Rocky Mountain High – Or, What To Do When You Really Want To Be Afloat

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Your SetSail reporter is just back from a week in the mountains, learning about photography from two of the best, all in preparation for when FPB 78-1 goes in the water in 2015.
With FPB owners sending us photos from the Marquesas Islands, Fiji, and Tonga, and Sundeer/Deerfoot owners commenting from around the world, sitting behind a desk on land is not the easiest of fates to swallow. So with the basic design work completed on our FPB 78-1, we decided to get high with Mother Nature.

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Venturing along was son-in-law Todd Beveridge, a wonderful professional shooter in his own right,


grandson Ian Beveridge who at age ten has a very sophisticated eye,

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and our good friend Joe Zinn, who is the preeminent southwest photographer roaming the landscape these days (click here for a look at Joe’s work).

With all the tools available today on the computer, photography is still about light, which means sunrise and sunset. Out the door by 0500 and then not back before 2100 (on an early evening).


 A photo like this, taken fifteen minutes after sunset, is a lot nicer looking when real than if you try and create it in Photoshop (Canon 1DX, 24-105mm lens at 105mm, 1/13th second at F22, ISO 200, -1EV).

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Layers of light tease us with their challenge.

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And even in less than perfect conditions, such as this and the preceding photo, texture and contrast pull you into the scene.

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We are intrigued with creatures of all sorts, and find turkey vultures most fascinating. What they lack in conventional beauty they more than make up for in soaring technique.

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At the other end of the size and aesthetic spectrum, and an amazing flying machine to boot, this wonderful butterfly decided to brighten our day.

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Then there are the chipmunks, well schooled in the art of looking cute.

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And colorful lizards trying to avoid the raptors looking for a tasty snack.


The high mountain plateaus are ablaze with wildflowers.

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They are everywhere we look.

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In all sorts of combinations of color.

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The back drop of growing cumulus clouds, marshaling their forces with the day’s heat, promise an interesting show towards the evening .

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The dark skies make for a vivid backdrop.

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And the moisture contained in these clouds teases forth all sorts of interesting flora.

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Joe takes us to Black Canyon, with the deepest vertical face in the USA.

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Todd caught Ian and Joe waiting for Grandpa to finally finish his series. Of course this was Joe Zinn’s fault.

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Looking the other way into the setting sun was a hazy treasure of shadows that he alone knew lay in wait.

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OK, we need at least one family photo, and by this time Mr. Ian’s patience was at an end. This writer, having endured similar with his father would no doubt have reacted same, as did Ian’s mother when she was this age and her father was taking yet another photograph.

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Our day ends with a display of of one of the deadlier items in Mother Nature’s arsenal. We are awestruck, transfixed by the power and variety of this show, and even the smell of ozone does not drive us from our quest to photograph what we are experiencing. But when we notice the hair on our bodies standing up and vibrating we make a dash for the car and off the mountain.

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The ultimate lightening photo awaits another day.

Lightning photos were taken with a Stepping Stone Products Lightning Trigger. Night time shots are typically shot in manual, with Canon 1DX, ISO 200, F11, and 30 seconds exposure time. Lenses include 16-35mm,  24-105, 70/200, and 400mm prime. Note that long exposures in often windy conditions require a heavy tripod, at minimal extension, using a remote release, and mirror lock up.

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This land cruise took place in southwestern Colorado, and western Utah.

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Granted, not competitive with the likes of Hanavavai Baie on Fatu Hiva in the western Marquesas Islands, or the charms of Vavau, Tonga with its friendly locals and wintering humpback whale population. But in a pinch, we’ll make do (for now).

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We’ll close with this shot of Joe Zinn about to put another lovely image in the digital bank (taken by Todd Beveridge).

Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 31, 2013)

7 Responses to “Rocky Mountain High – Or, What To Do When You Really Want To Be Afloat”

  1. Kent Says:

    Your butterfly shot has eye popping color.

  2. Steve Dashew Says:

    Thanks Kent:
    The butterfly was very obliging by staying out of the direct sun and coming back several times.

  3. David M. Says:

    One of the things I enjoy about your site is the great pictures that fill the voids between engineering, design, and sailing posts.

  4. Steve Dashew Says:

    Thanks David – trying to stay sane between voyages…

  5. Scott Flanders Says:

    Steve, the lightning shots were Very Good. The second shot in the posting before was the single best lightning shot I’ve ever seen.

    Of course you cost me money. I have to get the lightning trigger. Thanks for that.

    Nice downhill trip from E. Greenland to Reykjavik.

    Arizona in early Nov, just guessing.


  6. Steve Dashew Says:

    Look forward to shooting together when you get to Arizona.

  7. Jeff Says:

    Great pictures Steve (Family, and Friend)!