I moved to Denver in, gosh… I guess it must have been 2011. It wasn’t an easy move. I was living in Los Angeles at the time with a friend of mine I’d known since we met in the Air Force around 2003. A girl I was kind of seeing was headed out to Denver for school at the same time my friend and I had our falling out and I hitched a ride out there with her. She let me stay with her for a few nights in school housing while I looked for an apartment. I had dated another girl a couple years prior who lived in Longmont, Colorado with her mother. She was ready to move to Denver so we decided we’d be roommates.
I remember standing on the balcony of the school housing building, smoking a cigarette, and talking to the guy from Craigslist who would ultimately buy my $5000 worth of photography gear for $2000, allowing me to put a deposit down on my apartment in Denver. It was a Canon 5D Mk II that I sold in 2011, along with its 24-105 L kit lens. That camera, along with my bicycle had become my entire world for years. I adored it. That was the last time I would hold a DSLR until this year, 2017.
After months of research and jumping back and forth on what I wanted, I ultimately decided on the Canon 6D. It’s nearly identical to the 5D Mk III I’d wanted since it debuted in 2012, but a few hundred dollars cheaper. It has an improved version of the full frame sensor I fell in love with in the 5D series, similar resolution, and spectacular low light performance. Others have chosen the 5D III because of the dual card slot and the bajillion auto-focus points. I didn’t care about either of those things. The 6D also has built-in WiFi and GPS that I use way more often than I thought I would.
So here we are. I’ve taken my new prized possession out on our first photo adventure. It was the middle of a week day and I headed up 580, into Altimont Pass to take some pictures of wind mills. I exited onto Flynn Road N and drove into the hills, there. I got some alright shots, but the things I heard and saw while I was there really excited me.
I’m standing on the side of Flynn road and it’s dead quiet save for the sound of a couple of birds chatting back and forth. I’m clicking away when I hear a faint siren back towards the highway. I assume it’s Highway Patrol pulling someone over. Then I notice every time the driver blips the siren, it echoes all around me. It’s not a normal echo, though. There are a lot of repeats, coming from multiple sources, and all at consistent rates. This goes on for about 30 seconds. The officer blips the siren, and I get about 15 different echoes each time. As I look around me, and more importantly up, I realize what’s happening.
The siren is being sent into the hills and sent back not by the hills themselves, but by the giant blades on each of the windmills. There is enough surface area on these blades to bounce the siren back right to my head as they rotate into the right angle, relative to myself to do so. It was such a simple thing, but at the moment, in the middle of that quiet field, on that perfect day, it felt like magic. So that siren… it got closer.
The echos stop and I go back to what I was doing. The siren disappears into obscurity for a while. Then it comes back. Louder. Much louder. I look up from my viewfinder and jump as a Ford Police Interceptor Utility (That’s what they’re called, apparently.) hits its horn 50 feet away from me. It’s not a normal horn. You know that amplified, Klaxon-type sound emergency vehicles make? Then he gets on the horn:
“Time to go. We’re chasing somebody through here. Time to go.”
Holy shit! My serenity out here in the hills has turned into a Highway Patrol pursuit. I’m stoked! I run back to my truck as not to be run down by whatever may be coming my way. There are two CHP vehicles there, next to my truck. When I get there, they pull out and head up the road. Of course, I follow them.
I get to where Flynn Road N turns right into Flynn Road S and see more Highway Patrol. In the field to the left, is a Subaru hatchback. Two officers are walking up the hill in pursuit of whoever ditched the Subaru. I pull off the road, turn my engine off, turn on a police scanner app, listen, and watch. Apparently, they were chasing someone up Flynn Road S who instead of making the left, blew straight through a fence, a little bit up a hill, and took off on foot into the hills above. There wasn’t much to see from the road. A tow truck showed up pretty quickly and they had a plane on its way to help find whoever was on the run. I was able to grab a picture of an Officer Andrade coming down the hill.
So yeah. I’m back in the photo game. I’m back out exploring which is amazing. Most people try to have a plan, but you never really know where you’re going, how you’ll get there, or what you’ll see along the way. You’re shooting fashion in Los Angeles. You lose everything. You’re taking pictures of windmills and getting caught up in Highway Patrol chases. Life’s a trip.