Thursday, October 08, 2009

Road Trip - Rocky Mt. Nat'l Park 2

A while back, I mentioned that the marine mammal group hubby's been involved with for decades is covering most of our expenses to their biennial conference as a thank you for our (mostly his) service. We leave for Quebec on Saturday. On top of that, our Realtor decided that would be an opportune time for another Open House, so not only do we have to get organized for the trip, but the house has to be in "perfect" shape before we do.

Plus, I'm trying to wrap up my manuscript, and all the vague scenes I've had in my head for months now have to make sense on the page. It's one thing to think about how my characters have been captured and locked up--it's another to deal with the physical logistics of having one bad guy overpower them, and the write it so it makes sense.

So, while all that's whirling around in my head, I'll share the rest of Jason Odell's trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. Enjoy!

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That afternoon, we went back into the park to look for more elk to photograph. The crowds were still there, but not as thick as they had been on Sunday. Unfortunately, the elk didn’t receive our memo about appearing in areas where they would be front-lit. Instead, we had to fight strong back-lighting, which unfortunately is not ideal when shooting large, dark mammals.

We took what shots we could get and then headed back to the hotel, where my colleague and I set up our computers and a projector and gave a classroom session on digital photography techniques. The questions stretched until after 10pm, so we had a LONG day.

Tuesday, we ventured out over Trail Ridge Road. This road connects the east and west sides of RMNP and crosses 12,000’ in elevation. We watched the sunrise from the mountain tops and photographed the panoramic scenery. By 9am, we made it to the town of Grand Lake, on the west side of RMNP. Here, we gave a lakeside class on panoramic photography. After lunch, we hiked to a small waterfall and photographed it as best we could, given that it was midday light. Our photos from there won’t win any awards, but it was still enjoyable.

Our afternoon shoot took us to a spot in the west side of RMNP near the Colorado River where there were some old cabins from the early 1900’s. We photographed the cabins and the textures in the wood with the primary intent of making black and white images. Finally, we made it back to our hotel in Estes Park and had a group dinner before retiring.

Wednesday was our last day for the workshop. Our students would be catching flights out of Denver to go back home later in the day, so we set out early to photograph another alpine lake. Unfortunately, clouds in the east and 20 MPH winds made shooting nearly impossible. Without the colors of early sunrise, our shots would look bland and bleak. Add in the wind, and you get lots of blurred trees and water. Not ideal. Before we quit, we figured we would go back and look for more elk, just in case.

We really hadn’t gotten that many good elk shots, even though we had seen lots of them. We arrived in the Moraine Park area of RMNP and found a small elk herd right next to the road. The problem, however, was that they were underneath the trees and in full shade. We decided to get out our telephoto lenses anyway and hope for some action. About fifteen minutes later, the bull elk started chasing another male who was getting near his harem of cows. This solitary male then decided to graze in the field right next to the road. The staccato of rapid fire camera shutters releasing all at once sounded like paparazzi (I’m sure this was not the Brad Pitt of elk, but I bet he thought so with all of us photographers snapping away).

Needless to say, our class was extremely happy with the shoot. Every one of the students walked away with tack-sharp images of a bull elk in warm morning light. It was hard to ask for more.

Thanks, Jason. And tomorrow is the final chapter from Homicide Detective Mark Hussey's manuscript. I've asked him if he'll write more, and he said he would love to, but at the moment, he's really swamped with work. And, catching bad guys does take precedence.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Oh my goodness, those pics are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing them.

Good luck with the manuscript!

Mystery Writing is Murder

Terry Odell said...

I'm sure Jason says 'thank you' for the photo quality. All I did was upload them. :-)

The manuscript actually moved forward last night. I hate it when it's not the story giving me trouble, but mere logistics and logic. One bad guy, 4 good guys. How can he make them do what he wants? Why won't they attack him, scream, run, call the cops, etc., etc. Once I have a logical way for it to work, then the writing isn't so hard. It's just a draft, after all, and I can polish the language later.

Elena said...

Enjoy your trip to Quebec - sounds like a break is just the ticket.

The manuscript will sort itself out, I promise! You'll find the right string, tease it out of the ball and POW there it is.

Hope the open house is a seller!

Terry Odell said...

Thanks, Elena. I'm sure everything will come together. At least it always has in the past.

Sheila Deeth said...

Wow. Thanks Jason. I really want to go there sometime.

Cindy Procter-King said...

Wow, what great pictures. They're so CLEAR. Amazing.

Terry Odell said...

Amazing what you can do with some good equipment -- and some talent, of course.

Brian Heska said...

What a beautiful place. Getting to RNMP is on my "bucket list".

Terry Odell said...

Brain, it is gorgeous, isn't it. I love visiting out there and being able to see mountains!

Terry Odell said...

Oops -- Brian! (although I'm sure you've got a great brain)

Michelle Yakel said...

The pictures are beautiful! Jason did a great job! Thanks for sharing!