Spend more than a few days in Rocky Mountain National Park and you will certainly meet our good friend the wind. Wind comes with the territory here in Colorado and the higher you venture in the park the more intense it is.
Wind is common in early spring as fronts move through the state. For the most part wind makes photography in RMNP very challenging. A tripod, high shutter speed and lots of might help to allow for a few sharp frames in between the gusts that can be hurricane force on some mornings. As much of a nuisance that wind can be in Rocky Mountain National Park it can also be accompanied by some dramatic clouds and light.
Yesterday (Sunday) was one of those kinds of mornings where there were lots of nice clouds hanging over Rocky, mostly on account of the wind stirring up the atmosphere. I’m always a bit reluctant on these windy days to go out and shoot. The lighting may be great but nothing is worse than finding all or nearly all of your images suffer from motion blur on account of the wind. That being said photographing in the wind in Rocky comes with the territory and if you want to spend time photographing RMNP you will have to deal with it one way or another.
My strategy on windy days is to find areas that have some shelter from the wind. Often this means stick to the lower elevations of the park as the winds tend to be more moderate and there are often groves of trees or rocks one can use to shield the wind.
With the wind howling in the park and gusts near 30 MPH I settled on Upper Beaver Meadows to setup. Lots of trees to duck behind and Otis, Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain had some amazing wind driven clouds streaking over them.
With about a 15% success rate as far as sharp images go I did manage enough sharp frames to make the morning worthwhile. Overall the wind was a pain but the lighting and clouds on the divide were more than worth the temporary nuisance that accompanied the wind on this beautiful morning.