Thursday, July 21, 2016

Riverbend Ponds, Fort Collins - In A Colorado Minute (Week 325)

The Riverbend Ponds Natural Area in Fort Collins is just one of many oases found within the city limits. But this one is one of my favorites.

Riverbend Ponds, Fort Collins - In A Colorado Minute (Week 325)

Riverbend Ponds Natural Area hovers on the north-east side of the Cache la Poudre River where it bends from flowing east to flowing south. The 218 square acres of Riverbend Ponds Natural Area include seven ponds and supposedly 200 species of birds! You can see a heron and a black and white pelican in this video... and a dragonfly!

Conveniently for Fort Collins fishing, the ponds are stocked by Colorado Parks and Wildlife with bass, wiper, bluegill, black crappie, and channel catfish. And I've personally seen huge carp in the large pond.  Oh, and a humongous turtle. Here is a great list of all the Fort Collins ponds and the native and stocked fish.

The seven ponds on this side of the river were originally gravel pits created from the 1950s to the 1970s. I presume the same is true for all the ponds on the other side of the river that make up the Cattail Chorus Natural Area and Kingfisher Point Natural Area.

For this video, I only filmed around the three most northern ponds (Turtle Pond, Trout Pond and ?) and along the Poudre River. This is not a comprehensive video, just an impression. Most notably, I left out the largest pond and the wetlands to the east.

The Riverbend Ponds are accessible on the north end via Timberline, on the south end via Prospect Road, by riding your bike along the Poudre Trail and on an inner tube by cruising down the river.

One of my favorite places in all of Fort Collins is the rocky beach you can see in the last shots of the video. I discovered it and named it No Booze Riverbend last year, when Judith and Christoph were visiting from Berlin and we stopped by there... without booze, naturally. Ah, the lovely memories made in this spot with friends and Whiskey dog.

I love coming to the Riverbend Ponds at any time of year - as long as I never run into that woman with those aggressive German shepherds again.
The song in this video is called "Rainy Day" and was written and performed by my dear friend Hollie Greer, who currently plays in the band As Is in Gainesville, Florida. Thank you for the beautiful song, Hollie. I think it fits quite well on a sunny day, too.

Riverbend Ponds, Fort Collins, Colorado

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Pikes Peak Highway Time-Lapse (Down)

This Pikes Peak Highway Time-Lapse video shows the complete drive down 16-mile Pikes Peak Highway - from the Pikes Peak summit at 14,115 feet (4,302.31 m) to the road entrance at about 8,000 feet. Therefore, it covers 6,000 feet of elevation and 16 miles of roadway in less than 12 minutes!

Pikes Peak Highway Time-Lapse (Down) 

The Colorado mountain Pikes Peak is the highest mountain in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. This also means it's one of the 53 fourteeners in the Rocky Mountains. It’s also a US National Historic Landmark.

What I especially enjoyed about the drive down were all the views into the different valleys and of other lower peaks. Of course, it's also very cool to see the vegetation change. Pikes Peak Highway takes you through four out of the six classically described life zones: Alpine Zone, Sub Alpine Zone, Montane Zone and Foothills Zone.

Something that may or may not be comforting: on the way down there is a required stop where the temperature of your breaks get tested to ensure they aren’t overheating and are still working properly.
This Pikes Peak Highway Time-Lapse video, shot with a GoPro and sped up 400%, was filmed in September 2015 during week 279 of the 5-year-running weekly web series Moving Postcard.

As with all time-lapse videos, I highly recommend watching in HD.

Other Pikes Peak videos:
Complete Drive Up Pikes Peak Highway, Colorado – (Extended Version)
Driving Down Pikes Peak Highway – In A Colorado Minute (291)
Driving Up Pikes Peak Highway – In A Colorado Minute (Week 279)
Pikes Peak Summit – In A Colorado Minute (Week 280)

The music in this video was all made by Jason Shaw. All songs are available via a CC BY 3.0 license on his website Audionautix. Thank you so much, Jason!

Driving down Pikes Peak Highway

Monday, July 18, 2016

Photos of Homer, Alaska

More and more photos of Homer, Alaska - on top of the ones that I already published a few days ago in this post: Photos from the Kenai Peninsula (Alaska). All these pictures I took over the course of a few days while filming the new segment for the documentary "All's Well and Fair" and the latest Moving Postcard web series episode.

To find out more about Homer and get specific travel tips, please check out the post for the video: Homer, Alaska – In Another Minute (324).

Leaving Homer, Alaska
Sign at Two Sisters Bakery

Majestic View of Homer Spit, Homer Airport and Kachemak Bay - seen from the Rose Room balcony at the Majestic View B&B in Homer, Alaska.

Homer Spit, Homer, Alaska.

One of many restaurants and shops on stilts along Homer Spit, Alaska.

To the left and to the right - moving away.
Kachemak Bay, Homer, Alaska.

To the left and to the right - moving together.
Kachemak Bay, Homer, Alaska.

The ol' Altair - one of many retired boats along Homer Spit, Alaska.

The old Virginis boat still standing tall on Homer Spit, Alaska.

Everything in Alaska is bigger, even the driftwood on the Beach on Homer Spit.

Come, fly with me!
Homer, Alaska

View of Homer Spit from Kachemak Bay, Alaska.

he famous Salty Dawg Saloon in Homer, Alaska.

Quaint drinking village with a fishing problem + We're here because we're not quite there.
Salty Dawg Saloon - Homer, Alaska

What's significant about this picture? They still have a pay phone!
Salty Dawg Saloon - Homer, Alaska

Hey Mermaids! This way!
Sign at the excellent Little Mermaid restaurant in Homer, Alaska.

No wake zone enforcers!
Homer Spit, Alaska

Clover Field.
Homer, Alaska

Fireweed galore!
Homer, Alaska

So this is where the Tardis has been hiding... in Homer, Alaska.

What? you want to see even more photos from Homer, Alaska? Then check out my In Another Minute 2016 Flickr album.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Homer, Alaska - In Another Minute (324)

Homer, Alaska, is a fishing village and tourist hot spot at the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula. While it has only about 5,000 permanent residents, it has quite a few nicknames: "Halibut Fishing Capital of the World" and "the cosmic hamlet by the sea" and "the end of the road."

Homer, Alaska - In Another Minute (324)

The only road leading into town is Sterling Highway, aka Alaska Highway 1, which connects Homer with Anchorage, 225 miles to the north. Homer has been compared to Key West because of its similar setting of being at the end of a single highway and surrounded by water - you just have to dress a lot warmer in Alaska.

Last week, I got to discover this eclectic town when I was filming Tessa Drais and her family for my ongoing documentary project "All's Well and Fair." I will remain forever grateful that she moved to such an enchanting place and gave Scott and me reason to visit and explore.

Homer, Alaska, was first established in 1898 as a settlement for gold miners by Homer Pennock. The miners remained unsuccessful, and the town quickly turned to fishing. Today, Homer is probably best known for halibut fishing, which tourists can participate in by choosing one of many day and half-day charters. Another option is fishing for salmon out in Kachemak Bay or along the rather unique Nick Dudiak Lagoon (aka the fishing hole). This man-made rectangle, off the bay on Homer Spit,  was stocked years ago, and now draws the adult salmon back every year. It seems almost literally like shooting fish in a barrel - especially on the days when snagging is allowed. The seals also know how easy it is to grab a salmon off your hook. So watch out!

A lot of the footage was shot on and off Homer Spit, a gravel bar that extends from the main part of town into Kachemak Bay. This is where you will find the marina, the lagoon, restaurants like the excellent Little Mermaid, the famous Salty Dawg Saloon, shops on stilts, a boat graveyard, tons of RVs and tents, and the opportunity to watch bald eagles, sea otters and whales at play. While on Homer Spit, you can book fishing and sight-seeing tours and water taxi trips over to Halibut Cove, from where you can hike up to a glacier. We chose a ride-along on one of Mako's Water Taxis and got very lucky when Lance allowed us to stay on the boat for a second ride and then took us over to Seagull Island, where we saw all the breath-taking wildlife featured in the video "Kenai Peninsula (Alaska) - In Another Minute (Week 232)" and the whale featured in this video. Thank you again, Lance!

The Tardis, however, landed along East End Road on the mainland.

Homer, Alaska, has many Bed & Breakfasts. But if you're planning to visit in the summer, make sure you book early because they fill up quickly. The opening shot, I filmed from our private balcony at the Majestic View Bed & Breakfast, which also offered fantastic breakfast and a captain with a boat you can hire for whale-watching and fishing tours. For our last night, we managed to get the last available room in town at the Whalesong Bed & Breakfast. A place just as charming, but in walking distance to downtown restaurants, bars and the movie theater, instead of up on the hills with a view.

I shot the video in 4k on a Panasonic GH4 - except for the footage of the humpback whale, which Scott shot in 1080p on my beloved little Sony. Because my current computer isn't capable of editing 4k footage, this whole video is finished in 1080p. I'm still amazed how much better the down-converted 4k footage looks. If you'd like to see this and future videos in full 4k (or UHD to be more precise), please help me raise funds for the web series via its Patreon page. THANK YOU!
By the way, most of the footage from Homer Spit was shot between 10pm and midnight. During the day, it's still quite a lot brighter.

The song in this video is the instrumental version of “Stars Collide” by Josh Woodward. This song is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 US License. Thank you, Josh, for providing us with so much great music!

Stilt houses on Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska

You can look at more pictures of Homer, Alaska in the In Another Minute 2016 Flickr album. There will also be a separate blog post. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Photos from the Kenai Peninsula (Alaska)

Quite a few photos I took around the Kenai Peninsula, between Anchorage, Homer and Seward - along the Kenai and Kasilof rivers, Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay.

For more information about the area, please check out the post for my corresponding Moving Postcard video: "Kenai Peninsula (Alaska) – In Another Minute (Week 323)"

To look at even more photos from this trip to magnificent Alaska, hop on over to the In Another Minute 2016 Flickr album.

Mountains on the northern end of Kenai Peninsula seen across Turnagain Arm and train tracks that invoke Ferneweh.

Steep green hills rising into the clouds and plenty of RVs: driving down the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

My travel and life buddy, Scott Solary, doing some serious fly-fishing in Salmon Creek
Seward, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Halibut Cove, Kachemak Bay and Grewingk Glacier (I think)
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Or maybe this is Grewingk Glacier - they do all kind of look the same, don't they?
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Shut up and take me fishin'!
Spotted on a truck parked at the Kenai River. Guess it worked.

The color!!!
Kenai River, Alaska

Mountains rising out of the clouds across the bay in Seward.
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

View of the mountains across Cook Inlet from the most southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula: Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska

Mount Augustine Volcano on Augustine Island - seen from Homer Spit
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Sea otter just saying hello... or yelling at me for taking a photo?
Kachemak Bay, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Redoubt Volcano seen across Cook Inlet from the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Bald eagle hanging out in Homer Spit harbor
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

From the top: 1 seagull, 4 common murres, 1 puffin
Kachemak Bay, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Seaotter chillin' in Kachemak Bay
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Not a duck ducking in front of oncoming boat (Thank you, Lance of Mako's Water Taxi!)... but a murre.
Kachemak Bay, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Masses of murres.
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Adolescent bald eagles settling in on Seagull Island
Kachemak Bay, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

What are you yelling at?
Adolescent bald eagles on Seagull Island, Kachemak Bay.
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Puffin watching murre walk on water.
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Looking at Halibut Cove from Kachemak Bay.
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

More birds, birds, birds - even a flying murre.
Seagull Island, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
Islands before the mist.
Kachemak Bay, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Wetlands on the northern end of Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Turnagain Arm and Chugach State Park mountains in Alaska.

Sunny skies and skinny evergreen tree in Alaska.
Humpback whale cruising past Homer, Alaska.

Humpback whale tail.
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Fishing in the Kasilof River.
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Seagull eating salmon carcass in the Kasilof River.
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska