Saturday, July 29, 2017

Mesa Verde Summertime View

Navajo Canyon, Mesa Verde.
It's mid summer. Here comes late summer right around the corner. I try to enjoy all the seasons.

People are saying: "It's almost August! Where is the summer going?" It's going day by day, of course.

Soon it will be fall, my favorite time of year. But not yet. Here on the Colorado Plateau, it's monsoon thunderstorm season, the beautiful time when southern moisture collides with hot high country temperatures and boils over in the skies. When all manner of blues and whites and grays make for a mesmerizing palette above.

Navajo Canyon cliffs.
Up on Mesa Verde, I continue to watch things progress through the summer. The vegetation growing until it's once again time to settle in for the coming cold season.

Once again I look down upon Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling in North America.

Cliff Place at Mesa Verde.
Meanwhile, in the parking lot, the Rabbitbrush are beginning to bloom. A butterfly is sufficiently distracted as to allow me to take some photos of it from a few feet away.

Butterfly on Rabbitbrush blooms, Cliff Palace parking lot.
Photo location: Mesa Verde National Park, southwest Colorado.

© Copyright 2017 Stephen J. Krieg

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

High Country Summer

Colorado Hwy. 145 near Lizard Head Pass
It was the end of June, and I had not been back up into the southwest Colorado high country in over a month.

Up the Dolores river valley from the quaint and historic river town of Dolores on Highway 145. Up past the hamlet of Stoner, and Rico, my favorite mountain town. But I could not stop there, as I had a long way to go.

Lizard Head Pass, late June.
The aspen forests high above were in full greenery, as were the alpine tundra fields above them, even if only slightly less so. Shades of green against blue mountains, and skies.

Lizard Head Peak, from the Pass.
And before long I was back up at Lizard Head Pass. The snowfields above timberline had been melting rapidly. The uppermost reaches of the streams were losing their turbidity (muddy-ness) after the high water mark of spring runoff of the snowfields in the surrounding mountains.

I settled into a campsite. A "dispersed campsite", meaning it was just a spot on the National Forest. No facilities, just me and nature. There was a well used fire ring there, but I had no desire for a campfire.

I began to look around at the wildflowers.





Then some deer walked almost right through my camp. Alert but relatively unconcerned, they know when it's hunting season and when it's not.



See more of my photography at www.NaturalMoment.com.

© Copyright 2017 Stephen J. Krieg

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Starry, Really Starry Night at 10,000 Feet

Milky Way and infinite friends, from Lizard Head Pass.
Summertime, and the living's easy. Right? Especially up in the Rocky Mountains of southwest Colorado.

I was back up at Lizard Head Pass, and had found an excellent campsite on the National Forest to settle into. A day off, plenty of provisions, nowhere else to be but to be relaxed and savoring the experience.

Sunset turned to dusk, and to sleep. Good night. But something was bugging me: being back underneath a clear dark sky view of the Milky Way again.

I'm no night owl. I like going to bed early and getting up early. But I wanted to once again try my hand at some night sky photography.

So at one point I peered out the window and upward just to confirm that the Milky Way was still up there. Got that done. Then I dozed off. And woke up dreaming that I was photographing it! Oh, I thought, I'd better just get up and actually do it. Otherwise it will be fits and starts of dreams all night.

So I sleepily set up the tripod and camera and had what could best be described as a good effort. Which, in post production back at home (fully awake) turned out to be not bad. Progress from my earlier attempts.

To the north, I framed the spruce and fir trees in silhouette against the sky. After all, who needs another great shot of the night sky without an Earthly reference?

Southern sky, the Galactic Center.
Then, to the south. The Galactic Center was in view. Such shots are often called fake, because they look like star clouds.

The reality is that the camera sensor records more than our eyes can see at the time. Also, city people have no night vision because of all the light pollution. Come up here to 10,000 feet and look up at the night sky. Without turning on any white lights. You could see so much more than you imagined.

At any rate, these are my best depictions of what I experienced that starry, starry night.

Photo location: Lizard Head Pass, San Juan National Forest, Colorado.

See more of my photography at NaturalMoment.com.

© Copyright 2017 Stephen J. Krieg