Friday, November 12, 2010

Quick photo shoot

Although some people might say it's getting close to the end of the season, there is still some paddling to be had in colorado. If I can just hold on for one more month, it won't be the end of this season, it will be the beginning of next season. With some huge releases on the Big T (about 450 cfs today - the highest I've ever run it, and about as high as I would want to see) and a broken dam promising solid flows through Barrel Springs for some time to come (I had nothing to do with that broken dam), this could shape up to be a strong finish to 2010.

However, it is November, and the two things I listed are just about the only two things running in the entire state of Colorado. A week or so ago, Natalie and I got desperate enough to drive up to Poudre Falls for a park n' huck photo session. It was a long drive for a pretty diminutive drop, and right when we arrived and stepped out of the car to scout, a light snowstorm started. We were both pretty grumpy. Natalie took a look at the level and a look at the sky and decided to just shoot photos. I cinched up my new lifejacket and decided that I just couldn't go home without splashing around at least a little. I took a quick couple laps, got back into my dry clothes, and headed home to run some errands.

Although there's no action here, I really like this shot.Poudre Falls

When we finally got around to looking at the photos, much later, I was blown away. They are beautiful. It was pretty low light, which makes for very difficult shooting, since you either have to bump up the camera sensitivity and get noise, or keep the sensitivity low, but shoot at the widest aperture possible, which makes it very hard to focus. Natalie managed to get some surprisingly crisp shots, and I managed not to screw up my lines too badly. Well, my lines weren't perfect, but I left our a bunch of photos. I couldn't resist posting my favorite shots.

Second lap off the first falls. Poudre Falls

Here is a slideshow of the top 10:

All photos by Natalie Kramer.

Next week, I will finish combing through this season's mwave photos.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Low water continues remorselessly

Well, I suppose that despite the unseasonably warm weather, the paddling season might be starting to get close to finishing, although that's totally a matter of opinion. However, my favorite part of the end of the season here in colorado (which is a lot like saying "my favorite part of being eaten by a giant octopus...") is the Big Thompson. Near the end of the season, there are usually a couple good releases through the Big T, and it makes for some awesome paddling. It's a pretty good run even when other stuff is running, so in the late season when Gore is down to 1,000 and Barrel Springs is at its winter level, the Big T suddenly seems like the best run ever paddled by humankind.

Over the past couple weeks, these last few releases have made my life an emotional rollercoaster ride. One minute it's perfect at 200 cfs, and I'm dancing around my office, the next, down to just 70, and I ride home to lie in bed and cry myself to sleep. At one point, I got desperate enough to run it at 80 cfs, which was admittedly on the bony side, but surprisingly fun. I have my own names for pretty much every move in the 1/2 mile long run, but at 80 cfs, I got to experiment with some totally new lines. I also finally got a look at a couple of the rocks that I always seem to piton at normal flows. This will help me plan better lines once there's water again. I also had a handful of laps at medium flows, which were even better than the low flow laps.

I've picked out my favorite photos from the various trips we did, and put them in the order in which they are run. Have fun guessing which photos were at 80 and which were at 200. Here's the slideshow.

Here are some of my favorite favorites showcased.

The note I left on my office door. "Attention [Physics] 141 students: I had to go kayaking unexpectedly. Very sorry. I plan to be back at about 5:00." Full Album

Garbage Disposal, with some thick frost coating the rocks in the foreground. No snow or ice allowed until the offseason. Full Album

The one mini-rapid that I don't have a name for. It's between V Slide and Awesome Boof. Full Album

I even managed to convince Natalie to join me. Here she is entering the last rapid: Canon Shot Full Album

Here's an angle on Canon Shot that's hard to get. Natalie Kramer Photo. Full Album