Week 109 — Sunrise at Dream Lake

Fuji X100S; 1/60s; f/8; ISO 800

Now that my 30 Days with the Fuji X-T2 project is over, it’s time to get back to posting weekly Photo of the Week shots. This image was taken just before starting my 30 Days project. I was heading back to CO for a long weekend to catch some of the fall colors and see my family. My X-T2 didn’t arrive in time for the trip, so I shot some film and some digital with my Fuji X100S.

If you’re looking for a good spot to see a sunrise in Rocky Mountain National Park and you don’t want to leave ridiculously early or camp out the night before, it’s tough to beat Dream Lake. The hike to the lake is just over a mile long and is quite easy, so you only need to budget about a half hour to get there and get set up for the sunrise if the conditions are good. You approach the lake from the East and looking across the lake to the West you’ll see Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain framing the scene. These mountains catch the morning alpenglow beautifully, making for some gorgeous sunrises.

On this morning, the conditions couldn’t have been more perfect. There was a light dusting of snow in the early morning hours, the view to the East was clear, and there was a strong wind from the West that was blowing clouds over the top of the peaks. The mountains catching the alpenglow is more or less to be expected, but the way the clouds caught the morning light was quite a treat. Not only did the clouds light up brilliantly, they acted as a reflector of sorts and bounced the warm morning light onto the lake’s water.

I’ve been to Dream Lake for sunrise five or ten times now, and every time the conditions have been different. This is one of the great things about being a landscape photographer – particularly in the mountains. The conditions are always changing and shooting the scene on two different days will almost certainly yield two different-looking images.

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