Visited Horsetooth Reservoir down in Fort Collins, CO this weekend and found the lake beginning to melt with the warm sunshine. The occasional sightseer ventured down to the water’s edge to see if any rocks could break the ice. Most of them simply clattered across the surface.
Sometimes photos pop up at the most inconvenient moments. Like this one where I was leisurely coming down the stairs to my kitchen on the first floor of my home and saw this gorgeous creature on my back patio fence. I had to decide between taking a not-so-great picture with my phone, or taking a chance that it would still be there if I sprinted back upstairs to grab my 200mm lens. I took a chance and raced upstairs, trying to assemble my camera while flying back down again. Obviously it’s not in great focus as I was trying to catch my breath and still the camera, but at least the owl stayed put long enough to take one decent shot.
My yard in Fort Collins, CO is nearly always occupied by any number of small bunnies looking for a peaceful snack or nap. Yes, they do leave little spots of matted grass after an afternoon of napping, but look at those ears 🙂
A champagne dusk settles over the Broomfield, CO Flatirons after sunset. Broomfield is a really great place to live if you ever have the chance. I miss always having a knock-out view of the Flatirons from everywhere (even the local Wal-Mart parking lot had stellar views).
A nice look at the moon becoming visible as sunset changed to dusk on the plains from Broomfield, CO. Being so near the Rockies, it’s easy to always look at the mountains in every outdoor moment, but the plains offer some great views as well.
Sometimes I find myself turning my camera to record something that may not have the components of the perfect picture, but is an effort to keep something to remember about a moment.
In this instance, I’d pulled off on a random exit between Wyoming and Colorado, driving unknown dirt roads, following the sunset with my vehicle just hoping for a good photo. Unfortunately, no matter where I went, power lines remained in frame. Resigned that this just wasn’t the night for an epic sunset shot, I leaned back against my Highlander and took in the beauty of the moment as the light faded.
But I forgot about the power lines when instead I studied off to the side, the soft hues the approaching rain took on while it seemingly floated below the clouds. The shades of the sunset against the mountains varied from smokey blue to shimmering gold. The fields and farms took on warm, earthy tones and somehow the green of the crops and trees melded seamlessly into it all. It was a modern-day shire: Quiet, comforting and glorious all rolled into a brief, 5 minute moment. I could have stayed in that moment all night.
It was almost as if the universe said, “Sorry about not getting your photo, here’s a perfect moment of tranquility and earthly beauty you’ll remember for years to come instead.” And I did not feel one bit slighted.
Departing the hotel in Snowmass, we took an indirect path back so that we could hit a few sights along the way. One of these was to drive Independence Pass, which ultimately tops out at over 12,000ft. Fair warning – the speed limit nearly the entire way is between 25-35mph for good reason. This drive is not for the faint of heart.
The views are breathtaking. This is truly God’s Country here; totally protected and preserved and just amazing. The contrasting peaks, summer snow, warm sunshine and shallow creeks and rivers seemed right out of a magazine. The roads are very narrow and you will be turning your wheel to take hairpin after hairpin but with a little backbone, it’s absolutely worth it. Pull over as many times as you like to take photos and thank the universe someone had the good sense years ago to set this land aside to be what it is today.
Once we exited Independence Pass, we briefly stopped by a place called Twin Lakes as we started back east. Due to time constraints and needing to get home, we couldn’t explore here but it was a great view here from the side of the road at least.
While this is another similar lake view, this is actually Dillon Reservoir by Frisco also in Colorado. Another location I’d noticed on the map but had never seen in person before. It was just a few miles off the main highway to get to this spot. This wasn’t the spot I wanted to shoot from though. An impromptu wedding had taken over the overlook where we hiked to. It was an elderly couple tying the knot with maybe 10 family members present and was just about the sweetest moment I’ve seen and worth pausing a respectable distance away to witness their vows and silently wish them well before I left.
Somehow that moment seemed the perfect way to end our trip as we motored on back towards Denver then Fort Collins.