Maroon Bells and Maroon Lake

Equipment Info
Itek Colour Graphics Ltd

• Deardorff 4x5 Special view camera
• Fujichrome Velvia
• Zone 6 wooden tripod and light meter
• Nikkor-W 135mm. lens
• B&W polarizer
• B&W KR3 warming filter

I arrived at Maroon Lake well before sunrise and selected a location at the lake’s shore for a shot. It is important to note that about 8:00 a.m. all traffic into the park may be limited to buses, so if one wishes to capture sunrise light or spend the day hiking the area, it is vital to arrive early.

The skies were disappointingly cloudy as sunrise came and passed without any good light. After a couple hours of waiting I began looking around for other possible subjects and found one opposite the Bells, so I changed lenses and was composing the image when I sensed something was happening behind me. Turning toward the Bells I saw an oval break in the clouds with the peaks poking through and a beam of sunlight striking the western slopes and moving downward towards the lake. Immediately I turned the camera around, changed the lens, and refocused on the Bells and their reflection in the lake. The shaft of light had now passed to the foreground aspen below the peaks. I quickly took a reading and made the shot just as sunlight highlighted the aspen directly beneath the Bells. This amazing moment gained double intensity by being reflected in the dark waters of Maroon Lake! I inserted another film holder to get a second shot, but the light faded before I could release the shutter and so the magic moment was gone.

The incident caused me to reflect on two important principles. First, how important it is, especially using a view camera, to know one’s equipment so well that rapid changes can successfully be made in crisis moments. And second, to condition one’s mind to be constantly alert to fortuitous moments that may arise spontaneously and give only brief opportunity for capturing special images!

Date Added
August 8, 2016
Date Taken
September 25, 2003