Cataract Lake in Gore Range, Colorado, USA by Steve Gandy

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Picture Story

This image was the result of lucky timing and being ready. I had walked into the Lower Cataract Lake area in the Gore Range before dawn and was delighted to see the mist just coming off the water as the sun started to rise behind me. The camera was on the tripod and the manual settings were already dialed in to capture the hint of the trees and far side of the lake. I always use a totally neutral white balance setting to capture the colors that are actually present. Some have noticed the sky has a different hue on the left versus the right and have asked about it. The right side is still colored by the overcast cool tones so they have that familiar magenta touch you see in the Colorado sky. While the left side has the warm sunlight changing the hue. Giving it the more cyan looking blue. There is also just a hint of the warmer tone from the sun in the cloud and its reflection. I call this image "Just Clearing".

This location is fairly easy to photograph in spring through fall. You can drive to within a half mile of the water in a sturdy vehicle. The road is rutted and very narrow. Watch out for oncoming vehicles on the curves! There are trails around the lake and also others that branch off to the much longer Gore Range trail as well. In winter it requires snowshoes or skis to approach the lake from the paved access road that is three miles downhill. There are opportunities for great photographs during all of the seasons. I have several keepers from this general area. The Gore Range in general is one of the most picturesque areas in the Rockies. Most lakes in them are not this easy to get approach. Many of them would involve bushwhacking hikes.


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