Close to the sun

A funny thing about altitude; the closer you get to the sun the higher the highs and the lower the lows. It’s true with temperatures and it’s true with light!  I wanted to take our recently revived but very old car for a test run before we drive it over the Rockies to visit our son, so I grabbed my cameras and drove up highway 24 to Woodland Park (Colorado) and then circled around to the Rampart Reservoir. Fall colors were superb around the reservoir, marred only by the large and numerous swaths of charred tree remains; a solemn reminder of the Waldo Canyon Fire that ravaged so much of this area three years ago.  Altitude at the reservoir is 9,000 ft. Tuesday was one of those rare sunny days where you never see a single cloud all day… Usually here in the mountains we get clouds in the afternoon even on the nicest days. But Tuesday was blue sky all day. Down in the Springs it was over 80 degrees but up at 9,000 feet the sun felt even hotter. And yet in the shade it was almost chilly. I put a sweatshirt on when I first got out of the car.

It’s hard to describe how bright the sun looks on a day like that at 9,000 feet. I know that sounds stupid… the sun is always bright; too bright to even look at. But there’s bright, and then there is Rocky Mountain bright! There is nothing yellow or orange about the sun at 9,000 ft. It’s just white. Piercingly bright white that always makes your eyes hurt if you get even close to looking at it.

Along with my digital camera I took the Fuji GF-670 and shot a couple rolls of Neopan 100 Acros. I developed it in HC-110 and scanned the negatives on my Epson V600 flatbed. My GF-670 has a tendency to give me blank frames once in a while. In recent months and years it seemed like it wasn’t as bad, but this day I got one blank on the first roll and three on the second! Needless to say, this camera is definitely going in for repairs when I get back to Japan. In the meantime, I still thoroughly enjoy shooting with this camera and Tuesday was no exception. In that kind of light the latitude of the film gets pushed to its limits and more. Fortunately since I’m doing PP on digitized versions of the images I can cover a few obvious flaws here and there but in most cases I just accept the fact that I’m going to have blown highs and crushed shadows in virtually every frame. But still, it was a fabulous day. And the good news is that the car ran fine. We leave for Moab tomorrow morning before sunrise!

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