December 7, 2016
I wanted to share with you another picture I recently submitted for the Share the Experience Photo Contest.
If you like it, please click the link below to vote for it or any of my other entries. You can find links to my other entries on the right of the page on the link below.
They are giving away some great prizes, so I appreciate the time spent voting for me.
(Please note the voting for the contest has now closed)
December 5, 2016
Today those of us living in the Sacramento Area got our first freeze watch of the season so that must mean it's finally winter!!! With a storm on the horizon later this week, I had to get out the skis and wax them up today. Most of the resorts in Lake Tahoe opened over the Thanksgiving Holiday, but I haven't had a chance to get up there yet. Now I'm ready to go.
Thinking of skiing made me want to share this picture with you from last spring. It was only the second time I had ever done a backcountry ski tour. My brother and I left from Carson Pass and went out to the Winnemucca Lake area for some great spring turns. I realized that skinning is much harder than hiking though, so this year I'll be better prepared. Gym here I come...
P.S. I am working on my first video tutorial on how to use Aurora HDR 2017. Feel free to try it for free by clicking the ad in this post and I'll have my tutorial(s) coming over the next several weeks.
November 15, 2016
As we are getting closer to winter and the holiday season, I wanted to share the winter pic below and remind everyone that if there is sufficient interest I want to do a winter photography outing in early December. My plan is to head somewhere up in the mountains for some beautiful winter photography and share tips and techniques on how to take better photos. I also will offer a follow-up workshop on how to use various types of editing software to edit your pictures and create that "Wow" look.
For example, the image below began as three separate images and then was merged into one HDR image using Aurora HDR 2017. Then I used a few other filters by Topaz and Macphun and blended them together in Photoshop creating the final image below. I'll be showing techniques like this and offering discounts on software during my photo outing and follow-up workshop. If you'd like more info on this trip, follow me on Facebook and/or sign up for my email list in the menu bar.
Until then, click the photo below to go to my Winter Photo Gallery. These photos also can be purchased as cards for anyone looking to have a one-of-a-kind holiday card this year. Click each image and click the "buy" option for more info.
November 7, 2016
Wow, where has 2016 gone??? I know it's been awhile since I checked in and so I wanted to share some of the things I've been working on. First off...
ALL IMAGES ON MY SITE ARE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE!
That's right, everything from individual prints, to wall art, to digital downloads can be purchased from the Galleries Page. If you want to frame it yourself, then individual prints will work for you. All prints are printed by Northern California's very own, Bay Photo Labs out of Santa Cruz. They come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee with many different high-quality print options. If you want a unique piece of art, that is ready to hang, then wall art is for you. With wall art, you can get your favorite photo printed on everything from canvas to metal. I know it's expensive, but I highly recommend metal. It looks as bright and crisp as looking at the image on a computer screen. Digital downloads are available for you to use as screen savers or any other digital type of use. For most people, a personal use license will be just fine, unless you plan on using it for commercial purposes such as websites, advertising material, etc. To purchase an image, go to the Galleries Section of the site and find the picture you want to buy. Once you locate the image, click on it, and you'll see "buy" option in the bottom right. Clicking "buy" will then bring up the different purchase options. Speaking of galleries...
Check out my new galleries!!!
Now, in addition to galleries organized by location, I also have added a "Featured Galleries" section on the Galleries Page. Here you will find some of my personal favorites called, "Fro's Favorites." You'll also find galleries organized by themes like "Winter Photos," "Fall Photos," and distinct time periods like "Summer of 2016." In the slideshow below you will see some of the photos from my "Fall Photos Gallery."
LAST BUT NOT LEAST...
I also just started an email list where I can send out things like Newsletters, Special Promotions, Outdoor Info, etc. If you are interested sign up through the option in the sidebar (above on mobile), or click here. I promise not to blow up your email with a bunch of junk, but it can help you stay on top of the things going on in Fro's World.
A bear stopping to figure out what we're doing
October 19, 2016
On Monday I briefly mentioned Macphun's Aurora HDR 2017 and how much I love it! Well, I'm back today to share with you a little bit more about it and why you should take advantage of the free trial offer (see below).
The main reason to use Aurora is that it makes your photos look fantastic and it's really easy! You can use it with one photo or bracketed photos if you are taking multiple exposures. The great thing is that even if you haven't started taking bracketed photos to create HDR images (or have no clue what that is), you can still create HDR-like images with a single photo. You also don't have to have Photoshop or Lightroom to make great-looking HDR images because it has a lot of the same functionality in one stand-alone piece of software. If you're someone who looks at my photos and think they are too processed, the great thing is that this software allows all different levels of "effect." They can be as real or artistic as you like.
The only drawback to Aurora HDR 2017 is that currently, it is only available on Macs, but I hear a PC version is in the works.
The two images below are some of the first pictures I edited using Aurora HDR 2017 and I was able to edit both of them in almost half the time it would have normally taken me. This is a big reason why I love this software; it gives me great results with fewer steps and more free time.
October 17, 2016
Given the wet and rainy weather we had this weekend, I think I am safe to say that summer is over. I'm sure we'll get some more beautiful weekends before winter is here, but at least until the ski resorts open up, it's time for me to start editing and sharing my photos from the summer, posting more destination articles, and updating all of you on some of my adventures from this summer.
Recently I started going through all of my unedited photos from the summer to get an idea how many of them I still need to edit. I noticed that I was almost done editing the photos from my first backpacking trip to the Sierras this summer so I decided to finish them. You can view all of my finished photos from this trip in my Desolation Wilderness Gallery, or you can click the picture below to check out my Backpack to Crag Lake Destination Article that has details on the hike along with pictures from it.
Crag Lake was a beautiful early season trip and looking back at the photos and seeing the leftover snow on the mountains reminds me just how close we are to seeing more and more snow build up again this winter. Let's keep our fingers crossed for another decent winter this year!
Well, that's all for now, it's time to get back to editing more photos. Speaking of editing, stay tuned for my next post where I will share a bit more about a new update to my favorite HDR editing software, Aurora HDR. Macphun just released Aurora HDR 2017, and it is sooooo much faster than last year's version and produces even better results. I can't wait to dive in and start playing around with it more as I edit my photos from last summer!!!
September 21, 2016
WOW!!! Has it been almost a month since I posted and it's now officially Fall??? I guess after my last post I started realizing that the days were getting shorter and I should be spending my time outside hiking and backpacking while I still can. So on my time off, that's what I did.
I spent four days and three nights on a 31-mile loop through some of the only territory left in Desolation Wilderness that I haven't seen before. Then a few weeks later, I got to see some other areas of Desolation Wilderness that were also new to me. All in all, I think I saw over ten lakes combined on both trips and lots of great sections of our nearest Wilderness Area.
It's been a summer full of backpacking and making the most of my time off. I have a few more last minute trips coming up, and then I'll settle down and start writing up more details, destination articles, and sharing more pictures of all of my many adventures this summer.
Until then, enjoy some of the pictures below taken since my last post.
August 25, 2016
I can't believe that it's almost September already!?! It will be ski season before I know it, so I'm trying to get in as many backpacking and photo-ops as possible. That's why I haven't been posting much in the last few weeks.
I just got back from a trip that turned out to be a great last-minute change of plans. I was supposed to go down to the Palisades, but some hazy skies and a greater chance of thundershowers had me looking for last-minute alternatives. Limited on time and permit options, I thought of the Trinity Alps.
The Trinity Alps have several trails that I have never seen before and permits are easy to get the day of the trip. After last summer's experience with all the smoke, haze, and wet weather I wanted something else this summer. I wanted a nice relaxing, beautiful summer trip that had great photo-ops, swimming holes, and didn't want to deal with the chance of smoke or thundershowers. Well, I found all of that and more in the Trinity Alps.
In the Canyon Creek area of the Trinity Alps, I found a new favorite place. It's the best of everything the mountains have to offer. It has lush, forested river valleys, high granite peaks, glacial cirques, waterfalls, alpine lakes, wildlife, and more. It's also no wonder that it's very popular, so don't go on the weekends. I went midweek and loved it!!!
I wanted to share a few photos from the trip in the slideshow below. Until next time...
August 13, 2016
The Outbound Collective is a crowd-sourced collection of all things outdoors. It has articles, stories, and "Adventures." "Adventures" are basically the same as my "Destinations" section. One of the best features about The Outbound Collective is their mobile app. By using the GPS in your mobile device, the app will show you the nearest user-submitted adventures. This is useful when traveling, or out of town for work and you're looking for somewhere outside to explore. Their journal entries are also very educational and you can find articles on fitness, training, travel guides, etc.
Recently, I submitted my trip to Mt. Whitney as an "Adventure" on The Outbound and it was chosen to be featured. Pretty cool!
The image below is another one from last summer's Mt. Whitney Trip. Enjoy!
August 7, 2016
Howdy everyone! I hope you enjoyed last week's flashback to my Mt. Whitney trip. I was so busy sharing my story of that journey that I neglected updating you on a few other things going on in Fro's World. So, I wanted to take a minute today to do that.
First, the image below is from a trip I took in May to Point Reyes. I completed an overnight backpacking trip from the Palomarin Trailhead to Glen Camp and then back via a loop trail. It's a pretty easy first backpacking trip as long as you are in decent shape. If you'd like more info, I have added this to the "Destinations" section of the site under "Point Reyes." It's titled the "Backpack the Palomarin to Glen Camp Loop." Click here for more info
Second, while we are on the topic of "Destination" posts, I also just added a trip guide if you wanted to complete the same trip to Mt. Whitney that I did last summer and shared with you all week. It's under the "King's Canyon/Sequoia National Park" section, and it's titled, "Backpack from Onion Valley to Mt. Whitney." Click here for more info.
Last but not least, for anyone who owns a Mac and is looking to add some "pop" or artistic elements to your photos, I highly recommend Macphun's Intensify. This one piece of software drastically sped up the editing process of my images and is a huge part of the finished product that you see on my site. Best of all, you don't need to know a lot about editing photos because the presets alone will make any photo look better. Plus, it integrates with Apple's Photos to make it easy to use on any photo stored on your Mac. For more info on how to purchase it, go to my "Gear" page and click the links. Use coupon code "FROSWORLD" for 10% off your purchase
August 5, 2016
The morning of 8/5/15 came very slowly. I think I woke up every few hours the night before, in part due to the excitement of standing on the summit of Mt. Whitney but also because I got up frequently to go to the bathroom. I guess all that water I drank the day before to stay hydrated for the final push had something to do with that.
It felt like I had just fallen back asleep when my alarm went off at 4 am. I quickly started letting the air out of my sleeping pad and began quickly getting ready for the hike. It was dark and this was the first time I had ever packed up my gear and tried to make breakfast in the pitch black using only a headlamp. It took a bit longer but luckily I had gotten a bunch of stuff together the night before.
The sun was just starting to light up the night sky when we set off around 4:45 am. Knowing this was going to be a long, hard climb we paced ourselves early on in the hike. It was pretty cool as you looked up at the route to the summit you could see little rows of headlights slowly moving along. They were from other hikers who had left much earlier so they could be on the summit for sunrise. Next time I'll consider this because I can imagine that makes for an amazing sunrise.
Despite not catching the sunrise from the summit, this was still the best sunrise I have ever seen. The slow pace of the ascent enabled you to watch the impact of the sunrise on the high alpine landscape much better than if you were hiking quickly. Early on, before the sun came up, the sky turned shades of blues, purples, and pinks. Once the sun came up, the mountains began turning shades of yellows, oranges, and reds. It began at the tops of the peaks and slowly worked its way down to the valleys below. By approximately 6:30 am we had reached the Trail Crest. Trail Crest is the junction where the John Muir Trail meets the Whitney Portal Trail. From here it's a short 2-mile traverse with about 1,000 feet of elevation gain to the summit of Mt. Whitney.
The last 2 miles were slow going because I stopped a lot for pictures and to catch my breath. The good news is all the smoke from the prior days was far below us in the valley making for beautiful views across the heart of the Sierra Nevada. It was slow going because of the elevation. After my experience a few days earlier hiking up Forester Pass, I wanted to take it easy because this was the first time I would be above 13,000 feet for that long. Besides, every few steps you would get this weird light-headed feeling, kind of like when you stand up too fast, and so I stopped to catch my breath quite often. The last thing I wanted was to pass out high up on the final ridgeline to Mt. Whitney. I think that this weird, light-headed feeling from the elevation in combination with the beautiful scenery and adrenaline created one of the best natural highs I have ever experienced. The whole hike from Trail Crest to the Summit of Mt. Whitney felt like a dream.
The summit of Mt. Whitney was windy and freezing but absolutely breathtaking. It felt literally like you were on top of the world and I guess being the highest peak in the lower 48 it was close to that. We stayed long enough to soak it in and sign the guest registry, but we still had a long 15-mile hike to the Whitney Portal and our car.
We set off for Whitney Portal after about one hour on the summit. The hike out was anti-climactic after the excitement of summiting Whitney and as a result, it felt like it took forever. However, my trip of a lifetime was finally complete. After I had got back to my car at Onion Valley where I left it six days earlier, I drove to meet my parents in the town of Mammoth Lakes for some good food, beer, and some R&R before my next adventure.
The images in the slideshow below are from the ascent to the summit as the sun was rising over the High Sierras. Click the arrows to scroll through the images or let it do it automatically.
I hope you've enjoyed my reliving of this great memory and maybe it has inspired you to go on the same hike. If you missed any of it, then just scroll down to read it. For more specific details, such as maps, mileage, etc., I am going to be posting a trip guide in my "Destinations" section very soon, so stay tuned.
If you enjoyed the images and wanted to see more or purchase some of them, all the pictures of this trip, including several I haven't shared yet can be viewed in my Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Park Gallery, click here.
August 4, 2016
It was nice waking up on 8/4/15 because of the short day we had ahead of us. When you only have to hike 2-3 miles as opposed to 7-10, getting an early start is a lot less important. This allowed for a nice relaxing morning where I got to enjoy some backpacking luxuries; two cups of coffee, a toilet, and a stream to wash up and get fresh water.
We left camp in the late morning and set off for Guitar Lake, our final overnight stop before Mt. Whitney. Unfortunately, the smoke was back and this time it was blowing in earlier than the day before. As we hiked up towards Timberline Lake and Guitar Lake, the smoke got worse and worse, and I could tell it was not going to be a good day for photography.
The hike to Guitar Lake was easy and we got there early enough to get a good camping spot up on a shelf above the lake. At that time there were other people there but not more than 15-20. Not too bad for the last stop on the JMT before Mt. Whitney. Little did I know that by the end of the day there would be over 100 people camped around the lake. Now I know why they make everyone use and carry these WAG bags to go to the bathroom. Unfortunately, not everyone uses them and the evidence of human abuse around Guitar Lake was rampant. As a result, the next time I do this trip, I'll hike a bit further off the trail to the Hitchcock Lakes to get a bit more peace, quiet, and fewer signs of human abuse.
We hung around camp all day trying to stay out of the sun. At 12,000 feet there isn't much shade to find other than that from big boulders scattered around the lake. As the evening came and the smoke started to drop back down into the valley, the beauty of the alpine scenery came into full view. Enhanced by the smoke particles in the air, the image below was one of the most memorable sunsets I've seen. I remember Chris and I had our cameras out snapping photos for almost the entire sunset and even into twilight.
We got to bed shortly after the sun went down so we could be ready for our 4 am departure for Mt. Whitney.
Tomorrow I'll post the last day from last year's trip, so stay tuned. If you missed earlier posts from the trip, just scroll down.
August 3, 2016
As I woke up on 8/3/15 after the long day of hiking the day before, I thought about the fact that I was less than three days away from setting off for Mt. Whitney. I was glad that the difficulty of Forester Pass was behind us and we were that much closer to our destination.
As I got out of bed and went to get some water, I looked down into the valley. The day before on Forester Pass, I saw a lot of smoke in the valley off in the distance and could tell that a fire to our south in the Golden Trout Wilderness had gotten bigger. I was worried about the impact this would have over the next few days because we were now right downwind from the smoke.
We packed up and got out of camp fairly early. Our goal for the day was to make it to Crabtree Meadows. The last ranger station on the JMT is located there, along with a vault toilet. Who knew you could use a vault toilet while backpacking? This made the option of staying there sound more intriguing. Plus, it looked like a lovely meadow that would have lots of good options for places to camp. Also, Crabtree Meadows is where you have to pick up your WAG bag that you have to use for going to the bathroom above treeline. A WAG bag is basically a way to go to the bathroom and carry it out because when you are above treeline and camping on granite, there isn't anywhere to dig a hole. Knowing we would need those for day four and five, we decided to stop there for the night.
Along the way to Crabtree Meadows, we crossed Bighorn Plateau, a 12,000-foot plateau with a lake and expansive views. Unfortunately, this is where the smoke began to impact the rest of the trip. As the afternoon went on the smoke blew in heavier and heavier. By the time we got to Crabtree Meadows, the smoke was thick and blocking a lot of mountain views. The good news is that by nightfall it had sunk further down into the valley and things cleared up making for a beautiful evening around camp.
Today's images that I wanted to share with you are from our camp at Crabtree Meadows as the sun was setting and the smoke clearing. It was a beautiful camp and Whitney Creek running through it made it even more beautiful once the smoke cleared. I also remember how excited I was to have a short 2-3 mile day tomorrow and the summit of Mt. Whitney was now less than 48 hours away.
As a reminder, over the next few I plan on reflecting back to one year ago and share with you the story of this journey along with some of my favorite images from each day. If you missed earlier posts from the trip, just scroll down. I hope you follow along, and if this is also one of your life long dreams, hopefully this will help inspire you to "just do it."
August 2, 2016
One year ago today I was waking up in my new tent after spending the first night of my journey sleeping through a thunderstorm and thinking about the challenging day ahead.
The day before, Chris, Dan, and I had set off on our five-day journey from Onion Valley to the summit of Mt. Whitney. Our first day of hiking had gone relatively smoothly minus the afternoon thunderstorms that rolled in about 4 pm and kept going off and on before finally tapering off late that night.
Around 7 pm the day before the thunderstorms were so bad that we all retired to our tents and fell asleep early. Not wanting to pack a wet tent, we delayed a bit in the morning waiting for things to dry out which proved to be a mistake. We should have started earlier because little did we know this was going to be the most challenging day of the entire trip.
The goal for our second day was to follow the John Muir Trail along Bubbs Creek as we ascended Forester Pass, the highest pass on the John Muir Trail. Forester Pass stands at around 13,180 feet. I had never been at this high of an elevation before so it was an unknown how my body would respond. We estimated that we had about five miles to go before we reached the pass and then approximately another five miles of downhill hiking to Tyndall Creek, our destination for the 2nd night.
The high elevation definitely got the best of Dan and me, and our pace slowed considerably around 11,000 feet. The last 2,000 feet to the pass felt like it took hours. We stopped for lunch, photos, and often just to catch our breath. Finally, we reached the pass and could see to the south our destination for the night, but it seemed so far away.
The picture below is a view to the south through a chute on the top of the pass. The treeline way off in the distance is Tyndall Creek, our destination. It had taken us so long to climb the pass that it was already late in the day, and we knew we'd be rolling into camp late that night.
On the way down the pass, the elevation and exhaustion got the best of me and I had to stop and throw up, losing all the water I had just finished drinking not more than ten minutes earlier. This is not exactly the best way to re-hydrate so by the time we got to camp I was so tired and dehydrated that I didn't have the energy to cook dinner and instead just filtered water and drank a lot of it before going to bed.
Even though this proved to be one of the most difficult days of the trip, I would still do it all over again for the beautiful mountain scenery. Next time I'd just make sure to prepare a little bit more for the difficulty of the ascent and leave earlier, so I didn't have to push as hard at the end.
As a reminder, over the next four days I plan on reflecting back to one year ago and share with you the story of this journey along with some of my favorite images from each day. If you missed day one of the journey, just scroll down. I hope you follow along, and if this is also one of your life long dreams, hopefully this will help inspire you to "just do it."
August 1, 2016
Wait, what is this, two posts, two days in a row? I know, quite a surprise, but one year ago today was a very special day for me.
When waking up this morning, I thought back to this date last year when I embarked on the trip of a lifetime. Ever since I climbed Pyramid Peak for the first time, my friend Chris and I had a goal of one day standing on top of Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 states.
Last year to celebrate turning 40 I wanted to have a memory that wasn't an "over the hill" party and instead wanted to do something that I'd remember forever. I guess I chose Mt. Whitney because I wanted to remember my 40th as "climbing the biggest hill" as opposed to just being "over the hill."
Many people enter a lottery to get permits to hike up Mt. Whitney from the Whitney Portal and some do it in a day. However, I wanted to do something more than that. I wanted it to be a journey. I wanted to ascend Whitney from the west, meaning I would have to backpack for five days and four nights and would be completing the last several miles of the John Muir Trail on my way there. Carrying all this weight in gear and food, and crossing two mountain passes on the way seemed to be a much more grand idea than dealing with the hundreds of people that take the easy way in from the east. This could end up being one of the hardest backpacking trips I've ever done, but I was up for the challenge.
The first challenge was getting permits for this route. They issue enough permits for 15 people, six months in advance, but to get them you have to log in right at 7 am because they can book in a matter of seconds. Beginning in January of 2015 I woke up and was online at 7 am for over two weeks straight trying to get permits. Every time I'd try they were all gone. This was turning out to be harder than getting concert tickets, and I've gotten tickets to some really hard to see concerts. Finally on February 5th, 2015, I was able to obtain permits for three people to summit Mt. Whitney and exit via the Whitney Portal. The most important part of making this happen for my 40th birthday was now complete.
For the next six months, I'd increase my exercise routine and strength training trying to get my body in as good of shape as possible to deal with the high elevation. Having experienced hiking at 12,000 feet, I knew it would be even harder spending time hiking at 13,000 and 14,000 feet, both of which would be necessary to make this trip work.
Finally the morning of August 1, 2015 came and I woke up in my truck at the Onion Valley Campground ready to embark on this trip of a lifetime. We left camp at sunrise so we could get an early start over the first pass of the day, Kearsarge Pass. The image below was one I took after the first short climb of the day. Here I was finally setting off to accomplish a life long goal and looking back down at where I started with the sun rising over the Owens Valley. It created a magical, dreamlike feeling that I wanted the final picture to capture.
Please join me over the next five days as I plan on reflecting back to one year ago and share with you the story of this journey along with some of my favorite images from each day. I hope you follow along, and if this is also one of your life long dreams, hopefully this will help inspire you to "just do it."
July 31, 2016
Gosh, has it really been over two weeks since I've posted? I guess so because I've been on vacation and spending most of my time since I got back editing some of my photos. I was lucky enough to get to take a week off work and explore all sorts of places. I spent some time near Yosemite and Lake Tahoe and can say that it is full-on springtime in the mountains. Don't wait too long to get up there or you'll miss the most beautiful time of summer in the mountains. I'll be sharing a lot more about my trips and more pictures in the weeks to come, at least until I leave for vacation again.
Today I wanted to share an image from off the Pacific Crest Trail between Carson Pass and Echo Summit. This section of trail was one of the most beautiful sections of trail I have ever seen in the Tahoe area. Considering how close it is to major freeways, I'm surprised I've never seen it before. To get to this area, it's probably easiest to start at Carson Pass and take the Pacific Crest Trail north towards Echo Summit. After you pass Showers Lake, you will reach this beautiful bowl full of lava formations, waterfalls, streams, and tons of wildflowers. I highly recommend taking a day trip out here.
To edit this picture, I used Macphun's Aurora HDR Pro, Macphun's Intensify, and Photoshop and Lightroom to blend and make some minor adjustments. Go to my "Gear" page for links to purchase the software and use the code "FROSWORLD" for 10% off your purchase.
July 11, 2016
Hello Everyone! I know I haven't posted in awhile. I recently began looking into various photo contests and just started submitting some of my images to a photo contest that runs through the end of the year. You can submit up to 2 photos a week for a grand prize of $10,000!!!
There are all sorts of prizes including most popular, which is where I can use your help. I'll be sharing two images a week from the contest (that are also available for purchase here on my site) and if you like it, please share it and take a minute to vote for it. Thanks!!! (Note, voting is now closed)
My first one is from almost exactly a year ago at Fourth Recess Lake in the John Muir Wilderness Gallery. This was a great trip where we had everything from fresh snow on the passes, beautiful mountain fog, crisp nights, and beautiful clouds and sunny days. Thanks!
*** In full disclosure, I receive compensation in exchange for advertising for some of my favorite gear. However, I only comment and advertise for products that I have used extensively, believe in, and continue to use. The opinions expressed here about my favorite gear are my own and have been determined through my own personal experiences with the product.