Monday, June 13, 2011

Animas River Days in Durango

June has been a banner month for photography!  Exciting and new subjects for me to shoot at every turn, and I've probably been supplied with enough reference material to tide me over for years when I'm not painting outdoors.  And lately, the subjects have been transient and not amenable to any location painting, such as the train trip.

I've decided I'll probably dole the photos out in between paintings, or as an inclusion to those done of a particular subject (such as the Rancho de Taos church).

My intentions to paint today went by the wayside, so I thought I'd share some photos I shot yesterday during part of the Animas River Days event held each June here in Durango.  

Enter the event known as "Kayak Rodeo":  whitewater kayakers take turns riding a huge standing wave and doing tricks on it (underwater turns, helical spins and such) to gain points.  Getting "flushed" is sort of the equivalent of getting tossed off a bull or horse, except that you can paddle back and ride the wave again if you can.  Each kayaker has 2 runs for a minute each, which are both scored.

I've never shot a sports event before, but this was such a blast.  I shot over 300 photos over the course of the two hours.  We were lucky to be positioned at this ideal viewing spot for the event.

Here are some of my favorites, and I hope you enjoy them as well!

Making a turn 

Setting up against the wave
Kayakers try to position themselves at the base of the wave to ride it and perform their tricks; this competitor has a good position...right next to the brown "wall"

In control 

Kayak rodeo:  not just for the boys, but for girls with pink kayaks!

Coming up for air - this professional entrant has almost finished a 360 roll in the center of the wave

Tag-teaming it for fun - not part of the competition, but what a great shot

Banking to the right at the leading edge of the whitewater

Are we having a great time or what?
One of my favorite photos; this guy's smile epitomized the entire event

Leaning into it

Concentration is key to staying on top of things

Enjoying more wave riding after the competition

I seriously love this town.


Tomorrow I'm going out with the Four Corners Plein Air painters group, so hopefully I'll have an actual painting or two to post soon.


  1. So glad to hear you're enjoying your new hometown!
    I like that same photo too, and also the "leaning in" one.

  2. Great photos. Love the pink kayak.

  3. Thanks, Jala! After the years living in CT, I forgot how glorious summers in the southwest are.

    Thanks LeAnn - isn't that kayak awesome? I want one!

  4. I'll have to look up where the Animus River is - looks fairly large - must flow into the Colorado.

  5. Hi Helen - the Animas headwaters start around Silverton, CO (about 50 mi. north of Durango), runs almost due south and of course goes through town. It drains into the San Juan (a major river in this region). The San Juan drains into the Colorado in Glen Canyon at the upper end of Lake Powell.

    It looks much bigger because of the snowmelt from the San Juans; it's around 4000 cfs, whereas in early April, it was around 800.


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