Moraine’s Thaw

A colorful sunrise this morning over the high peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park as seen from Moraine Park today. Seeing the Big Thompson free from ice and flowing is an awesome sight. It wont be much longer until the higher lakes in RMNP start to thaw signaling the pending arrival of summer. Technical Details: Nikon Z7, Nikkor 24-70mm F4 AF-S

It was a beautiful spring morning in Rocky Mountain National Park today. The temperature was mild and our bitter nemesis the wind even laid down just before sunrise allowing the silence to reveal the chirps of birds and the howls of coyotes welcoming in the new day.

My options were limited this morning as clouds covered most of the peaks in the park just before sunrise. On mornings like these where a ‘mountain blanket’ cloud is covering most of the divide, the sunrise can be great on the continental divide but you may not see any of the snow covered peaks. I call it a ‘mountain blanket’ cloud because unlike a mountain wave cloud that forms high above the peaks, this kind of cloud essentially covers the peaks like a blanket.

Longs Peak was covered, Hallett Peak was covered, Ypsilon Mountain was mostly covered. While Stones Peak had clouds around it, it was mostly free of clouds prior to sunrise. Because of this I decided to setup at one of the iconic, oft photographed locations in Moraine Park along the Big Thompson River. This is both a beautiful spot and one in which the water is now free from ice and flowing free.

Each year when the thaw out after winter starts to set in and water becomes free of ice I get excited. Not only because of the warmer weather on its way to Rocky Mountain National Park but because moving and open water creates a dynamic scene and allows for reflections to capture the warm morning light.

More importantly its exciting to watch the thaw march upward as its starts in the lower elevations of RMNP and makes it’s way higher with each passing day. It wont be long know before some of the higher lakes start to break free from ice and start to open. Exciting times ahead for photographers and summer season approaching quickly now.