Sunday, January 19, 2020

Chatfield State Park, December 2019

The fresh snow that fell on Saturday of my Colorado visit was exactly what I had come to see. Fortunately, it came late enough in the day not to melt, and that beautiful blanket of white was certain to still be covering everything on Sunday morning. Even better, the clouds were forecast to move on and the skies would be clear. The only potential downside in the weather forecast? Bitter cold.

Winter Sunrise, Chatfield State Park
How cold?  My car said it was -2 degrees as I headed over to Chatfield State Park before sunrise.  The Canada Geese on this holding pond, as usual, didn't seem to notice.

Winter Sunrise, Chatfield State Park
Brutally cold conditions like this have a stark, severe beauty all their own.

Winter Sunrise, Chatfield State Park
I couldn't last long outside in the cold, and neither could my camera batteries.  I had to keep a spare battery in my pants pocket to swap out when the battery in the camera got too cold to give a charge.  And I had to regularly head back to my car, crank the heat all the way up, and hold my hands in front of the vents to restore feeling in my fingers.

Winter Sunrise, Chatfield State Park
Another photographer showed up and we chatted briefly.  She had no hat and no gloves.  I hope she didn't freeze to death, but I'm not ruling it out.  I don't remember seeing anything on the news, though.

Winter Sunrise, Chatfield State Park
I left the pond but didn't stray far from water, wanting to continue to incorporate reflections in my shots.

Winter Sunrise, Chatfield State Park
The rising sun was brightening things, but didn't really seem to be adding any warmth.

Winter Sunrise, Chatfield State Park
The snow that had frozen on the plants helps to drive home that calling the conditions "cold" really doesn't do them justice.

Winter Sunrise, Chatfield State Park
As much as I love shooting directly into the sun, I also wanted to take advantage of the great low-angle sidelight.

Winter Morning, Chatfield State Park
I found a vantage point I'd used nearly six years earlier in similar conditions.  The view didn't seem to have changed much.

Winter Morning, Chatfield State Park
I left the water only once -- when my eye caught sight of this isolated, frost-covered tree.

Winter Morning, Chatfield State Park
This was the winter I'd come to experience.  Dazzling beauty in air so cold every breath told you in no uncertain terms that you were alive.

Winter Morning, Chatfield State Park
While the geese didn't seem to mind the cold, they didn't seem in any hurry to get especially active, either.  I decided it was time I followed their example -- not by getting in the frigid water, but by heading back home for some rest.  So that's what I did, gratified that I'd gotten to experience Colorado's incomparable winter splendor once again.