One of the benefits of living 45 minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park is that getting there for sunrise is no big deal, relatively. On the last day of January I woke up around 5, hopped in the car and headed up to the park to see if I could catch a decent sunrise. I knew it was supposed to snow later in the day so I was hoping some clouds would have rolled in and give me some good interest in the sky.
Another benefit of living so close is that I've been there so many times that I had a couple of spots in mind which makes it a lot easier to get there, get set up and get going when it is still basically dark out. By the time I got set up, sunrise was still 30 minutes or so away so I hung out in the cold enjoying nature for a bit. Gratefully nature didn't disappoint and I was treated to the hooting of some kind of owl and the bugling of an elk off in the distance.
When the sun's rays did begin to peak over the horizon I was again not disappointed. There have probably been more beautiful sunrises in the world but the feeling one gets watching the sun come up never gets old.
If you look closely you can see an itty bitty little moon starting to come down out of the night sky. After a few minutes the sun began lighting up the trees in the middle ground, which I tried my best to capture.
After the sun had fully risen I decided I would take a drive around the park to see if I could find some of those elk that I had heard earlier in the morning. I got in the car and drove to a spot where 90% of the time I can usually find a herd but, because the universe has a sense of humor, obviously there were no elk to be found. I drove to another spot with no luck before deciding to call it quits and head back home. But, to my delight, that aforementioned sense of humor cam in to play again as I was driving past the little field I had been standing in all morning. When I got there, an entire herd of elk was grazing 5 feet away from where I had been standing!
After a fairly successful morning it was time to head back home, after a stop for coffee. One last nice thing about living so close to the park, after all that, I got home at about 9:30 and had my entire Sunday ahead of me!
Until the next time,
Camera - Nikon D3
Lens - Pro Optic 14mm F2.8 (sunrise); Nikkor 80-400mm F4.5-5.6
Tripod - Slik S103