Month: January 2013

Estes Park: Ghostly Encounters

The Stanley

All work and no play makes me a very dull boy.

The infamous Stanley hotel, as made infamous by the classic horror movie “The Shinning”. Still to this day I get the hebbie-jebbies watching that movie, and rightfully so. I won’t lie I did feel a little uneasy going into the Stanley at night, however I could not pass on such a great opportunity. As we approached the grounds there was an eerie vibe about this place. The buildings that still stand today have seen many people pass onto the afterlife, some more peacefully than others.

The Shinning

Spooky Stairway

Upon entering the building we were greeted by the welcoming sounds of glasses clinking and faces smiling . Each room was ornately decorated and softly lit. While one room was only illuminated by a small dying fire. This lonely dark room seemed to be calling out to me, to enter in and capture its story. As I was snapping the following image a loud thud came from above. Half startled, and heart racing, we left immediately.

Ominous

Enough of ghost chasing and looking for old horror tales, we needed something to calm the nerves and enjoy this Spirit filled place.

Scotchy scotch

So the evening was not a total bust, we finally found some real spirits lurking around the corner. And the bartender wasn’t half bad either.

The Stanley Bar Whiskey

Both the overwhelming selection of Whiskeys and Gins (local and imported) we mind boggling. The bartender went into great detail explaining the history of each liquor and their unique flavours.

Best Gin Ever

However, not being a whiskey drinker myself (and the gentleman that I am), preferred to have a exquisite G&T. This particular Gin by Spirit Hound (locally made in Lyons, Colorado) was unique by its light, smooth, and vibrant taste. Instead of being harsh, the juniper in this gin was clean and perfectly fused with such a strong grain alcohol.

Though the chilling horror stories that seem to float around The Stanley Hotel, it was a rather pleasant place to visit. I now leave the spirits behind for them to claim their next victim.

-Next

Estes Park: An Highly Expected Journey

Estes Park: Majestic Intervention

Herds

How can I sum up Estes Park in on world…Majestic! The Landscape, Atmosphere, Wildlife, and People are surreal. Visiting Estes is like walking into another world. Upon arrival I was greeted by quaint “Welcome” signs and Authentic Ranger Rick’s and Sue’s.

Ma & Pa Kettle

I took this wonderful trip with both of my parents and shared the wonders of the land. It seemed like every time that I turned around, I would see both of them with the cheesiest grins on their faces. It is because of my parents joy of exploration and love of the outdoors that I felt at home in the wild.

Moose

As we were driving around the vast expanse, we noticed a moving shadow in the woods. A mother Moose and her calf were creeping along the corners of the forest, looking for a path across the road.

Moose Crossing

As we patiently watched, both Mother and calf jaunted across the road as their audience cheered them on with “oohs” and “ahhs”, and the occasional snap of a camera.

Midnight Composure

With so much action in just the first few hours of our trip, I knew I was going to be blown away every where I looked.

-Next Time:

Estes Park: Ghostly Encounters

Blissful Fulfillment

Ahh, what a great trip! I love breathing in crisp, cool mountain air. I feel revived and alive again, and stocked up on great shots. I have so many photos that it will take a while to get them finalized. Even though we had some low light, I was able to make do. I don’t have any shots to show y’all now, due to the fact that I’m in editing mode, however I do have some experimental shots.

I tried my Holga 120CFN this weekend and had a blast doing so. I had no idea if all the tape would change any light leeks, and it did! So much so that I had nothing on the roll!!! I then realized that I put the roll in backwards (Da Derp De Der). So I made an oops, however I learned from my mistake and took another roll out today.

Brush Composition

Cat-tails

Mellow Trees

Classy Gentleman

Classy Gentleman

It was a wonderful way to end such a wonderful weekend! And yes I do smoke a pipe from time to time!

Weekend Trek

This stuffy city is starting to get to me, the constant hustle and bustle is wearing me out. So I will be going to Estes Park to enjoy some of God’s beautiful country.

joiseyshowaa / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

I can’t wait to go hiking, snowshoeing, and photographing. I am going to be experimenting with a toy camera this weekend, The Holga 120CFN to be exact.

holga-120s-camera-with-tape-to-prevent-light-leaks

Raymondlafourchette / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

I am excited to give this camera a second chance to impress me. Last time it leaked so much light that my whole roll was ruined. So here goes nothing.

-Thanks to Raymondlafourchette and joiseyshowaa for post free stock photos on Foter.com (which are included in this article)

Breezy Mid-Winters Eve

303 Sunset

It has been a very unusual kind of winter here in Colorado. Its the end of January and we have very little snow, and tons of sunshine and warm weather (that is if you consider mid to upper fifties warm). I haven’t been snowboarding very much this season do to many reasons (injuries, work, school, etc.) and lack of snow being the main reason. However there are still those of us that keep the faith alive. This weekend(Jan 24-27) check out the Winter XGames on ESPN, they will be hosting some of the best extreme sports of the year. I will definitely will be watching, just satisfy the itch.

Geese

Even though there is no snow, we have been able to enjoy some sweet rays of gold lately. I decided that I would take in some warm love from Mr. Sun myself.

Mushroom Tower

Rusty Earth

Just trying to get all artsy.

Colorado Winter Sunset

After my adventuring was done it was back to the lab. While I was editing the raw footage, I jammed out to some electronic chill music. One of my favorite local artists is Michal Menert. He is a Denver based DJ/Producer on the Pretty Lights Music record label. If you haven’t heard about the Pretty Light Music label (or Pretty Lights) then it is a must.

Adobe Photoshop CS6

So I have wanted to get Adobe Photoshop for such a long time, but the cost was way to much to afford. I’m sure I am not the only one this has happened to. However, Adobe has heard the call of millions of starving artists and college students and has provided the tools we desire in an affordable manor. I give you… Adobe Creative Cloud. For a reasonable monthly fee (http://www.adobe.com/products/creativecloud.edu.html?promoid=JQPEQ). What Adobe has done is made their software available online. This membership allows users to get access to many of their apps (photoshop, lightroom, after effects, etc.) instantly to your computer.

If I haven’t been able to convince you yet, go to the website now…NOW, and get the 30-day trial period for free. I have been using it for only a day, and I’m hooked. Here are some simple photo’s that I have ran through photoshop in about 30 minutes.

Image

I created this image from two separate captures. The snowboarder was cut from a different shot altogether, and cropped and blended into this fiery rail.

Image

I had posted the original image a day ago, which was a full color print. I was able to highlight only the woody and make the background black&white.

 

Ok enough with the inner salesman, hopefully this has been knowledgeable and informative. As an artist (and I use that word loosely), I finally will be able to have the tools to illustrate what I  see in my minds eye.

Old Photos, New Edit

I found some old photos from Fathers day June 2012 and just had to upload them. My dad and I spent the better half of the day drooling over these beauties.

1st Gen Chevrolet Corvette 1969 Matador Red AMX 1st Gen Chevrolet Camaro Custom 1st Gen Chevrolet Camaro Chevrolet Bel Air Woodie

Real beauty, if anyone can let me know what make this is, you'll get an atta boy!

Real beauty, if anyone can let me know what make this is, you’ll get an atta boy!

1st Gen Pontiac Firebird

"If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour... your going to see some serious shit!"

“If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour… your going to see some serious shit!”

Faster than a speeding Bullitt. Much cleaner than a Mustang GT

Faster than a speeding Bullitt. Much cleaner than a Mustang GT

A much smoother ride than Burt Reynolds mustache!

A much smoother ride than Burt Reynolds mustache!

Famous Rat Rodder, Ed Roth

Famous Rat Rodder, Ed Roth

Shrimp Canapes

“Never close the door to learning”, my Nonna kept repeating while we were preparing the ingredients in the kitchen. We continue to work as we reminisce about the past.

Being first generation American, and youngest of six siblings, Anne Mondeau grew up in a nation where hard work was second nature. Born in 1928, Anne grew up at the tail end of the Great Depression and lived through the Second World War. Being raised in an large Italian family meant family came first and that every penny earned went towards helping the family. Many of her brothers would hustle newspapers in downtown Boston to make ends meet. However Teresa, Anne’s strict Italian mother, promoted the furthering of her children’s education. Many of her brothers and sister went on to be successful media public relation representatives, and some even served in the armed forces. Even though the economy was rough, Anne’s family found time to enjoy each other as well as good food. Today we will be partaking one of those delectable treats as we learn to cook Shrimp Canapes.

Shrimp Canapes

Recipe Instructions

What you will need:

  • 1 small onion finely chopped, finely chopped ½ of a green or red pepper, teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, 1 to 2 drops of Tabasco, 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
  • Utensils that you may need are; chefs and paring knives, measuring spoons, mixing bowls, wooden mixing spoon, pasta pot, cutting board, and a food chopper (optional but recommended)

Rinsing Shrimp Peppers

Ingredient Preparation:

  • Before we can enjoy a tasty treat we must prepare all of our ingredients. First wash and de-shell the shrimp, and toss them into boiling water for three minutes (remember that about 36 shrimp makes 24 shells)
  • After the shrimp have become a nice bright pink, remove and strain. Now it is time to chop all the ingredients very finely

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Cooking Ingredients:

  • While the ingredients are being prepped, bring a pasta pot of water to a boil. Once the water has reached boiling point, toss a 1/8th    of a teaspoon of salt in the water immediately followed by 24-28 Conchiglioni Rigati shells. Cook for 13-15 minutes.
  •  After the shells have finished cooking (Al dente or firm not hard) strain and let shells cool till they are safe to handle.

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Mixing:

  • While the shells are cooling return to main ingredients (Tabasco, Worcestershire, mayonnaise, shrimp, onion, pepper, and garlic powder) mix all together in a separate bowl. Add mayonnaise to liking (one to two tablespoons for a dryer stuffing, or three to four for a creamier stuffing).

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Finalizing:

  • When the shells are cool enough to handle, begin stuffing shells with mixture. Do not be afraid to fill each shell to the brim. The more the better. Once all the shells are filled, chill for 15-20 minutes and serve!

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When my Nonna had told me about this recipe, she laughed and explained to me its origin. Once a year on Christmas eve, her family would have a feast. This feast was called the Feast of the Seven Fishes, La Vigilia (or Black Fast as my Nonna called it) is a traditional Italian Catholic practice. One particular Christmas Eve, my Nonna’s sister-in-law Helen Longo introduced this dish to the family. It became an instant classic and has been served every year since its introduction. Now you can partake in a little secret family recipe, and remember to never close the door to learning.