And with this, the fourth of thirty-one falls is complete.
Archive for the 'Autumn' category
The election of 2016 has given rise to many reassessments. For me, one was the need to spend more time in the mountains, away from the madness of people. Good thing I have this long running project to distract me, get me into the back country, and provide hours of hiking during which to think and make plans for the next four years. Stay tuned for more hikes and photographs coming this weekend as I seek to to work off the gluttony of Thanksgiving.
I realized this summer while hiking to Copeland, Calypso, and Ouzel Falls that my photographs of the waterfalls are deceptive. I go out of my way to avoid including people in any of my photographs, so they provide the impression of wilderness and isolation. This is made easier by starting in the pre-dawn, when most people are still asleep, but sometimes it is difficult to adjust reality to what I want. This photo, for example, looks as it could be taken miles deep in the trackless wilderness without another person for miles. In reality, there was a loud and overweight tourist standing atop the stone just to the right, taking selfies with her phone. I lowered the tripod slightly so that the stone on the left would hide another woman sitting on a distant rock painting watercolors. There were long pauses in my shooting while I stood in the stream and waiting for one group or another to wander aimlessly through the frame, quickly pressing the shutter during the clear gaps.
These photos were taken a quarter mile from a large parking lot and trailhead, so fully packed on this autumn day with people come to see the changing leaves that I was called to as soon as I stepped off the trail and began walking to my car, in hopes that I was leaving and opening up a space. My photos are deceptive because they never show the impact of the people who come to use this area, myself included. As the population of the Front Range continues to explode, I’ll have to be more and more careful when I take my photographs to preserve the illusion of wilderness.
Some of the falls I’ve sought out have been hard to find. Thunder Falls was suprisingly easy to find, depsite my approach to it, which followed tree line from Fan Falls. Finding my way back down the hill to the tail, however, was a little more difficult. All I had to do was follow the stream downhill and it would intersect the trail. Unfortunately, there were cliffs in the way and I ended up wandering back and forth across the mountainside working in the general direction of the trailhead. Along the way, I found other streams to follow, more surprise cliff-faces, and a gorgeous meadow of green case, each blade edged by the browns and oranges of fall. Somewhere off trail and I don’t know I’d be able to find it again, but it is those discoveries that make this project so much fun.
As I ended the last post, I mentioned that I was going to be visiting seven falls the next day in the course of an epic day of hiking and photography. I also may have mentioned that I am a bit of an unrepentent optimist. . . After a hike of 20 miles, several of which were off-trail bushwhacking to find some hidden falls on the edge of timberline, I realized that seven wasn’t going to happen. Three and a half happened, and the photos I’m posting today represent the half.
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