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Monthly Archives: September 2016

Last Survivors – Paintbrush and Snow in the San Juan Mountains

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End of August snow took me by surprise! Just several minutes before I was shooting out in a steady drizzle. Then without warning, the sky broke loose with thunder and lightning flashing all around and then the hail came roaring in. I took cover but ventured back out soon afterwards with a flimsy umbrella separating me from the pounding pellets of ice. The hail gave way to snow which was a great relief. It was coming down so hard that it only took a few minutes to pile up 2″ of wet slushy powder.

Then as soon as it came, it was gone with the wind howling as the clouds broke free revealing the distant Grenadier Mountains now covered in fresh snow. Photography was nearly impossible as I was being blown around while trying to get a shot before the clouds moved in again. It was a wonderful moment with the mountains alive with natures fury and there before me was the last stand of paintbrush on the mountain still alive and well after taking a severe beating moments before.

I came back the next morning which revealed an a eerily beautiful sunrise. It only happened for a moment so I had to rush my shot as the obscured sun came up between a gap in the distant mountain for only a moment before the fog reclaimed it again. Then out in the dense fog, a pack of coyotes started howling nearby by which caught my faithful companion’s attention as she intently listened to her ancestors now dominating the scene.

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Canon 6D, EF16-35mm f/4L, F’14, 16mm, 1/10 sec, ISO 250, Dolica carbon fiber tripod, Manfrotto monopod, and Adobe Lightroom 6 to edit.

 

Moonlight Special in the San Juan Mountains

 

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With my life turned a little upside down the past few months, I have really gotten behind in posting my shots so I decided to go back a ways and place them in a more chronological order so the next few weeks will seem a little out of season.

August 16,  I was counting my blessings sitting in a high alpine field still loaded with wildflowers thanking God for my return to better health when the dark clouds suddenly opened up allowing the now setting sun to paint a beautiful golden glow in the sky above. It only lasted for a few seconds and then the clouds once again took over. I didn’t get a shot off but my mind certainly recorded it. At this point I was so thankful for being back up in the mountains again that it didn’t bother me. I literally laid down in the thick wildflowers and took in the fading views as darkness was quickly setting in.

Then I noticed a slight glow towards the eastern horizon and couldn’t believe what was happening. A near full Moon was peaking over the horizon! Now I had another opportunity to get a shot that was fairly unique. The wind was blowing slightly, just enough to cause problems with the flowers in foreground especially with a long exposure. I bumped the ISO up a bit but kept the aperture around f/16 to allow both the foreground and sky and moon to be in pretty good focus.

It was so nice to return back to the place that I love especially being welcomed by the Moon on a beautiful night in the San Juan Mountains of SW Colorado!