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Parks, Preserves & Monuments Assignment Winner Glenn Nelson

Bear Lake After Sunset by Glenn Nelson

Bear Lake After Sunset by Glenn Nelson

Photographer Glenn Nelson:

“I’m from Seattle and spoiled because our constant marine layer gives us an almost nightly light show. I was told that sunsets usually were not very eventful at Rocky Mountain National Park because the skies are always so clear. The morning and day of August 3, 2013, were more cloudy than usual in the park, but the skies began to clear later in the afternoon. Not very optimistic, my wife and I took our time getting to Bear Lake. We first hiked to Alberta Falls, then were distracted by a Moose cow and her calf, some very engaging Golden Mantled Squirrels, and the most gigantic Elk I’ve ever seen.
“We literally ran up to the trail encircling Bear Lake, with the sun diving quickly. I knew I wanted Hallett Peak in the background and searched frantically for some foreground subject matter. Finding none, I decided to rely on the reflection off the glassy smooth lake to draw eyes into the scene. Then I waited for the spectacular sunset that never came. This was to be my only sunset at RMNP so, seeing some clouds begin to roll in, I attached a 10-stop ND filter and went for a long exposure (nearly three minutes) in hopes of getting some decent color and cloud movement. I was so underwhelmed by the experience, I later overlooked this capture in my first edits, locating it only while looking for something to pay homage to the shuttered National Park System. My post-processing was just contrast and tonal adjustments with Nik Color Efex Pro.”
Nelson used a Nikon D800, Nikkor AF-S 18-35mm f3.5-4.5 G ED lens, Really Right Stuff TVC-33 tripod and BH-55 ballhead, Lee Filters holder and Big Stopper (10-stop) ND filter.