I've been reliving my last photography trip in Lightroom. This is Highway 34 facing the rising sun in Granby, Colorado. It was our first morning there. Magpies are everywhere along this route, which lies between Granby itself and majestic Lake Granby (a few miles to the northeast of this point). What a great way to start a day.
Just a quick image for your morning's reflection. I listened to President Obama's speech yesterday. He made a stop at Bayliss Park here in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The park is close enough to my house that I could hear his voice and the crowd cheering through my open office window. I followed live televised coverage of the speech on C-SPAN while I worked, with the window open. As I listened to the sounds of our city, and of the president speaking, I couldn't help but think of Walt Whitman's poem I Hear America Singing.
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear, Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong, The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam, The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work, The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck, The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands, The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown, The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing, Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else, The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly, Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.
Some places are staggering in their vastness.
One of my favorite things to do while I'm travelling is to get up before sunrise and go driving, just to see what I might find in the early light. The photograph below was taken on such a morning a few weeks ago, when I explored one of the numerous gravel roads near our cabin in Granby. I was driving into a deep valley, and the sun had just begun to illuminate the high peaks ahead of me. In my rearview mirror, I noticed the looming backdrop of mountains awash in the morning light. The layer effect of the mountain backdrop combined with the diffuse wildfire smoke fascinated me throughout our stay, and it became a feature of many of my photographs from the trip. Last week, I posted another of such photographs, taken under similar circumstances. Don't be surprised if you see more of them here in the future.
There's no better cure for the dog days of summer than a trip to the alpine tundra. The point below is at an elevation of 11,796 feet, which means that you have 11,796 reasons to bring along a sweater, even in July.
Since I am pressed for time this morning, I'll leave you with this simple scene and this simple thought: In this day and age when subtle signs of human intervention seem to be woven into the fabric of "wilderness," it is thrilling to find the untouched places.
Some side roads lead to unexpectedly beautiful places. Teri, Gavin, and I first found this one on a foggy morning off of Highway 34 in rural Grand County, Colorado, near Granby Lake. A few days later, I explored it again when I headed out by myself while the girls slept in. I wanted to see it at first light. It was another partially foggy morning, which is common at that altitude. But the veil began to lift from the valleys and canyons shortly before sunrise, while it still hung nicely in the mountain ridges. I was struck by how nicely the first rays of sunlight scraped over the road and valley to my east while the fog still fought to obscure the mountains beyond.
Of all the times I have been to the alpine summit of Rocky Mountain National Park over the past fifteen or so years, I have never been there at sunset, until last Wednesday. The alpine tundra is such a beautiful otherworldly experience, and even more so as the sun lowers, revealing the majestic relief of the mountainous display in front of you. I had a difficult time focusing my attention on any one particular element as the sunset was deepening the colors to the northwest and painting orange the craggy outcroppings to the east and south, all the while elk were emerging everywhere. Our thermometer said it was 50°F, but it must have been lying. My sister-in-law, Anne, and I were struggling to stay warm in the bitter-cold wind as we ran around frantically trying to photograph what we could while we had the chance.
I snapped the below shot near the beginning of the spectacular show. I’ve chosen to believe that he is admiring the light show right along with us.