I woke up at 1000, and left my house at approximately 1200. The emissions test took less than 15 minutes (hurrah), and the DMV only took 1.5 hours. I'd call that a win-win!
I didn't pack anything to eat on my trip, so I went back home, grabbed some food to go, and then I left to go on my adventure.
I arrived in Golden, drove aimlessly for a bit as I had no idea what street I needed to be on, and ended up just finding a parking spot and taking it.
I walked down the main street through the historic downtown, and arrived at Clear Creek.
My stubbornness to get a good shot resulted in a lot of weird side glances coming my way, but I didn't mind as I climbed over and around the rocks down on the creek bed. I have to say it was worth it, because you can't get this kind of shot by standing off to the side on the path:
I arrived a little over 20 minutes before I lost the sun behind the mountain, leading to an evening golden hour. The colors were perfect, and I excitedly took this image. It's so amazing how something so beautiful can be right in the middle of town. All of these pedestrians were walking right by this view, without even realizing there was anything to see.
Golden Hour began. I continued my journey of weaving up to the path and back down for various shots. I made it down to the small waterfall in the image above, laid down on the big rock to the left, and got this low shot:
The details on the waves drew me in, the breeze chopping up the surface of the water, and the colors with the setting sun making everything pop marvelously.
Golden has this adorable little area along the creek that is run by their historical society. There are several historical cabins, a church, and a chicken coop, with chickens in it. I felt like a child at a petting zoo, and stared at them for a while before continuing on and capturing a shot of one of the cabins.
At the end of this historical section of Golden is a bridge that crosses over the creek. It's a very different world on either sides of this bridge. The one side you have the adorable, cozy log cabins, the silly little chicken coop, and the wooden church. The other you have a sort of campsite. There's no campgrounds, but it's a place where all these people are living in Winnebagos and various large vehicles.
There was this bright blue one, way on the end, that had a yellow biohazard sign on a side window. It stood boldly amongst its duller surroundings, the only color in its company being the color of the cone.
Anyone reminiscing about Breaking Bad?
I continued following the creek, weaving in and off the path, and found one single twig from a Juniper Bush on the rock bed. There was no Juniper Bush in sight, just this lonely twig. It's bright blue berries stuck out in the yellow-ish atmosphere of the Golden Hour, the softness of the leaves contrasting the harsh edges of the stones.
The cemented path ended at the Golden Water Supply and converted to a well-groomed dirt path. The air was crisp, the sky was starting to darken, and I rushed forth to try to cover as much of the trail as possible before I lost the light.
The path wound before me, a quaint wooden fence lining the one side. You could see where humans had made their mark on the nature surrounding the path. Initials were carved or burned in several trees, ashes from previous campfires blackening the dirt, even though there are signs everywhere stating that campfires are not allowed.
Nonetheless, the path was beautiful, calming, and excitable. I am definitely returning to this path in the fall and taking photographs of the gorgeous colors that will be canopying the path at that time of year.
You can still see what's left of the fall colors, but just imagine all of those trees full of orange, red, and yellow leaves!
I continued walking and reached this bridge after some time. I took it as a sign that I should turn around, as it would take me a while to get back to town and I didn't want to be in the woods after dark.
I walked back to my vehicle, ate the food I had packed, and worked on heating up my muscles. The chill had set into my arm muscles, and so my fingers were moving slower than normal.
After warming up for a bit, I drove off to find a mountain top away from city lights. I went to I-70 and drove to exit 456, a randomly picked exit, and headed to a top of a mountain. It was time to complete my first attempt at astrophotography.
I set up my camera with my standard lens, and started changing settings around until I got one that seemed to work. It was much colder on top of the mountain than it was down in Golden, so I stayed in my vehicle and set up my tripod right outside the driver door. After about 45 minutes of waiting, the sky darkened as much as it seem it would, which was not as dark as I had hoped, and I started taking photographs. I found that an ISO 2500, f/5, and a 25 second long shutter speed worked best in these settings for my standard lens.
I switched to my wide angle and found that an ISO 800, f/2.5, and a 15 second long shutter speed worked well for that lens.
The images didn't turn out quite as I had hoped, and on my second attempt at this I am going to try using my telescopic and macro lenses to see what kind of results I get with those. They still turned out pretty cool though, in my opinion.
I captured a shooting star! I was pretty excited about that.
Was? Who am I kidding, I still am.
I am excited about my small accomplishment from Wednesday evening, and I cannot wait for my second attempt. I'm already dreaming about next Wednesday!
Photographer, visual artist, and customer service extraordinaire.