If you've been to Rocky Mountain National Park, you were probably there in the Summer Time. If you have been to bear Lake, the destination for most tourists and the starting point for many hikers, this is the iconic shot for most, seeing the mountains over the lake, clear blue sky a gentle breeze, and curious squirrels and chip monks who come right up to you to see if you'll offer a goodie or two.
I believe seeing the mountains in winter is just as important because you see the true power and beauty of the mountains despite the elements.
I'll be honest, I came too late in the day to do any decent hiking, I arrived after 1pm, hiking around the lake wasn't recommended, because the trails weren't groomed past certain points, I went past the point on the Northeast part of the lake to get this shot above. I was sinking in the snow up to my upper thighs! I did go on another path that was trampled down, however it was all down hill, and I had to go back up. At 9,450' above sea level and an out-of-shape man in his mid 40's isn't a good combination, so I chose to abort what I was doing and head back up the path toward Bear Lake. I was out of breath by the time I got back there and my heart rate was about 170! I know what I'm doing now, going to the gym to get in shape for hiking over the summer into next winter!
OK I hear you photo enthusiast, what were my camera settings? They were f/16 1/250th a second at ISO 200. This was shot with a 50mm f/1.4G Nikon Lens on my Nikon D700. This is not an HDR shot, it's a single shot. I don't like most HDR work because most of the time the tonality is pushed from the white/black toward mid-tones leaving the shot looking kind of grey! Not my cup of tea, if I want grey, I'll order Earl Gray!
This shot is of Table Top Mountain. I shot this from the East about six miles away, near Bear Lake Road, perhaps a ¼ mile down the trail. It was about all I could muster without snow shoes, since, like Bear Lake, my feet kept falling into the snow up to my upper thigh. Again the majesty of the mountain is seen during the winter, with the snow on the upper face, a little on the cliffside and angry clouds streaming overhead because of the high winds that were there.
Upon leaving the Park, by the ranger station I looked up and to my right and saw Long's Peak. I had to stop and get the photograph.
Long's Peak is in the middle while Mt. Meeker is on the left and shrouded in cloud and Mt. Lady Washington is the peak on the right. Again I love the clouds surrounding the peak, giving it power like the clouds surrounding the major Himalayan peaks, although the mountains are half the elevation!
On my way home on the roadside on US 36 I came across three male Elk, one of which was close to the road by a chain station-where cars and trucks put chains on their tires to get over the pass during snow covered road periods. As I got out of the car, I moved too quickly into position and startled the Elk, who had a little bird of a friend who was sitting on him. I get the shot of the Elk as it was walking away. I only go one shot because two other cars pulled in too, and the elks went away.