Saturday, April 26, 2014

RMNP: April 2014, Part I

I was long overdue for a visit to Rocky Mountain National Park. So I convinced Taryn to come up with me for an overnight trip. Not a camping trip, mind you. I like 10-mile hikes, climbing 14ers and watching the sun rise just fine. But at night, I need a bed. That's just the way it is.

So anyway, we went up to Estes Park last night.  And despite an unexpected detour due to construction on 36, we made it into the park before sunset.

Sunset at Sprague Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

Conditions were overcast for our entire drive, but we headed for Sprague Lake anyway.  And wouldn't you know it, the clouds broke a bit right when we arrived.  So we hustled into a position where we could get the last bit of fading color in the sky and reflected off the water.

Sunset at Sprague Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

The color only lasted for seconds.  But the scene when it was gone was still pretty good.

Moose at Sprague Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

We heard some noise across the lake and thought we could make out a couple of large shapes in the water, which I assumed had to be moose.  So we headed in that direction and were rewarded with just that.  Though in the deepening twilight I had to use the tripod and a long exposure to get them, which resulted in a bit of a "ghost moose" effect when one of them moved.  Still, moose!

Sunrise at Sprague Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

A quick night's sleep at the Discovery Lodge (clean rooms, comfortable beds and affordable rates, which is all I look for in these situations) and we were back at the lake again before dawn today.  Managed to capture the crescent moon and Venus before they faded from sight.

Sunrise at Sprague Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

A year ago on my first trip to shoot the sunrise at RMNP I set up on the far west side of Sprague Lake.  Which was great for shooting the actual sunrise to the east, but I missed out on possible alpenglow on the peaks to the west.  This time, I found a spot on the south side of the lake where I could get both the color in the clouds from the rising sun in the east ...

Sunrise at Sprague Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

... and the little bit of faint alpenglow in the other direction.  These are the things you learn making repeat trips to the same location.

Sunrise at Sprague Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

I think that some light clouds on the horizon were what interfered with the alpenglow.  But as the sun rose higher those clouds did lend a nice, diffuse quality to the light that necessitated one final shot to the east as we were leaving to visit the rest of the park.  All in all, a solid start to our visit!

Click here for Part II.

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