When an early snowstorm blew thru the Rockies the second week in October I knew that I had a chance to shoot a very special but very fleeting sight: snow on the fall colors. This combination doesn’t last long because either the snow melts off quickly or the colors get killed by the cold, or both. So I packed up the camera bags, grabbed a few Clif bars and headed up towards Kebler Pass, which is not too far from Crested Butte. My goal was to get a shot of the Beckwith Range as the clouds cleared, capturing the dappled light, the brilliant colors and the crisp, fresh snow all at once. I waited around on the south side of Marcellina Mountain for a solid hour, but the shot I envisioned never materialized. The clouds never cleared. However, they did clear around Marcellina and the light broke thru several times. It was in one of these fleeting moments that I captured the image above.
It wasn’t the shot I was waiting for–but then again, perhaps it was. A good photograph is certainly made by knowing where to stand…but another factor is knowing how long to stand there. Sometimes that takes a while. Sometimes it’s cold, snowy, and you’ve driven way too far up a mountain road in a two-wheel drive vehicle! Sometimes it pays off, and sometimes it doesn’t–there’s no way of knowing until after the fact. So there’s only one thing to do: chase the light, see where it leads, and hope that it turns out just as magical as you envisioned it.