Saturday, January 14, 2017

Hubbard Mesa - A Surprising Spectacle

Hubbard Mesa at Rifle, Colorado

I’ve travelled all over the backroads of Colorado searching for beautiful places to photograph. Earlier this winter, I stumbled upon a remarkable area that really caught my attention.

If you head north out of Rifle, you’ll discover a unique landscape distinguished by enchanting sunsets. My experience below the staggered mesas of that region was nothing short of surreal.

After a gray day shrouded in mist, the clouds began to recede and the sun started to set. Warm tones mingled with cool tones, resulting in a broad spectrum of colorful twilight.

The muddy desert floor was decorated with patches of piñon pine and splashes of blue sagebrush. Up above, the dark peaks were laced with stripes of white snow.

As the curtain of darkness continued to descend, shafts of filtered light permeated the wide valley. The moist atmosphere hung over the canyon, washing it to a glossy sheen.

I was lucky to be rewarded with such a surprising spectacle after wandering into the wilderness that evening. Standing out there during dusk was a moment of solitude I’ll never forget.

A remarkable area

Heading north out of Rifle

A unique landscape

An enchanting sunset

Below staggered mesas

The region was surreal

The clouds began to recede

Warm tones mingled with cool tones

A colorful twilight

Patches of piñon and sagebrush

The canyon was washed clean

Light was filtered through the valley

A surprising spectacle

Wandering into the wilderness

An unforgettable moment of solitude

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Dugout Creek - Before and After the Storm

Dugout Creek, Nebraska

On the day before the storm, the December weather was unusually warm. Dugout Creek meandered slowly through a golden pasture of prairie grassland.

By late afternoon, the sprawling sandhills were saturated with yellow sunshine. Along the curvy creek bank, a barren forest of twisted trees was glowing orange in the last light.

Just when it was beginning to look like a yellow Christmas, the sky turned ominous, temperatures dropped and a terrible blizzard ensued. The old homestead appeared divine while cloaked in the western Nebraska whiteout.

Morning after the storm and the place was covered with deep snow. The cold water creek was crystal clear as it faithfully reflected a broken blue sky.

After a surprising delay, winter has finally arrived on the Great Plains. The past year has been an unpredictable barrage of challenges and change so it’s nice to see that maybe things are starting to get back to normal.

The weather was unusually warm

The creek meandered slowly

Saturated with yellow sunshine

Glowing orange in the last light

The sky turned ominous

Temperatures dropped

The old homestead

Covered in snow

The creek is crystal clear

Reflecting a broken blue sky

Winter has arrived

Maybe things are getting back to normal

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Eagle River - Absolute Freedom

Eagle River at Edwards, Colorado

Emerging out of the lofty Continental Divide, the Eagle River descends freely from the remote rooftop of the Rockies. There are no dams to impede its progress so the wild waterway rushes uninterrupted through Vail Valley’s western slope.

Early Native Americans observed that it had more tributaries than an Eagle has feathers, which is how the river got its appealing name. During the Eagle’s 60 mile journey to its confluence with the Colorado, as the number of tributaries increases so does the river’s size and speed.

I encountered the Eagle River at Edwards, Colorado the morning after a terrific snowstorm. Still dark and blurry under the cover of dense clouds, the vigorous creek wound its way into a black forest of frosted pine trees.

Treading lightly along the frozen riverbank, the thin ice cracked ominously with every footfall. During the dead of winter, the river runs at its shallowest so the rough edges of exposed boulders were softened by caps of fresh snow.

Blanketed in black and white, the Christmas Card setting was therapeutically serene. Just like its namesake nesting in the steep cliffs above, the Eagle River spreads its wings and glides quietly through the landscape, evoking feelings of absolute freedom.

A wild waterway

Vail Valley

After a terrific snowstorm

Under dense cloud cover

Winding through a black forest

The river is at its shallowest

Exposed boulders softened by snow

A Christmas card setting

Therapeutically serene

Gliding quietly

Absolute freedom

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Clearing Storm - A White Wilderness

A clearing storm

The morning after a fresh snow, I’m first to enter the white wilderness. Propelled by cautious footsteps, I break a powdery trail through the silver forest.

A sharp breeze sends temperatures plummeting to ten below. My bare hands feel as if they’re frozen solid and my exhaled breath looks like gray smoke.

Around the bend, below a row of bleached aspen, cheerful elk have gathered into an energetic herd. These hardy beasts are built for the cold so they celebrate by bucking, playing and prancing around.

Blue skies begin to show through as the milky sun wrestles with gray clouds. The winner will determine who dominates the local weather forecast.

Winter is a long and difficult season but after the last few days being mired in a gloomy darkness, there’s something comforting about watching a clearing storm.

The morning after fresh snow

A white wilderness

A silver forest

Temperatures plummet

An energetic herd of elk

Bucking and prancing around

A milky sun and gray clouds

Winter is a difficult season

Something comforting about a clearing storm