Friday, December 14, 2012

The Geminid Meteor Shower

Geminid Fireball above the Flatirons.
  The Geminid Meteor Shower peaked the night of December 13-14 and the weather held off just enough for me to get some really nice shots of some really bright meteors.  This one at top is my favorite and the largest fireball I captured above the Flatirons along with Orion, Jupiter, and the Pleiades.  The National Weather Service forecast was predicting 50-73% cloud cover throughout the night.  Thankfully, predicting the weather still proves nearly impossible and the world is full of pleasant surprises.

Geminid2012 from Patrick Cullis on Vimeo.
Geminid Meteor

Geminid Meteor over the First Flatiron

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Test Footage

  December 9, 2012 - First day of the season.  The storm pattern in Colorado finally shifted and brought glorious snowflakes to the mountains.  I woke at 5:30, gathered my gear and headed south to I-70.  I was originally headed for Copper Mountain who was reporting 6" and 7" total over 48 hours when Winter Park's report came in at 7" and 14".  I made an audible north to Granby and over Berthoud Pass.  I've been waiting for this season to start for a while and wanted to test out some of the new angles for shots since it was going to be a Sunday mad house on the slopes anyway.  I really like the perspective from the pole shots, but need to work on squeezing out a little more vertical angle to include the board and face instead of just staring at my midsection.

2013 Ski Test Footage from Patrick Cullis on Vimeo.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Satellite Flare
  I let the dog out the other night to find a clear sky with bright twinkling stars and quickly set up one of my cameras to photograph.  In the pre dawn morning, a large satellite caught the glare of the sun and reflected it back down to Earth as it flew by.  Satellite flares are quite common, especially after dusk and before dawn as the Sun's rays are low but have yet to brighten the atmosphere below.  The largest flares come from the orbiting International Space Station.  I looked at the timing tables, and this is not the ISS, but it definitely is a large satellite.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

05 - Zion at Night

  I was really excited to get in a good daytime project, but that didn't mean holding back on my night shots.  I always love when I can simply set up the camera outside the tent in a scenic spot, and the Watchmen Campground at Zion did not disappoint.
The Watchman Campground, Zion National Park, UT
Zion National Park, UT
  I was also able to run a few extended 15 minute exposures which I really enjoy.
A Beautiful Parking Lot

Thursday, November 8, 2012

04 - Angel's Landing

Angel's Landing.  Thank you iPhone panorama. 
  After the first day spent rappelling in to the slot canyon of the Subway, we chose a vertical climb for our second day.  Angel's Landing is one of the most famous trails in Zion, consisting of a narrow path full of switchbacks, steps carved out of solid rock with sheer vertical cliffs on both sides, and an ending upon a monolithic landing 1,500 feet above the canyon floor.
The Trail to West Ridge and the real beginning of Angel's Landing
  We started around noon riding the shuttle in to Zion Canyon and disembarking at the Grotto Trailhead.  The West Ridge Trail led up switchbacks carved in to the rock and paved smooth with the feel of an attraction line at Disney World.  I absolutely loved this hike, but I kept imagining the stunning views were simply green screens and computer animation instead of the resultant wear and tear of wind and water over millions of years. 

The trail along the ridge narrows as you approach the final ascent to Angel's Landing
Sheer drops on both sides of the trail.  If you're afraid of heights, don't look down here.
  Following a narrow ridge to the base of the monolith, the trail thinned to an arm-span while the canyon floor remained hundreds of feet below, unable to hide in periphery.
The views down Zion Canyon were stunning.

  The final ascent consisted of steep layered rocks with steps hand chiseled by park employees during the Great Depression. 
Workers carved steps in to the sheer rock.  They also added a lot of chain.
Enjoying a sit at the top.  A homeless looking man was even having a sleep...
All four hikers successfully at the top!
  Finally at the summit, we enjoyed the magnificent three hundred and sixty degree views up and down canyon.
The view back down the ridge and toward the next day's hike deep in the Narrows. 
  Descending back down the ridge and switchbacks of Walter's Wiggles, we found ourselves on the shuttle once more as dusk set upon the canyon.  A stop at the Zion Lodge for bison burgers was the perfect end to the day and avoided yet another night cooking at the campsite under headlamps.  Thankfully the check for dinner was well under the Disney price the setting suggested.  I guess that's the savings they can pass on when you avoid Orlando as the starting point for building a magical setting.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

03 - In to the Subway

Dropping in to a narrow section
  Once we descended to the canyon floor, we put on our wetsuits and packed dry bags.  The canyon narrowed with several sections of wading, swimming, and rappelling.  It was a gorgeous hike and an amazing experience.
The upper Subway
  Eventually we descended from the canyon in to the upper Subway where water has carved the rock in to a wide tunnel.

  Arriving at the final waterfall, we rappelled down to the Subway proper and found photographers hard at work at the end of the line for hikers doing the route bottom-up.  

  The Subway itself was gorgeous and we spent almost an hour photographing, eating lunch, and changing out of wetsuits.
The Subway - Zion
Exit the Subway Tunnel
  Exiting the Subway, we hiked for another couple of hours out of the canyon and in to the warmth of sunlight.  All in all it was a full day hiking from sunrise to sunset.  Well worth it.
In to the sunlight

Thursday, November 1, 2012

02 - The Subway Trail

  We arrived at Zion and grabbed a permit for the Subway Trail top-to-bottom.  The next morning we headed out to Kolob Canyon, parked one car at the exit before heading to the trailhead and began the full day trek.  
  We began the day in beautiful morning sunshine as we hiked further in to the park.
   Soon we began descending on slick-rock down in to the canyon area.

Slick-rock on the Subway Trail - Zion National Park
Slick-rock on the Subway Trail 
   Finally we came to the entrance to the canyon.  We descended a steep set of rocky drops down to the canyon floor.

  From here we put on our wetsuits and climbing harnesses and descended in to the slot canyon...

Monday, October 29, 2012

01 - Arches National Park

Arches National Park
   We awoke in Moab and started the trip off with breakfast at the Love Muffin.  Service was incredibly fast and the food was delicious.  Highly recommended.  Then, after a swing by the consignment shop for Halloween ideas, we took the quick drive North to Arches National Park.
Driving around Arches National Park

  Arches really was amazing, and I'm not quite sure if this was my first time there.  I vaguely remember driving through the area in our giant van when I was young, but what I REALLY remember was playing hacky sack and surfing on my Uncle's battery guzzling Lynx...
Approaching Double Arch
  We eased in to the trip by pretty much staying in the car the whole day as we soaked up the late afternoon sunshine on one of the prettiest roads in America.   One stop we did make was at the short hike out to Double Arch.
Beneath Double Arch
From Under Double Arch
   I was really intent on practicing with the telephoto, but with exception of these couple pictures, it pretty much stayed confined to the camera bag until our last day in Zion.  I love this lens.  Thanks Kurt!
Arches National Park
Delicate Arch
  Our last stop was at the famous Delicate Arch.  The rangers should call the exterminator.  Their land is covered with ants...

Place of Refuge

The Zion Narrows
  We had an amazing trip out to Zion National Park in October and I am just now finishing up offloading all of the pictures.  We did three stellar hikes and I will be uploading selections of each, as well as lots of night photography of the Utah Red Rock Canyon over the next couple of weeks!

Rappelling down the Subway

Ascending to Angel's Landing

Thursday, October 18, 2012


  Excellent video of the Space Shuttle move from LAX to the California Science Center.  Wish I could have been there to see it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

No Horizon Anymore - Tralier

Keith Reimink, the one guy who spent as much time shooting video as I did taking still photographs has had his documentary of our year at the South Pole accepted in a film festival.  The trailer can be viewed above.  Please vote for it if you can.  We had a viewing of the preliminary version before the exodus from Antarctica at opening and it was quite amazing.  I don't know if there was ever a time I went to the computer lab to edit on the Mac Pro's that I didn't see Keith or his pile of external hard drives cranking away at scenes.

Keith and his thermal camera box 
Shredding lead guitar for April the Leukemic Cat

Francis and Keith cooking up Midwinter dinner