Winter Sunrise on the Lost Mesa

I woke to a cold still morning on the Otero Mesa.  It was dark and I could tell there were some heavy clouds in the sky.  I knew that clouds could mean a great sunrise and I sprung out of my sleeping bag and prepared for what I hoped would be a great morning for photography.

It was chilly.  The temps were down below freezing.  Probably around 20 degrees or so.

I set up my camera on my tripod and tried to see if I could get some images of the night sky.  Unlike the prior evening I was unsuccessful.  Between the clouds and moonless sky it was so dark my attempts at night images met with no luck.  Add in the the Milky Way is not readily visible in early January (it rises right around sunrise) and there was no success for me and mostly just dark images.

Then it started raining/sleeting.

I covered my camera and waited for dawn.  As light began to creep into the eastern sky I started to make out some of the details of the clouds and the mountains.  It was then I knew we would have a good sunrise.

I moved to a slightly different view.  I was north of the lonely individual peaks that are the Horned Mountains and wanted to show them with that way.  I also wanted to see the snow that still clung to the north faces of the peaks.

The spot I found had basically nothing for a foreground but I hoped the open quality of the grasslands with the peaks would make a good base.  Then I waited for the magic of the light.  The rain/sleet came and went in the twilight.  However that did not deter me from staying out nor did it stop the sun from coming up in a glorious fashion.

This is the sunrise I caught.

It was one of those magical mornings where it all came together to make a great image.

I was also able to turn to the west and photograph the lone Alamo Mountain under the wonderful lit clouds I had that morning.

Winter morning at its finest.


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