Pink Winter Dawn-Sawatch Mountains Bathed in Early Morning Light

The Arkansas River valley and the Sawatch Mountains in the distance are bathed in soft pink light at dawn on a winter morning outside of Buena Vista, Colorado.
The Arkansas River valley and the Sawatch Mountains in the distance are bathed in soft pink light at dawn on a winter morning outside of Buena Vista, Colorado.

This is my consolation shot from what was planned to be some pictures of the lunar eclipse earlier this week. I had scoped out the location for shooting the moon over the mountains days in advance. It had to be up at a higher elevation or else the moon would drop behind them. I got up real early and made it there with plenty of time to setup. And then the clouds set in…

The winds were howling when I left the house early that morning. The full moon shining above made it almost seem like daytime. I thought things looked promising as I made my way up a county road outside of town. There was little snow to contend with on the drive and I made it to my spot in good time. I was shocked though as I climbed the last hill and dropped into the open area where I was going to shoot to find a pickup truck with some sleeping bags laid out on the ground. I circled around them and parked a way past them. I tried to be quiet as not to disturb my neighbors, but I had to start the Jeep a couple of times to move it to best block the strong winds coming from the northwest. Then their dog found me and started barking. So much for not waking them!

I set up my camera and long lens behind my Jeep to where I could just get a clear view of the moon and started taking shots. Soon the eclipse started. I shot for about a half an hour, waiting for passing clouds to pass. Then the real clouds showed up! I climbed in the Jeep and waited and waited. I sat there for another hour and a half until the skies started to turn pink as the sun rose. I rushed to change lenses and scurried down the hill to a spot a little lower. I didn’t have much time, but I was able to take a few panoramic shots while the mountains were bathed in pink light. At least the morning wasn’t a complete bust!

My neighbors were just rising as I left, and I stopped to apologize for barging into their camp in the middle of the night. They said it was quite a shock to hear me pull in considering they are out in the boondocks in the middle of winter!

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