Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Agile Fox Friday Foto – 05.11.2012

After a year and a half of including a ‘pic of the week’ at the end of my weekly training summary, I’ve decided to let it stand on its own.  I’m also implementing a rule that the Friday Foto needs to have been taken sometime in the last week.  No recycling.  I am doing this to keep me engaged in building my photography skills, and to make me work harder to get fresh shots.  Click here to see my previous Friday Foto posts.

You’ve probably seen more than a few Supermoon photos by now.  It was a pretty cool event to try and capture.  I lucked out in a few ways – the true full moon wasn’t until Saturday night, but I shot this on Friday with perfectly clear skies.  Saturday turned out to be rainy and overcast in Denver.  I was already camping on Lookout Mountain without even realizing the Supermoon event was taking place.  Once I saw it, I bolted about halfway down the mountain and spent an hour and a half shooting photos.

This is a HDR composite of 3 exposures (3 sec, 13 sec, 30 sec).  I should have taken the brightness of the moon into account, but didn’t realize it was going to flare that badly.  Live and learn.  I tried to fix it and insert the moon from another pic I took that night, but it ended up looking completely faked.  I think next time I’m in a similar situation, I’ll take another shot with a properly exposed moon and sky, then mask that back into the final result.

What I like most about this shot are the added elements.  The radio tower and maintenance shed are interesting, and during my longest exposure a car drove past on the road below.  It is invisible, but the headlights painted the guardrail nicely.  I like the light and detail I was able to pull out of the far hillside, and I love how the city lights turned out looking like some sort of lava flow.


Lookout Supermoon
f/8.0, 18mm @ 640 ISO

2012 Training Log – Week 17

Tough week.  I’m kind of glad to see it fading in the rear view mirror.

I started out Monday with a seized-up back.  An old injury from chopping out a tree stump flared up and I could barely walk.  We’re talking little 4 inch steps, bent over, with my elbows flared out.  Then I ended up blistering my feet worse than they’ve been in years.  I think because of how awkwardly I was running with my back issue and the uneven terrain I was on.  Definitely feeling like a rookie lately.

Running can be such a humbling sport.  Just two weeks ago I was feeling light as a feather, fast, and strong.  Now I feel fat, slow, tired, and OLD.

The week took a turn for the better when I got a very thoughtful and encouraging note from a friend on Wednesday.  We are all so busy with work, family, and just living life in general.  It feels good when someone takes the time to specifically reach out and give you a boost.  Definitely need to pay that forward.

My back pain gradually diminished over the past few days, and I had a good time camping.  All set up to have a great week ahead now!

10.4 miles

I knew from previous experience with my back issue, that even though I almost couldn’t walk at all, I could still run.  That was my theory, anyway.  The first half mile was ugly, but I started feeling better and could tell that it was going to work out so I continued on.  I think it helped it relax a little in the process.

Went up on the hogsback last night to mess around with the camera.

Unidentified Flying Pine Cone

7.2 miles

Back felt about 50% better today.  Ran fairly hard and didn’t think much about it after I got going.  Still can’t walk very well, or stand up straight.  I got sloppy with tying my shoes and ran with them pretty loose over uneven terrain.  Since I was sockless and sweating a bit I ended up with some monster blisters.  Now I really look dumb when I’m trying to walk.

13.3 miles

Pushed hard.  Was looking to run a strong 13.1, but cracked bad @ 11.5.  Just stopped in my tracks.  The final miles were a very slow shuffle.  I knew I was on borrowed time after mile 8, but kept after it thinking I could pull a mind-over-matter trick.  Matter won.

My wife doesn’t check the blog as far as I know, so I think I’m safe posting these here before Sunday.  I took some portraits of the kids as a surprise for Mother’s Day and sent them off to be printed and framed today.  My setup was ghetto, but the final product turned out nice.  We went out in the side yard on an overcast evening and one kid held up my Bighorn 100 blanket for the background, while another used the dull silver side of my car’s window shade as a reflector to even out the shadows on the faces.  Then we all told really bad jokes to try and get the subject to laugh.

And I’m getting this printed as a custom notebook cover:

With Katie on the inside of the cover:

0 miles

Too much going on to get in a run, but I did do my best TRX workout in a while.  It seems like I’ve hit a plateau, or even regressed, in my strength exercises lately.  It felt great to finally muscle through a good one for a change.

The Atomic Pushup:

7 miles

This was the hardest easy run I have done in a long time.  I was jogging along, feeling sorry for myself and having an internal conversation about how crappy my legs felt, when someone in a wheelchair rolled across my path.  Good reminder of what a selfish dingbat I am sometimes…  Time to quit whining and run while I still can.

Spent the night at a scout camp on top of Lookout Mountain.  The Supermoon put on a spectacular display.  I was oblivious to it until I glanced over my shoulder while we were out on a mountain bike ride.  When we finished, I hopped in the car and hustled to an overlook to get some shots.

26.2 miles

A mojo-restoring run if there ever was one.

I got up at 5:15 and trotted off into the pre-dawn darkness.  There was a trail that went by our campsite that I had my eye on.  I ran it out to the Buffalo Bill overlook and back.  Each ‘lap’ was just under 4 miles.  I ran 7 total plus a little extra to hit the marathon.  3,500′ of climbing to keep things interesting, and an even mix of rocky technical stuff and smoother hardpack.

The sunrise was spectacular.  It almost looked like a forest fire coming through the trees.

I paused at an overlook to admire the awesome view in the beautiful morning light.

After the rough start to the week, it was so nice to be running trails in the mountains with the forest all to myself for a while.

About halfway through my run, I started noticing strange footprints in the dirt.  Hmmm, I know someone that leaves tracks like that…

Malcolm was up and out for a lap on the trail, too.  The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree.

I tried to maintain a steady/even effort from start to finish, and think I succeeded pretty well.  The 7th trip up the climb hurt me, but I averaged a 9:55 pace and a 151 heart rate overall.  My blistered feet made things mighty uncomfortable for a spell, slowing me down a bit, but I was having too good of time to let that get me down.



Total:  64.1 miles / 9:59

The Agile Fox Friday Foto – 05.04.2012

After a year and a half of including a ‘pic of the week’ at the end of my weekly training summary, I’ve decided to let it stand on its own.  I’m also implementing a rule that the Friday Foto needs to have been taken sometime in the last week.  No recycling.  I am doing this to keep me engaged in building my photography skills, and to make me work harder to get fresh shots.  Click here to see my previous Friday Foto posts.

A Great Horned Owl has taken up residence on the dentist office sign in our neighborhood shopping center. I was interested to learn from the Wiki article that they are also called Tiger Owls.  Hadn’t heard that one before, but it makes sense considering their markings.  Females are larger than males and can weigh over five pounds and have a four foot wingspan.  That’s a big bird!

Some other interesting Wiki tidbits:

  • They are amongst the world’s most adaptable owls in terms of habitat.
  • They prefer areas where open habitat which they often hunt in, and woods where they tend to roost and nest, are juxtaposed.  Thus rural regions can be ideal.
  • All mated Great Horned Owls are permanent residents of their territories, but unmated and younger birds move freely in search of company and a territory.
  • Owls have spectacular binocular vision allowing them to pinpoint prey and see in low light. The eyes of Great Horned Owls are nearly as large as those of humans and are immobile within their circular bone sockets. Instead of turning their eyes, they turn their heads. Therefore, their neck must be able to turn a full 270 degrees in order to see in other directions without moving its entire body.
  • An owl’s hearing is as good as – if not better than – its vision; they have better depth perceptionand better perception of sound elevation (up-down direction) than humans. This is due to owl ears not being placed in the same position on either side of their head: the right ear is typically set higher in the skull and at a slightly different angle. By tilting or turning its head until the sound is the same in each ear, an owl can pinpoint both the horizontal and vertical direction of a sound.
  • These birds also have 200–300 pounds per square inch of crushing power in their talons. An average adult human male has about 60 pounds per square inch in his hands.
  • Young owls move onto nearby branches at 6 weeks and start to fly about a week later.

Take a look at the list of prey – they are definitely opportunists!

Hares, rabbits, juvenile raccoons, rats, squirrels, mice, moles, voles, shrews, bats, armadillos, muskrats, weasels, gerbils, porcupines, marmots, skunks, birds ranging in size from kinglets to Great Blue Herons, waterbirds – especially coots and ducks, raptors – up to the size of Red-tailed Hawk and Snowy Owls, woodpeckers, grouse, crows, pigeons, herons, gulls, quail, turkey, reptiles – to the size of young American alligators, amphibians, fish, crustaceans, insects, domesticated cats, and small dogs.

I didn’t have a lot to work with in terms of composition for this one, pretty much had to take what I could get.  When we first showed up, the nestlings were laying low behind the sign and weren’t even visible.  I stood on a rock to get just a little more height and was zoomed to the max @ 300mm. I shot for around 20 minutes, trying to get a decent one of all 3 in the frame without much luck.  Then Jessica saved the day by calling out a perfect ‘hoooo, hooo’ that got the attention of the one on the right.  I love its expression as it looked to see where the sound was coming from.


Roxborough Owls
1/160 @ f/5.6, ISO 200