Thursday, September 22, 2016

Eagle's Nest Open Space - In A Colorado Minute (Week 334)

Eagle's Nest Open Space features 755 acres of nature, about 5 miles of trails, access to the North Fork of the Cache la Poudre River and beautiful views of Eagle's Nest Mountain and the Laramie Foothills. The best part about Eagle's Nest Open Space: not many people seem to know about it.

Eagle's Nest Open Space - In A Colorado Minute (Week 334) [4k]

Eagle's Nest is just outside Livermore, Colorado, about half an hour north-west of Fort Collins via 287. For locals: the entrance is on the left side just after you turn at Forks towards Red Feather Lakes. From February 1 to July 15 certain areas as are closed to protect nesting animals. And yes, there are Golden Eagles nesting on Eagle's Nest. I didn't get any footage, but I did photograph a raptor. Haven't identified yet which bird it is though.

Larimer County Open Spaces are free to enter and are financed through a 1/4 cent sales and use tax. Some of the land is used in cooperation with farmers - so don't be surprised if you run into a herd of cows. Started as a citizens initiative, these lands serve both as a protection of natural resources and as places of recreation.

The reason why I think this a well-kept-secret is because when we were there on a beautiful, sunny, warm Sunday afternoon, we only ran into one small group on horseback and one other guy when we first got there - and then didn't see another human being for the rest of the afternoon.

A quick note on the video: When we first got out of the car it was so crazy windy that there was no way I would be able to shoot a decent video, even with a tripod. So I left the tripod behind. Once we had walked a bit and got down into the valley, the views were so breath-taking and the wind had died down some. So I ended up getting footage without the tripod. Tried my best to smooth it out in post.
By the way, I'm still struggling a little bit with color correction of the 4k footage in Adobe Premiere. I'm interested in your feedback regarding color, contrast and brightness.

The song in this video is the instrumental version of the song "Midnight Sun" by Josh Woodward. This song is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Thank you so much, Josh!

Eagle's Nest Mountain reflected in the North Fork (of Cache la Poudre River)
Eagle's Nest Open Space, Colorado

In the next few days, I'll upload a few photos to the In A Colorado Minute 2016 Flickr album and my blog

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Photos of St. Vrain State Park

St. Vrain State Park is an oasis of ponds, wildlife and views of the Rocky Mountains right off Interstate 25 in Northern Colorado.

These photos I took while shooting the video "St. Vrain State Park – In A Colorado Minute (Week 333)." Check out the post for the video to read more about the Colorado state park.

Three cormorants...

Two cormorants...

One cormorant.

St. Vrain River
St. Vrain State Park, Colorado

St. Vrain State Park, Colorado

Pelican Pond
St. Vrain State Park, Colorado

St. Vrain State Park, Colorado

Pelican Pond
St. Vrain State Park, Colorado

Whiskey dog running through St. Vrain River

Abandoned farm seen from St. Vrain State Park, Colorado

St. Vrain State Park, Colorado

Pelican Pond
St. Vrain State Park, Colorado

St. Vrain State Park, Colorado

Next year's blooms and this year's blooms
St. Vrain State Park, Colorado

Bald Eagle Pond
St. Vrain State Park, Colorado

Coot Pond
St. Vrain State Park, Colorado

Thursday, September 15, 2016

St. Vrain State Park - In A Colorado Minute (Week 333)

The St. Vrain State Park near Longmont, Colorado, features about ten ponds and the wonderful backdrop of the Rocky Mountains.

St. Vrain State Park - In A Colorado Minute (Week 333) [4K]

While the Colorado state park was named after the St. Vrain River, which flows along its north side, it's not the main attraction. Actually, access to the river is a bit of a challenge. The main attraction of St. Vrain State Park are the ponds and the wildlife they support, namely birds and fish. It would be interesting to know why they changed the park's name, at some point, from Barbour Ponds to St. Vrain.

St. Vrain State Park encompasses 604 acres of land and 152 acres of water (split up between the ponds and Blue Heron Reservoir). When I visited this past week, it looked like they were doing another expansion on the north-west side. Exciting!

Birds commonly seen in the park are egrets, white pelicans, blue herons, migrating waterfowls and various birds of prey, including bald eagles. The St. Vrain ponds are a very popular fishing destination for a good reason. Not only are the ponds stocked with different fish, the Colorado Parks Department provides you with excellent information about which fish can be found where. I'm impressed.

There are two facts about this location I purposely left out of this video: the noise of close-by Interstate 25 and the large amount of RVs. While the proximity of the interstate and the excellent amenities for RV camping make this a prime road trip camping spot, it wasn't what I wanted to feature in my nature-focused video. So from afar, St. Vrain State Park may just look like an RV park with some ponds to you - but when you get close and allow yourself to get lost in the beauty of the nature and wildlife here, it's simply a lovely oasis.

Most of this video I recorded around Pelican Pond, with additional footage from Mallard Pond, Bald Eagle Pond, Coot Pond and the St. Vrain River. At Coot Pond, Scott, Whiskey and I watched the most thrilling sunset yet... I didn't include footage of that here because I'll be sharing a time-lapse video of the entire sunset with you very soon (maybe next week already).

There are a few milestones marked with this video:
  • It's the first Moving Postcard published in the 4k/UHD format. While most of you probably don't have an UHD monitor yet and might not be able to enjoy how large and sharp this video can play... you will one day.
  • It's the first Moving Postcard I edited on Adobe Premiere Pro (vs. Final Cut Pro 7). I had to switch to be able to work in 4k/UHD. Since I used Premiere Pro before FCP had become the standard a decade ago, switching hasn't been as difficult as I feared. I think I still have a lot to learn about the color correction aspect. What do you think? Do the colors and contrast look okay? Whiskey doesn't look as red-haired as usual, no?
  • Last but not least, this is the first video location I recorded based on a recommendation by someone on Google+. Thank you, Bailey! In the last few months, there have been some exciting developments for me with G+. First, my In A Colorado Minute Collection became a Featured Collection (and by now has over 28,000 followers), then I was invited into the official Google+ Create Community - and by now I've had several very meaningful exchanges with people on Google+ that make me want to celebrate those human connections here as well. (Of course, I will not be fooled by the thought of this G+ thing being everlasting. I do still remember how YouTube/G+ screwed me over and permanently deleted all my work and community 4 years ago. I ain't no fool.)
The lovely guitar playing in this video is the instrumental version of the song "Memorized" by Josh Woodward. This song is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Thank you again and again and again, Josh!

Pelican Pond and Longs Peak
St. Vrain State Park, Colorado
You can look at more photos of the park (and Whiskey splashing in the water) in the In A Colorado Minute 2016 Flickr album and on my blog.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tulum, Mexico (extended video)

The town of Tulum, Mexico, on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula is the perfect vacation spot if you like sunshine, beach, ancient ruins, good food, good drinks, nearby cenotes, iguanas and small hotels. I do!

Tulum, Mexico (extended video)

If you're looking for big resorts and all the amenities of that sort of vacation, Tulum is not for you.

This video is an extended version of the 1-minute video "Tulum (Mexico) – In Another Minute (Week 261)" - which I published last year. If you want to know more about Tulum and my experience there, please check out that post.

The song in this video is "Nice and Easy" by Jason Shaw of He has made this and many more songs available via the CC BY 3.0 license. Thank you for all your great (and free) music, Jason! I keep coming back for more...

Zamas Hotel, Restaurant and Bar with a view
Tulum, Mexico

You can look at pictures of Tulum and the surrounding area in the In Another Minute 2015 Flickr album and on my blog: Photos from Tulum, Mexico.

More videos from my trip to the Yucatan Peninsula and the Riviera Maya:

Chichén Itzá – World Wonder (Mexico) – In Another Minute (262)

Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve (Mexico) – In Another Minute (263)

Gran Cenote (Mexico) – In Another Minute (265)

Cobá Mayan Ruins (Mexico) – In Another Minute (312)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Meet Darla Elsbernd (Architect) - In A Minute Portrait (Week 332)

Darla Elsbernd is an architect, an urban adventurer and a traveler. She's also one of my best friends.

Meet Darla Elsbernd (Architect) - In A Minute Portrait (Week 332)

Darla Elsbernd works at the prestigious New York City firm Ennea Architects, which specializes in work for cultural, educational, governmental and scientific not-for-profit institutions. She continues to impress me with the big and well-known projects she gets to work on.

As you will hear in the video, Darla grew up in Iowa and now lives in Brooklyn. We met at an independent filmmaker event in New York over ten years ago and became fast friends. Darla is incredibly kind, thoughtful, supportive, generous, spontaneous and loads of fun! I don't think I know anyone who more actively participates in cultural events and city life.

She's my biggest inspiration in getting out of the house and experiencing the world. If she's not at work, she seems to always be at an independent film screening, an exhibit, a concert, singing karaoke or playing in a skee ball league. She's a true adventurer by always going out there and trying something new. And if your band is playing, your movie is showing or you're having some other event, she will definitely be there to support you. Nobody makes me miss New York City as much as Darla does. Fortunately, she's eased my longing by coming to visit me frequently since I moved to Colorado.

Darla also inspires me through all her travels around the world. When I went on my first big trip in forever, we overlapped in Thailand for just a day, before she and her family were off to Vietnam. It was fantastic to tag along on their packed itinerary for a day and see the ease with which she dove into unexplored territory.

The photos of Iowa farm and farm land were taken by Darla; the pictures from RAGBRAI (the Iowa bike tour) were taken by Susie Wilson; I took the one of Darla in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Thank you, Darla, for letting me make this video of you... and for always being such an amazing friend to me. It's comforting to know that I can always count on you!

Darla Elsbernd