It’s Spring In Rocky?

Sunrise from Many Parks Curve in Rocky Mountain National Park on May 10th, 2019. Not exactly what many people envision in spring like conditions in RMNP. It may have looked more like a winter scene in Rocky, but I was able to get a longtime photography tour client out in the field to experience what turned out to be a dynamic but great morning of photography in Rocky Mountain National Park. Technical Details: Nikon Z7, Nikkor 24-70mm F4 S lens.

It spring in Rocky?. Thats a question I get from many of my photography tour and workshop clients when discussing particulars before heading out in the field. Photography workshop and tour clients are often surprised when scheduling in May to find the weather in Rocky Mountain National Park may be just as likely to be similar to a February day then a warm spring day.

May in Rocky Mountain National Park is an interesting month. It’s a transitional month in the park but that transition in not one from spring towards summer, it’s really more of a tug of war between winter holding on and spring attempting to get a foothold. Oftentimes that struggle between winter and spring seems like a 1 step forward, 2 step back battle with winter often appearing to gain the upper hand.

Late spring in RMNP can feel more like winter, but the dynamic and unsettled weather we get in Rocky in May can lead to some amazing conditions for photographers. Truth be told some of my best winter have been created in May on account of the rough and tumble weather patterns that frequent Rocky and the Front Range of Colorado this time of year.

While some of my favorite images have been captured this time of year, May is also the month that I see the most cancelation from photography tour and workshop clients on account of the weather. I understand my clients concerns with the weather combined with the cost and time involved in getting to Rocky and hiring a photography guide to show them around. I’ll analyze the weather and do my best to provide an straight forward assessment of what potential we may have.

Trying to forecast the weather conditions can be difficult on most days, but attempting to convince a hesitant client that we have a 20% chance of getting epic conditions but an 80% chance of getting skunked can be a difficult sell.

On account of the snow and unsettled weather in Rocky Mountain National Park on Friday, I had my client for that morning cancel and reschedule for later in the spring when the weather hopefully cooperates a little better. While one of my clients rescheduled, another longtime client of mine was all in on taking a chance with the weather.

This client requests that I give them a heads up whenever there is potential for good or great conditions. Because this client has hired my services well over a dozen times previously, we have a very good understanding of what the expectations are when the weather looks dynamic. They understand that there is a good chance conditions wont cooperate while at the sometime understanding that in order to photograph in jaw dropping conditions, one must weigh the risk reward scenario.

I’ve had more exceptional conditions with this client than not but we’ve had a few days in the field that did not materialize quite like we expected. With that said, this client trusts my assessments in the field and greatly enjoys the opportunity to get out when conditions might be rough but extremely rewarding. Taking a chance on the conditions and yesterday and trusting on my assessment my client was rewarded with some spectacular May conditions and came away with some of their best Colorado winter portfolio images. As I always like to tell my clients, ‘bad weather makes for great photography’.