Trip Report: Horse Flats

serenity_webI’m always amazed how the same place can feel so different under different conditions. I have been here a dozen times, but it felt as unique on this morning as it did the first time I came up here. There is something to be said about getting intimately familiar with a location. 

I get excited whenever I see the weather forecasting a nice storm. inclement weather always provides the most interesting conditions for landscape photography. This last week we had a storm come through. I accordingly planned to hit up the mountains the following day, hoping that the effects of the storm would linger through the following morning. I headed up to Horse Flats on the Alpine Loop. It’s a nice meadow, with a great view of the sunrise, and is a pretty short hike, so I can get there and back and still be to work by 8 o’clock.

When I stepped out of the car at the trail head I was struck by the smell of the mountains after a rain storm. I don’t know what it is with that smell, but it calms my spirits and invigorates my mind like nothing else can. It’s a drug for me, I only wish I could bottle it up so I could take a deep breath of it when I am in the midst of the daily grinds of life.

I had a nice little walk up to the meadow. The clouds looked promising but as I got higher I realized that the horizon was completely blocked off with clouds, thus greatly reducing the chances of me getting a good light show. I wasn’t giving up yet however and I was able to find a nice little patch of flowers, setup my shot, and waited to see what would happen. I didn’t get the light show I wanted, but as has happened before mother nature had something different planned for me. About ten minutes later the meadow in front of me starting quickly filling up with fog. It rolled in within a minute and filled the entire lower portion of the meadow, it drifted around for a few minutes, and then blew out just as fast as it had come. So while I had wanting something dramatic with an explosion of color in the sky, I ended up with something that I think is actually a bit more special, a softer and more peaceful scene.

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