horizon and I was only going to have a brief few moments of sunlight illuminating the formation. I was also a little disappointed that the dirt road was so prominent in this composition. Sadly, the sky closed in and I was only able to capture one frame before the sunlight failed.

I thought about trying again the next morning but I woke to a cloudless sky which was not worth the drive. That's one of the difficulties with photography. For the most part, the event must actually happen and the photographer has to be there when it does. There are lots of near-misses in landscape photography. Sometimes Mother Nature chooses not to cooperate. Sometimes we don't get to the location in time. Sometimes there are other distractions like construction, cloudless sky, people, etc. But Earth still offers great opportunities to enjoy and capture its beauty.

For now, I will have to live with this version of "Shiprock Summer Sunrise" until I can get back and try again.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #aerial #Autel #crestedbuttephotographer #drone #evolite #Evolite+ #Landscapephoto #landscapephotography #newmexico #photooftheday #picoftheday #shiprock #sunrise above aerial Art dawn drone Landscape new mexico over Photo Photography shiprock summer sunrise The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/8/how-the-art-happens---shiprock-summer-sunrise Fri, 18 Aug 2023 16:14:48 GMT
How the Art Happens - Summer on Elk Avenue https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/8/how-the-art-happens---summer-on-elk-avenue Summer On Elk Avenue

Summer on Elk AvenueSummer on Elk AvenueAerial view of downtown Crested Butte, Colorado featuring the iconic Old Town Hall building and Crested Butte Mountain in the distance.

I have wanted to make this photograph for years before finally making myself capture it in June. There were lots of reasons for putting it off for so long. It had to be a nice summer afternoon to get light on the mountain and the side of the bell tower. It required flying the drone much closer to buildings and people than I'm comfortable with. It also needed a great sky.


I shot the photo the day before but there were no clouds and I was flying just a little too high. From a composition perspective, I wanted the top of the bell tower to be a little higher than the peak of Crested Butte Mountain. I was concerned about flying over the patio of a local restaurant next door. An annoyed customer could easily have knocked the drone into Coal Creek just 30 feet below the camera. I needed to get into position, get the photo, and get away before anyone got crazy. I only took 3 photos! I wish I had noticed the two men crossing the street though.


The lack of traffic on Elk Avenue was an added bonus. The red trim on the Old Town Hall provided a much-needed spot of color and helps keep the viewer's attention. And, oh that sky! Summer perfection!


I like this one enough to consider trying a winter version. That will be much more challenging. The flying camera has brought lots of new perspectives to photography. They're not all great but many of them allow for some interesting compositions.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #aerialart #aerialphoto #air2s #coloradosummer #CrestedButte #crestedbuttephoto #crestedbuttephotographer #dji #dronephoto #elkavenue #summerincolorado #summerincrestedbutte 2s aerial air Art Colorado Crested Butte dji drone Elk Avenue main mountain old town hall Photo Photography street The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/8/how-the-art-happens---summer-on-elk-avenue Wed, 09 Aug 2023 20:03:45 GMT
How the Art Happens - Spring at Whiterock Mountain https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/6/how-the-art-happens---spring-at-whiterock-mountain Spring at Whiterock Mountain

Spring at Whiterock MountainSpring at Whiterock MountainSpring brings margarita colored aspen trees to the valleys below Whiterock Mountain near Crested Butte, Colorado.

Springtime high in the Colorado Rocky Mountains brings a season filled with contrasts. Our weather can be warm one day and snowing the next. Our mountains can be snow-covered one day and brown a few days later. Our trees undergo the same contrasts, bare one day and covered with margarita-colored tiny leaves just a few days later.

It's a joy to experience these contrasts since they welcome our short summers which we all look forward to after our long, white, winters. Since these contrasts seem to change on a daily basis trying to capture these fleeting moments requires artists to be on their toes. We must retrace our travels every few days searching for the peaks of great landscape views, light, and weather. Although many of our explorations are limited due to road closures, we must be diligent in our searches for new scenes and light.

"Spring at Whiterock Mountain" is a new image from this spring. The day started sunny but the sky quickly became threatening with dark clouds shadowing the landscape and a few spots of sunlight dotting the ground. Dang contrasts! I really liked the contrasts of the lime-green leaves against the dark rocks below one of the peaks of Whiterock Mountain. The aspen trees were in the deep shade of a dark cloud but seemed to glow. The mountain was in diffused sunlight with the bright sun illuminating the middle ground. This scene looked amazing to my naked eye which, attached to my brain, easily compensates for the contrast. The camera does not have that magical ability. It needs a little help. That help comes with the aid of a technique we call HDR photography. It involves making several photographs at different exposures and delicately smashing them together to get the best exposures from each part of the scene. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

This one worked for me. The scene grows on me every time I look at it. I hope it does the same for you.




(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #artofphotography #CrestedButte #D850 #landscape #landscapephoto #nature #naturephoto #Nikon #photo #photography #photooftheday #pictureoftheday #ReallyRightStuff #rrs #spring #Tamron #theartofphotography Art Colorado Crested Butte Landscape mount mountain mt Photo Photography spring The art of photography Whiterock https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/6/how-the-art-happens---spring-at-whiterock-mountain Thu, 01 Jun 2023 18:23:31 GMT
How the Art Happens - Sunset Cumulus Panorama https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/5/how-the-art-happens---sunset-cumulus-panorama Sunset Cumulus Panorama

Sunset Cumulus PanoramaSunset Cumulus PanoramaSunset light illuminates towering cumulus clouds over Edmond, Oklahoma during a severe weather outbreak during May of 2023.

Every spring and every fall I head back to Oklahoma to visit family and friends. The trips are usually over Mother's Day and Thanksgiving. I always take my camera gear because my route takes me through some really photogenic parts of New Mexico. I rarely end up taking photos in Oklahoma.

This year's visit was the exception. Central Oklahoma had active weather almost every evening with thunderstorms, hail, wind, and even a few tornados. My mother's and sister's homes are smack dab in the middle of very suburban Edmond. It's tough to see much of the sky so everyone stays glued to their phones or TV watching the weather. While I do that too, those devices don't show you if there are picture possibilities so I have to go outside and look around.

I was at my sister's the evening of May 11 as Norman, a few miles to the southeast, was getting some tornado warnings along with strong winds and hail. I could see the top of the thunderstorm from the front yard but being not very tall and surrounded by homes, trees, and fences I couldn't see very well. So, I launched my drone. Wow! What a difference being 391' tall can make. The sun was setting causing the golden hour glow on the highest clouds and the view was magnificent. I took a few photos but quickly realized that even with the drone's wide-angle lens I was not able to capture the whole scene. Most of you who read these posts know that I love creating panoramas and that proved to be the solution to create "Sunset Cumulus Panorama".

The challenge with creating panorama photographs with a drone is that the camera lens is very wide-angle and can impart a lot of distortion to the image. The solution is to overlap consecutive frames a lot. This image is made from 8 exposures with lots of overlap so the magical software can stitch it together accurately. It doesn't always work. This attempt was successful though and yielded a photograph I'm extremely pleased with. I hope you like it too.


(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #2S #aerial #aeriallandscapephoto #Air #Art #DJI #drone #Oklahoma #Oklahomaweather #panorama #panoramic #spring #thunderstorm #tornadophotography #weather #weatherphoto #weatherphotography 2S DJI drone Landscape panorama panoramic Photo Photography storm sunset The art of photography thunderstorm https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/5/how-the-art-happens---sunset-cumulus-panorama Wed, 24 May 2023 23:36:03 GMT
How the Art Happens - Lilly and Beauty https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/4/how-the-art-happens---lilly-and-beauty Lilly and Beauty

Lilly and BeautyLilly and Beauty-AA Glacier Lilly blooms above a Spring Beauty during springtime in Colorado.

One of the first signs of "Spring" here in the high country is the appearance of Glacier Lilies and Spring Beauties. These are among the very first flowers to appear and frequently bloom at the very edges of receding fields of snow. The fact they bloom in wet and muddy terrain makes photographing them challenging. The fact that the yellow Glacier Lilly is only a few inches tall and the Spring Beauty about an inch tall just adds to the fun.

Finding these two flowers together is not unusual but getting them into the same plane of focus for a close-up was difficult. When taking photos this close there is very limited depth of field even with a smaller aperture. Wriggling around on my stomach in the mud made me wonder just how badly I wanted to capture this scene. I am not a "wet belly" photographer very often! I do love a perfect Glacier Lilly, however, so I continued to refine the composition until I found an arrangement that worked for me. The Spring Beauty seemingly reaching for the sun while the Lilly seems to shy away just adds to the natural mystery of the scene.

While I have taught courses and led tours for wildflower photography for well over a decade, I rarely show or sell wildflower photographs. It's an interesting challenge to find compositions that other photographers avoid but they are really not my passion. I prefer grander landscapes to close-ups. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy this splash of color while I watch the 10' of snow in my yard start to melt.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #coloradocloseup #crestedbutte #flora #flower #floweringplant #flowerphotography #flowers #flowersofinstagram #flowerstagram #garden #glacierlilly #love #lukehemmings #macro #macrophotography #michaelclifford #nature #naturelovers #naturephotography #outdoorphoto #outdoorphotographymag #photography #plant #plants #secondsofsummer #sos #spring #springbeauty #summer #wildflower #wildflowers #wildflowersofinstagram #wildlife Art Colorado Crested Butte Photo Photography The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/4/how-the-art-happens---lilly-and-beauty Wed, 19 Apr 2023 12:00:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - The Three Amigas https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/4/how-the-art-happens---the-three-amigas The Three Amigas

The Three AmigasThe Three AmigasA trio of blooming Pasque flowers.

The Pasque Flower or Prairie Crocus is usually the first flower to bloom in spring around here. In other parts of the world, it blooms around Easter but that never happens up here. It blooms in both sunny and shady locations but the blossoms only open when the sun starts to hit them. They close each evening. Since they are the first spots of color in a brown or white landscape, they garner lots of attention and make us happy that spring will be a reality once more.

The Pasque Flower has become almost extinct in Europe and is a protected species in several countries. According to my Audubon Field Guide's description, it shouldn't bloom at this altitude. But it does. This causes me to wonder if it was brought here by our European settlers in the mining days of Crested Butte.

No matter how it got here, it's one of my favorite spring subjects. These colorful, little, hairy, flowers bring me a sense of calm and peace. I enjoy their open and closed presentation equally. My favorite ones to photograph are in pine forests. Their blooms offer a stark contrast in shape and color to the brown forest floor.

"The Three Amigas" took a little waiting to capture. When I arrived at my very favorite spot for Pasque Flowers the sun had not hit the forest floor and all the flowers were closed in protection from the chill of the previous night. I spent a little time hunting compositions with those flowers but I was really hoping for some sunshine. After a bit, the sun began to hit the forest floor and the blossoms began to slowly open. Compositions changed dramatically. I also had to be careful not to step on tomorrow's subjects. While there is no direct sunlight in this photograph, the sun had spent some time illuminating the three flowers in the foreground but became obscured by a passing cloud. This situation gave me bright but diffused daylight, my very favorite way to illuminate most wildflower subjects. I also like the bright insides of the petals which allow them to be the brightest part of the scene. Since our eyes are drawn to the brighter areas of a picture, it's a big win if the bright part of the scene is also the subject.

I hope you enjoy "The Three Amigas". I also hope to see some of these in 6-8 weeks as the snow slowly begins to melt in the Rocky Mountains.


(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #coloradooutside #crestedbuttephotographer #earth_shotz #flowers #ig_divineshots #ig_podium #igersmood #igworldglobal #imagescolorado #keepitwild #landscape_lovers #landscapecaptures #landscapehunter #landscapephoto #Landscapephotography #landscapephotomag #landscapeporn #marvelshots #mountains #nakedplanet #natgeotravelpic #natureperfection #Nikon #outdoorphotographer #Pasque #PasqueFlower #photutorial #planet #pocket_world #reallyrightstuff #roamtheplanet #RRS #splendid_earth #spring #sunsetphotography #theworldshotz #trapping_tones #travelgram #visualambassadors #wildflower #wildlifephotography Art color Colorado Crested Butte forest Landscape Photo photograph Photography The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/4/how-the-art-happens---the-three-amigas Thu, 13 Apr 2023 17:06:22 GMT
How the Art Happens - The Survivor https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/4/how-the-art-happens---the-survivor The Survivor

The SurvivorThe SurvivorAn abandoned cabin near Crested Butte, Colorado survives another winter.

I'm always surprised every spring when I see that this cabin has survived. I have to tip my hat to the pioneers that built it. Even though the ridge beam has been sagging for a decade and the top plate has been broken for nearly as long, This cabin just keeps hanging on. This photo is six years old. The cabin looks worse now but it is standing still. It's a popular spot for photographers.

While I would not qualify my photo as art, it records my neighborhood's history. Recording our history is a great reason to photograph our surroundings. Lots of images become more valuable over time as the pioneer spirit is slowly replaced by modern construction. I have been fortunate to capture images of the Conoco sign coming down over the museum, the deconstruction of The Manor Lodge, Jeramia's, The Swiss Chalet, and the bakery at the ski base area. Most of these places were not replaced. But, that's another story.

Most of the snow had melted by late April 2017. We woke up to a fresh dusting so I set out to see what I could find. Just a few miles outside of town I stopped at this iconic snow-covered cabin. I like that the ground and Whetstone Mountain were also decorated with fresh snow. The blue sky popping through the clouds seemed to represent a feeling of hope as the storm cleared. The cabin had survived another attack by mother nature. I also like that this cabin stands alone near the road with no vegetation or trees nearby. It seems alone against the elements.

I have a more popular autumn version called "Fixer Upper" made a few years earlier with an outrageous sky that decorates a few walls around the country.

"The Survivor" is a reminder to me that even as I start showing signs of wear and tear, I still have something to offer even if it's not this attractive. If you look closely, there's a marmot sitting beside the chimney. I only noticed this as I made a print for a friend in Fort Worth, Tx. I guess it pays to look closely at the things we capture.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #abandoned #adventure #alps #art #beautiful #cabin #christmas #cold #Colorado #Coloradooutside #crestedbutte #crestedbuttephotographer #D800 #hiking #ice #instagood #landscape #love #mountain #mountains #nature #naturephotography #Nikon #photography #photooftheday #photutorial #picoftheday #powder #reallyrightstuff #RRS #ski #skiing #sky #snow #snowboard #snowboarding #spring #travel #travelphotography #winter #winterwonderland Art cabin color Colorado Crested Butte Landscape Photo Photography snow spring The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/4/how-the-art-happens---the-survivor Wed, 05 Apr 2023 12:30:00 GMT
How the Art Hapens - UCO Campus from the Air https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/3/how-the-art-hapens---uco-campus-from-the-air UCO Campus From the Air

Old North Tower and the UCO CampusOld North Tower and the UCO CampusAerial view of the iconic Old North Tower on the University of Central Oklahoma campus.

Old North Tower is the iconic landmark at the historic entrance to the University of Central Oklahoma. It's also rumored to be the oldest building of higher education in the state. UCO is my alma mater located in Edmond!

I visit Edmond a couple of times each year usually to celebrate Mother's Day and Thanksgiving. I visit at this time of year mainly to avoid the heat of summer in Oklahoma of which I have grown less tolerant over the years.

I had this perspective in mind for a few years before I could finally capture it. Old North had to be the centerpiece since it was the most recognizable building on the campus. Plus, its iconic clock tower is a great feature. I wanted to show more of the campus which you cannot see from the ground. Since the building faces west the photo needed to be captured in the late afternoon. I also didn't want a bunch of cars or people in the photo. As it turned out, 5 pm on a Sunday afternoon in May was the perfect time. Avoiding the usual winds of central Oklahoma was also an objective since I was using a flying camera (drone) for the photo. One of the things I like most about the photo is the symmetry of Old North and the recently updated landscaping on this part of the campus. Old North really stands out against the randomness of the surrounding campus. It looks a lot better now than it did in the mid-1970s when I attended.

This image is probably not going to end up on anyone's wall unlike most of the photos I write about. But, in the two years it's been available as a stock image it's been licensed over 30 times. Maybe you saw it in a brochure, publication, or online article. As is the case with most of my photo ideas, I also make ground-based photos with a traditional camera. These have also been popular stock images but none as popular as the aerial version. "UCO Campus From the Air" is available here if you're interested.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #aerial #campus #Central #dji #drone #fromtheair #Oklahoma #oldnorth #OldNorthtower #P4P #Phantom4 #uco #University campus color Edmond Oklahoma Old North Old North Tower Photo Photography spring The art of photography UCO https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/3/how-the-art-hapens---uco-campus-from-the-air Fri, 31 Mar 2023 17:46:46 GMT
How the Art Happens - Crested Butte Mountain Summer https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/3/how-the-art-happens---crested-butte-mountain-summer Crested Butte Mountain Summer

Crested Butte Mountain SummerCrested Butte Mountain SummerWildflowers bloom below Crested Butte Mountain. Crested Butte, Colorado is the wildflower capital of Colorado and hosts a week-long wildflower festival every summer.

Crested Butte just broke 300" of snowfall for the season. We're not done yet either. These "Atmospheric Rivers" have been great for building our snowpack. And it's not just here. Park City, Utah has gotten over 500". Some ski areas in California are over 700". We do need the moisture to reverse this 20-year drought we've been in.

Big snowfalls are also really good for our summer wildflowers. Although it may take a little longer for the ground to clear and the flowers to bloom, the stage is set for a very colorful summer in the Rockies. I guess that's why Crested Butte has been declared "The Wildflower Capital of Colorado".

"Crested Butte Mountain Summer" was created in 2011. I don't really remember the previous winter but I'm guessing the snow was abundant. It's a little unusual for this many species to all bloom at the same time. It's more normal for them to bloom in stages. Especially in the meadow pictured above. The variety of colors and the sky are what got me out of the car on this day. Having a dramatic sky in a landscape photograph is a requirement for me. I also love the way the scene is illuminated. The peak of Crested Butte Mountain has nice, bright light, the flowers in the foreground are not in direct sunlight but they are brighter than the middle ground where there's nothing going on. Since our eyes are naturally drawn to the brighter parts of a scene it's important for our subject to have adequate illumination. Landscape photographers can spend hours waiting for the lighting of their scenes to develop. Sometimes it doesn't happen. This scene developed perfectly for me. There's not a thing I would change! I hope you enjoy "Crested Butte Mountain Summer".

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbutte #crestedbuttephotographer #D800 #DustyDemerson #landscapephotography #mountain #nikon #outdoorphoto #outdoorphotography #photooftheday #picoftheday #rockymountain #wildflowercapital #wildflowers Art color Colorado Crested Butte Landscape Photo photograph photography summer The art of photography wildflower capital https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/3/how-the-art-happens---crested-butte-mountain-summer Thu, 23 Mar 2023 15:37:58 GMT
How the Art Happens - A Ghost of Summer https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/3/how-the-art-happens---a-ghost-of-summer A Ghost of Summer

A Ghost of SummerA Ghost of SummerFresh, early snow leaves an imprint of a bicycle on a brick sidewalk covered with fallen aspen leaves.

It was late October and I was enjoying breakfast at the counter of Paradise Cafe in downtown Crested Butte. My friend Jack had joined me and we were having a great time catching up and harassing the servers. Jack lived just a few blocks away and had ridden his bike to breakfast as most folks in CB do. The town staff had recently removed all the bike racks getting ready for winter. As we finished our food it started to snow so Jack headed for home. I looked out the window and noticed this scene. I only had my phone but I had to capture the scene before it vanished. I ran out the door and took a few different photos before snow filled in the outline of Jack's bike.

"A Ghost of Summer" is the only photo I have ever sold from my phone. The phone would never be my first choice of cameras but it was all I had that day. I guess the lesson was to always be more prepared with better gear when I leave the house. But, I did get the shot! It hangs on a few walls and enjoyed some space in a magazine. I think it needs to be on the wall in Paradise Cafe soon.

I like the unique and fleeting qualities of this photo with the snow and the fallen, yellow leaves. It's not what I usually strive to create but sometimes I have to step off the path and do something a little different. Most of my art is conceived in my mind before I find it in nature. This one just jumped out at me. I'm glad it did.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #bicycle #bike #bikeart #changingseasons #CrestedButte #crestedbuttephotographer #ghost #iphone #iphoneart #photo #photography #photooftheday #Picoftheday Art bicycle bike Colorado Crested Butte fall Photo Photography snow The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/3/how-the-art-happens---a-ghost-of-summer Wed, 15 Mar 2023 18:06:49 GMT
How the Art Happens - Lazy F Bar Ranch Under Snow https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/3/how-the-art-happens---lazy-f-bar-ranch-under-snow Lazy F Bar Ranch Under Snow

Lazy F Bar Ranch Under SnowLazy F Bar Ranch Under SnowThe Lazy F Bar Ranch near Crested Butte, Colorado is literally buried under deep, fresh snow with Whetstone Mountain in the distance

With over a foot of snow in the forecast for the weekend, I thought I would share a winter scene. Not far outside Crested Butte lies the Lazy F Bar Ranch. It's a popular summer wedding venue but sees very little use in the winter.


I woke up to a bluebird day on March 1, 2017. A winter storm had left us with lots of fresh white powder and a temperature below zero. I drove out to this ranch thinking it might look interesting from the air. It was completely buried. Mount Whetstone stood against a perfect blue sky in the distance. I have always loved the massiveness of Whetstone and I make new photographs of it every chance I get.


Below-freezing temperatures are not usually a great situation for flying a drone! I knew the battery wouldn't last long but, as it turned out, the battery outlasted my fingers. I didn't have to fly very long to create this composition since the drone pretty much went straight up 100 feet and then straight back down. The camera wasn't in the air for 5 minutes but since I can't work the touch-screen with gloves on, my fingers were completely numb. The buried ranch buildings and fences looked pretty cool from above, however. My fingers eventually thawed out and still work today.


The aerial perspective does not benefit every subject but it definitely helps tell the story of the "Lazy F Bar Ranch Under Snow".

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #aerial #buried #crestedbutte #crestedbuttephotographer #DJI #drone #lazyfbar #photooftheday #picoftheday #ranch #snow #snowstorm #whetstone #winter aerial Art Colorado Crested Butte drone Landscape Mountain Photo Photography ranch snow The art of photography Whetstone winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/3/how-the-art-happens---lazy-f-bar-ranch-under-snow Thu, 09 Mar 2023 17:12:02 GMT
How the Art Happens - Denali From the Train https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/3/how-the-art-happens---denali-from-the-train Denali From the Train

Denali from the trainDenali from the trainDenali from the train to Anchorage.

It's hard to believe that it was nearly 19 years ago that I got to join my family on a trip to Alaska. We traveled by ship, train, plane, and bus. We traveled, literally, from one end to the other; through the inside passage all the way to Prudhoe Bay and back to Anchorage.

They say that only about 30 percent of visitors get to see Denali or Mount McKinley since it's usually shrouded in clouds. We got really lucky. We saw it on 3 different days from the plane, the bus, and finally, from the train. "Denali From the Train" was captured while heading back to Anchorage from the park. The train cars had a small observation deck at the rear of the car with room enough for two observers. Alaska was suffering from near-record heat and several wildfires while we were there. I was the only person using the platform for photos since it was over ninety degrees outside. I don't remember exactly where we were along the route but the view was spectacular.

I rarely have high hopes for successful images when I travel since I don't have the option to stop the car, wait for great light, or to cruise around looking for better compositions. This is why I usually travel alone but this was the trip of a lifetime and I love traveling with my family.

I really like the river in the foreground and that I was able to create a photo from such an unusual vantage point, one I had never seen before. I used a Nikon D800 with a 24-120mm lens. This is the lens that lives on the camera because of the incredible wide-angle to short-telephoto range. It also has a vibration reduction feature that helped keep this photo sharp. I was only able to capture a few frames since we were usually traveling through dense forests.

I hope you enjoy this unique view of the iconic Denali.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #Alaska #Denali #HollandAmerica #landscape #landscapephotomag #Mckinley #Nikon #outdoorphotomag #photooftheday #travelphoto Alaska Anchorage Art color cruise Denali Landscape Mckinley Mount Mountain Mt Photo Photography river The art of photography tour train https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/3/how-the-art-happens---denali-from-the-train Wed, 01 Mar 2023 19:45:33 GMT
How the Art Happens - Belleview Mountain Panorama https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/2/how-the-art-happens---belleview-mountain-panorama Belleview Mountain Panorama

Belleview Mountain PanoramaBelleview Mountain PanoramaBright yellow aspen trees cover the valley floor below Belleview Mountain in western Colorado near Crested Butte.

Ansel Adams is quoted as saying "A good photograph is largely about where you stand". This statement is undoubtedly true about the photograph above. I would add that a landscape photographer frequently uses foreground objects to hide middle-ground distractions.


You see, this panorama was created looking up the East River Valley north of Crested Butte, Colorado. The town of Gothic lies between the stand of golden aspens and the majestic Belleview Mountain to the west. Gothic, Colorado is the site of the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab and has lots of science experiments dotting the landscape around the town. For a landscape photographer, these experiments are not at all photogenic. The town is also host to many small, miner's cabins that are quite photogenic but would be a distraction to this photograph.


So, to hide the distractions and the experiments I chose a perspective just below the road so that the aspen grove hid the buildings and science stuff. There are actually a couple of cabins in the aspen grove that disappear from this perspective as well.


It's pretty rare that we awake to cloudy skies in mid-September but this day presented a little cloud cover that adds quite a bit of interest to the sky above the peaks in the warm, early-morning light. The clouds also provide some shadows on the flanking slopes that draw the eye to the middle of the scene. This is almost critical for a panorama photo. I just had to wait for the lighting to develop. The peaks and the aspen grove had to be in full sun while the shadows had to land in the middle ground. Once the scene came together, I had to capture the 7 vertical frames quickly before the clouds moved too much. The lens I used was the Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 at 200mm. I like to use longer telephoto lenses for panoramas since they compress the apparent space between the foreground and the subject. A sturdy Really Right Stuff tripod, a remote release, and an RRS panorama tripod head are critical in getting all 7 images to align correctly. Back at the studio, I use software to stitch the 7 photos together to create the panoramic view you see above.


I hope you enjoy how "Belleview Mountain Panorama". Lots of moving pieces have to come together at the same time in landscape photography!

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #Belleview #crestedbuttephotographer #D850 #gothic #landscape #landscapephotomag #Nikon #outdoorphotographer #panorama #panoramic #photo #photography #photooftheday #reallyrightstuff #rmbl #RRS Art aspen autumn color Colorado Crested Butte fall forest Landscape Photo photograph Photographer Photography The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/2/how-the-art-happens---belleview-mountain-panorama Thu, 23 Feb 2023 18:36:36 GMT
How the Art Happens - Fire in the Grove https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/2/how-the-art-happens---fire-in-the-grove Fire in the Grove

Fire In The GroveFire In The GroveThe remnants of autumn. A stand of brightly colored aspen trees surrounded by bare, snow covered trees symbolizes the last hold-outs to a change of seasons.

It seems every autumn brings unique compositions for fall-color photos. All I have to do is keep my eyes and mind open to new opportunities. The season represented in "Fire in the Grove" was in the rear-view mirror. Most of the leaves had fallen and the drive over Kebler Pass was dusted with fresh snow. Winter was on the way!

At the base of East Beckwith Mountain lies a huge mixed aspen and conifer forest, one of the drive's most colorful parts. This particular fall had been windy, removing the aspen leaves as quickly as they turned yellow. I'm not a biologist or botanist, or one of those folks who study trees, so I'm really just guessing why these trees were holding onto their leaves after all their neighbors had given up. I propose that the trees deep within the grove were protected from the wind and also from lower temperatures that cause the leaves to turn. Readers are welcome to correct me if they wish. Whatever the reason, I was gifted with a late-October composition I call "Fire in the Grove".

I like the color contrast as well as the panoramic composition which helps isolate the subject and reduce competing forms and less interesting distractions. I also like the dark, pointy, conifers which contrast in shape with the golden aspen trees.

Although this is an older image, it decorates a few homes around the country with its flaming colors.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #aspenforest #crestedbutte #fallcolor #KeblerPass #landscapephoto #landscapephotomag #nikon #outdoorphotomag #panorama #panoramic #photooftheday #picoftheday Art aspen autumn color Colorado Crested Butte fall forest gold golden Landscape panorama panoramic Photo Photography The art of photography yellow https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/2/how-the-art-happens---fire-in-the-grove Wed, 15 Feb 2023 18:00:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Springlight https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/2/how-the-art-happens---springlight Springlight

Springlight - East River ValleySpringlight - East River ValleyA sliver of sunlight illuminates fresh green aspen leaves along the banks of the East River near Crested Butte, Colorado.

Every spring when the aspen trees transition from their bare winter branches to lush green foliage we get a few days of new lime-green leaves. These fresh leaves are semi-transparent and seem to glow before they become their usual dark green. These few days are a great time to get out and capture this fleeting transition of the landscape.

One of my favorite views is just a few miles from my home. The East River valley offers lots of variety for landscapes all year long. On this spring morning, the sky was mostly cloudy but spots of sunlight provided occasional bright patches of light moving across the valley floor.

Finding a pleasing composition was a bit of a challenge but I liked the contrast between the dark conifers and the bright aspen trees. A 300mm long telephoto lens and a sturdy tripod got me much closer to my subject and helped reduce unwanted areas of the scene. Once discovered, all I had to do was wait for the light. It seems like I do that a lot. It doesn't always cooperate.

This morning, however, I got exactly what I was hoping for. The foreground and background fell into shade while the subject area became nicely illuminated. Since our eyes are naturally attracted to the brighter parts of a scene, I had very little editing work to do after the capture. I wanted the shadow areas to retain detail to reinforce the brighter subject so I did lighten the shadow areas a tad.

I have a few more months of white landscapes before I can chase these lime-green leaves again but I have a lot of winter scenes on my shot list. It's time to get to work! I hope you enjoy "Springlight".

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #art #crestedbutte #crestedbuttephotographer #landscape #landscapephoto #photooftheday #picoftheday #spring Art Colorado Crested Butte Landscape Photo Photography spring The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2023/2/how-the-art-happens---springlight Tue, 07 Feb 2023 18:17:09 GMT
How The Art Happens - The Last of the Winter Bones https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2022/5/how-the-art-happens---the-last-of-the-winter-bones  

The Last of the Winter Bones

The Last of the Winter BonesThe Last of the Winter BonesA Colorado aspen forest slowly turns to green after a long bare winter near Kebler Pass and Crested Butte along the West Elk Loop scenic byway.

It's finally starting to feel like spring again. Afternoon winds are melting the snow and Aspen and Cottonwood trees are starting their slow progression to deep green foliage. Every grove of trees begins this journey with tiny, lime-green leaves that provide a wonderful contrast to the stark white trunks of the aspen trees. This journey can last a few days or a week or more depending on the weather.


It's the contrast that I am attracted to. The lime-green leaves seem to really make those tree trunks pop and seem even more bright. But, even more, it's the promise of warmer, summer temperatures and our backcountry roads opening again to travel to my favorite spots.


"The Last of the Winter Bones" was created using a long, 400mm, telephoto lens to get me closer to the subject but also to compress the distance in the scene. Using this technique, especially with small apertures for increased depth of field requires a commitment to perfect technique. A sturdy tripod, locking the camera's mirror up, and using a cable release all aid in creating a photograph that's sharp from front to back. I think it's especially important to have details like tree trunks and tiny leaves in razor-sharp focus for the larger prints I usually create from these images. The other key ingredient in the photo above is the lighting. I usually prefer bright but diffused sunlight provided by a thinly overcast sky. I feel that deep shadows from direct sunlight detract from the feeling of the scene.


I hope you enjoy "The Last of the Winter Bones". It's one of my favorite spring photographs.


(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbutte #crestedbuttephotographer #d850 #fineartphoto #fineartphotography #keblerpass #landscapephotography #Nikon #reallyrightstuff #rrs #westelkbyway #westelkloop Art color Colorado Crested Butte forest Landscape Photo photograph photography The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2022/5/how-the-art-happens---the-last-of-the-winter-bones Sat, 28 May 2022 16:32:31 GMT
How the Art Happens - Kaleidoscope Gulch https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2021/10/how-the-art-happens---kaleidoscope-gulch Kaleidoscope Gulch

Kalaidescope GulchKaleidoscope GulchBrightly colored aspen leaves explode as a spot of sunlight filters through the clouds near Crested Butte, Colorado.

Some mornings I look out the window and wonder if it's going to be worth getting out of bed. It was just after the peak of fall colors around Crested Butte. I was happy with my results capturing the colors of autumn for the season. I didn't feel like I had anything else to accomplish this fall, picture-wise. The sky was grey and socked-in. The landscape was mostly brown.

As I headed home after breakfast at Paradise Cafe there were little holes in the cloud cover starting to form. Spots of sunlight were beginning to dance across the landscape. Knowing it was probably a fool's errand, I decided to get out and see what I could see with little expectations. I remembered this particular drainage off Whiterock Mountain from a few days earlier and decided to check it out. The colors were perfect but in the deep shade of the ravine and with the subdued light from the clouds there was no "pop" to the scene. Since my expectations were already low, I decided to set up and hope for the best.

I pulled out the "bomber" Really Right Stuff tripod, the Tamron 150 - 600 mm telephoto, and the remote. The scene I wanted to capture was at least 1/2 mile away and I needed all the stability I could muster to keep the stark white aspen trees as sharp as possible.

Once I got set up, it became a waiting game. Watching spots of sunlight move across the valley while they morphed and disappeared without warning was pretty frustrating. A few spots of light got close to my subject just before vanishing. It was a long wait!

I made 16 photos leading up to this one before getting the light and composition that I wanted. It took about 30 minutes of watching and waiting but, I think the results were worth the wait. I used an Ansel Adams technique of vignetting the corners of the scene to keep the viewer's eyes within the frame of the photo and applied just a little bit of dodging and burning to even out the contrast on the aspens. I hope you like "Kaleidoscope Gulch". It's one of my favorites from this fall which is curious since I tend to shy away from high contrast scenes. I like the color and brightness contrasts of this scene as well as the diagonal composition which adds some excitement. I'm also drawn to the variety of bright colors against the darker browns of the landscape. What I like is a bit of a mystery. Even to me sometimes!

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #coloradofallcolor #crestedbuttefallcolor #crestedbuttephotographer #D850 #landscaephotography #landscapephotomag #landscapephotomagazine #nikon #outdoorphotographer #photooftheday #picoftheday #reallyrightstuff #rrs #Tamron Art autumn color Colorado Crested Butte fall Landscape Photo Photography The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2021/10/how-the-art-happens---kaleidoscope-gulch Wed, 27 Oct 2021 01:30:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Autumn Glory https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2021/10/how-the-art-happens---autumn-glory Autumn Glory

Autumn GloryAutumn GloryAn impressionistic approach to fabulous fall colors on the flank of Gothic Mountain near Crested Butte, Colorado.

Fall is my very favorite time of year. It's usually colorful, warm, and not as busy as the summer season. This year was no exception. In fact, the mixture of reds, yellows, and greens made it one of the most memorable autumns for photography in recent memory. It seemed to take forever to get here since sub-freezing temperatures really get the colors flowing and that was pretty late this year. But, when it finally happened it certainly did not disappoint.

The south flank of Gothic Mountain up Washington Gulch is one of the earlier places to find good color near Crested Butte and I visited the area several times and got several new, strong, images.

One problem with photographing the same area for over 30 years is that it becomes a challenge to find something new. One actually gets to recognize specific trees and drainages like old friends. Which, of course, they are.

I have always loved and appreciated the work of impressionistic painters. It's a look that is difficult to achieve with photography since this medium is all about saving detail rather than capturing the impression of the shapes and colors. I've been trying to replicate this technique for a long time with very limited success. The original photograph of the image above looks much like one I caught a few years ago. This year my visit was on an overcast day and the saturation of the colors was amazing with very few shadows. My favorite light! But I had to create something different.

Using a software program called Topaz Simplify allowed me to eliminate a lot of the photographic details and replace them with large, random shapes like brushstrokes. After playing with the adjustments for a while, I created an image that was just what I was looking for. "Autumn Glory" gets to the feel of the scene without the overwhelming details. How do you like it?

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #ColoradoFallColors #CrestedButte #crestedbuttephotographer #impressionism #impressionistic #landscapephotomag #landscapephotomagazine #outdoorphotographymagazine #outdoorphotomag #TopazLabs #TopazSimplify Art autumn color Colorado Crested Butte fall forest Landscape Photo photography The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2021/10/how-the-art-happens---autumn-glory Thu, 21 Oct 2021 20:18:33 GMT
How the Art Happens - Autumn Reds https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2021/9/how-the-art-happens---autumn-reds How the Art Happens - Autumn Reds

Red Autumn Aspen LeavesAutumn RedsBright red leaves cover an aspen tree in early autumn near Crested Butte, Colorado.

Every year about this time there are a few patches of aspen leaves that turn anywhere from orange to red, to crimson. There are a few theories out there that try to tell us what's going on but the phenomenon can change from year to year. Yet, there are other groves of aspen trees that turn red every year. There is even a large grove near my home that turns a dark crimson before falling to the ground.

Whatever the reason, it adds a lot of excitement to the yellows and greens in our fall colors.

This particular image, "Autumn Reds" comes from a pretty consistent stand of trees that you can actually drive through. In fact, the close-up nature of this image is the result of trying to keep traffic out of the photo while still capturing the vibrant colors. I used a long, 300mm telephoto lens with a larger aperture to separate the reds from the yellows and have the trunks razor-sharp.

I hope this photograph speaks to you about the vibrancy and excitement of the fall season like it does to me. I know that soon I'll be looking at scenes of white for about 5 months.

If you would like to know more about the science of leaf colors, here's a link to a great resource. https://inlightofnature.com/why-are-some-aspens-red/

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #coloradofallcolor #crestedbutte #crestedbuttephotographer #fallcolor #fallfoliage #landscapephotograph #nature #naturephotographer Art aspen autumn color Colorado Crested Butte fall Landscape ographer Photo Photography The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2021/9/how-the-art-happens---autumn-reds Sun, 26 Sep 2021 17:06:55 GMT
How the Art Happens - Sunset at the Dike https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2021/5/how-the-art-happens---sunset-at-the-dike Sunset at the DikeSunset at the DikeThe last light of the day paints Ruby and Owen peaks with red alpenglow along the West Elk Loop near Crested Butte, Colorado.

Sunset at the Dike

The West Elk Loop scenic drive offers lots of opportunities for great landscape photos. This overlook at Horse Ranch Park is one of the best and most popular places in Colorado for capturing fall colors at sunset. It can be a great place to find famous and infamous photographers from all over the world in early October.

I have been making pictures from this spot for over 30 years and it still hasn't gotten old yet. It does come with some challenges though. First, the sun needs a straight shot to the peaks of Ruby and Owen Mountain. That doesn't happen every day and sometimes it doesn't happen for a week or longer. The second thing that I need to happen is having some interesting clouds in the sky. That doesn't happen every evening either. Another significant challenge is that the colorful aspen forest below the peaks is in deep shadow by the time the peaks light up. This is where technology can come to the rescue.

After photographing this scene dozens of times with neutral density filters and also trying to pull detail out of the deep shadows, I decided to try something different. There is a process of using a variety of multiple exposures and combining them in Adobe Photoshop to create a single image with detail in both the bright and dark areas of the scene. This technique is called HDR. I discovered that it can also be successful using a single exposure in a program I use for my real estate photos. The program is Aurora HDR and has a few advantages over Photoshop but takes significantly longer to process a file.

As I was "playing" with some older images a few weeks ago it occurred to me that I may be able to reprocess this image from a few years ago and get it to a place that I may want to print it. After a little trial and more than a few errors, I was able to get everything looking correctly balanced. While the scene never really looks like this to the naked eye, it does feel like this when the magic happens. I hope you enjoy "Sunset at the Dike".

There's a patch of trees up here on the right that always turn red. Here's a link to the science behind that phenomenon.  https://inlightofnature.com/why-are-some-aspens-red/


(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #aurorahdr #CrestedButte #crestedbuttephotographer #KeblerPass #landscapephoto #landscapephotographer #landscapephotography #outdoorphotographer #rubyrange #westelkloop Art autumn Colorado Crested Butte Dike fall HDR Landscape Photo Photography Ruby Range The art of photography West Elk Loop https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2021/5/how-the-art-happens---sunset-at-the-dike Wed, 19 May 2021 12:00:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Making Mistakes https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2021/4/how-the-art-happens---making-mistakes Making Mistakes

Netties BikerNetties Biker

It seems like every spring we get a couple of days that remind us of what's to come temperature-wise. You know those days. Weather folks call it "unseasonably warm". The air is 50 degrees when it's supposed to be 30. Those are good days to grab a camera and get outside. Or, maybe not.

In early April we had a few days like that. It was just too nice not to be outside. Most of the ground was still covered in that formerly fluffy white stuff but the melting had begun. I headed up to one of my favorite overlooks for a view of one of my favorite subjects. Using a long, 400mm lens, I was able to capture the cabin, its surroundings, as well as a lone biker in a bright green jacket. The jacket became the only really colorful part of the photo so he really stood out, which is the whole point of the jacket. I stayed there for a while making photos of cars driving by, other bikers, and the scene with no traffic. I also took photos in a vertical format which I always try to do if the subject allows. You just never know what your editors are going to need! It was a fun and sunny several hours capturing multiple subjects from this and a few other locations.

Then I started the editing process. First, I find compositions that I prefer like the one above. Then I open them in my software and adjust the color balance, crop, sharpen, and remove any dust spots. That's when the disappointments started. As I evaluated my photos at 100% enlargement I got a huge surprise.

Do you know how, on hot days, the pavement seems to ripple in the waves of heat rising from the road? Did you know that can happen at 50 degrees over snow? I didn't either! In every single long-lens photograph.

Most of my fun, sunny day's work was ruined. You can't really tell from the photo above but there's not a straight line in the scene and, if you look closely, the scene looks like you're looking through the glass from a shower door. If I were looking for an impressionistic approach to these scenes, I was well on the way to success. That's probably not what my editors are looking for. I did learn a valuable lesson. I wonder how many more lessons I have to learn after a 40-year career?


(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbutte #crestedbuttephotographer #landscapephoto #landscapephotography #lessonlearned #spring #theartofphotography Art cabin Colorado Crested Butte Landscape mistake Photo Photography snow The art of photography weather winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2021/4/how-the-art-happens---making-mistakes Wed, 28 Apr 2021 12:45:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Cathedral https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2021/4/how-the-art-happens---cathedral CathedralCathedralFresh spring snow decorates towering aspen trees creating a Colorado Cathedral.


Springtime brings green grass and leaves along with flowers to most parts of our country. Life at 9,000 feet is a little different though. Most of the moisture falling from the sky before June comes in the form of snow. Spring snows are usually wet and sticky unlike our familiar "powder". Spring snow sticks to stuff like branches, cars, signs, etc. But, it doesn't stick around for very long. If I'm going to chase spring snow I have to get to work quickly.

Two years ago in late April, we were blessed with a spring snowstorm that created a fantasy world in the local forests. I jumped in the Jeep and drove around trying to find some interesting images before the snow melted or simply fell from its landing spots. I found this collection of aspen trees not far from my home that was well-decorated with fresh snow. That part was expected. What was unexpected was the feeling created by the convergence of the towering trees. Slightly enhanced by the use of a wide-angle lens, this snow-covered aspen forest resembled a cathedral with tree pillars reaching for the heavens. I spent some time in this church and took home a few photos.

Coming up with titles to my photos is one of my more challenging tasks. It's not a task I enjoy and I sometimes seek input from other people who can see the photograph with less biased eyes. This was not the case with "Cathedral". I had the title before I left the scene. Spending time in nature is like going to church for me and many others. It's where I find my center and get away from life's distractions.

As we move into another April, I'm looking forward to spending more time in my cathedrals before the summer crowds arrive. I hope to see you in church!

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #cathedral #crestedbutte #crestedbuttephotographer #fineartphoto #fineartphotography #landscapephoto #landscapephotography #naturephotography #photoblog Art aspen cathedral church Colorado Crested Butte forest Landscape Photo photograph photography snow spring The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2021/4/how-the-art-happens---cathedral Wed, 07 Apr 2021 15:52:43 GMT
How the Art Happens - Don't Call Me Skunk Cabbage https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2021/3/how-the-art-happens---dont-call-me-skunk-cabbage Dont Call Me Skunk CabbageDont Call Me Skunk CabbageIntertwined leaves of the Corn Lilly glow green in soft spring light.

Don't Call me Skunk Cabbage


There's a plant in the high country that grows every spring in damp areas. It has huge, bright green leaves but doesn't produce flowers every year. Many locals call this plant Skunk Cabbage. My biologist friends assure me that this is not Skunk Cabbage, a completely different plant that's not native to Colorado. This one is actually called Corn Lilly.

Whatever we call it, we always look forward to its arrival since it means green will be the dominant color for the next few months. I like its shape. The entwined and overlapping leaves have gentle curves and a subtle texture under soft, diffused light, creating a somewhat abstract form. I enjoy finding abstract forms in nature though I don't think I'm very good at it. It seems like we need to look much closer at our subjects to find the abstract and I'm more of a "big picture" photographer. The Corn Lilly is the perfect subject for discovering those abstract forms in a larger subject. Although the bright sun can make it look harsh and shiny with deep shadows, bright diffused light makes this plant sing to me. The biggest challenge seems to be finding perfect subjects since bugs like to chew on the leaves and they catch anything that falls from above. They grow up to 2 inches a day so catching fresh subjects can be challenging.

I'm still searching for the perfect title for this photograph so, if you have any ideas, I would love to hear about them. I'm not really sold on "Don't Call Me Skunk Cabbage".

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #abstractphoto #abstractphotography #cornlilly #crestedbuttephotographer #fineartphoto #fineartphotography #howthearthappens #MacroPhotography #Nikon #photoblog #photogallery #spring #wildflowerfestival Art color Colorado Corn Lilly Crested Butte Photography Skunk Cabbage The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2021/3/how-the-art-happens---dont-call-me-skunk-cabbage Wed, 31 Mar 2021 12:00:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - 4 Crosses - San Geronimo Church https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2021/1/how-the-art-happens---4-crosses---san-geronimo-church Four Crosses - San Geronimo ChurchFour Crosses - San Geronimo ChurchThe 4 crosses of San Geronimo Church of Taos Pueblo, New Mexico top this highly symmetrical, historic mission built in 1850 after the destruction of the original Spanish Colonial chuch just outside the walls of the Pueblo.

Four Crosses - San Geronimo Church

I miss being able to travel. I love to travel. Especially in the southwest United States. I especially like visiting and discovering the Spanish Colonial mission churches in this part of the country. So many have suffered the ravages of 400 - 500 years of wear and tear and are now ruins, unlike the San Geronimo Church above.

While visiting Taos Pueblo in New Mexico, I was first captivated by the original ruins and cemetery just outside the walls of the famous pueblo. The original church was hundreds of years old but was ultimately destroyed in the mid-1800s to quell an uprising. This version of the church is within the walls of the Pueblo and was built in 1850. I love the symmetry of the bell towers and crosses. This is pretty common among the churches in Northern New Mexico. The contrast of the white-washed portions with the blue sky and warm-toned adobe creates a minimalist palette that I really love. I don't usually like a cloudless sky but in this case, I think it supports the minimalism and clean lines of the composition.

Taos Pueblo is a favorite place of mine to visit even though the residents are frequently less than welcoming. The history and architecture of a Pueblo occupied for over 1,000 years makes the visit worthwhile. Finding good photographic subjects, however, can be a challenge. Especially if you're trying to find a unique point of view which is always my goal. I'm not here to do what has already been done!

Today, traveling in New Mexico from out of state requires a 14-day quarantine making this destination off-limits to most of us. I hope we can get back to a more normal lifestyle in the near future. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy "Four Crosses - San Geronimo Church".

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbuttephotographer #fineartphotography #missionchurch #photoblog #sangeronimo #taospueblo #theartofphotography #travelphotography art church colonial historic mission new mexico photo photography san geronimo spanish taos the art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2021/1/how-the-art-happens---4-crosses---san-geronimo-church Wed, 06 Jan 2021 17:45:51 GMT
How the Art Happens - Warm Wishes https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/12/how-the-art-happens---warm-wishes Warm Wishes

Warm WishesWarm WishesA decorated Victorian front porch welcomes Christmas visitors in Crested Butte, Colorado.

This time of year I usually spend a few evenings and early mornings cruising the streets of Crested Butte looking for well-decorated homes and shops. Our historic, Victorian architecture lends a beautiful touch to some subtle holiday decorations. A little snow helps too. Sometimes my work helps put me in the mood I need to celebrate the holiday season.

I hope you are able to find whatever puts you in the mood to celebrate in the next few days. Warm Wishes from Crested Butte!

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbutte #crestedbuttechristmas #crestedbuttephotographer #crestedbuttephotography Art Christmas Colorado Crested Butte decorations holiday lights Photo Photography The art of photography Victorian winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/12/how-the-art-happens---warm-wishes Thu, 24 Dec 2020 13:30:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Elk Avenue Snow https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/12/how-the-art-happens---elk-avenue-snow Elk Avenue SnowElk Avenue SnowRecord snow hangs off the colorful shops that line Elk Avenue, the main street through Crested Butte, Colorado. Elk Avenue Snow

The winter of 2007-2008 brought record amounts of snow to the mountains of Colorado. In December, usually a pretty dry month, we had over 100" of snow in a 10 day period. It was beautiful. It put huge smiles on the skier's faces. It put some smiles on the photographer's faces as well.

Back then the town of Crested Butte left the piles of snow as a buffer between street and sidewalk traffic. Each business would have to shovel a hole in front of their shop so shoppers parked along the street could get to the sidewalk and their stores. Although the weight of this much snow can threaten the building below, it accumulated much more quickly than anyone could shovel it off. It did make for some great photos though.

One of the tricks to getting great snow photos is to get to the snow before anyone else does. It's much nicer without cars, tracks, and those shoveled paths to the street. Also, once the sun hits it, snow starts to fall from tree branches and signs. "Elk Avenue Snow" was captured just before sunrise on a completely empty street devoid of cars or people. Before sunrise the light is soft and there are few shadows, just about always my favorite lighting scenario. The color balance before sunrise is a little blue. I could correct for that and make the snow more neutral but I really preferred the cooler feel to the image. I like to use a longer, telephoto lens for photographs like this since it seems to compress more buildings into less space. I used an 80-200mm zoom lens at 135mm on my Fujifilm S5 Pro camera for this image. The exposure was 1 second at f16 making the tripod a necessity. A tripod is usually a necessary tool in my photography.

As we head into winter again, most of us up in the mountains are hoping to end 2020 with abundant snowfall. Our attitudes could really use a break this year! I hope you enjoy "Elk Avenue Snow".



(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbutte #crestedbuttephoto #crestedbuttephotographer #crestedbuttephotography #elkavenue #howthearthappens #mainstreet #photoblog #travelphoto #travelphotography Art Colorado Crested Butte main street Photo Photography picture shops snow The art of photography winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/12/how-the-art-happens---elk-avenue-snow Wed, 02 Dec 2020 13:30:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - What is it About Black and White https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/11/how-the-art-happens---what-is-it-about-black-and-white What is it About Black and White?

Western Colorado Summer ThunderstormWestern Colorado Summer ThunderstormBeautiful cumulus clouds drop heavy rain in Gunnison County, Colorado on a summer afternoon.

For many of the early decades of photography creating images in color was not an option. That may have been a good thing for photography artistically. The lack of color causes us to view the photograph more abstractly. It's clearly not the reality we're looking at so we tend to concentrate on the forms, subject, lighting, and composition instead of viewing the scene as a snapshot of reality.

With many scenes, in my experience, the color in the original scene actually competes with the subject. The scene above is a great example since the blue in the sky and brown tones of the foreground pulled attention away from the storm. Another advantage of converting or working in black and white is a much greater ability to modify contrast. Had I increased the contrast of the color version to achieve the tonality above, the photo would be extremely garish and harsh. With color photography, there's a fairly limited range of adjustments to contrast, saturation, and color that we will find acceptable. If we take the adjustments too far, the image looks fake and overly manipulated. Since monotone photography is already an abstract concept, we have a lot more freedom in the available adjustments.

The pioneers of black and white landscape photography like Adams, Weston, Caponigro, and others used this freedom to great effect. They manipulated tone and contrast to re-create their vision of the landscape. If a photographer can take photos of apples or peppers and make prints that make you wonder if you're looking at the night sky instead, real abstract magic has been applied. I've never seen that effect duplicated in color imagery. Ansel Adams created some iconic landscapes using filters and processing techniques that allowed him to accentuate the subject and create unreal contrast with the surrounding sky or foliage. Because we see monochrome photography abstractly, we accept black skies and bright foliage without question. The same approach just doesn't fly with color photography even though many have tried. We tend to end-up with photographs that are interesting at first glance but tend to annoy us if we look at them for too long. If they end up on our walls, they don't stay there very long. Black and white photography, however, becomes timeless.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #blackandwhite #crestedbuttephotographer #landscapephotomag #monochrome #outdoorphotomag abstract Adams Ansel Art black and white Caponigro Landscape monochrome Photo Photography The art of photography Weston https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/11/how-the-art-happens---what-is-it-about-black-and-white Sat, 14 Nov 2020 17:40:15 GMT
How the Art Happens - Crystal Mill Colors https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/10/how-the-art-happens---crystal-mill-colors Crystal Mill Colors

Crystal Mill ColorsCrystal Mill ColorsThe historic and famous Crystal Mill along the Crystal River between the Colorado towns of Crystal and Marble. While not actually a mill, the historic building actually provided compressed air to run local mining operations on Sheep Mountain.

A few years ago after most of the leaves had fallen from the trees near my home I decided to make the drive over to Aspen while Kebler Pass was still open. When I got to the top of McClure Pass I discovered that the fall colors were peaking and the tops of the mountains were dusted with a little fresh snow. The trip to Aspen would have to wait. After photographing the colorful forests surrounding the pass It occurred to me that the historic Crystal Mill might be perfect. So, I made the arduous drive to the famous "mill" near Crystal City.

It's always a challenge to photograph an iconic scene in a new or unique way. The front of the building is almost always in the shade but I wanted the color and texture to be visible in my photo. I made a series of exposures to make certain I had details in the shadows and then combined them using a technique called HDR. I used a 17mm wide-angle lens to include the river and waterfall which help frame the building. Today, this specific point of view has become overgrown and is very difficult to achieve. Having the golden aspen forest and great clouds in the sky was an added bonus.

Even though lots of photographers have created similar photographs, "Crystal Mill Colors" remains one of my favorite images. I hope you like it too!


(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbuttephotographer #crystalmill #fineartphotography #howthearthappens #landscapephotomag #photoblog #travelphoto #travelphotography Art aspen autumn color Colorado Crystal Crystal Mill fall famous iconic Landscape Marble Photo Photography river The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/10/how-the-art-happens---crystal-mill-colors Wed, 14 Oct 2020 17:35:26 GMT
How the Art Happens - Autumn Impressions https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/10/how-the-art-happens---autumn-impressions Autumn Impressions

Autumn ImpressionsAutumn ImpressionsFall Aspen trees reflected in Lake Grant near Crested Butte, Colorado create an impressionistic view of fall color.

I have always enjoyed the art created by the impressionist painters. I recently learned that many of them used photography to capture the scenes of life they later expressed in their paintings. The photograph above brings the art of impressionism full-circle back to photography.

After trying unsuccessfully, for many years to create that painterly look in my photographs, it turned out that nature provided the perfect fuzziness that filters and brushes in software just could not achieve. The thing I like most about the art of the impressionists is that they can convey a subject using color and form without distracting details. Getting rid of the details is pretty tough using modern photographic techniques. Even using special optics like the Lens Baby or glass filters with nail polish has left me disappointed with the results.

"Autumn Impressions" was photographed in 2014 at Lake Grant in the Skyland community near Crested Butte. The light was my favorite for photographing aspen forests, bright and diffused daylight. The fall colors were at their peak and the perfect ripples in the lake were provided by aerators used to circulate air through the water. My first attempts at composing this image included the tops of the colorful trees but the rocks and dirt behind them were distracting and pulled attention away from the reflection. I think the white trunks of the aspen trees bring quite a lot to the scene. Some other species of tree might not have worked as well.

I hope you like "Autumn Impressions". It just sold from Paradise Cafe in downtown Crested Butte, Colorado.


(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbuttephotographer #fineartphotography #landscapephoto #landscapephotography Art aspen autumn Colorado Crested Butte fall forest impressionism impressionistic Landscape Photo Photography reflection The art of photography trees water https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/10/how-the-art-happens---autumn-impressions Wed, 07 Oct 2020 12:00:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Aspenshine https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/9/how-the-art-happens---aspenshine Aspenshine

Golden aspen trees on a Colorado mountainside.AspenshineA Colorado hillside covered with bright yellow aspen trees receives a splash of diffused sunlight during an autumn storm.

I am fortunate to live in an area favored by many of the world's best artists for capturing fall foliage. I get to spend more time than most wandering the back roads of western Colorado in search of the perfect photograph. I did not have to wander very far to find "Aspenshine".

While this is not a new photograph, I've been sitting on it for quite a while. I like my subjects to be tack-sharp and the original capture of this photograph was just not up to standards. I have learned, the hard way, over the years that technology might be able to save some of my mistakes if I hang on to them long enough. That bit of wisdom holds true for this image. New software offerings are now using artificial intelligence to legitimately sharpen once-soft photographs. But that's not the complete reason I saved this photograph.

I really love the light. It was a rainy, overcast day with little hope for full sun. But, there were brighter and darker patches of cloud cover delivering soft shadows and highlights moving across the valley and hillsides near Gothic, Colorado. Since I usually add some vignetting to the corners of many of my images, the darker top area and lower right corner help the bright aspens really stand out and help keep my eye inside the edges of the photograph. I also really like the dynamic feel of motion created by the diagonal composition. The sky was ugly which is why I chose the panoramic format. It's perfect for eliminating distracting skies and foregrounds that I would have to accept in a traditional 2:3 ratio most cameras deliver. When I create these panoramas, I usually capture the scene with the camera in a vertical orientation and combine multiple images while panning the camera from left to right. I overlap each image by 50% so when I stitch them together the software has plenty of information to work with. Keeping the camera absolutely level while panning is the most challenging part of creating these panoramas. But there are great tools for that.

I use an L-shaped device made by Really Right Stuff that allows me to level the camera in any orientation, even with a long, telephoto lens. It's a miracle for creating panoramas. This photograph is from September 23, 2010. The stitching software I used back then erased a lot of the metadata in the file when it combined the photos. One bit of information that was not saved was the lens I used. I think it was a Nikkor 300 f4 but I might be wrong. We'll never know for sure.

That's the story about "Aspenshine". You could be the first person to own a print of this image. I think it would look amazing on canvas at 20" x 48". What are your thoughts?

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbuttephotographer #landscapephotographer #Nikon #outdoorphotographer #reallyrightstuff Art autumn blog color Colorado Crested Butte Dusty Demerson fall forest Gothic Landscape panorama panoramic Photo Photography story The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/9/how-the-art-happens---aspenshine Wed, 09 Sep 2020 19:57:20 GMT
How the Art Happens - Colorful Castles https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/9/how-the-art-happens---colorful-castles Colorful Castles

Colorful CastlesColorful CastlesThe Castles rock formation rise from a sea of golden aspen trees near Ohio Pass in the West Elk Wilderness area of Colorado.

As summertime starts to wane in the higher elevations of Colorado, we all are beginning to wonder what kind of fall we will have. To say it's been dry up here would be a huge understatement. It's been the driest 9 months that I can remember in my 33 years here. The prolonged drought has spanned three seasons and shows no sign of changing any time soon. The weather experts are saying that the drought will move fall-color up by a week or so. Many of us are wondering if it will happen at all.

"Colorful Castles" is an image from just 3 years ago. The Castles rock formation brings viewers from far across the planet, especially during the peak of intense fall foliage in late September. The formation is located in the West Elk Wilderness area so you can hike or ride horses to get there but most folks choose to enjoy the views from the Ohio Pass Road. It is a striking geologic scene rising from the surrounding mountains.

Since my father's study of geology at the University of Kentucky was responsible for my moving to Colorado, it's only fitting that I would choose a geological subject. The Castles rise above this huge sea of golden aspen trees making them a good subject using a variety of lens focal lengths from wide-angle to telephoto. For the photograph above, I chose my go-to lens, a Nikon 24-120mm that's always on the camera. This image has the lens set at 105mm so it's slightly compressed, bringing the Castles a little closer than we would normally perceive them to be. The contrast with the fresh snow in the distance and stormy sky with the sunlit aspens in the foreground is what made me pull over and get the camera out. I love that the upper parts of the trees are still decorated with the deeper orange leaves. This happens when a sudden freeze traps the sugars of photosynthesis in the leaves, or so I'm told. They will turn yellow within a few days. I really was attracted to the variety of colors in this scene. I hope you like "Colorful Castles" as much as I do.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbuttephotographer #Landscapephoto #landscapephotography Art autumn blog Castles Colorado Crested Butte Dusty Demerson fall Gunnison Landscape Ohio Pass Photo Photography snow The art of photography West Elk Wilderness https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/9/how-the-art-happens---colorful-castles Wed, 02 Sep 2020 17:29:12 GMT
How the Art Happens - Snow Tango 2 https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/8/how-the-art-happens---snow-tango-2 Snow Tango Part 2

Snow Tango 2Snow Tango 2Cottonwood trees seem to be dancing in a Colorado spring snow storm near Crested Butte.

This morning at breakfast one of the other "regulars" at Paradise Cafe mentioned that part of this iconic couple had fallen to the ground. I had to drive down to the site to, sadly, confirm that he seemed to have dropped his partner in the dance.

The tire-swing had fallen a few years ago and for a few winters had been decorated with Christmas lights. I did not get that photo! Now, today, the tango has ended. These changes to an iconic scene remind me as I hurry to and fro that I might not get a second chance to photograph a location as I see it today. Stop the car. Take the photo. Even if the scene is not perfect. Take the photo. It may be my last chance.

I have had the opportunity to photograph these trees many times and I have frequently stopped and taken their picture. With each stop and edit, a vision develops about how I can capture not just a snapshot of the scene but how I can create a unique image. That's my job. To create, capture, save, present, and archive my unique point of view or vision for a scene is my job. Considering the scene above, I loved the fresh snow that helps define the delicate branches against the foggy surroundings. The fog removes all the color from the scene except for the trees creating a surreal landscape photograph. The atmosphere was fantastic! I did not even see the tango element of the photograph until I posted it to social media in search of a title. One of my best college friends offered the title "Spring Tango". Since spring snow is a rarity in most of the country, it became "Snow Tango" instead.

This is the second edit of this photograph. The first one is all white without the vignetting around the trees. This second version has more depth and is more interesting, in my opinion. I guess I'll have to live with this version since he has dropped his partner leaving the scene completely changed.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbuttephotographer #fineartphoto #fineartphotography #howthearthappens #landscapephotography #Nikon #Outdoorphotography #photoblog Art blog Colorado Cottonwood Crested Butte Dusty Demerson Landscape Photo Photography snow spring swing tango The art of photography tire trees winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/8/how-the-art-happens---snow-tango-2 Thu, 27 Aug 2020 17:20:49 GMT
How the Art Happens - East River Magic https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/8/how-the-art-happens---east-river-magic East River Magic

by Dusty Demerson

beautiful sunrise over the East River near Crested Butte, ColoradoEast River MagicA beautiful sunrise in late September creates some East River Magic near Crested Butte, Colorado.

Some scenes just capture your soul. The meanders of the East River near my home in Mount Crested Butte, Colorado is one of those scenes. I love looking down on the river snaking its way through the valley below. I'm not the only one in love with this scene. It's a really popular stop for photographers and sightseers from all over the world.

Sometimes Mother Nature provides us with a scene for new eyes though. I remember being not very optimistic about making photographs on this morning in late September a few years ago. The overcast sky did not seem very promising so I decided I would just run out to Gothic to see what was happening with the colors. Well, this was happening! I didn't want to lose the light so I quickly found a pull-out and set up the tripod and camera. There was a huge range of exposure between the bright sky and shaded foreground so I took bracketed exposures in the hopes of combining them in the processing step. That approach was a total failure so I ended up using darkroom techniques to bring everything to life with a single exposure. Thankfully, modern software lets us accomplish these tasks easily and with reversible precision.

Besides the snaking river and the sunlight streaking through the clouds, I really like the diagonal line of trees in the middle ground. Diagonal lines add a sense of excitement and movement in photographs. This was definitely not a "static" scene so the diagonal lines help to tell the story of this beautiful sunrise. As it turned out, this photograph was the only "keeper" from that day. I hope you like "East River Magic".

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbuttephotographer Art autumn Colorado Crested Butte dawn fall Landscape meander Photo Photography river sunrise The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/8/how-the-art-happens---east-river-magic Mon, 17 Aug 2020 20:31:53 GMT
How the Art Happens - Making Memories https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/8/how-the-art-happens---making-memories Ruby Range Reflections

by Dusty Demerson

Ruby Range ReflectionRuby Range ReflectionThe Ruby Range reflects a perfect mirror image in Lake Irwin near Crested Butte, Colorado.

I got a new client this week. A friend recommended that he check out my website and he found several photographs that he wanted to display in his home. When I met with him to discuss sizes and finishes he shared several stories about the memories he had from the locations in my photos. He has had Crested Butte connections for several generations and, like me, grew up with annual visits to the area. It was interesting to learn about the emotional connections and memories my images brought back for him.

One of my portrait and wedding mentors is Charles J. Lewis from Grand Rapids, Michigan. I learned a lot from Chuck over the years but the most powerful statement he makes is "people purchase photography for emotional reasons". He was mostly speaking about portrait and wedding photography but I'm learning that same principle can be applied to landscapes and events.

The photo above, "Ruby Range Reflection" pulls at my heartstrings. I spent a part of almost every summer at Lake Irwin camping with my family during "Dad's vacation". He fell in love with the Crested Butte area when he spent a summer here during college at the University of Kentucky studying geology. Once we moved far enough west, we came every summer. Later, I learned to ski here. Lake Irwin was always our favorite spot until they built the lodge. Listening to chainsaws and bulldozers diminished the summer experience for us. I still love hanging out at Lake Irwin and most of my private photo tours end up at this spot for the mirror reflection of the Ruby Range.

Views of the lake take me back to fond memories of my childhood. Are there any places that take you back? Do you have any good memories triggered by a photo? I would love to hear about them if you do.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Colorado Crested Butte Irwin lake Landscape mount mountain Owen Photo Photography range reflection Ruby summer The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/8/how-the-art-happens---making-memories Sat, 01 Aug 2020 20:51:52 GMT
Top 10 Tips for Great Wildflower Photography From the Wildflower Capital of Colorado https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/7/top-10-tips-for-great-wildflower-photography-from-the-wildflower-capital-of-colorado The Top 10 Tips for Great Wildflower Photos from the Wildflower Capital of Colorado

Columbine Summer ColoradoColumbine SummerColorado Blue Columbine, the state flower, bloom on a hillside near Schofield Pass in western Colorado on a perfect summer day.

Crested Butte has been celebrated as the Wildflower Capital of Colorado for over 30 years. This small, former mining town high in the Colorado Rocky Mountains never ceases to provide abundant and colorful floral displays throughout the summer months.

This year the annual Crested Butte Wildflower Festival has been substantially curtailed due to the Novel Coronavirus. There are no hikes, no tours, no photo instruction, and, mostly, no participants to be found. It's been a huge disappointment to everyone involved but these are strange times in every respect so when the Festival was canceled, it came as no huge surprise. But, that doesn't mean I can't provide a little photo instruction for those of you who love to take photos of wildflowers.

Here are my top 10 tips for making great wildflower photos in no particular order:


1. Use a tripod. Try to make friends with a sturdy tripod. Besides holding your camera steady, it will give you the opportunity to fine-tune your composition and the ability to step away from your subject and think about what you are trying to accomplish.

2. Bend your knees. Get a better perspective and show your subjects respect by working at or even below their level. This also gives you an opportunity to include the surrounding landscape like the photo above.

3. Don't come in out of the (light) rain, fog, or mist. While most photographers will run for the house, heavy overcast skies help saturate colors and a few raindrops or dew can really add an interesting dimension to your photos.

4. Start Early. Early morning light is usually warmer and less harsh and contrasty. It's also usually less windy and there are fewer competing photographers out just before or after sunrise.

5. Don't be afraid of intimacy. Get in close. Simplify your compositions. Eliminate as many distractions around your subject as possible.

6. Choose perfect subjects. Try to find subjects that have bloomed recently and are pristine and undamaged. Don't be afraid to blow off the bugs and do some minimal "gardening" by bending and hiding surrounding grasses and distractions.

7. Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noon-day sun. Early morning and late afternoon provide the best light and times for wildflower photography unless you're willing to use diffusers and additional equipment to soften the light.

8. Think about your foreground, middle ground, and background. Give your photos some depth by trying to engage all three parts of the scene if possible. Frequently, you'll find the foreground and background interesting with no real help from the middle area. This is a great time for a low-angle point of view.

9. Use a variety of lenses. Keep your images fresh and interesting by mixing it up. I use every lens from a 14mm super-wide-angle to a 300mm telephoto for wildflower photography. The wide-angle lenses are great for including the surrounding landscapes and the longer focal lengths are perfect for isolating single flowers in a sea of out-of-focus surroundings.

10. Keep it fun and creative. Don't be afraid to try new techniques, lenses, filters, diffusers, angles, etc.


These are a few of the tips I share on my photo tours. For more advanced participants, we go a lot deeper discussing what to keep in focus and where to place the subject, etc. Color balance, ISO, additional lighting, how to choose a great tripod, and many other questions get answered in my advanced classes and private tours.

Since I didn't get to teach this summer, I thought I would share a few tips with you since the flowers are still out there waiting to be photographed and shared with the world.


Happy summer!





(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbuttephotographer #phototips #wildflowerfestival #wildflowerphotography #wildflowers Art Colorado Columbine Crested Butte festival flower photo photography summer The art of photography tips wildflower https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/7/top-10-tips-for-great-wildflower-photography-from-the-wildflower-capital-of-colorado Tue, 21 Jul 2020 16:11:38 GMT
How the Art Happens - Crested Butte Cottonwood Colors https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/6/how-the-art-happens---crested-butte-cottonwood-colors Crested Butte Cottonwood Colors

Crested Butte Cottonwoood ColorsCrested Butte Cottonwoood ColorsLate autumn leaves golden Cottonwood trees along Coal Creek as it wanders through Crested Butte, Colorado.

Most of my best photographs for the past 10 years or so have been somewhat planned. Since virtually all of my imaging happens within 30 miles of my home, I have a long history of learning where I need to be and when I need to be there. I have the luxury of only photographing on the very best of days and in the very best weather.

"Crested Butte Cottonwood Colors" was not planned. It was a spontaneous response to an incredible play of light and shadow at the peak of fall color with some helpful horses in just the right place. As I rounded the curve at the cow camp the scene exploded in front of me. We were having our typical fall weather of late-afternoon showers and there was a substantial bank of clouds shading the top of the scene. That shadow really made the backlit trees pop and glow. The horses seemed to be almost in a spotlight and add a wonderful element of life to the scene. I did vignette the bottom and sides a bit to keep your eyes in the scene, a technique I learned from Ansel Adams.

I'm a bit sad that the photograph became so long and skinny. It makes it awkward to print and display. Obviously, I can crop the edges to a more comfortable ratio but I don't like losing all those trees. So, here it is: "Crested Butte Cottonwood Colors". Let me know your thoughts.


(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbuttephotographer #fallcolor #panorama #panoramic Art autumn Colorado cottonwood Crested Butte fall Landscape panorama panoramic Photo Photography The art of photography trees https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/6/how-the-art-happens---crested-butte-cottonwood-colors Wed, 24 Jun 2020 18:14:04 GMT
How the Art Happens - Spring Whispers https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/6/how-the-art-happens---spring-whispers Spring Whispers

Spring WhispersSpring WhispersMother Nature whispers "It's time to rise and shine" in an aspen forest near Kebler Pass and Crested Butte in western Colorado.

As the cold, bare, signs of winter give way to spring, the landscape slowly changes flavors to margarita-colored trees gently sprinkled through the forest. It seems like Mother Nature is softly whispering about what's to come in the next few weeks.

I love this transition time from winter to spring for all the reasons most people seem to like it. The cold, naked starkness of winter is interesting for a while but up here it's simply relentless. Seven months of bare trees is just too long! Fresh green leaves fill the trees much nearer the first day of summer than the first day of spring. It's exciting to finally see some color come back to the forest after months of whiteness.

To my eyes, this transition is best expressed through sharp details but soft, diffused lighting. This image was found near Horse Ranch Park over Kebler Pass. The point of view is actually a few hundred yards away so composing this photograph required a long, telephoto lens. I chose a 300mm which also compresses the feeling of space between the foreground and background thus flattening the feeling of the photo. I like the contrast between the bare aspen trees and those with fresh leaves. The darker conifers help with that contrast too. To achieve the maximum sharpness and detail in the trees, I used a solid Really Right Stuff tripod and head. But, to gain maximum detail, the camera's mirror was locked up and I used a remote cable release to activate the shutter. I also had to wait 'til the wind subsided.  This technique guarantees me the best sharpness and finest detail my equipment can render.

I think "Spring Whispers" kind of reminds me of a salad. What do you think?

Any prints of "Spring Whispers" ordered before my next blog post will receive a 40% discount from regular pricing. Let me know if you would like one or several. You will need to order prints directly from me via email or phone (970) 349-5038

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbuttephotographer #fineartphotography #howthearthappens #springwhispers Art aspen Colorado Crested Butte forest grove Kebler Pass Landscape mountain Photo Photography Rocky Mountains spring The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/6/how-the-art-happens---spring-whispers Wed, 03 Jun 2020 12:30:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Aspen Greening https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/5/how-the-art-happens---aspen-greening Aspen Greening

Aspen GreeningAspen GreeningDelicate new aspen leaves fill a Colorado aspen forest as spring turns the landscape green once again.

It's that time again. Finally! This spring has, seemingly, lasted forever and has only recently resulted in green stuff showing up on trees and lawns. This week the leafing-out of our aspen trees has coincided with the opening of Kebler Pass to our west. I can't speak for anyone else but the opening of the pass feels like freedom to me. Freedom to wander away from Crested Butte in a new direction and via a road that's closed seven months of the year can be exciting for those of us who love to wander.

Finding fresh, new leaves on our aspen trees lets us remember that it's time to start anew. Fresh starts are especially welcome this year with limited travel, limited socialization, and lots of other limits too. Tiny, lime-green leaves can really brighten up a forest as well as my soul. I guess saying "hope springs eternal" is probably pushing the limits of being punny but I hope you let me get away with it anyway.

So, "Aspen Greening" is actually an image from a few years ago. I love the delicate leaves decorating equally delicate young aspen trees. The sky was overcast providing bright but soft light with few shadows and little contrast. This is probably my favorite light for making images. It just accentuates the softness I feel in most of nature. I also like that there are about a million different compositions within this scene. Every time I look at this photograph I find a new area of interest. I hope you like "Aspen Greening" as much as I do.

With most of the art galleries and restaurants either closed or with limited hours and seating I thought I would start something new with my blog images. For the next week or until I write my next post, any orders of "Aspen Greening" will be 40% off. To receive the discount you will need to contact me directly instead of ordering through the website but any size print or canvas will receive the discounted price. If you click on the links or the photo you'll see the sizes available and the original, undiscounted, prices. Let me know your thoughts.


(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #aspenforest #crestedbuttephotographer #d850 #fineartphoto #fineartphotography #Nikon #reallyrightstuff #rrs Art aspen Colorado Crested Butte forest green grove Photo Photography spring The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/5/how-the-art-happens---aspen-greening Wed, 27 May 2020 12:30:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Clearing Storm, Artist Point, Monument Valley, Arizona https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/5/how-the-art-happens---clearing-storm-artist-point-monument-valley-arizona Clearing Storm, Artist Point, Monument Valley, Arizona

Clearing Storm, Artist Point, Monument Valley, AZ copyClearing Storm, Artist Point, Monument Valley, AZ copyA clearing spring storm leaves a pastel landscape at Artist Point, Monument Valley Tribal Park, Arizona.

Monument Valley is one of the most overwhelming and amazing landscapes in the United States. It seems to go on forever. Every distant mesa or spire leads to another bit of eye-candy. Because the landscape goes on forever, the sky becomes a huge element in the success or failure of photographs in Monument Valley. I've probably driven through at least a half-dozen times without even picking up my camera because the sky was socked-in and overcast or completely cloudless. Neither of those situations provides me with the light or the sky that I want in my photos.

Almost exactly four years ago I made a long-awaited trip to Arizona to see Canyon de Chelly National Monument. After three days of exploring the canyon, it was time to meander back to Colorado. The weather had been interesting and the sky was showing some promise so I decided to reroute my trip a little to the west and go home through Monument Valley. It was a great decision!

I arrived at Artist Point, a favorite overlook, to a light drizzle of rain under a grey and overcast sky. The sky to the west looked better so I decided to wait and see what happened. About 30 minutes later, the photo above happened. I love that the color of the landscape gets reflected on the bottom of the clouds. The rain muted the colors and contrast a bit which I also like. Most of the Monument Valley images are in bright sun with deep shadows. I prefer this pastel coloring since I don't see it all that often.

I continued to make images until the sun was fading in the west. There's really only one place to stay at the park so I checked in to the hotel hoping for a great sunrise before heading for home. I was not disappointed. After a handful of mediocre trips to Monument Valley, I finally got one that worth the effort. I hope you enjoy "Clearing Storm, Artist Point, Monument Valley, Arizona" as much as I do.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #artistpoint #crestedbuttephotographer #monumentvalley #panorama #panoramic arizona Art artist point Landscape monument valley panorama Photo Photography sky spring storm The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/5/how-the-art-happens---clearing-storm-artist-point-monument-valley-arizona Wed, 13 May 2020 12:30:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Half Dome Sunset https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/4/how-the-art-happens---half-dome-sunset Half Dome Sunset

Half Dome SunsetHalf Dome SunsetWarm sunset light illuminates an icy Half Dome in Yosemite National Park on an early November evening.

Many years ago, I found myself in Yosemite National Park in early November. I had spent a few days down south celebrating my uncle's birthday and decided to take the long way home. Since it was off-season at the park, I got some great rates on a few nights at the historic hotel at Wawona and a night in a Curry Village cabin that is absolutely the worst place I've ever stayed in my life.

But, enough about the travels. After spending my first day exploring the beautiful Yosemite valley, I found myself at the intersection of the Oak Flat Road and the Tioga Pass Road. I had hoped to spend some time exploring the Tioga Pass Road with its overlooking views of the valley below. There was a barricade. Obviously, from the photo, you can see that they had experienced a little early snow that year. As I stood before the barricade contemplating an act of trespass, one of the park rangers drove up. She shared with me that there were a few icy spots and that Californians had no idea how to handle ice below their tires so, they closed the road. Seeing my Colorado plates, she offered to let me past the barricade the next morning if I was there by 8 am. What a deal!

At 8 the next morning there were two of us waiting at the barricade. The other photographer was from Wyoming. The ranger showed up and let us in, telling us to be back before sunset. We spent the day separately making photos all the way up to Tuolumne Meadows. We only saw each other a few times and we saw nobody else. I didn't get many good photos. The landscape was pretty bleak and barren. The day passed and the sun was getting low as we started back to the intersection until we arrived at an overlook near Cloud's Rest. The setting sun was reflecting off the icy Half Dome on the other side of the valley creating an angle of Half Dome and an atmosphere I had never seen photographed. We both started making photos just as the ranger showed up doing his sweep of the road. He really wanted us to leave but both photographers continued to run interference for each other until the sun set and the light failed. We tried to get the ranger to enjoy the scene but he probably had seen it a dozen times and just wanted to go home to his dinner.

I'm sure we both got some great images. This one is my favorite selection from my work. I love the silhouetted trees and the warm sunset glow reflecting off Half Dome. I also like that the photo is from eye-level instead of looking up at Half Dome which is the most prevalent view in the park. "Half Dome Sunset" is an image that required some patience and a little negotiation rather than photographic skill. Oh, and the light was perfect!

Upon returning to my hotel at Wawona I discovered that the dining hall was full and not taking any more people for dinner. Since Wawona is miles from the nearest place to eat, I even had to negotiate my dinner. I did get to eat!


(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbuttephotographer #halfdome #Yosemite Art autumn Clouds Rest color fall Half Dome Landscape mountain Photo Photography snow The art of photography Tioga Pass Road Yosemite https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/4/how-the-art-happens---half-dome-sunset Wed, 29 Apr 2020 17:33:42 GMT
How the Art Happens - Crested Butte Mountain Alpenglow https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/4/how-the-art-happens---crested-butte-mountain-alpenglow Crested Butte Mountain Alpenglow

Crested Butte Mountain AlpenglowCrested Butte Mountain AlpenglowThe last rays of sunlight, called alpenglow, illuminate Crested Butte Mountain of the last day of winter.

Sometimes my photos are just waiting by the side of the road, right around a turn. Other times they are conjured in my head and take some time to develop. Still, others get stuck in my head and never find the camera. The photo above was conjured or conceived long before it could be executed.

I have always been fond of looking down on a town and I enjoy the symmetry of the grid of streets and houses. My flying camera makes this possible in a much better way than a plane or helicopter could. Plus, I have nearly complete control over my composition and altitude. The challenge with this image was the sky. Clouds usually dissipate just before sunset up here. A blank blue sky is not a very interesting feature especially if it's going to occupy so much of the image. I actually flew this shot 3 times before it came together. The two earlier attempts were dashed when the sun went behind a bank of clouds to the west long before sunset. It just got dark. No alpenglow!

As they say, "third time's the charm". I was lucky to get this one done since daytime temperatures had been creeping into the upper 40s and the snow was melting fast. Big brown spots were starting to appear. In my perfect world, the photo would have been made just after a snowstorm but my world is far from perfect. I am pretty happy with the result but will probably try to get that post-snowstorm shot if the weather cooperates someday. I think I want a summer version of this as well.

Besides getting the sky to cooperate, there was another challenge. Flying cameras are only oriented horizontally. They cannot be turned on their side for a vertical photo. The image above is actually a composite of 5 overlapping frames that were stitched together at home. The only other option to achieve a vertical frame would be to back off and crop the horizontal frame into a smaller vertical photo. That approach makes the file size too small be useful for printing so the vertical "panorama" approach was used instead.

My only disappointment with the photo is that it was made about a week into our "stay at home" order and the main street has no cars on it. You have to look closely but the empty street does not convey the joyful sunset shot I was hoping for. I hope you like "Crested Butte Mountain Alpenglow" even without the cars.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #alpenglow #crestedbutte #crestedbuttephotographer #dronephotography aerial alpenglow Art Colorado Crested Butte drone Landscape mountain Photo Photography sunset The art of photography town winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/4/how-the-art-happens---crested-butte-mountain-alpenglow Thu, 23 Apr 2020 18:29:05 GMT
How the Art Happens - San Francisco de Asis Mission Church https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/4/how-the-art-happens---san-francisco-de-asis-mission-church San Francisco de Asis Mission Church

San Francisco de Asís Mission Church copySan Francisco de Asís Mission Church copySan Francisco de Asís Mission Church is a historic and architecturally significant church on the main plaza of Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico. Built between 1772 and 1816 when New Mexico was part of the Vice-Royalty of New Spain, it is one of the finest extant examples of a Spanish Colonial New Mexico mission church, and is a popular subject for photographers. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970

I love the architecture and materials used to create the Spanish missions in New Mexico and southern Colorado. Every time I visit one of these churches I'm overwhelmed by a sense of peace and serenity. Visiting when there are no other people around probably helps.

This church a few miles south of Taos, New Mexico is one of the most-photographed buildings in the world. Ansel Adams brought it to my attention first. That may be the reason I really like it in black and white. He was enamored with the huge buttresses at the back of the church. They have been the subject of many artists in every medium imaginable. They are interesting but I think my job as an artist is to show you something new that you haven't seen before. So, I went around to the front of the church. I really love the wall and entry gateway. The space is pretty tight so I had to use a very wide-angle lens from a really low point of view to get the crosses on the top of the bell towers in the image. This point of view allows the walk to create great leading lines to the church and highlights the stonework of the walkway. Framing the subject this way adds depth to the photo and helps keep your eyes in the scene.

Most of the time when I try to frame my subject the end result seems contrived and corny. I think the textures and tones in this image help the technique work to create a cohesive photograph. The bright, white cross on the top of the wall helps too. The sky was not awesome on this particular morning so I searched for compositions that helped get as much sky out of the photo as possible. Creating a successful photograph frequently requires getting rid of distractions even more than finding a great subject.

Thanks for reading my story about the "San Francisco de Asis Mission Church". Now you know what the front looks like!

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbuttephotographer architecture Art church famous historic mission New Mexico Photo Photography Ranchos de Taos San Francisco de Asis Mission Church Taos The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/4/how-the-art-happens---san-francisco-de-asis-mission-church Wed, 15 Apr 2020 17:49:49 GMT
How the Art Happens - Inside Tony's https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/4/how-the-art-happens---inside-tonys Inside Tony's

Inside Tony's Conoco and Hardware Store.Inside Tony'sLooking through the front doors at Tony's Conoco and Hardware Store in downtown Crested Butte, Colorado. 1988

When I first moved to Crested Butte, Colorado, I lived in the middle of downtown above the bakery. I was at ground-zero for everything that happened in this little town. Parades, concerts, bar fights, you name it, I was on the front row. While this is a great way to get to know a community, at some point I decided I needed a little distance with some peace and quiet.

One of my favorite memories of living downtown was walking the two blocks to church on Sunday mornings. This walk took me right past Tony's iconic gas station and hardware store. One morning I decided to take my camera and snap this photo through the glass on the front door. Any other day, Tony would be sitting in the chair by the stove but on Sundays, he was probably headed to church too.

The character of this interior has been mostly kept intact by the building's current occupant, the Crested Butte Museum. The gas pumps are long-gone but looking through the front windows still evokes many of the same feelings as in 1988. The darker edges of the photograph force the viewer's eyes to the center of the frame. The old coal stove being dead-center in the frame commands attention as the main focal point. Sunlight streaming softly through the window illuminates the stove and provides shadows that bring out the textures of all the stuff on the walls. I can look at this image for hours and always find details I missed before.

I wish Tony had been in this photo but it works like this too. I remember trying to pump my own gas right after I moved to town. Tony didn't believe in self-service. I didn't repeat that mistake. He was still getting onto the roof to shovel snow into his 80's. My Dad came to Crested Butte in the late 1950s and when I moved here he asked about the "old man at the hardware store". It seems my Dad had his own memories from "Inside Tony's".

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbuttephotographer Art Colorado Conoco Crested Butte gas hardware iconic interior old Photo Photography station store stove The art of photography Tony's https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/4/how-the-art-happens---inside-tonys Wed, 08 Apr 2020 12:30:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Priorities https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/3/how-the-art-happens---priorities Priorities

"Priorities" skis are protected indoors while tools are left outside to rust.PrioritiesRusted tools and toys decorate a Crested Butte, Colorado barn protecting an older pair of red snow skis. This photograph won Best in Category for Mountain Culture in the Banff Mountain Photography Competition in 2006.

The long-gone mining days of Crested Butte have left their marks on the architecture and decor of this colorful mountain town. This garage is one of the more famous landmarks. It's covered with tools, toys, small bottles, and almost anything else you can imagine. Lots of old, broken artifacts are proudly displayed in all of their rusting glory on the side of this garage.

I've done many pictures of this place. It's even been the backdrop for family portraits. This winter I used it as the landmark for photos of the Alley Loop Nordic ski race that runs through the streets and alleys of Crested Butte. This photograph was made around the turn of the century. (No, the most recent one!) Since the building faces east, I prefer to photograph it without the harsh morning sunlight so I wait until the afternoon or a day with overcast skies. I can't remember which situation led to this photo but I do prefer the softer light which brings out the warm-toned saturation of the wood and colorful toys. The red in the skis don't hurt either.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival used to have a still photography competition that coincided with the film festival. It had multiple categories like sports, landscapes, mountain culture, etc. I decided this might be a good entry for the Mountain Culture category so, I sent it in. The Banff folks seemed to like it too and awarded "Priorities" first place in the category way back in 2006. I think the title really helped!

As you might imagine, times being what they are, there aren't a lot of people shopping for art right now. With everyone stuck at home, I think it's a good opportunity to update a wall or two with some new visual distractions. So, from now until April 30 I'm offering 25% off all prints and canvases along with free shipping in the USA. This discount applies to the work I have in stock as well as special orders made directly from me from the Studio Inventory or Signature Edition Prints galleries. Just use the code "Free ship 25" when you check out or you can call or email me with your selections too. (970) 349-5038 [email protected]


(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbuttephotographer architecture Art barn building Colorado Crested Butte Photo Photography priorities rust texture The art of photography tools toys https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/3/how-the-art-happens---priorities Mon, 30 Mar 2020 16:38:09 GMT
How the Art Happens - Paradise Divide Winter Panorama https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/3/how-the-art-happens---paradise-divide-winter-panorama Paradise Divide Winter Panorama

Paradise Divide Winter PanoramaParadise Divide Winter PanoramaSoft clouds and jagged peaks provide an afternoon of contrast at Paradise Divide, west of Crested Butte, Colorado

I sure wish I was better at this new "social distancing" thing we're supposed to be practicing right now. The truth is, I really miss going out to breakfast. Even though the crowd is usually the same dozen people or so, it was the basis of my social life most days. So, after four days of self-isolation, I decided I had to get out of the house for a bit. Just some fresh air and to gather the mail was the original plan. But, there was some interesting light to the west.

The view to the west of Crested Butte is one of my very favorites. The soaring peaks of Paradise Divide are just the picture that comes to my mind when I think of the Rocky Mountains. A few cotton-ball clouds, some fresh snow, and some spotty, afternoon light created an interesting contrast of textures, light, and shadow. I love how the distant peaks are framed by the darker slopes in the foreground. I spent some time standing in a slushy lane waiting for sunlight to strike the peak of Cinnamon Mountain. I like to have the peak of my mountains to be in the sun or, at least brighter than the rest of the scene. That seems to be a natural place for my eyes to travel and having sunlight on the peak helps show you where I want you to look.

This is not the photo that I visualized so I'll go back and try again. We're supposed to have snow for the rest of the week and I'm hoping the dark brown spots of earth get covered for a second chance. I also hope to be at my spot a little later in the day for some warmer, sunset light. We'll see.

As I wait for the weather and the light, I'll continue to practice my "social distancing" skills, washing my hands, and taking my vitamins. Everyone stay healthy. I hope to have more for you next week.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbuttephotographer Art Colorado Crested Butte Landscape panorama panoramic Paradise Divide Photo Photography snow social distancing The art of photography winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/3/how-the-art-happens---paradise-divide-winter-panorama Wed, 18 Mar 2020 18:20:40 GMT
How the Art Happens - Mystical Canyon Light https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/3/how-the-art-happens---mystical-canyon-light Mystical Canyon Light

Mystical Canyon LightMystical Canyon LightThe warm glow of sunset fills the Grand Canyon as an early October storm moves out.

Several years ago I decided I needed to visit the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in search of that elusive snowy canyon photograph. The North Rim closes in early October but there had been promising storms moving through the area so I reserved a campsite and made my way to the Grand Canyon.

After three solid days of rain and spending most of my time in my camper reading, I decided to head to the visitor's center and have a real dinner instead of my usual dehydrated, boiled water, camping fare. They were full and not taking any more diners. The park would close for the season the next day. I had made only a handful of photos, none of which would ever see daylight. There had been no snow. Now there was going to be another disappointing dinner. But, after going out to the observation deck below the lodge, I discovered a sliver of blue sky on the horizon. Sunset was about 20 minutes away so I decided to wait and see if a photo might develop. (pun intended)

I found a seat and pulled out my book. Every few minutes I would look out the window and at my watch. It was still raining. The guy next to me questioned my confidence but I explained that if I wait, I might get the shot. But, If I leave, I definitely won't get the shot. He laughed. With a few minutes to go before sunset, I grabbed my gear and headed out to the deck. I was the only one out there. I set up the tripod, framed my shot, and waited. Just at the predicted time, the sun dropped below the clouds and lit-up the canyon with a rainbow far to the east and warm, sunset light filling the canyon. I made a few photos. Tourists charged the deck. It was over in about 2 minutes. But, I got the photo above, "Mystical Canyon Light". I caught the eye of the guy giving me grief earlier and just smiled. He asked how I knew that would happen and I just suggested that I had been chasing moments like this for a very long time. Sometimes I won, sometimes I lost.

I love the soft, warm glow of the light on the rocks in the canyon. The amber, sunset light contrasts nicely with the cool tones in the sky and helps provide some depth to the image since cool tones tend to recede and warm tones tend to advance psychologically, at least according to my art teachers.

On the way back to the campground my truck was having problems. It would only go about a half-mile before the engine would die and I would have to wait 10 minutes before it would restart. I limped back to the campground and had to convince the rangers to let me stay the night in the parking lot for fear of blocking all the rest of the guests in the campground. Cell phones don't really work on the North Rim so I went to the nearest payphone and called a towing service in Kanab, Utah. They were able to come first thing Sunday morning so I made myself comfortable for the night, boiled some water, and ate my disappointing, dehydrated dinner.

Getting TowedGetting Towed

At 7 am the next morning the flatbed tow truck from Ramsay's Towing showed up. He loaded my truck on the flatbed and we headed to Kanab for repairs. As the clouds started to lift, I noticed the canyon was filled with fresh snow and beautiful light. I was in a tow-truck. I spent the next three days enhancing the economy of Kanab, Utah while my truck got a new fuel pump and sending unit. My seven-day adventure netted one usable photo and cost about $2,000.

Sometimes you're the windshield. Sometimes you're the bug!

By the way, I highly recommend Ramsay Towing and service in Kanab, Utah. Their service was far over and beyond expectations and their rates were a bargain.



(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbuttephotographer Art camping fall Grand Canyon Landscape light North Rim Photo Photography Ramsay Towing storm sunset The art of photography weather https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/3/how-the-art-happens---mystical-canyon-light Wed, 11 Mar 2020 12:00:00 GMT
How My Business Was Saved By a 13-Year-Old Laptop Computer https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/2/how-my-business-was-saved-by-a-13-year-old-laptop-computer How My Business Was Saved By a 13-Year-Old Laptop Computer

Epson 7600Epson 7600

I usually save major changes to my business until early in the year. It's after the holiday rush. I have plenty of time. There are usually only a few projects that need immediate attention. For all of these reasons I decided to migrate my two computers from Windows 7 to the upgraded Windows 10 operating system. The one piece of software that I cannot live without, Adobe Photoshop, was not going to offer updates to Windows 7 after mid-January so I really had no choice. What a great January project!

Sadly, the migration for my laptop was deceivingly simple and was accomplished with no issues in less than 12 hours. I knew the process for my workhorse of a desktop computer would be more complicated. After all, it runs two monitors, a Wacom tablet, two scanners, four printers, and a host of other doo-dads I can't seem to live without. I began the process one Sunday after church and the first roadblock occurred almost immediately. It seems there was a file that was left behind from an old Wi-Fi card that would crash the computer before Windows would even load. After messing with this for two days, I gave up and took the box to my local computer guy. The sucker fired right up just like it was supposed to. The computer guy tries to replicate the problem for the rest of the day without any luck. I pick up the box and head for home, optimistic that my problem is solved. Wrong!

After three more days of trying a variety of workarounds, I was finally able to get into the file system and delete the troublesome code. Windows 10 was able to load successfully. Now it was time to get the new operating system to recognize all of my devices. Most of these devices are older and proved to be massive challenges to get them to operate on a new operating system. I did, however, get all but one to work correctly after a few more days.

Unfortunately, the one device, my trusty Epson Stylus Pro 7600 in the photo above, just would not cooperate at all. Epson quit supporting drivers for this printer about 10 years ago and, after 4 days of Google searches and trials it looked like I was going to have to buy a new printer. Have I mentioned that 75% of my prints are made on this printer? But, here's the problem. My office is very small. The Epson 7600 only weighs 100 pounds. Two people can, with some difficulty, wrestle it into my office space. It's newer replacements weigh twice as much and are larger. Big problem.

At about 3 am, I awoke with an idea. I didn't need a new printer. I needed an old computer. After searching eBay, I found a 13-year-old Dell laptop running Windows 7 for $29 plus shipping. After some interesting time with the ancient laptop, I am happy to say that some really old technology has saved my business for a while. Maybe it's time to look for some newer doo-dads!

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbuttephotographer 7600 Art business Epson laptop Photography printer Stylus technology Windows 10 Windows 7 https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/2/how-my-business-was-saved-by-a-13-year-old-laptop-computer Wed, 26 Feb 2020 17:51:56 GMT
How the Art Happens - Mount Crested Butte Winter Panorama https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/2/how-the-art-happens---mount-crested-butte-winter-panorama Mount Crested Butte Winter Panorama

Mount Crested Butte Winter Aerial Panorama 2020Mount Crested Butte Winter Aerial Panorama 2020Aerial panorama of the town and ski area of Mount Crested Butte, Colorado on a perfect winter afternoon.

Sometime back in the early 1970's someone climbed to the top of Sunlight Ridge just west of Mount Crested Butte and made a series of photos, creating a panoramic view of the ski area and the town of Mount Crested Butte, Colorado. This may have happened before Mt. Crested Butte was even a town but there were only a handful of buildings in that original photo that is displayed in the Town Council Chambers at Town Hall.

The original photo had faded to the point that a viewer had to use a lot of imagination to realize what was supposed to be in the photo. I decided it was time to update and, hopefully, replace this faded, yellowing, vintage photograph. On the last day of the ski season in 2006, I repeated the climb and, using more advanced technology (a digital camera) replicated the vintage photograph. This new image was, and still is, quite colorful. The ski trails, base area buildings, and the homes of my little ski village were all quite visible and the print had no seams even though it was over 6 and a half feet long. Technology has made some wonderful improvements to the photo industry! I was hoping that the Town would replace the 1970's version with my new photo but the powers that be decided to display both to show the evolution of the town.

So, fourteen years have passed and my town is still evolving. There are buildings in the 2006 photo that no longer exist. There are several new buildings. There are lots of new homes. It was time for a photo update. The Town Clerk called to express her need for a new and updated photo, presumably to go with the other two.

My mountain climbing days are behind me so I turned to advances in technology to make this assignment easier and, in my opinion, even better. Utilizing my flying camera, I was able to get the elevation I needed without climbing. I was also able to gain a little better position so the sides of the hillside were behind me and not blocking the northern edge of the town. This new perspective shows more of the town and allows the roadways to create some interesting lines in the foreground.

I knew the photo had to be made in the afternoon so there would be direct light on the west side of the mountain. I knew it had to be a sunny day with fairly fresh snow. Last Friday I made a test flight a little after 3 in the afternoon. The light on the mountain was great. The sky was great. The snow was great. The sun had moved far enough west to create some deep shadows on the foreground which I decided did not enhance the image at all. I needed to fly earlier in the day or much later in the season to get the sun in the right place. There was snow in the forecast for the next day so I would just have to wait for a better forecast. As is frequently the case, the next day the forecast was wrong. It was sunny and warm. Perfect for flying. A little after noon I set out to re-shoot the panorama. This involves taking off and flying to a point where the composition will work once 8-10 separate photos stitched together create a cohesive panorama, hopefully with a nice composition. I ended up making 3 slightly different panoramas before getting the one above which, I feel, is the best of the lot. Ten overlapping photos from 100' up and about 80' horizontally was just right the spot. I could not have gotten to that spot without my flying camera! I hope the Town Clerk likes the new "Mount Crested Butte Winter Panorama".


(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbutte #crestedbuttephotographer #dronephotography #panorama aerial Art CBMR Colorado Crested Butte crestedbuttephotographer DJI drone Landscape Mount Crested Butte mountain P4P panorama panoramic Phantom 4 Pro Photo Photography snow The art of photography town Vail Resorts winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/2/how-the-art-happens---mount-crested-butte-winter-panorama Wed, 19 Feb 2020 13:00:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - That's Why They Call Her The Red Lady https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/2/how-the-art-happens---thats-why-they-call-her-the-red-lady That's Why They Call Her The Red Lady

Thats Why They Call Her The Red LadyThats Why They Call Her The Red LadyMount Emmons also known as The Red Lady shows how it got the name as an early winter snowstorm comes to an end.

Some days I just can't catch a break. A bunch of years ago, after a long day at the photo lab, I was home watching the evening news and catching some down-time when the setting sun played a nasty trick on me. It had been snowing most of the day but as the light began to fade it also began to change color. When the entire sky turns beet-red one has to go back to work if one is a photographer.

The red sky provided interesting light for the scene but I still needed a subject. I drove down to the Slate River bridge knowing the river was not yet frozen over and could provide a great reflection of the clouds above. Not knowing how long the light would last, I grabbed a few images from the bridge facing west toward Mount Emmons. This locally-famous mountain is nicknamed "The Red Lady", which turned out to be a wonderful coincidence for my photos. There are several stories about how Mount Emmons got its nickname and I had just captured a new one.

The brief but intense sunset had created a unique opportunity for a classic, Crested Butte, landscape photo with a new twist. I guess having to go back to work wasn't all that bad after all. I usually struggle with titles for my work. I think I have some kind of emotional mental block about sharing the soul of my images sometimes. This was not one of those times. "That's Why They Call Her The Red Lady" came to me almost instantly and no other title was ever considered. It's been a popular print for collectors with enough of a local connection to understand the title.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbuttephotographer Art Colorado Crested Butte crestedbuttephotographer Emmons Landscape mount mountain Photo Photography Red Lady reflection river Rocky Slate snow The art of photography winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/2/how-the-art-happens---thats-why-they-call-her-the-red-lady Wed, 12 Feb 2020 13:30:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Winter Blues https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/2/how-the-art-happens---winter-blues Winter Blues

Winter BluesWinter BluesSparkles and Aspen shadows create abstract patterns on fresh Colorado snow in this Colorado landscape photograph.

It's been cold in Crested Butte this winter. I know that's exactly what we should expect, living at 9,000' above sea level. But, it's been colder than we usually expect. It's been so cold that people are starting to talk (complain). Even some of the long-time, local, rancher types are grumbling a bit. It seems a little odd since last winter was much warmer than usual. Mother Nature is a fickle woman sometimes!

Cold temperatures bring some new opportunities for photographers. First, we get to wear all of our cold-weather gear... at the same time. We get to wear multiple pairs of gloves and the boots are never warm enough to stay out as long as we want. Warm hats mess up our hair and just get in the way. Then, there are subjects like hoar frost and sparkly snow. Fresh snow can acquire a layer of fresh ice crystals when it's really cold that can add another dimension to an image.

A few years ago I was meeting portrait clients at their home at the Red Mountain Ranch area south of Crested Butte. I had no idea how long it would take me to get there and when I found their home, I was about half an hour early. Not wanting to be a jerk, I decided to drive around the development "cruising for snaps". I rarely have this opportunity in this area since it's gated, secluded, and very private. The temperature was about -20. The snow was fresh, deep, and sparkling. I needed to find a subject. The area is heavily wooded with few open fields or vistas. It took some time but I eventually found the scene above that I call "Winter Blues". I just love the suggestion of the surrounding forest caused by the shadows as well as the gentle curve of the valley running up the hill. I included the base of the trees to suggest the reason for the other shadows and to provide a bit of contrast to the, otherwise low-contrast, scene. This photograph is a constant reminder to me of the quiet and abstract beauty of a winter mountain environment. It feels cold but peaceful.

This photograph was chosen a while back by the Alpenglow Gallery in the Lodge at Mountaineer Square for an exhibition sporting the same name, "Winter Blues". I still have the original 30" x 48" canvas photograph available from the "studio inventory" tab above.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) abstract Art blue blues cold Colorado Crested Butte Landscape Photo Photography shadows snow sparkling The art of photography winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/2/how-the-art-happens---winter-blues Wed, 05 Feb 2020 13:30:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - The Power of Music https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/1/how-the-art-happens---the-power-of-music The Power of Music

Dean Dillon at Mountain High Music FestDean Dillon at Mountain High Music FestDean Dillon performs at the 2020 Mountain High Music Festival with Sundance Head in the background.

The influence of one artform on other forms of art is undisputed. All the artists I know and work with are striving to tell a story and reach deep into the emotions of those experiencing their art. Some forms of art are better at this than others or, at the very least, deliver a more obvious message leaving less to the imagination. Art involving words can have this effect. Art involving more than one form can be doubly effective. Like music.

Music has probably been more inspirational to me and the visual art I try to produce than I can ever give it credit for. I am rarely alone without musical influence. At work in my studio, at church, in the car, I always have music close at hand. Different types of music create different emotions and responses for me. For many years I have been drawn to the country and folk genres. It's probably because the tunes are more simple and I can understand the words but the stories conveyed sometimes cut straight to my heart as well. It's difficult to put into words the exact way powerful music influences my photography but I know I'm not alone. Many great photographers and other artists are also accomplished musicians. There is a connection we cannot deny even if it cannot be explained.

Last week, I had the opportunity to photograph some of the most accomplished songwriters and performers on the planet in a fairly intimate setting. My task was to provide photographs for the sponsors and artists performing at the Mountain High Music Festival in Mount Crested Butte, Colorado. I have photographed this event a few times. It has a few challenges that most theaters do not share. It has a few advantages as well. As the photographer I have access most of the attendees don't have but, I also rarely get to sit.

The challenges photographing performers on a stage are similar to those in landscape photography. (That can't be right!) As Ansel Adams once said, "A good photograph is largely about where you stand". The camera position in stage photography is critical since where I stand determines how many of the usual distractions I can eliminate. Mic stands, light fixtures, stage monitors, stools, other musicians, etc. can all be distractions from my main subject that I need to eliminate or, at least diminish. Choosing where to stand (without annoying the paying customers) is a key decision. Using a telephoto lens is also very helpful.

Of course, I have to deal with tricky exposures and color-balance issues too, but the critical decision involves listening to the song and capturing the pinnacle of the artist's emotion and performance. I used to try and avoid photographing performers with their mouths open since many of these photos look extremely awkward and unflattering. After practicing for many years, I think I can deliver a strong image at the peak of the song without making the performer look bad. Capturing the emotion of the story has become my goal while getting close enough to provide a point of view that eliminates most of the distractions and delivers a photograph that most of the audience could not experience. Of course, I make photos of the whole stage as well as the interactions with the audience as well but the stage photos are the challenge...and the fun. Click here to see more photos from the Mountain High Music Festival.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #DeanDillon #MountainHigh #MusicFestival Art Colorado Crested Butte Dean Dillon festival high mountain music musician Photo Photography The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/1/how-the-art-happens---the-power-of-music Wed, 29 Jan 2020 13:30:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Red Lady Glow https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/1/how-the-art-happens---red-lady-glow Red Lady Glow

Red Lady GlowRed Lady GlowBright golden aspen trees line the valley below Mount Emmons, also known as The Red Lady, near Crested Butte, Colorado.

Autumn is beautiful up here in the mountains of western Colorado. The aspen groves around Crested Butte are particularly inviting and attract visitors from all over the world. The season for capturing the colors of fall can be pretty short, depending on the wind and the weather. That means that once the leaves begin to change, photographers need to get out there and get after it, capturing the golden beauty before it vanishes into stick season.

Mount Emmons, known locally as "The Red Lady" lies just west of Crested Butte, Colorado and, as such, dominates the landscape when you look that direction. There are several local stories about how it got its nickname. One popular idea is that it reflected the lights of the red-light district of town during the rough and rowdy mining days at the turn of the century. While that's a fun story, they would have had to be very bright lights and light doesn't reflect well off mountains. So, I believe it got its name from the red glow of sunrise light it displays most mornings. Every artist in the area has pictured this phenomenon through every medium you can imagine. I have several versions I show too.

This past autumn I was running around the valley chasing our fall foliage when I happened upon this sash of yellow aspen trees at the base of the slope south of town. The lighting from the side really kicked up the glow and the color but I needed more to make an interesting scene. It only took a small amount of trespassing to find a location that offered Mount Emmons as a backdrop to my sash of gold. The light and the angle has created a third theory about the nickname "The Red Lady". Apparently, there is some type of plant or ground-cover, high on the rocky slopes of Mount Emmons, that turns red in the fall. Who knew?

I like the additional color to my scene. It helps add some depth and texture to the bowl of "The Red Lady" and it adds a little color contrast to the golden sash in the valley below. It's a scene I call "Red Lady Glow".

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art aspen autumn color Colorado Crested Butte Emmons fall foliage forest Landscape leaves Mount Emmons mountain Photo Photography Red Lady The art of photography trees https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/1/how-the-art-happens---red-lady-glow Wed, 15 Jan 2020 17:16:33 GMT
How the Art Happens - Paradise by Moonlight https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/1/how-the-art-happens---paradise-by-moonlight Paradise by MoonlightParadise by MoonlightThe town of Crested Butte Colorado and Paradise Divide at night. This former coal mining town now is home to winter and summer recreationists and resort home owners. Crested Butte Photography.

Paradise by Moonlight

It's such a dramatic and peaceful scene when you witness it for the first time. Really, every time! The sleepy mountain town of Crested Butte, Colorado nestled into a cozy valley below the towering, snow-covered peaks of Paradise Divide under the illumination of a full moon.

It's a simple shot really. Just wait for winter. Wait for a good snow-cover. Wait for a full moon. It's mostly just waiting, really!

Actually, it's a bit more complicated than that. There are really only two good opportunities each winter to capture this image since the moon has to rise to illuminate the scene early enough that the lights are on in the homes. If the moon is high in the winter sky it actually provides too much light and flattens the textures and contrast. If the moonrise happens later in the evening, people have begun to turn off their lights.  January and early February are really the only months can happen. Plus, the weather has to cooperate. It takes a clear night with few, if any, clouds. It's usually pretty darn cold too!

It took me a few years to actually capture this image after It was conceived in my mind. It takes a bit of searching for the location for the camera. It also takes some experimentation to choose the best lens. A longer telephoto lens is needed to compress the space and provide the feeling of the towering mountain peaks. Maybe it wasn't that simple after all!

Paradise by Moonlight was taken 12 years ago on January 20th at 6:49 pm. That information comes courtesy of a digital camera system that provides way more detailed information than most of us need but it will be helpful this winter as I try to re-create the photograph using newer and better technology. This newer equipment will provide more pixels, better color, and better sharpness allowing me to make larger prints with more detail. Also, the town has changed in 12 years. The illuminated edge of town is now much closer to where I set up the camera. I'm not sure whether this fact will provide an improved photo or not. We'll see!

With our next full moon only a few days away, it's time to start watching the weather and checking on location. Hopefully, you'll get to see a new Paradise by Moonlight in the next few months.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art color Colorado Crested Butte full Landscape light moon moonlight mountain Paradise Divide Photo Photography snow The art of photography town village winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/1/how-the-art-happens---paradise-by-moonlight Wed, 08 Jan 2020 13:30:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Happy New Year https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/1/how-the-art-happens---happy-new-year Happy New Year

New Years Eve CelebrationNew Years Eve CelebrationEach New Year's Eve Crested Butte Mountain Resort celebrates the end of the year with a torchlight parade, the Bat Signal, and fireworks.

At the end of each year, the Crested Butte Mountain Resort celebrates new beginnings with a skier's torchlight parade, a spotlight on the mountain peak (we call the Bat-Signal), and fireworks. The challenge, photographically, is usually the cold, the potential for snow, and finding a great location. In the 33 winters I've been here, I have captured the event successfully only a handful of times.

Back in the days of film photography, we pretty-much stopped the lens down, opened the shutter, and hoped for a good result. With digital cameras and software, we now have better options. The Bat-Signal is a fairly new addition to the celebration but the fireworks and the torchlight parade used to occupy distinctly different spaces in time. The fireworks were never launched until the last skier had arrived in the base area. This made trying to capture both the fireworks and parade in a single exposure very difficult. The exposure time just became too long so I composited separate photos of the fireworks and the parade into a single image. In more recent years the fireworks have begun while the skiers are still coming down the mountain so the event doesn't last as long and the only real technical issue is the Bat-Signal overexposing the snow on the mountain peak. Since they only do this once a year, there's not much opportunity for practice but a great opportunity for failure.

The photo above was from New Year's Eve 2015, the last time the weather and my schedule cooperated on New Year's Eve. I had not planned on photographing the event that year but as the sun went down I realized that it's more fun to try and photograph the celebration than just standing around in the cold watching other people have fun. I walked about a block from my condo to this overlook of the base area and set up the tripod just as the skiers started down the mountain. Trying to photograph their entire descent would make the exposure time far too long so I used their time on the upper trails to test my exposure time and ISO settings. I decided that and ISO of 100, an exposure of 60 seconds at f22 would get the job done. I waited until the fireworks began and made two exposures before the torchlight parade was over. The whole event only lasts about15 minutes so I didn't even get very cold!

I hope all of you had a happy New Year's Eve and will find 2020 healthy, happy, and prosperous!

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Celebration Crested Butte Eve fireworks mountain New parade peak photo photography resort ski skier spotlight torchlight winter Years https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2020/1/how-the-art-happens---happy-new-year Wed, 01 Jan 2020 13:30:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - White Forest https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/12/how-the-art-happens---white-forest White Forest

White ForestWhite ForestBlack and White rendering of a dense Aspen forest in Western Colorado.
This image is limited to 25 prints on canvas at 20" x 32". The next one will be lucky number 13, so the edition will be half sold-out.

"White Forest" is one of those photographs I saw in my mind a long time before I found it in nature. I really love how densely aspen forests can grow. Some, you can barely walk through. I am also amazed at how the color and brightness of the trunks can vary within fairly short distances. They're not all bright white. But these were.

I travel over the West Elk Loop or Kebler Pass Road probably a dozen times a year. On this particular day, the sky was overcast but bright. That happens to be my favorite light for photographing aspen forests. I had driven by this grove many times before I caught this scene out of the corner of my eye. So, I went back and went to work. The trick was to fill every gap between trees with more trees. It was kind of tough. I had to move the tripod around a lot to create a composition with nothing but aspen trees. I was using my 200mm telephoto lens which tends to compress the space between near and far subjects but has a very limited depth of focus. I really wanted all, or most, of the trees to be sharply-focused. I ended up taking the picture at f22 for 1/8 of a second. But, I wasn't quite done.

It was early October and there were a few bright yellow aspen leaves in the composition. They completely stole the show. My eyes went straight to the only color in the scene, the leaves. So, I converted the photo to black and white. My leaf problem was solved! I ended up with a photograph that I absolutely love, representing how I feel about a lot of my adventures in Colorado forests. I guess others relate to it as well since it's sold 12 of the limited edition of 25 prints on canvas. It was even featured in the Crested Butte Magazine edition that is on newsstands right now. How does "White Forest" make you feel?

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) art aspen black canvas Colorado Crested Butte forest Kebler Landscape limited edition Pass Photo Photography The art of photography trees trunks white https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/12/how-the-art-happens---white-forest Wed, 11 Dec 2019 13:30:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Big Moon Rising https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/12/how-the-art-happens---big-moon-rising Big Moon Rising

Big Moon RisingBig Moon RisingComposite photograph of full Moon over Crested Butte, Colorado.

Ten years ago I did a little work for one of the local newspapers, The Crested Butte Weekly. As winter set in here in the high Colorado Rocky Mountains, with its dark and cold nights, the staff of the small paper was all commenting on how large the winter full moon appeared as it rose over Crested Butte Mountain. I got assigned to capture this phenomenon.

The full moon was to appear on January 11 but I knew that to capture some light on the surrounding town and mountain, I would have to take the photo the night before which would have moonrise almost an hour earlier. 6:54 pm to be precise!

I grabbed the tripod and camera and set out for my favorite overlook of the town of Crested Butte. I framed the photo to my liking and waited for the moon to rise. At just before 7 pm the moon started to show over the mountain. It was tiny! I took a few photos. I was disappointed. My editor was going to be even more disappointed. This job did not pay particularly well but, still, I wanted to bring home "the goods".

I put my 300 mm telephoto lens on the camera and waited until the moon cleared the mountain. I made a few photos of the full moon above the mountain and headed for home.

Using the magic of Adobe Photoshop, I created a composite image of the much-larger full moon into the exact position the tiny moon occupied in the original photo. This was not good photojournalism! It broke a bunch of rules I learned in college. It was "fake news".

Feeling completely guilty, I submitted both images to my editor and explained what I did. If the paper was going to use the composite image, they would need to explain what I did in the cutline. They did and the composite image was received to rave reviews and a few people even ordered prints. I guess in art, the end really does justify the means. "Big Moon Rising" is a fun composite image that shows what the scene feels like rather than what it actually looks like. I like it!

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Colorado Crested Butte full full moon Landscape moon moonrise mountain Photo Photography snow The art of photography town winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/12/how-the-art-happens---big-moon-rising Wed, 04 Dec 2019 13:30:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Storm in the Pines https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/11/how-the-art-happens---storm-in-the-pines Storm in the Pines

Storm in the PinesStorm in the PinesA snowstorm in a Colorado Lodgepole Pine forest near Gunnison, Colorado. The area is along the Taylor River and called Taylor Canyon. It's one of my very favorite places to make photos.

I love stormy weather. I always have. I probably always will. Back in my newspaper days, living in Duncan, Oklahoma, we would get the tornado warning sirens a few times every year. We were supposed to get into an inside closet and wait for the all-clear signal. I would go stand on the front porch and look for tornados.

We don't have tornados anywhere around Crested Butte, Colorado but I still love being out in stormy weather, especially snowstorms. I also love trying to capture the mood and excitement these storms generate. I'm usually disappointed in the results but keep trying. "Storm in the Pines" was one of my more successful attempts.

The Lodgepole Pine trees in Taylor Canyon hold onto snow better than most. The canyon is narrow and protected from the sun and some wind. It's one of my very favorite places to photograph. This late-February storm brought several inches of fresh, white, powder and was not as cold most. I had to go to work! In the photo, you can't really tell that it's actually snowing. The trees closer to the camera have good color and contrast but as you go deeper into the woods, the color saturation and contrast diminish quickly. This fact adds depth and some mystery to the scene. As I was making pictures the wind started to blow the snow out of the tree branches softening the scene even more. The tall, vertical trees stand strong against the weather. We tend to think of snowstorms in terms of white with shades of grey but Taylor Canyon is really quite colorful, probably because the trees are so close to the road. The blowing snow was a bonus. For me, this photograph represents everything I love about being in nature during a storm. I'm hoping it will start snowing up here on a regular basis this season. I need to see more of what Mother Nature has for me out there!

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Colorado Crested Butte forest image Landscape Photo Photography picture pine snow snowstorm The art of photography trees weather winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/11/how-the-art-happens---storm-in-the-pines Wed, 20 Nov 2019 21:13:09 GMT
How the Art Happens - East River Red https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/11/how-the-art-happens---east-river-red East River Red

East River RedEast River RedBright red sunrise clouds provide a red reflection in the meanders of the East River near Crested Butte, Colorado.

This small but beautiful river meanders through a valley just a few miles from my home. I spend lots of time exploring and enjoying the lines created as it snakes for miles down the valley. The road to the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab at Gothic, Colorado offers plenty of overlooks from several hundred feet above the river.

By late autumn the predominant colors range from golden aspen trees to rust-colored willows in the wetlands near the river. The valley is filled with warm tones but the river reflects our unusually blue sky on most days. This contrast in tonality is not usually what I'm looking for in a landscape photo. I would prefer to have all the tones in the scene either cool or warm but not mixed. As I was exploring this scene and trying to solve my tonality dilemma, it occurred to me that if we ever had a brilliant and colorful sunrise, the reflection in the river would be orange or red instead of blue. I filed this idea away in the back of my mind.

Several years later I walked out of my door to go to breakfast just before sunrise. There were clouds to the East that were starting to glow with red, sunrise, light. I remembered the river. Breakfast would have to wait a bit!

Heading toward Gothic, I searched for the best overlook but the light was changing quickly. I found this spot and set up to make some photos. As it turned out, the red reflection only lasted a few minutes. In a perfect world, I would have chosen a spot without the nearly-bare aspen trees in the foreground but there was no time. This image was my favorite from the opportunity that only allowed six photos. I'm still waiting for this situation to repeat. I love the idea but haven't gotten the "perfect" shot of "East River Red".

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art autumn Colorado Crested Butte East fall image Landscape meander Photo photograph Photography picture red reflect reflection river snake sunrise The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/11/how-the-art-happens---east-river-red Wed, 13 Nov 2019 17:40:12 GMT
How the Art Happens - Autumn Frosting https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/11/how-the-art-happens---autumn-frosting Autumn Frosting

Autumn FrostingAutumn FrostingThe first fall frost decorates wetland plants in Washington Gulch near Crested Butte, Colorado creating a tapestry of warm autumn colors.

The first heavy frost of autumn usually catches us off-guard. The fact that there was enough moisture in the air to create this frosting on a frigid morning signals a change is coming. Autumn is departing, making way for winter, but not quickly.

Our first heavy frost usually occurs after the leaves have fallen and the predominant color of the landscape has become brown. But, not always. On these colorful mornings, I need to grab some coffee and get to work, knowing the frost will quickly disappear once the sun hits my subject. On this particular morning, I made a dash to Washington Gulch knowing that Gothic Mountain and the surrounding hills would provide some good shade well into the morning. Fortunately, there was still some wonderful fall color in the wetland plants and surrounding aspen forest. Most of the aspen trees were still green! It was only September 24th!

I was photographing with one of my favorite photographers, Dick Okell. We weren't talking much but we were shivering a lot. Fortunately, we had sense enough to use our tripods! As per usual, I was trying to create a panorama of the scene and attempting to include a lot more than was necessary to get a nice image. Looking over my shoulder, I checked to see what Dick was composing and quickly realized the error of my ways. A single image was going to make a more-succinct statement and a stronger photograph. I put the panorama gear away and looked for a strong, colorful, composition of a smaller portion of the scene. I found this photo just before the sun showed up to destroy the frost. 

I really love the warm, autumn, tones against the cool tones of the frost. This contrast of colors and tonality creates visual and emotional excitement that is difficult to capture in a photograph. Autumn high in the Colorado Rockies frequently consists of just a few shades of yellow, gold, and orange. The extra dimension of the reds and greens contrasting with the cool, white frost gives me shivers and smiles. I hope "Autumn Frosting" does the same for you.

As loyal readers of my stories, I would like to offer you an early holiday bonus. From now until November 10th, 2019 you will receive 25% off any print order from my website, ImagesColorado.com. You will just need to use the coupon code "earlybird25" at checkout. The discount will apply to any new order or photograph from my Studio Inventory pages. Let me know if you have any questions. Happy shopping!


(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) art color Colorado Crested Butte foliage forest frost frosting Landscape Photo photograph photography plants The art of photography wetland https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/11/how-the-art-happens---autumn-frosting Wed, 06 Nov 2019 13:30:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - The Calico Forest https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/10/how-the-art-happens---the-calico-forest The Calico Forest

The Calico ForestThe Calico ForestPatches of color dot the Gunnison National Forest along the West Elk Scenic Byway captured in this Colorado landscape photograph. "The Calico Forest" is available as a very limited edition of only 20 prints. These signed and numbered fine art prints are 20" x 30" and are $1,000 each.

Fall is my favorite season. I'm especially drawn to the warm hues and warm temperatures that usually persist well into October in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. I also love to witness the transitions from one season to the next. These shoulder seasons can be visually and emotionally exciting times.

"The Calico Forest" was discovered while traveling over Kebler Pass along the West Elk Loop Scenic Byway in western Colorado. Later in October most of the aspen trees have lost their leaves but the oak trees hold their brown and copper-colored foliage much longer. And, of course, the conifers add a nice touch of green to the otherwise warm-toned landscape. The subdued, soft, light of a bright, overcast, sky helps bring out the textures and adds a little glow to the foliage without introducing deep shadows and too much contrast. A long, 300mm, telephoto lens compresses the distance in the scene and flattens it a little bit eliminating a distracting, grey, sky and creating a puzzle-like bit of impressionism. The only thing that bothered me about this image was the two V-shaped, dead trees. There just wasn't a way to compose the scene without them. So, I embraced their presence by making them part of the composition, placing them near the lower-left 1/3 of the photo which is one of the strongest positions in a landscape. Over time, I've come to love those two trees. I think they add some interest to the scene and make it seem a little more realistic and believable. Today, it would be easy for me to eliminate them from the scene via tools in my image editing software, Adobe Photoshop. But, they're here to stay!

"The Calico Forest" makes me feel all warm and gooey inside. I could stare at it forever, finding countless small areas to explore and seek more intimate compositions. I want to wallpaper my office with this image! How does it make you feel? I like it so much I have decided that it should be a limited edition. There will only be 20 prints of this image ever made. Each one is signed and numbered and printed 20" x 30". Would you like one?

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art aspen autumn blog brown Calico color Colorado copper Crested Butte fall fine art forest Landscape limited edition Photo photograph Photography The art of photography warm yellow https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/10/how-the-art-happens---the-calico-forest Wed, 30 Oct 2019 16:54:47 GMT
How the Art Happens - The Gold Spot https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/10/how-the-art-happens---the-gold-spot The Gold Spot

The Gold SpotThe Gold SpotA spot of sunlight illuminates a stand of golden aspen trees near Crested Butte, Colorado.

Our fall color is over for this season. It was late in arriving and didn't seem to last very long this year. A few nights with single-digit temperatures and some wind has turned the brilliant colors of autumn to stick season in the high country of Colorado.

Several years ago, while returning to Crested Butte from Gunnison, I noticed this one stand of aspen trees. They were glowing with the yellow and orange leaves that are typical of the peak of fall colors around here. But the peak was long-past and the rest of the trees on the hillside behind this grove had lost most of their leaves and were turning dull. It was mostly cloudy that day with small patches of sunlight moving across the hills and valleys. I knew I wanted sunlight on my subject to kick-up the colors. I also wanted the rest of the scene to be in the shade of the clouds. I didn't want your eyes to wander anywhere else in the scene. I just wanted the shapes and subtle colors to support the subject of the single, bright, grove of aspens.

I set up my tripod and camera with my 300mm telephoto lens. I use this lens in landscape photography a lot. I love the way it compresses distance, flattens out the scene, and isolates a subject. Once I got set up, all I had to do was wait for the sun and clouds to cooperate. I might not get what I want but if I don't set up I never will get the shot.

I probably shot a half-dozen frames as I waited for the light but after about 45 minutes I got just what I was hoping for. A small patch of sunlight crossed the valley floor and illuminated my trees leaving everything else in shade. I only got one frame before the lighting changed. It seems a lot of landscape photography works that way.

Sometimes I see a scene, figure out what light or timing might make it something unique, set up the gear, and wait. Sometimes I get the shot. Lots of times I don't!  I guess it's a lot like fishing. You ought to see the ones that got away. "The Gold Spot" didn't get away.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art aspen autumn color Colorado Crested Butte fall forest grove Landscape leaves Photo photograph photography stand The art of photography trees https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/10/how-the-art-happens---the-gold-spot Wed, 16 Oct 2019 12:30:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - At the Edge of Autumn https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/10/how-the-art-happens---at-the-edge-of-autumn At the Edge of Autumn

At the Edge of AutumnAt the Edge of AutumnThe last bit of golden aspen leaves in a grove at the base of Crested Butte Mountain under a blanket of fresh snow.

Most of us photographers like to make our photos on the edges. Sunset and sunrise are the edges of a day. Seasons have edges too when you can't really tell which season you're looking at. Is it fall? Is it winter? Is it both?

The edges of seasons are probably my favorite time to photograph the landscape. These edges are transitions to what comes next. Sometimes it's exciting. Sometimes it's a little depressing. Maybe introspective is a better description than depressing!

I love finding colorful aspen trees surrounded by early snows. I love the contrast which makes the golden leaves stand out against the background. I love the exciting feeling of changing weather and even the promise of a colorless landscape for the next 4-6 months. Our first snows are usually more of a sugar-frosting kind of thing than a huge dump of fresh powder. They are very photogenic if I get out early enough. They don't last very long. The minute the sun hits the dusting of snow, it's gone. That's probably another reason I like making photographs at the edges. The beauty is fleeting and ephemeral.

"At the Edge of Autumn" is a scene I found at the base of Crested Butte Mountain almost exactly three years ago. My longer, telephoto lens helps compress the distance from front to back and makes the scene look a little steeper than it actually is. It also helps isolate the stand of bright yellow aspen trees at the base. This image is also a study in textures ranging from hard granite at the top to sugar-frosted pines and golden aspen trees in the rest of the scene. All these contrasts help create an interesting scene "At the Edge of Autumn".

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbuttephotographer #edgeofautumn #fineartphotography #howthearthappens #landscapephoto #landscapephotography Art aspen autumn Colorado Crested Butte fall forest Landscape mountain mountains Photo Photography rocky snow The art of photography weather winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/10/how-the-art-happens---at-the-edge-of-autumn Wed, 09 Oct 2019 12:30:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Early Snow on East Beckwith Mountain https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/10/how-the-art-happens---early-snow-on-east-beckwith-mountain Early Snow on East Beckwith Mountain

Early Snow on East Beckwith MountainEarly Snow on East Beckwith MountainAutumn usually brings vibrant fall colors to the base of the Beckwith Mountains near Crested Butte, Colorado. It's an added bonus to get early snow and a perfect blue sky during the peak of fall color. The Beckwith mountains are located on the famous West Elk Loop in western Colorado.

Did you ever have one of those days that you just had to get outside and go for a drive? October 5, 2013, was one of those days. Actually, to be honest, living high in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, we have quite a few days that force you outdoors.

The previous day had been ugly. An autumn storm had blown into the mountains with cold, wet winds and rain. It was, kind of, the opposite of the day to follow. But, the following morning, a Saturday, was crisp and clear with fresh snow on the mountain peaks surrounding Crested Butte. It was time to go to work!

I spent a fair amount of time chasing peak fall colors against a perfect, blue sky that morning before I decided to drive over Kebler Pass to our west. Being a Saturday with outrageous fall color, I was not looking forward to dealing with the leaf-peepers and crazy drivers on a narrow, muddy, road. As it turned out, it was worth the drive.

Coming over the pass I could see that the West Elk Scenic Loop drive was going to be crazy in good ways (visually) and in bad (crazy drivers). After fighting the traffic and messy, dangerous, pull-outs along the road I decided to turn around at the road to the Lost Lake campground. Did I mention that the mud was 6" deep in places? I had some great pictures but it was just not worth fighting the road and the traffic. I had to wait in line to make the left turn to Lost Lake but I could tell I had reached my ultimate objective for the day. The scene above was filling my windshield with gold, white, and blue love.

I made my turn and pulled as far to the side of the road as I dared without getting stuck in the deep, sticky, mud. I climbed out of the truck, grabbed my tripod and camera, and went to work. I had to dodge the flying mud of every vehicle that followed me up the road, but I eventually got my photos.

I decided to capture the scene as a panorama since any other format would just include a bunch of uninteresting blue sky with no clouds or a bunch of muddy roads. Neither would have added to my photo. The sky was so blue. The trees were so golden. The snow was so white. It was so muddy. It was so worth it! I even like the road leading into the scene although I usually try to keep roads out of my pictures.

"Early Snow on East Beckwith Mountain" is the result. I've only made two prints of this image so far, one for my next-door neighbors from Texas and one framed version for myself. They both look great over beds in the master bedrooms. I hope you like it too!

Muddy truckMuddy truckMy muddy Nissan Frontier after chasing photos over Kebler Pass in western Colorado.

I told you it was muddy!


(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art aspen autumn Beckwith byway color Colorado Crested Butte Elk fall forest Kebler Pass Landscape Mountain panorama panoramic Photo Photography snow West https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/10/how-the-art-happens---early-snow-on-east-beckwith-mountain Wed, 02 Oct 2019 18:16:50 GMT
How the Art Happens - Sunset at the Hereford Corral https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/9/how-the-art-happens---sunset-at-the-hereford-corral Sunset at the Hereford Corral

Sunset at the Hereford CorralSunset at the Hereford CorralSmall Ideas project featuring a T-Bone steak with cows and a rancher figure with a pickup truck.

Many years ago, when I was in college in Oklahoma, I had a roommate from the panhandle of Texas. Hereford, Texas, to be specific. His family had done pretty well as the John Deere dealer in the area and his dad had retired younger than most. His dad became a rancher. As my roommate would tell the story, his dad's favorite pastime was driving through the herd trying to figure out which calf the best steaks would come from. After making his selection, he would call Mark to come and empty the freezer to make room for the new stuff. We would drive to Hereford, fill the trunk of his car with beef, and head for home. This routine became a huge part of my fond memories from college days and, is now lodged in my subconscious mind. Mark's dad helped us live pretty cheaply back then!


This memory became the inspiration for this photograph "Sunset at the Hereford Corral" in my "Small Ideas" series. The series is a huge departure from my landscape and commercial photography. It's a challenge to tell a story on a table-top or in a snow-bank. Working with 1-inch-tall figures has some significant technical challenges as well.


I used to tell people that working on these "Small Ideas" keeps me sane during our long off-seasons and cold winters. I'm not sure the project has really lived up to that expectation but it does keep me out of trouble. It is fun trying to create stories from the collection of HO scale figures and accessories. I hope you like "Sunset at the Hereford Corral" and encourage you to check out the other images in my "Small Ideas" series.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) art cattle fence fine art meat photo photograph photography rancher steak the art of photography toy toys truck https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/9/how-the-art-happens---sunset-at-the-hereford-corral Wed, 25 Sep 2019 12:30:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Aspen Bisque https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/9/how-the-art-happens---aspen-bisque Aspen Bisque

Aspen BisqueAspen BisqueGolden aspen leaves float in an irrigation ditch in Gunnison County, Colorado creating a colorful mix.

About a year ago a friend from New York City was in town and we went out to make some pictures of our fabulous fall foliage. This involves driving some of the passes and valleys in western Gunnison County looking for golden aspen forests.

As we traveled up to Ohio Pass we came to an area that always delivers lots of colors and, as luck would have it, a good variety of yellow, gold and red leaves at the peak of fall color. That morning had been a little breezy so lots of leaves had blown off the trees and covered the ground. Aspen leaves are especially colorful while they're in the trees but the color goes to brown within a few hours of the leaves hitting the ground. 

I found a place to park and Lois quickly jumped out of the Jeep and started running to the fence line where the ground was carpeted with colorful leaves. It was at that point that I remembered that there was an irrigation ditch which ran along the fence. The ditch was filled with water but covered with leaves so you really couldn't tell there was water there. I jumped out of the Jeep to caution her about the invisible ditch. Just in time! 

The scene was quite magical. Every inch of the water was covered with floating leaves sporting a variety of our famous fall colors. We spent quite a while trying to capture unique images of the floating leaves which slowly moved with the water down the ditch. The challenge was to get close enough to keep from falling into the ditch while finding even light under the canopy of the aspen forest. Dodging shadows was quite a challenge and leaves were still falling. I didn't really notice the tiny water droplets on every leaf until after I began to edit images that afternoon. I knew this was going to be an interesting photograph so I posted it on Facebook that afternoon and titled it "Aspen Soup". Within a few minutes, a friend suggested "Aspen Bisque" would be a better title. I agreed. The following day I went back to see if I could improve my photo. All the leaves had turned brown and had sunk to the bottom of the ditch. So, here is "Aspen Bisque" from last fall as I wait, not very patiently, for this year's trees to turn so I can get back to work.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art aspen Colorado Crested Butte fall foliage gold golden Landscape leaf leaves Photo Photography The art of photography tour yellow https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/9/how-the-art-happens---aspen-bisque Wed, 18 Sep 2019 13:00:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - The Base of the Butte https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/9/how-the-art-happens---the-base-of-the-butte The Base of the Butte

The Base Of The ButteThe Base Of The ButteBrilliant fall colored aspen trees contrast with deep, early, morning shadows on Crested Butte Mountain.

Our fall colors seem to be happening a little late this year. I'm hoping that when the leaves do begin to change I'm paying attention. It seems odd to me that I don't always pay attention to my surroundings since it's such a big part of my job.

"The Base of the Butte" almost didn't happen due to my lack of paying attention. I travel past this scene several times a day which is probably where the problem starts. They say "familiarity breeds contempt". While I don't feel contempt for my surroundings, subtle changes can certainly sneak past my attention unnoticed. 

The year this image was captured had blessed us with great fall colors. Here in Crested Butte, the trees had lost most of their leaves due to wind and rain. I really wasn't paying much attention to the few spots of color remaining in out valley. Instead, I was concentrating my efforts on the colors on Kebler and Ohio Passes which were just starting to peak. While heading home from breakfast around 8:30 one morning this scene caught my eye. The sun was just high enough to illuminate the few golden aspen trees at the base of Crested Butte Mountain while leaving the steep, rocky parts in deep shade. The contrast was beautiful! The details in the mountainside provided lots of interesting compositions. So, I drove on home.

The next morning the same thing happened but I did make a mental note to maybe take a picture someday. The third morning it happened yet again. I really needed to stop and get this image before it vanished. So, I drove home and grabbed the gear I needed, long telephoto lens, tripod, panorama bracket, camera, and finally, the decision to capture this photograph. The light was perfect. The trees were perfect. I had been composing this scene subconsciously for almost a week. The final photograph took only a few minutes. The lesson I learned with this image is that if I don't stop, I won't get the picture. Always stop! Always!

I'm really happy that I finally stopped to make this photo. This scene has not repeated since. These trees are usually the first to lose their leaves lately even though the play of light and shadow still happens every year.  Even though I really love this photograph, I haven't printed it in several years. It looks amazing on canvas and used to be one of my best sellers. Maybe it's time to print "The Base of the Butte" one more time!

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art aspen autumn color Colorado Crested Butte fall forest Landscape light mountain panorama panoramic Photo Photography picture https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/9/how-the-art-happens---the-base-of-the-butte Wed, 11 Sep 2019 13:00:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Fixer Upper https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/9/how-the-art-happens---fixer-upper Fixer Upper

Fixer UpperFixer UpperAn abandoned cabin near Crested Butte, Colorado is a reminder of the mining town's rich history in industry and agriculture.

I travel by this old, abandoned cabin several times each week. I have photographed it many times, in every season, and in all types of weather. Sometimes the sky up here does some odd and wonderful things and I just have to get in the Jeep and go to work.

This September day brought this outrageous sky that seemed to last all afternoon. Light, whispy, clouds filled the atmosphere and I had to find a subject on the ground for them to point to. I ran around all afternoon making photographs with varying degrees of success and failure until I remembered this cabin. It was in the perfect location!

Luckily, the fan-shaped clouds brought my eyes from the upper corners of the scene straight to the cabin with Whetstone Mountain in the distance. The golden aspen trees added to the warm colors of the cabin and grasses creating a warm and inviting scene. "Fixer Upper" was one of the easiest photographs for me to capture. As I processed the RAW photograph in Adobe Photoshop, I lightened the shadows on the front of the cabin and darkened the blue in the sky to increase the contrast with the clouds so they would "pop" a little. I added a little vignetting to the corners, a composition trick I learned from Ansel Adams, and that was it. "Fixer Upper" was good to go! 

As a small bonus, I also captured "The Whetstone Camel" in the scene. Although there are better vantage points that show the camel more clearly, it's nice to have this little extra bonus in the scene. Can you find "The Whetstone Camel"?

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) art autumn cabin cloud clouds colorado crested butte fall house landscape mountain mountains old photography rocky sky https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/9/how-the-art-happens---fixer-upper Wed, 04 Sep 2019 13:00:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Into the Forest https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/8/how-the-art-happens---into-the-forest Into the Forest

Into the ForestInto the Forest WrapA panoramic format photograph of a dense Colorado Aspen forest under bright green foliage presented on canvas and gallery-wrapped around the edges.


"Into the Forest" sold this week as a 20" x 48" print on canvas and gallery-wrapped around the edges. This sale got me to wondering why clients purchase specific pieces of art.

I have been taught that people purchase art for emotional reasons. I think that, as a generalization, is mostly correct, even though I have sold a few pieces because they matched the sofa or looked good over the fireplace. I think more clients purchase art because it speaks to them on a subconscious level. I hope they choose their art for the same reasons I originally chose my subject. 

So, why did I create "Into the Forest"? How does it speak to me?

It's hard for me to find words to describe how forests make me feel. They are quiet and serene. They make me introspective and thoughtful. But, not always. The scene has to be just right. The light has to be soft but not dark. There has to be a specific direction to the light. Shadows need to be open and minimized. There has to be detail everywhere. The light cannot be harsh, direct, sunlight.

The color needs to be vibrant and inviting but not garish. There has to be depth that draws me in.

I live on the edge of the largest aspen forest on the planet. Springtime in the aspen forests around Crested Butte, Colorado can be amazing. For a few weeks every spring I can find these new, lime-green aspen leaves that are still transparent enough to glow in almost any light. When the light is just right, the aspen trunks seem to glow as well. That "just-right" light, for me, is bright and overcast daylight. Direct sunlight makes the shadows too dark and the trees too bright. Dark clouds just make everything blueish-grey and kind of dismal. Bright overcast light is just right.

Then there's the composition of the image. This concept is probably the most difficult for me to put into words. I usually just pan the camera around until it feels right. But, in hindsight, having a dominant tree trunk almost centered in the composition is a strong element of visual focus. Everything else in the frame is subservient and junior to that single, largest, tree trunk that seems to yell "look at me". Having the sharpness in the image decline as the depth increases also pulls attention to the brighter trees in the foreground. "Into the Forest" turned out to be a fairly complicated way for me to express the quiet serenity I find while wandering through spring Colorado aspen forests. I hope you get the same feeling!

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art aspen canvas Colorado Crested Butte forest gallery Landscape panorama Photo Photography spring The art of photography wrapped https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/8/how-the-art-happens---into-the-forest Wed, 28 Aug 2019 15:59:51 GMT
How the Art Happens - Barry Burk Calf Roper https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/8/how-the-art-happens---barry-burk-calf-roper Barry Burk NFR Champion Calf Roper


Barry Burk NFR ChampionBarry Burk NFR ChampionWorld Champion Barry Burk ropes a calf at a southern Oklahoma rodeo.


It's been nearly 40 years ago since I worked for a daily newspaper. It was an exciting job and offered different challenges every single day. I wasn't a huge sports fan but I spent 2/3 of my time photographing football, wrestling, basketball, baseball, and every other sport a high school or college student might play. I even covered some rodeos.

As it turned out, one of the best calf ropers in the world at the time lived just down the road from me in Comanche, Oklahoma. His name is Barry Burk. I never really got to know Barry but he became the subject of a few photos for the Duncan Banner in those days.

At most calf roping events I liked to put myself and my cameras perpendicular to the gate and where the calf would usually run. This made focus a lot easier and I could usually just concentrate on the timing and the action. This approach put a big gap of space between the rider and the calf but I would usually get a decent photo. Sometimes the horse or the calf wouldn't even be in the shot. All the useable photos tended to look the same with a horse and rider, a long loop of rope, and a calf at the end of the rope.

At this particular roping event, I'm sure I made those same photos to guarantee I had a shot but I wanted something more, something different. So, I moved around opposite the gate so the action would be coming straight at me. This made focusing a lot harder. What should be in focus? The calf? The horse? The cowboy? Plus, this approach put a bunch of other cowboys in the background which can be pretty distracting. As my luck had it, Barry Burk was up next. Barry was the fastest roper I had ever seen. The way he and his horse worked together was amazing. If my memory is correct, he had his calf down and tied in under 5 seconds. Amazing! Lots of other ropers were chasing calves around for three times that.

The photo above is my all-time favorite rodeo photo. It has all the action and drama I was hoping for. The calf is running into the loop. The rope is looping through the air. The horse is in full-stop. Barry is out of the saddle and ready for action. The lettering on the bridle was an added bonus that completed the story. I don't even mind the cowboys in the background. Their faces express the fact that they just got beat by one of the best.

When working as a photojournalist it's always the goal to tell the whole story in a single photo. It's a goal we don't often achieve but it's worth working toward. This photo gets about as close to telling the whole story as any I have ever shot.




(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #BarryBurk #calfroper #rodeo Art Barry Burk calf Duncan Banner newspaper Oklahoma Photography photojournalism rodeo roping sports https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/8/how-the-art-happens---barry-burk-calf-roper Wed, 21 Aug 2019 13:00:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Fire on the Mountain https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/8/how-the-art-happens---fire-on-the-mountain Fire on the Mountain

Fire on the MountainFire on the MountainA clearing fall storm leaves fresh snow and golden aspen leaves on Gothic Mountain near Crested Butte, Colorado. Here's a 20 x 48 limited edition print on canvas for $800 that's sure to brighten up your home.

I hear that our planet is warming up. From personal observation, living up in the Colorado Rocky Mountains at 9,400' above sea level, I can verify that winters have become shorter and summers longer over the past 31 years. For us photographers, there is some benefit to this climate change. The odds of getting fresh snow while the aspen trees still have leaves has become a regular blessing rather than a lucky occurrence.

The south side of Gothic Mountain is cone-shaped and rises from a dense aspen forest. On really colorful years, these aspen trees sport colors ranging from bright yellow to an almost copper color. If you can also summon some fresh snow and a clearing sky, you might capture a really beautiful photograph.

The day "Fire on the Mountain" was captured began with an early-morning photo tour and ended at this location a few hours before the sky began to clear. We waited for half an hour or so before giving up on having a great sky. We still made some interesting images but, without the direct sunlight, the aspen trees were a little dull. I took my client back to her hotel and headed home for some lunch. After an hour or so it looked like the clouds might break up so I headed back up Washington  Gulch to see if I could get some luck with the leaves.

I ran into another photographer/friend who had been waiting at this same location but had given up. We just traded places! I didn't really have anything else to do that afternoon so I made my self comfortable after setting up to create a panorama if the clouds parted. An hour or so later the sky decided to cooperate and sunlight slowly penetrated the cloud cover bringing a beautiful glow to the golden aspen forest. I got my shot!

Sometimes, if you're patient and you set up and wait, you'll get lucky. If you don't set up, you'll never get lucky! Landscape photography is a game of patience, planning, persistence, and, sometimes, a little luck. "Fire on the Mountain" is the result.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art aspen autumn Colorado Crested Butte fall forest Gothic Landscape mountain panorama panoramic Photo Photography Rocky snow The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/8/how-the-art-happens---fire-on-the-mountain Wed, 14 Aug 2019 17:52:10 GMT
How the Art Happens - Watermelons https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/8/how-the-art-happens---watermelons Watermelons

WatermelonsWatermelonsAn old Chevy truck advertises watermelons for sale at Monroe's Peach Ranch near Hedley, Texas.

I used to travel through the panhandle of Texas several times a year to visit family in southern Oklahoma. I did this for over 30 years. When you travel the blue highways of America, you get used to seeing scenes of "Americana". Regular folks utilize and re-task items they have on hand for new tasks and purposes. You just don't see these scenes on an interstate.

Such is the case in Hedley, Texas. Monroe's Peach Ranch has re-purposed an old Chevy truck into signage for their fruit stand along US highway 287. I had driven past this scene dozens of times and had always intended to stop and photograph this old truck. On this morning journey, a heavy fog covered the Texas panhandle reducing visibility to a few hundred yards. The fog also removed almost all the color from anything more than a few feet away. The fruit stand was also closed, removing additional cars and people from the scene. This was the day!

I turned around, came back to the stand, and found a place to park so my truck was not in the scene. As I approached the old truck it emerged from the fog and took on a surreal blue glow. It seemed to jump out of the scene. What luck! The fog reduced the color saturation of everything but my subject, helping to isolate the truck from the background.

I made several images from near and far, at several different focal lengths. This wide-angle view centers attention on the truck and diminishes attention to the building and traffic. It was pretty breezy so I had to try multiple shots to get the flag completely unfurled. To me, the flag is a critical portion of the subject. I am a little annoyed by the blurry semi coming through the scene but, at least it was white, and didn't compete too much with my subject. I traded the perfect flag for the blurry truck.  I really didn't notice the truck when I was photographing since there was a lot of traffic coming through the scene. That's typical of US 287. Some of them even honked and waved.

I think I captured a nice bit of "Americana" with "Watermelons". I hope you like it too!

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) americana Art blue highways Hedley panhandle Photo Photography picture Texas The art of photography travel truck watermelons https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/8/how-the-art-happens---watermelons Wed, 07 Aug 2019 15:45:11 GMT
How the Art Happens - Whetstone Mists https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/8/how-the-art-happens---whetstone-mists Whetstone Mists

Whetstone MistsWhetstone MistsWhetstone Mountain and the Cold Spring Ranch after a spring snowstorm captured in a black and white Colorado landscape photograph.

Whetstone Mountain is, in my opinion, the most photogenic mountain in the Crested Butte area. I say this because it gets great light almost all day long. It's also large and imposing as mountains should be. Another reason I love this mountain is that it can be a great backdrop to scenes from several surrounding valleys, like Brush Creek.

The winter of 2006/2007 didn't bring a lot of snow and spring came pretty early around Crested Butte. Roads that were typically snow-covered opened early in April instead of May or June. The Brush Creek drainage is one of my favorite places to photograph mostly because of these ranch buildings and the backdrop of Whetstone Mountain.  Due to the lack of snow, I was able to travel up Brush Creek Road a bit to get this composition. We had had some fresh snow overnight but not enough to close the road. The storm was clearing (probably my very favorite time for landscape photos) and was leaving whispy clouds around the mountain. The fresh snow had covered the fields and roofs, hiding a lot of brown ugliness that would normally ruin this scene. I made this photo on April 5, 2007.

I made a few compositions and played with both portrait and landscape orientations. I tried to use the rustic fence beside the road as a leading line or, at least a foreground, with poor results. This appears to be the best and most simple composition. But there was something that did not work for me. At the time, I couldn't quite figure out what I didn't like about the image. The sky in the original was blue. It was the only color in the scene. It was distracting. But, it took some time (several years) for me to figure out the problem.

A few years later I was experimenting with different ways of converting color photographs to black and white. I needed a sample image to practice on and, by luck, I picked this one. With just a few mouse-clicks on some unused Photoshop tools, I had transformed an image I liked into one I truly loved. Sometimes less is more! "Whetstone Mists" has been a popular image ever since and has been printed up to 40" x 60". With a grey or black rustic frame, it looks amazing!

An added bonus to being out early, after a storm, is that you get to talk to the rancher, Mr. Veltri.

Mr Veltri 2007Mr Veltri working the Cold Spring Ranch. April 2007Michael Veltri on Brush Creek Road with his dogs.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) art barn black and white cloud cold spring ranch Colorado Crested Butte Landscape monochrome mountain photo photograph Photography ranch snow spring The art of photography weather Whetstone https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/8/how-the-art-happens---whetstone-mists Sat, 03 Aug 2019 19:34:03 GMT
How the Art Happens - Daybreak Crested Butte https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/7/how-the-art-happens---daybreak-crested-butte Daybreak - Crested Butte, Colorado

Daybreak - Crested ButteDaybreak - Crested ButteColorful Victorian architecture of downtown Crested Butte, Colorado taken to extremes using HDR processing. Crested Butte photography.

Crested Butte, Colorado got its start in the late 1800s as a mining town. Like many other mountain towns of that era, the architecture was mostly Victorian in nature. While the original buildings were probably not as colorful as they are today, the style and influence of the Victorian era are unquestionable, especially along the commercial corridors.

For those lucky enough to experience Crested Butte's Elk Avenue (main street) without cars or pedestrians, the colorful storefronts can invoke a romantic storybook feeling. In mid-winter with lots of snow, the feeling is even stronger. It's really a magical place but you have to get up early to experience the full effect.

My morning routine includes going out for breakfast, usually at Paradise Cafe. My favorite cafe was located in the middle of town until a few years ago. On this particular morning, I was the first car on the street. An overnight storm was just clearing and it was still snowing lightly but the sky was slowly getting lighter bringing an interesting glow to the landscape. I grabbed my camera!

I photographed the scene from several vantage points and in both landscape and portrait orientations. It seems the best location was from the middle of the street with a short telephoto lens. The short telephoto lens helps to subtly compress the distance back to the Old Town Hall building on the right. The bell tower feature of that structure creates a logical stopping place while viewing the photograph. The angle of the tracks through the snow and the storefronts pull the viewer's eyes from left to right and front to back. Fortunately, the snow banks on the curbs were just high enough to hide the sidewalk and the foundations of the buildings. 

The storefronts in Crested Butte are pretty colorful but not nearly as saturated as they are in this photograph. To enhance the storybook feel, I increased the saturation of the scene and made it a touch lighter than reality. The falling snow added a soft-focus effect to finish creating the romantic, storybook, feeling of "Daybreak - Crested Butte, Colorado".

These days the Town of Crested Butte rarely allows the banks of snow on the edge of the road so this scene is no longer possible. Most photographers hate the snow management plan used today! I'm glad I was able to capture this scene on February 20, 2010.








(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) architecture Art Colorado commercial dawn daybreak district main morning Photo Photograph Photography shop snow street The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/7/how-the-art-happens---daybreak-crested-butte Wed, 24 Jul 2019 13:00:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Busy Corner https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/6/how-the-art-happens---busy-corner Busy CornerBusy CornerAn abandoned gas station in Hollis, Oklahoma used to be on a Busy Corner and reminds us of times long-gone.

Busy Corner

I moved to Colorado from southern Oklahoma. Until recently, I still had family living in Duncan, Oklahoma and traveled back there at least once a year. But, I had been traveling this route for a long time before relocating to Colorado. We started vacationing in Colorado in the late '60s. So, I've been traveling across southern Oklahoma for nearly 50 years.

The drive across southern Oklahoma is much like lots of rural American drives through the plains states. There are lots of small towns with boarded-up buildings, tumbling-down houses, and no sign of industry or income. These once thriving small towns are now home to only a few residents and even fewer businesses. The more bustling towns have a cotton gin, a 7-11, and, maybe, a bank. That's about it.

I do love driving through rural America though. Some might find it depressing but I think most of the surviving residents are in these towns by choice and they usually make the best of their circumstances. At least visually.

I'm sure I've driven through Hollis, Oklahoma over 100 times without ever noticing the "Busy Corner". It was just another remnant from more prosperous times long-gone. But this one time an old red truck caught my eye as I drove past. I circled the block and came back to explore the situation. What I discovered was pure, visual gold!

As I looked around a bit more I saw the sign. Then the theater seats. Then the textures in the glass blocks. And, of course, the crunched corner of the canopy. I could almost hear a thousand stories from this old gas station. I had to get some pictures!

The shadows cast by the canopy against the bright sunlit sky were going to be a problem. I knew I was not going to get the vibrant, saturated color of the truck and the pumps to have any "punch" with normal, single exposure. I could not sit and wait for the light to change and the building faces north so direct light would never illuminate the truck. I had to adopt a "plan B". 

In these situations "plan B" usually involves a technique called HDR or High Dynamic Range photography consisting of combining several exposures into one that is blended to bring highlights and shadows together. This technique is sometimes difficult to control since we're kind of at the mercy of the software combining the images. So many HDR photographs end up being way oversaturated and looking a little like a cartoon. "Busy Corner" ended up this way too. But, I liked it. I think the false-color approach actually helps tell the stories of this abandoned gas station. I've been by it a few dozen times since this photo was created. It's never looked the same or as good as it did on November 29, 2011. 

What stories does "Busy Corner" remind you of?

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art busy corner filling gas HDR Hollis Oklahoma Photo photograph Photography service station The art of photography truck wrecker https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/6/how-the-art-happens---busy-corner Thu, 27 Jun 2019 19:43:15 GMT
How the Art Happens . Christmas in Autumn https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/6/how-the-art-happens-christmas-in-autumn Christmas in AutumnChristmas in AutumnFalling Aspen leaves decorate a single pine tree in a grove near Kebler Pass in the Gunnison National Forest.

Christmas in Autumn

Contrasts have become a theme in my photography. Whether it's a shadow on white snow, a warm color against a cool color, dark against light, or a conifer in a sea of deciduous trees, I seem to be drawn to contrasts. Many of my very favorite images feature some type of contrast.

"Christmas in Autumn" is no exception. I just really enjoy the contrasting shape of the conifer against the straight, white, tall aspen trunks. The dark tones of the pine also contrast nicely with the lighter trunks of the aspens. The addition of the fallen aspen leaves are a major bonus and really help the pine tree "belong" in the scene. The leaves provide a relationship between the competing species. Visually, the leaves just tie the image up in a neat little package.

The panoramic format was chosen for a couple of reasons. If I had photographed the scene in a more traditional 2:3 or 4:5 ratio the scene would have included a lot of bright sky which would draw attention away from my subject. The placement of the pine tree 1/3 into the left of the scene seemed to be the most comfortable placement. It's hard to put the reasoning behind a chosen composition into words sometimes. This is one of those times. The longer format of the panorama helped me emphasize the continuation of the aspen forest which makes it feel much larger than it might have in a more traditional format. The original image was photographed using a Hasselblad XPan camera which captures a dedicated panoramic format image on film. The lens was a 90mm which helped compress the depth of the forest.

The light in the image is really important, in my opinion. Bright, overcast lighting is probably my favorite light for almost every subject. That is especially true for fall color and aspen forests in particular. Bright, direct sunlight creates deep shadows and bright highlights which tend to compete with the way I think the forest feels. It shouts when I want to whisper! Most of my favorite images are photographed with softer, diffused light.

I knew when I made this photograph that I had exactly what I was hoping for. It's a photograph that seems to represent something different to everyone who sees it but it almost always evokes some kind of response. A funny sidebar to this story is, years later, as I was cleaning out old, unused, unsuccessful photos, I found three other versions of this scene in different seasons. I had forgotten that I had made the pictures since none of them created the emotional response I was hoping for. All of them were made using exactly the same composition.

Thanks for reading the story of "Christmas in Autumn". I've been sharing this photograph as archival paper prints and gallery-wrapped canvas prints for a few years now. It's one of my favorites!


(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art aspen autumn Colorado conifer contrast fall forest leaf leaves panorama panoramic Photo Photography pine The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/6/how-the-art-happens-christmas-in-autumn Wed, 19 Jun 2019 13:00:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Silverton, Colorado https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/6/how-the-art-happens---silverton-colorado Silverton ColoradoSilverton ColoradoAnsel Adams inspired this image of architectural forms from Silverton, Colorado. My composition is a little tighter to eliminate some new technology like a satellite dish.

Silverton, Colorado

Silverton, Colorado is a former mining town located high in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Many of the buildings in the town date back to the early mining days over 100 years ago. Like many of Colorado's old mining towns, Silverton's current claim to fame is tourism. Being the destination of the Durango to Silverton railroad keeps it hopping with visitors. Silverton is also famous for being on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1951 Ansel Adams visited Silverton and created a few images. His most well-known is a photograph of this church. The forms of the roofs and the contrast of the white church and dark surrounding buildings always intrigued me. Artistically, our eyes are usually drawn to areas of higher contrast and lighter tones generally dominate our attention. Naturally, my eye goes to the church.

I visited Silverton a few years ago and was captivated by the old wooden buildings and ghost-town feel once I got off of the main street. I drove or walked every street in Silverton searching for images. I didn't have much luck. Newer cars in driveways, satellite dishes, and a host of new-fangled additions and appliances really took away from the old mining town vibe I was trying to capture. Then, I remembered the Ansel Adams photo. 

The church is easy to find with the steeple being visible from just about anywhere in town. So, I headed toward the church. It was still there and seemingly freshly painted. Perfect! It took a bit of work but I was able to find the exact location that Ansel made his composition. I loved the picket fence but, unfortunately, new neighbors had used it to mount a huge satellite dish. I had to do something a little different. I ended up choosing a much longer, telephoto lens, moved a block away, and created a much tighter composition focusing on the front of the church. The telephoto lens helps compress the apparent distance between foreground, subject, and background. I really liked the lines of the surrounding roofs and the contrast with the church. Moving that extra block also provided a higher point of view and let me eliminate the street. The wood smoke from surrounding homes added to the atmosphere behind the church. It also helped set the mood for the photographer who loves the smell of a campfire.

This photograph was originally created in color. Color, in my opinion, sometimes detracts from my composition and doesn't always support the theme of a photograph. "Silverton, Colorado" definitely works better in the mild sepia-toned black and white on warm toned paper.

I think our two images tell different stories of the same subject. Here is the Ansel Adams 1951 image:

Copyright © 2016 Arizona Board of Regents. All Rights Reserved.

This is one of those images I prefer on paper. Canvas, metal and acrylic just, like the color, seem to compete with the emotion of the subject matter. You can see my matted and framed version of "Silverton, Colorado" here. 





(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Ansel Adams art black and white church Colorado image photo photograph photography picture sepia Silverton The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/6/how-the-art-happens---silverton-colorado Wed, 12 Jun 2019 13:00:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Fearless https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/6/how-the-art-happens---fearless FearlessFearlessA single small pine tree is threatened by shadows of larger trees nearby captured in this Colorado photograph.


Every winter our search and rescue organization hosts the best films from the Banff Mountain Film Festival. They take over the Center for the Arts and we get to watch some great outdoor-oriented films. Banff also hosts a photography competition and the winning photographs are featured in the programs and on the screen between films. To say that these films and photographs are inspirational would be a huge understatement.

Back in 2005 I attended the two nights of films and was captivated by another photographer's photo of shadows on the snow. Since I live in a snowy environment I was surprised by the fact that I never attempted to use shadows on snow as a subject or to support a subject. I mean, I was really surprised! I was so surprised that I went out the following day with a mission of using shadows on pristine white snow to tell some kind of story. This new idea was going to require some solitude and privacy so I headed up Taylor Canyon. 

I woke to fresh snow and sunshine so some of the elements were already aligned. I just needed a subject and some shadows. Taylor Canyon is one of my very favorite places to explore but, to be candid, I haven't made very many successful photographs up there. It's a bit overwhelming and trying to organize cohesive compositions can be difficult.

I slowly worked my way up the canyon creating images that were not really what I was hoping for. The river and the forests just weren't really speaking to me. Finally, just below the Taylor Dam, the hillside opened up with beautiful, long shadows of the towering pine trees above. This is what I was looking for! But the shadows alone were not telling the full story. That's when I found the little tree. Now I have a story! I was mostly photographing on film back in 2005 and on this particular day I had left the shop without enough. As I worked to refine the composition and lens selection I exhausted my supply. I still had not composed a really strong image so I grabbed my Nikon Coolpix 8800 digital camera I used for a backup and continued to refine my image. The threatening shadows and the singular small tree represent a story that most of us can relate to at some point in our lives.  Once I had the image above, I knew I had what I came for but it was on my digital "point and shoot" camera. (sad face)

I rarely compete in photo competitions but the following year I entered this photo in the Banff Photography Competition since that's where I got the original inspiration. In May I was headed out of town when my cell phone rang. It was Banff calling. I had won first place in the photography competition. There was only one problem. When I submitted the photo I didn't have a title for it so I just used the filename. The woman from Banff said I had to have a title. While driving over Kebler Pass, talking on the phone to a woman from Canada, it hit me. "Fearless" would be the perfect title. She agreed.

"Fearless" has been one of my most successful images and has been featured at Banff and in National Geographic as well as decorating the walls of many homes and offices. Today, this little tree has its own little tree beside it creating a completely different story.



(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) art Banff Colorado fearless landscape photo photograph photography pine shadow shadows snow tree winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/6/how-the-art-happens---fearless Wed, 05 Jun 2019 13:00:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Reflecting on West Beckwith https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/5/how-the-art-happens---reflecting-on-west-beckwith Lost Lake ReflectionsReflecting on West BeckwithEarly autumn snows leave West Beckwith Mountain reflecting nicely in Lost Lake along the popular Kebler Pass Road in western Colorado.

Reflecting on West Beckwith Mountain

About twelve years ago I started teaching photography workshops and leading photo tours. My buddy, J. C. Leacock and I decided to lead a weekend fall color workshop here in Crested Butte at the end of September.  Back then, the end of September was usually the peak of our autumn aspen extravaganza and seemed like the perfect time to capture some new images with some new friends.

We ended up with 6 "students" for our first workshop. Friday evening we got to know each other over dinner and prepared to head out before sunrise the next morning. We would photograph all morning, come back to town for lunch and editing, meet again late in the afternoon to share our best photos before heading out again for evening and sunset photos. Sunday we would repeat the procedure except for the sunset session. All went as planned on Saturday and everyone created some great new images and learned new techniques.

Sunday threw us a curve ball though. We woke up to fresh snow. If you've ever spent much time in the mountains then you know what a blessing it is to have brilliant, golden aspen leaves surrounded by fresh snow. It doesn't happen every year but when it does, you know you're going to capture some spectacular photographs.

We quickly agreed to head up to Lost Lake, betting we would be the only ones there. Our gamble paid off. We helped our students set up and compose photos while the sun slowly rose higher in the sky. We had been working quickly since the light was changing quickly and it was pretty cold at 10,000 feet. After about an hour or so everyone seemed to be ready to move on. J. C. was getting everyone back in the trucks when I had the idea of this panorama. I quickly set up and leveled the camera before making 7 overlapping photographs of the reflection of West Beckwith Mountain in the Lost Lake Slough. The still water created the mirror image. The snowy shoreline created the perfect frame.

When lakes get low in late autumn they develop this bath-tub-ring effect around the shoreline. It's usually ugly and a feature I would avoid photographing. This time it became the frame for my subject. It really only works because of the snow in my humble opinion. I would not have made the photograph if there had been no snow.

We got everybody loaded up and headed to our next location. I quickly forgot about the panorama I had captured. It was several days later that I pulled the files off the camera and into the computer and rediscovered this shot of the sunrise on West Beckwith Mountain reflecting in the lake.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) art autumn beckwith Colorado Crested Butte fall Kebler Pass lake lost lake mountain photo photograph photography reflection https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/5/how-the-art-happens---reflecting-on-west-beckwith Wed, 29 May 2019 19:55:31 GMT
How the Art Happens - The Hand of God https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/5/how-the-art-happens---the-hand-of-god The Hand Of GodThe Hand Of GodRed rain and lightning at sunset near Delta, Colorado create a wonderful way to end a summer day.

The Hand of God

I moved from Oklahoma to Colorado over 30 years ago. Chasing amazing skies was a frequent occupation while I lived in Oklahoma. It is well known for putting on impressive aerial displays of colorful clouds and storms. The mountains of Colorado are spectacular in their own right but the clouds up here can rarely compete with the skies of the plains. But, occasionally there are exceptions.

While traveling to Grand Junction one late summer evening I approached this singular cloud reflecting amazing sunset colors and dropping red rain. I had to get a picture of this!

I was driving on US 50 between Delta and Grand Junction. The two-lane road was narrow back then and had no shoulders. It was tough to find a place to get off the highway. The light was changing really quickly. I was in a panic that I might not get this photo. Eventually, I did find a spot to pull off the highway.

I quickly grabbed the camera, a Nikon FM2 which already had my 28mm wide angle lens on board. I put the camera on the tripod and set it up. Did I mention that the light was failing fast? I didn't feel like I had time to meter the scene so I set the exposure to "A" for aperture priority, allowing the camera to choose the shutter speed. The lens was stopped down to f11 or f16. The film was a new ISO 100 product from Fujifilm called Reala. I pressed the shutter button. The exposure was about 5 seconds or so. That's when it happened.

During my exposure, there was a lightning strike. I heard the shutter close. I couldn't believe my luck. So, I pressed the shutter button again. And again. And again, until the light completely failed and the sky was dark. There was no more lightning. There had been no lightning before either. The only lightning strike from this little storm was captured on my film! I'm the luckiest photographer on the planet!

I don't really believe in luck, however. I believe in planning, preparation, and patience. I also believe in gifts. This evening, I was given a gift, a once-in-a-lifetime photograph that no one else saw or captured. It had almost nothing to do with planning, preparation, and patience. It had almost nothing to do with me! It was a gift. And that's why it's called "The Hand of God".

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) art Colorado Delta fine God Grand Junction landscape lightning photo photograph photography rain red storm sunset weather https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/5/how-the-art-happens---the-hand-of-god Wed, 22 May 2019 13:00:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - East River Green https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/5/how-the-art-happens---east-river-green East River GreenEast River GreenThe East River meanders toward Crested Butte Mountain in western Colorado on a perfect spring morning.

East River Green

The East River drains snowmelt from the Raggeds and Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness areas northwest of Crested Butte, Colorado. While traveling between the historic mining town turned research facility of Gothic and its intersection with the Slate River below Crested Butte, it meanders through a broad valley like a snake. 

Photographers from all over the world have admired the views of the river as it snakes its way toward Gunnison. The vantage points, however, are few and far between. Dense forest and mountainous terrain leave only a few good views of the river below. For most of this route, travelers are a few hundred feet above the valley floor. 

That fact gave me an idea. For years I have imagined a photograph of the meandering East River leading eyes to the towering laccolith of Crested Butte Mountain. But there was a problem. None of the vantage points offered that point of view and it would be a treacherous, if not impossible, flight path for a small plane. So, for years the image of the lazy, winding river leading to the mountain I envisioned was just a dream.

But, technology came to the rescue. A few years ago the solution presented itself with the availability of flying cameras also known as drones. The flying camera was the perfect solution to this low-elevation aerial photograph in the middle of a deep valley.

To achieve "East River Green" I actually flew the route three times. The first time was about a month too early with patches of snow and mostly brown foliage. The second time spring winds made flying difficult and I could never find the right composition. The third time was the charm though. The camera placement ended up about 350' below from where I launched and nearly a half mile down-river. I was able to monitor the flight on my iPad to get the composition and elevation just right.

Once I get the photo I'm after I usually simply instruct the drone to "return to home" which I did this time. However, I was in for a surprise when a window popped up informing me that I didn't have enough battery power to get the drone back. Dang! I really was not looking forward to a mostly vertical hike with a slim chance of recovering my flying camera. Instead of panic, I decided to try and get my quadcopter as close as possible to my location. I flew up to about 50' above the launch elevation so I could clear the nearby trees and then straight back toward my spot. The controller was beeping "low battery" the whole way. But, I made it! Just barely. And, I got the shot, "East River Green".

If you would like to know more about what I have learned about using drones in landscape photography, here is a link to an article I wrote a while back. Using Drones in Landscape Photography


(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbutte #DJIPhantom4 #droneart #dronelandscape #dronephoto #meanders aerial art Crested Butte drone green image landscape meander meanders photo photograph photography river spring stream https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/5/how-the-art-happens---east-river-green Wed, 15 May 2019 16:57:46 GMT
How the Art Happens - Snow Tango https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/5/how-the-art-happens---snow-tango Snow TangoSnow TangoSpring brings wet heavy snow to a pair of Cottonwood trees with a tire swing in Gunnison County, Colorado. Crested Butte photography

Snow Tango

Midway between Crested Butte and Gunnison, Colorado, like towers in the middle of the pasture, there are these two Cottonwood trees. Years ago someone installed a tire swing from the high branches. It's been there for as long as I can remember. I travel past this scene several times a week.

Occasionally I'll see someone pulled over to the shoulder and taking pictures. I never did. Until this one day. Fresh snow had softened the dark branches giving them a velvet-like texture in the diffused and foggy light. The fog hid most of the background of houses, fences, cattle, and corrals. The trees were close enough to the road that the fog had little effect on them. They almost glowed against the white surroundings. The scene was almost, but not quite, monochromatic. The subject was completely isolated against the normal confusion of its background.

So, I stopped and made a few photographs. I played with a variety of focal lengths until I discovered a comfortable composition with just the right amount of subject and space. Some people refer to the empty space around the subject as "negative space". I believe that name is kind of  negative and I think that space is extremely positive and necessary to create a compelling composition.

This is the presentation I have settled on. To see what it looks like on canvas click on the link. I hope you enjoy "Snow Tango".

I always struggle with titles for my work. I shared this image on my Facebook page and asked for help coming up with a title. Several friends offered suggestions but a dear friend from college turned me in the right direction with her suggestion of "Spring Tango" which I chose for the first prints. While the photo was actually made in the spring, that season here in the Colorado Rockies really looks more like winter everywhere else in the country. I think the "Snow Tango" title makes a little more sense.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) art Colorado cottonwood dance fog landscape photo photograph photography snow swing tango tire trees winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/5/how-the-art-happens---snow-tango Wed, 08 May 2019 18:01:25 GMT
How the Art Happens - On the Path to Solitude https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/5/how-the-art-happens---on-the-path-to-solitude On the Path to SolitudeOn the Path to SolitudeAbandoned homestead and windmill in North East New Mexico near Las Vegas. This stark landscape evokes feelings of space, solitude and perhaps loneliness. I've printed this image on canvas at 20" x 60" for a dramatic presentation. This one can be yours for only $700. It's number 1 of only 25 on canvas and was featured in the Piper Gallery in Crested Butte, Colorado.

On the Path to Solitude

I love to drive and explore places I've never seen or revisit places I've been during different seasons. Northeast New Mexico is a vast landscape with little to attract attention. That may be what I like most about my time spent there. Finding subjects for photos is truly a process of discovery.

While traveling to visit family one winter, I spent the night in Las Vegas, New Mexico. It's a small town northeast of Santa Fe with lots of history in its past. I awoke to a fresh dusting of snow and hit the road early in the hope of finding a photographic subject while the light was still interesting. Just a few miles of driving provided me with just what I was hoping for. A quiet highway, wide open vistas, and soft, warm sunrise light set the mood.

This abandoned homestead and windmill sat just far enough off the highway to allow the snow-filled rutted drive to create a great leading line into the scene. I could have photographed the scene with a longer lens to bring my subject closer but that approach would eliminate the feeling of space and isolation. To enhance these feelings, I chose to use a panoramic format. 

Even though we are usually taught not to place our horizon or subject in the center of the frame, there are times when that approach creates the most powerful composition. This approach is especially appropriate with panoramas. The composition strengthens the feelings of isolation, space, and solitude. Even though I played with other compositions and lenses, none of them evoked the feelings that I was experiencing with this scene. The vastness of the space, the interesting sky, the warm light, and the snowy foreground all worked together to provide an image of quiet solitude without being lonely or depressing. I hope your response is the same as mine!

The first print from a limited edition of 25 on canvas and ready-to-hang is available at a discounted price right now. "On the Path to Solitude" could be yours!


(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) art image isolation landscape New Mexico panorama panoramic photo photograph photography quiet scene solitude space sunrise winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/5/how-the-art-happens---on-the-path-to-solitude Wed, 01 May 2019 17:14:48 GMT
How the Art Happens - There's a Delicate Nature to Spring https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/4/how-the-art-happens---theres-a-delicate-nature-to-spring There's A Delicate Nature To SpringThere's A Delicate Nature To SpringBare aspen trees dusted with a touch of fresh snow in springtime.

There's a Delicate Nature to Spring

I love aspen trees. They grow straight and tall and they do it quickly. They also can grow in very dense forests that you can barely walk through. Unlike the oak trees I grew up with in Oklahoma, aspen trees lose all of their leaves every autumn. We call that "stick season" and it lasts through the winter until May or so.

Aspen forests represent a variety of moods for me. As they begin to leaf out in the spring they exude joy and freshness. As their leaves turn dark green into summer, they just seem kind of normal, the way I feel most days. As they change to their golden shades in the fall they seem exuberant like they're celebrating a great life.

Then comes "stick season". Bare aspen trees invite quiet contemplation. They're not really depressing but rather introspective.

During April and May, we usually get our moisture in the form of snow. At 9400' in Colorado, that's just the way it is. Sometimes we get measurable snow in every month of the year. Springtime in the Rockies brings multiple light flurries of snow that do a great job at decorating bare aspen forests. The dusting of white reminds me that the trunks and branches are not really white at all but a variety of shades of grey. The light snowfall adds a little contrast to an otherwise dull landscape.

"There's a Delicate Nature to Spring" celebrates springtime in the Colorado Rocky Mountains for me. This image makes me think of moods changing from quiet contemplation to the promise of future joys. I hope it makes you feel the same!

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) art aspen bare Colorado forest landscape nature photograph photography snow spring tree trees https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/4/how-the-art-happens---theres-a-delicate-nature-to-spring Wed, 24 Apr 2019 13:00:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Shelter From the Storm https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/4/how-the-art-happens---shelter-from-the-storm Shelter From the StormShelter From the StormAn iconic Gunnison County barn stands against the elements of a snowy January in Colorado. This barn collapsed a few days after this image was captured.

Shelter From the Storm

I loved this old barn. I drove past it several times each week, in every season, at every time of day, in every kind of weather, in every kind of light. I have probably photographed it a hundred times.

On this particular January morning a few years ago, I awoke to a fresh frosting of snow and hoar frost on every post, branch, wire, and stationary object. I was trying to decide the morning's photo subject while enjoying my breakfast. The hoar frost disappears immediately when the sun hits it so I knew my time was limited. There was something else about that morning though. Because of the frost, almost everything it covered had lost its color. Now, that was cool (literally)!

I suddenly remembered this old barn between Crested Butte and Gunnison. The lines of the trees on the slopes above the barn would bring your eyes straight to the barn. The only color in the picture would be the warm, brown timbers of the old logs and planks used to build the barn. The fresh snow would help clean up anything on the ground creating a scene with minimal distractions from the warmth of my subject. The only challenge would be to get close enough to get the highway, fence, and ditch out of the scene.

I jumped in the truck and headed down the valley to the barn. The sky was still grey and overcast which really helps soften the view and eliminate distracting shadows. Plus, cloudy landscapes have a different mood to them than sunny days. I don't think this photograph would work at all on a sunny morning. It would have a completely different feel.

I photographed the barn from several angles and compositions. My short telephoto lens was the perfect solution to eliminating the fence and foreground distractions. It also helped compress the space between the barn and the angled trees above. The "frosting" was perfect, creating a scene reminiscent of hand-tinted photos from the turn of the century.  The wooden barn was simply glowing!

I knew I would be happy with the images captured that morning even though I was not sure which composition would be the strongest. What I did not know was that "Snowmageddon" was going to begin later that morning, bringing almost 6 feet of wet, heavy snow in the next several days. After weathering nearly 100 years of Rocky Mountain weather the ridge post cracked under the weight of new snow and the barn came down just a few days later.

As it turned out "Shelter From the Storm" just wasn't enough shelter after all. There is a sadness that fills the valley when iconic structures disappear.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) art barn log mountain photo photograph photography picture ranch ranching shelter snow storm weather winter wood wooden https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/4/how-the-art-happens---shelter-from-the-storm Wed, 17 Apr 2019 13:00:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Death Valley Dunes https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/4/how-the-art-happens---death-valley-dunes Windy Sand Dunes at Death ValleyDunesDeath Valley National Park sand dunes on a very windy spring day.

Death Valley Dunes

It seems our weather works in cycles. This winter and spring have been very wet on our western coast bringing plenty of rain and snow to typically-dry California. The winter of 2005 experienced much the same rainfall in the deserts of the west coast. 

I had just closed my retail photo lab and was trying to figure out how to pay my bills as a full-time landscape and freelance photographer. The nightly news was filled with stories of the rare "super bloom" in Death Valley National Park. Colorful wildflowers covered the usually brown and grey hillsides of this sand-filled valley just like this spring. I had never been to Death Valley. About a week into seeing these amazing pictures, it dawned on me that I could go experience this event for myself. And, of course, make photos to sell and share.

I packed up my 13-year-old Nissan Pathfinder and headed west. I planned on camping in the park so I could catch sunrise and sunsets in great wildflower locations. I arrived at a national park experiencing 105-degree temperatures and 50 mph winds. The "Super Bloom" was over. I missed the flowers by two days!

Rather than heading back to Colorado's cold and snow, I decided to stay and make the best of the long drive. I decided not to camp. The first day was spent driving around and getting the lay of the land. I always visit the visitor's centers in national parks. I always learn a lot and it's a great place to pick up a map and get some suggestions from park rangers. They know all the best spots and times to visit!

The next day was spent trying to make photos in hot and windy conditions which were not remotely productive but that evening the wind died down enough to allow me to camp in the park. I had driven by the sand dunes at Stovepipe Wells several times but the wind and mid-day light made them unappealing. My third morning in the park looked promising with light wind and much cooler temperatures. I headed to the dunes for some early-morning light only to find a photographer in a bright red jacket set-up on the tallest dune. There was no way to shoot around him. He seemed to stay there most of the day. Dang photographers! I ended up spending the day driving to Scotty's Castle which was one of the most interesting resort areas I have ever visited. It was devastated a few years ago by flood and mudslides. Very sad

My third and final day in the park welcomed the wind back to the valley but, at least there was no photographer on top of my subject, sand dune. I made a handful of images fighting flying sand and moving subjects. If you look closely, you can see the sand blowing off the dunes. I think the tripod might have been moving too because there was nothing really sharp in any of the pictures. Major fail!

A few years later, while reviewing old photos, I came across this image with new eyes. I was captivated by the shape of the dunes, the light and shadow, and, yes, the motion of the sand. I get an almost serene sense of peace when looking at the shapes in this photograph.

While the image was not captured in a panoramic format, I decided the grey mountains in the distance really didn't do much to support the more interesting part of the photo so I cropped most of the top of the frame. The colors were not really helping either. The tan/orange dunes contrasted with the blue/gray mountains creating too much color contrast in the image. I wanted to keep the feeling of warmth but subdue the color. A deep sepia tone became the answer after much experimentation. A little bump in contrast, a little addition of film-like grain, and a lot of dark vignetting provided the finishing touches to "Death Valley Dunes".


(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) art california death dune light panorama panormic park photo photograph photography picture sand shadow valley wind windy https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/4/how-the-art-happens---death-valley-dunes Wed, 10 Apr 2019 13:00:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - A Celebration of the Ancients https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/4/how-the-art-happens---celebration-of-the-ancients Celebration of the AncientsCelebration of the AncientsCliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park is illuminated by 77 farolitos or luminaries under a star lit sky. This rare event took place on December 9, 2015.

A Celebration of the Ancients

Mesa Verde National Park is truly one of the gems of the National Park system in the US. The park provides the ability to travel back in time nearly a thousand years and experience the lifestyle of Anasazi or Ancestral Puebloan people. And you don't only get to look at their homes and workplaces. You get to touch and feel the stone, walk through the canyons, smell the air, and see the same skies.

A few years ago I was reading in the Denver Post that the park staff at Mesa Verde were going to illuminate the Cliff Palace ruin with farolitos as a practice for their celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park System. The event was to be open to photographers only. This seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should be photographed if the weather cooperated. I put the event on my calendar. Sure enough, December 9, 2015 rolls around and the weather is going to be perfect at Mesa Verde.

I headed south for the 4-hour drive to the park and found a place to stay in nearby Cortez, Colorado by late afternoon. Arriving at the park around 5 pm, I discovered that the park officials were letting anyone with a camera come in for the event. Even cellphones were included. It turned out to be a zoo! There were several hundred "photographers" staking-out their personal space along the overlook of Cliff Palace.

I have always believed that my job as a photographer is to show my viewers something they would not have seen on their own. It's my job to either capture something they would never be able to see or, at least, show it in a way they didn't think of. Through timing, composition, and technique, I'm supposed to tell part of the story of my subject. 

As the evening progressed many of the people quit taking pictures and were standing around talking to each other and the several park rangers there to keep us under control. By the time it was really dark, most folks had left leaving about a dozen of us with easy access to the best locations. I knew that the Rangers were going to turn off the lanterns at 8 pm. I was trying to photograph as many different variations as possible while the lights were still burning.

The sky had been thinly overcast all afternoon eliminating any kind of sunset light and keeping the stars from showing. Just before 8 pm, the sky started to clear giving me a soft view of only the brightest stars. I knew it would be a technical challenge but I had to try and capture the stars above Cliff Palace. I just couldn't get the exposure of the bright lanterns to allow the stars to show. I ended up combining two frames, one of the ruins and a separate image of the sky to achieve my vision for "A Celebration of the Ancients".

I hope you like it.


(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Cliff Palace Dusty Demerson farolito illuminate lantern light lights Mesa Verde photo photograph photography sky star stars https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/4/how-the-art-happens---celebration-of-the-ancients Wed, 03 Apr 2019 13:00:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Winter Melody https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/3/how-the-art-happens---winter-melody Winter MelodyWinter MelodySnow covered Aspen trees on a Colorado hillside inspire music.

Winter Melody

I pass by this grove of aspen trees several times each day. When I look at them from this angle, directly across Washington Gulch and from slightly above the trees, they remind me of a musical score. I am very happy that Gunnison County road and bridge department has created a pull-out right where I need it. Most winters I still have to climb the snow banks to get a good point of view.

I set out to capture "Winter Melody" many years ago. I have photographed this stand of aspens in every season and in every type of weather. I have several versions that I like. They are all in a panorama format because to include more image below the trees would introduce a lot of boring sagebrush or white hillside. Above the trees, you begin to see the Pitchfork housing development which completely kills the mood of the image. 

The winter version above captures the essence of the musical score much better than any other season. The delicate branches and trunks help reinforce the idea of music. This took me several "mistakes" before I realized that the trees had to have just the right amount of snow hanging on the branches. Less snow made the scene too contrasty and a little too stark. The dusting of snow really enhances the delicacy and softness of the scene.

To capture the dusting of snow required several trips after snowstorms with poor results. Either the snow had blown out of the branches or the sun had hit the grove melting the fresh snow. Slowly, but surely, I was putting the image together in my mind by making lots of weak photos that did not tell the story the way I envisioned.

On January 12, 2009, everything finally came together. I got the photograph that I had been trying to capture for nearly 20 years. There was enough snow to cover the sage and the hillside. There was the perfect amount of fresh snow hanging in the branches. The sky was overcast and the sun had not risen so there were no ugly shadows to distract from the musical arrangement of my favorite aspen stand.

I have printed this image in color and monochrome. The black and white version seems to state the idea a little better but there really is little difference since there is very little color in an aspen tree. I have presented this image as a gallery-wrapped canvas print and also as matted and framed prints. I love the canvas version but it requires a wall with color. It looks awful on a white or off-white wall. The matted and framed versions are a lot less picky since the frame and mat provide a buffer for the nearly-white image.  Check out a framed version of "Winter Melody" here.

If you enjoy reading about how and why my images are created, you can be the first to get these blog posts and special offers on prints including my Print of the Month offerings by signing up here. I promise not to share your information with anyone else. You can also comment on these posts at the top of the page near the date.

Thanks for reading!

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #aspenpanorama #crestedbutte #landscapephoto #panorama #snowcoveredaspen #winter #wintermelody aspen forest grove image melody music panorama panoramic photo photograph photography picture score snow stand white winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/3/how-the-art-happens---winter-melody Wed, 27 Mar 2019 13:00:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - The Last of the Winter Bones https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/3/how-the-art-happens---the-last-of-the-winter-bones The Last of the Winter Bones

The Last of the Winter BonesThe Last of the Winter BonesA Colorado aspen forest slowly turns to green after a long bare winter near Kebler Pass and Crested Butte along the West Elk Loop scenic byway.

For me, spring is the most difficult season to create images. I live in a small town 9,400' above sea level and we usually have snow on the ground until June. Many of our back roads close in November and don't reopen until late June or even later if we've had a snowy winter and a cool spring. Spring snow is ugly. There's lots of mud. Roads are brown. The trees are bare. The grass is brown. There are very few flowers. The few flowers of spring are tiny and only get a few inches tall. The sky is frequently grey. The afternoons are windy. We usually can't get into the forests until after the trees have completely leafed out.

If it sounds like I'm not a big fan of spring up here, you would be mostly correct. Making images is a real challenge! But, then there was last spring. Last winter did not bring us much snow. The spring was warm. The snow melted pretty quickly which opened the back roads much earlier than usual. The forests turned green and we could actually get into them. It was gorgeous! The full range of spring aspen colors were easy to witness from roads and trails high up in the mountains.

So, here's the thing about spring aspen leaves. They start as tiny, lime-green clumps. Some call them "kitten's toes". They look like pale, green dust on the trees. This only lasts a day or two. Then they get bigger and darker green but still not the dark green of fully-formed leaves. This level of maturity also only lasts a day or two so you have to get out there every day. It may only take a week or so for an aspen forest to go from bare to full green foliage.

When spring aspens call I usually come running. The season is so fleeting you can miss it if you sleep-in. But, the real reason to be out there is the quiet. The solitude. The peace. And the exploration. Spring brings feelings of new life, fresh starts, earthy smells, sounds of a living universe. New growth and, of course, green.

"The Last of the Winter Bones" is one of my very favorite spring photographs. It was discovered on the west side of Kebler Pass in 2018. I just love the contrast of the white trunks and branches with the sea of pale green leaves on the mountain side. An overcast sky helped soften the lighting so there were no deep shadows. The darker conifers provided just the right amount of tonal contrast to keep the scene interesting. The small clearing in the lower center offers a different visual density than the rest of the image which tends to draw the eye. To enhance that effect, I used a little selective vignetting or, as we called it in the darkroom days "burning in". Like Ansel Adams, I like to darken the edges of most of my prints to keep the viewer's attention away from the edges of the image.

That's how "The Last of the Winter Bones" was made. It got its title because bare aspen trees resemble bones and the trees in the clearing were late to leaf.

To be the first to see these stories you can subscribe to the blog above in the sidebar. For more information about owning "The Last of the Winter Bones" click here.


(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) art aspen forest green landscape leaf leaves nature photo photograph photography season spring https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/3/how-the-art-happens---the-last-of-the-winter-bones Thu, 21 Mar 2019 13:00:00 GMT
How the Art Happens - Vintage Crested Butte https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/3/how-the-art-happens---vintage-crested-butte Vintage Crested Butte

Vintage Crested ButteVintage Crested ButteThe snow covered peaks of Paradise Divide tower over the town of Crested Butte, Colorado in this selective color approach to a contemporary scene.


This post will be the first of a series talking about how some of my best-selling images have been created and, more importantly, why they were created and what they mean to me. I hope you enjoy this series.


I have been a photographer most of my life with my interest beginning in high school and eventually leading to a degree in photojournalism. Back in the '70s,  while I was in school,  black and white photography was the method taught in school and used most in newspapers. I love black and white photography even though I rarely use this approach today. A monochrome photograph makes a viewer think about the subject without the distraction of color and realism. It presents the subject in a more abstract version requiring more attention.

Back in the "olden days" color photographs were not an option. But, photographers tried to add color to black and white images, for their own reasons, which I will not go into. They would use transparent oil paints to add color to their black and white prints using brushes and cotton swabs. These hand-tinted prints were quite popular and became the first color photos. 

I really like the hand-tinted look, especially when it's not applied to the entire image but only key elements. This spot-color technique has been used for years in wedding, portrait, and advertising photography. Remember the Cherry 7-UP commercials from the '80s? I invested untold hours into trying to learn this technique with extremely poor and sloppy results. Perhaps it was my love of coffee or just lack of patience, but I could never create a hand-tinted image I was happy with. I was a frustrated artist when it came to hand-tinting photographs!

Many years later, most photographic artists use digital photography to express their statements. Me too! The tools and techniques available to us today are amazing and finally allow us to create our visions of images that we only dreamed about 50 years ago. If he were alive today, I'm sure Ansel Adams would be crafting his amazing images using digital tools. The huge added benefit, today, to creating our photographic artwork, is that we only have to create one "original". Using older techniques, I would have had to hand tint every single print, one at a time. I'm not sure I would have ever earned minimum wage with my skills.

About 30 years ago I moved to my favorite little Rocky Mountain town of Crested Butte, Colorado. It sits at the end of the pavement, in a broad valley beneath towering peaks to the west. The town began as a mining town in the late 1800s and the original architecture is decidedly Victorian and very colorful. The landscape dwarfs the town. This is the story I was trying to tell with this photograph. Colorful town. Towering mountains. Dwarf town. Broad valley. Beautiful. I made this photo, originally, in color. It was pretty. The mountains looked "towering". The town was dwarfed. The buildings were lost in the lovely, however. How can I make the homes stand out in the scene? They are visually, such a small part of the landscape. I troubled over this photo for quite a while before I had the thought. "Hey, what about that spot-color, hand-tinted approach you like so much?" I had never really tried the approach using my digital tools but it had to be easier than using oil paints and toothpicks. It was!

The result is the artwork I call "Vintage Crested Butte". It's just, exactly, what I was trying to present. (And I only had to do it once!) To learn more about the actual technique of digital hand-tinting see this blog post.

I hope you enjoy my photos. I would love to know your thoughts. You can leave a comment at the top of the post by the date.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #art #Colorado #crestedbutte #dustydemerson #howthearthappens #photo #photography #Vintage art black and white Colorado Crested Butte hand tinted landscape photo photography selective color spot color vintage https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2019/3/how-the-art-happens---vintage-crested-butte Thu, 14 Mar 2019 17:25:58 GMT
Changing Perspective - Using Drones for Landscape Photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2018/1/changing-perspective---using-drones-for-landscape-photography Long Lake SunsetLong Lake SunsetA favorite swimming hole near Crested Butte, Colorado, Long Lake is captured by drone on a colorful summer evening.

About 5 years ago I purchased my first quadcopter with the idea of offering a new perspective of homes and properties for my real estate clients. I quickly learned that this was not a great idea. First of all, I had to use my GoPro camera for the pictures. While GoPro cameras are great for home-video use, they produce pretty lousy still images and making decent prints proved to be nearly impossible. If that wasn't enough of a problem, the early drones were a challenge to fly and hated even a mild breeze. Composing images was also difficult since viewing the scene through the camera required a lot more equipment that seldom worked well. To add insult to potential injury, the early drones operated on the same frequencies used by other devices and had a bad habit of flying away if you got a phone call. I sold my first Phantom quadcopter within 6 months and put the aerial photography idea on the back-burner for a year or so. Lunch BreakLunch BreakRanchers cutting hay take a break in a Colorado field near Gunnison.

Eventually, DJI came out with the Phantom 3 which seemed to solve a lot of the early issues so I bought one. The still image quality had improved a lot since the camera was built-in and was attached to a gimble to keep the camera level while flying. This Phantom was a lot easier to fly and much more stable. I got some great images. I discovered how much fun it would be if I were 200' tall! A few months after I purchased the Phantom 3, DJI came out with the Phantom 4 which had even better features and a much better camera. They got me again!

Lazy F Bar Ranch Under SnowLazy F Bar Ranch Under SnowThe Lazy F Bar Ranch near Crested Butte, Colorado is literally buried under deep, fresh snow with Whetstone Mountain in the distance


This new drone was extremely easy to fly and captured nice, high quality still images. It offered much better flight times as well. Using my iPod mini, I was easily able to compose my photos and operate the drone controls via the touch-screen. I could also use my smartphone but found the screen too small to use efficiently. Most of my early images were created well under the 400' maximum allowed and I seldom did much moving once I was in the air. Since I have always worked out locations in my mind before grabbing a camera, the drone usually just went straight up and then straight down. With practice, this approach was quickly modified beginning with the image below. I have always had this shot in my mind but it required the drone and some flying that really messed with my mind. Besides operating a flying camera over half a mile away, the drone was also nearly 300' below me. I think it was worth the terror of having to climb down there to retrieve my camera if things went horribly wrong.

East River GreenEast River GreenThe East River meanders toward Crested Butte Mountain in western Colorado on a perfect spring morning.

So, now I've been actively using a DJI Phantom 4 Pro quadcopter for about a year. I'm making some images that are good enough to make decent prints and offer for sale. I don't use the video features at all. There are plenty of other local photographers who offer video services and most of them don't offer still images. I like not having a lot of competition. The real estate market never really materialized since most of the realtors just bought their own quadcopters. They are fun to fly!

Here are a few things I have learned in the past year.

1. The camera can always be better.

2. Balance your props for sharper photos.

3. Pay attention to your composition.

4. Plan your images in advance. The landscape looks a lot different from 200' - 400' above.

5. Keep your ears open for planes and helicopters.

6. If you get an audience gathered around you, it's best to just land and come back later.

7. Just because an image looks cool doesn't mean people will give you money for it.

8. It may take some time for low altitude aerial images to be considered as art.

9. Wide angle lenses make it really easy to fly into trees.

10. Keep flying and looking for new ideas.

11. Animals can act pretty strange with a drone overhead. Plan accordingly.

12. Pay attention to your battery power.

13. Check your firmware/software for updates before leaving the office.

Over the AspensOver the AspensOverhead view of an aspen grove on a snowy winter day in Colorado.

While selling fine art photo prints of my aerial images has been a little disappointing so far, the sales of these photos as stock have done pretty well. By the way, the green color of John Deere equipment is considered intellectual property and the licensing of images that include that equipment is a copyright violation. (I'm learning new stuff with this drone.) The drone is still fun to fly and any work we can do while having fun is a bonus.

As an experiment last summer, I tried using the drone platform to shoot a panorama. With the 20 - 24mm lens equivalents of drone camera lenses, this proved to be a challenge for my stitching software. I generally overlapped images about 50% but learned that this approach would not make a great panorama from the air. I found I had to overlap images about 75% if there are details like roads and buildings to blend. If I don't do this, I end up with some really weird and unpleasant stitching failures of lines that should be straight. That said, some of these aerial panoramas are great! Give it a try. The panoramas have been my best-sellers as stock photography.

Alone in the WoodsAlone in the WoodsAn isolated rustic cabin below the Anthracite Range in Gunnison County, Colorado.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to share a link to this page if you found the information useful.

To see more of my aerial images visit the "Signature Prints" section of my website: https://www.imagescolorado.com/p308719591



(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #aerialphotography #dji #drone #dronelandscapephotography #dronephotography aerial air art colorado crested butte drone landscape panorama panoramic photo photograph photographer photography quadcopter technique the art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2018/1/changing-perspective---using-drones-for-landscape-photography Wed, 24 Jan 2018 19:10:26 GMT
Preparing Photos for Social Media https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2017/10/preparing-photos-for-social-media Crested Butte Mountain From Gunsight Pass RoadCrested Butte Mountain From Gunsight Pass RoadCrested Butte Mountain viewed from Gunsight Pass Road and framed in golden aspen trees.

Social media like Facebook can be a great and free marketing tool for our art. Lots of photographers post images every day. I try and do the same but definitely fall short of the every-day post. 

Making our images look fabulous on social media takes a little extra time but is worth the effort.

Most of us try and use large color spaces like Adobe RGB or Pro Photo RGB to edit our images. These spaces are great for prepping photos for printing but not so great for internet viewing. Internet images must be converted to sRGB for display on the web. If you don't do it, Facebook will. Guess who will do a better job! That's right...you. 

Size also matters. I usually shrink my Facebook files to 2048 dpi on the longest side. This creates a great looking photo on Facebook. I ALWAYS add a watermark logo before posting too. Smaller than 1024 dpi and you'll run into pixelation problems. Larger files are a waste of time since Facebook will reduce them anyway.

Here's how my workflow goes:

1. Work my magic on the image using layers and a large color space like Pro Photo.

2. Save my work as a PSD or TIF file.

3. Shrink the file to 2048 dpi on the long dimension. Flatten the image.

4. Convert the color space to sRGB.

5. Add a watermark in the lower right or left corner.

6. Save as a .jpg file at level 10 in a new (Facebook Photos) folder.

7. Now feel free to post this image to Facebook, Instagram, or whatever social media platform may show up tomorrow.


a bicycle leaves its mark in early snow on a sidewalkA Ghost of SummerFresh, early snow leaves an imprint of a bicycle on a brick sidewalk covered with fallen aspen leaves.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) facebook image instagram photo photograph photography social media https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2017/10/preparing-photos-for-social-media Tue, 17 Oct 2017 00:15:38 GMT
How to Photograph a Solar Eclipse https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2017/8/how-to-photograph-a-solar-eclipse Way back in May of 2012 we had a solar eclipse visible in the southern part of the USA. Since successful viewing of an eclipse requires a clear sky, I was not willing to commit to driving any distance in the hopes I would be lucky enough to witness this event. I had at least a 50/50 chance of missing it due to weather.


I went to breakfast that morning near my home in Crested Butte, Colorado and check the weather and the track of totality for my area while I waited for my bacon. As it turned out, the weather would be perfect. The nearest landmark along the path of totality was Shiprock, New Mexico. That's about a 5-hour drive from my home but, since it was May, I had nothing better to do than driving to Shiprock for the evening eclipse.


I had an idea of the photo I was hoping to get but I had never photographed an eclipse before and rarely point my cameras toward the sun, even for sunsets. I had a lot of time to think this thing through but no time to practice my technique.


After arriving at my destination I had a few hours to find a perfect location. Much of the land around Shiprock is Navajo Nation private property and I knew from previous visits that they can get pretty excited about people crossing fences and even driving on their roads. I staked out my place along the highway in the state's right of way just to be safe. I was not alone!


Getting the mountain and the sun in the same shot was my goal but I really didn't know exactly where the sun was going to be when it was eclipsed. I ended up using my 80-200mm, my 300mm, and my 400mm lenses for the photos. My first shot was using the longer lenses just to capture the shadow of the Earth falling across the sun.


I quickly realized that getting an acceptable exposure while looking into the sun was going to make it impossible to see any kind of landform or mountain. If I exposed for a dark sky with a little foreground the sun would be too blown-out to see the shadow of the earth. Bummer! I also came to the realization that if I properly exposed the totality of the earth's shadow within the outline of the sun I was going to get a really boring image.


I could easily create this graphic in Photoshop without having to travel to another state and hope for good weather!

So, as I continued to make images with my long lenses and work through the exposure issues, I realized another problem. When I shot with my 80-200mm zoom I got lots of unwanted lens flare and ghosting of the sun/earth part of the image. I hate lens flare! I know it's really popular in a lot of portrait situations but for a landscape photographer, it's bad news. What to do?


Solar Eclipse 3Solar Eclipse 3

As it turned out, the location I had chosen was about perfect. Except for the power lines and pole. I was able to achieve a good exposure using HDR techniques and an exposure range of about 6 stops to achieve the photo above. I still wasn't thrilled with the power pole and the size of the sun was a little underwhelming. Since I think using HDR for my landscape photos is cheating just a bit, I decided to cheat some more and try a composite image. The photo/illustration below is my final result. I'm pretty happy with it. It involves a 6 stop HDR shot of the mountain with most of the lens-flair and ghosting retouched composited with my favorite frame of the earth eclipsing the sun. It's not perfect. It was a huge amount of work using a lot more post processing than I'm comfortable with but I'm pretty happy with the result.

Shiprock EclipseShiprock EclipseComposite image of annular eclipse of May 2012 over Shiprock New Mexico.

I hope you all have fun chasing the next eclipse later this month. Happy hunting!



(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) eclipse image new mexico photo photograph photography shiprock https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2017/8/how-to-photograph-a-solar-eclipse Mon, 07 Aug 2017 21:50:33 GMT
Where the Wildflowers Are https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2017/6/where-the-wildflowers-are With the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival about a week away, it's time to start talking flowers. The Colorado State Legislature named Crested Butte the Wildflower Capital of Colorado a bunch of years ago. There were very good reasons. Anyone spending any length of time around Crested Butte in the summertime knows first-hand about the abundance of local color both human and botanical.

_DSC2950_DSC2950COPYRIGHT 2014 Dusty Demerson Simply wandering the streets and alleys of this former coal mining town will provide a great introduction to what's available if you venture into the back country.

There are 5 major drainages that converge into the East River valley near Crested Butte. Each of these valleys has its own character and flora. Heading west over Kebler pass is the most heavily traveled route and probably offers the least in terms of wildflowers. Most locals will spend their time in other valleys both to avoid the traffic and to discover better varieties of flora.

The Slate River Valley is the next valley to the north of town. It's a great drive toward Paradise Divide and a good place for dispersed camping as well as some sporadic wildflowers. This drainage is one of the best places to find Pasque flowers which are the first things to bloom once the snow starts to melt. They will be long-gone by Festival time. Lupine, Sunflowers, and Columbine are pretty easy to find along this drive.

_DUS3905_DUS3905copyright2009Dusty Demerson Just to the north of the Slate River drainage, you will find Washington Gulch. This route eventually connects with the Slate River Road and either brings you home or takes you up to Paradise Divide. There are huge fields of Lupine, Sunflowers, and mixed varieties along this route. It's one of my favorite places to photograph flowers.

Moving north again, the next area you'll discover is the East River Valley which trends northwest toward the former mining town of Gothic. Gothic is now occupied by the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab and the wildflower offerings are best in the 5 miles or so from the town of Mount Crested Butte to the lab at Gothic. The meandering East River offers great photo opportunities all year long but makes a great backdrop to the flowers near the road.

DSCF5406DSCF5406 You'll find Lupine, "Skunk Cabbage", Glacier Lilies, Sunflowers, and Columbine along this drive and under the trees along the way.

Be sure to stop by the visitor's center in Gothic for information about the research they do and ice cream. The Rocky Mountain Biological Lab also offers lots of public seminars, hikes, and educational opportunities.

Gothic Road is a great drive any time of the day but plan on taking your time. It gets lots of car and bike traffic and the speed limit is only 20 mph.

To do this drive you'll pass through the town of Mount Crested Butte. There are tons of sunflowers and usually some Lupine near the stables. The rustic fence of the Gold Link subdivision makes a great foreground for distant vistas of Whiterock Mountain.

_DSC9355_DSC9355COPYRIGHT 2014 Dusty Demerson Moving around toward the east brings us to the Brush Creek area. To find this drainage you will travel south of Crested Butte to the Skyland residential area and golf course. Turn left onto Brush Creek Road but keep to the right at the entrance to the residential areas. You're now on the southeastern flank of Crested Butte Mountain. The hillside along the road gets abundant sunshine and you'll find a huge variety of blooming flowers stretching for a half mile or so. You might have to do a little vertical hiking to find a great composition but it's usually worth the effort. If you're here during the Festival, keep your eyes peeled for Colorado photo legend John Fielder. He loves taking his workshops to this area.

If you continue along Brush Creek Road you will pass the Cold Spring Ranch and in about a mile start to climb into huge, open fields of sunflowers with great views of Mount Whetstone.

DSCF9647DSCF9647COPYRIGHT DUSTY DEMERSON ALL RIGHTS RESERVED If you're in the area and looking for a more personal guide service or photo instruction, I offer classes each morning of the Festival and private photo tours all year long. There's a link at the top of this page for more information on my services.

The Crested Butte Wildflower Festival runs from July 7 - July 16 this year and the headquarters are at the Crested Butte Community School. You can call them at (970) 349-2571 or use the hot link for their website.

I hope to see you here next week. The flowers are raging!



(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Colorado Crested Butte Dusty Demerson drive festival flower landscape photo photography travel wildflower wildflower capital of colorado wildflower festival https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2017/6/where-the-wildflowers-are Fri, 30 Jun 2017 20:28:32 GMT
The Cameras that Got Me to Where I Am Today Part 3 https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2017/6/the-cameras-that-got-me-to-where-i-am-today-part-3 After photographing with a wide variety of film cameras over 30 years or so it was time to invest in the growing trend of digital photography. Most of us started testing the waters of digital photography with amateur models from a variety of vendors. My first "professional" digital SLR was the Fujifilm S2 Pro.

Fujifilm s2 proFujifilm s2 pro The FinePix S2 Pro was based on a Nikon body so all of my lenses would still function. That was probably the most important reason for choosing this camera. Another factor was the fact that Fuji was years ahead of Nikon in their chip and software development at the time. The FinePix cameras actually used  hexagon shaped pixels which gave them much smoother color transitions which were a big problem for these low resolution chips. It didn't take long to upgrade to the newer S3 Pro when it came out.

Fujifilm s3 proFujifilm s3 pro To be honest, I can't remember what significant improvement the S3 offered but a couple of years later it got replaced by the FinePix S5 Pro which offered a dramatic improvement in resolution and image quality.

Fujifilm s5 proFujifilm s5 pro

The S5 was the first DSLR that really offered better images than the film cameras of the time. After this purchase it was rare to find me shooting film unless there was a specific need by the client. This was also the final chapter in the DSLR line for Fuji. I have always wondered why they left this part of the market because they had a lead in the technology and a clearly superior product for portrait and wedding photographers.

One of the downsides to digital cameras is that they don't last as long as film cameras. There's a lot more going on in there and a lot more stuff to fail. Also, we always want more pixels and better dynamic range along with the other bells and whistles. After several years my trusty S5 Pro got replaced by a shiny, new Nikon D700.

Nikon d700Nikon d700 The D700 offered some image enhancements for landscape photography and a bit higher resolution over the Fuji. It's build quality was also superior, offering better protection against dust and moisture. I loved the ergonomics of the D700 and was quick to lust after its 36 megapixel replacement the Nikon D800.

After reading a bunch of reviews for the D800 I came to the conclusion that I would need to replace my desktop computer to take advantage (or even load) these much-larger files. Not being able to find the perfect computer for imaging, I decided to build my own. I spent a lot of time doing the research and questioning others who were building dedicated Photoshop computers before I took the plunge. After finally deciding on all the components the order was placed and a few weeks later all the parts arrived. About 6 hours later I had a new whiz-bang computer and could think about ordering the Nikon D800.

Nikon_D800_frontNikon_D800_front The Nikon D800 is my current workhorse. It provides huge files which make large prints and canvases a breeze. The panoramas I create with stitching these images are monsters but more important is the fact that the image quality and sharpness is greater than even my medium format images. I frequently create 30" x 40" family portraits and panoramas extending 100" or so. They look fantastic! The dynamic range is superb enabling me to pull details out of the shadows that other photographers have to use HDR techniques to achieve. I love this camera!

Finally, for kicks and giggles I added a rangefinder Fujifilm X 100s a few years ago. This is a great, small, light camera for street photography and vacations. It's my "point and shoot" of choice. It offers superb image quality and sharpness and has an actual optical viewfinder which kind of brings me full-circle back to the Nikon S2 where I started.

fujifilm s100xfujifilm s100x

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) D700 D800 Fuji Fujifilm Nikon S2 S3 S5 X100s business camera photographer photography portrait professional studio wedding https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2017/6/the-cameras-that-got-me-to-where-i-am-today-part-3 Wed, 28 Jun 2017 22:23:52 GMT
The Cameras that Got Me to Where I Am Today Part 2 https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2017/6/the-cameras-that-got-me-to-where-i-am-today-part-2 In 1984 I was visited by a career change. My photojournalism path and I parted ways and I opened a portrait and wedding studio called "Dusty Demerson's Portraits Plus". The Plus was my way of saying that I would take on just about any photography job that included a check. It did not take me long to figure out that larger format prints were much more profitable than 8 x 10s so I had to choose some new equipment. After much deliberation I ended up choosing the Mamiya M 645 with three lenses.

Mamiya M645Mamiya M645䌀漀瀀礀爀椀最栀琀 䴀椀欀攀 䔀挀欀洀愀渀

This camera system was fairly lightweight, reliable, and more affordable than the other options at the time. I did get the metered finder which never worked very well. I did like that it had a rectangular format instead of the square Hasselblad format. Eventually I purchased the motor drive which weighed a ton but provided a very useful handle and platform for a shoe-mount flash. This combination became my wedding rig for many years and resulted in my right bicep becoming about double the size of my left one.

A few years after starting the studio I purchased a photo lab in Crested Butte, Colorado. The combination of lab and studio has been my business model since 1987. New equipment became possible with this much-more-profitable business model. The first move was into a larger format camera.


The Wista 45DX was and still is a fabulous camera. I sold mine a few years ago but I still miss using it. My initial purchase included a Nikkor 150 mm lens which is a slightly wide normal for this format. Over time I added a Rodenstock 210, a Schneider 90, and a Schneider 65mm which is incredibly wide and very difficult to use well.

Shortly after adding the 4 x 5 camera I also upgraded the 120 cameras to the Mamiya RB67.

Mamiya RB 67Mamiya RB 67 This system really required using a tripod unless you were a Mr. America contestant but the image size, sharpness, and shear intimidation factor of the camera should not be overstated. Add a few stools and two Quantum Qpak battery powered strobes and you had a complete outdoor portrait studio that would scare off all but the most robust competitor. Being able to create 40 x 60 family portraits with no hint of grain was a wonderful added bonus.

As my photographic challenges grew so did my quiver of cameras. My next investment was the true panorama format, Russian made, Horizon 202.

Horizon 202Horizon 202 This was one strange camera. It used a slit shutter that panned over almost two normal frames of film. If you photographed moving objects they either got squished or stretched depending on their orientation to the moving shutter. It was kind of fun to play with that effect but as a landscape camera, it was a fabulous first step into panorama photography. My Horizon paid for itself many times over with unique wide format images. It did have its shortcomings though so I upgraded to the Hassleblad XPan.

xpanxpan The XPan is the most expensive camera I have ever purchased. It was based on 35mm film and I used the standard 45mm lens as well as the 90mm lens. The filter to even out the exposure for the 45mm lens was my second most expensive lens. Pretty scary! This camera taught me that Nikon lenses may not be the sharpest available. The Hassleblad optics are beyond compare and are easily the sharpest I have ever used. My XPan was also the most difficult to let go when I sold all of my film cameras. I still miss it sometimes. While I can capture more pixels by panning my digital cameras I still cannot capture a single frame instantly like I could with the Hassy. This wraps up the film cameras that have kept food on my table. The next installment will be the digital cameras.



(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) camera career hasselblad horizon job mamiya nikon photography studio https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2017/6/the-cameras-that-got-me-to-where-i-am-today-part-2 Tue, 27 Jun 2017 00:09:28 GMT
The Cameras that Got Me to Where I Am Today Part 1 https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2017/6/the-cameras-that-got-me-to-where-i-am-today Most of us that have been making pictures for any length of time have used a wide variety of camera equipment. Especially if we have bridged the gap from film to digital imaging. Here are the cameras that I have used in my 40+ year journey through professional photography.

NikonS2bigNikon S2 RangefinderMy Dad's Nikon he got while he was in the Navy. When I was in High School I discovered my Dad's S2 rangefinder and started playing with it. No meter and a really funky way of loading film made this camera a bit of an adventure but I didn't know any better. I also had no clue how to expose film correctly. It's a miracle I got any images at all.

Topcon_RE-SuperTopcon_RE-SuperThe first camera I ever bought.

The first camera I ever purchased was a Topcon RE Super with a 50 mm f1.4 lens. It had a light meter which helped a bunch and was built like a tank which also turned out to be pretty useful. I'm not sure this camera ever had color film in it. Tri X was my life!  I used this camera to achieve a degree in photojournalism and to get my first newspaper job. When you only own one lens you always have the right one on the camera!

Nikon ftnNikon ftn The first camera I ever purchased new was a Nikon F with the Ftn meter/finder and a wonderful 50mm f1.2 lens. The camera had been a special order for someone in Enid, Oklahoma and I just happened to wander into the camera shop while I was delivering oilfield equipment between photojournalism jobs. This tool was my pride and joy for many years. The meter would need cleaning and adjusting about every year and the flash sync terminal kept coming loose but the Nikon F was built for everyday professional use and never let me down.


My first "back-up" camera was the Nikon FM2. I decided that having only one camera while running the photo department of a daily newspaper was a little dangerous so I added the FM2 to  my camera bag. I purchased it with the MD11 motor drive which was probably the most ergonomically designed pair I have ever used. They fit together like a hand in a glove and having the ability to advance film without taking the camera away from my eye helped create a good handful of award-winning images. According to my calculations, my first FM2 shot more than a half million frames before I tripped over the tripod that it was on sending it into the pavement. That was a very sad day!

These were the cameras that transported the film for my early years and my newspaper days. In 1985 I started a new chapter as a portrait and wedding photographer. That meant I needed some new, larger format equipment.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) camera carreer equipment job newspaper photograph photographer photography photojournalist picture position https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2017/6/the-cameras-that-got-me-to-where-i-am-today Sat, 24 Jun 2017 22:45:42 GMT
5 Must-See Places for Crested Butte Fall Color https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2015/9/5-Must-See-Places-for-Crested-Butte-Fall-Color Local pro photographers never miss these locations during the fabulous fall color extravaganza around Crested Butte, Colorado. You won’t want to miss these spots either!

  1. The East River valley between Mount Crested Butte and Gothic. East River Fall Color Near Gothic ColoradoDSC4121 2. Gothic Mountain from Washington Gulch.  Gothic Mountain fall colorDUS9544st-Panorama 3. Colorful Mount Whetstone just outside of town. Tucks cabin and Mount WhetstoneDUS6553 4. Kebler Pass and The Beckwith Mountains.
    East Beckwith Mountain fall colorEast-Beckwith-Fall-Color1

    East Beckwith Mountain surrounded by brilliant fall color near Kebler Pass in western Colorado.

    5. Ohio Pass and the Castles.

    The Castles rock formations in the West Elk Wilderness Area of Colorado surrounded by an aspen forest in peak fall color.Aspen-Castles

    The Castles rock formations in the West Elk Wilderness Area of Colorado surrounded by an aspen forest in peak fall color.

    5. Ruby Mountain, Mount Owen and the dyke. Keep your eyes peeled for photographers from all over the USA at this location. (It’s best visited in the late afternoon)

    Ruby, Owen and the dykeRubyRangeColorofFall

    Mount Owen, Ruby Mountain and the dyke from Horse Ranch Park.

    Bonus…if you’re up for a bit of an adventure you’ll want to extend your journey over Kebler and McClure passes to the famous town of Marble, Colorado. From there it’s a rough 6 miles to the historic Crystal Mill, one of the most photographed places in Colorado.

    The historic and famous Crystal Mill along the Crystal River between the Colorado towns of Crystal and Marble. While not actually a mill, the historic building actually provided compressed air to run local mining operations on Sheep Mountain.Crystal-Mill-Colors

    The historic and famous Crystal Mill along the Crystal River between the Colorado towns of Crystal and Marble. While not actually a mill, the historic building actually provided compressed air to run local mining operations on Sheep Mountain.

    For those who want a more guided experience, I offer half and full day private and small-group tours which would take you to the best color available during your visit. Email me a [email protected] for more information.

The post 5 Must-See Places for Crested Butte Fall Color appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #crestedbuttefallcolor #crestedbuttephotographer #crestedbuttephotography #fallcolorphotos Aspen autumn Crested Butte fall fall color Landscape Photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2015/9/5-Must-See-Places-for-Crested-Butte-Fall-Color Thu, 24 Sep 2015 11:41:54 GMT
Using Adobe Photoshop to Achieve a Hand-Tinted Effect https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2014/3/Using-Adobe-Photoshop-to-Achieve-a-Hand-Tinted-Effect hand-tinted Crested Butte ColoradoCBSpotColor-610

Colorful homes and buildings of Crested Butte, Colorado below the towering peaks of Paradise Divide.

Technology makes achieving old-time techniques easy

The earliest forms of color photography involved applying oil paints to traditional black and white images. There are lots of examples of these hand-tinted photographs still around. Most of them were tinted using less-vibrant colors and ended up looking like pastel-colored soft, romantic images. The effect was really popular with portraits but still somewhat acceptable with landscapes and architectural studies.

When I first opened my studio I was constantly searching for ways to set myself apart from the other photographers in town. I tried my hand at hand-tinting photographs that I had created. I could never get the technique down. I guess my hand-eye coordination was a little lacking because I spent more time trying to take the paint off places than I did putting it on. I still liked the effect but I just didn’t have the skill or patience for creating this type of art.

Twenty years and lots of digital technology later, achieving a hand-tinted photo look is amazingly simple to achieve. By using traditional digital printing techniques we only have to “paint” the first copy making the technique a cost-effective way of creating a unique piece of art that we can re-sell over and over again.

Here’s how it’s done. Using Adobe Photoshop open your color photograph and do your usual edit/enhancement work. Use “save as” and save your edited photo as a .psd or .tif file with a different name or just add “bw” to the file name. If you were using layers to achieve your edits (as you should) you should flatten your photo before saving. Don’t close the image.

At this point you want to duplicate your background layer giving you two identical copies of your photo on two layers. Create a layer mask on the top layer. Now, using your favorite method of converting a color image into a black and white image, turn the top layer into a black and white version of your photo. At this point you will have a black and white photo on your monitor with a color version hidden underneath.

Now click on the layer mask you created, highlighting the mask. Using the paintbrush tool with the foreground color set to black, paint the black and white layer allowing the color of the layer below to show through. You can adjust the opacity of your brush as you paint on the mask to allow more or less color to show through as you paint although on the image above I used 100% opacity since I wanted more-vibrant colors. I usually start with a big, soft-edged brush for larger areas, then clean-up the edges with a small, hard-edged brush.

Once you return the color to the parts of your image that you want to be in color, you can adjust the saturation and hue of the colors by making those adjustments to the bottom (color) layer. You can play around with soft and hard-edged brushes of different sizes to get the effect you like best. Now save your layered photograph so you can continue to refine your edited version.

“Playing” is my favorite approach to learning new techniques because it takes all the pressure of “creating a work of art” off of the photographer. With a little practice this technique can be added to your toolbox and can provide an “old-time” look to some of  your favorite images. You may even find that this technique can “save” a photo that you like but just isn’t hitting a home run. Have fun!

You can always see more of my photography at www.ImagesColorado.com

The post Using Adobe Photoshop to Achieve a Hand-Tinted Effect appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Technique black and white color instruction photoshop Tech Talk The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2014/3/Using-Adobe-Photoshop-to-Achieve-a-Hand-Tinted-Effect Thu, 20 Mar 2014 13:24:59 GMT
Creating Emotional Photographs https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2014/2/Creating-Emotional-Photographs iconic estess barn in snowIconic-Estess-Barn

The landmark barn between Gunnison and Crested Butte, Colorado during a snow storm.

Breaking the Rules to Create Photographs With Feelings

by Dusty Demerson

Way back when I was learning photography in school the concept of a white point and a black point in a finished print could not be expressed strongly enough. It’s a concept that Ansel Adams writes about in his materials and most other photographic educators, myself included, tend to agree with.

The principal states that there should be some area within the image that should fall on pure white and an area that should represent the darkest black within the image. If this approach is followed the print will contain a full range of tones and thus will be a “perfect” print. It will also be visually pleasing since a full tonal range is presented. This concept more-strongly practiced in black and white photography but still holds true in fine color print-making as well. How many landscape images have you seen where the area below the horizon looks great but the clouds are “blown out” and pure white? Where does your eye go when you look at such a print? It goes to the sky. Our eyes tend to fall on the brightest areas of a scene first. If that area has no detail or texture, we have created a weak print that pulls our eyes away from the subject and into the sky. While having both an area of black and area of white represented in the print, we need to be careful how much area within the print represents these tones.

While this approach is not the worst way to teach print-making to new photographers it falls far-short of providing good guidance in making expressive prints. While most great photographs will have a black point or a white point within their edges, not every scene offers a tonal range that broad. The scene above is a great example. I could have stretched the tonal range of the image so there was a black area in the loft of the barn. I could have also made the snow pure white. The photograph would have been technically excellent since a full tonal range would have been represented. The photograph would have also looked garish and unnatural. The finished image would not have created the emotional response of a barn in a snow storm. Creating an emotional response by our viewers is the whole point of professional photography. Ideally, we can evoke the same emotional response we had when we stopped to make the photo. Sometimes our photographs will contain a full tonal range. Sometimes we must be willing to bend the rules to create an emotional photograph.

The next time you sit down at your computer to prepare an image for print, step back for a moment and look at your screen. Does your photograph recreate the feeling that caused you to pick up the camera or have you edited the “life” out of your image? Rules and guidelines are a great place to start learning a craft but at some point we have to be willing to move beyond rules and create images with feeling and emotion.

See more of my photography at www.imagescolorado.com


The post Creating Emotional Photographs appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Technique atmosphere Dusty Demerson instruction Tech Talk The art of photography theory https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2014/2/Creating-Emotional-Photographs Sun, 09 Feb 2014 10:48:32 GMT
It’s Easier to Earn a Living as a Photographer https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2014/1/It-s-Easier-to-Earn-a-Living-as-a-Photographer Crested Butte Colorado winter panoramaCBWinter2010

The past several years have been difficult for artists. Many brick-and-mortar galleries have closed and that trend seems to be continuing into 2014. Even very successful galleries in art destinations like Santa Fe, New Mexico are closing their doors and “going private”.

Difficult times for art galleries mean difficult times for artists too. Several galleries that were quite successful selling my work a few years ago have dropped to zero sales in the past year or so. Sales of art through the traditional gallery model have been challenging, to say the least, for the past several years now. It’s not just photography either. Sales of all types of art have been declining since the economy turned south. Only the extremely high-priced collectible and rare works have been able to hold their value.

That being said, 2013 was my best year ever for selling my landscape photography. Since I live in rural Colorado where there are relatively few gallery opportunities and even less potential buyers, I had decided a long time ago that gallery representation would have to be supported by a strong online presence and other opportunities. Art fairs have provided great opportunities to find new collectors in the past few years. Another growing niche for landscape photographs is stock photography. While the stock photography market in general is a challenging place to earn any real income, unique local images can still demand good money from clients wanting a strong geographic presence on their websites and in their brochures and advertising.

As an artist that loves most aspects of his craft, I also enjoy creating lifestyle family portraits and a few portfolios for high school seniors. While the family portrait and wedding photography business used to be my “bread and butter” only the family portrait side of the business provides significant income today. While many photographers are complaining that the iPhone is putting them out of business, I would maintain that if they are competing with iPhone users they aren’t really photographers at all. Real photography clients are still investing in adequately sized and beautifully presented images of landscapes and their families. However, 2013 marked the first time in my history that my landscape photography income eclipsed my portrait and wedding income.

With all the diverse ways to turn photography into income-producing work I have to say that as artists, we have it pretty easy. Painters, sculptors and other artists don’t have nearly the variety of outlets for their artwork as photographers do. Even though photography, in general, doesn’t command the same prices, our costs are generally much lower and our opportunities are greater than any other medium. Art belongs on the walls and in the halls of homes, offices and public spaces but photography, like no other medium, can also be used on web pages, note cards, brochures and anywhere else an image can tell a story or support a concept.

It’s time to get back behind the camera!

The post It’s Easier to Earn a Living as a Photographer appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Business Photography Artist Crested Butte Photographer https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2014/1/It-s-Easier-to-Earn-a-Living-as-a-Photographer Tue, 28 Jan 2014 12:04:46 GMT
Why Artists are Starving https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2014/1/Why-Artists-are-Starving The Business of Being an Artist


We’ve all heard the term “Starving Artist” and we probably all know friends who fit the description. I’m sure there are many reasons why artists tend not to be prosperous financially. Of course, there are a few great exceptions to this statement but I’ll bet there are more that are struggling than prospering. I’ll use a personal situation as an example.

I’m involved with a local co-op gallery of wonderful artists. We have a good (but not great) location on the main street of my small, tourist – oriented town. Our rent is partially subsidized by another organization that uses the back of our location for their offices. Each artist pays rent of $80 per month and works an 8 hour shift in the gallery each week. Let’s assume that any of the artists could get another job for $8 an hour which is the low-end of the pay scale in my town. If you crunch the math the monthly cost of participating in the gallery is $80 in rent plus 32 hours at $8 each, or $336. Typically we only pay rent for the 4 months of the season so our seasonal cost would be $1344. The gallery keeps a 20% commission for its operating expenses so each artist needs to sell $1,680 in art each season to break even….sort of. Put another way, we each need to sell $420 worth of art each month.

Let’s say I do sell $420 this month. Great! Well, not really. First of all, I’m doing this calculation using a minimum wage formula that would still qualify me for food stamps and other social bail-outs. It’s also an affront to my college education, not to mention grad school. But let’s move on. So I sold $420 worth of my art this month giving me $336 in take-home pay. To achieve those sales I also have had to invest time and materials. Let’s say it took me 5 hours to create the art I sold for $420. Again, at $8 per hour I must subtract $40 as an expense. I also had the work printed, matted and framed for $100 bringing my total expenses to $140. I have invested $140 to create $420 worth of art which now provides me a net income of $196.

Artwork sale                    $420

Gallery commission    -$ 84     $336

Materials cost                -$100    $236

Labor cost                       -$40      $196

I think you can see where this is headed. My 8 hours in the gallery and 5 hours creating my art has made me $196 or roughly $25.50 per hour invested. That sounds great until April 15th. On tax day I will pay self employment tax of about 14% on all of my income. I owe $27.44 on this month’s art sales. But I will also end up in the 15% income tax bracket so I owe $29.40 in federal income tax. Here’s the silver lining! This income level will probably help me avoid any state income taxes and I’ll have $139.16 left over after these expenses to buy food, insurance, gas, my car, tools, etc. I’m essentially working for $10.70 per hour after taxes.

What seems like a decent deal in a co-op gallery really doesn’t count for much at the end of the month unless my art is selling like hotcakes. $420 in gross sales provides a net of $139.16 after taxes for 13 hours of work.

The reason there are so many starving artists is not because they are bad at their craft. It’s because they don’t crunch the numbers. There are a few solutions. Raise prices, cut expenses, shift to being a part-time artist or just enjoy a great hobby and forget trying to make a living at art. What will you do with this information?

By Dusty Demerson

The post Why Artists are Starving appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) #makingaliving #starvingartist Art Artist Business Starving Artist https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2014/1/Why-Artists-are-Starving Mon, 20 Jan 2014 14:59:51 GMT
Photographing Transitional Seasons https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/11/Photographing-Transitional-Seasons Late fall in the Rocky MountainsDUS7156

by Dusty Demerson, photographer

I love photographing fall colors. It’s my favorite time of year. The vibrancy of yellow aspen leaves against a “robins-egg-blue” Colorado sky is tough to beat. Majestic snow-covered mountain peaks add a sense of drama to subjects that are already pretty awesome. The colors of fall added to my reduced workload from portraits and weddings team up to make me a very happy photographer.

When it starts getting colder and the windy storms start blowing through the high country, the beautiful colors can quickly fall and fade to a variety of browns and tans. The contrast changes from vibrant to subtle almost over night. The catharsis of this situation is enough to make a photographer put the camera away until snow covers the once-colorful earth. While I believe it’s more difficult to create strong compositions with a monochrome landscape dotted with snow, it’s not impossible. When the scenery reminds me of a Bev Doolittle painting I love trying to replicate her hidden subjects in the landscape.

I don’t think that happens with the photograph above but it was a warm late-autumn day and the clouds were providing an amazing dance in the sky. I couldn’t just sit by and watch. Trying to find a good foreground was a challenge. This frozen beaver pond and dam wasn’t too bad. I like how the swirls in the ice seem to mirror the shapes of the clouds. And those clouds! They were changing pretty quickly but I got lucky and caught this scene with a subtle line leading into the image toward the towering peaks of Paradise Divide. The direction of the stream helps support the line of the clouds pulling the viewer’s eye into the center of the photograph.

Our eyes are naturally drawn to the brightest portion of a scene or areas of highest contrast. I want that area to be well-inside the frame, not anywhere near the edge of the photograph. Having bright areas near the edge of the image can create confusion to the viewer and allow their view to exit the photograph too quickly. The brightest area of this image is the snow-covered mountains in the middle of the frame. They are smaller and less-dominant than I would prefer but changing to a longer lens would have destroyed the perspective of the frozen pond. Life is full of compromises. The clouds were also pretty bright and their location and shapes tended to pull the view away from the peaks. Some subtle vignette allowed me to darken the edges and corners of the photograph to retain the viewer’s attention toward the snow-covered peaks. My camera is inadequate when it comes to capturing my perception of the warmer values of a scene. I frequently need to lighten and increase saturation of the reds, oranges and yellows to recreate my perception of the colors of photograph. I also removed the vapor trails from two jets and a couple of houses and driveways on the hillside to the right. That’s about it for this image. I hope you like it.

You can always see more of my images at www.ImagesColorado.com. If you visit, be sure to check out my “Print of the Month” gallery were I present new images every month at discounted prices.

The post Photographing Transitional Seasons appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Technique autumn Colorado composition Dusty Demerson fall Landscape Photograph The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/11/Photographing-Transitional-Seasons Mon, 11 Nov 2013 10:04:20 GMT
Why Use a Tripod https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/11/Why-Use-a-Tripod Blue Mesa Lake PanoramaCurecanti-Mirror-1448

Most of my photography students hate using a tripod. I hated them too, when I was learning photography. Over time, I’ve learned to love this indispensable piece of equipment however. They are a pain to learn and slow to use in  the beginning. Here are a few reasons that I cannot live without my tripod.

Tripods hold the camera still

The first function of a tripod is to hold the camera still when the chosen shutter speed is too slow for successful hand-held photographs. Using a good tripod during long exposures can insure sharp photos during photos from seconds to hours long. They are also necessary for images using long telephoto lenses since any motion by the photographer is greatly magnified by the telephoto lens. This is the most-obvious reason to use a tripod.

The tripod makes panoramic photos possible

I shoot lots of panoramic images. I love the format and they are great solutions to decorating long, skinny spaces like over a sofa. To create a successful panorama it is necessary to take multiple, overlapping images and to stitch them together in software. The best way to accomplish this is to use a tripod with a camera platform that can pivot around the axis of the camera. To keep the finished image from running up or downhill, the camera platform must be level. It must remain level for all the photographs needed for the panorama. The tripod is a necessity for good panorama photography like the image above.

The tripod helps you think about composition

The third and most important reason to use a tripod is to aid in artistic composition of your photographs. By allowing you to let go of the camera without your initial composition changing you can take time to fine-tune your images. This seems unimportant on the surface but most professional photographers will adjust their initial composition during a sequence of images. By being able to step away from the camera and refine the composition we are able to create tighter, more compelling images which highlight the necessary elements of the photograph and eliminate those that don’t enhance or strengthen the story we’re trying to tell with the image. Tripods help you think. Thinking about what to include or exclude from a photograph is absolutely critical for great images.

I’m not trying to say that good photographs cannot be created without a tripod. I’ve made many myself. All things considered, however, I would rather use a tripod if I have the opportunity.

Tripods help you get perfect light

The images in my last post “Waiting for the Light” are a perfect example of how the tripod was used to retain a strong composition while waiting for better light in the scene. Over the course of 45 minutes I was able to create numerous exposures without changing the composition of the photograph. The only change was the light and shadows moving across the scene. Without the tripod I probably would have abandoned the scene before the light got great, thus coming home with a mediocre image instead of a really strong, compelling landscape. The tripod made the image possible and was a necessary part of the gear required for the final photo.

Those are a few of my favorite reasons for using a tripod. I know there are others. What are your reasons?


The post Why Use a Tripod appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Photography Technique composition Landscape Panorama Panoramic Photo Photograph Tech Talk The art of photography tripod https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/11/Why-Use-a-Tripod Mon, 04 Nov 2013 10:10:54 GMT
Waiting for the Light https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/10/Waiting-for-the-Light I have no idea how many times I’ve been really excited about photographing a fabulous landscape to only be unhappy once I began editing or selecting an image to print or share. I think it’s because I let the excitement get the better of me in the field. When I’m “on my game” I try to slow  down, analyze the scene, and figure out what combination of light, timing and technique will best replicate what captured my initial excitement about the subject.

East Beckwith Mountain 1Beckwith-Blog-1-300x199

The image at left is a great example. East Beckwith Mountain, just below the west side of Kebler Pass in western Colorado, offers many great viewpoints. This view is one I usually ignore but this autumn provided a great reason to stop and make photos. The sky was beautiful with very photogenic clouds. The light on the mountain was great. The colorful foliage was beautiful. There were several other photographers at the overlook, justifying my excitement.

I set up the tripod, chose my “standard” lens (Nikon 28-70 f2.8) and popped on the Moose Peterson Warming Polarizing filter to pop  the sky just a touch. I don’t often us a polarizing filter but since a lot of the fore and middle ground was yellow I thought a strong blue sky would add a little color-contrast and some detail to the clouds. When using the polarizing filter I rarely use it at its strongest rotation.

Anyway, I shot this frame. Not bad. Not great. What would make the image better? (I talk to myself when I photograph. Don’t you?) Well the light on the foreground and middle ground had fallen off due to the clouds and they were too dark and uninteresting. A little light there might be better. So I waited for the clouds to move.

East Beckwith Mountain 2Beckwith-Blog-2-300x199

After a bit of time the middle ground lit up nicely so I made another exposure. The foreground was still in deep shade and now the light on the mountain was failing. Since our eyes are naturally attracted to brighter areas and areas of higher contrast this scene really wasn’t working at all. The interest in the mountain was being replaced by the aspens in the middle ground which were now competing with the clouds. What is the subject here? So I waited some more. The other photographers have left. Yay!

While I’m waiting for the clouds to move and the good light to come back I have some time to really think about what I want this scene to look like. There’s enough conifer forest to provide depth and texture if the scene is completely sun-lit without any shadow from clouds at all. Although that scenario is not likely to happen, I could live with it. The shadows moving across the valley are providing interest, depth and texture when they cooperate. The sky would be pretty boring without the clouds. If the sky was clear I probably would compose the scene with less sky and get the mountain out of the center of the frame. Having a clear sky on this day was not going to be an option. It was supposed to snow in the afternoon so the clouds were going to become a problem rather than a blessing.

East Beckwith Mountain 3Beckwith-Blog-3-300x199 Slowly the sky began to cooperate with my plan for a beautiful photograph. The light returned to the mountain. Middle ground was illuminated nicely. Shadows from the clouds were still interesting. The foreground though is just not that great. I usually like to employ a darker foreground to keep my viewer’s eye from leaving the images. If clouds don’t cooperate I can use a split neutral density filter or vignette to darken it. That work is usually done in post-processing via Photoshop or Lightroom.

I didn’t really want the foreground in this scene to be very dark though. There are these colorful aspens placed against the dark conifer trees creating a beautiful and interesting contrast. There’s also a cool little pond in the lower left that I wanted to keep in the scene. Everything but the foreground is coming together nicely. I could live with this image. Being in no hurry, I decided to wait for the “Wow”.

More photographers show up. It was a pretty compelling scene but I think seeing a truck parked on the side of the road with “Photographer” written on the side makes people stop even if they don’t know what to look at. Really! I’ve done this experiment with my classes. We stand at the side of a road with our cameras all pointed at “nothing”. Cars drive by, slow down, and cameras pop out the windows taking photos of the “nothing”. It’s a good thing they’re not Lemmings. They’d be jumping over a cliff.

So eventually patience prevailed and I got what I was waiting for. Beautiful light illuminated a striking mountain peak. Great, puffy clouds floated in a deep blue sky. A golden aspen forest filled the valley floor with color, contrast and texture. The illuminated foreground provided additional interest and texture. Life was good!

East Beckwith Mountain AutumnBeckwith-Blog-4

My Mom always accused me of being a perfectionist. I thought it was a compliment. Good things are worth waiting for. The trick in photography is being able to figure out what the “good things” are. Having a little voice in your head saying “How can this be better?” is a really good thing too.


The post Waiting for the Light appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Technique autumn Colorado Crested Butte Photographer Landscape Mountain Photograph Rocky Mountains The art of photography theory https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/10/Waiting-for-the-Light Mon, 21 Oct 2013 09:35:33 GMT
The Photoshop Computer https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/8/The-Photoshop-Computer The Custom Photoshop Computer is Up and Running

Crested Butte Mountain and wildflowersDUS4361_2_3_tonemapped

A few months ago I shared some specs. here regarding a PC designed to run Adobe Photoshop perfectly. Today I would like to announce that computer is up and running. It’s very fast!

Before readers begin to berate me for building a PC instead of a MAC let me say that you can still get a lot more computer for your money with a PC. The computer I build is not available at any price from MAC but a Power MAC G5 with 12 gigs of ram and a 1tb hard drive is just under $4000. I built my system which includes a Core i7 quad core processor, two 1tb hard drives, a 500gb hard drive and 16gigs of ram for under $1400. I chose Windows 7 as my OS since I really don’t like Windows 8 at all. Who wants their desktop computer to act like their phone?

Originally I had planned on using an MSI motherboard but several consultants and numerous forum posts convinced me to choose an Intel DZ77GA-70K board instead. That was a great choice even though it was more than twice the cost of the MSI board. Installation instructions couldn’t have been any easier to follow. That was a good thing since I had never built a computer from the ground up before. I had  added some drives and expansion cards but that was the extent of my computer-building experience.

I chose to load Windows on a separate hard disk from my Adobe Photoshop program so the computer could read from both places at the same time. I have also chosen to place all the data on another separate drive for faster access. That being said, my current workflow involves keeping all my photos on external Raid hard drives so access to the images is slowed through the Firewire 800 ports. For larger files I can easily copy them to the internal data drive and work more quickly from there. Once I completely abandon my old PC I’ll take one of its drives and install it as a dedicated “Scratch” disk for Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop doesn’t like to share its scratch disk with programs or data from what I’ve read. Even though it should never get used, I’ll have 320 gigs of scratch disk available if I need it. The new drives are all Western Digital Black drives because I appreciate the 3 year warranty and they make no sound at all.

I also chose two 8 gigabite sticks of Crucial Ballistix RAM. These will function as dual-channel fast memory leaving me room to double that number in the future if I choose. If I become  even more concerned about speed, all the components will handle “Overclocking” of the processor but I doubt I’ll never feel that need.

I’m still tweaking stuff so I haven’t put this computer to a stress test yet. Once all the programs are loaded (brutal!) and the network settings are correct I’ll see how my new tool handles some heavy-duty bit-crunching. If you want to see the rest of the components they’re listed on my June blog post below.

So, you’re probably wondering what the photo above has to do with this blog post. Absolutely nothing. But check back soon for more thoughts on the images.

The post The Photoshop Computer appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Photography Adobe Computer Computing Hardware photoshop Software https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/8/The-Photoshop-Computer Thu, 22 Aug 2013 14:06:56 GMT
Half Dome From the Other Side https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/8/Half-Dome-From-the-Other-Side On Playing Nice and Getting Lucky

Sunset light provides a golden glow from snow and Ice on Half Dome in Yosemite National Park


A few years ago I visited my uncle in southern California to celebrate his 80th birthday. He celebrates on Halloween so it becomes quite a lavish costume party and tons of fun with family and friends. For a lot of the family, it’s the only time we get together so most of us make an effort to get to LA for this event.

Since I don’t get to visit the west coast very often I decided to make a trip up to Yosemite on my way back to Colorado. It’s not really on the way but Yosemite is my favorite national park to photograph so somehow I found the time. I decided to travel north along the historic coastal highway and head east from beautiful Carmel. The weather was terrible for photography on my drive up the coast so I didn’t make a single stop for photos. After a warm bead and great dinner in Carmel I turned east the next morning and enjoyed the easy drive to Yosemite National Park.

Being late autumn in the mountains I really didn’t know what to expect in the park. Finding places to stay was unusually easy. Upon my arrival I discovered that the park had received some early snow and all the leaves were off the trees. The valley was brown and not all that photogenic so I decided to try the Tioga Pass Road for a higher vantage point. It was closed!

A simple saw-horse-like barricade was set across the road and there I was with another photographer from Colorado looking at the signs and wondering if we should just move the barricade or turn back. We talked about our options for a while. After 20 or 30 minutes of contemplation a park ranger approached us. She told us the road was closed because there were a few patches of ice on the road and that California drivers had no idea how to handle a car on ice. After checking our Colorado plates she suggested we meet her at the barricade the following morning at 8 am.

The next morning the ranger pulled back the barricade and allowed us to pass, closing the road behind us. I’m not sure about the other driver but I enjoyed an awesome day on Tioga Pass Road high above Yosemite valley making photos and just being in nature. That evening I caught up with the other photographer at an overlook across the valley from “Cloud’s Rest”. The sun had set and the sky was turning orange. We hurried to set up. A different ranger showed and told us that we must leave. We took turns distracting the ranger while the other took photos of an incredible sunset on Half Dome. The ranger must see this view all the time because he was only interested in us packing up and getting behind the barricade before dark. We didn’t quite make it but we did get some unique photos. At least they were unique to two photographers from Colorado. The ranger wasn’t terribly upset.

If I can find a moral to this story it would be this. You’ll get more cooperation from authority figures if you’re willing to play by the rules even if you’d rather not. We got some great photos because we treated the rangers with respect. We never begged or put up any kind of fight or argument.

Respect. It’s just another tool you should keep in your camera bag.

The post Half Dome From the Other Side appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography autumn California fall sunset The art of photography Yosemite https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/8/Half-Dome-From-the-Other-Side Sat, 10 Aug 2013 15:01:49 GMT
Sun or Shade – Which is best to photograph wildflowers? https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/7/Sun-or-Shade-Which-is-best-to-photograph-wildflowers If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.

Robert Capa


 Sunny Columbine wildflowersColumbine-Sunny Columbine wildflower in shadeColumbine-Shady

After a week of teaching wildflower photography techniques with the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival I’ve become a bit opinionated about how to photograph wildflowers in their best light. One of the key factors in photographing any subject is to determine the most flattering light to use. While there may be different opinions on what is best, this is my blog so you’ll get my opinion.

For wildflowers with complex shapes like the Colorado Blue Columbine, I prefer open shade or otherwise diffused light. I find the higher contrast of direct sun harsh and not very flattering. Softer, diffused light does not have to be flat or boring however. With a little luck or skill direct sunlight can become softer, directional light.

Coming from a portrait background, I always prefer to have the light on my subjects appearing to come from some direction rather than being flat or coming from over the photographer’s shoulder.  Kodak’s suggestions are great for selling film but not-so-great for making interesting photographs. The image below is one of my favorites because it has a beautiful subject captured in soft, directional light with no harsh shadows or bright highlights. If I can’t find a nice subject tucked under some trees in open shade with a little direction to the light, I make my own using a large diffuser. You might try a reflector as well but mine create too harsh a light for wildflowers. The diffuser does a really nice job and creates an adjustable effect based on its distance to the subject. Generally, I use the diffuser as close to the subject as possible without getting it into my photo.

While flowers with simple shapes like daisies and sunflowers seem to look great in direct sunlight, blooms with more complex shapes like Columbine, Bog Orchid and Elephantella look better with diffused light like open shade or under a cloudy sky. That’s just my opinion. You are more than welcome to disagree. If you would like personal instruction in wildflower or landscape photography check out my private and small-group photo tours through the Colorado School of Photography.

Colorado Blue Columbine in shadeColoradoBlues

The post Sun or Shade – Which is best to photograph wildflowers? appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Photography Technique Columbine Crested Butte Crested Butte Photographer Crested Butte Wildflower Festival Dusty Demerson Flower instruction Photo Photograph Tech Talk The art of photography Wildflower https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/7/Sun-or-Shade-Which-is-best-to-photograph-wildflowers Mon, 15 Jul 2013 09:08:25 GMT
Sunflower Photography in Paradise https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/7/Sunflower-Photography-in-Paradise Sunflowers in Crested ButteA-Sea-of-Yellow-1538x1024

A Sea of Yellow Sunflowers

Sunflowers are nothing special in Crested Butte, Colorado. They’re everywhere! Numerous varieties bloom here throughout the summer months (June – August). This year, however has been an especially vibrant sunflower summer. We’re witnessing flowers where we’ve never seen them in numbers that are hard to imagine. Whole hillsides are bright yellow.

The field above was photographed moments before the sun spread its warmth across the flowers. They were brightly lit by the open sky above but the contrast associated with full sun was absent. That’s a scenario I prefer for photographing flowers. I tend to think they’re more attractive in softer light with less contrast. Not having to deal with blown-out highlights or deep shadows makes post-production work easier too, but that’s not a good reason to choose a flattering type of light. When given an option, it’s important to photograph your subjects, whether they’re flowers, people, buildings or mountains in light that enhances what you like about your subject and diminishes attention to their flaws. For the subjects above, that meant making photographs in soft light. I could have waited for overcast skies and made a similar image except that clouds around here are usually accompanied by breezes. Moving flowers are much more difficult to photograph.

I wanted to show the expanse of flowers and their fresh, intense color. That meant that I would not include the sky or any surrounding trees. Including those would add an element which would detract from the “sea” of flowers. I began by using a small aperture to keep most of the flowers in focus but upon review, decided that there was no clear point of focus and thus no single place a viewer’s eye would end up. That’s generally not a good photograph. It should be apparent to the viewer what the photographer wants him/her to look at.  To solve this visual issue I chose to open up the aperture to f5.6 which would keep the background flowers recognizable but out of focus. I chose to focus on the taller and somewhat isolated sunflower in the lower right of the scene simply because it was a little taller, isolated against the green foliage and a perfect specimen. For me, this flower was an obvious choice since it was also facing slightly upward making it a little different from its surrounding flowers.

There was almost not post-production work on this image. I did warm the color temperature a tad and sharpened the photo as I usually do but nothing was added or subtracted and the scene looked the same in camera as it does above.

The post Sunflower Photography in Paradise appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Technique Colorado Crested Butte Flower Photo sunflower Wildflower Wildflower Capitol of Colorado https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/7/Sunflower-Photography-in-Paradise Tue, 02 Jul 2013 11:28:40 GMT
Photographing Wildflowers – Pro tips from Colorado https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Photographing-Wildflowers-Pro-tips-from-Colorado

Wildflower Photography Workshop Notes

 By Dusty Demerson, Crested Butte, Colorado

          Beautiful wildflower photographs have several things in common. They all have great subject matter, interesting compositions, light that enhances the subject and they are technically excellent.  Occasionally (very rarely) luck is involved. As the flowers begin to bloom in the high country I thought I would share some tips the professionals use when photographing wildflowers. These tips can also be applied to almost any other subject matter too.

 Choose Great Subject matter:

            Choose subjects you find beautiful or interesting. Ask yourself why you respond to a subject. What is it about the subject that excites you or causes you to want to make a photograph? Is it the color, texture, shape, environment or other feature? What do you find exciting about the subject that causes you to want to make a photograph? By analyzing your response you can choose how to best arrange your image, enhancing your subject’s strongest features and downplaying any distractions. Choose subjects that are as near-perfect as possible. Explore your subject to find the best angles, light, etc. Know your subject! If you’re photographing a wildflower, will your subject look different at a different time of day? Does it close up at night and reopen when the sun hits it? Is the color more intense when the specimen is in the shade? Have bugs been eating the leaves or petals? Is the pollen still on the flower or gone? Whether you are photographing wildflowers, architecture, people or landscapes better images can be made if you know your subject thoroughly. Spend time with your subject exploring different points of view and compositions until you have the “perfect” shot. Your photographs are your interpretations of the subject. Only you see this way. Bring your unique point of view to your subject and show the world how you see it!

 Use Composition Guidelines:

          Use elements of composition to show what is interesting about your subject. Arrange your image to eliminate distracting elements and include those that enhance your image. Use limited depth of field to help eliminate distractions. Know all of the tools at your disposal: leading lines, framing, focus, contrast, camera angle, balance, symmetry, proportion, repetition, diagonal lines, rule of thirds, etc.

Use Great Light:

          Choose flattering light or arrange to return to the scene when the angle, color or quality of light makes your subject look its best. If you can’t come back, use light modifiers (diffuser, reflectors, gobos, flash) to control the light so your subject looks its best. Pay attention to the sky. Wait for clouds to soften light or wait for the sun to increase contrast. 

 Create the Best File Possible:

            Choose the lowest ISO possible. Expose correctly! Focus precisely. Use a tripod to steady the camera and help refine your composition. Know how your camera works. Know and use its best features. Choose the best lenses you can afford! Use a cable release or the timer. Do your cropping in the camera when possible. If digital, shoot in RAW whenever possible. If shooting JPG, use the least compression possible. Don’t practice the “fix it in Photoshop” mentality. Do it right in the camera. If in doubt, bracket your exposures.

             If you’re not thrilled with the wildflower photography you create, don’t delete them. Ask yourself why you’re disappointed. What don’t you like? What’s wrong? Try to communicate the issues using photographic and artistic terms. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

 Learn to see the way your camera sees. Don’t just point and shoot. Pay attention to the corners and edges of the viewfinder/screen. Is there something in there that you want to remove? Change your position/composition so that you are only including what you want in the photograph. Watch for power lines, fences, bugs, cars etc.  Remove dead sticks/flowers etc. Refine your images before you push the button.

 Use the zoom lens to tighten your compositions. Use your feet too! Bend your knees! Photographing a subject from above psychologically demeans the subject. By using a lower point of view you can add importance and respect to your subject. Similarly, complete items within your composition will have greater importance than elements which are cut-off or truncated. So if you want a tree, for instance, to have importance and weight in your composition try to include the entire tree. If the tree is drawing too much attention you can crop some of it off to add importance to other elements of your photograph. Elements like a field of flowers will psychologically continue on forever if they extend out of the frame whereas, if there is a visible edge to the field it will appear smaller.

 Try to photograph each subject in a vertical and a horizontal composition. Although it’s not always possible, it’s a great way to learn to see different compositions and achieve different feelings from the same scene.

 Use the camera’s histogram to check exposure levels. The LCD screen will lie to you if you are shooting in RAW or TIFF formats and the screens vary in brightness from one camera to another.

If you would like to learn more about how to make great wildflower photographs, join me in one of the many classes during the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival, from July 8 – 13, 2013. Visit their site for more information: The Crested Butte Wildflower Festival. If you can’t get here for the Festival, I offer private and small-group tours all year-long.

[button url=”http://www.dustydemerson.com/photo-tours-and-workshops/” size=”medium” color=”theme” new_window=”false”]learn more here[/button]


The post Photographing Wildflowers – Pro tips from Colorado appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Photography Technique class course Crested Butte Flower inspiration instruction Photo Photographer Summer theory tips Wildflower https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Photographing-Wildflowers-Pro-tips-from-Colorado Mon, 17 Jun 2013 08:44:04 GMT
There is a Delicate Nature to Spring https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/There-is-a-Delicate-Nature-to-Spring crested butte photographer - snow on bare aspen treesDelicate-Nature-of-Spring-199x300 crested butte photographer - new leaves on aspen treesSpring-Number-3-199x300

There is a delicate nature to spring in the mountains. What were once hillsides covered in white are now brown turning to green. Trees too, stood in stark contrast to our blue skies but now begin to sprout fresh, lime-green leaves resembling kitten’s toes. Spring here only lasts a week or so. We go from snow on the branches to green on the branches in a matter of days that seems more like overnight. Spring invites sitting on a warm, sunny deck with a good book or the Kindle instead of editing images in preparation for shows and galleries.  This slow change of seasons makes it easy to turn a quick trip to the Post Office or bank into an afternoon on a bench solving the World’s problems with friends.

It seems these changes want me to ease into a new season via incremental changes instead of jumping right in. I like the easing but summer sneaks up on me. Within a matter of days a schedule can fill with appointments, shows, fairs and work. I’m not complaining. I love to work. In fact, that’s kind of the problem with spring. It tends to lull me into complacency even though I know I need to be preparing for a busy summer. There’s something about spring that makes me extra-critical about my work though. Nothing looks good. There’s something “wrong” with every image I see. I want to re-shoot everything but that’s impossible. It won’t be winter again for another 8 months and summer is still a month away.

What to do? Do I grab the book and head for the deck? Do I put my nose to the proverbial grindstone and work through my frustrations with the winter photos? Do I head for the Post Office hoping for another distraction? Maybe I’ll do a little of everything today. Writing this seems a little like work so I guess I can put a check by “work” on my list. I’m a little out of practice with the writing. Hopefully I’ll become less rambling and more to the point as I get back into this. Thanks for putting up with me. I’ll give it another shot next week.


The post There is a Delicate Nature to Spring appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Photography Artist Colorado Photographer Spring https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/There-is-a-Delicate-Nature-to-Spring Mon, 10 Jun 2013 10:40:49 GMT
The Problem With Photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/The-Problem-With-Photography The Problem with Photography

Red Sunset over Mount Emmons


Every artistic endeavor has difficulties involved. I don’t actually know all the struggles a painter might go through although I can imagine some. Neither do I know the challenges of writing music, composing a novel or screenplay, sculpting a statue or making pottery. I do, however, know about the problems associated with creating a compelling photograph.


Technical difficulties used to plague photographers. Understanding shutter speeds, film speed and apertures rendered many aspiring photographic artists impotent. The many variables, especially in black and white film and print processing, were mind-boggling and could take a lifetime to master. Even focusing on the subject could be a challenge if you didn’t have adequate light and great equipment. Then along came the “digital revolution”. While the start of this technological revolution was fairly rough and camera companies made plenty of promises that were not true, breakthroughs were in the works that would change photography forever. Over the last 30 years or so the technical struggles we used to face as photographers have largely vanished. Most of today’s cameras set on “automatic” will produce an image that’s in focus and exposed well enough to get an untrained “photographer” in the ballpark. The technical issues of photographic art are not the problem.


The real problem with photography as an artistic medium of self-expression is that in photography the scene has to actually happen. We can’t imagine a beautiful landscape and make a photograph of it. We can’t create an image of a fabulous sunset unless the sunset actually happens.


There are a few notable exceptions however. I had the privilege of visiting Verve Gallery of Photography in Santa Fe a few weeks ago. They were featuring the work of Maggie Taylor, an incredible artist who uses photographic images and her phenomenal knowledge of Adobe Photoshop to create amazing images of whimsy and fantasy. While her work usually shows in photography galleries and she does use photography to create her images, I have trouble calling her art “photography”. Her scenes don’t happen except in her imagination and computer. They never actually existed. I am always amazed and inspired by her work though, whatever it’s called.


That’s where the problem with photography lies. That’s were the art of photography lies as well. It’s easy to go to Best Buy and purchase a camera that can deal with the technical issues of the craft. It’s more difficult to know what to point that camera at and to know when to press the shutter button. That’s where the “art” comes in. That’s where a photographer’s “vision” comes in. There’s a lot of distance to be covered between “seeing” an image in our minds and “capturing” that image, much less presenting it in a two-dimensional print that creates an emotional response. The image has to actually happen…in real time…in front of the camera. We can’t just imagine it and press a button. We can’t create it from scratch in a computer.


Today it’s really easy to take a picture but creating art with a camera is just as challenging as it ever was.

By Dusty Demerson, May 24, 2013




Death Valley sand dunes

The post The Problem With Photography appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Technique Artist Crested Butte Photographer Dusty Demerson Photo Photographer https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/The-Problem-With-Photography Thu, 06 Jun 2013 11:36:12 GMT
Building a New Photoshop Computer https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Building-a-New-Photoshop-Computer  

By Dusty Demerson


I love technology. Advances in photography software and hardware have made it possible to create images we couldn’t even dream of back in the days of the darkroom. The tools at our disposal today make it pretty easy to deliver any image we can imagine. But there is a downside to technology too.

We have to keep up! Over time, our tools become less effective, slower and changes in operating systems can make them dysfunctional or render them useless until something gets upgraded. Even upgrades eventually require changes in equipment.

That’s where I find myself today. Adobe Photoshop CS6, my “go-to” program for image work, is fine but slow with larger files and more layers. Attempting to upgrade Adobe Lightroom didn’t work at all since it is incompatible with Microsoft XP, my current operating system. So I find myself needing some new hardware to run current versions of some software. New hardware will also be much faster and more efficient in rendering images. It’s not all bad! Some of the bugs that have crept into my 5-year-old PC will be finding new homes as well.

So, what do I have in mind? Here are the components and some thoughts on the choices. If any readers have other thoughts or cautions on these choices, I would love to hear about them sooner rather than later.

I plan on starting with an Intel motherboard: Intel-Desktop-Motherboard-LGA1155-DDR3. This board is optimized for the i7 processor I’ve chosen and, while there are a handful of competing boards a little less expensive, the Intel boards seem to be better-built and have fewer bad reviews. I really can’t imagine taking the time to build a computer to find the motherboard is faulty and must be returned. I’ll hopefully avoid that nightmare. This board will work with a number of processors but I’ve chosen the Intel Core i7-3770K Quad-Core Processor 3.5 GHz 8 MB Cache LGA 1155 – BX80637I73770K. It’s about what I can afford and is designed for the board above. It also will “overclock” if I ever choose to do that. Even if I don’t, it’s a huge step forward from what I’m using now and will run 64-bit software like a champ.

16 gigabytes of fast RAM should be a great start for my system but I can add an additional 16 later if I need to. I am leaning toward Corsair Vengeance Blue 16 GB (2×8 GB) DDR3 1600MHz (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory although I really don’t care what color they are. My reason for choosing the Corsair over the other contender, Crucial, was the lifetime warranty offered by Corsair. All of these memory modules are within a dollar or two of the same price.

Here’s where the computer design begins to look like an imaging machine instead of a word processor. The specs so far would be overkill for a word processing or accounting computer but I’m going to try to take efficiency a little further still. The system will contain four drives; one for Windows 7, another for other programs like Photoshop, a third drive will hold the data (photos) and a final Solid State Drive will be the Photoshop scratch disk. Here’s the thought behind these choices. If everything is on one drive, even if it’s a fast drive, the computer can only work in one direction at a time and with one program at a time. If the operating system, Photoshop and the images are on their own dedicated drives, they can all be written to at the same time. Additionally, if any of these fail, they are easier to replace if everything isn’t in the same place. I’ve chosen Western Digital Black 500 GB Desktop Hard Drive: 3.5 Inch, 7200 RPM, SATA III, 64 MB Cache because they’re fast, have a large cache and a 5 year warranty. I already own three WD Raid drives which I use for my photos and backups. I’ve been very pleased with these external storage drives even though they are a little slower than internal disk drives. They give me piece of mind. These are connected via Firewire 800 cables and cards.

I’ve chosen a 60 Gigabyte Solid State Drive from Corsair for my Photoshop scratch disk. You might wonder why I would spend a ton of money on a scratch disk. Me too! Again, it’s really about efficiency. When using multiple layers and filters Photoshop can eat up more than my 16 gigabytes of RAM pretty quickly when working on large panoramic images, something I do quite often. When we run out of RAM, Photoshop uses space on available hard drives as extra memory. Having a dedicated drive for that purpose fits within the “multiple drive for efficiency” plan above. Another reason for dedicated super-fast scratch disk is that I’m using a 32 bit Adobe Photoshop. Apparently, you can’t upgrade Photoshop from 32 bit to 64 bit for less than several hundred dollars. This approach is cheaper. I’ll wait until I upgrade Photoshop to CS7 or whatever comes next, because the 32 bit version of Photoshop can only use 3 megabytes of my 16 megabytes of RAM before using the scratch disk. Bummer!

I mentioned that I intend to use Windows 7 operating system. The reason is simple. I really don’t want my work computer to operate like my phone. I don’t use touch screens at work. I use a mouse, tablet and keyboard (like most people). I have poked around Windows 8 and I don’t think I would like it for my day-to-day work computer.

The final piece of this puzzle is a graphics card. I could use the graphics capabilities of the CPU but I like using two monitors when I work on images. In Photoshop I have one monitor dedicated to the image and a smaller monitor with all my tools, layers, filters etc. It’s a real estate decision. I don’t like windows popping up on top of my photos. Most graphics cards will work Photoshop pretty well so I’m not spending a ton of money on a card. I think I’m going with an EVGA GeForce GT 640 2048MB GDDR3 Dual DVI, mHDMI Graphics Card because it will run two monitors, has a lot of its own memory and is under $100.

Other than a box to put all this stuff in, a CPU cooler, some case fans and a beefy power supply that’s about it. I have saved all of these items in my “wish list” at Amazon.com if someone feels really generous and wants to help a not-quite-starving artist. It comes to just under $1400. which is about half what my last desktop cost. I would love to hear from you if you think I’m headed down a rabbit hole with my ideas. I’m still open to suggestions for a few weeks. Thanks!

The post Building a New Photoshop Computer appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Artist digital Photo Photographer Photography photoshop https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Building-a-New-Photoshop-Computer Thu, 06 Jun 2013 11:33:04 GMT
Where Do You Find Your Most Popular Images https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Where-Do-You-Find-Your-Most-Popular-Images by Dusty Demerson


As an artist who earns his living by producing and selling artwork, I’m always interested in where other photographers find their most commercially viable images. Most of us photographers love to travel to exotic and scenic locations to capture those iconic images we’ve all seen in magazines. I’m no exception. I’ve done trips from above the Arctic Circle to the mountains of central Mexico and the Cayman Islands searching for photos. More locally, Yellowstone, Yosemite, The Grand Canyon and Canyonlands. I love to travel and to photograph the places I see.

My real question, though, is where do your most profitable photos come from. Do you find your travel images generating much revenue? Or are your most lucrative photographs from near your home? I hope several of you chime-in on this because I’m really curious.

Personally, I can’t seem to sell an image from outside Colorado to save my life. In fact, I only have one image that sells on a regular basis created outside Gunnison County, where I live. Most of my more successful images are captured within a few miles of my home. My most successful photographs are intimate landscapes. They are not “about a location” so much as they are “about a moment in time”. They tend to have a more universal appeal or tell a story rather than be a documentary about a location.  I’m not complaining. Don’t get me wrong. I’m thrilled when a client connects with one of my images. I’m just wondering how to market and sell more of my travel images before the IRS decides to dis-allow all those photo travel expenses I’ve been racking up. What are your thoughts?

The post Where Do You Find Your Most Popular Images appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography image Landscape Photo Photographer https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Where-Do-You-Find-Your-Most-Popular-Images Thu, 06 Jun 2013 11:29:16 GMT
Risk Versus Reward in Photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Risk-Versus-Reward-in-Photography Injured at Big Air CompetitionCL163165DustyBleeding-300x199

by Dusty Demerson

This evening in Crested Butte, Colorado the main street is blocked off and covered with snow. There’s a large bump in the middle of town and a snow grooming machine has been smoothing out the snow-covered street for a crazy annual event called “Big Air on Elk”. It’s lots of fun to watch and a significant challenge to photograph. The street is your basic two-lanes with parking on each side so about 40 feet wide. The “runway” and jump take up all of the street leaving the sidewalk for spectators. Imagine squeezing several thousand people onto two 10 foot wide sidewalks while a snowmobile going 50 miles an hour pulling a skier (like water skiing) down the middle of the street. Sounds like fun huh?

The first year for this event I positioned myself on the roof of a nearby bar. I had a wonderful observation point and captured an “overall” view of the event with our iconic mountain peak in the distance. A near-full moon made shooting the event like a landscape possible. Nobody has seen any of those images. My vantage point made the skiers and snowboarders too small and my distance from them made using a flash ineffective. I got colorful blurs in the middle of a street full of pedestrians. The images were not very good!

The second year I decided to get up close and personal with a wide-angle lens and a position right on the side of the jump. It seemed like such a good idea at the time. There was a nice little step carved out of the snow on the side just for us photographers. There was only room for one of us at a time.  When I arrived my friend Chris Ladoulis was in position on the step as I patiently awaited my turn by putting fresh batteries in the flash and camera. Did I mention it was about 10 degrees? It was a tough night for batteries!

Eventually Chris decided he had what he wanted and climbed down to the street. We traded places and as I climbed to the step I was envisioning these super-cool, close-up images of skiers and snowboarders flying through the air only a few feet away. I found my balance, placed my pack at my feet and stood up to begin making these amazing images I had in my mind. Then WHACK! The next thing I remember was being dragged by my collar down the street and being told by my EMT buddy Shaun to keep pressure on my forehead. I noticed there was blood on my coat. “Hey Shaun, whose blood is this?” I asked. “It’s yours, keep pressure on your head. You’re getting stitches” he said. That’s about the time Chris caught up with us with my camera gear….well, most of it. After handing me my stuff he took my picture. Smiling and bleeding and being escorted down the street by Shaun and keeping pressure on my head. It was quite a sight! I have no idea what happened to the snowboarder who missed his take-off and caught me instead.

I was missing my lens hood for the 17-35mm lens I was using. When asked about it, Chris said “The lens hood didn’t make it!”. I guess I got off easy! I didn’t get any pictures. Not even one! I did get 11 stitches and a nice tiny scar. It’s handy to have a physician who wanted to be a plastic surgeon. But I digress.

The third year I took an entirely different approach. I had “pre-visualized” the photo at the top. There was exactly one place I could stand. I didn’t need to be on a roof or the side of the jump. The only difficulty was trying to keep tall people from standing in front of me. I did need to get the shot pretty early in the event before it got too dark because I didn’t want to haul lights around for such a speculative venture. It turned out that one of the local orthopedic surgeons was standing right beside me this time. I was well protected! I did get the shot! It only took three years, 11 stitches and a lens hood.

So, if there’s a point to this story I guess it’s to try to plan how you want to cover an event. Being too far away and being too close both have their drawbacks. If you’re shooting a speculative self-assignment it’s better not to put yourself at risk. My experience has been shared in local newspapers and all the local photographers have been able to learn from my experience. What they choose to do with that knowledge is totally up to them. As for me, If I photograph Big Air on Elk tonight I’ll be a safe distance away. I may just be a spectator. That could be fun too!

The post Risk Versus Reward in Photography appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Crested Butte Dusty Demerson Photo Photographer Photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Risk-Versus-Reward-in-Photography Thu, 06 Jun 2013 11:23:44 GMT
What is in your Artist Statement https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/What-is-in-your-Artist-Statement by Dusty Demerson

At some point just about every artist is asked to provide an “Artist Statement”. Students studying art in school may even take an entire course about how to write an artist statement. Galleries and shows frequently request the artist statement to be printed as part of their presentation of your work or even as part of a submission process. These statements are frequently used by peers to judge the maturity of an artist’s process or approach.


My artist statement has evolved over the past 20 years or so. My first attempt seems extremely juvenile when I read it today. I assume that the statement I use today will seem just as juvenile in 20 more years.

Artist Statement – Dusty Demerson

My goal is to share the beauty of Creation with anyone interested enough to look. This doesn’t necessarily mean an unedited view however. I feel that our perception of beauty is highly influenced by not only what we see but also the sounds, smells and feelings we are experiencing when viewing our subjects. In fact, I further believe that the way we respond to what we see is a culmination of everything we have experienced through our history up to that instant.


My reason for being is to show my viewer something he or she would not have seen on their own. This unique viewpoint may be the result of perfect timing, an optimal play of light or a non-traditional point of view. Whatever the technique employed, art requires that a subject be treated in a unique way or that the artist captures a unique slice of time to share with the viewer.


My job as an artist is, at the very least, to create a two-dimensional representation of my subject that generates some type of emotional response by the viewer. At best, I would like my viewer to experience the same emotional response that I experienced and that caused me to record the scene in the first place. I must then be able to reproduce the scene with a high degree of craftsmanship and skill so that my original experience can be shared and experienced repeatedly by others for an extended period of time.


This goal requires that I move beyond the camera, lens, light and tripod and utilize additional tools to elicit the viewer’s response. The available tools have grown dramatically in the past several years as photographic artists have embraced digital image enhancement. Like any tool, these can be over used and abused as well as used poorly. While fully embracing the tools in my toolbox I attempt to use them to recreate the feelings and emotions I experienced when capturing the image. Since film, cameras, lenses, printers, papers and the other gear necessary for the capture and display of these images impart their own color, perspective, atmosphere, etcetera to the photograph; I need to alter some elements to recreate the scene as I experienced it originally. This process may include cropping the image and the elimination or addition of elements to the photograph. While I may utilize my digital tools to remove unwanted items like power lines or errant tree branches I never add or delete substantial elements of the scene.


Generally, my photographs attempt to restate the original presentation in a manner that evokes the emotional response I experienced without appearing manipulated or fake. My abstract images are, of course, an exception to the last statement. When I am asked if a scene “really looked like that” or was it “Photoshopped” my answer is usually “yes”.  


“Art implies control of reality, for reality itself possesses no sense of the aesthetic. Photography becomes an art when certain controls are applied.”

Ansel Adams

The post What is in your Artist Statement appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Artist Dusty Demerson Photographer Photography professional https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/What-is-in-your-Artist-Statement Thu, 06 Jun 2013 11:20:07 GMT
Hiring a Wedding Photographer https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Hiring-a-Wedding-Photographer What Every Bride Needs to Know!

by Dusty Demerson and revoirweddingphotography.com

Long after the guests have gone home, the tux is returned, your dress is cleaned and lovingly packed away and you’ve eaten that last bit of stale wedding cake the memories of your wedding day will remain forever archived in your wedding albums and prints. There really are no second chances with your wedding photography so choosing your wedding photographer will be one of the most important decisions you will make. This is especially true if you’re planning a destination wedding. These weddings create unique situations requiring specific skills and advanced training as well as knowledge of other vendors and locations to guarantee your wedding photos are captured with technical precision and artistic flair. Your photographer should have years of experience not only in photography but also working with people in stressful situations and under variable conditions.

So, what should I know about hiring a wedding photographer?

Your photographer will be a very important part of your wedding day. They will work very closely with you and can have a huge impact on how your day goes and how well it is remembered. You will probably spend more time with your photographer than with any other person on your wedding day. The better wedding photographers do much more than just snap photos. They will help with planning, timing, the fine details, calming nerves and lots more. Establishing a good, honest and open relationship with your photographer is critical.

It’s important to understand a little about the industry, its best practices and how things work before choosing your wedding photographer.

There are so many wedding photographers – How can I choose the right one?

Choosing your right wedding photographer really comes down to two things. First, you should love their work. Look for a photographer who shows the type and style of photos you want for your wedding. Look at complete albums, not just a few photos on the website. The second factor to consider is personality. Is he or she a person you are comfortable being around? Will they make you feel confident and relaxed? Could you be friends with this person even if they weren’t your photographer?

It’s great to get referrals but planning a destination wedding can make that difficult. Check out the photographer’s testimonials from previous clients. Ask other vendors who they like working with.

You can’t really choose a photographer from a price list or brochure. Narrow your search to 3-4 photographers and spend some time with them. If you can’t visit with them in person spend some time on the phone getting to know them. You’ll want to address their style, creativity, quality of finished albums and prints, compatibility and their qualifications.

Aren’t all wedding photographers qualified?

Unfortunately no! Anyone can hang out their shingle these days and lots of hobbyists “with a good camera” have done just that. Your average wedding photographer probably has a “day job” and does weddings on the weekends for extra cash. There are, however, wedding photographers who do possess qualifications and training and these are the photographers you’ll want to consider to document your wedding day. Membership in professional organizations like Professional Photographers of America or WPPI are one way to check qualifications.

Why should I hire a professional when my friend has a great camera?

It’s not the camera that makes the photographs, it’s the photographer. Although a friend may be a very good amateur photographer, they will not have the experience, knowledge, training and back-up equipment that a professional has. Capturing your wedding photographs requires a highly specialized set of skills that takes years to master. A professional will be able to produce consistent results regardless of the various challenges that weddings can present. They know how to make the best use of light and can adapt to constantly changing circumstances.

Professional photographers know how to work with the drama and occasional stresses of an emotional day in a calm manner. They know how to finish and present your photographs in ways that will bring you joy for ages to come. Will you hire someone to create your wedding cake because they have a good mixer? Will you have your wedding gown made by a friend who has a good sewing machine? Probably not. You should select your wedding photographer based on the work they produce rather than whether they have a “good camera” or not.

How far in advance should I book my wedding photographer?

The earlier the better. Once you’ve made your choice you’ll need to book your photographer, usually with a deposit, to guarantee that they’ll be available for your wedding day. Prime summer and winter dates for weddings can be taken a year or more in advance while off-season and weekdays may be available closer to the wedding date.

How much should I budget?

This was probably your first question, right? This one can be tough because professional photographers don’t advertise their prices. There’s a good reason for that too. While most wedding photographers offer packages, many will customize those collections for your personal needs. There are so many products available these days that you’ll what to have some idea of how you’ll remember and share your wedding memories. While these products are comparatively priced, wedding photography prices generally reflect the level of service, experience, skill and training of the photographer. Here’s a rough guide:

  • $0-$3000 – friends/amateur/new photographers with poor to average skills.
  • $3000 – $5000 – starting prices for full-time professional photographers with good skills.
  • $5000 – ? highly skilled and experienced professionals with more creative flair and premium products.

Before you set your budget consider these wise words: “It is unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much you lose a little money, that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything – The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.” John Ruskin, Artist & Philosopher

Why is it so expensive?

Wedding photography today is expensive for many reasons, though relative to the cost of your reception or even your gown it’s still a very good value. Your photography and your rings will be the only memories preserved over time. Good professional photographers use the highest quality equipment, materials, labs and albums. The running costs and overhead of a business are significant. Professional quality cameras, lenses and lights cost tens of thousands of dollars and must be maintained and replaced on a regular basis. In addition to the camera gear, digital photography requires a substantial investment in computer equipment too.

Wedding photography is a highly skilled profession requiring years of training and experience. Your photographer’s skill and training is likely reflected in their fees and your photographs.

Your photos and albums will be original works of art, involving lots of time, skill, talent and artistry. For example a typical wedding photojournalist may take a thousand photos at your wedding. They will then spend hours, days or even weeks editing, processing and retouching your images. Designing a custom wedding album can easily take 40-60 hours. For every hour you see your photographer there’s usually 2-3 hours they spend behind the scenes working on your wedding photographs.

Is it cheaper to have an off-season or weekday wedding?

It can be. Photographers and other wedding vendors may offer discounts or bonuses for less-busy times. June through September are usually the premium wedding months.

Should I sign a contract or agreement?

Absolutely. This is your assurance that the wedding photographer you have chosen will honor his commitment to you. It also confirms everything in writing so there are no misunderstandings. You will also be expected to place a deposit to hold your wedding date. This amount is usually 1/3 to 1/2 the total cost of your wedding photography. If you’re interviewing a photographer who doesn’t offer a  written agreement or contract you should keep looking.

What happens after I sign the contract?

You should have occasional written or email communication from your photographer leading up to your wedding day. Feel free to share ideas, favorite shots, locations and changes to plans. Plan on meeting with your photographer a few days before the wedding to finalize times, locations etc.

Should I give my wedding photographer clippings or a list of photos?

Every photography studio has a different working style. Some are happy to see examples of photos you like while others may not. Trying to copy the style of another wedding photographer can be an exercise in frustration and can hamper the creativity of your chosen photographer. Tread lightly here. If your photographer invites your ideas, great. Otherwise you should have confidence in your decision on hiring a photographer whose work you love. A professional photographer with the experience necessary to photograph weddings should not need a list.

How much time will the photography take?

This seems to vary from one wedding to another. It’s a good idea to ask this question up-front when interviewing photographers. Having photos created in alternate locations will affect the time involved too. Be sure to share your photo ideas early with your photographer so you can receive their ideas. Creating special images the day before or after your wedding might be another option. Generally allowing at least an hour for photos would be a good idea but if you want photos in the forest, around town or by the lake you’ll need significant extra time. Consider doing the Bride and Groom photos before the wedding for these special images.

What if I hate posing for photos?

While lots of couples choose photojournalist style photographers to avoid this problem, most of the candid images they love are not as candid as they seem. Truly candid photography can result in lots of pictures of people’s backs or with uncoordinated expressions. While candid photos during the service and reception can truly capture the spirit and emotions of the day, family groups and the wedding party images will benefit by some direction from your photographer. Also, having only candid images means compromising the lighting and composition of your photos which may result in less-than-flattering memories. To look your best and have beautiful memories of your wedding you’ll want a professional photographer who knows how to capture candid and artfully composed photos in all types of light.

How long will the photographer stay at the wedding?

Photographers are usually happy to negotiate the coverage requirements for your wedding from a few hours to all day if you so desire. Most weddings with a reception require 3-4 hours while dinner and dancing could easily extend the requirement from 6-8 hours or even longer.

What’s the best time of day for the photos?

This really depends on the weather and the style of photographs you’re looking for. It’s important to choose a photographer who has a good working knowledge of your wedding location. This is a major reason for choosing a photographer from your wedding destination and not bringing in someone from another location. Your photographer’s ability to work in all types of light will greatly affect the quality of your photographs. Generally the hour before sunset is always a safe bet.

When do I get to see my photos?

Today most photographers of destination weddings use online display for their wedding images. It’s the most convenient way to share images with wedding family and guests from all over the country…even the world. As we discussed above, the studio may invest significant time before your photos are ready to view but you should expect to see images soon after your honeymoon is over or within 30 days of your wedding. Busy summer months may require a little extra time.

By now you can consider yourself a Rock Star of a bride for educating yourself about how to choose your wedding photographer. Good luck and happy shopping!

I would love to take credit for the above information but to tell the truth, most of it has been compiled from Louisiana photographer: http://revoirweddingphotography.com. She’s done such a great job compiling a lot of good information in a small space and deserves the credit. If I were getting married in Louisiana she would be my first call for a wedding photographer. Of course, if you’re planning a Crested Butte wedding, I would love to talk to you. You can get lots more information at www.DemersonPhotography.com.

The post Hiring a Wedding Photographer appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Photography Crested Butte Photographer Wedding https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Hiring-a-Wedding-Photographer Thu, 06 Jun 2013 11:17:51 GMT
When is it Time to Say Your Final Goodbyes https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/When-is-it-Time-to-Say-Your-Final-Goodbyes
panorama of winter forest scenep1259669284-5
Winter in Taylor Canyon
by Dusty Demerson

Have you ever felt like your life has been a waste of time? Ever felt really small and worthless?


If you would like to see what this feels like I urge you to take a step back about 20 years and look at the work you did back then. I did this by accident last week. I was looking for a slide from an event that happened about 20 years ago. My file system for older images requires that I look through hundreds of images to find the one I want. It’s certainly not the best file system but, short of scanning all those slides, it’s the most efficient for me. This exercise pointed out one of the biggest advantages of digital technology too. The ability to add keywords and other metadata to an image thus providing the ability to let software do the searching cannot be overstated.
Anyway, back to my point. While I was searching for this transparency and glancing at hundreds of images that I have chosen to save for 20 years or more I was struck with  the revelation that 95% of what I’ve saved for so long is complete crap. If that four-drawer file cabinet full of slides suddenly burst into flames and was completely engulfed, it wouldn’t be much of a loss. No one would notice. I would have enough room in my office to install a larger printer. With the exception of a handful of photographs the history of photography and my personal legacy wouldn’t even notice the loss.
So, why have I kept all these “lousy” slides for so long? Why couldn’t I discard these the first time I edited the shoot? Did I really think they were great back then? I think the answer comes from two different places. First, as I’ve mentioned before, most photographers I know like to let their images sit for a period of time before they do their final edit. The reason for this is pretty simple. Time allows us to distance ourselves from the emotions that may have caused us to make the photograph initially and to view them through more-objective eyes. The fact that I never came back to finish this edit is a testament to the images’ lack of value. The technique and skill of the photographer (me) at the time was not sufficient to translate that emotional response to a future viewer. It didn’t even remind the original photographer why he made the image. That’s pretty bad! The second reason for keeping these photographs is even more difficult to embrace. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. I can’t get them back. Those scenes, buildings, people and events don’t exist today like they did back then. They cause their own emotional response. They take my memory back to a time that has been lost in the past. The memory of the event may disappear with the disposal of the image. Maybe that only affects extremely visual people like me. I’m not sure how others process this type of information.
For now the slides are safe, lousy as they are. I wonder if Ansel Adams saved the negatives he wasn’t thrilled with? He is quoted as saying “12 good pictures a year is a pretty good crop” or something like that. I could save a lot of space if I only kept 12 pictures a year. But which ones should I save? That’s the problem! Occasionally I find a “winner” a year or more after the photo was made. Maybe that’s the benchmark. I think, however, the real reason the old stuff has little appeal to me is that I’m a very different person, photographer, artist, than I was 20 years ago. The subjects that appeal to me today was of little interest back then. The opposite is also true. Will I ever find those old photographs appealing again in an artistic way? Probably not. I guess it’s time to do that final edit.

The post When is it Time to Say Your Final Goodbyes appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Photography Art inspiration instruction theory https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/When-is-it-Time-to-Say-Your-Final-Goodbyes Thu, 06 Jun 2013 11:13:57 GMT
What Makes a Photographer a Professional https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/What-Makes-a-Photographer-a-Professional
Wedding couple swinging at the playgroundp1259669362-5
Sarah and Phillip Swinging After Their Wedding

I read a few photography forums online and subscribe to a number of photography magazines. A forum post on Linkdin last week got my attention. The question was asked: What makes a photographer a professional? I’ve been thinking a lot about that question subconsciously for quite a while. A significant amount of the photography sneaking into publications these days has gotten me concerned about the level of skill required to get published and call oneself a “professional” photographer.

I guess the short answer would be that a professional is a photographer that gets paid for what he or she does. That seems a little too easy for me though. I do feel that there are minimum skill levels required before a photographer is qualified to hang out a shingle. I also think that those minimum requirements should be standards for publication too, especially in professional industry publications. Here are some standards I think should be minimum requirements for publication and for delivery to a client. In the fields of photojournalism and fine arts some exceptions could be noted but for most portrait, wedding and event photography this is some of my list.
The subject of the photograph should be obvious and should be in focus. If the viewer is uncertain who or what the subject is then the photo is a failure. If other elements of the photograph are in sharper focus than the subject, the photo is a failure. This is not the same as sharpness. Moving subjects may not be razor-sharp but the focus should still be on the subject.
Exposure must be adequate for the subject to be illuminated. This may mean using supplemental lighting. Our new digital cameras are great at creating images in low light situations today. Just because you CAN shoot without a flash doesn’t mean you SHOULD. The long-held standard here is that you should be able to see the color of the subject’s eyes. If the bride’s eye sockets are black holes you don’t have adequate exposure and need to add some light. A professional photographer should first, be able to recognize this problem and second, be able to solve it. Some skill at being able to use supplemental lighting should be a minimum requirement. Editors and clients should expect and demand images of people who have eyes that you can see. Zombie photography is becoming too popular these days.
A professional photographer should be able to anticipate or create actions and reactions. Henri Cartier-Bresson called it “the decisive moment”. The peak of the action is the picture. The photographer has to understand human nature and emotions as well as how the camera works. If there are multiple subjects in the photo they should be involved with each other, relating to each other. If you’re creating a portrait of a group they should all be looking in the same direction. That doesn’t necessarily mean looking at the camera but their attention must be focused on the same place. A professional photographer need to understand the event or group and know how to anticipate or direct the action and attention. That’s really what being a “photojournalist” is. It’s not dressing in black and being a “fly on the wall”. Being a photojournalist photographer requires being involved in the event and sometimes directing attention to get great photos.
Finally, (for today) the contents of the photograph need to work together to create a cohesive composition. Art, if you will! A professional will use the training, experience and skills acquired to eliminate or “play down” distracting elements of the photo so the story being told is succinct and obvious, not left to the imagination. This can mean moving, selecting a different lens, changing camera angles, cropping, selective focus and/or using post-event production tools like Adobe Photoshop to create a story-telling image without confusion. This part is a lot more difficult than it sounds but these are skills a professional will have. Since the client is usually the subject the photographs should also be flattering.
I guess I’ve just heard it too many times to let it go but phrases like “he’s got a really good camera”, “how many megapixels”, and other similar statements completely miss the mark. Professional photographers are highly trained and skilled people who create flattering, well composed, well-timed, story-telling images with a high degree of technical precision under a variety of physical and emotional conditions. I might have missed something but I think that’s about it.

Natalie Center Stagep1259669398-5

Natalie dancing at the Center for the Arts, Crested Butte, Colorado

Clint Black at The Powerhouse in Crested Butte, Coloradop1259669430-5

Clint Black and Little Big Town with the girls.

The post What Makes a Photographer a Professional appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Photographer photojournalist Portrait professional Wedding https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/What-Makes-a-Photographer-a-Professional Thu, 06 Jun 2013 11:11:04 GMT
Just Because Your Art is More Difficult to Make Doesn’t Mean It’s Better https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Just-Because-Your-Art-is-More-Difficult-to-Make-Doesn-t-Mean-It-s-Better Fire in the grovep1259669504-5

Fire In The Grove

Over the course of an average day I get to interact with a fair number of people. I go out for breakfast most mornings and the typical conversations about weather and politics (mostly local) occasionally give way to discussions about art. Who is showing where, “What is art?”, etc. It never fails when Photoshop is mentioned that someone says: “Hey, isn’t that cheating?”. I’ve even gotten that questions from fellow photographers. You know the ones I’m talking about. The sometimes self-righteous “film” photographers totally in love with the process of processing film and developing prints by hand that they haven’t created a memorable image in a decade. I guess every media has these folks but it seems photography has more than its share. They feel that using digital cameras and processing images in software on a computer is somehow “selling out” and not real. They feel that sending a carefully crafted image to an electronic printer can not be art.

I always wonder when talking to these folks if they feel this way because the digital photographers don’t suffer enough. I’ve suffered enough! I not only did the darkroom thing for myself for a bunch of years but, running a commercial lab, I did it for a lot of “them” too. The quality of art does not increase with suffering. That could be the quote of the day!

Advances in technology have been steady since the dawn of time. I wonder if cavemen accused other caveman-artists of cheating when they attached a stick to the rock so they could hold it better? Or what about when they started using their own blood to paint with? (Back to suffering?) Were painters accused of selling out when their paints and brushes became commercially available or were they better at their art because they made their own?

It’s true that the digital photo revolution happened pretty fast. Technological changes in general are happening faster all the time. I’m still trying to learn how to use my two-year old phone! Photography enjoyed very few remarkable changes for quite a long time. From the advent of the roll-film camera to the next big thing; auto exposure and auto focus, nothing really changed much. There were a lot of years in there. Was auto focus cheating? Was auto exposure cheating? I don’t think they got accused of cheating because it took quite a while before they were good enough for reliable use. There was a period of suffering if you will. Digital cameras went through the same growing pains. So has the software. Believe me when I say there has been suffering along the digital way too.

Today it is relatively easier to create a photograph with greater technical precision than in times past. The auto focus and auto exposure parts of the process are pretty darn good. The camera’s automatic image processing is pretty good too. The photo printers available for a few hundred dollars will make prints that will last a lifetime and that look terrific. It’s never been easier to create a technically proficient photograph.

There are still a few things that the cameras can’t do. Neither can the computers or the software inside. They still can’t tell you what to point them at. They still can’t describe an emotional response to a scene that you’ve experienced. They can’t interpret or pre-visualize a landscape (or any other subject) in a way that will get viewers to say “Wow”. When the software engineers and camera designers can accomplish this feat then using digital cameras will be cheating and the camera artist will be irrelevant. Just because modern technology has put good quality photography into the hands of the masses doesn’t mean the camera artists are any less artistic. In fact, I would offer that technological improvements have raised the craft of photographic art to an all-time high. While it’s true that the capture of the image is easier and more reliable, the artist must still bring his vision to the process. There are still obstacles to overcome. CCD chips, internal and external software, lenses, cameras, printers etc. all have their individual idiosyncrasies which must be learned and either accepted or defeated by the artist to fully express his or her vision. It’s still difficult to create a two dimensional representation of an event or scene in a manner that will generate the same emotional response the artist had in mind. That’s what artists do. Technology, if anything, has provided artists with an even greater ability to express their vision. It’s also provided more ways to fail. I am happy to suffer at the computer instead of in a darkroom. I’m also happy to create images I can share worldwide instead of only in person. I’m thrilled to be able to print my color photographs on real paper instead of plastic. I’m thrilled that I can archive my images so they will live longer than I will. Now that’s progress! Now if I can just figure out what it is I’m trying to say………

The post Just Because Your Art is More Difficult to Make Doesn’t Mean It’s Better appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art instruction Photo Photograph Photographer Photography theory https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Just-Because-Your-Art-is-More-Difficult-to-Make-Doesn-t-Mean-It-s-Better Thu, 06 Jun 2013 11:07:32 GMT
Putting Some Play Back Into My Work https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Putting-Some-Play-Back-Into-My-Work
busy cornerp1259669566-5
Busy Corner
It’s late autumn in the Colorado Rockies. That means the leaves have left the trees, most of the foliage is brown or tan, spotty snow covers the ground and it’s cold. It’s sort of an in-between time. It doesn’t look like fall and it doesn’t really look like winter either. These in-between seasons can make landscape photography difficult. It’s just not as photogenic (pretty) as I would like to see it.
I’m experiencing a type of in-between season in other ways as well. If you’re acquainted with Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs you’ll understand what I mean. Whole college courses have been developed on this concept but, in a nutshell, he proposes that a person can’t really be “Self-Actualized” (read creative or artistic) until other, more basic, needs are satisfied. In other words, you can’t be at the top-of-your-game creatively if you’re wondering how you’re going to pay your rent. While this concept  is a broad generalization to be sure, I can personally testify to its validity in my situation. I’m enough of a “Type A Personality” to know that without a fairly healthy bank account I’ll feel guilty about going skiing or pretty much any other “non-productive” activity. Not everyone is like this but I am.
For the past couple of years I have not felt as creative or productive artistically as I would like. This bothers me. I know that if I felt more comfortable financially I could take a few more risks, do some traveling, live on the edge a little and become excited again about my artistic endeavors. Well, that’s not going to happen. At least it’s not happening soon enough for me. I’ll just have to find a way to get my MoJo back with less money in the bank and some lack of security.
I’ve discussed this problem with some other artists who have or are going through this same “dry spell”. Their reasons may be different but basically, they just aren’t producing new work that they’re thrilled with. Crested Butte photographer Raynor Czerwinski has been an extremely supportive influence in my “getting back to work” plan. He recommended some reading material from other photographers that has really helped put me back on track. It seems (to me) that I’m not alone. Most photographers go through these “in-between” seasons with their work. It helps to know I’m not alone. One great book on the subject is Brooks Jensen’s “Letting Go of the Camera”. This series of essays is a great way to connect with issues most of us have gone through or will go through in a career in photography. One of my favorite chapters in Letting Go is titled “Work & Play”. I had forgotten that what I really loved about my “Work” was that it felt like play. Lately it’s felt like work. I need to get that feeling of play back into my work. It’s time to climb out of the rut and reevaluate the destination, maybe veer off-course for a while or turn in a new direction. That’s why folks who follow my work are seeing some new types of work like the image above. I’m not certain whether this technique is the direction I’m taking or just a detour but it has brought a little “Play” back into my work.

The post Putting Some Play Back Into My Work appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art inspiration Photographer https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Putting-Some-Play-Back-Into-My-Work Thu, 06 Jun 2013 11:01:31 GMT
When to Use HDR Photo Processing Technique https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/When-to-Use-HDR-Photo-Processing-Technique HDR photo of old truck in Coloradop1259669642-5

Old mining truck in Colorado

In the past couple of years photographers have seen an overwhelming number of new digital tools and techniques for “enhancing” and manipulating their images. One of the most popular techniques is called High Dynamic Range photography. Most of you have seen images using this technique and most of its users are producing images similar to the one seen here.
Like most new things we have to play with this technique has been used too often and to poor effect far too much. But that’s the way of new tools. They are overused at first until the artists work through the mechanics and positive and negative effects of the tool. Only after playing with and exploring the tool for a while are we able to fully embrace the usefulness of the technique and understand when we should, and more importantly, when we should not use the tool. Like other photographers, I think its fun to play with.
As I’ve said before, I think most images need an incubation period where the artist comes back and looks at it repeatedly over a period of time before sharing it with the world. This incubation period helps me to view the photograph without being affected by the emotions present when the image was captured. It helps me to see the photograph the same way a viewer in a gallery would see the image. Most of my HDR images don’t stand this “test of time” very well. While they look pretty cool the first few times around they eventually just look strange and lose their coolness.
I think I have a few exceptions though. The image to the right is one.

Lupine in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Parkp1259669656-5

Black Canyon Lupine

Sometimes the range of contrasts within a scene are far too great to create a printable image using traditional techniques. This was an even greater problem when we photographed with film. Today’s digital techniques provide greater opportunities to create successful images than the “old days”. The most aggressive of these techniques is HDR and, as I stated earlier, usually gets out-of-hand. However, with patience and some practice, the technique can be controlled in a way to create an image that looks much more “normal”. These more normal looking photographs stand my “test of time” much better than those wild and crazy photos. The image at right was made in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Even though the park is only 100 miles from my home I don’t get to photograph in the summer there very often.

The color of the Lupine was amazing and I had to figure out how to save this image. The picture was made in the middle of the day with harsh and boring light. Direct light on the flowers was intolerably harsh and contrasty but when clouds came over they became too dark considering the direct light on the canyon wall and the distant clouds. What to do? I photographed a series of exposures from two f stops underexposed to two stops overexposed using a split neutral density filter to pull the exposure of the clouds in the distance down to a manageable level. The bracketed exposures were accomplished by changing the shutter speed, not the aperture. These were combined and blended in Photomatix software. The results were terrible! But I couldn’t give up. Through much experimenting with the many controls of the software I was able to create an image that captured the full tonal range in a way that could actually be printed.
I love to travel and discover the visual treats the world has to offer. Unfortunately, this often places me and my camera in an awesome location with mediocre light or at an unflattering time of day for the subject at hand. Good HDR technique can help provide interesting images when I can’t come back to a location at a better time of day or even time of year. By controlling difficult shadows and highlights this tool can save the day but like many of our digital solutions it can be overused. Like Vincent Versace says, Photoshop (and other software) should be used like an emery board, not a jack hammer.

The post When to Use HDR Photo Processing Technique appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art HDR instruction Photograph Photographer Photography Tech Talk Technique theory https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/When-to-Use-HDR-Photo-Processing-Technique Thu, 06 Jun 2013 10:58:47 GMT
There’s a Touch of Fall in the Air https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/There-s-a-Touch-of-Fall-in-the-Air
Christmas in Autumnp1259669676-5
Christmas in Autumn
After last week’s dismal entry into autumn, this week promises more seasonal temperatures and sunshine. Yes, the leaves are starting to change in the high country. Flowers are pretty much gone. Grasses are turning brown and tan. Evenings are crisp and if you wander into the shade you’re quickly reminded that, despite the calendar, summer is past at 9000′. Snow on the highest peaks serves to reinforce the temperature data.
So, what does that mean to a landscape photographer? It means it’s time to get to work. Fill up the tank and hit the road. Get out early and catch sunlit peaks with fog in the valleys. Perhaps some frost. Stay out ’til mid-day and catch bright yellow aspen trees with white peaks in the distance and colorful reflections in streams and lakes. Hang around until late afternoon and the skies are dotted with perfect puffy white clouds and that iconic “Colorado Blue” sky. If you still have some energy left for sunset you might get rewarded with an evening rainbow. Early autumn is frequently blessed with brief, intense showers followed by spectacular rainbows. It’s a great time to make beautiful photographs all day long. If you wonder where to wander around Crested Butte I can even guide you. Check out the tours at CB Photo Workshops.
What does autumn mean to a portrait photographer? It means you have to contact all those people who wanted “fall color” portraits because they only have a couple of weeks before the snow falls. So, all you folks (you know who you are) pick up the phone. It’s time! Check out Demerson Photography if you’ve got questions.
Finally, the turning of the colors means you can get a great deal on “Christmas in Autumn”. This image is one of my most popular and certain to be a perfect gift or addition to your home or office. The limited edition version is 48″ wide by 20″ tall, signed and printed by yours truly. This edition is limited to 25 of this size on canvas and 6 have already sold. The price is $495 until the end of September when it goes back to $700. Call me if you have any questions or would like to order “Christmas in Autumn”.

The post There’s a Touch of Fall in the Air appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Artist autumn fall fine Landscape nature Photo Photographer Photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/There-s-a-Touch-of-Fall-in-the-Air Thu, 06 Jun 2013 10:54:57 GMT
New Work for The Crested Butte Festival of the Arts https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/New-Work-for-The-Crested-Butte-Festival-of-the-Arts Fall Fantasyp1259669742-5

Fall Fantasy Panorama

I must apologize for being absent for the past month. July and August are the only times of the year that I’m truly “busy” and when these months arrive I’m not as organized as I seem the rest of the year. Plus, when it’s warm and the weather is nice it’s tough for me to get excited about sitting at a computer with a picture window five feet away. Oh, and there was a week of teaching photography classes every day with the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival. So I’m not without my excuses!

But, here I am again. This weekend is the annual Crested Butte Festival of the Arts and I’m thrilled to be invited back to show and sell my photographs. Each year I try to show a few new images and the one above, “Fall Fantasy” is new this year. I have been reluctant to print this one because there isn’t a clear “subject” or focal point. I captured this scene last fall and after revisiting the photo over the winter and spring I’ve decided that I still like it despite its alleged shortcomings. Actually, it’s that “shortcoming” that I like. I’m trying to give myself permission to like some new approaches to old images. I have lots of photographs that don’t have a particular focus point or subject. Not all of them are necessarily successful. Some are. Over the years I’ve gotten away from printing these types of photographs for lots of reasons. Most of the reasons are purely commercial. That’s a problem! Not presenting an image simply for the reason that a gallery doesn’t have space or that an image wasn’t created using the same formula that my other images enjoyed is not a good enough reason to abandon new viewpoints. In fact, I think the opposite is true…within reason.

The fact that an artist has an apparent “style” may be reason enough for that artist to try something different. Our sanity demands it. Every experiment isn’t destined for success. But some are. If we don’t try new approaches and techniques we are doomed to become stale. Although there are lots of financially  successful “stale” artists most of us don’t set out down that path on purpose. God knows I haven’t achieved that level of “staleness” yet. And I hope I never do.

So, if you can, drop by booth 48C on Elk Avenue in downtown Crested Butte this weekend and support at least one artist trying to stay out of his “box”. Support doesn’t even require a purchase. But those are greatly appreciated. Here’s another new image just for tolerating my rant.

Fire in the grovep1259669760-5

Fire In The Grove

The post New Work for The Crested Butte Festival of the Arts appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Aspen autumn color Colorado Crested Butte Landscape Panorama Panoramic Photo Photograph Photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/New-Work-for-The-Crested-Butte-Festival-of-the-Arts Thu, 06 Jun 2013 10:52:42 GMT
Tips on Photographing Rainbows https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Tips-on-Photographing-Rainbows
Crested Butte Mountain under the Rainbowp1259669828-5
Rainbow over Crested Butte Mountain


Now that it’s finally summer in western Colorado the “monsoonal flow” of moisture has begun drifting up from the Gulf of Mexico, through Arizona into Colorado bringing us occasional afternoon showers and thunderstorms. We plan our outings this time of year to avoid these mid-afternoon storms preferring mornings and the hour or two before sunset for outdoor activities like family portraits and bike rides. The late afternoon storms frequently leave us with rainbows.


Photographing rainbows successfully requires a little gear. First, you need rain. Those of you who’ve played with the Cokin Rainbow Filter should remember this part and not try to use it when there’s not a cloud in the sky. Others will know what you’ve done and, (for all photographers), your technique should not be apparent to others.


Another key ingredient to rainbows is the sun. Because you need both rain and sun, brief showers are much more conducive to photographing rainbows than big storms lasting into the night. There are a couple of places in the U.S.A. where you can capture rainbows at night with a full moon and a waterfall. I tried this at Cumberland Falls in Kentucky a few years ago but the clouds rolled in about the time the moon came up so I didn’t get the “moonbow” and I didn’t get to sleep.


Another helpful bit of gear is a really wide-angle lens. The wider the better! A fish-eye lens is a wonderful rainbow tool allowing you to get both ends of a full rainbow. Using longer lenses works too, but you’ll have to settle for just part of the rainbow. The image above, “Under the Rainbow” was created with a special panorama camera that provides the wide field of view with a longer lens. This approach distorts the foreground causing what were straight lines to fall back into the photograph.


Having a subject or object to place in the frame with the rainbow is a major aid to composition and adds interest to the image. Even though most of us are happy with just capturing the rainbow, creating an actual photographic composition with a rainbow might just end up on someones wall. It helps a lot if you know the lay of the land and have pre-visualized your composition a little. Rainbows have been known to move along the horizon based on the angle of the sun. They also have a greater arc the closer they happen to sunset.


The final item is a polarizing filter. Rainbows really react to the use of a polarizing filter by either vanishing completely or having greatly intensified colors. So, if you’re photographing a landscape and a rainbow happens to show up and you want to make it go away, the polarizing filter will work wonders. On the other hand, if you’re photographing a landscape and you think the rainbow could use a little boost, the polarizing filter will work wonders there too. Keep in mind that these filters can become a little difficult to work with on wider angle lenses. They may vignette the corners of the frame and they will absorb a lot of light making your exposure time or aperture settings change.


So, like the Wailin’ Jennys sing in their awesome song “Storm Comin’”, don’t run for cover. Run for your camera when the storm’s coming. Have some fun chasing rainbows.


The post Tips on Photographing Rainbows appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) atmosphere color composition Landscape Panorama Panoramic rainbow summer weather https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Tips-on-Photographing-Rainbows Thu, 06 Jun 2013 10:50:31 GMT
Back Lighting Rescues a Couple of Pasque Flowers https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Back-Lighting-Rescues-a-Couple-of-Pasque-Flowers
Backlit Pasque Flowersp1259669076-5
Nurturing Pasque Flowers

Well, the wildflowers are upon us again! It’s always amazing to me how quickly we can go from frozen brown dirt to colorful hillsides. In less that two weeks time and with only four seventy degree days the landscape around Crested Butte has become dotted, if not carpeted, with an array of colors that would make Crayola proud. Even more amazing is that the quick change from spring to summer has left some of our spring flowers around as well. It’s pretty rare to have Pasque Flowers and Glacier Lilies still blooming when the Lupine and Columbine are starting to pop. But we’ll take it!

The Pasque Flowers above are among the earliest bloomers around these parts. They’ve  frequently gone to seed before the first of June but they offer the first promise of a colorful summer for those of us who’ve become tired of a white landscape.

I’m no flower expert as my wildflower photo workshop students will testify. I do keep track of what blooms where and when but I struggle with their names (both the flowers’ and the students’). Maybe it’s part of my visual nature. Anyway, Pasque Flowers only grow to about six inches tall and like a lot of our flowers, they close at night and won’t reopen until the sunlight hits them. Depending on their surroundings, you can find these flowers fully opened or closed depending on whether they’re in a sunny spot or the shade. This situation lends itself to the lighting apparent in the photo above, back-lit subjects against a dark, almost black, background. These two have just begun to open to greet the day. I think the Pasques are most attractive before they are completely open and having the light source (sun) illuminating the flowers from behind shows off the “hairy” nature of the petals as well as their transparency. They have a nice glow about them when photographed this way. Another advantage to the back-light approach is that it can help to remove distractions from the photograph since the distracting elements are rendered in deep shade. I think the leaning flower on the left gives the scene a little personality that two perfectly upright flowers would lack. When faced with an acre of flowers these are the types of decisions we need to make.

Creating effective photographs in the field is often about getting rid of the distractions. It’s a fact that I wish more photographers would embrace. Paring the image down to its essentials and being extremely aware of what’s going on in the corners of the frame are critical visual decisions necessary to create images others will enjoy. Today, with Adobe Photoshop, we have better tools for correcting mistakes made in the field but our images are far better if we do most of the “correcting” before the button is pushed. Besides, sitting at the computer “fixing” my photos isn’t nearly as much fun as being in the field creating new images.

The post Back Lighting Rescues a Couple of Pasque Flowers appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography color Colorado composition Flower spring summer Tech Talk Wildflower https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Back-Lighting-Rescues-a-Couple-of-Pasque-Flowers Thu, 06 Jun 2013 10:47:37 GMT
Crested Butte Photo Workshops Announce Colorado Fall Colors Workshop for 2011 https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Crested-Butte-Photo-Workshops-Announce-Colorado-Fall-Colors-Workshop-for-2011
Kebler Pass Fall Colorsp1259669894-5

Intense Fall Colors Near Kebler Pass, Colorado

J. C. Leacock and I are once again pleased to offer our popular Colorado Fall Colors photo workshop scheduled for September 30 through October 2, 2011. This year’s near record snowfall promises to offer some amazing colors and photo opportunities this fall that you will not want to miss.

The Crested Butte area has long been celebrated as one of Colorado’s premier fall color locations. Each autumn you’ll find Kebler Pass, Horse Ranch Park, Ohio Pass and other nearby landscapes populated by local and internationally famous photographers looking for some of the most amazing fall color landscapes the country has to offer. Some photographers wait for years before they get this opportunity. You can take advantage of this chance today.

If you’re looking to improve your compositions, nail down your exposure technique, fine tune selective focus skills or if you just want to explore some of Colorado’s most-celebrated fall color locations with local pros, you won’t want to miss this workshop. J. C. and I have been photographing the Crested Butte area for well over twenty years and know all of the best locations as well as some secret spots certain to provide you with some incredible images. We’ll be mixing up the field sessions with slide shows, lectures and one-on-one critique sessions so all your questions get answered and your images move to the next level. We’ll be offering a limited number of places for this tour so you’ll want to contact us as soon as possible. Check out the CBPhotoWorkshops.com website for more information or email J.C. or email me.

If you haven’t made your plans yet both J. C. and I still have a few spaces left in our daily workshops and tours with The Crested Butte Wildflower Festival coming up July 11-16.

The post Crested Butte Photo Workshops Announce Colorado Fall Colors Workshop for 2011 appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography autumn color Colorado Crested Butte fall Fall instruction Landscape Photo Photograph Photographer Theory Workshop https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Crested-Butte-Photo-Workshops-Announce-Colorado-Fall-Colors-Workshop-for-2011 Thu, 06 Jun 2013 10:41:45 GMT
It’s Almost Wildflower Season Again in Crested Butte https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/It-s-Almost-Wildflower-Season-Again-in-Crested-Butte
Snow on Gothic Mountain with Lupine below.p1259669964-5
Bright blue lupine bloom below snow-covered Gothic Mountain.

OK! A little truth in advertising might be in order for this week’s image. It doesn’t actually look like this now. But it could. In fact, this photo of bright, fresh Lupine below Gothic Mountain was created on June 13th of 2010. It’s not unusual for us to receive snow in June even though most of us find it pretty annoying. It is unusual that the Lupine have not come into full bloom yet. There are only a few patches so far and a few Larkspur thrown in for some variety. Glacier Lilies and Mountain Beauties are in full bloom if your eyes are good enough to see them.

This year’s heavy snowfall and a very cool May means that the flowers will be arriving a little later this season. But they will come and they should be amazing for the same reasons they’ll be a little late. These events are certain to provide a truly spectacular display just in time for the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival from July 11-16. Once again, I’ll be teaching some of the finer points of wildflower photography every morning during the festival. Four different classes ranging from close-up and macro techniques to incorporating wildflowers into larger landscape images will give every level of student plenty of learning opportunities. The 4×4 back-country adventure may be a bit challenging since there is still a ton of snow in the higher mountain valleys. We may not be able to venture as far out as we would like but great images will be made wherever we go.

I’m excited to offer a new class this year as well. It’s called the Wildflower Master Class and will be more about fine tuning exposure, composition, lens selection, selective focus, etc. to come away with a few “killer” photos suitable for your walls. This class is only open to 5 students so if you’re interested you need to sign up today with the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival. I just checked and there is only one place left for this class but most of the others still have places available. Maybe a wait list is in order! You did know that Crested Butte is the Wildflower Capital of Colorado didn’t you?

Thanks for enduring the shameless self promotion this week. It won’t happen again any time soon. Since I’m on this path I may as well plug the Colorado Fall Color workshop that J.C. Leacock and I put on at the end of September. We’re still working out the details but it will happen the weekend of Sept. 30-Oct. 2. We’ll be spending time on the world famous Kebler Pass as well as some “secret” places that offer amazing fall colors and mountain landscapes. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll make sure to get you the details. See some of my sample images at Images Colorado. Thanks again for enduring the promotion. Here’s another photo for getting this far.

Mountain Beautiesp1259670000-5

Tiny Mountain Beauties bloom early in the mountains of Colorado

The post It’s Almost Wildflower Season Again in Crested Butte appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Colorado Crested Butte Flower instruction Photo Photograph Photographer snow spring summer The art of photography Wildflower https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/It-s-Almost-Wildflower-Season-Again-in-Crested-Butte Thu, 06 Jun 2013 10:38:56 GMT
The Denver Skyline, A Study in Contrasts https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/The-Denver-Skyline-A-Study-in-Contrasts The Denver Skylinep1259670070-5

A Spring Evening in Downtown Denver

I’m not really known as an architectural photographer. In fact, I spend a lot of time trying to find scenes without any buildings in them at all. It’s not just buildings I try to avoid. “Things of Man” in general are enough to make me search for other subjects. Although the natural landscape is my usual subject, I will attempt to create images when provided interesting views of almost any subject.

A couple of years ago I spent a few days in downtown Denver, Colorado attending a conference for planning officials. I ended up staying at a hotel a couple of blocks from the Colorado Municipal League offices called The Burnsley. When I checked in I was asked if I wanted a “mountain view” or a “city view”. When I replied that I wanted the city view the clerk seemed shocked. I have a mountain view every day. I thought something a little different would be good for me. It was!

My room was on the third or fourth floor of the nine floor hotel. Each room had a large balcony overlooking whatever “view” you chose. The first evening I spent the sunset and twilight time on my deck photographing the downtown scene in both traditional and panorama formats. What attracted me to the scene was the office lights illuminating the buildings, the slight remaining light in the sky and the dome of the State Capitol Building. If any of these elements had been missing I don’t think the photo would have been very successful.

After making photos the first night and performing a quick edit I realized that the view would be better a little higher. There were quite a few trees, utility poles, and power lines in the photos from the first night which were pretty annoying. Figuring I had nothing to lose I approached the front desk staff to see if I could use a top floor balcony for an hour or so the next night. They were pretty reluctant but finally agreed when I told them that I would pay for the room if anything was disturbed. The view from the ninth floor was really dynamic. All of the bothersome trees and power lines were now out of the scene. The sky was a little more interesting the second night as well. I think the high contrast between light and dark elements that dominate the view provide a lot of visual excitement, especially the bright Capitol dome. A more subtle contrast in shapes is key though. The curved shape of the dome seems to yell “look at me” against the strong vertical lines of the surrounding buildings. In fact, the Capitol dome offers the only curved lines in the entire scene. It’s this contrast of form coupled with the luminance levels of the dome that force your eye to that part of the photograph. This arrangement was done on purpose to provide a more interesting scene and to keep your attention in the photograph just a little longer.

So, what do you think? Should I take up architectural photography or stick to the natural landscape? I would probably have to move to a city or at least visit them more than once a year to do the architectural thing. Either way, it’s fun and challenging to step out of my personal box and try something new.

Along those lines, I stumbled on a website you should check out. It’s called Craft and Vision and offers E-Books on photography and the creative process at prices you just can’t pass up. I purchased four of them and will include my thoughts on later posts.

Have a great week!

The post The Denver Skyline, A Study in Contrasts appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Colorado composition Contrast Design light Panorama Panoramic The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/The-Denver-Skyline-A-Study-in-Contrasts Thu, 06 Jun 2013 10:36:11 GMT
Whetstone Mists, or How Less is More https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Whetstone-Mists-or-How-Less-is-More
Black and white of spring snow on Whetstone Mountainp1259670118-5
Spring Snow on Whetstone Mountain and Cold Spring Ranch.

Most of us up here in the Colorado high country are about ready for the snow to stop. It was a great winter. Lots of mountain towns received and enjoyed record snowfalls. Here in Crested Butte we didn’t get very close to a record year but it was better than average. A lot better. And now, six weeks after the ski lifts quit running, we’re ready for “spring”. You know spring! T-shirts, flip-flops, beers on the deck, cookouts, bike rides, hikes and that sort of thing. It’s going to snow here all week!

Spring snow is a love/hate sort of thing. It keeps us from doing the stuff we want to do outside in the footwear we’ve been missing since September. It means we have five different types of coats hanging on the hooks by the door. It means we finally have to sit down and write the blog to keep from going crazy. But when we get enough snow to cover the brown snow, bare brown dirt (mud), reconstituted dog poo, bare tree branches and mountain tops it really can be quite lovely. Trust me, it’s way better when this happens in April than it is in the middle of May, but what are you going to do?

A few years ago (in April) we got one of these spring snow events. It amounted to about six inches overnight with clearing skies the next morning. Since lots of snow had already melted (that year) we could drive some of the rural roads that had remained un-ploughed for the past eight months. So I ventured out to see what there was to see.

One of my favorite places in Gunnison County, Colorado is an area we call Brush Creek. That’s not a really good description but let’s just say it’s easy to get to and not far from home. That’s important because if you spend a bunch of time and gas going somewhere that you hope will be nice, and it isn’t, you’re really bummed out for the rest of the day. So I head over to Brush Creek. The road just past the Cold Spring Ranch offers about the best view back to Whetstone Mountain that there is. An added bonus is the old ranch house and the barns and other outbuildings supporting the active cattle ranch. Cover everything with a half-foot of snow and you have a pretty nice scene. Add some low-hanging clouds and it’s becoming spectacular. Lots of depth, texture and atmosphere is making a really beautiful sight. I make some pictures.

A while later I’m editing images and I run across these spring snow photos. They’re just not quite right but I can’t quite get what’s wrong. A few months later we cross paths again…same thing. The excitement of the scene just isn’t in the photos. (This happens a lot) About a year later I was “messing” with a technique to convert color images to black and white. It’s a process that sounds pretty simple but like most things done well, it’s not as simple as it looks. So, I was looking for an image to play with and I ran across the Whetstone shot and decided to give it a try with this “new” conversion technique. WOW! Until I eliminated the color in the image I had no idea what it’s “problem” was. Then it was really obvious. In the original color image the sky was bright blue but everything else was essentially black and white. The blue sky (as much as I’d like to see one today) was really obnoxious and distracting. Sometimes less is more. This was one of those times.

I hope you like “Whetstone Mists”. It’s one of my favorite photographs of a typical but vanishing part of the beauty of the west. It is available in a variety of sizes but would look great over your fireplace (large).

The post Whetstone Mists, or How Less is More appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography atmosphere black and white color Colorado Crested Butte Landscape spring The art of photography weather https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Whetstone-Mists-or-How-Less-is-More Thu, 06 Jun 2013 10:33:20 GMT
Semi-Random Photo Thoughts on a Sunday Afternoon https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Semi-Random-Photo-Thoughts-on-a-Sunday-Afternoon
Sunset Clouds and Half a Moonp1259670178-5
A Hand-Shaped Cloud Catches Half a Moon.
Sometimes stuff just happens! You’re chatting in the driveway with your neighbor while you’re supposed to be taking out the trash and, “Oh look, that cloud is catching the Moon”. So, you hurriedly say good-bye to your neighbor who is still wondering what you were talking about and you grab your closest camera. Since the red cloud is a result of the sun which has already set you know you don’t have much time. The closest camera was the Canon G9 “point and shoot” which usually lives in my truck. By the time I had the camera in hand the cloud had moved. Now I’m chasing a cloud/moon juxtaposition through my neighborhood trying to make pictures while the cloud gets darker and darker and less and less red. This whole display and photo session lasted maybe 3 minutes. There weren’t many opportunities to get distracted.
I’m not sure the photo is all that interesting to anyone else but I kind of like it. Since I’m starting to prepare for the upcoming art season I thought I’d throw it out there and see If I get any comments. Each spring I go through the images I’ve taken over the past year to see if there was anything I missed and to search for new offerings I’ll need to print, mat and frame. This annual exercise gives the photos time to rest and settle. It sounds weird but I’m usually excited about my photos immediately after they’re captured. If I’m still excited 6 months later then maybe some other people will find them exciting too. It doesn’t always work this way but almost every time I print an image a day or two after it was taken I end up giving it away or putting the print in the “sale” basket. I know other artists go through this too. Especially photographers! I’ll bet it’s a result of the digital technology which takes the time from shoot to print down to a couple of hours if not faster. Back in the “film days” we had to finish the roll, take or send it to a lab, wait to get the pictures back and then edit our work. The excitement delay was built into the technology or lack of technology. Ah, the “good old days”.
I do love the digital technology we enjoy in photography these days. We have so many more tools at our disposal to fine-tune our images than we ever had with wet darkrooms. It’s actually possible to control elements of the photograph we couldn’t even imagine changing 15 years ago. That’s not to say the tools are always used well or the “vision” for the finished artwork is credible. I’m just saying that It’s great to have tools and controls we used to dream about.
See you next week!
This just in….
January sunrise Crested Butte Mountain, Coloradop1259670192-5
Red Sky at Morning

Sold this week from a new art hosting company www.fineartamerica.com . You can view my images with them at www.dusty-

The post Semi-Random Photo Thoughts on a Sunday Afternoon appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography atmosphere color Photo Rants and Raves The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Semi-Random-Photo-Thoughts-on-a-Sunday-Afternoon Thu, 06 Jun 2013 10:30:00 GMT
I’m Trying to be an Impressionist Photographer https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/I-m-Trying-to-be-an-Impressionist-Photographer Spring green aspen forestp1259670242-5

Spring #1

I love the work of the Impressionists. Their ability to reduce a scene to line, form, color and texture is amazing. To simplify a scene to these elements and maintain the emotional response is, to me, high art. As a photographer I frequently get lost in the details of photographic representation. When that happens the colors, line, texture and motion within the scene are usually lost to clarity, sharpness and detail. When I take my glasses off and look at the image out of focus it looks more interesting than with those sharp details.

Adobe Photoshop offers lots of filters to attempt to make a photo look like a painting, sketch, watercolor or some other media. Most of these don’t work very well. I have spent hours trying to accomplish the Impressionistic look with little to no success. The problem could be in my seeing. Once a scene is seen in full detail I have a difficult time seeing it in any other way. It just looks wrong! There are other “Actions” available to try and achieve the look I’m after within software but I’m unimpressed so far. Perhaps using a program like Painter would help. Or perhaps I just need more patience. I’m sure the latter is true whether the software works or not.

I would prefer to accomplish this vision within the camera so I don’t need to manipulate the photograph in software. The software approach somehow seems fake to me. I think there is a lot to be said for achieving the vision for an image in camera rather than in software. That’s not to say that the Photoshop approach is invalid or even to say that I won’t use it. I’m just saying I prefer a more “organic” approach to creating my photographs. That’s also why I play with my Holga and Diana cameras and have experimented with Lensbabys. So far I haven’t had much success with any of those. Moving the camera, using homemade filters and playing with selective focus and other techniques have gotten me closer to the images I want. I don’t want the viewer to know (or care) how I created the image. The Photoshop approach always seems so “obvious” to me. Vision should never compete with technique.

“Spring #1″ is one of a very few Impressionistic images I have been successful with. How do you feel about it?

The post I’m Trying to be an Impressionist Photographer appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography color composition inspiration Spring spring The art of photography theory https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/I-m-Trying-to-be-an-Impressionist-Photographer Thu, 06 Jun 2013 10:27:06 GMT
Help! I need a title again https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Help-I-need-a-title-again Tire Swing with Snowp1259670264-5

Tire Swing with Snow

Up here in the high country we can get snow 12 months of the year. Granted, from June to September it doesn’t usually stick to the ground and you may have to be awake in the wee hours of the morning to see it, but it can happen. So today’s 6″ – 8″ of wet sticky white stuff wasn’t a big surprise. In fact, it was predicted by those guys who attempt this sort of thing.

So, after checking emails and listening to NPR for a couple of hours I decided that it might be a while before I saw photogenic snow again. I decided to venture our to see what I could see. As warm as it was (right around freezing) I knew that the conditions would change rapidly as the day progressed. Running around town was a bit of a hassle because heavy snow causes the locals to drive and walk around town with no concern for their safety and, seemingly, without the use of their brain. It was time to get out of town!

After grabbing a McStop and a Pepsi I headed toward one of my favorite photography areas, Taylor Canyon. About 12 miles from town the Slate River Valley opens up to become broad ranch land. One of these historic ranches is host to these two Cottonwood trees with a tire swing. Wet sticky snow helped define the bare branches of the trees as well as the tire and its rope. Low lying fog helped diffuse the forms of the ranch buildings, corrals and trees in the distance. This element, I feel, is really important. Any more fog and the foreground trees and swing would have no “sense of place” with nothing apparent in the distance. Any less fog and the background elements would have been too well defined and distracting. I’ve photographed this swing before with poor results for both of these very reasons. The soft background elements and the sharp foreground elements work together to tell a moody story with an emotional feel. After working the scene for a while I continued up Taylor Canyon with nothing really catching my eye.

So, here’s where you come in. I need some help with a title for this photo. I hate trying to title my images. I end up with stuff like “Tire Swing in Snow”. This image seems to want something different…from you. What’s it going to be?

As an aside, I’m not much of a wildlife photographer but last week I stumbled upon a photographer who creates some unique and incredible images of African Wildlife. His name is Nick Brandt and you should check out his work. It’s Amazing.

As always, click on the photo for a larger view, leave a comment either here or on Facebook. Be sure to share with your friends and photographers. Thanks a bunch.

The post Help! I need a title again appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Colorado Landscape snow spring The art of photography weather winter Winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Help-I-need-a-title-again Thu, 06 Jun 2013 10:24:08 GMT
Mother Nature is a Fickle Woman https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Mother-Nature-is-a-Fickle-Woman lightning and a rainbowp1259670324-5

Rainbow and Lightning

Mother nature can be a fickle woman. (I hope she’s not listening) She doesn’t always give us what we want. She doesn’t even always give us what she was giving us 5 minutes earlier. She definitely has a mind of her own.
As a nature/landscape photographer it’s best not to have a preconceived idea of what she’s going to give you when you go out to make images. Last fall I got a call from friend and wonderful photographer Dick Okell the afternoon he returned to Crested Butte. He had an idea for a photo outing with a very specific shot in mind. I liked the idea and chose to go along with Dick and his wife to the Brush Creek area south of Crested Butte. We were looking for a certain mountain peak to light up at sunset under the clearing storm. Hoping for a red sky and great backdrop we set up for our sunset shot about 20 minutes later. That’s when it started to rain. That’s when the mountain peak we were hoping to photograph completely disappeared behind low dark clouds. That’s when we got back into the car.
As the sprinkles came and went and the lightning began we hunkered down in the car to wait out the storm and catch up on stories from the past month. Dick and Beverly are wonderful company and we don’t really need a thunderstorm to enjoy each others company. A little bourbon would have even been better but our planning was pretty hurried for this outing. It’s good to have company to commiserate with when weather spoils your plans.
After a while I remembered that I had my Lightning Trigger in the bag I brought. I decided to give it a shot. The pun is intended and if you’ve ever used a Lightning Trigger you know that you’ll get a lot of photos of “nothing” due to the way the device works. It “sees” lightning in front of the camera, beside the camera, behind the camera, in the next county, maybe even lightning from yesterday. It’s not the most productive of tools but it can do things the human eye/hand can only dream of. It can trigger the camera shutter fast enough to capture lightning. Pretty cool!
So I did get a few images of lightning in a daylight situation that I couldn’t do without the trigger. Since there’s no telling where the lightning is going to strike the composition is a little wonky but hey, there’s a rainbow and lightning in the same scene. I kind of like this one. What do you think? It’s just another photography story of heading out to photograph one thing and coming home with something else. It happens all the time. It’s best to be flexible ’cause Mother Nature is a fickle woman.
This just in: The Denver Post reported that the Camera Obscura Gallery will be closing at the end of this month. I’m so sad. This was the most important photography gallery is the state of Colorado. It’s loss will be a substantial blow to Colorado culture.

The post Mother Nature is a Fickle Woman appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Technique atmosphere color Colorado fall Fall Landscape light lightning rainbow Science Tech Talk The art of photography weather https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Mother-Nature-is-a-Fickle-Woman Thu, 06 Jun 2013 10:21:14 GMT
A Tale of Two Photographs https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/A-Tale-of-Two-Photographs

Columbine 2p1259669094-5

Columbine 2

Columbine 1p1259669114-5
Columbine 1
It’s going to be a few months before we start seeing flowers up here again but with forecast temperatures in the 50 degree range this weekend my thoughts are turning to more colorful images of the summer. Signing my contract to teach with the Crested Butte Wilflower Festival again this July might have something to do with that desire as well. I’ve been teaching photography classes with the Festival for the past four years and always look forward to working with photographers from all over the country, helping them improve their techniques and offering encouragement. It seems every class has a “student” that I learn more from than they do from me but I always hope they feel otherwise. This year I’ll be offering a new class. The Wildflower Master Class will be offered to no more than 5 “advanced” photographers looking forward to fine tuning their techniques and vision with the hopes of selling their images or at least decorating some walls with new “killer” flower photos.

That brings us to today’s photos. The first image to the far left was a result of my initial excitement in finding Columbines in reasonably good shape and color out in the open with a nice mountain background. You should know that the Colorado Blue Columbine, our state flower, usually prefers a shady location in my neck of the woods. They will grow in bright sun but their colors fade within a day or so or they get eaten by local wildlife. I’ve been told they’re a favorite food of our deer population. I am of the opinion that our state flower looks more attractive without the harsh shadows cast by direct sunlight. The Columbine is a pretty complex form for a wildflower and the increased contrast of sun and shade coupled with the features of the flower make for difficult viewing. Other flower forms suffer this same fate when photographed in bright sun in my opinion. Orchids, generally speaking, are another example. This is not to say Columbines or Orchids can never be photographed in direct sun successfully, just that it’s much more difficult to get a pleasing image.

For the second image I waited for a cloud to soften the harsh light, choosing not to haul studio light modifiers into the field. The more gear I take the less fun I have photographing flowers. I also chose to raise the camera position slightly thus lowering the flowers in the frame. I wanted the horizon to have its own space in the background without being encroached upon by the actual subject, the flowers. Allowing both of these elements to have “their own space” gives them both importance to the viewer. Having a clean horizon also adds apparent depth to the image as does the sunshine in the distance. I still wanted the flowers to be the main subject so I forced the background out of focus a little more than in the first frame. Psychologically, this tells the viewer it’s not as important as the flowers because they are sharply focused. The background becomes more a scene of summer colors than of a specific subject which reinforces the main subject. If the background had been a snow-covered hillside the “story” would be much different.

These will be the conversations I’ll be having with my 5 Wildflower Master Class students and you get to hear it first! These discussions are always a part of the private tours and workshops that are offered through The Crested Butte Photo Workshops with my buddy J. C. Leacock. It looks like we’ll be offering a fall color workshop again this September so stay tuned.

The post A Tale of Two Photographs appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Technique color Colorado composition Design instruction Landscape light Summer summer The art of photography theory https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/A-Tale-of-Two-Photographs Thu, 06 Jun 2013 10:18:04 GMT
McClure Pass Spring Aspen Panorama https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/McClure-Pass-Spring-Aspen-Panorama Spring Aspen Grove Panoramap1259670436-5

McClure Pass Spring Aspen Grove

This past week’s weather has me thinking about spring. I know it officially begins today and I’ve seen photos of balancing eggs to prove it but up here around 9000 feet we’ll have another two months of white stuff before any hints of green. Still, the temperatures lately have been hinting that spring is on the way. Perhaps it’s finally time to wash the down coat and put it away for another 8 month rest. Our local crazy spring antics are fully underway with the Al Johnson Memorial Uphill/Downhill ski race taking place this afternoon and the prediction of wind and dust for tomorrow. Let’s face it, green or not, it’s spring.

Even though what most people think defines spring, grass turning green, flowers blooming, flip flops, shorts and running around without a jacket, doesn’t seem to happen here until the end of May my thoughts have been on spring photo trips. In another month it won’t take much of a drive to find spring so I’ve started dreaming, if not actually planning some trips. If anyone has any great ideas for some great photo spots within about 400-500 miles of Crested Butte, I’d love to hear about them.

This week’s photo, “McClure Pass Spring Aspens” was captured on Fujifilm Velvia film using a Hasselblad XPan panorama camera a number of years ago. Every spring when the Aspens start to leaf out we witness a cool transformation. The progression of leaf colors and transparency usually only takes a few days. The forest goes from looking like “kitten’s ears” (green of course) to limeaide almost overnight. Once the leaves are fully formed they are somewhat transparent and lime green for a day or two before finally becoming the opaque green we will enjoy until September. Catching the transparent lime color is tricky (or lucky) business. I’m living with luck for the above photo since I didn’t really go out looking for the situation. I was returning to Crested Butte from Aspen and thrilled to be traveling over Kebler Pass which had been closed for the previous six months or so. At the base of McClure pass there is a huge Aspen grove which always intrigued me but had never really offered any great photographs. But this was the day! With the afternoon sun behind the trees and a slightly overcast sky conditions were just right to capture the glowing transparent leaves and the intense green color. The saturation of the Velvia film didn’t hurt the situation either.

This image has been presented on traditional photographic materials as well as fine art cotton papers and on canvas gallery wrapped on a stretcher frame. The canvas version is a 20″ x 48″ edition limited to 25 signed and numbered at $750 for number 5 in the edition. I’ll pay for shipping if you’re interested. Have a wonderful Springy week.

The post McClure Pass Spring Aspen Panorama appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Technique Aspen color Colorado Crested Butte forest Kebler Pass Landscape Panorama Panoramic Photo Photograph Spring spring The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/McClure-Pass-Spring-Aspen-Panorama Thu, 06 Jun 2013 10:14:24 GMT
The Art of Patience and Paying Attention https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/The-Art-of-Patience-and-Paying-Attention p1259670484-5  p1259670498-5  p1259670506-5  p1259670518-5  p1259670528-5  p1259670550-5  p1259670562-5  p1259670578-5

January sunrise Crested Butte Mountain, Coloradop1259670586-5

Intense sunrise color over Crested Butte Mountain, Colorado

The title of this post could have just as easily been “The Patience of Art…”. Far too often I’m a victim of seeing just one way and jumping out of the truck, camera in hand, and clicking away. That’s not all bad but it’s not very good either. The downside to photography from an artist’s perspective is that the “thing” has to actually happen. My painter friends have a little luxury over me in this respect. They can paint from memory, imagination or fantasy. I don’t get to photograph that way. They can also edit as they work and just leave out the telephone poles, fences and other distractions. I spend hours or days in Photoshop trying to do that, oftentimes with poor results. For the photographer, paying attention to the world around us and knowing how stuff works is a critical skill.

In the sequence above I was compelled to find a vantage point and photograph the first image even though, after brief inspection, it left a lot to be desired. I was disappointed with it. Upon further inspection, not in the camera but of the scene, I realized that the scene may get better. The hint of what was to come (maybe) was the sliver of bright light under the clouds at the horizon. I knew I was up before official “sunrise”. The sliver of bright sky promised the possibility of glorious light on the underside of the clouds if I would only wait. Then five minutes later (3rd photo) the color actually got worse. That happens a lot. For every incredible photo you see hundreds of others never even happen. But a few minutes later the red reappeared and slowly began to intensify. You’re seeing just nine of 23 images above but I still think it makes my point. Over the course of 20 minutes the sky went from interesting to incredible just as I thought it might. If I had followed my first instinct to drive off after reviewing the first image I would have missed “the shot”. I hate it when that happens! To avoid those disappointments I’m learning to slow down, pay attention and be patient. I’ve been rewarded with some pretty nice images for that learning as well. For a photographer, an intimate knowledge of our subject(s) is an important skill. Otherwise, our great images are just dumb luck. Whether we’re photographing landscapes, wildlife, portraits, birds or what have you, knowledge of our subjects is what will separate our work from the masses.

Good news! My new portrait and wedding website is now live. Take a look at www.demersonphotography.com and let me know your thoughts. Feel free to share this blog or the web link with anyone you think may be interested. Thanks for looking!

The post The Art of Patience and Paying Attention appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Technique atmosphere color Colorado Crested Butte Design instruction Landscape light Photo Photograph Photographer The art of photography weather winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/The-Art-of-Patience-and-Paying-Attention Thu, 06 Jun 2013 10:11:36 GMT
A Weather Geek tries to Photograph a Snowstorm https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/A-Weather-Geek-tries-to-Photograph-a-Snowstorm

Aspen and Pine trees in a snowstormp1259670648-5

Blowing snow creates ghostly trees in a snowstorm.

I love weather. It’s no secret that thunderstorms, snowstorms, lightning and tornadoes excite me. Living in Oklahoma for a lot of my life may have done this to me. I’m not sure. I do remember once being awakened by the tornado sirens when living in Duncan. I quickly pulled my shoes out of the floor of the closet and crawled in. That’s what you’re supposed to do. Find an inside closet and hide. I think I stayed in the closet about 30 seconds before heading to the front porch so I could watch. It’s just my  nature to be a witness and record the marvels of our world…even if it may be a little life-threatening at times.

So, here in the high country we don’t really have tornados. You have to go down the the “Mile High City” to see those. Up here we have our own excitement with lots of snow and occasional wind. The wind up here tends to be more a Spring phenomena but on occasion comes with a snowstorm. A snowstorm with wind can be a treacherous and frightening event. It’s hard to drive or even walk when you can’t tell if you’re on a road, sidewalk or the middle of some rancher’s field, or worse. White-out conditions keep most people indoors but, of course, not me. This thrill-seeker-photographer enjoys the opportunity to be a first-hand witness and to see (and photograph) things  that most folks would rather miss. Changes in weather provide brief but glorious views of our world that are real miracles of light, shadow, form, texture and tone that most people just aren’t going to witness. That’s why I’m here!

Actually capturing some of these changes can be a pretty miserable experience. Living in Oklahoma for 20+ years not only gave me my appreciation for weather but also for wind. I hate wind. If the breeze on my face never got over 10 mph for the rest of my life I would die a happy man. But first and foremost, I’m a photographer and it’s my job to show you the things I see in ways you may not….even if it involves wind. “Ghost Trees” is my latest effort from this winter. I had seen this arrangement of trees years ago but they’re in the middle of a golf course. The perfectly groomed fairways and greens just looked too manufactured for my taste, not to mention the condos and homes behind the trees. Well, the blowing snow took care of all the distractions of the scene leaving me with an ethereal arrangement of soft, muted subjects. It was just what I was hoping for.

Getting the image onto paper is another story. In my humble opinion as a print-maker for well over twenty years, there is no more difficult printing situation than an all white scene. The problem is that it’s not really white, it’s all grey. Conveying the mood of the scene to print is a huge challenge in tone and contrast, not to mention choice of papers and texture. Hopefully, I’ll get a print I’m happy with before  someone wants to purchase it.

This just in: I’m on the Wait-List for a Colorado artists only show in downtown Denver over Memorial Day Weekend. Keeping my fingers crossed!

The post A Weather Geek tries to Photograph a Snowstorm appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Technique color Colorado Crested Butte forest Landscape Photo Photograph Photographer snow The art of photography weather wind winter Winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/A-Weather-Geek-tries-to-Photograph-a-Snowstorm Thu, 06 Jun 2013 10:09:27 GMT
“Lone Pine” the Theory of Contrast https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/-Lone-Pine-the-Theory-of-Contrast Lone Pinep1259670700-5

A small pine tree in a forest of aspens.

Contrast seems to be a recurring theme in my photography. I think it’s a theme in the rest of my life as well. The friends I choose, the music I listen to, the books I read and the clothes I wear exhibit a wide variety of colors, textures, personalities, flavors, sounds and emotions. Each image an artist creates is a product of everything in his or her life that has come before. Everything we do, see, hear, taste, smell etc. will influence the the remainder of our lives and the art we create.

The single pine tree in the forest of aspens offers lots of contrasting elements. The shape of the tree, colors, textures, size and species all stand in sharp contradiction to the surrounding forest. Artists frequently use this technique to draw attention to the subject. If you have a field of ten thousand yellow poppies and a single red one, the contrasting flower is where your gaze will land. The technique is not subtle or secretive it’s obvious and demanding. This isn’t the only valid technique though. Subtle, intricate, delicate and refined compositions can work too. I think it depends on the scene and what the artist is attempting to say.

The reason people tend to respond positively to this image is more psychological than visual though. Whether the emotional response is that of being alone, outcast, surrounded, small, colored, short or a different species, the visual contrast evokes certain feelings. The response could be positive as well. The pine seems to be thriving despite its surroundings. It could be a conqueror or the first sign of change in the evolution of the forest. Each one of us will respond to the photograph individually based on everything that has happened to us leading up to this moment or event. Just like the artist. The response you have today may be entirely different than a year from now. “Lone Pine” has generated many different emotional responses from me but it always has something to say. What does it say to you? I would love to know. As always, you can click on the photo for a larger view. You can also use the link below to share on Facebook, email or your favorite media.

News Flash! Just sold at 18″ x 24″


Crested Butte and Paradise Divide by Moonlight

The post “Lone Pine” the Theory of Contrast appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Aspen color Colorado composition Contrast Crested Butte forest Landscape Photo Photograph Photographer snow The art of photography theory Theory Winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/-Lone-Pine-the-Theory-of-Contrast Thu, 06 Jun 2013 10:07:29 GMT
Death Valley Dunes https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Death-Valley-Dunes Death Valley Sand Dunep1259670752-5

A fierce wind whips sand dunes into shape.

A few years ago California’s Death Valley National Park received lots of rare spring rain during March and April. Almost overnight the desert became a blaze of wildflower color, highly uncharacteristic of the name of the park. You probably saw this on the news. I did too. At breakfast one morning this rare event became the topic of conversation and when we had finished our food and wandered our separate ways I decided I had to go to California and make photographs.

I finished the day gathering and packing my provisions and headed out early the next morning. Although I was planning on camping I knew it was going to be a really long day’s drive to Death Valley since Las Vegas is a 12 hour drive from Crested Butte and the park is even further. I had never been to Death Valley so I planned on getting a hotel upon arrival. Adventure number 1. There are a few hotels north of Las Vegas just outside the park. As it turns out, not much sleeping happens at these places. But I digress.

Early the next morning I headed into the park. Even the drive is an adventure but all went well. Upon my arrival below sea level I was greeted with a temperature of 105 and a pretty steady 30-50 mile per hour wind. There were no wildflowers! Tent camping was just not going to happen. Photographs were not going to happen either. I was too far away from civilization to get anything like a weather forecast so I spent most of the day inside the park visitor’s center learning about the park and doing research. Not a bad day’s work after all. I decided to try another hotel but had a similar experience.

Day two was a huge improvement in both temperature and lack of wind. The damage, however, had been done and my reason for driving halfway across the country (not really but have you driven across Nevada?) was now headed northeast in a hurry. There were a few bits of wildflowers left but nothing to photograph. I did shoot a little “stock” of tourists on sand and looking at stuff but nothing worthwhile. I was able to scope out the park and find a campsite and make plans for the next day.

Day three was really nice because I drove to Scotty’s Castle which is a marvelous oasis in the desert and followed that up with a torturous drive to “The Racetrack” where stones are known to move across the dried lake bed by themselves. Scientists really don’t know why this happens but most have come to the conclusion that when it rains the mud gets really slick and makes it easy for the wind to move the rocks. Sounds reasonable. The stones leave tracks in the mud and all of the tracks are going in different directions. Even stones 10 feet apart leave different trails. I think that rules out the wind, at least for me. I’m digressing again.

I forgot to mention that there were sand dunes a short distance from where I camped. The first day I saw them (day two) the light was terrible at midday and since they face west the light was no good at sunset either. When I past them on day three a photographer in a red shirt was standing on top of the highest dune for most of the morning. I have pictures. Again, more stock images but not what I drove across Nevada for.

Day four and my last day before heading home…and it’s windy again. I’m ready to hit the road and fairly frustrated with my productivity but decide to give the dunes one last visit. The light was beautiful. The wind was really annoying. I’ve put off  showing this image because the “technician” inside me insists on the subjects of my photographs being “sharp”. The dunes are not sharp. I know the camera wasn’t moving because it was on a tripod. I eventually figured out that my subject was moving. The wind is constantly rearranging the dunes. So, I fired the “technician” and printed the photograph. I hope you like it. It’s growing on me! Please let me know your thoughts.

The post Death Valley Dunes appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Technique Landscape Panorama Panoramic Photo Photograph spring The art of photography weather wind https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Death-Valley-Dunes Thu, 06 Jun 2013 10:03:29 GMT
A Colorado Aspen Forest in Black and White “White Forest” https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/A-Colorado-Aspen-Forest-in-Black-and-White-White-Forest
white aspen forestp1259670812-5
Black and White Aspen Forest

If you’ve ever hiked through a dense forest you may know the feeling of seeing endless trees. For me, it’s not claustrophobic or frightening but visually relaxing. Having your view filled with repetitive patterns, colors and textures is a really cool, intimate feeling. I guess my eyes and brain get to relax a little when the input is simplified.

I’ve been asked a number of times where I captured this photograph and I really wish I knew. I’ve been able to narrow it down to the Kebler Pass or Ohio Pass areas of Gunnison County, Colorado. I had experienced the “feeling” long before actually capturing it visually. I had been working on this photograph for several years before editing photos one day and realizing that I “had” it. That’s why I don’t remember exactly where it was. I know it was autumn because in the color version there are a few yellow leaves way in the back. That’s part of the reason for the black and white presentation. Getting rid of the color was critical to the success of the photo. Another reason for the monotone treatment was control.
Most Aspen trees don’t have that birch-like white bark. They can range from greenish to brownish but are rarely “white”. These were pretty close though. Treating the image as a black and white allowed me to lighten the bark of the trees without messing with the “eyes” or other dark parts using the tools within Adobe Photoshop. The resulting artistic treatment was not what I saw but it was what I felt and reacted to when the image was created. Back in the “Ansel Adams” days using really great black and white films and proper darkroom technique I could have captured the same tonality. So, for those digital skeptics among you, the best images are created using the best techniques available to artists at whatever time they’re created. Ansel Adams would definitely be utilizing Adobe Photoshop tools and would probably be utilizing digital capture.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy “White Forest” as much as I do. It’s a great seller and looks awesome as a large single image on a wall. (It doesn’t like to share though.)
Sorry this post is a week late. I’ve been having some website hosting issues which I hope to resolve in the next few days. At least it’s working again but when the host can’t tell you why it crashed and it takes three days to recover it’s time to move on. I’ve been doing a lot of web work this week with a remodel of my wedding pages at www.color-west.com the wedding stuff is at: http://www.color-west.com/Templates/weddingnew.html. I’ve also been getting a few requests for prints from stock images. Those are hosted at: http://dusty-demerson.artistwebsites.com/. I hope everyone has a great week. It looks like I’ll finally get to do some skiing instead of website work. Yea!

The post A Colorado Aspen Forest in Black and White “White Forest” appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Aspen black and white Colorado Design forest Photo Photographer The art of photography theory https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/A-Colorado-Aspen-Forest-in-Black-and-White-White-Forest Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:53:44 GMT
I Find Inspiration in the Work of Other Photographers https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/I-Find-Inspiration-in-the-Work-of-Other-Photographers Silverton roofscapep1259670872-5

Roofscape from Silverton, Colorado

I’m not much of an architectural photographer. I usually refer my long-time friendBob Brazell any of that type of work that wanders my way. I do, on occasion, photograph architectural elements that strike me as particularly “artistic”. This was the case on a visit to Silverton, Colorado. Silverton is a mining town located between Ouray and Durango on the world famous “Million Dollar Highway” 550. Today the price tag for that roadway would probably be more like a million dollars per mile. It’s an amazing and sometimes frightening drive.

But back to the subject. Silverton sits in a high mountain valley and thus is usually suffering from a temperature inversion which keeps any car exhaust, smoke or dust hovering over the town. Kind of dingy. Not the best atmosphere for beautiful color photos. I’m guessing that Ansel Adams enjoyed the same atmosphere in 1951 when he photographed the quaint mountain town. His view is a lot more inclusive than mine, showing a fence and two other homes on the right. His view also shows the mountain peak and a little grey sky as well. Ansel’s image is also in black and white even though he did do some color photography around that time. My choice for black and white came from the poor color saturation and haze in the sky. I knew I could have a lot more control over the contrast of the scene if I got rid of the color. I also chose to photograph a tighter view because since 1951 electricity, cable and satellite tv has come to Silverton and their additions have done nothing to improve the view. By cropping tighter I could eliminate a lot of those distractions. See, photography is as much about what you don’t show as it is about what you do.

I’ve learned a lot from looking at Ansel Adams photos and other photographers too. Some of my favorites are Edward Weston, David Muench, Christopher Burkett, Edward Weston and Freeman Patterson to name a few. Not having any galleries or museums that show works from these photographers anywhere near here, I collect their books and can always peruse the pages at my leisure. Seeing the photos on websites just doesn’t have the same feel as a great reproduction in a book overseen by the artist. Seeing the works live and in person is may favorite though which is why I’ll wander to Denver or Santa Fe at the drop of a hat if there’s new work to be seen.

For myself or any aspiring photographer it’s extremely important to see firsthand the works that the rest of the art world finds exciting and inspiring. Even if we’re not really producing that type of work it’s great to know what others find important enough to invest in. So, what do you do to stay or get inspired? I’d love to know. Maybe you can inspire me too.

The post I Find Inspiration in the Work of Other Photographers appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography atmosphere black and white Colorado inspiration Photo Photograph Photographer The art of photography theory https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/I-Find-Inspiration-in-the-Work-of-Other-Photographers Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:50:36 GMT
“Fearless” https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/-Fearless small pine tree threatened by shadowsp1259670918-5

Small pine tree seemingly threatened by looming shadows of larger trees

Way back in the winter of 2004 I got it into my mind that I needed to go searching for an image to enter into the Banff Mountain Photography Competition. This inclination was a response to and inspired by viewing the winning entries from the previous year at the Banff Mountain Film Festival. It was one of those “I can do that” moments. Actually, it was more of an “I should do that” moment based on the number of people I witnessed commenting on the images while waiting for the films to begin. A marketing opportunity, if you will.

So one bright, crisp winter morning I set out for Taylor Canyon, one of my favorite winter locations, with the idea of capturing shadows on fresh snow. On sunny, winter, fresh snow days shadows are probably the most compelling subjects and just demand to be photographed. Let me back up and explain a little about Taylor Canyon. The 30 or so mile drive from Almont, Colorado to Taylor Reservoir is a heavily wooded, narrow canyon containing the Taylor River. Because it runs mostly east/west and because the Sun is so far south a photographer can sleep well into the morning and still catch “sunrise” in the canyon around 10:30 am. Maybe that’s why it’s one of my favorite places. A lazy photographer’s dream come true! Another thing you should know about Taylor Canyon is that in the winter there are only a few places to turn around. With snow banks 4 feet high on both sides of the narrow road your backtracking options are pretty limited. Anyway, the canyon being heavily wooded was not really helping me create great shadow photos on this day. The scenes were just too complicated for great compositions. There were too many shadows and too many trees. I had spent several hours hunting for new photos with nothing to show for my efforts. That happens a lot! I had all but given up and was ready to turn around and head home for lunch when I got to the base of the Taylor dam. Knowing I would be able to turn around above the dam, I stopped one more time and climbed the snow bank to check out the river. That’s when I saw it!

On the far side of the river bank (only about 50′ away) was this small pine tree surrounded by fresh deep snow and imposing shadows. The fact that the shadows did not actually fall on the tree itself was luck or a blessing (take your pick). If the shadows had covered the tree the scene would not have the impact it does now. So, I worked the scene from various angles and with a variety of lenses until I ran out of film. But then I saw what I needed to see. Effective composition usually evolves through a variety of attempts and trial and error (mostly error) for me. Scenes get “fine tuned” over time and with some effort. But I’m out of film and I finally have the composition I want. What to do? Not having many other choices, I grab my Nikon 8800 digital “point and shoot” and capture the best composition of the day. While I did get the image I was looking for I’m still disapointed that I wasn’t able to capture it at the highest quality.

A few months later I send the photo to Banff along with a few others and promptly forget about it. That’s actually a good scenario for entering contests. The odds are always against any one image doing well and our sanity will suffer if we “know it’s going to win”. In early June while heading out of town to the Canyonlands I received a call on my cell phone. I was actually amazed it rang on Kebler Pass Road since I usually have no signal there. Anyway, a wonderful woman from Canada was calling to let me know that my photo of “the tree with the shadows” was chosen as the First Place winner but that the file number I used for the title was simply not acceptable. I had to come up with a more appropriate title…now! I searched the vastness of my vocabulary and came up with “Fearless”. She thought it was perfect. Since that time this image has appeared on the Banff website as well as all of their presentations of their film festival winners, National Geographic’s website, and lots of home and office walls.

If there are morals to this story I think they are: 1. keep at it a little longer. 2. always keep a camera available, even if it’s just a “point and shoot”. and 3. Use real titles not file numbers for your photos. I’ll be back next week. Keep smiling.

The post “Fearless” appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Technique Colorado composition Landscape Photo Photograph Photographer snow The art of photography winter Winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/-Fearless Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:47:32 GMT
Snowstorm Panorama from Taylor Canyon, Colorado https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Snowstorm-Panorama-from-Taylor-Canyon-Colorado
panorama of winter forest scenep1259670964-5
Winter in Taylor Canyon
It’s no secret that I like storms. Snowstorms are no exception. But when it’s dumping outside without a breath of wind and the snow is light as a feather and the air temperature is kind of warm I just can’t stay inside. That was today! This storm was supposed to be really cold and windy creating miserable photography conditions. So far those weather guys have missed the mark…again. No complaints here! So I got to spend the day doing what I really love, making new photos.
The image above is my favorite so far from today’s images. Taylor Canyon is one of my favorite forested areas for winter photos. It’s about 20 miles from my home so I can get there any time the light or weather seems inviting. I’ll probably be back there tomorrow morning for more photos since today’s shoot didn’t quite give me what I was hoping for. That’s the way this photo stuff works more often than not.
The image above is a panorama of sorts created by combining 8 single images. I let software do the actual work of stitching the images together. I’m currently using Panorama Tools GUI as my tool of choice although there are many others that work very well. The challenge with stitching multiple frames is figuring out where the photo should begin and end. After all, a strong composition is a key element in a successful print. This image was actually cropped down from the original capture to help the Aspen trees stand out and become the focal point. Cropping also cut off the bottom of the tree running through the center of the photo. Psychologically, cutting something off lets the viewer know that it’s not as important as other elements in the image that are shown complete. That’s a compositional trick that is usually used at the edges of the photo but a lot of compositional rules get thrown out the window when working in the panorama format.
Another element contributing to the successful image is the lower contrast and softer focus of the background in comparison to the Aspen trees in the foreground. In this case, the background is really in focus but appears soft because of the falling snow. There’s a lot more snow between the camera and the background than between the camera and the Aspen trees so the foreground naturally has more contrast than the background. Hey, there’s another design tool at work. Our eyes are naturally drawn to areas of higher contrast and will tend to see areas that are in focus as more important than those that are “soft”.
OK, enough of that for now. It’s officially Arts Fair Application Season. I’m looking for a few great arts fairs to show my work this spring. I just applied to the Paseo show in OKC but does anyone have any other suggestions? Shows within a day’s drive of CB between April 1 and June 15 will be preferred but others could be considered. Thanks for your suggestions. See you next week.

The post Snowstorm Panorama from Taylor Canyon, Colorado appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Colorado composition forest Landscape Panorama Panoramic Photo Photograph Photographer snow Tech Talk The art of photography theory weather winter Winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Snowstorm-Panorama-from-Taylor-Canyon-Colorado Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:42:24 GMT
The Peaks of Paradise Divide Tower over Crested Butte, Colorado https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/The-Peaks-of-Paradise-Divide-Tower-over-Crested-Butte-Colorado Paradise Divide and Crested Butte by Moonlightp1259671038-5

Winter brings its challenges to those of us who live at altitude. First, there’s snow which is our only form of precipitation from early October until sometime in May. Then there’s the temperature. Last night my home saw -16 but some of my friends living on the valley floor saw -35. They had some trouble getting cars started this morning. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not really complaining. I live here by choice and if I ever tire of the winter challenges I can move to Phoenix.

Along with the challenges, winter brings some awesome photographic possibilities for those of us willing to do a little extra work. The “Paradise Divide Over Crested Butte by Moonlight” image above is a good example. This photograph really only works in winter when most of the ground is white. In the summer the moonlight has little effect on mostly-green foliage. The lights in the homes don’t come on until after 9 pm so they tend to be more scattered than all on at the same time. In winter the lights are on by 6 pm which is an extra bonus for me since I can be done with work a lot earlier than in summer. Another added ingredient for the winter version is the blue of the sky reflected on the snow. Blue tones tend to recede visually and contrast nicely with the yellow lights in the windows which, being warmer tones, tend to advance.

The thing I like most about this image, however, isn’t the colors or that I got to go to bed earlier. My favorite part of the image is the sense of scale. The towering mountains looming over a tiny town show just how this valley feels to people arriving for the first time. It’s a warm, welcoming and inviting feeling despite the towering peaks. It makes me feel comfortable and protected. The effect is enhanced by the use of a long telephoto lens (300mm) which visually compresses the distance between the peaks and the town.

How does this photo make you feel? I would love to know. You can leave a comment here on the blog, send an email or post a reply on Facebook if you prefer. Please feel free to share this with anyone who may be interested. Have a great week and Happy 2011!

The post The Peaks of Paradise Divide Tower over Crested Butte, Colorado appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography color Colorado Crested Butte Landscape light Paradise Divide snow Tech Talk The art of photography winter Winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/The-Peaks-of-Paradise-Divide-Tower-over-Crested-Butte-Colorado Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:39:12 GMT
A Huge Snow Storm Makes for some Beautiful Photographs https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/A-Huge-Snow-Storm-Makes-for-some-Beautiful-Photographs Peace in the Treesp1259671178-5

Peace in the Trees

If you’ve been watching the news lately or following any Crested Butte folks on Facebook you would know that we’re in the middle of a monster of a snow storm. Saturday morning I had 17″ of the lightest, whitest snow I’ve ever seen covering my parking lot. We’ve had at least another 12″ since then with the major part of the storm coming in tonight. We could see 6 feet or more by Tuesday night when this thing is supposed to move out of the mountains. Skiing has been incredible. Driving, not so much!

The photography has been pretty great too. Unlike most winter storms, this one has blessed us with plenty of snow but absolutely no wind…not even a breeze. This unusual chain of events has provided super light snow accumulating on every little bump or texture of everything around. Not only are there piles of the white stuff on tree branches, rooftops, bicycles, cars and the like, there are also  small accumulations on every little protrusion of every tree in the forest. This morning, I found myself heading out to capture this beautiful event. The photo above is just one of the resulting images. Purposely throwing the background out of focus keeps the viewer’s attention on the Aspen trees in the foreground. If everything was in focus the image would be confusing and the viewer would not know where I wanted him to look. The conifer forest below exhibits the same effect.

winter panoramap1259671206-5

Winter snowstorm panorama

Both images may be viewed larger by clicking on them. Which one do you like best? Do you hate them both? Any opinions at all? Anyone?…Bueller, Bueller?

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas. See you next week!

The post A Huge Snow Storm Makes for some Beautiful Photographs appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Aspen color Colorado Crested Butte forest Landscape Panorama Panoramic Photo Photograph snow The art of photography weather winter Winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/A-Huge-Snow-Storm-Makes-for-some-Beautiful-Photographs Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:34:23 GMT
Colorado Winter Pasture with Snow https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Colorado-Winter-Pasture-with-Snow Winter pasturep1259671262-5

Bleak winter pasture with odd composition

Sorry this post is so late this week. It’s been one of those “uninspired” days. You know the kind. It’s not that you have nothing to do. It’s that you just don’t want to do anything and what you do try to accomplish doesn’t work. Computer is misbehaving. Christmas shopping is not done. Nasty wind outside. Nothing on TV. I do have a good book waiting for me so that’s something.

This photograph is kind of how I feel tonight. Interesting lines that don’t go anywhere. Definite stark, lonely, quiet mood but not really depressing. Just kind of introverted. Interesting in an odd, “breaking all the rules” sort of way. I can’t decide whether I really like the photograph or not but I can’t throw it away. I think it may have something to say (at least to me) but I’m not quite sure. What do you think? Does this image stir any emotion or mood in you? Is it just weird? I really would love to know your thoughts and feelings.

On a more cheerful note…here’s an invitation. You’re all invited to attend an art opening on Wednesday evening from 6 to 7:30 at The Lodge at Mountaineer Square right across the road from my place here in Mount Crested Butte, Colorado. I hear that there will be some food, music and drink to accompany a lot of top-notch art to grace the walls of the Lodge through the winter months. The Show is called “Winter Blues”. I would love to see you there. No RSVP necessary…just show up.

The post Colorado Winter Pasture with Snow appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Colorado composition Landscape snow The art of photography winter Winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Colorado-Winter-Pasture-with-Snow Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:32:07 GMT
Winter Blues https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Winter-Blues Winter Bluesp1259671312-5

Fresh snow and sun create abstract shadows

Winter photography can be truly challenging with cold temperatures, difficult terrain and stark (or buried) subject matter. Just finding the motivation to leave a warm home and hot cup of tea behind to venture out into the cold, bleak white of winter can cause one to rethink his plans. Handling equipment, using the tripod, keeping batteries warm and dealing with condensation or frost just add to the adventure of winter photography. But it can be worth the extra effort.

Winter scenes offer their own unique expressions. Sunlight has a whole new set tricks that just weren’t available when the ground was covered with foliage. Shadows and sparkles become a visual treat we couldn’t even imagine last summer. New colors fill the palette as well. Cooler tones now dominate the landscape once filled with browns, greens and yellows. Lines, shapes and textures take on much more abstract forms in winter creating sometimes simpler, sometimes more complex compositions.

If you haven’t picked up on it by now, I love winter landscape photography. Even though it’s truly challenging and the compositons are entirely different than those of a few months earlier, I appreciate the stark, bare beauty of the winter landscape. Another bonus for me is that I very rarely encounter other photographers on my winter outings. Not that I don’t enjoy a little company but my psyche changes in winter as well. While usually outgoing and chatty, my winter persona is somewhat more reserved and introspective. Winter is my time for self analysis and solitude.

Anyway, about the photograph. “Winter Blues” is a version of a consistent winter theme of mine. I love the play of shadow and light on smooth fresh snow. In and of itself, this abstract scene offers a lot of interest but having the lines minimally broken by the cause of the shadows is an important element to the story-telling of the image. The tree trunks complete the story by showing the viewer where the shadows come from. Leaving those forms to the imagination would bring a mystery to the scene that, I feel, wouldn’t support or enhance the story and would leave the scene feeling a little two-dimensional or flat. I photographed the scene both ways, trust me in this!

“Winter Blues” will be one of my photographs at the Alpenglow Gallery in the ski base area for the winter season. The show, titled amazingly, “Winter Blues” will open on December 15th and run through March of 2011. The opening reception is 12/15 from 6-7:30 pm at the Lodge at Mountaineer Square in Mount Crested Butte. I and the other exhibiting artists would love to see you there.

Finally, I hope your holiday spirits are buoyant and happy and that your shopping is going well. If not, maybe I can help. Photographs make wonderful, affordable gifts and can still be delivered in time for the holidays. I have two websites set up just for your gift-giving and shopping pleasure.

My sites: dusty-demerson.artistwebsites.com and imagescolorado.com can fulfill your print order, offer matting, framing and delivery directly to you. Limited editions and signed prints are always available directly through me at: [email protected].

I hope you have a terrific week and will take a second to let me know your thoughts on Winter Blues via email, Facebook, or the comment form below.

The post Winter Blues appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Colorado composition Crested Butte Design Landscape light snow The art of photography winter Winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Winter-Blues Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:29:34 GMT
Autumn Winds https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Autumn-Winds For years I’ve been experimenting with “shooting the breeze”. You know, capturing the effects of wind on a two dimensional flat, still piece of paper. (Or your computer monitor)
In Crested Butte we usually get wind with rain or snow making this experiment not only challenging but also fairly uncomfortable and  bad for a camera. On rare occasions, like this one, the wind came with a blue sky and fall colors.

Autumn Wind 2p1259671388-5

double click on the photo for a larger view

Most modern digital cameras require some kind of neutral density filtration to allow a long enough exposure time for the movement to show. Sometimes a polarizing filter is enough but usually not. This image was made with a 7 stop ND filter allowing an exposure time of about 15 seconds. Since the bare branches had less wind resistance they registered fairly sharp because they didn’t move. The branches with leaves were moving like crazy providing a surreal effect which I love. I hope you do too!
Please let me know your thoughts on this photo via the “leave a reply” secton below or email or Facebook as usual. I would love to hear from you whether you like the image or not.
Finally, and just in time for your holiday gift-giving needs, the shameless self promotion portion of the blog.
 I have a new website created just for you. It’s at: http://dusty-demerson.artistwebsites.com/ . Many of my most popular images are available as prints, matted, framed or printed on canvas directly to you. These are not signed like you would find at the galleries but the images are the same and the prices are unbeatable. Give them a visit especially if you have someone who’s tough to shop for.
Have a great week!

The post Autumn Winds appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Aspen autumn color Colorado fall forest Landscape Tech Talk The art of photography weather wind https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Autumn-Winds Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:26:25 GMT
A Winter Melody https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/A-Winter-Melody Winter Melodyp1259671426-5

Winter Melody

Once again it’s snowing in the Crested Butte high country and scenes like this will be popping up in the week ahead…if the wind subsides. I, however, will be enjoying family and turkey in Oklahoma and, hopefully, capturing a few more fall color images before turning the corner to winter.

Winter Melody is a scene that I drive past several times a day. The arrangement of the Aspen trees on the hillside always remind me of music whatever the season. I have photographed the scene in every season and even have some other images that I like. But, the stark contrast of the tree trunks against the snow show the musical nature of the scene better than at any other season. Most of our snowfalls come with a little wind so the snow doesn’t hang on the branches of the trees. When I photographed this scene without snow on the trees the contrast just seemed too great. There was too much attention to the tops of the trees and not enough emphasis on the intersection of the trunks with the hillside. On this morning the scene was just right. We had a few inches of fresh snow over night. The sky was still overcast keeping the shadows from overpowering the forms of the trees. The sun was not shining. What makes the scene work is the sketch-like quality which I did enhance by converting the photograph to black and white.

This photograph is printed on canvas and gallery wrapped at 20″ x 60″. Print number 1 of a limited edition of 25 is normally $900. To celebrate Thanksgiving and winter coming to the high country (and the start of ski season) Winter Melody #1 is available this week only at $600 which will include shipping in the US. Each successive print will rise in price by $50 until the edition sells out making #1 a great investment for your home or office.

As always, I look forward to your comments using the “Leave a Reply” section below, via email or Facebook.

The post A Winter Melody appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Colorado Landscape Panorama Panoramic Photo Photograph snow The art of photography winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/A-Winter-Melody Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:22:36 GMT
Wee Three Bears https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Wee-Three-Bears
Wee Three Bearsp1259671506-5
Three Grizzly Bear Cubs in Alaska

I’m fortunate enough to live in rural Colorado, a place teeming with wildlife. I would never call myself a wildlife photographer though. It’s a very specialized discipline requiring big, heavy, expensive gear and, most of all, patience and an extensive knowledge of your subjects. I will, however, photograph wildlife if they walk in front of my lens. Living where I do, that happens from time to time. Very rarely, animals will pose for me while I’m traveling far from home.

Traveling through Alaska while celebrating my parent’s 50th anniversary a few years ago I had the opportunity to spend an evening touring Denali National Park. Not really a fan of these organized tours, I tried to bow out of this one by citing my recently-acquired intestinal virus as a great reason not to spend the next five hours on a school bus with no “facilities”. I was reminded that since I had not eaten in 24 hours I probably had nothing to “lose”. That argument won out.
I will sing the praises of our driver/tour-guide for the rest of my life. She was a rookie driver but had more knowledge of the park and the wildlife than everyone else on the bus combined. She also had the eyes of an eagle. She could spot wildlife half a mile away and tell us what it was, its sex, what it was doing and what it had for lunch the previous day. She was truly amazing. Even with a 200mm lens I couldn’t see many of the birds she was trying to point out. Our driver had spotted a large female grizzly bear with three cubs a few days prior to our tour. She knew just where to look for them and amazingly, they were just where she thought they might be. A little more than a quarter of a mile away up a drainage above the road we could identify “Mama” and here three brown spots. Mom was slowly eating her way down the hillside while the kids were having a blast sliding down the little remaining snow in the gully. We watched for about 15 minutes while my fellow tourists complained under their breath about the animals being so far away.
We traveled well into the park viewing a few caribou and Dall sheep as well as an eagle or two. We even were blessed by a rainbow in Polychrome Basin. My personal stomach ailments prevented me from being my usual photo-hungry self so the landscape images I made left a lot to be desired. Traveling with 30 other people doesn’t help my creativity much either. I do my best work while traveling solo (but that’s a story for another time).
As we were heading back to the entrance to the park our driver noticed that the four bears had worked their way down the drainage and were now only about 100 yards from the road. She said that we would sit and wait as long as everyone in the bus remained inside and absolutely silent. I’m thinking some of the group didn’t even breathe for the next 45 minutes or so. With the windows on the bus lowered to allow a clear shot, we took turns photographing and viewing Mother Grizzly and her three cubs slowly eating their way to our bus. My seatmate asked me what I thought was going to happen (via whisper). I said I thought they would come right up to the bus. She said “In your dreams”. She was right! Occasionally dreams come true too.
Mom and her three cubs crossed the road 20 feet in front of the bus as we sat in silence and amazement. They dissapeared into the tall brush and it was time for us to get back to “camp”. We had barely travelled a hundred yards when a moose stepped out of the brush right in front of the bus. We almost ran it over. I didn’t get that picture!
Not everyone who travels to Denali has the experiences we had but I highly recommend the trip if you can do it. The more time you can spend inside the park the more likely you are to be rewarded with memorable images. That’s the case everywhere I’ve been but sometimes the Powers of the Universe conspire to reward even short visits. There is no substitute for patience either. Please let me know your thoughts and feel free to share this with the links below. I do have photos with Mom with the cubs as well.

The post Wee Three Bears appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Wee-Three-Bears Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:20:07 GMT
Sunset Solitude https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Sunset-Solitude
Sunset Solitudep1259669262-5
Muted autumn colors capture beautiful sunset light.

As autumn’s colors start to fade and those of us who live in the “high country” of Colorado anticipate the first snows of winter photography opportunities are sometimes hard to find. This season is a perfect chance to explore new or different perspectives and equipment.

I tend to approach landscape photographs with wide angle lenses, attempting to capture as much of the surrounding beauty as possible. “Sunset Solitude” is a complete reversal of this idea. Captured with a 300 mm telephoto lens, the scene in the East River Valley near Crested Butte is a greatly compressed point of view. The lower slopes of Whiterock Mountain are squished into the sunlit meadows of West Brush Creek.
Sunset light coming from the west really shows off the variety of textures in this valley. That’s one of the great characteristics of light coming from the side of a scene, especially at a low angle. The higher points of the scene are brightly lit while the lower parts fall into deep shadow creating relief and contrast that accentuate texture and contours.
Normally the purplish mountain in the background would be black but light reflecting from the west side of Crested Butte Mountain on the left and out of the scene, casts just enough light to add some mystery and muted detail to the background. Since our eyes are naturally attracted to the brighter, more contrasty part of an image, our immediate gaze falls into the sunlit center of the photo. As we continue to view the photograph, we discover the minute details in the shadow areas of the scene.
This image is a bit of a departure from my usual offerings in that it is much more subtle than most. The mystery and secrets of the scene lie in the shadows and must be searched for instead of being found “in your face” in the sunlight. I think this image also reflects my usual mood at this time of year. Generally outgoing and extroverted, in late fall I tend more toward introspection and quiet solitude. Most unique imagery reflects the mood, character and personality of the artist at the time it was created in some way. “Sunset Solitude” is no exception.
As always, you can see a larger version of the photograph by clicking on the image. I would love to know your thoughts and feelings about this photograph via the “leave a reply” opportunity on this page or via the link below for email/facebook etc. Feel free to share this blog with anyone you think might enjoy the subjects.
With the holidays fast approaching I can still offer limited opportunities for family or individual portraits to be delivered in time for gifts. Check out my portrait site at: http://www.demersonphotography.com for additional information.
Until next week, enjoy some solitude and introspection.

The post Sunset Solitude appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography autumn color Colorado Crested Butte fall Landscape Photo Photographer The art of photography theory https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Sunset-Solitude Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:17:34 GMT
Red Sunrise on the East River (Colorado) https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Red-Sunrise-on-the-East-River-Colorado
East River Sunrisep1259671606-5
Autumn Clouds Reflect Red in the East River at Sunrise

With our autumn colors now mostly a drab brown (with patches of white in the shade) we look forward to colder temperatures and lots of the white stuff to cover the ground soon to support our winter play time. As the outdoor colors wane finding inspiring subjects for landscape photography becomes a challenge. Patience is required. Attention to the atmosphere helps too.

On the drive up to the old mining town of Gothic, Colorado the road starts out several hundred feet above the valley providing a few really nice overlooks of the East River meanders. These overlooks are awe inspiring but provide limited opportunities for unique viewpoints or approaches to a really nice subject. I’ve spent hundreds of hours looking for photographs in this area a few miles north of my home with few images to show for the time.
One morning as I was leaving home for my usual Breakfast at Paradise just before sunrise I noticed that the sky was cloudy with openings to the east. That’s where the sun comes up! This is a pretty rare event up here. If we awake to clouds it’s usually raining or snowing with no hope of a nice sunrise. But this morning, instead of heading to Paradise, I decided to head toward Gothic with the hope of the sun lighting up the bottom of the clouds overhead. Ten minutes later I had what I had hoped for. As the sun rose it lit up the bottom of the clouds over the river with beautiful red light which reflected wonderfully in the river below. So now a drab brown scene has a ribbon of red wandering through. As always, if you click on the photo you can see a larger version. The subtle colors of this photo can vary greatly from one screen to another but the printed photograph is really cool.
Please let me know if you have any comments or questions. The birthdays of my uncle (RJ Calvert 90) and my father (Gordon Demerson 80) remind me that the holidays are quickly approaching. Photographs make wonderfully personal gifts that can appreciate in value over time. If you’re looking for such a gift please be sure to check out http://www.imagescolorado.com for open and limited edition prints for your walls and for your friends. Finally, a very fond farewell…no, a see-you-later…to Heidi and Mike Frazier. I wish you well in any venture you choose to pursue.
Until next week!
Also feel free to share this post on your favorite social network or email using the link below.

The post Red Sunrise on the East River (Colorado) appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography autumn Colorado Crested Butte fall Gothic The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Red-Sunrise-on-the-East-River-Colorado Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:15:01 GMT
Sunday Morning https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Sunday-Morning
Sunday Morningp1259671666-5
Untracked Elk Avenue, Crested Butte, Colorado’s main street.

Although it probably won’t look exactly like this tomorrow morning our forecast for the next couple of days predicts some white in our future. Fall is my favorite season to photograph but once the leaves leave I’m ready for the white stuff. More often than not, there’s about 4-6 weeks of drab brown to endure before everything goes white. We’ll just have to wait and see what this year will bring but it’s looking promising.

“Sunday Morning” was created one Palm Sunday a few years ago. I awoke at my usual 6am and was making coffee when I looked out the window and discovered an unpredicted fresh blanket of white with the sky clearing and blue. Time to go to work! This scenario doesn’t happen all that often here in Crested Butte. We get plenty of snow but the clear blue morning sky was a real rare treat. Overnight snows usually give us grey skies until mid-day.
I headed downtown to the historic former mining town becuase it’s much more photogenic than Mount Crested Butte where I live. As I prepared to turn onto Elk Avenue, Crested Butte’s main street, I realized there were no tracks in the fresh snow. There were no cars either. OMG…I’ve never seen this before. Especially on a Sunday morning, there’s almost always a car or two parked near the bars. But not this morning. I immediately backtracked not to create any tracks and drove around my subject for a few blocks becuase I thought the mountain would make a nicer background than the grey skies to the west. Once I got to the west end of Elk Avenue I started thinking about the composition. The first two blocks of Elk just weren’t doing it for me subject wise. The intersection at Second Street was just the ticket though. As the day got brighter the colors of the buildings started to pop and I had my shot. I only had about 10 minutes before the guy stocking the newspaper machines tracked up my scene. I knew it couldn’t last but It was pretty special for a bit. And now it can be special for anyone who wants to appreciate it.
Email me or leave a comment here at the blog if you’re interested in owning Sunday Morning. It’s available in sizes starting at 36″ wide on fine art cotton paper ready for matting and framing.
If you enjoy this blog feel free to share it with your friends and photographers via Facebook or email. Thanks for stopping by.

The post Sunday Morning appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Crested Butte Panorama Panoramic Photo snow The art of photography winter https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Sunday-Morning Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:11:44 GMT
Sometimes Just Showing Up is Enough https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Sometimes-Just-Showing-Up-is-Enough
The Hand of Godp1259671764-5
The Hand of God

Paul Stookey, the “Paul” of Peter, Paul and Mary fame, has commented about some of his song writing talent that occasionally he has simply been the vehicle for what wanted to be said. His “Wedding Song” was the tune in question. He feels that the song had very little to do with him and his talent and a lot more to do with being open to what needed to be said.

Sometimes photography can be like that too. Some images have very little to do with the talent or technique of the artist and a lot more to do with something that’s trying to be said.
The Hand of God is that sort of photograph. I would love to tell you that I slaved away for hours chasing storms and that my amazing timing was how the lightning was captured but I would be stretching the truth quite a distance. The truth is that I was driving west on US 50 between Delta and Grand Junction, Colorado one late summer evening and this strange grouping of clouds was turning red as the sun went down. I was struggling to find a place to pull off the highway and grab the shot. The sky was getting darker by the second when I was finally able to pull over. The camera was already on the tripod with the 28mm wide angle lens attached. Realizing that I may only get one shot, I set the exposure on automatic, set up the tripod with the camera and hit the shutter release. The camera calculated an exposure of about 10 seconds. About half way through the exposure the lightning happened. You need to know that this cloud had not produced any lightning prior to this time and did not produce any lightning after this strike. Only one lightning strike came from this cloud! The camera completed the exposure and couldn’t believe my “luck”. I continued to make photos of the cloud until it got dark but there was no more lightning and the red rain soon lost its color.
I’ve been accused of being really lucky to get this image but I don’t think luck had anything to do with it. I also don’t think I really had anything to do with it. I believe this photograph was a gift. I’ve tried to acknowledge the gift with the title. Sometimes just showing up (with your camera) is enough. What needs to be said (or shown) will take care of the rest.
On a weather note, it looks like the fall foliage photos in western Colorado are coming to a close for this year. Rain and snow are in the forecast for the next few days and that should just about take care of the last of the leaves. Since bare trees and brown grass are not my favorite subjects I’ll be hoping the snow starts to stick around and provide some new photo opportunities. It’s time to find those skis too!
As always, you can click on the photo for a larger view and I would love to hear your comments about this photo or photography in general.

The post Sometimes Just Showing Up is Enough appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Colorado Photographer The art of photography weather https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Sometimes-Just-Showing-Up-is-Enough Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:08:55 GMT
Asymmetrical Convergence https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Asymmetrical-Convergence Looking up through an Autumn Colored Aspen Grovep1259671830-5

Makes you kind of dizzy huh?

Looking up through a wide angle lens into an Aspen forest can make you dizzy. But you should try it. You especially should try it on a perfect fall day when the sky is unblemished by clouds and the leaves have turned to gold. It’s kind of the reverse effect of trying to drive a car while looking through binoculars…but that’s another story.

Every Colorado photographer has this image in their portfolio. Me too. I have several versions. My favorite is this one I call Asymmetrical Convergence. The composition is what, I feel, makes it a strong image. When I see the other versions with no clear top or bottom to the photo it bothers me. Not that art shouldn’t sometimes bother us but making my viewers uncomfortable is not really what my art is about. I like the fact that this image has a very obvious top and bottom. It’s more pleasing to view this way. The convergence of the tree trunks lead your eyes into the photograph. The composition helps you travel into the image.

If you’re interested in owning this photograph please let me know. It is available in lots of sizes and unlike many of my images, the bigger it gets the cooler it looks. Wallpaper anyone? I can offer very special pricing this week just for you.

On another note, am I the only photographer that needs to let his photos “steep” or rest before committing to them? I find if I try to edit my images too soon after they are captured I suffer from a type of tunnel vision. I can’t really see them objectively. If I come back and look at them 6 months later they appear completely new to me. After the wait the photographs are either exciting or not but I can study them with a critical, objective mind. If I return to the photo after giving it a rest and it still moves me I know I have a winner. If I rush an image to print it frequently ends up in my “sale” box. So for now I guess I should just give those fall photos a rest!

Until next week, enjoy your autumn.

The post Asymmetrical Convergence appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Art Photography Aspen autumn Colorado composition fall forest The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Asymmetrical-Convergence Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:06:13 GMT
The Road Less Traveled https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/The-Road-Less-Traveled
Beckwith Mountains Panoramap1259671900-5
Snow Covered Beckwith Mountains in Western Colorado

( click for a larger view)

This week’s photograph, The Road Less Traveled, is presented today because every autumn has a little bit different look. This year’s fall color is spotty with areas of green next to areas of intense yellow which are next to dingy brown leaves. The lack of a hard freeze has kept the color going and the leaves on the trees for a long time this year but the colors are only so-so. That being the case, a good hand full of new images have been captured and will see print in the coming months. Cold, grey winter days are great for editing photos. On glorious fall days I find it very difficult to sit down in front of the computer for even a few minutes, let alone hours on end.

Back to The Road Less Traveled. Some years all the Aspens turn colors at about the same time making for amazing photographs. A dusting of snow on the nearby mountain peaks just adds to the drama. It doesn’t happen every year which is why photographers get so excited and anxious when it does.

East and West Beckwith Mountains are subjects in lots of Colorado fall color photographs because they lie in the middle of one of the world’s largest Aspen groves. This grove has also been labeled the largest living organism on Earth. Photographing the Beckwiths from Kebler Pass Road means taking your life into your own hands as traffic this time of year can be pretty incredible considering the road is narrow, winding and dirt. (See Rants and Raves for some safety tips.) I decided that to spend some time creating an image of these mountains in their colorful forest I would need to get off and above Kebler Pass Road. There really aren’t very many opportunities to do this. I found this road leading northwest away from my subjects but uphill from the dirt highway. I would prefer not to have the road in the scene but there was no way to compose the photo without it. I had to use the road as a compositional tool. The leading line of the dirt road takes the viewer into the image and leads their eye directly to the distant mountains. The yellow Aspen trees provide a visual “horizon” of sorts against the contrasting blue of the sky. The snow on the mountains helps set the overall contrast up a notch and provides an emotional sense of change to the scene.

I have this image in two sizes right now. A limited edition 48″ on canvas which normally would sell for $600 is available for $450 including shipping. It’s number 2 in an edition of 25. (each new print increases by $50 until the edition sells out.) I also have one 36″ canvas which is a discontinued size for this image which was originally $300 and is available for $100 plus shipping. As always, thanks for your comments and questions. Feel free to use the buttons at the bottom of this post to share this blog with your friends through email, facebook or twitter etc.

Until next week, I wish you peace.

The post The Road Less Traveled appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Photography autumn color Colorado composition fall Kebler Pass Panorama Panoramic Photo Photograph Photographer The art of photography https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/The-Road-Less-Traveled Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:03:51 GMT
Get Out of the Road! https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Get-Out-of-the-Road OK photographers it’s time to engage your brains…and your sense of self preservation. Over the past two weeks I’ve spent dozens if not a hundred hours or more traveling the Colorado back-country roads in search of new fall photographs. Just like you, I get excited about what I see and can’t wait to begin photographing the landscape. But come on, do you have to stop in the middle of the road and leave all the doors open? I come around the blind turn to see what looks like an SUV that just exploded and people with cameras standing in the middle of the road. Suicidal photographers!

In the name of self preservation and with the possibility of being able to enjoy this hobby or profession again tomorrow, can you please find a safe, wider place to pull to the side of the road before jumping out to make pictures? Oh, and if you would close the doors other cars may be able to get by too. Oh, and if you could set up tripods or stand at the edge of the roadway or even off of it altogether the fun of photographing the Colorado back-country might last a lot longer for you.

OK, enough of the rant. Have fun out there, make beautiful images and be safe!

The post Get Out of the Road! appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Photography Kebler Pass Photographer Rants and Raves https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Get-Out-of-the-Road Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:00:45 GMT
Praying for Clouds https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Praying-for-Clouds A dry summer has let to a dry fall here in the Colorado high country. I hadn’t really thought about how much I appreciate a cloud or two in the sky until this week. For the past 10 days or so we haven’t seen a single cloud, making for some pretty boring landscape photographs. A week ago last Thursday we actually awoke to a little snow on the surrounding peaks and a clearing storm leaving us some lingering clouds and interesting light on the landscape. (click on the photo for a larger view)

Help me find a title for this imagep1259671992-5

Bright stand of fall Aspens on Avery Mountain.

I spent the entire morning photographing snow-covered mountains with bright fall colors without being too excited about anything I saw. After living here for 20 plus years expectations can get pretty high! There was this patch of Aspen trees at the height of their autumn colors at the base of Avery Mountian near Gothic, Colorado though. The surrounding hillside had a mixture of conifers and Aspens in various degrees of adornment. An interesting scene that was going to need a little help from the clouds above to provide highlighting to the part of the scene that was really wonderful. I set up the camera and tripod and proceeded to wait. And wait. And wait through brief showers, some wind, some snow and jeeps splashing through the potholes in the road next to me. I watched the sky. I waited for blue patches from the southwest to find the sun and light up my grove of Aspens. While the exposure was only 1/125 th of a second, the photograph took about 45 minutes to create. There are lots of near-misses but only a couple of hits.

I really love how the clouds provided the shade on the foreground and background forest but lights up the yellow trees. As of yet this image is untitled. Finding names for images is a task I, and lots of other photographers struggle with. With this one, you can help. I would love to hear suggestions for a title for this photograph. If I choose your title you will receive the first print of this image.

Please let me know your thoughts and chime in on the discussion whether you’re offering a title or not. Our fall colors have at least another week in them on the high mountain passes so I have to go to work now. Tough job…I know! I’ll be praying for a few more clouds as the week progresses but the forecast doesn’t look too promising.

The post Praying for Clouds appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Aspen autumn color Colorado Crested Butte fall forest Landscape light Photography weather https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/Praying-for-Clouds Thu, 06 Jun 2013 08:57:40 GMT
It’s Looking a Lot Like Autumn Around Here https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/It-s-Looking-a-Lot-Like-Autumn-Around-Here What a difference a week can make on the Colorado landscape. Last week we were wondering if the trees were sick or something. This week they’re in their full fall glory. At least within a mile or two of Crested Butte. The higher passes in central Colorado are still probably a week or so away from their peak color.

Fall color in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Parkp1259670372-5

This week’s photograph is titled “Golden Groove”. It was created last autumn, probably October, while driving the north rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. A spectacular drive almost any time of the year, it’s especially dramatic in the fall. It provides and nice mix of colors with yellow Aspen trees, green conifers and lots of reds and brown in the understory and oaks. (click on the photo for a larger view)

Golden Groove is a vertical panorama created from 8 or 10 single images stitched together to form a single photograph, a technique I frequently use to achieve the larger file sizes needed for making larger prints. Enough of the tech talk though. The challenge with these images, I think, is actually teaching myself to “see” vertical panoramas. Chatting with fellow photographer and friend, J. C. Leacock yesterday revealed that this challenge is not mine alone. Because I tend to think of landscape photography as sweeping horizontal compositions creating narrow vertical images is just something my brain struggles with. An additional challenge with these compositions is finding a good place to begin and end the photograph. The lone yellow tree at the top of the photo looked like a good place to start. The bottom of the images just sort of stops. That’s not by best solution to the challenge but that’s where the drainage ended so that’s where the photograph ended too.

Golden Groove is offered as a 20″ x 46″ giclee on canvas, gallery wrapped and ready to hang. As are most of my canvas prints, it’s a limited edition of 25. This week I’m offering number 2 of the edition for $450. It’s regular price is $600 so that’s a 25% discount. If you’re interested in Golden Groove or would like a price on another size please email me or leave a comment here at the blog and I’ll get in touch.

Please let me know your thoughts, feelings or opinions. This blog wants to be about discussions.

Until next week,

Happy Autumn.

The post It’s Looking a Lot Like Autumn Around Here appeared first on Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer.

(Dusty Demerson - Crested Butte Photographer) Photography autumn Colorado composition fall Landscape Panorama Panoramic Photo https://www.imagescolorado.com/blog/2013/6/It-s-Looking-a-Lot-Like-Autumn-Around-Here Thu, 06 Jun 2013 08:54:31 GMT