I was in Boulder CO earlier this month (a work related visit), but I stayed in a hotel in Louisville CO, since it was much cheaper (and easier) to get a room, and besides, it’s only 10 minutes from Boulder. Louisville is a nice place, lots of places to get a decent meal.

I was exploring one evening and just driving along north from my hotel, when I stumbled upon this little gem of a recreation area. Davidson Mesa is an “open space” with minimal impact trails, and it’s the one place to get a clear view of the Front Range without any buildings and traffic getting in the way. It’s one heck of a resource for the good citizens of Louisville and surrounding areas.

For this trip, I had lugged my big Minolta Dynax 800si along with the Tamron 70-300mm and Phoenix 35-105mm, and for good measure, an old Vivitar 24mm f/2.8 (OM-Mount) with a OM-Maxxum adapter. The film was 400 and 200 speed Fuji film.

I’d have liked to have used higher resolution 100 speed film, but I had 2 zooms with me, and besides, the light in the foothills changes rapidly, and I wanted to have the additional latitude. On my last trip to Colorado last year, I had some 50speed slide film with me, and I was limited to using my 50mm f/1.7 since none of my other lenses were fast enough to handle the extra slow film.

I had the Tamron lens on the camera that evening and the Vivitar 24mm f/2.8 OM mount lens with a Bower adapter to fit it on the Minolta. I had included the zoom in my camera kit at the last minute, just in case I wanted to photograph some of the hard to access rocky crags along Boulder Creek. Normally one would not associate a long zoom with landscape photography, but the distance was just right to encompass the open space.

With ISO/ASA 400 film, the Tamron 70-300mm is great for portraits as well – just set to about 100mm and open to f/4 and you’ll get a couple of feet of depth of field, just enough for a person, throwing everything else pleasantly out of focus. I took a couple of pictures with the Vivitar 24mm as well, the Bower mount works like a charm. I just set the camera on manual and exposed at 1/500 sec at f/11.

I also wanted to get a soft and fuzzy view of the distant mountains, and emphasize the foreground and trail… there was also an interesting fence going off into the distance that I wanted to work into the composition somehow. For the soft shots, I used the camera on Portrait mode, hunkered down to minimize camera shake, picked the foreground subjects (rocks and grass) and shot.

There was a storm in the mountains that day, so the lighting near the Mesa was spectacular. The grass simply seemed to glow… modern film emulsions do a great job in capturing subtle colors, but some things are just too ethereal to capture. I did my best.

Here are the pictures from Davidson Mesa. The second picture is from another park right across the road from the Mesa parking area. It’s called Harper Lake.


Davidson Mesa
Harper Lake

Davidson Mesa
Davidson Mesa
Davidson Mesa
Davidson Mesa
Davidson Mesa
Davidson Mesa – Vivitar 24mm f/2.8
Davidson Mesa – Vivitar 24mm f/2.8

These pictures were also taken near Louisville, from a lookout point on Rte 36

Rte 36
Rte 36
Rte 36
Rte 36
Rte 36
Rte 36

Photographed with a Minolta Dynax 800si, Tamron 70-300mm f/3.5-4.6, Vivitar 24mm f/2.8 with Fuji Superia 400 film


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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