June or January?

Yup, this is June 1st in Rocky Mountain National Park. At least 5 inches of fresh snow fell on Rocky on the night of 5/31 into 6/1 coating the mountains and pines in snow. This view of Longs Peak from the Dream Lake overlook on the Flattop Mountain trail could have been taken in January but was photographed yesterday. Getting above the cloud/inversion layer always leads to dramatic imagery as does active weather like these past few weeks over RMNP. Technical Details: Nikon Z7 II, Nikkor 24-120mm F4 S lens

After going months of what seemed like pedestrian weather in Rocky, May and the start of June appear to really have stepped up their game. The weather fronts have been moving through and we have had some much needed moisture in the mountains of Colorado along with great (see bad) weather for us photographers.

While May is always an active month in Rocky Mountain National Park, and a month that often mimics winter more than it does the backend of spring, bigger snows are usually wrapping up by the time the calendar is getting to memorial day. Sure the higher elevation peaks of Rocky can get a good dusting anytime of year, but the mid elevations of the park are usually greening up with wildflowers starting to bloom in places like Moraine Park and Upper Beaver Meadows.

So when the calendar turned to June, I’m ready to put on my shorts, put away my insulated hiking boots for my lightweight shoes and start heading out on mostly snow free trails. We had two weather impulse pass over Rocky at the end of May with the second and more powerful storm hitting the park on the last day of May and extending into the morning of June 1st.

The first weather impulse left a nice dusting of snow on the mountains above 8500 ft. The second and more powerful storm that just moved, dumped a lot of heavy wet snow at 8500 ft and above and left the hillsides in Estes Park covered with a light dusting.

Snow and winter imagery are certainly not the way one thinks of starting off the month of June after dusting off the grill, eating burgers and hot dogs and having a few beers while enjoying Memorial Day outings. But as is always the case in Rocky, expect the unexpected.

While not quite as dramatic as the weather on June 1st this year in RMNP, the last morning of May also proved quite wintry. Here the backlit lime green aspens along the Bierstadt Moraine contrast with the blue tinted hillside covered in snow from the night before. Technical Details: Nikon Z7 II, Nikkor 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 S lens

So as I headed up into the park on the first morning of June, I was wondering what my best prospects would be and what I would really end up photographing. If you have followed my blog and photography, you know I love getting out in the bad weather. Inversions are one of my favorite types of conditions to photograph in, and one of the easiest way to experience and photograph is to drive Trail Ridge Road as high in elevation as one needs to get above the cloud deck.

While Trail Ridge Road was opened on the Friday before Memorial Day this year, the two weather systems closed Trail Ridge down to its winter closing points of Many Parks Curve and the Colorado River Trailhead so my normal plan was not going to work.

When Trail Ridge is closed, your next best option is to hike above the inversion layer. This requires a little more ‘work’ than simply driving above the clouds and in the case of snow, moving on the trail also requires a little more work than say summer hiking conditions.

I headed up to the Bear Lake parking lot just after 4:00 AM to start my hike up Flattop Mountain to see if I could slice through the fog and snow that was still falling. From both experience and visual observations, the cloud deck looked to be right around 10,000 ft or so. Flattop Mountain would give me the pathway to get above the clouds if I could muck through the 5+ inches of heavy wet spring snow that had fallen around Bear Lake.

So off into the dark I headed, trudging up Flattop Mountain in the fog and snow. While the Emerald Lake overlook on the Flattop Mountain trail offers a better vantage point than the Dream Lake overlook below it, my goal this morning was to get to the Dream Lake overlook and see if that would cut the mustard and get me over the clouds.

Arrving at the Dream Lake overlook after my trek up the Flattop Mountain trail, it certainly didnt feel like June 1st as I set my camera and tripod up on a cold morning. The temperature at Bear Lake was 27 degrees as I headed up the trail. Technical Details: Nikon Z7II, Nikkor 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 S lens

Working up a good lather through the fresh powder, I was just below the Dream Lake overlook when I spied Longs Peak for a brief moment through the clouds. As I turned the corner I could see Hallett Peak and Thatchtop Mountain through the clouds. In a few minutes I was at the Dream Lake overlook setting up my tripod.

With official sunrise at 5:38 AM, I had about 15 minutes or so before any light might start to appear on the peaks. In summer I might have hustled the additional mile or so up to Emerald Lake, but in the 5 inches of snow which covered a still very snowy Flattop Mountain trail, I thought it best to just stay put and see what developed.

Sunrise came and went, and the inversion layer swept over the overlook like a wave. I was covered in clouds and fog and could not longer see the mountains. While I was growing impatient and kicking myself for not giving myself enough time to get up to the Emerald Lake overlook, the inversion moved out and revealed the mountains again, this time bathing in sun through the fog and mist.

I had a good 15 minutes or so before the clouds again moved back in and the lighting was starting to turn harsh. Regardless, my start to June in Rocky Mountain National Park sure looked more like January, but as always I’ll take that kind of weather of bluebird skies any day. While it looks like more summer like weather is on the way the rest of the week, lets hope the pattern of active weather over the park continues as we move into June.

Where Have I Been?

Sunrise over Moraine Park from one of my favorite spring locations in Rocky Mountain National Park. The blog has been quiet of late but look for frequent updates moving forward as we head into the best time of year in RMMP. Technical Details: Nikon Z7 II, Nikkor 14-24mm F2.8 S lens

If you follow me on my Twitter or Facebook accounts you can see I’ve been active and out photographing all the beauty Rocky has to offer. The blog has been a quiet of late and I apologize for that. Sometimes life gets in the way and one needs to triage in order to manage what they can while still staying on task.

I’ve had quite a few life circumstances and other commitments that allowed updating the blog to slip through the cracks. Ironically, I value updating the blog more than updating any of my social media accounts but the ease in which I can manage those accounts won out over taking the time to sit down and attempt to write out a thoughtful blog post.

The blog postings slowed in the late fall early winter mostly because we had very little in the way of interesting weather or conditions for photography. Early winter was extremely dry in Rocky and we had very little snow to speak of to wrap up the end of 2021. 2022 started off more or less the same and getting out in the bland conditions was not really pushing any of my buttons.

Jackson was loved the water. Because of this, Grand Lake was as much a favorite spot to hang out at as it is for all of us. Even in his old age he could not get enough of swimming and chasing sticks. Here’s Jackson frolicing in Shadow Mountain Resevoir of a perfect July afternoon in Colorado back in 2020. Here’s to hoping all your days are filled with endless lakes, tennis balls. frisbees and big sticks. We miss you buddy! Technical Details: Nikon Z50, Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 S lens

Further more, my nearly 15 year old Border Collie, Jackson began having troubles and failing towards the end of winter. If you know Border Collies, you know they never want to show you that they are not ready for their next job. Whether that’s herding sheep or chasing tennis balls. I wanted to spend as much time with Jackson in his last days with us as I could. Finally, on January 13th, the day myself and our family had been dreading for the past few years came to fruition. It was time to send farewell to our buddy and loyal companion since we picked him up at the Boulder Valley Humane Society in 2006.

I’ve lost a parent and loved ones, but saying goodbye to Jackson was one of the hardest and most difficult things I’ve had to do. I know some will say he’s only a dog but he contributed far more to my development and our families happiness than I could ever imagine. We had a great 15 years with him and he lived and awesome life but the absence of Jackson from our everyday life and routine has taken a lot of time to process.

After losing Jackson, we brought on our newest addition to the family. Meet Finn, our now 6 month old Australian Blue Heeler. Having a puppy around is keeping us busy but has also helped us move past losing Jackson. Technical Details: Nikon Z6, Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 S lens

We’ve since brought a new family member in who is learning the ropes. Finn, is an Australian Blue Heeler who we adopted at 9 weeks old. Going from having an elderly canine in the house to having a 9 month old puppy has been and adjustment and has also required quite a bit training and oversight. Regardless, getting back into the routine of having an active dog around the house has helped me slowly get back on track.

Moving forward I promise that I’ll be back updating my blog with lots of new images of information, mostly regarding Rocky National Park. Summer is nearly here in Rocky and each day the grass greens a little more, the snow melts a tad and the early season wildflowers like Pasque flowers and Mountain Ball cactus adorn the landscape with a splash of color. Trail Ridge Road will be open soon and much of Rocky, covered in snow will be accessible for summer for what is always an amazing time of year to photography the park. Maybe, I’ll see you out there on the trail but I’ll certainly keep the blog filled with new images and updated going forward. As always, thanks for reading and I appreciate all the support.

Not So Fast

I for one certainly thought we were done with any and all remaining fall color in Rocky Mountain National Park for the 2021 season. Heading out in Moraine Park yesterday morning to break in my new Nikkor 105mm Macro lens, I stumbled on what is the last remnants of fall color in RMNP. Just a small reminder of the great autumn season we had this year and a beautiful subject to test my new lens on. Technical Info: Nikon Z7 II, Nikkor 105mm F 2.8 VR S lens

Ok I admit it. I was wrong. I put a fork in the autumn season in Rocky Mountain National Park and declared it officially ‘brown season’. I was wrong but still mostly right. It most certainly is brown season in RMNP but there are still some minuscule pockets of autumn hanging on in Rocky which I happily discovered yesterday while out hiking in Moraine Park.

With my new 105mm Micro S lens freshly delivered from Allens Camera in my pack, I headed out looking to find some nails to try my new hammer on. Small intimate fall color scenes always work well with macro scenes, I figured we were passed that and was thinking more along the lines of frozen water and ice to test this new lens on.

After photographing a beautiful sunrise from Moraine Park, I headed off in search of something to point the shiny new 105mm macro lens out. It was a pleasant morning, mild with a slight breeze and lots of fresh snow on Stones Peak in the distance. As I ringed the perimeter of Moraine Park looking for intimate scenes and small subjects, there were still lots of signs of our just departed fall season.

Scanning the hillsides lots of brown leaves still clinging to the bushes and underbrush but no signs of any lingering color until finally I spotted a tinge of orange and red along the base of pine. There it was, a few vines creeping along the ground with a mix of brown and red leaves.

While not the highlight of the fall season, I dropped my backpack and broke out the 105mm macro to break it in and enjoy what will surely be the last of the fall color I will photograph in Rocky in 2021, or will it?.

2021 Fall Wrap Up

It was a tremedous fall season here in Rocky Mountain National Park. I cant remember a better season in recent years where we had both beautiful and interestind weather, vibrant fall colors in both the trees and understory while also enjoying an exteded season due to the mild weather and lack of wind storms. Here’s and image from the morning of September 30th along the Bierstadt Moraine. Fresh snow on Otis, Hallett and Flattop with fog and brilliant colors on the Bierstadt Moraine itself. Technical Details: Nikon Z7 II, Nikkor 24-70mm F4 S lens
It’s a wrap. Sure its still technically autumn in Rocky Mountain National Park but we’ve pretty much moved on to the down and brown season here. It’s always a sobering watching summer move to autumn in the park and then within a few short weeks its over and done with.

Fall 2021 in Rocky was awesome however. The colors were spectacular, the weather was mild but also interesting. We had a nice dusting of snow on the high peaks, fog, some rain and very vibrant reds and oranges along with our traditional yellows and golds. With the mild weather much of the underbrush turned in unison with the aspens and cottonwood trees.

From my perspective of photographing RMNP over the past 23 years, I cant remember a season with such great color, weather. To build on those two great factors, I also cant remember a time that fall color hung around for as long as it did this season either. The first week of October still had great fall color on places like the Bierstadt Moraine which is typically long past peak by this time.

I’m still working through a backlog of images from the fall and I’ll have plenty of material and images to post here as we move into winter. Hoping many of you were able to get out and enjoy what was an amazing few weeks for us landscape photographers.

Let It Begin

Hard to believe it but the autumn season in Rocky Mountain National Park is slowly starting to reveal itself once again. Subtle signs of fall are becoming more obvious with each passing day. I photographed this colorful underbrush on the Bierdstadt Moraine just last week. Stay tuned for more updates on the current conditions in RMNP moving forward. Technical Details: Nikon Z7 II, Nikkor 24-70mm F4 S Lens

Well its happening. Summer is quickly transitioning into autumn in Rocky Mountain National Park. While the fall is my favorite season in RMNP, with over 23 years of photographing the fall color in Rocky behind me, I’m always sort of shocked out how quickly we transition from summer to fall in the park.

Autumn in Rocky Mountain National Park is sly. It slides in slowly, covertly than all at once. Subtle color changes in the grasses and underbrush portend to the looming changes in weather and seasons and then just like that, were full on with the fall season here in Colorado.

It’s been and incredibly challenging year for photography in Rocky. We’ve had smoke and poor air quality nearly from the get go of summer. Smoke settled in over the park in early June and with a few short durations, it’s remained entrenched over RMNP. Top that off with a very placid weather pattern and weak monsoonal impulse most of the summer and we have had lots of warm, clear mornings and evenings in Rocky. Great for hiking and camping, not so great for us photographers yearning for dramatic light and weather.

With that said, fall always brings a newfound enthusiasm for photographers in RMNP. The season is short and we want to take advantage of as much of its gifts and bounty as possible before the abrupt and crashing decent into winter.

I’ll try my best to keep the blog updated as we move into fall. I can tell you the elk rut is starting in earnest and they herds have begun moving towards the lower elevations. The bull’s are active and bugling and there are already lots of opportunities to photograph the rut if you happen to be in the right location.

A few aspen trees here and there are starting to turn golden and I would expect by next week some of our traditional early turning areas (west side of the park) will be looking decent. As always, keep and eye out for the smaller details as much of the autumn color in RMNP will be in the subtle nooks and crannies of the park before unveiling their full autumn splendor.

Regardless, even after a difficult summer of photography in the park, the oncoming fall season in Rocky Mountain National Park has renewed my vigor and has me excited for the great potential and beauty each fall season holds in Rocky.

Thats The Spirit

This summer continues to be a tricky one to navigate for photographers in RMNP. Smoke, clear skies all are making for tricky conditions. I was able to spend a few days backpacking earlier in the week up the East Inlet on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park. My second night in, conditions improved enough for me to photograph Spirit Lake at sunset with some decent light and clouds. Technical Details: Nikon Z7 II, Nikkor 14-30mm F4 S lens

Spending a few days in the backcountry of Rocky Mountain National Park really helps to bring some clarity and purpose back to the forefront. In what has been one of the more challenging summers to photograph the park due to both the persistent smoke for western wildfires and mostly placid weather conditions, just getting out for a few days to enjoy the quiet of the backcountry gives you time to reflect and appreciate the summer months even when it has not been as fruitful to ones photography goals.

While summer 2021 feels a lot more normal than summer 2020 did, norms are still off and everything is different. This year Rocky Mountain National Park went to an online only reservation system for backcountry permits. The computer system RMNP had in place was overwhelmed by the volume and after multiple attempts to correct the problems, the park ended up using a lottery system based on email submittal to determine who got what backcountry sites on which days.

I missed out on getting many of the spots I had been coveting all winter due to the growing pains with the newer system, but I did manage to score a few nights at the Solitaire backcountry site up the East Inlet on the west side of Rocky. Keep in mind that much of Rocky’s backcountry is still closed off and damaged from the East Troublesome and Cameron Peak fires from last year so one did not have the selection from years past.

Air quality and smoke have been the biggest hinderance to photographers this year in RMNP, and this would be the case for this two night trip up to the Solitaire site. Clear skies most of the time also looked like they would be and issue as well.

One always has grand plans for where they will end up shooting, but based on the smoke and clear skies, I ended up photographing Spirit Lake one of the two nights I spent up the East Inlet. Spirit Lake is a spectacular lake above Lake Verna and photographing while photographing here requires a good bit of effort, it’s a little easier than some of my favorite locations further up the East Inlet.

On my second night in, the smoke cleared out enough later in the afternoon and we even had a few clouds show up to help add some interest to the scene. While this trip was not as productive photographically speaking, it was great in refocusing and gaining perspective on what has been a tricky summer to navigate.

Sunrise on Flattop

Unfortunately, the smokey conditions from wildfires around the western United States has persisted over Rocky Mountain National Park this week. Even so, when conditions arent perfect its always good to get out on the trail and enjoy a great hike in the park. Photographing sunrise from Flattop Mountain is one of my favorite things to do and even though conditions were not perfect yesterday, the lighting on Hallett and the view of Longs Peak from the Emerald Lake overlook is always awe inspiring and motivating. Technical Details: Nikon Z7 II, Nikkor 24-200mm F 4-6.3 Lens

One of my personal favorite hikes in all of Rocky Mountain National Park is the Flattop Mountain Trail. While it can be a strenuous climb to the top of Flattop, the views are well worth it. The Flattop Mountain trail also connects to many of the parks other formal and informal trail systems at the summit. It’s a gateway to access much of Rocky Mountain National Park and in particular a gateway that allows hikers the easy access to the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park short of driving over Trail Ridge Road.

My good friend and fellow photographer extraordinaire Erik Stensland likes to call trails like the Flattop Mountain trail, the ‘Superhighways’ of Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s a great analogy and I think its a perfect description of for trails like the Flattop Mountain Trail.

With smoke from forest fires all over the western United States still affecting the air quality in and around RMNP, It’s been tricky getting out and photographing Rocky in what is one of the best times of year. Smoke and an overall lack of colorful sunrises to start the month of July has me getting itchy to get out and do something. When I dont have photography clients out in the field in Rocky, and if I am conditions for dramatic landscape photography are not cooperating, I do what anybody else does and just like to get out for a good hike and enjoy the trails and scenery.

Yesterday morning with that in mind, I did just that and headed up Flattop Mountain about an hour and half before sunrise. The smoke was not as bad as it had been but it was still present. There were actually clouds hanging over Rocky this morning but the predicted break in the cloud cover did not appear to be forming as thunderstorms from the previous night still hung over the eastern plains of Colorado as I got a clearer view heading up the trail.

Regardless, the hike in of itself was more than enough to keep a smile on my face as I headed up the switchbacks before sunrise. Three miles from the Bear Lake parking lot, I reached the Emerald Lake overlook with a few minutes to spare. Sunrise was more or less blasé with the clouds obscuring the sun enough to color the sky, but about 15 minutes after sunrise, enough light scattered through the clouds and smoke to photograph some nice warm light on the flank of Hallett Peak.

I made a few images of the light on the side of Hallett and a touch now on the Diamond of Longs Peak. Even with less than perfect conditions, surveying the views and familiar peaks from this location a thousand feet above Emerald Lake is always one of my favorite spots to take in a sunrise. Lets hope the next time I’m up here the smoke has cleared and sunrise is one to remember. Even so, its hard to beat summer mornings on Flattop.

Feast Or Famine

The summer has offically arrived in Rocky Mountain National Park. My favorite time to photograph Rocky Mountain National Park is now upon us and the amount of variety to photograph combined with excellent conditions and subject opportunities abound. I have been busy guiding photography clients but did manage to grab a quick shot of these beautiful Elephant Head wildflowers near Cub Lake at sunrise last week. Wilflowers are really starting to look amazing right now in RMNP and I would only expect that to improve in the higher elevations of the park. Technical Details: Nikon Z7 II, Nikkor 24-70mm F 2.8 S lens
With the fourth of July holiday now in the rear view mirror, summer in Rocky Mountain National Park is in full swing. The park doesn’t get much better than the period from early July through September as access, wildflowers, foliage and overall weather are just about as good as its going to get. Think verdant meadows filled with wildflowers, placid lakes reflecting mountain peaks and miles of trails in the high country now free of snow.

I’ve been busy guiding photography clients in the park the past few weeks as my summer photography tour season volume coincides with the great conditions and opportunities Rocky Mountain National Park provides this time of year. Guiding photography tour clients in the field means early starts and long days in the park. While I’ll occasionally get to squeeze in a few images while guiding clients, the focus is on them coming away with images of RMNP that make their visit and time worth it.

Conditions have been mixed to kick off the summer season so far. Wildflowers in the lower elevations are really looking spectacular. The grasses are as ever and wildflowers seem to be blooming in every corner and nook of the park right now.

Weather wise we’ve had a feast or famine setup. We’ve had some stretches of unsettled weather with some cloudy and rainy mornings but we also have had stretches of mornings where nary a cloud can be found anywhere near Rocky. This is more or less a common setup this time of year in Rocky, though sometimes it feels like we are experiencing more mornings of of clear sky setups than one usually expects.

Regardless, its an amazing time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park and any morning, cloudless or not is going to provide photographers with plenty of opportunities to find lots of interesting subjects to photograph if they keep and open mind and take time to cultivate new images. As always, stay tuned as I expect lots of great mornings ahead as the always abbreviated summer season in Rocky gives us a few short months to enjoy one of the best times of year in the mountains.

Monday Inversion

Photographers in Rocky Mountain National Park have had to deal with lots of clear skies the past 15 days or so. Sure there have been a few great sunrises mixed in but its been tricky to get any consistency going so far this summer. Monday morning of all days arrived with a nice inversion taking place in the park. I headed out to Ute Pass to photograph Longs Peak rising above the inversion layer as the sun met the mountains. Nikon Z7 II, Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 S lens

June is stacking up to be an interesting month here in Rocky Mountain National Park. With a few great sunrises early in the month, the weather did its thing and we had lots of warm, clear and dry June days. Not a whole lot of stuff for us photographers to get excited about.

It’s always a bummer to check out the forecasts and see lots of clear days predicted with little to no cloud cover. Makes you quickly start thinking about creative ways to keep the camera from getting dusty in the closet. Of course there is always that one day on the extended forecast lineup that looks like it could be interesting.

This time around after about 10 straight days of ‘severe clear’ conditions, Monday looked like it was going to be that day. The weather models looked like we might be setting up for a cooler, wetter morning to start the week off. In fact, as I assessed the weather forecast for Rocky Mountain National Park it looked like we would have a good chance of having an inversion on Monday morning.

Inversions occur here in Rocky when we get an upslope flow or winds out of the northeast. The shear and flow off the east facing peaks creates clouds and moisture on the east side of the continental divide. Because of the wind direction and shear, the cloud cover and rain tends to hover over lower elevations of the Front Range, usually below 12,000 ft or so in elevation.

While photographing the iconic peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park are always the highlight for any landscape photographers, spending time photographing nondescript landscapes with the waves of fog moving through are always one of my favorite things to do. Famillar locations take on personas you have never seen before and capturing compositions that are new and original are easy pickings. Technical Details: Nikon Z7 II, Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 S lens
The trick here when photographing in conditions like these is finding a way to get above the cloud layer and then finding some interesting ways to take advantage of what are for the most part, fairly rare conditions in RMNP.

Once Trail Ridge Road opens fully for the season, getting above the cloud layer is fairly easy. Finding good locations to photograph can be a little more tricky, but Longs Peak is always as good a subject as any in the park. Photographing the waves of fog and light and they filter through the pines is also a good way exercise the shutter and I spent time doing both.

If we can just get rid of this pesky smoke from wildfires which seems to have plagued us at the end of last summer, and now the start of June, I’d say conditions in Rocky Mountain National Park are just about perfect for photographers now.

Summer Vibes

A perfect sunrise at Bierdstadt Lake is just about the best way you can start your day in Rocky Mountain National Park. After a snowy winter and spring, Rocky is quickly thawing out and summer conditions are rapidly approaching. I’ve photographed many spectacular sunrises at Bierdstadt Lake in my 22 years of photographing the park, but this one from last week was one of the best. Technical Details: Nikon Z7 II, Nikkor 24-70mm F 2.8 S lens

It’s June in Rocky Mountain National Park and that means the arrival of summer is right on our doorstep. Trail Ridge Road is now open for the season and the much needed snow that we were blessed with its starting to melt quickly in the higher elevations of RMNP. Best of all the lakes and streams with the exception of only the highest are thawing out and open.

It’s hard to find a better subject to photograph than snow covered mountains reflecting on the calm surface of a pristine mountain lake. When I take clients out in the field, this is what they request and hope to photograph more than any other subject in the park. Of course for this to work you need a few factors to work in your favor.

First you need there to be little to no wind. That in itself can be a difficult task in Rocky Mountain National Park. Secondly, you need some nice light at sunrise or sunset. This is probably the most consistent variable in RMNP as we get lots of clear and sunny days. Lastly, you need some clouds. Not only do the clouds add interest to the landscape and add dimensionality, they often add color.

With June now here, landscapes of mountain reflecting in water are once again back on the table in Rocky Mountain National Park. Last week, I made the short hike up to Bierstadt Lake for sunrise. Bierstadt Lake had one of my favorite views of the continental divide in all of Rocky Mountain National Park. Its just a spectacular location to photograph a sunrise.

When all three variables come together, you have what I call the Rocky trifecta. Well the Rocky trifecta work out just right for me on this particular morning last week. The wind was calm at Bierdstadt, clouds hung over Otis, Hallett, Flattop and Notchtop and the lighting was otherworldly. Even the Mallards that hang out at Bierdstadt and have a propensity for swimming around in your reflection and foreground right at sunrise only made a few appearances before heading off to the other side of the lake.

Overall, I cant think of a much better way to start a morning in Rocky Mountain National Park than this particular one at Bierdstadt last week. I’ve photographed many sunrise at Bierdstadt Lake over the past 22 years, but this ranks up there as one of the best. While this sunrise was awesome, I’m eagerly looking forward to many more spectacular ones this season as we move into summer.