I’m in Denver Colorado visiting family for the week, and of course have several days set aside to visit and photograph in Rocky Mountain National Park which is located just 1 hr northwest of the city. I had a chance to visit yesterday for the first time, and was completely overwhelmed by the sheer beauty and grandeur of the park. Incredible mountain peaks reaching 14k feet, pristine lakes, abundant wildlife, and spruce forests as far as the eye can see.
Having visited the Smokies less than 2 weeks ago, it’s tempting to contrast and compare the parks. But for me, these are pointless comparisons, akin to a parent choosing one child over another. Each park has its unique qualities that make them places worth protecting, and for a landscape or nature photographer, definitely worth experiencing. Besides, nature is nature, and always has the potential to impart something that makes our lives richer and more meaningful.
Having said that, there is something about high mtn peaks like those found in the Rockies that instill a primal sense of awe, and I certainly felt that this morning on my first shoot in the park. As always, it is so easy to be seduced by the excitement of a new location and start shooting everything in site, but I really tried hard to take my time and “see” something out of the ordinary.
Of course as I have said many times, one of the key aspects of landscape photography is familiarity, and so I plan on spending more time in the park exploring and getting a better sense of what makes it so special. For me that means getting out on the trails and hiking as much as I can, learning how the light changes during the different times of day, and studying the map of the park.
Regardless of how successful I am with images, I just want to say how truly grateful I feel to have the opportunity to experience these amazing landscapes. I am acutely aware of those who do not have those opportunituties, and so I try and appreciate the simplest things which we so often take for granted. If you see me sitting next to a beautiful creek enjoying the sound of the stream while there is an amzing sunset overhead, no need to worry about whether my camera is working. I just think that moment matters more than any other. Have you taken a moment today to appreciate that simple thing that matters most to you?