Wildflowers are still blooming at 12,000 feet

I went out yesterday evening to scout the wildflowers for today’s Wildflower Photography workshop.  We headed up to Clear Lake in the San Juan Mountains.  The location is rarely without wilds this time of year.  What I love about Clear Lake is that its got so much of why I spend so much time in the mountains of Colorado.  From the 12,000 vantage points you can see mountain peaks, cloud formations, creek falls and wildflowers.  And then there’s Clear Lake, an alpine tarn.

The drive up to Clear Lake is along a jeep road and sometimes can be crowded, especially on weekends when I run into lots of folks at the Ice Lakes trailheads.  But last night was quiet.  The wilds are fading, there are no more Brook Cress and Parry’s primrose and I only saw a single bunch of Columbine.

 Tonight I’ll be teaching the following photography techniques:

  1. Macro photography, close up views of the wilds.
  2. Compression of space, using the longer zoom lenses in the 200-300mm length
  3. Creek fall flow
  4. Wide views, especially reflections in the middle pond at Clear Lake.
  5. Capturing the quiet light between 7 and 8pm.

Here are a few gems from the scouting adventure. By the way, all of these images were enhanced in Adobe Lightroom. They were, as expected, a bit blue for my tastes and a bit flat when recorded in RAW.  All RAW files require editing.  If you’re not fond of post-production, I suggest you record your images as high quality jpegs.  I think of my RAW files as I did when I shot black and white.  And just like Ansel Adams, I enjoy looking at my files as a “starting point” for further interpretation in the lightroom, instead of the darkroom.

Indian, Rosy, Yellow and Sulphur (top left solo flower) Paintbrush are the current stars of the show. ©Kit Frost

Yellow paintbrush are unique to fields of flowers above 11,500 feet in the Rocky Mountains. ©Kit Frost

Using my 55-300mm lens, I hung out across from this wall of wilds and made a few images. The wind was blowing so I used my cable release to expose at just the right moment. ©Kit Frost

The saturated color of this small group of Rosy Paintbrush attracted me. I chose shallow depth of field to isolate the flower from the background. ©Kit Frost

I waited till the sun set to record the quiet light falling on these Queen’s crowns along the creek. ©Kit Frost

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