Mystical Moraine

You cant beat fog when photographing landscapes in Rocky Mountain National Park. On Friday morning, the skies were clear but a lower layer of fog hung over Moraine Park. Of course I could not resist getting out in Moraine and immersing myself in the fog. In this image, Deer Mountain can be seen reflecting in a small pond while the sun tries to burn through the layer as the morning gets off to a great start. Technical Details: Nikon Z7 II, Nikkor 24-120mm F4 S lens.
Some quick RMNP park updates for everybody. Trail Ridge Road has reopened after being closed on May 27th due to inclement weather and snow. There was a rockslide just above Rainbow Curve so there are lane closures which means traffic might be backed up at times while they remove rocks from Trail Ridge.

Hopefully, this is the last time this summer season that Trail Ridge Road is closed until we start getting snow again in September. I have not yet had a chance to even drive over Trail Ridge Road this year as it was only ope a few short days before the snow closed it again.

With Trail Ridge Road still closed on Friday, and lots of snow still on the trails above 10,000 ft, I was pleased to arrive long before sunrise to find low hanging fog hovering over the Big Thompson. Fog is just about my favorite weather to shoot in, so if there is fog in Rocky Mountain National Park, more than likely thats where you will find me.

Chasing fog in Rocky Mountain National Park can be a fickle pursuit. The fog will either dissipate just before sunrise, or engulf you so that it blocks both the sun and much of the landscape. But when you get yourself placed in the right spot, its hard to beat fog for adding drama to your landscape photography images and changing familiar landscapes into otherworldly and mystical places.

Looking east towards Eaglecliff Mountain, the sun has nearly burned through the fog layer hanging over Moraine Park. Here the River Birches found throughout Moraine Park reveal themselves and their spring greens as the fog clears. Technical Details: Nikon Z7 II, Nikkor 24-120mm S lens
Fog also ebbs and flows like the tide going in and out of the ocean. One minute your fully engulfed and seconds later the fog moves out and the landscape is revealed. That was the pattern on Friday morning in Moraine. First, almost the entire moraine was covered in fog, then as the sun began to rise it receded.

Luckily for me after it receded, it increased again just as the sun began to crest the ridge north of Eaglecliff mountain. There’s a lot of season ponds and water in Moraine Park right now from both the runoff as well as the snow and rain from our two recent storms so maneuvering around can be a soggy adventure.

With the elk all over the meadow, I spent sunrise taking in the views, sounds and smells of spring. Hard to get much better than the conditions on Friday morning, but as the melt continues I’ll be spending less time in Moraine Park and more time in the higher elevations of the park.

As is always the case, regardless of the season, I’m going to be out photographing the areas of RMNP that are most conducive to dramatic lighting and conditions. On Friday, the fog in Moraine Park made it the place to be, so thats where I was and maybe again if the weather down the road decides to make it so.