Colorado (Part 1) + News

I have meant to get a new post up for ages, but graduate school has kept me quite busy. This weekend Scott and I went to visit his parents, which generally means some pleasantly lazy days. Today is no exception, and I am taking advantage of the gloomy, cold day by sitting in a big comfy chair while a fire roars in the fireplace next to me; perfect blogging conditions if you ask me.

Before I get into the images, I wanted to announce some rather exciting news (which is somewhat old news at this point unfortunately). A few months back I finally got a website up and running. I had put it off and put it off because I am too indecisive and couldn’t decide on formatting/organization, but finally bit the bullet and put one together. I am still adding images to build galleries and things may shift around some¬†more, but it is up for your viewing pleasure (I hope). There is perhaps a bit of bad news to go along with this update though. In order to keep things more organized and unified I am going to be switching my blog over to be connected to my website, so soon I will no long be posting here. You can head over there (abigailithompson.com) to follow along though, and I hope you all do!

With that out of the way, let’s get on to the images. Back in the middle of October (almost a month ago at this point, yikes) Scott and I went out to Colorado for a long weekend of climbing, hiking, camping, and a wedding thrown in as well. It was an incredible weekend, and as I slowly got around to editing the images I found myself feeling homesick for a place I have never lived.

8298web scottweb 8308web 8313web 8320web 8322web 8324web 8340web 8349web 8355web 8362web 8363webThis will be a two-part post, so more images will be up soon! Also, don’t forget to head over to the new website and follow along the blog there. There is even a post of moments of light up there that I didn’t post here, so head over to check it out. Happy weekend everyone!

Burned Prairie

A few weeks ago I went out to the Konza Prairie with Scott for a hike. They happened to be in the process of burning that day, so on some portions of the hike we had to walk through fairly thick smoke. It didn’t make breathing all that fun, but it was pretty surreal and beautiful seeing the familiar landscape engulfed in smoke.

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Prairie Hike

I hadn’t been out to the Konza Prairie for ages, and when it warmed up last weekend I jumped at the chance to head out there for a hike with fellow photography graduate student, Myra. I also hadn’t been out there with my new lens, so I was excited to be able to get a new perspective on something I have shot multiple times before. Unfortunately when we got out there it got super windy and a cold front started moving in, but luckily we still had sunshine and decent light for most of the hike.

bridge2704web burn(2722)web burned(2688)web burned(2697)web burned(2700)wbe path(2707)web path(2709)web path(2722)web stairs(2715)webTomorrow evening I am off to Arizona for a week of climbing, camping, hiking, art museum visits, and of course photographing! I am so excited to get a break from Manhattan and share lots of images and stories here when I get back. If you want to keep up with our adventures during the week be sure to follow me on instagram. I will be posting lots there throughout the week, but posts here on the blog will have to wait since I don’t have room to pack my computer. Have a wonderful week you lovely people!

 

Finding Winter in Kanopolis State Park

A few weeks ago I was sent a jacket from Mountain Hardwear with the mission of exploring/adventuring in it (findingwinter.com). Unfortunately I got the jacket right when school started, so I wasn’t able to take a very epic trip. And, the weekend Scott and I were able to go on a trip happened to be around 60 degrees during the day, so it wasn’t exactly your typical idea of winter.

We went out to Kanopolis State Park, which is about an hour and a half west of Manhattan, KS. Scott has been there before, and thought there could be some potential climbing that we wanted to scope out. I was also excited for the weekend in part because I had rented a lens to take with, to give me some variety in images for the trip, and also to test it before purchasing.¬†We got to the park Saturday afternoon, set up camp, and went out hiking. It was a beautiful hike, and I was pretty surprised to find such a landscape in Kansas. The sun was getting fairly low on our hike, and down in the canyon without the sun on us it got a bit cool. I was impressed by the Mountain Hardwear jacket; it was warm, but breathed well and didn’t get too warm when we were in the sun. After hiking for a while we went back to our campsite, started a fire, and made a delicious (and warm) dinner. It was a pretty windy, chilly night, but once again I was impressed at how well the jacket blocked the wind; that was one of my favorite features. It is also a great layering jacket; flattering to the figure yet lots of room for warmer layers underneath, so with a synthetic down on as well I was nice and warm. In the morning the wind had calmed down some and the sun was out, so after a quick breakfast we went for another hike before packing up to head back to Manhattan.

I also played around with some time lapse stuff on our trip, but that will have to be posted to youtube/vimeo once I get it edited and pieced together. I will be sure to post a link once it is done, I’m pretty excited about it!

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Colorado in October

I am so very behind on sharing things here. My old computer was struggling to edit photographs and share them as well. It was a pain to do and so I just avoided it. But, I recently purchased a beautiful new laptop, one that is powerful and fast, and so I am getting back on track with all my images finally.

In October, Scott and I went to Colorado to hear one of our climbing idols speak. We also made some time for climbing and camping in the mountains. It was a quick trip, but we had wonderful weather and were able to see some beautiful things.

Our first day was spent climbing in the Clear Creak Canyon, near Golden, Colorado. It was a stunning area, maybe even one of my favorites that we have climbed in. That night we camped in Guanella Pass, which is just past Georgetown, Colorado. We were the only ones camping out there (that we saw), and were able to find a stunningly beautiful and quite campsite in the subalpine forest. Our campsite was around 11,000 feet in elevation, which I felt the effects of when we woke up the next morning. There was snow on the ground, and the creek near by had lots of ice formed over it. It was a cold night for camping, but one of the most memorable ones for me.

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The next day we woke up and tried to keep warm with tea and eggs and sausage. We had plans to try to hike Mt. Bierstadt (a 14,000 foot peak just up the pass) but when we woke up I was feeling the effects of the elevation (loss of appetite, headache), and we decided we just didn’t have the time or the provisions to do so. We ended up driving to the parking lot for the trail to the peak and explored some of the shorter trails from the same parking lot. After taking some photographs we went back to pack up our campsite, and I wandered around shooting some more in the frosty, late-morning light.

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Scott, excited about being in the alpine air. Mt. Bierstadt is behind him.

Scott, excited about being in the alpine air. Mt. Bierstadt is behind him.

Scott grabbed this one of me; I think it sums me up pretty well.

Scott grabbed this one of me; I think it sums up my personality pretty well ūüôā

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The double exposure series of my feet continues.

The double exposure series of my feet continues.

Colorado

The second part of my spring break involved a quick trip out to Denver, Colorado to visit my best friend, Blair, as well as my brother and his family who came down to visit. It was unfortunately cut short because of the storm that hit out there, but I still was able to have two solid days of spending time with some of my favorite people.

The first day out there Blair and I drove to Boulder to do some hiking. It was raining when we got there, but right when we started out hike it cleared up and left us with some awesome clouds.

595web 608web 628web boulderwebFriday (my second day there) I met up with my brother, his wife, and twin boys who were in town to see me. We spent most of the day at the aquarium in Denver. I didn’t shoot nearly as much as I expected, since I was more focused on just enjoying my time there with them, but I did get some images of jellyfish, which I have always wanted.

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347/366 – Bridal Veil Falls

*Monday, January 7

Monday morning my brother and I got up and went for a quick (relatively speaking) climb up Bridal Veil Falls. It was a bit easier than the ice climb on Sunday, so a bit more fun for me. It was quite the different situation than the day before though. This time my brother was belaying from the top, and when I got up there we were able to hike up the frozen stream bed for a while. It was absolutely beautiful up there, and I find myself already missing the canyon. I also got to clean an anchor and rappel for the first time after we were done, which was exciting (though admittedly slightly nerve-wracking at first). Again, this day calls for multiple photographs, so I hope you enjoy!

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I thought I would share another of me in action.

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The view right at the top of the falls.

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And last but not least, my favorite shot from the day after rappelling down.

North Carolina

Just last post I said I was going to post more often, and already I have failed to post on a regular basis. But, I have a bit of work and news to share, so hopefully I will have quite a few posts in the next few days.

Two weeks ago, over Halloween weekend, I went camping with my boyfriend in North Carolina. We were in Pisgah National Forest, just short of an hour south of Asheville. We had planned on leaving early Friday, but of course ended up behind schedule and didn’t arrive at our campsite until dark. It was raining, windy, and cold; not ideal camping weather at all. We didn’t bring a tent with us since we had our hammocks to sleep in, and so we were both dreading what that night would be like. Even though it was getting late, we had to make dinner, so we quickly hung up a tarp between some trees and set the Jet Boil on the ground to get some water going to cook our dinner. While sitting in the car eating our dinner we decided it would be best to just sleep in the car that night, since it was so late and still raining. I slept only a couple of hours that night; it was one of the longest nights I have ever experienced. I remember laying there awake, thinking that it was never going to get light out, ha. When we woke up the car was all fogged up, but the light coming in was amazing. My lens was also fogging up so it made pictures difficult.

I didn’t shoot hardly any digital on our trip, and most of what I did shoot was double exposures for my current series. So unfortunately I don’t have a ton to share as of yet, but there will be more to come once I get the film developed. For now, here are some digital double exposures.

That night we drove to one of the many waterfalls in the area to get some long exposures. It was so dark in the forest that it was a little bit difficult to get a good image without having an exceptionally long exposure. This was around a 5 minute exposure, with light painting (with a flashlight) for over a minute.

We ended up sleeping in the hammock that night, and managed to stay surprisingly warm. I had on a crazy number of layers, and ended up getting hot in the night and needing to take a few off. Though they are not interesting images in and of themselves, here was our camp and our hammock situation.

Rocky Mountain National Park Day 1

I finally finished up the editing of all the pictures from my camping trip to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) that I went on at the beginning of August, so now it is time to share. I decided the best way to do so would be to have a separate post for each day, so get ready for five long posts with lots of pictures. Hopefully you all enjoy them!

Our first full day in RMNP was close to perfect. Since it was our first day in the high elevation we went on a nice starter hike to get acclimated. An easy starter hike for my family isn’t exactly the typical easy hike though. Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the trail that we took, I just know that we went past Cub Lake and hiked past Big Thompson Falls, which I thought was appropriate.

We turned back a little earlier than planned because the afternoon storm was moving in quick, and it looked like a bad one. But I have to say I enjoyed these afternoon storms, because they created some awesome cloud conditions.

That evening while we were hanging out at our campsite we got a little bit of rain, but it was completely sunny throughout the entire thing. It was absolutely beautiful, but unfortunately my photographs didn’t come close to showing just how stunning it really was.

 

 

67/365 – Longs Peak Trail

*Thursday, August 4 – Rocky Mountain National Park (Longs Peak Trail)

One of the things we had been planning on doing since we decided on this trip was to climb Longs Peak via the Keyhole route. Longs Peak, for those who don’t know, is the tallest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park, and one of 53 peaks over 14,000 feet in Colorado. It stands at 14,259 feet, and during the summer has a route that is considered to not be a technical one (meaning that you don’t need gear or climbing experience to reach the summit). Because of the afternoon storms that hit most days, you are supposed to begin the climb by around 3:00 am so that you can be off of the summit by early afternoon. The majority of the route is pretty much a very strenuous hike. Within the last couple miles (the route is 15 miles round trip) things get much more difficult though. The “trail” (which doesn’t really exist at that point) goes through a boulder field, and then climbing on the edge of sheer rock faces and other surfaces that require scrambling as well as some basic climbing techniques.

Wednesday night we (My two brothers, sister, sister-in-law, and mother) packed our backpacks with close to a gallon of water per person, lots of granola bars, apples, other miscellaneous food items, warm clothes (including hats and gloves), and various other items. I was extremely excited, but also nervous, about making the summit of Longs Peak. It was something that I really wanted to do. So, with nerves and excitement,  we all went to bed super early and were then up and in the car by 2:00 am Thursday morning. We got to the trail head by 2:30am or so, where we had breakfast and got set for our hike up Longs Peak. We began the hike by 2:45am with our head lamps on, at what I thought was a nice, slow pace (which is what we were supposed to do since it is such a long and exhausting hike in extremely high elevation). Not long after starting out my stomach began to feel extremely upset. At first I thought it was just due to the breakfast we ate, so I figured I would just throw up, feel better and be able to continue on. Eventually I was having to stop every so often to lean on a rock at the edge of the trail and gag and dry heave. Every time I was certain I was actually going to get sick, but I never did. The headache kicked in not too long after the nausea did, and it was absolutely excruciating. I was miserable and felt bad because I was holding the rest of the group back so much. But, I was determined to keep going because I still kept hoping that I would just throw up and feel better, allowing me to continue. I was dead set on at least making it until sunrise regardless of what happened, because I really wanted pictures of the sunrise with the view from as high as I could get. Finally, we made it to the point where a sign directed us to the Boulder Field (where things would get a lot more challenging). At this point I realized that it would just not be possible for me to make it much further, and that I was really slowing everyone else down. My mom decided (and I agreed) that we should head down. We took the hike back down very slow, stopping so that I could take pictures of the rising sun and the various waterfalls along the way.

By the time we got back down it was after 8:00am, and the altitude sickness had mostly worn off (my stomach was still fairly upset though). My mom and I sat around reading and napping for a few hours, and then decided to take another easy and short hike (around three miles) to an old gold mine site that shared a trail for a little with the Longs Peak trail. The rest of the day was spent relaxing, and then driving in to Estes Park to shower for the first time all week.

The photo below, that I chose as my main picture for my 365, is of one section of the Longs Peak trail just at sunrise.

Just for the sake of sticking with the story, here are a couple of others from the hike down as well.

This was right as the sun was just starting to come up, so it was still very dark (we were still using our head lamps). It was almost right after we began out hike down. The little white specks in the bottom of the picture are actually head lamps from other hikers that started later and were on their way up. One very cool part of the hike (despite how miserable I felt), was that when we looked up to the mountain side, all we could see were little white lights bobbing their way up the mountain.

This was just a bit further down the trail, after the sun was up a little more.

This was even further down the trail. The trail split off right before this (which I hadn’t noticed due to the dark and being sick), and the route we were taking had us staying to the left. On the way down I noticed the split, and decided to check it out because I heard running water. It ended up being one of my favorite spots of the day. Longs Peak is the one on the left.