Photography by Jim Doty

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Waiting for the Light, Brainard Lake
Jim Doty, Jr.

Brainard Lake, Colorado. Photo copyright Jim Doty Jr.

Brainard Lake, Indian Peaks Wilderness, Colorado

I was at Brainard Lake at the entrance to the Indian Peaks Wilderness, hoping to capture a beautiful sunset. The sky was overcast with occasional drizzle, so I contented myself with a few flowers closeups. It started to get darker and I knew the sun was setting, but there wasn't even a hint of sunset color. Just flat gray sky.

But photography is partly about patience and I've learned from past experience that you can occasionally get a second sunset, even if the first sunset doesn't show up. The first sunset is when the sunlight hits the clouds that you can see. The second sunset is when sunlight hits clouds beyond the horizon that you can't see, bouncing some light back onto the clouds you can see. So I sat in the car out of the chilly drizzle, warmed up, ate a snack, waited and hoped.

The drizzle stopped and the clouds began to part. Faint colors started showing up and I was out of the car and setting up my tripod.  The colors intensified but only for a few minutes. The light levels were low, but a tripod allowed me to use a low ISO and a longer shutter speed for maximum image quality. As quickly as they came, the colors faded and the show was over.

You won't always get wonderful, late light, but you won't know unless you wait around and see!

Brainard Lake is just a short drive west of Ward, Colorado. Red Rock Lake is along the road to Brainard Lake and Long Lake is just a short hike from the Brainard Lake Road. Trails from Brainard Lake will take you to other beautiful locations in the wilderness area. There is a small entrance fee.

Exposure Data: Canon 5D, 17mm lens, f/8, 1/6 second, ISO 100.

December 7, 2010

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