Monday, April 28, 2014

Neneh Cherry - "Everything Is Everything" (#MusicMonday)

Great to see Neneh Cherry again!

With the song "Everything Is Everything" she delivers a great beat and melody. The lyrics resonate with me very well; and while I thought at first the song didn't need to be over 7 minutes long, her vocal improvisations towards the end perfectly underline the words, thoughts and emotions of the song. So it works in its entirety.



The single shot, black and white video directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino has one single focus: Neneh Cherry dancing and singing. It has a great energy. Can't wait to try this one out on the dance floor. I'll definitely be singing along...

Neneh Cherry in her video for "Everything"

Friday, April 25, 2014

Rocky Mountain National Park – In A Colorado Minute (Week 208)



Rocky Mountain National Park is a 415 square-mile National Park in Northern Colorado. It straddles the continental divide and features high mountain peaks, lakes, rivers, trails and lots of wildlife.

From Fort Collins, the Rocky Mountain National Park is only a little over an hour away by car, and the drive via Highway 34 takes you through Thompson Canyon along the Big Thompson river. Thompson Canyon features rock walls that rival those of Poudre Canyon road (Highway 14). If you come this way, you will find the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park in the town Estes Park.

So it was an easy choice to take a little road trip with my friend Judith Hecktor, who was visiting from Berlin (and has been featured in quite a few videos from Berlin, Brooklyn and other road trip videos). As you can see in the video she gets along smashingly with our dog Whiskey.
This area is truly stunning with its contrast of big mountains, deep meadows, running rivers, colorful rocks, a variety of plants and wildlife everywhere.

The last time, I visited Rocky Mountain National Park was in August, in the heat of the summer. Even then you could still find snow on some of the peaks. Unfortunately, now in April, there was still so much snow that some of the higher roads were closed. But I'm sure I'll be back to film, explore and show this beautiful nature park to other visiting friends throughout the summer. Scott and I may even go on a camping venture up there or stay in one of the cabins along the river... Whatever we do, I'm sure I'll share a video with you afterwards.

On the plus side of checking out this park in the winter: so much snow has fallen that entire lakes, hiking trails and the signs for those locations are buried in the snow, which adds a different kind of drama to your photographic or videographic experience.

While the fee to get in is $20, the ticket is valid for an entire week - at least at this time of the year. And there's so much else to explore in the vicinity, like staying at The Stanley Hotel, which was the inspiration for Stephen King's novel "The Shinning" and where some of the TV show has been filmed, or taking the aerial tramway... So yeah, I'll be back soon...

The featured song is the instrumental version of "Saturday" - a song written and performed by Josh Woodward (JoshWoodward.com), who kindly makes his music available via a Creative Commons License.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Thursday, April 17, 2014

1st Time Skiing - Loveland Ski Area - In A Colorado Minute (Week 207)



This week, Scott and I went skiing for the first time ever. What happens when you take a grown woman from the flat lands of Hamburg, Germany, up to the Loveland Ski Area (skiloveland.com) in Colorado and put her on skis for the first time? She has a blast, falls a few times and realizes that it's really the ski lift that is the most intimidating aspect of it all.

Of course, because that German woman is me, I also had to film the adventure of skiing for the first time. Equipped with a GoPro on my helmet, I was hoping I'd bring you some awesome point-of-view shots of sailing, traversing or slowly creeping (it's all a matter of perspective) down the mountain.

Unfortunately, in a perfect storm scenario, the GoPro chestmounts were sold out in town so I had to put it on my helmet, the camera was pointing down instead of straight ahead, we were too busy learning how to make it back down from the mountain to really check the camera's position, the GoPro doesn't have a playback option for me to check the footage and.... last but not least, I probably looked on the ground a lot more than up ahead. Typical beginner. Long story short, the GoPro footage showed more of my skis and shadow than the beautiful surroundings.

To make the best of it, I added a good amount of ski lift footage, a shot filmed by our awesome instructor Jim (aka Jungle Jim) of me skiing and spiced it all up with some (I hope you get the irony) metal music by my friend Jason Matherne. And I don't mean his song "Bloody Hell" is ironic, it's great. But uh... yeah, we're not fast metalhead badass skiers... obviously.

A huge thank you to Harry, the ski instructor supervisor, who showed us the very basics in the morning and to Jungle Jim, who patiently taught us moves and confidence going downhill and skied backwards to film us, in the afternoon. We were both so impressed by how accommodating, friendly and patient everyone was with us first-timers. I highly recommend the Loveland Ski Area and to take lessons when you're just starting out. A full-day beginner's course costs $90. I definitely will try to make it out there again (with one of my visitors from Germany) before the mountain closes for the season on May 4th.

Additional thank you to Amanda Reed for letting me borrow her gear and Peter Verchick for lending me the GoPro again!

Last but not least, a special shout-out to the girl skiing in the long skirt (last shot) - you made me feel like I was in Brooklyn again, jogging alongside a hasidic girl in a long skirt and a wig. Multi-culti for the win!!!

For this excursion and video, I also shot a vlog to give a little background. As soon as that is online, I will post a link here...

Scott Solary and Jim Legere (aka Jungle Jim) about to ski down the mountain in the Loveland Ski Area

Monday, April 14, 2014

Warpaint - "Disco/Very - Keep It Healthy"

For their latest video release (directed by Laban Pheidas), the LA band Warpaint chose an interesting concept: featuring two songs in a row ("Disco/Very" and "Keep It Healthy") with a connecting theme: skateboarding.

Slowing all the visuals down creates the right feel for the slower, sonic sound of Warpaint, whose singing style and the effects put on the women's voices are the reasons why I've liked this band so much from the get-go.

"Disco/Very" has the kind of catchy melody that to me evokes memories of my favorite song by them, "Undertow", and also seems to reveal some MIA influences.



Warpaint in the video for "Disco/Very"

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Photos from Arthur's Rock Trail - Lory State Park, Colorado

These are photos I took while hiking up to Arthur's Rock in Lory State Park (near Fort Collins, Colorado) while filming the video "Arthur’s Rock (Lory State Park – Part 2) – In A Colorado Minute (Week 206)" for my weekly 1-minute Moving Postcard web series, which you can watch HERE, where you can also read more about the park and the trail.

Rock on top of Arthur's Rock
Lory State Park, Colorado

The best way to look at these pictures is to click on the first one, which will launch a larger version. Then you can click through them in order. 


Arthur's Rock Trail
Lory State Park, Colorado

The early part of Arthur's Rock Trail
Lory State Park, Colorado

Meadow in front of Arthur's Rock
Lory State Park, Colorado

Arthur's Rock
Lory State Park, Colorado

Pasque flower (aka pulsatilla) - a common spring flower in the Foothills of the Rocky Mountains

My patient hiking and filming buddy, Whiskey,
waiting for me to be done filming flowers along the trail

Switchback trail up to Arthur's Rock gets that extra natural feel by big rocks in the path
Lory State Park, Colorado

Lots of grasshoppers and butterflies were sunning on the south-facing hill

Hikers making it up the trail to Arthur's Rock, leaving Horsetooth Reservoir behind

Rocks and roots across the trail give it a wonderfully natural look
Lory State Park, Colorado

My hiking buddy Whiskey watching butterflies
Lory State Park, Colorado

Possibly a Spring Beauty flower (Claytonia lanceolata)
Lory State Park, Colorado

At times you can hardly tell where the trail is

Dead trees on top of Arthur's Rock - the perfect pick-nick backdrop
Lory State Park, Colorado

Two of the boulders on the top or Arthur's Rock
Lory State Park, Colorado

Horsetooth Reservoir, Fort Collins and the Great Plains seen from Arthur's Rock
Lory State Park, Colorado

Horsetooth Reservoir, Fort Collins and the Great Plains seen from Arthur's Rock
Lory State Park, Colorado

Coves of Horsetooth Reservoir and the lower part of Lory State Park

One of the Horsetooth Reservoir damns of Horsetooth Reservoir and Fort Collins -
seen from Arthur's Rock
Lory State Park, Colorado



Friday, April 11, 2014

Arthur's Rock (Lory State Park - Part 2) - In A Colorado Minute (Week 206)


Arthur's Rock (Lory State Park - Part 2) - In A Colorado Minute (Week 206) from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

Spring has finally fully arrived in Northern Colorado, and I took the opportunity to explore the upper level of Lory State Park. I had already filmed the lower part back in January: Lory State Park (Part 1) – In A Colorado Minute (Week 195).

For this excursion, I chose the most Southern trail - to Arthur's Rock. I was immediately rewarded with beautiful rock-covered, tree-lined, steep trails and beautiful vistas of Horsetooth Reservoir.

At this time of year you can find a running stream, colorful spring flowers and lots of grasshoppers and butterflies. The trail takes you from about 5,000 feet up to 7,000 feet in only 1.7 miles. So it can be a challenging hike. The last bit of rocks you have to climb have only recently been arranged into a rather naturally looking "staircase" - even Whiskey with her rather short legs makes that last climb look very easy.

The view from the breezy top of Horsetooth Reservoir, Fort Collins and the Pawnee Grassland was absolutely worth the hike and climb. I can't wait to return here with a special person and a pick-nick.

The featured song is the instrumental version of "Bags of Water" by Josh Woodward, who made this song available via a Creative Commons license. Check out more of this great music on his website: JoshWoodward.com.

The view of Horsetooth Reservoir, Fort Collins and Pawnee Grassland from Arthur's Rock
in Lory State Park, Colorado

Monday, April 7, 2014

Cloud Nothings - "I'm Not Part of Me" (MusicMonday)

Just discovered the Cleveland band Cloud Nothings and love them already. My kind of band with their upbeat blend of old school punk rock and indie rock, their singalong lyrics and their fun videos, like the one for "I'm Not Part of Me" - directed by John Ryan Manning.



I'm dedicating this video [but not the lyrics of the song ;-)] to all my fun-loving girls - you know who you are (one of you will be dancing with me to this song in about 9 days... Can't wait!)

Cloud Nothings


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Photos from Wolf Creek Pass

A handful of photos from the drive through Wolf Creek Pass during the Week 200 Road Trip in February 2014. 

If you like what you see, check out the time-lapse video from this drive: "Rocky Mountains Drive: Wolf Creek Pass (Time Lapse) – In A Colorado Minute (Week 202)"

Approaching Sheep Mountain
Rocky Mountains, Colorado

Watch out for falling rock!
Wolf Creek Pass, Rocky Mountains, Colorado 

Frozen waterfall and tunnel
Wolf Creek Pass, Rocky Mountains, Colorado 

Wolf Creek Pass, Rocky Mountains
Colorado 

Boulder by the road
Wolf Creek Pass, Rocky Mountains, Colorado 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Fall + Winter on Instagram - In A Colorado Minute (Week 205)


Fall + Winter on Instagram - In A Colorado Minute (Week 205) from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

This video shows a selection of photos I shot with my iPhone 5 and (mostly) published via Instagram, the social photography app.

The oldest picture in this collection was taken in September 2013, the newest I took this week (March/April 2014) when my dear friend Erica Stoltz (of Dirty Excuse and Lost Goat) came for a visit from Brooklyn. Besides Erica, you also get to see Scott and Whiskey in this video.

Most of the pictures are from Colorado - but a few are from my two visits to New York this winter.

Featured locations among others are: Horsetooth Reservoir, Horsetooth Mountain, Pawnee Grassland, Pawnee Buttes, Rocky Mountains, Red Feather Lakes, Cache la Poudre River, Poudre Canyon Road, The Narrows, Arkansas Headwaters State Park, Ghost Town Carr, Mesa Verde, Fort Collins, Denver and Brooklyn.

If you'd like to see more of my photographs (and come along on my travels and explorations through the immediacy of the almost daily photos I share), you can check out and feel free to follow my Instagram account: LuciWest.

The music is the instrumental version of "Already There" by Josh Woodward, who has made this and a multitude of other beautiful songs available via a Creative Commons license.

Ghost Town Carr, Colorado
(via Instagram/LuciWest)