March Is Roaring

March this year in Rocky Mountain National Park has really been living up to its expectations as what is typically our wettest month of the year. After a slow start to March, it seems that one weather system after another has moved across the Front Range of Colorado and dumped snow on the region. This has been a boon for winter landscape photography. Earlier this week, I was able to capture Ypsilon Mountain getting some gap light as sunsrise broke in RMNP over snowy landscape. Technical Details: Nikon Z7, Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 S lens

March came in like a gentle lamb but its certainly going out like a roaring lion. After an early start to March in Rocky Mountain National Park that looked a lot like it was going to be a dud of month snow wise, things changed fast. In the words of Ron Burgundy from the movie Anchor Man ‘That escalated quickly’.

Shoveling snow from the driveway may get old, but getting out in the field after a spring snow never does. Photography tour and workshop clients looking for winter images often ask me when the best time to photograph Rocky Mountain National Park is during the winter. My response is the best time for winter photography in Rocky is the spring months of March, April and May with a sprinkling of late September or early October when we usually get one of our first tastes of snowfall.

The unsettled weather patterns of spring, along with milder temperatures makes this time of year one of the best of winter like landscapes of RMNP. With the first week of March being mild, one weather impulse after another has been moving through the park. Seems like every other day or so the weather has been changing and snow has been falling on Rocky.

This our great to help make up for the deficit in moisture and water we have been experiencing since early last summer and its great for kicking the late winter photography doldrums and adding a little spark and excitement to expeditions out in the park.

Its hard not to love the drama and mood that is created this time of year in RMNP as storms move in and out of the mountains. Here 14,259 ft Longs Peak is seen playing peekaboo with the clouds as the sunrise illuminates the Diamond and summit of Longs Peak while the lower portions of Rocky Mountain National Park remain covered in shadow and fog. Technical Details: Nikon Z7, Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 S lens
Not every weather impulse of snowstorms timing over Rocky Mountain National Park makes it ideal for photography, but its always worth taking the chance and making sure you’re in Rocky when the sun rises.

One thing I find about shooting landscapes in RMNP this time of year is that even during some of the strongest winter storms that move through, there are often breaks and pauses in the systems that allow for the sun to make a brief appearance or a dramatic sunrise to break before the snow picks back up again. Inversions and fog also seem to be more commonplace this time of year as well which helps to add to that subtle drama and mystery we all seek in our landscape photography.

As it stands of this writing, the unsettled pattern looks to continue through the end of March which is good news. We are getting close to setting some records for the wettest recorded March on history which is sure saying something considering it is typically the wettest month during the season here in Colorado. Heres to looking forward to another opportunity or two here in March and more of the same as we head into April in RMNP.