A small synopsis of my fall 2010 trip to Kebler Pass Colorado.
As I drove towards my destination of Kebler Pass in the high altitudes of the Colorado mountains a place that I had never been before the excitement grew of what would await. A total of almost 4 hours would pass before I made my first shot of the day and I hadn’t even arrived at my destination yet. I was in no hurry though my time was limited to 2 days. I was slightly impatient to see what I had longed imagined and only seen in magazines and on others websites. The more I attempted to rush the more I knew I was missing the point of my journey of just being surrounded by the beautiful scenery. Mother nature takes her time in presenting such intimate beauty so who was I to force the moment. I wanted to get more out of my finite time than just a few pretty pictures. I wanted, I needed to understand what I was part of, to discover nature in a new place far from home. Years ago I would have undoubtedly rushed to Kebler Pass knowing that would be were my pictures awaited, but now years down this path of nature photography I know the beauty of nature is all surrounding it is up to me to discovery it no matter where I stand.
I made a few stops along the way, to call my lovely young bride and check in and let her know everything was fine and to make sure the same was with her. I stopped along the highway to take a few shots of the lands that were changing before me. Some 51/2 hours from the time I left the comforts of our condo in Vail I was presented with the West Elk Wilderness, West Beckwith Peak, East Beckwith Peak and Kebler Pass.
The colors were spectacular, the mountains were grand, the aspens in all their yellows and golds, the pines standing tall amongst them. I have arrived, now what? Then a small amount of anxiety began to set in, how do approach photographing such a vast wilderness of beauty that I am completely unfamiliar with? The answer is something I have been able to learned over the years and that is to just do what comes natural. Stop and enjoy first, stand among nature and appreciate what is before me and only then raise the camera and attempt to capture what I see and feel. Again no need to rush just relax and let it come to me.
My attempts to photograph the West Elks and Kebler Pass area this fall was a success for one simple reason. I loved being there, I loved being surrounded by such grand beauty of nature, I loved discovering the small trail that led me to a rock covered with aspen leaves, that’s what I was there for to discover nature and to understand what it means to me. Over the last few years there are moments when out in nature I release myself in thought and emotion in an attempt to not just understand what I am witness to but what my part is. If I am to benefit from nature, nature should benefit from me. I struggle with the how’s of doing that. Is simply taking pictures and sharing them with others enough to make a positive difference, I’m sure it is not. For when we love something in our live that enriches our being it is hard and could be impossible to show and explain that benefit and possible a life long journey in attempts to understand and then return it.
I’m happy with what I brought back on my compact flash cards, I will enjoy viewing the images for the rest of my life. But what I will enjoy the most is the way I felt before and after taking the pictures.
This is part of the experience that I was able to enjoy, not just because I was present but more for being part of what nature is about. The seasons progress keeping nature in tune, it is up to us to take the time to slow down and understand what it means to each of us. Tomorrow will not be same as today, understanding our small part can have tremendous value and benefits if we allow it.
These images and more from my fall 2010 trip to Colorado will soon be featured on the new bradmangasphoto.com