Tuesday, October 27, 2009

At the Great Sand Dunes

The Great Sand Dunes are one of the wonders of Colorado.

I was headed for Wyoming but I had also decided to take the winding scenic route. After watching sunup on Mt. Capulin I made my way through Red River and then up the San Luis valley to Great Sand Dunes National Park.

I tried to venture out onto the dunes but the wind made it brutal on the sand. So for a different view I hiked into the hills behind the campground and photographed the dunes from a distance. It was a new view for me. It also allowed me to photograph the dunes, mountains and fall color all in one image. See the first image for that view.

The dunes also made an interesting subject for the long lens as the distance had compressed the waves and ridges. See the second image for that view.

Not a bad second day to make for the dunes.

I went out the next morning and it was still breezy but significantly better than the prior afternoon. I made a few images of the stars over the dunes but was less than impressed with what I got. None of them were as good as these two images.

And with that is was off across the state.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Heading West

Heading west for a week is one of the great moments in a year. A week. The open road. The big open country of the American west. Nothing quite like it.

It really is something you cannot get in other parts of the country. I've done drives east but they never have the same feeling of adventure of going west. There is something about the big open country of the west that is magical.

I left Fort Worth and took off up US 287. By the time you get close to Amarillo the towns have really started to really be spaced apart. There are more cows than people out here. The sky gets darker at night. You watch your gas gauge.

After staying up at Lake Meredith, I headed for New Mexico and the volcano studded open range in the north east part of the state.

It was cold and clear. I thought about doing an image of Mt Capulin with the stars. Then I passed into a thick cloudbank. So much for that. Right as I neared the mountain, I popped out of the cloud cover and into some cold clear air. My star trail image did not work but as the light came up on the plains low clouds started moving around the mountain. I managed to make an interesting image of the low clouds and morning glow on the mountain (top image).

BTW- I also got a chance to watch ice crystals form on my tripod leg as I was photographing. It was cold behind this front!

After watching the sunrise I headed farther west and by the time I made Raton, I was back under overcast sky.

I followed the road toward Cimarron and passed through ranching country. It was on that lonely road I made the second image of the range land and mesas that lie at the eastern edge of the Sangre de Christo Mountains.

It was the first full day on the road. I was heading to Wyoming. I was on the open range driving west.

What a day!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Storm on the Lost Mesa

A thunderstorm breaking up at sunset on the Lost Mesa.

The day had started clear. A few puffy clouds started to form in mid morning. The clouds built up. The sky turned dark and rained in the afternoon. Late in the day a few storms were rolling across the mesa. At sunset, this thunderstorm was moving toward me it was also breaking up.
I could see rain falling on mountains that were only a few miles away. A rainbow appeared. I saw a single bolt of lightening. The clouds were racing toward me and breaking up at the same time.
The sun continued to set behind me. The light got better. The rain never made it to me.
I photographed until the light was gone from the sky. Then waited for the stars.
This image was from the height of the magical light. Sometimes you just get lucky and get to see days like this.