I think most of us will be ready to bid adieu to 2020 in a few days. The past 10 months have been difficult for many, and even tragic for folks, too. I hope in some small way, my photographs of Colorado's beauty can help just a bit, though I know it can never undo the damage - emotionally, physically, financially - many have experienced.
Nevertheless, we carry on. In this last blog of the year, I'd like to share my personal favorites from 2020, in no particular order.
First up, an early morning hike up to Butler Gulch in late July found me freezing while standing in a stream photographing this tuft of Parry's Primrose. The sky was amazing and the air calm as cold snow-melt waters rushed downstream on both sides of me.
On another cold morning, I had just about given up on sunrise when the sky lit up over Lake Granby. I made a quick pullout from Highway 34, walked along the rocky shore, and found this view of the still waters.
One early morning, I left our place in Winter Park around 3:45am to make the 15 mile bumpy drive up to Rollins Pass. From there, I hiked along the CDC Trail to King Lake. With the temperature in the high 20s at just under 12,000 feet in altitude, these rugged little sunflowers, known as "Old Man of the Mountain," greeted both me and the morning light.
From Grand Lake, Colorado, morning clouds made for a beautiful sunrise. I don't think I saw another person while shooting this amazing scene. The reds, yellows, and aquas of the boats as well as the blue and orange of the clouds and sky made for a stunning reflection in the still waters.
For a time, the comet NEOWISE was the talk of the astronomy world. I am including this photograph both for the beauty and wonder as well as for the effort it took. I'd started this hike up near Berthoud Pass to reach treeline around 3am. As I was attempting to cross a small creek, I slipped and the weight of a tripod, large telephoto lens and camera, as well as other accessories, pulled me backwards into the 34 degree water, soaking one side of my body. After some thought and regrouping, I continued on, figuring I was already cold and wet, so might as well keep going! Later, I'd discover my new Garmin GPS had slipped out of my pocket when I was partially submerged in the water. I returned that afternoon to search for it, but I imagine it was washed miles downstream by that point. Still, I made it up to nearly the treeline before finally stopping to set up, take a few shots with a telephoto lens, and calling it a morning.
Before this, I was able to take a few images of NEOWISE near Grand Lake, as well as from high up on the CDC Trail near Berthoud Pass and in Rocky Mountain National Park. Looking up and viewing the comet left me with a sense of awe at how small we are on this Little Rock as we hurtle through space.
Lastly, I made my annual summer drive to the Grand Junction area to visit a good friend. Several years ago when I was out shooting at Colorado National Monument, I met a guy, Dale, who was enjoying the views. We started talking, kept in touch, and became friends. Each year Dale and his son take me to some places I'd never find on the western slope. A few years ago, it was Rattlesnake Canyon. Last year, it was the Grand Mesa. This year, our time was spent in some areas overlooking the Colorado River as it flows westward toward Utah and the Pacific Ocean. Dale has opened my eyes to the incredible landscapes on the western slope, and I look forward to future trips.
I hope everyone has a bit better 2021. Take care. Be safe. Hang in there.