2019 Year in Photos

November 03, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

This year I have taken several trips, some more productive than others, and have made some good images.  But I have been somewhat delinquent in posting information about these trips and the photographic results.  Below are the brief descriptions of the efforts so far this year.

Lunar Eclipse

January

After several weeks of planning, we travelled to Bryce Canyon in western Utah to photograph the total lunar eclipse.  Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and we were under 90% cloud cover.  So we hurriedly changed our plans and drove back east to the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado looking for clear skies.  By the time we finally found a clear location, the moon was high above the horizon and the photos were not impressive.  After 4 days and nearly 1700 miles, the lesson learned is that weather is THE primary factor in planning night sky photo trips.

Supermoon

March

On a much shorter trip, I shot the Supermoon from locations close to home.  This time, the weather was much more cooperative.

Supermoon Rise 190320-4026Supermoon Rise 190320-4026

April

On another trip to photograph the full moon, I travelled to the Devil’s Backbone formation near Loveland, Colorado.  Unfortunately, the area west of the formation is all private land, and photo opportunities are limited.

Dowdy Lake & Nokhu Crags

May

On this trip, I drove to the Red Feather Lakes area north of Fort Collins to photograph the springtime arc of the Milky Way above Dowdy Lake.  Although I usually look for dark skies, this time the light pollution from Fort Collins added some interesting color to the image.

Dowdy Lake Milky Way 190505-9388Dowdy Lake Milky Way 190505-9388

Located just west of the Continental Divide at Cameron Pass, the Nokhu Crags in the Never Summer Mountains provided the foreground for some good Milky Way photos against dark skies.

Crags Milky Way 190506-9487Crags Milky Way 190506-9487

Four Corners

July

In early July, Arches National Park has very hot weather and large crowds of visitors from around the country and around the world.  Fortunately, the area around Turret Arch and the Windows is more peaceful at night, and I was able to make some good images of the Milky Way. 

Four Corners 190701-9719Four Corners 190701-9719

The area around Kayenta, AZ, contains several interesting rock formations, including Agathla Peak (El Capitan), a large, prominent volcanic plug.  The Milky Way arching above this formation added interest to the scene. 

San Juan Wildflowers

July

In late July, I made one of my annual treks to the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado to photograph wildflowers.  The timing of this effort is always a gamble, and this year the bloom was later than usual by about two weeks.  The heavy snows last winter left many of the Forest Service roads still blocked with snow, but I was able to find some good flowers in Porphyry Basin and near the top of Stony Pass.

Stony Pass 190722-6434Stony Pass 190722-6434 San Juan Mountains 190722-4875San Juan Mountains 190722-4875

Snowy Range

July

I made a brief trip to the Snowy Range in southern Wyoming to photograph the Milky Way above Brooklyn Lake.

Brooklyn Lakes 190730-9799Brooklyn Lakes 190730-9799

Lightning & Night Sky

August

August is monsoon season along the Colorado Front Range and Eastern Plains, and these storms often produce some spectacular lightning shows. One of the bolts struck close enough to my shooting location to chase me indoors, and another storm offered moonlit clouds with lightning inside the cloud and stars above.

Fort Collins Lightning 190714-02553Fort Collins Lightning 190714-02553 fort collins lightning 190813-03636fort collins lightning 190813-03636

The August full moon, known as the Sturgeon Moon, provided good shooting opportunities near home.

Supermoon Set 190321-4168Supermoon Set 190321-4168

Westcliffe

August

We made a brief, relaxing trip to the Wet Mountain Valley and the town of Westcliffe, the only Colorado community certified by the International Dark Sky Association.  We drove just outside of Westcliffe to find truly dark skies. 

Westcliffe Stars 190828-9878Westcliffe Stars 190828-9878 Westcliffe Stars 190829-0058Westcliffe Stars 190829-0058

On the drive back to town after shooting the stars, our headlights discovered a person lying motionless in the middle of the dirt road about four miles from town.  Our call to 911 resulted in two police vehicles and an ambulance arriving on the scene within minutes.  We never did learn the story behind this mystery.

Beartooth Highway

September

Our next trip took us through six states, over 2000 miles, and included Dinosaur National Monument, Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, Yellowstone National Park, Beartooth Highway, Spearfish Canyon and the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway.  The highlight of the trip was the mountain scenery on the Beartooth Highway along the Montana-Wyoming border.

Beartooth Highway 190914-18364Beartooth Highway 190914-18364

On the trip through the Spearfish Canyon, we stopped at Roughlock Falls.

Spearfish Canyon 190918-18484Spearfish Canyon 190918-18484

Grand Teton National Park

September

Late September is the traditional time for Autumn color along the Grand Teton range, so I made a brief trip to this iconic location to try my luck.  I was able to find some good color...

Grand Teton NP 190925-5448 7DGrand Teton NP 190925-5448 7D

...but the highlights of the trip were a sky full of pre-dawn stars above the moonlit Grand Teton peaks...

Grand Teton NP 190925-18784Grand Teton NP 190925-18784

...and the Milky Way soaring above Jackson Lake.

Grand Teton NP 190925-0183Grand Teton NP 190925-0183

San Juan Mountains Fall Color

The latest trip was to the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado to shoot more fall color.  Just like the wildflowers, the timing of fall color is always a gamble.  And this year, the change was slightly later than usual, but it was still quite good. 

San Juan Mountains Fall Color 190930-5500 7DSan Juan Mountains Fall Color 190930-5500 7D

The Milky Way also put on a good show in the dark sky above the reflective surface of Lost Lake.

San Juan Mountains Nightscapes 190930-0222San Juan Mountains Nightscapes 190930-0222 San Juan Mountains Nightscapes 190930-0214San Juan Mountains Nightscapes 190930-0214

To see more photos from these trips, please visit the location galleries Dowdy Lake & Crags, Four Corners, San Juan Wildflowers, Snowy Range, Westcliffe, Beartooth Highway, Grand Teton, and San Juan Mountains and the subject galleries Night Sky and Lightning

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

 


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