Colorado Fires

The 416 fire outside Durango...

The 416 fire outside Durango...

Once again, Colorado finds itself in a very nasty fire season (as does much of the West).  The conditions out there are horrible: very dry and very hot.  It seems crazy to me just how severe of a drought they're in this year, as when I was out there for my Colorado Trail trek last July, it was the wettest summer I'd ever experienced, and we lived out there for 15 years.  For a large chunk of my trek, I was setting up and/or breaking camp in the rain.  I remember driving back to Colorado Springs after one outing, and South Park was super green and lush.  In July!  I'd never seen South Park green even in the spring when we lived there - not once - and we drove through there all the time as we took weekend trips out to Fairplay, Summit County, Buena Vista, etc.  Alas, most of CO didn't see much snow over the winter (if I recall correctly, I think most areas only got like 20-30% of average annual snow pack), and there weren't any spring rains to make up for it.  Hopefully a healthy monsoon season picks up here in the next month or so...

It's kind of weird: as I read about the fires online, discuss with friends back there on social media, etc., I feel kind of bad for not being out there myself.  I feel like I want to be there as a matter of solidarity: to commiserate, to provide any help as needed, to inform, etc.  It feels weird being separated from it.  I think the reality is, that even after four years back in MN now, I still really identify as a Coloradan.  The landscape, the outdoor culture, etc. - these things are still an important part of me; "in my blood", so to speak.  I've been thinking a lot lately about going back...

Anyway, I digress!  For those of you looking for the latest reports on current wildfire situations in Colorado, besides the major news news outlets, check out these online sources for the latest:

https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dfpc/current-wildfires
https://www.facebook.com/COWildfireInfo/

Cheers,
R

Image: Sunset on Peak One

Sunset on Peak One

This image is a new variant of a black & white image that already exists in my Colorado Landscapes gallery, that I had originally shot and processed over a year-and-a-half ago.  Today I decided that the image deserved a color version, too, as it is a sunset after all.  I went for a slightly tighter crop on this version, too (the B&W version is not cropped at all), to really draw you into the summit.

I was at the Frisco Bay Marina in Frisco, CO, and had been shooting on the tripod, with my camera aimed across the reservoir over at the "three peaks" (Gray's, Torrey's, and I forget the name of the third one), hoping to get some good alpenglow shots on those peaks.  Then I packed up my stuff, threw it in the car, and then, as I closed the trunk and turned to get into my car, I noticed great light over on Peak One.  The light was changing fast, so I quickly grabbed my camera out of the bag, and just braced on my car door to stabilize, as I didn't even have time to get out and setup the tripod.  This image was shot at 300mm, which is how I got so tight on the summit.  I had been testing out my new toys on this trip, which was a new (at the time) Sony A77II camera and Sony 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G SSM lens, and that was the combo used for this image.

I hope you enjoy the image.  I miss Colorado, and can't wait to get back out there this Spring for a few days of skiing (heading to Winter Park).  First, though, I'm going to finally check out the skiing here in MN, up north at Lutsen Mountains.  It'll be cool to be looking out on Lake Superior as I swoosh down the slopes.  I've been up there handful of times in the other seasons, but haven't been up there in the winter yet.  I'm really looking forward to it.

Cheers,
R