It is hard to go back to work sometimes after several days off. I do like my job but recently have been sidetracked by a developing passion. I am beginning to think it may be more of a derailment! Maybe it was the cloudy sunrise yesterday that conspired to capture my attention and focus it rather obsessively on getting up the mountain to photograph this morning’s sunrise. Even though I stayed up late, I awoke at 4:30 a.m. this morning, leaping out of bed with all of the day’s tasks weighing heavily on my mind. Fed the cats, put on many layers (27ºF and winds gusting into the low 30’s), got in the car and headed to work. Yes, that is right, I had to stop by work to enter my time since I knew I would be late and I was supposed to have done it by last Saturday. It was 5:54 a.m. before I was pulling on the last of my warm clothes in the parking lot at Green Mountain. The regular silver Ford was parked in its place. It seemed colder than usual to me. The traffic along Alameda was heavier than normal as people returned to work after the Thanksgiving holiday. As I started out along the small burn area, I couldn’t help but wonder what the sunrise would look like. Little worries kept popping into my head; had I set the camera in the correct low-light auto mode, would it use up more batteries than I was carrying with me, how late for work was I going to be? It was dark enough so that I was thankful that I knew the trail well. Wearing a roomy backpack afforded me the luxury of bundling up more than usual and being able to peel off extra clothing as necessary. The extra wind jacket saved me from feeling totally chilled. Very shortly after starting out, this trail turns away from the sunrise so I kept looking back over my shoulder to search for signs of light. The only light at this time of day are the millions of lights that make up the Denver metropolitan area – so yes quite a few! The trail then curves around a gully and heads northeast and uphill. I looked toward the sunrise and saw the perfect view of the moon with a planet below and to the southeast. I now know that it was Jupiter (please correct me if I am wrong). I set up the tripod, attached the camera and started taking photos. I wasn’t wearing my glasses so I just generally tried to line up everything in the viewer and hope for the best. I gave myself a stern lecture to attach the camera to the tripod in the warmth and light of home before heading out the next time. Simple tasks, like lining up the attachment screw to the bottom of the camera (where is that damn hole?!?!?!##?), become a little more challenging in the cold, wind and darkness of an early-morning hillside. I snapped several photos and then picked everything up and climbed the steep section, again with my back to the sunrise.
I stopped several times and took more series of photos. Finally, at the top, out of batteries, I headed home. The sun was fully up and warming me by then, that is when the wind didn’t have its’ way! I never did have to peel off any layers of clothing.
As inspired as I am by the beauty of the morning sun, I am also quickly becoming weighed down by the sheer work of focusing so much attention on photography. It is hard to balance this with what my hike has always been: a spiritual yet physical journey. I am completely enthralled with trying to capture all of these images that I see. I feel overwhelmed with ideas to photograph – mother nature seems to be revealing secrets to me everywhere I lay my eyes. Yet I don’t have all of the skills or equipment to accomplish all that I want. In fact, many of the images that inspire me are probably best enjoyed in the moment and not meant to be ‘captured’ at all. Just embrace and celebrate the moment and then let it go. So I shall seek a balance between the exercise, the spiritual recharge I receive from the rising sun, and the creative energy that runs from nature through me. I shall be ever thankful for the nourishment of my soul that each day brings.