A road trip to Aspen.  Two of my favorite people, Kristina & Kat, are fortunate enough to live there and my wife and I have visited them a couple of times since they moved.  We have vowed to make the trip every year at least once.  If you drive to Aspen it’s about ~ 16 hours from Dallas, but totally worth it.   Granted, it takes 10 hours to get out of Texas, but who cares .. the last 6 are filled with an inspiring landscape worthy of any road trip.  Colorado just makes you feel so good.   Being there replenishes my soul ..

The plan was to leave on Tuesday night, July 3rd.    We’d drive through the evening, take a nap for a few hours in Raton, NM and then hit the road again.  Luckily, the adrenaline of being on a road trip usually just keeps me going.    We decided to take Maybelle, one of our dogs, with us.   She’s a 2 1/2 year old boxer and we knew that she would have the time of her life up there.

I brought a variety of cameras with me; a Leica M2, a Polaroid Sonar SX-70, a Polaroid 100 Land Camera and a Mamiya C330.  For film, I brought some PX-70 COOL & NIGO, Kodak Ektar 100, Fuji Acros 100 & Adox CMS 20.   🙂  Synthia brought her Spectra SE and her grab bag of Spectra film.   She’s been shooting a lot with it and is loving the black frame PZ600.  It has this really cool vintage look and it ended being a perfect fit for the images she shot on this trip.

We packed all of the other essentials and ended up leaving at 7 o’clock.   After we drove 6 hours and made it into Amarillo, we chose to just make the push to Aspen without stopping, and took turns driving and sleeping through the night.   I can’t believe we had it in us to drive straight to Aspen from Dallas.

The Road to Westcliffe, CO - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL
The Road to Westcliffe, CO – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL
Twin Lakes - Colorado - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL
Twin Lakes – Colorado – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Once we got over Independence Pass and were making our way into town, we stopped at a grove of trees and Synthia snapped this killer B&W shot with some black frame PZ600 …

Photo: Synthia Goode - Aspen, CO - Spectra SE - Impossible Project Black Frame PZ600
Photo: Synthia Goode – Aspen, CO – Spectra SE – Impossible Project Black Frame PZ600

Our little Scion arrived in Aspen at 11am,  just enough time to take a quick shower and find a spot to relax before the July 4th parade started.    The four of us sat down at Hunters Bar and enjoyed some good ol’ fashioned ‘merican food (beer, burgers & dogs) while watching the parade from a distance.  We both snuck up for a couple of frames of the festivities …

Three-wheeled Unicycle - Aspen 4th of July Parade 2012- Impossible Project PX-70 COOL
Three-wheeled Unicycle – 4th of July Parade 2012- Impossible Project PX-70 COOL
Photo: Synthia Goode - 4th of July Parade - Spectra SE - Impossible Project Black Frame PZ600
Photo: Synthia Goode – 4th of July Parade – Spectra SE – Impossible Project Black Frame PZ600

After the parade was over, Kristina and Kat had to head into work so Synthia and I went back to their place and passed out.  When we woke up from our much needed nap, we decided to grab a quick bite to eat.

We ended up going to New York Pizza.  Last year, I had met a local photographer by the name of Michael Brands there when I was in town.  He had mentioned that his friend had just opened up a photography gallery in Aspen called The Nugget that was worth checking out.  I made a point to stop in again this year to show Synthia and to introduce myself to the owner, Ross.     When we walked inside, there were some fantastic photo-realistic paintings that a friend of his was showing.  We started talking photography and about 1/2 way through our conversation, I asked him if he still shot instant film and if he had heard of The Impossible Project.  He had not 🙂  I filled him in on the details and his interest seemed to pique when I mentioned that Impossible was now making 8×0 film as well.  Later in the evening, when Synthia and I were walking around, she chuckled and said that TIP needs to hire me as a spokesman for their product.    I’m practically an evangelist for them!  But you know what?  They deserve all of the positive press they can get.

The next morning, we all woke up and hiked part of Lost Man Loop.  We probably hiked about an hour or so before turning around.   It was a great warm up for us and I’m glad we ended up taking it a little easy.  I think Synthia and I were still a little beat from the drive and adjusting to the altitude.

Fly Fishing @ Lost Man Reservoir - Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100
Fly Fishing @ Lost Man Reservoir – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100
Maybelle grabbin' a quick drink - Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100
Maybelle grabbin’ a quick drink – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100
Hiking Lost Man Loop Trail - Leica M2 - Voigtlander 15mm - Ektar 100
Hiking Lost Man Loop Trail – Leica M2 – Voigtlander 15mm – Ektar 100
Photo: Synthia Goode - Lost Man Loop Trail - Spectra SE - Impossible Project Black Frame PZ600
Photo: Synthia Goode – Lost Man Loop Trail – Spectra SE – Impossible Project Black Frame PZ600

After we got back, we were starving so we all ordered some grub from The Big Wrap.   Kat recommended I have the Babs-E-Que and I’m so glad I did .. it was CRAZY good!  Apparently this joint is packed all the time and rightfully so.

When the ladies went off to work, Synthia and I took their jeep out and drove up Hunter Creek Rd. to the ghost town of Ashcroft.

Representin' - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL
Representin’ – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

We had snowshoed right by this place in Feburary of 2011.  To see it again in the summer was really cool.  The town sprung up in in the early 1880’s when there was a silver boom in the area.   At its peak, there were about 2,000 people living and working there.   The mines initially produced 14,000 ounces of silver to the ton, but unfortunately for Ashcroft, it turned out to just be shallow deposits.   As quickly as it boomed, Ashcroft went a bust.

Ashcroft Ghost Town - Leica M2 - Voigtlander 15mm - Ektar 100
Ashcroft Ghost Town – Leica M2 – Voigtlander 15mm – Ektar 100
Ashcroft Ghost Town - Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100
Ashcroft Ghost Town – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100
Ashcroft Hotel - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL
Ashcroft Hotel – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL
The view from Ashcroft Hotel - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL
The view from Ashcroft Hotel – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

After a little while, a family met up with us and asked Synthia to snap a photo with their camera.   When she was handing it back, she asked them if they wanted an instant photo.   At first they said no because they didn’t want us to waste our film, but after showing them a photo that Synthia took of me on the hotel steps, their attitudes changed.

Photo: Synthia Goode - Ashcroft Hotel - Spectra SE - Impossible Project Black Frame PZ600
Photo: Synthia Goode – Ashcroft Hotel – Spectra SE – Impossible Project Black Frame PZ600

“Did you use some sort of filter for that?”  “No.   It’s just the way this particular film looks …” Synthia replied.   After she shot their family photo and tucked it away in a brochure, we explained to them that they had to wait a little while before taking a peek.   They were grateful and went on their way.

We moseyed our way back through the ghost town and then stopped at a nearby picnic table so we could just soak in the surroundings …

Ashcroft, Colorado - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL
Ashcroft, Colorado – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL
Photo: Synthia Goode - Ashcroft, CO - Spectra SE - Impossible Project Black Frame PZ600
Photo: Synthia Goode – Ashcroft, CO – Spectra SE – Impossible Project Black Frame PZ600

To be continued …

CLICK TO READ part 2/4 of our road trip to Aspen, CO. 

0 Thoughts on “A Road Trip to Aspen + Impossible Project + Leica M2 & 15mm – Part:1/4”

  • my goodness. i am speechless. absolutely gorgeous Justin. beautiful shots by both you and Synthia. Hard pressed to tell you which are my favorites because they are all so beautiful, starting with the very first one of the road. the b/w taken by Synthia are truly stunning. i must ask you (from her) how she gets such amazing contrasts, especially in the shot of the tree. i realize it’s on the spectra but am just wondering if this would be the same for a SX-70 with the exposure wheel set to the dark.

    • Thank you Zoo! I look forward to sharing the rest of the images once I have the other 3 posts fully written. In regard to your question, I’m not experienced enough yet with the B&W that’s available for SX-70’s yet to give an answer. The black frame PZ600 that she shot, for the most part, always gave us a pretty rich spectrum of dark tonal values when shot w/o adjusting exposure. The regular white frame PZ600 that she got in the old gen bag however, turned out to react as if it were faster than 600 speed and washed almost completely out on overcast days. even when she cranked the exposure all the way down. With that said, luckily there were 4 boxes of black frame within the grab bag of film.

    • Thanks Patrick! I’ve been to Colorado many times but this trip in particular was the best yet. We had a fantastic time while we were there. There’s just something about CO that breathes life into you. I would love to live there one day.

  • Beautiful photography. So refreshing to see actual photographs without being harsh ultra contrasty and overworked (digital) so commonly seen today. The black and whites are breathtaking and I love the dreamy ethereal quality.

    • Joey – I’m a big fan of the ‘less is more’ approach to editing film. IMHO there’s little need for it when film is used. It already has all of the qualities I am looking for in an image without me having to get heavy-handed on the back end. Thank you! And for taking the time .. It’s appreciated.

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