My most popular post of all time on this blog was one that I titled ‘Seven Steps for Improvement in 2013’ and in it I recapped an episode of the Grid that I watched earlier that week titled the same – Seven Steps for Improvement in 2013. One of the seven steps was to do whatever it takes to get the shots you need. Since I live in Chicago and there aren’t any mountains nearby I need to take trips to photograph them if I really want to get some good landscape pictures. Luckily, I have a client in the Denver area that I visit quarterly so I can typically get away, take a PTO day and hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. This past weekend I did just that and I knew that I wanted to get sunrise over Dream Lake just like I did back in February 2012 when the lake was frozen solid.
The sun comes up at around 5:40 this time of year and the hike is a 40 – 60 minute brisk walk with several hundred feet of elevation gain. In order to get their for sunrise and pre-dawn light I had to be on the trail by 4:15 (which meant a 3:17 wake up) since I wanted to get there by 5:15. It isn’t ideal of course to have to wake up so early but in order to capture the orange light hitting Hallett Peak it’s necessary. I was exhausted but slammed a couple Starbucks espressos and hit the trail. I arrived with plenty of time and was wondering if I could have slept just a bit longer but once the light show started I wasn’t disappointed. The reflection coming off the lake was fantastic as well since the wind for the most part was fairly calm.
Photo of the Day – Dream Lake Reflection
It was a great morning and unlike the next day when I woke up for sunrise at Sprague Lake (which is just at the trailhead so much more accessible) I had the entire world to myself. The solitude was great – listening to the birds come alive, hearing a elk in the distance – until a few other hikers arrived about an hour later.