Colorado – Second Trip

I know the title of this post says Colorado but I had to share this one photo from North Carolina first.  While home, between my first and second trip to Colorado, my family and I went to the mountains for a day.  We found this huge moth over near the stream we stopped at for a swim.  He is a giant silk moth called a Polyphemus, named after the one-eyed mythological Greek giant.  You can tell the gender of a moth by their antennae.  The boy moth has more of a feather shape while the girl’s are more thread-like.  This is true also for butterflies.

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Enough about moths.  On to Colorado photos!

On this second trip, I spent about 2 weeks in the De Beque area.  Back and forth between the rig and the hotel in Parachute, CO, I had many opportunities for photos.  With summer trying to hold off the cooler air of fall, we saw some pretty good storms.

This photo here I shot with my cell phone (Nokia Lumia 1520) on the way to dinner in Rifle, CO.  I have to say, I’m pretty happy with the camera on that phone.  It can shoot 16MP RAW files!  The lens is fast enough to give a little depth of field considering the physically small sensor.

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Early one morning while at the rig, I saw these low, rain-filled clouds draped over the mountains and hills.  It was so quiet and peaceful.  Birds were jumping between bushes looking for bugs and the chipmunks were foraging for berries.  It’s nice to take a moment to enjoy these things, especially when your work environment is normally so loud and industrial.

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This layered rock has separated into what I thought looked like a flower.  The slivers were as thin as a sheet of folded paper.  So cool looking!

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By the end of the day, the clouds all blew away to clear skies.  I was driving back to the hotel when, while still out in the canyon, I stopped the car along the side of the dirt road and turned off my headlights.  I couldn’t get over how clear the skies were.  The Milky Way was so easy to see!  I didn’t have a tripod with me but I did have a t-shirt and a rental car.  I wrapped my shirt around the lens of my camera and then rolled it up in the window in order to hold my equipment still for some long-exposure shots.  Right before taking a photo, I would turn the car off and hold really still so as not to move anything.  I used the camera’s 10 second timer to trip the shutter, giving me enough time to sit back in the seat and let my movements settle out.  These two photos were my favorites.

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The lights on the rig illuminated the side of this mountain.  I could barely see the light on the mountain with the naked eye.  Long-exposure photography opens up a whole world of interesting things.

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After shooting, I started the car and kicked on the headlights.  I had quite the startle when I discovered a huge Elk had crept in to do a little grazing in the bushes in front of where I had parked.  He wasn’t the least bit bothered.  I tried to get a photo of him but they all turned out horrible.  I couldn’t position the car in such a way to employ my makeshift tripod setup.  All my handheld shots just turned out like blurry Sasquatch photos.

My crew and I had a day that we weren’t needed at the rig and we took it as an opportunity to do some exploring of one of the local state parks.  Hanging Lake State Park is just east of Rifle, CO right off Interstate 75.  I don’t know what I was expecting but I admit the hike was more of a challenge than I was expecting.  Starting from the parking area, you follow a deceivingly flat sidewalk along the Colorado River.

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About ten minutes later, the sidewalk runs out and your left following a trail that pretty much goes straight up for the next hour and a half.  It wasn’t as tough as Norway but pretty darn close.  The biggest issue for us low-land dwellers was the altitude.  The higher up the trail goes, the steeper it gets and the less dense the air is.  Sucking wind big time.  Hanging Lake is a more of a pond than a lake, but whatever.  This shallow… body of water is about 7,600 ft up in the mountains.  It’s fed by Spouting Rock, a small waterfall a few hundred yards higher up the mountain.  The fall is literally water shooting out of a hole in the side of the mountain.

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While walking around the lake, a very sociable chipmunk approached me.  I got down at ground level to try to get an eye-level shot when he walked right up to my lens to have a look at himself.  At one point, he actually crawled up and sat in my lens hood.  I did finally get a good shot of him – not sitting in my lens.

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That’s all I have for now.  I may have some B-roll images later.  Things are changing for me workwise.  My next big adventure is rotating back and forth from the US to Saudi Arabia!  Expect a lot of interesting photos from there in the next month!

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6 thoughts on “Colorado – Second Trip

  1. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing the ‘moment’ too, with verbal description–I could hear the silence and ‘see’ the elk. 🙂 Almost as good as being there, son. Thank you! Looking forward to the next post.

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  2. These are just gorgeous!! Love your Milky Way shot Isn’t Hanging Lake amazing? I think it’s so crazy that it’s in Colorado. While we have a tremendous variety of scenery here, this one is in a category all its own. I’m Wes’ niece, btw, which is how I landed here. My mom is his sister. Your photography is stunning!

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