Last nights trip up to Lost Lake was a bit tough. By the time I got to Gunnison I really needed to take a break from driving, so I stayed at McDonald’s (my home away from home) a while eating two apple pies and getting the journal written. The final push to Lost Lake wasn’t any easier even though I thought when I got into the dirt road, it would revitalize me, but unfortunately it did not. I couldn’t wait to crawl into the sleeping bag when I got there.
Did not sleep as well as I would have liked and was a bit groggy when the alarm went off @ 615 am, but got ready for what I hoped would be a last chance at a good sunrise with the mountain reflected in the lake. There were some clouds behind the snow covered peaks, and they did turn a bit pink, but did not cover the whole sky, but everything was working out well. The water was calm so there would be good reflections, there were some frosted aspen leaves and grasses along the shoreline and even the aspens across the lake miraculously still had most of their leaves on. All I needed to do was trip the shutter and the scene took care of itself. There was no throng of people like at the a Maroon Bells, just Bob who came a bit after the pink clouds. We chatted a bit while we took our pictures, so it was enjoyable. He told me that the mountain we were photographing was East Bethwick, which I did not know and appreciated him filling me in. The clouds that appeared behind the mountain earlier, advanced so that they eventually covered most of the sky with a white film that did not block out the sun entirely, there were still shadows, but there was really no blue sky, so that was frustrating. I rode along Kebler Pass Road during the morning taking some views and some more blurred aspen shots. I think I’ve become obsessed with that shot but tried something different this morning. Instead of panning vertically, I hesitated before panning horizontally, even on vertical compositions. I also over exposed a bit to really create more depth by having some trunks with sunlight on the edges toward the front, trunks without sunlight in the middle and then maybe a single dark fir tree for another layer. Everything looks good on the small screen, but we’ll have to wait until I can look at them on the less forgiving larger screen.
Driving down the mountain, I had to pull off to the side and take a power nap; I guess a little sleep deprivation will do that. After that I was fine and headed toward Colorado National Monument. I decided that since I would be passing Paonia again, I would stop by the BackCountry Cafe again for something worthwhile for lunch. It was a good thing, because I got stuck behind a highway line painting truck going about 5mph so I wasn’t stuck behind for too long by turning off for Paonia. I had the lunch at the cafe and the Butterfly woman was there again showing me that the chrysalis had become a Monarch Butterfly!! When I left to return to the highway, no sooner did I stop to make the turn when the same line painting truck goes by and I’m stuck behind him for a second time!! Luckily, it didn’t last too long and I finally got going, arriving at the monument, got a camp site and check out where good sunrise and sunset shots were. I didn’t’ realize that everything faces east here so there are no great sunset views, only sunrise where you can actually see the sky. “Sunset Shots” really means late afternoon when the sun will hit the monuments with some low right angle light. But it ends quite a bit before the actual sunset. Luckily, Orah had mentioned to me that Cheryl said there would be a “Blood Moon” tonight, so I looked up the time (624pm) and inclination (84.9 degrees) and found a spot that would line up with one of the formations so when the moon rose, everything would all be lined up. That all did work out, however, those same gauzy clouds from this morning were also here and when the moon rose, you could barely make it out through them. But it probably made the photograph possible because otherwise, the moon would just be blown out, or if the moon were exposed properly, the landscape itself would be all dark. It may have worked out for the best, by using a 2-stop split ND and actually having to do the shot at minus 2 stops, I was able to record the scene reasonably well enough to get it right in post processing.
It seems that there is cell service here in the park, so while I was waiting for the moon to rise, I spoke to Jaci and I spoke to Denis while in the car waiting for it to be time for bed. He’s been shooting around Moab, Page and Monument Valley, was currently driving towards Las Vegas to find some clear sky for the lunar eclipse tomorrow night. I wish I were with him to learn how to shoot that, but you can’t be in two places at once.