The clouds continue

The clouds continue

I had a busier-than-expected administrative day, spending several hours on my presentation for tomorrow evening, as well as taking care of some email, reservations for a camp site in Denali National Park & Preserve for when I get back home (Michelle and I will be taking my nephew, Daniel, who will be visiting from Texas), and other matters.  I went back into the park at around 7:00, taking advantage of the cloudy weather to photograph a Ponderosa pine grove near the beginning of the Bear Lake Road.  I stopped by the Moraine Park campground ampitheater to see the musical and educational program the park staff and volunteers put on about the pine beetle (photos later when I do a post on the beetle). 

On my way out, I noticed a small group of people gathering on a grassy and rocky knoll overlooking the Big Thompson River.  Having never checked it out before, I grabbed my tripod and camera bag.  After a short hike, I found myself at perhaps the best view of the whole Moraine Park area.  The mound is one of several that seemed to have formed in the area – they remind me a bit of pingos that can be found in the Arctic.  I am sure there is some geological significance to these formations in RMNP; I just don’t know what.  One of the challenges of being a nature photographer – you find yourself photographing a lot of things that you don’t know what they are, and want to find out so you can identify them correctly. 

As I was standing on the mound, looking down over the river and its meadow, I saw a cow and calf elk wandering through the area.  I spied a dead, bare, standing tree that provided an interesting element to contrast against all other things living on the mound.  Then I noticed bright shafts of evening light bursting through the clouds.  I did one shot with my Lee graduated neutral density filters – 5 stops total – and a series of shots to convert using my HDR software.  I thought the HDR did a better job of rendering this particular moment.

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