Ryan’s Field Notes #2 – Winter Wonderland

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Would you like to go on a journey with me? In this edition we are taking a walk into the winter wonderland of the Grand Mesa here in western Colorado. Thank you for joining me on this adventure. Hopefully you will enjoy the story and images that follow.

Heading into the storm
Highway 65 going over the Grand Mesa during a snow storm.
Winter Wonderland Series

It was a day like any other calm winters day here in western Colorado.  The temperature was cool (probably mid 20’s to low 30’s) it was a nice day.  As I was driving down the highway I looked to the Grand Mesa and noticed storm clouds gathering towards the top.  Looked like the Mesa was going to get some snow.  I was done with my work for the day and had my camera gear in the car, so on a whim I decided to drive up into the storm.  The higher up the mountain I drove the thicker the clouds were around me.  The road was getting icy.  It was going to be a great day for some photography. 
What was I looking for? I was looking for an image that said “winter wonderland”.  With fresh snow on the trees I was sure I would find it. 
Slowly, very slowly, making my way over the mountain.  Stopping every little bit to take pictures and the road was snowy, it was slow going.  I was coming closer to a spot I had in mind that I was wanting to see in this weather.   One of the great things about having spent my life in this part of the country is that there are certain areas that I have cataloged in my mind with the hopes to someday catch at just that right time. 

Now remember earlier I had said it was a nice day in the 30’s…well that was no longer the case.  We had risen a few thousand feet into the midst of a winter snow storm.  The snow was starting to slow down again though and the roads were still passable, as long as one proceeded with care. 

Rounding the corner near a little beaver pond that I had in mind I pulled my vehicle to the edge of the road and came to a stop.  I sat in awe for a few moments as I took in the scene before me.  It was better than I could have imagined.  Getting out of the SUV I grabbed my camera and tripod and wadded through the almost knee deep snow to find a vantage point I liked.  With the camera securely mounted on my tripod I took my light readings and began to adjust the camera settings. It was so quite…nothing was moving, just the light snow drifting from the sky. If you have never stood in the forest during a gentle snow storm you don’t know what you are missing.  It is almost eerie the silence, yet serenely peaceful at the same time. 

After taking multiple shots with a variety of angles of the scene before me, my fingers beginning to tingle from the cold. I grabbed my gear and headed back to the vehicle.  Setting inside while I let it warm up I looked through the images I had captured,  they were close…but something wasn’t quite right.  Out I went again from the warmth of the SUV and into the snow with my gear and a couple of new ideas.  A few more shots and I felt I had what I was after.  Time to get warmed back up and head for home.  It had been an exhilarating and chilling day.