Monthly Archives: June 2011

Memories of Peru

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, Yerupaja, Jirishanca, reflection, sunrise, Laguna Carhuacocha

Carhuacocha Sunrise : Prints Available

Brilliant sunrise alpenglow on the tallest peaks of the Cordillera Huayhuash (Yerupaja, Yerupaja Chico, and Jirishanca),  reflected in Laguna Carhuacocha - June.

Here are a few photos “from the vault”, from my trip to Peru a year ago. Both were taken along our trek around the Cordillera Huayhuash. One of my favorite shots from the trek was from this same spot but at sunset. Because I liked that one better, with its softer, calmer light and clouds, I never posted this version from sunrise. But this one definitely has some pop, eh?

Yerupaja, panorama, Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, Jirishanca

Yerupaja Panorama : Prints Available

A panoramic view of the Cordillera Huayhuash around Yerupaja (6617m, 21,709 ft.), the second tallest mountain in Peru.   Jirishanca (6094m) is towards the left side.  June 2010.

>> SEE LARGER VERSION HERE <<

I took this panorama during one of the more spectacular bits of hiking during the 11-day trek. That day we came from over a pass off the right side of the photo, but instead of taking the standard trail down through the valley, we hiked along this high ridgeline, with a huge views of the mountain range the whole way. We ended up at a lake down in the valley on the left side of the photo, under impressive peak of Jirishanca.

My spontaneous three week trip to Peru last June ended up being a wonderful decision, not the least because I met my girlfriend Claudia on this trek! I would have never guessed before this that I’d soon be spending six months in the Alps to be with her. And she arrives to Colorado on Monday!!! So thank you, Peru!

Jirishanca, Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, stream, lake

North Crestone

Sangre de Cristo, Colorado, North Crestone, sunset, June

After I left the Great Sand Dunes in the morning on Tuesday, on a whim I headed to nearby Crestone and went backpacking up the North Crestone Trail in the Sangre de Cristo Range. Unlike the San Juans, which are still smothered in snow, the Sangres are almost totally dry already. Although I was planning on camping up at North Crestone Lake, when I finally arrived there [six fairly grueling miles later] I was disappointed to find no suitable spot to camp near the lake. Besides, it was very windy up there… too windy. So I retreated back to the next meadow down where I spotted a nice established camp spot in the forest next to the creek. Exhausted from my lack of sleep the night before in the Dunes, I took a nap, shot the sunset, lit a small campfire for a while, then fell fast asleep in my tent for nearly 12 hours!

The valley where I camped was not particularly photogenic, imo, and the boring blue sky was not inspiring either. After wandering around for a while the most interesting thing that caught my eye was a bunch of dead trees up on the mountainside. So I hiked up there and shot the setting sun beaming through the bare tree skeletons. Certainly not my best photo ever but I like it and I was proud of myself for putting in the effort to find one intriguing scene to shoot when normally I probably would have just not even bothered.

Sangre de Cristo, Colorado, aspens, North Crestone, June

The lower/middle portion of North Crestone Creek is special because the valley is chock-full of aspens. This would be a spectacular hike to do in the fall when the trees are golden yellow!

A Night in the Dunes

Medano Creek, Great Sand Dunes, Colorado, clouds

Medano Twilight : Prints Available

Spooky clouds hang over Medano Creek and the Great Sand Dunes after sunset. 

On Monday I headed to the Great Sand Dunes for a quick overnighter. I hiked in at about 10pm, slept on a dune for about 4 hours, then woke up around 3:30am to shoot the setting (nearly full) moon, followed by sunrise.

I had a blast out there with the camera… so much fun! And the hike out with Pink Floyd Meddle playing on my iPod was pretty groovy too! Here are some photos from the trip.

Great Sand Dunes, Colorado, moonshine

Dunes Moonshine #1 : Prints Available

A setting full moon illuminates the dunes with dim alpenglow, enhanced by a long, high sensitivity exposure.

 
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado, moonshine

Dunes Moonshine #2

A setting full moon illuminates the dunes with dim alpenglow, enhanced by a long, high sensitivity exposure.

 
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado, moonset, San Luis Valley

Dunes Moonset : Prints Available

A nearly full moon sets beyond the San Luis Valley, as seen from the Great Sand Dunes. 

 
Blue, Great Sand Dunes, Colorado

Blue Dawn : Prints Available

A deep blue early dawn sky casts a luscious blue hue on the dunes during this 2-minute exposure.

 
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado, sunlight

Touch of Sunlight : Prints Available

These shades of color lasted only for the brief moment when the rising sunlight was just beginning to touch the dunes.

 
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado, sand

Sea of Sand : Prints Available

Waves of sand crash onto the mountain shore.

 
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado, ripples

Two Ripples : Prints Available

Two patterns of ripples catch the morning light in the Dunes. 

 
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado, shadow

Sand Shadows : Prints Available

Morning light and shadow play in the waves of sand. 

Potosi

Climbing up Potosi's couloir, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Yesterday morning Ann Driggers and I set off to hike and ski the big north couloir on Potosi Peak – one of the most aesthetic couloirs in the San Juans, and a line that has been high on my to-do list for many years. With an ample June snowpack, sunny weather, and freezing temps at night, this was a perfect opportunity to get it done! Here is Ann climbing up the steep couloir. Continue reading