If I had to pick one picture that got me interested in photography, it would be one that I captured during this trip to the Maroon Bells in August 2003. It was probably the first time I consciously made decisions in order to take a shot and succeeded in getting a decent result. That image was selected as one of the Top 10 Digital Images of 2014 at my local photography club last night, so I thought this would make a timely Throwback Thursday post.
With my usual flair for being late to all internet trends, here is my first Throwback Thursday post (apparently it’s a thing): a trip to New York in June 2001. It was our first proper trip as a couple after college/university. And also my first trip after getting a digital camera — the mighty 3-megapixel HP Photosmart 315! Unfortunately, any skills gained during my 5 years of using a Canon film SLR (in high school and college) had deserted me in the intervening time and I was pretty much a beginner in photography. Any half-decent pictures from the trip were the result of pure dumb luck…
I grew up in the tropics, and had never seen snow until I was almost 20. I disliked the cold gray winters of Iowa and Chicago. But that all changed once we moved to Colorado in 2003. Tried skiing once and was hooked. Skied a lot. Almost every weekend, from October through May. Averaged about 35 days per season at the beginning, increasing to about 50-60 days per season after that. Learned to carve. Learned to ski bumps. Learned to love powder, steeps, trees. Tore my ACL skiing in 2007; got it repaired and came back just as passionate as before. Moved to a ski town in 2007. Here are some shots from between 2003 and 2009.
Since we left Chicago in 2003, it had been a long time since we’d visited downtown. We’d go to the Chicago area often to visit family, but we’d stay in the suburbs and due to the short visits, never come downtown. This Christmas 2011 we decided to change that and stayed downtown for 2 weeks, so we could get reacquainted with the city and visit our old haunts. Despite the gray and wet weather, we fell in love with the city once again.
After 4 years in Chicago, we got tired of urban living, especially the cold and gray winters. In 2002, we went to a friend’s wedding Denver, Colorado, and added on a trip to Moab, Utah. After that one week, both Geny and I had decided that we would move to Denver. She applied to residency programs in the Denver area and in the summer of 2003, we found ourselves in Lakewood, a suburb west of Denver. Some people ask us why we chose a suburb rather than the city. We picked Lakewood because (1) we’d already had our fill of urban living in Chicago, so Denver didn’t really appeal, and (2) we wanted to be close to outdoor recreational opportunities, and being at the base of the foothills gave us easy access to the mountain playground (we could pick up Bear Creek Trail about 4 blocks from our apartment).
I think it was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off that probably first piqued my interest about Chicago. It made the city look so inviting, especially the montage right after they peel out from the high school. Going to college in Iowa, I’d been to Chicago several times. The drive from the south on Lake Shore Drive in the summer, right after the Museum Campus bend, with the brilliant blue lake on the right, the gleaming buildings to the left, and the tree-lined avenue were all enough to get me hooked. Moving to Chicago after college was a no-brainer. Lived in Lakeview (near Diversey Harbor) for 4 years and loved it (for the most part). Despite having moved away, I still think Chicago is one of the best large American cities — big enough to feel like a big city with the cultural and culinary assets but small enough to not feel overwhelming. The architecture is fascinating, from the Sears Tower, to the John Hancock, to the Wrigley Building and more new ones coming up all the time. And the lake with the waterfront parks is just the icing on the cake.
Living in a ski town means winters are the busy/high season. Lots of snow, people, traffic, energy, and powder fever. After a long (and still continuing) winter, we usually try to go somewhere warm in April, for a change of scenery and pace. This time we got lucky since there was a family medicine conference in Maui that provided the exact number of CME credits that Geny needed for the year. So she signed up for it and off we went.
If there’s one word to describe the 2010-2011 ski season in Colorado, it is EPIC. Record snow throughout the season resulted in too many powder days to count. Earliest ever openings for most lifts and terrain. By the end, it was hard to get motivated to go skiing unless there was 6 inches of new snow on the ground.
It’s winters like these that make it worthwhile to live in a ski town.
After being away in Paris and London during my birthday, we decided to do a quick weekend getaway to somewhere warm. Tickets to San Diego were cheap, so we jumped on them. Stayed on Coronado Island. The weather was warm, the food was good, and a very relaxing weekend was spent.
Moab was what had drawn us west from Chicago back in 2002, and after a 1.5-year hiatus, we decided to return once more in early November.