Day 5 9/28 Sunday – Our Anniversary
Actually woke up with the alarm today because
I kept seeing stars and figured it would be a duplicate of the past two days: cloudless sunrise without any drama. Didn’t even care that the lot would be full because I would just go to the small lake as yesterday again instead, but was shocked to find that the lot was not full !!
Over the mountaintop there were plenty of clouds with the eastern sky kind of clear, so there was potential for a dramatic sky this morning; to say the least, I was excited with the possibilities. Went to the same spot and saw Dennis, one of the photographers from the previous two days and the throngs did eventually materialize and as usual they kept lining up along the lake and intruded in our shots. But it didn’t matter too much because all the action in the sky was behind us to the east and almost nothing happened above the celebrated peaks. I managed a couple of shots of the eastern sky but there was such a difference in light values, I’ll have to blend them later. I did take some shots of the peaks with the clouds but they didn’t have much color, just subtle tones. By then the sky was completely overcast and Dennis and I went to McDonalds for a late breakfast and talked of the possibility of going over Kebler pass together, the only question was when. We both still wanted a better shot of the Bells than we had gotten so we decided to stay in the area today and give it one more shot tomorrow morning before heading to the pass.
We ended up splitting up during the day, agreeing to meet up again at McDonald’s, and after going up toward Independence Pass a bit, it started to rain pretty good, so I decided to take advantage of the information Dennis’s wife gave him that the Aspen Recreation Center had showers available. So I went there and took a shower, which opened up the next few days away from civilization on the Kebler Pass road. I was in desperate need of a shower, and didn’t like the option of not having one for another two or three days; that would have been a week. Maybe I can check into a motel on Wednesday and watch Survivor.
After the shower, I headed up toward Independence Pass again, this time under only cloudy skies. When I got to a spot with a lot of thin, tall aspens, I found that there was also no breeze, so I spent quite a bit of time there. In fact I ended up perseverating on one shot in particular, so I guess I liked it quite a bit. However, it was a motion blur, so others may not care too much for it. I was able to isolate an evergreen in the grove of aspen trunks and yellow/green aspen leaves filling the frame and then blurred it. I found that with a two second exposure, I held still for one second to really get a good form of the evergreen and then blurred it for the second half of the exposure. I began using my jacket as a large cloth over my head to better see the latest shot when it’s bright out, otherwise you can’t really see what is on the screen and make proper judgements about any adjustments that need to be made. This method may be part of my regular routine in the future.
Later I stopped at a small waterfall in kind of a bowl of stone that was pretty neat, along with some cascades in front of what I think may be willows, and then onto the pass where the temperature was really cold and the wind was howling!!! The sky was pretty dramatic with loads of interesting clouds speeding by and there are several small ponds up there for reflections, but the clouds never really lit up like this morning and the color again was pretty muted as well; but it was a kind of unreal color between peach and tan. After it seemed what little light show there was, was over, I got back to McDonald’s and Dennis was already there working on his pictures from this morning on his laptop. He is very good at Photoshop and getting everything out of a photo that you can with many subtle changes to improve what was already a good shot. He did a five minute exposure to blur the streaking clouds above the Bells this morning creating a really great image and then made it even better. After McDonald’s, we’ll end up back near the Bells camping so we’ll be close by for the final attempt of an iconic shot in the morning. I see stars and clouds, we’ll see which wins out tomorrow morning.