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A thousand stars in the sky - Rocky Mountain Sunrise

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Unread 09-01-2007, 11:04 PM
Join Date: May 2001
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A thousand stars in the sky - Rocky Mountain Sunrise

A thousand stars in the sky - Rocky Mountain Sunrise-_e2x7587_3_6-2prntsmug.jpg

“A thousand stars in the sky make me realize,
That you are the one that I adore.”

(Words To A Song by K. Young - 1960)

Those were the words in my mind two weeks ago as I approached the shore of Dream Lake in pitch blackness at nearly 11,000 feet of elevation in the Rocky Mountains. In 1960 during that long summer after 8th grade, I had first danced to this song with a little wisp of a girl who sat in front of me that school year. In my school years, those words would get me out onto the dance floor with her at the teen dances. This is still the favorite song of me and my 8th grade sweetheart, Kathy Spaeth (now Backus). And, though I seldom dance anymore, it will still get me out onto the dance floor with her every time it is played! And as for that pixyish little girl…I love her much more than back then, but not as much as I will tomorrow.

But now, looking upwards, there may have been a million stars. This was my third straight morning at Dream Lake. What an appropriate name for such a beautiful place…and time. Each morning I started out at the trailhead two hours before dawn. Carrying a heavy camera and tripod, my flashlight kept me on the trail as it meandered along the switchbacks. The air is thin at 11,000 feet and my lungs protested. My right knee complained to me just a few times, but even then it was only while on the way back down. I had undergone knee surgery successfully just 6 months before my trip to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Thank you Doctor McKenzie! By the third morning my lungs were adjusting and I was able to make the entire climb with no rest breaks.

Each morning by flashlight I carefully set up my tripod on a huge boulder at the edge of the lake. Then I patiently waited for the subtle, pre-dawn light to bathe the surface of Hallett Peak on the horizon and to light up the mountain’s reflection on the water’s shimmering surface in front of me. Each morning the light, wind and sky conditions were slightly different. But this morning I got what I had come for and I snapped many shots. I hiked back down this last time with a great picture and the added bonus of a renewed memory of the time when that cute little girl from 1960 had sat in front of me in 8th grade!

Happy birthday, Kathy! This is my gift to you.

Last edited by Len Backus; 12-17-2012 at 08:45 AM.
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Unread 09-02-2007, 02:21 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 272
Nature's beauty is ageless,isn't it? Thanks for the great photograph and the story. shorty.
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Unread 09-02-2007, 03:24 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Oregon
Posts: 953
wow!...very nice. was this another multiple exposure shot? thanks again, for sharing.
I was elk hunting this morning and we reached the very top of the mountain we were on before sunrise, and the colors were amazing, but the little camera i had didn't do it justice. couldn't get a clear pic w/out a tripod. still haven't bought a SLR yet.

Last edited by lovdasnow; 09-02-2007 at 03:37 PM.
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Unread 09-02-2007, 04:24 PM
Join Date: May 2001
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Jon, thanks, yes this is HDR'd.

Get that camera before all the bugling activity is over! I am stopping at RMNP for a day or so when I go back out for fall color the last week in Sept.
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Unread 09-02-2007, 04:27 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Idaho Falls, Idaho
Posts: 44

Another superb photo! I enjoyed the story as well. Your photo sort of reminds me of an Ansul Adams quote - if I remenber it correctly "You don't take a picture, you make a picture" and this is an example. Three days of hiking in the Rocky's (which isn't at all bad) and the result is a capturing of what your mind said was there all along. Outstanding!

What lens/camera details?

Thanks, Craig Dodd
in SE Idaho
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Unread 09-02-2007, 04:34 PM
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 6,518
Thanks, Craig, same equipment as the Sunset on the river last week.

One photo workshop leader years ago taught me to pre-visualize the shot I want and then go make it happen. It worked.
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Unread 09-02-2007, 07:48 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
Posts: 8,876
Another great photograph!!!!!

But didja have to go and get all sentimental and gooy????

Summer of '60 following the 8th grade? Ya young whipper-snapper

I graduated HS in '60. Didn't find the love of my life until 1968:mad:

I had to join the Navy (to see the world, of course, and to stay out of the jungle - M-16s weren't working so well then) and ended up for 3 years in Idaho.

Got plucked off the tree while there and have never left.

Your Kathy has to be given kudos for puttin' up with you all these years. May your time together be as it should be. Which it seems it is.

You're a good man....
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!
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