Day 10 – 10/3/14 Friday


Today was a bit of a downer, mainly because the time finally came when Denis and I had to split up and go our separate ways. I knew that it was inevitable, but now I’m on my own again, although I think I learned quite a lot from him; just the whole process of being out in the field without any reservations, just winging it and taking showers whenever they were needed and where ever they can be found, eating Rahmen Noodles whenever you were hungry and picking at other things just to keep going.

Finding remote locations where there wasn’t a hundred other photographers standing shoulder to shoulder. If you wanted to be somewhere for sunrise well, you just made it happen by sleeping there the night before. And that was the main focus: to be somewhere at sunset and sunrise without having to travel in between. He tooled around in a Toyota CJ or CF with 175,000 miles on it and it was crammed to the gills with stuff; all kinds of camera gear (2 systems) loads of food in a cooler that his wife packed for him, computers, all different kinds of clothes for every kind of weather, it was all squeezed into every square inch without even enough room for him to sleep inside. He had to rearrange everything each night just so he would fit inside lying down. Like I said a while back, there isn’t enough room in either of our cars to allow another person to sit in.
But it was the neatest thing that we met up at the Maroon Bells and traveled around for a week, always seeking the perfect sunrise or sunset; yet never witnessing it as we hoped each day. There was always a missing element, either the day was overcast (or raining), or absolutely no clouds which usually produces photography on the boring side, or no color throughout the scene, or no first light shining pink onto clouds, it just never came together. Now I have a little less than three weeks to wing it on my own and see how I do after learning from the master. This is the longest I have ever gone during a trip without checking into a hotel, and after taking showers at a campground (they actually said they were for guests and not open to the public, but we could use them @ 25 cents / 3 minutes) which really seemed like 90 seconds and neither of us had more than 2 quarters apiece, I was ready for another few days without a hotel.
We took pictures at the pond this morning starting at about 5am of the Milky Way including Mt. Sneffels, and then a few more of the mountain, but it was not a sunrise location, it was really much better at sunset lighting up more of the side of the mountain with the late afternoon sun. I tried some pictures with a fence, which I usually don’t do and then I tried some more motion blurs of aspens. I may end up with 100 different aspen blur images.
After the morning shoot, we showered in Ridgeway and then went into Ouray, then headed up toward Red Mountain Pass where we stopped and decided to split up. He had a friend meeting him there later that afternoon and since there was no color in the area yet, I think they were heading to AZ and/or UT while I decided to revisit the Bisti Badlands and work my way back to the Silver a Thread Highway in Colorado and work my way into Utah. I finally got to Bisti at around 5pm and had already decided to try to find the Wings. I did not do well at all. I made two huge mistakes, one being I forgot to lock the car doors when I left on my hike, and boo-boo number two was I forgot my headlamp to help with hiking back in the dark!! The third thing was that now the Bisti Badlands are up 2-0 in the calls of nature department. I’ll just leave it at that.
I did actually find the famous wings, BUT it ended up they were on top of a small ridge without access from where I came from, I’d have to walk quite a way around in order to get closer and there wasn’t enough time to do so although I could have risked life and limb scrambling down the ridge and been left there if I had twisted something. As it was, I did slip on the scree once down a short hump without hurting anything, but put a few scratches on the tripod. I headed back toward the car and took a few shots in the fading light of the alpenglow on the eastern horizon and a few in almost completed darkness, but they still came out well with 30-second exposures. But really nothing to write home about.
Made it back to the car, packed up and hunkered down for the night Iit looks like everyone else left except one other camper for overnight. Tomorrow I hope to revisit the “small wings” as the dawn first lights them, and then back to the eggs, hopefully before the sun reaches them; but honestly, I don’t think I’ll make it there in time.


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