One of the coolest things about photography is never knowing exactly what you are going to capture. Here's the perfect example. With no destination in mind, I toss my camera gear into the back seat of my 4WD Jeep Willy's, (I love that hill climbing beast) and head west out of Montrose, Colorado on HWY 90. There are some interesting areas out this way and occasionally you will find some really cool wildlife.
Worse case scenario, I spend an hour or two driving back country roads under the warm sun. That doesn't sound too bad does it? Nope, it sure doesn't.
Going on nothing but instinct, intuition or luck, I take the first dirt road on the left. I can clearly see that this road meanders through the underbrush along the valley floor. It looks very promising. As I slowly crawl through trenches, over rocks and old washouts I can't help but notice the huge mesa on my right. The mesa reminds of Pride Rock from the Lion King. I can easily imagine a pride of mountain lions watching from what can only be the best vantage point in the area. I hear coyotes howling in the distance. I am no longer the apex predator in the area and the various piles of old bleached bones are a constant reminder of this fact.
I decide to stop and listen for a little while. I put the Jeep in park, turn off the engine and close my eyes. Complete and total silence and then I hear something in the distance. White noise, like static from an old television. The sound fades away as the wind changes direction. I scan the horizon to see If I can spot the source of the sound. Nothing.
The wind changes direction again and it brings the sound of moving water to my ears. Time to get out of the Jeep and see where this water sound is coming from. I slap my largest zoom lens on my camera, a Tamron 150-600mm. This lens is huge but it helps me see things from great distances.
I slowly move the barrel of the lens along the mesa while focusing. I see tons of great vantage points and then the source of the noise makes me take a step back. A gorgeous waterfall. I'm a sucker for water in just about any form. Put me in front of a waterfall and I become as giddy as a kid on Christmas morning. I had to get closer. I had to get right underneath this thing but it would require a very long hike. I have no problem with hiking. In fact, I love it. What I didn't like was the idea of hiking through this area alone after seeing all those bones and hearing the coyotes.
Wait a minute. I have a high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicle. I bet I can drive around and find a road that goes over and up that mesa. I bet I can find a road that gets me much closer to this waterfall. Fast forward 30 minutes and I park my Jeep on top of the mesa within 50 feet of this huge cascading waterfall.
I stood on the edge of the mesa and looked below. I was on top of the world standing right next to a gorgeous waterfall. Time to grab some pictures!
I set my camera on a tripod, screwed a neutral density filter to my lens and composed the shot. I must have taken 40-50 pictures. One of them had to be perfect! As it turns out, this image would find its way to the cover of the 2016 Montrose Colorado Visitor's Guide. Not too bad for an afternoon of exploring.
Don't be shy. Comment on this post. Tell me what you think. While you are at it, do the Facebook thing and click that like button and if you want a copy of the Visitor's guide, grab a copy right here. Montrose Visitor's Guide.