Morning photo: Golden days

Sweet sunrise …

FRISCO — With smoke and haze from distant wildfires hanging in the sky, the morning sunlight has been diffuse and gentle, creating some spectacular sunrise scenes along the shore of Dillon Reservoir. It may be slightly comforting that the fires are hundreds of miles away, but at the same time, it’s a reminder that the entire West has been getting warmer and drier for decades. There’s no reason to think that Colorado’s current moist phase will last forever. Based on the regional patterns, it seems a lot more likely that the next drought in the Rockies will be even worse than the last, but for now we have a respite and a chance to prepare for the next inevitable wave of wildfires when the weather turns dry once again.

Morning photo: ‘Walk me out in the morning dew …’

The beauty around us

FRISCO —Taking closeups with an iPhone camera — at least without a supplemental lens — isn’t always easy. The camera tends to want to zero in on something other than the subject, like the grass or shrubs in the background. But with some careful consideration to lighting, specifically the contrast between the subject and the background, I sometimes can make it work. Being able to capture sparkling morning dew on a bluebell, or a busy bee gathering food on a wildflower makes me happy. It’s like having a little miracle in the palm of my hand for a few moments, and it’s even better when I can share it with Summit Voice readers. Enjoy your Sunday and don’t forget to stop whatever you’re doing for a few moment to give thanks for all the beauty that surrounds us.

Morning photo: Late summer

Monsoons and mushrooms …

Summer rolls by fast in the high country, but it’s not over yet. During a building El Niño year like this, subtropical moisture could linger over the southern Rockies late into August, and even early September, extending the monsoon and mushroom season. Already, this season’s abundant moisture has resulted in a bumper crop of fungi, not to mention a slew of glorious cloudscapes and carpets of wildflowers from the valleys up to the highest peaks. This short set includes a few of my favorite shots from the past week in Summit County, Colorado.

Morning photo: Back in the mountains

“That’s the sound of sunshine comin’ down …”

FRISCO —Travel is awesome, but it’s easy to come back from even the coolest trip when you live in a place as beautiful as the Colorado mountains, especially when it’s mushroom season and the sky fills with rainbows. I have a Facebook friend, former journalist Theo Stein, who often tags photo’s I’ve posted with the comment, “Tis a privilege to live in Colorado,” and I couldn’t agree more!

Morning photo: Sunday set

Provence light …

As a photographer, you can find good light almost anywhere in the world. But add in the charm of old, warmly painted buildings, the gleam of freshly washed cobblestones or the glow of evening streetlights in an ancient Provençal village, and it becomes pure magic. The small town of Brignoles isn’t a big tourist hotspot like nearby Aix en Provence, but it’s a great spot to hide out for a few days and settle into the rhythm of French life — early morning walks to a bakery for fresh baguettes and croissants, a mid-day Pastis under the awning, and an evening dance in the main square.

Morning photo: Transatlantic

Up in the air …

FRISCO — I’ve loved flying ever since I can remember, partly because my dad was a pilot who always raved about the magic of breaking free of the bonds of gravity. Along with the freedom of soaring far from earthly troubles, there’s the added bonus of seeing the Earth from what is, for most people, a rare perspective.

For me, the thrill of looking down on familiar places from high above has never worn off, so when I get on an airliner, my heart always beats a little faster when the great jet engines roar to life on the runway. Flying in mid-summer is even better, because on the northerly transatlantic routes, it doesn’t ever get completely dark, so you have a chance to see a big slice of our incredible planet passing below.

And a couple of decades of practicing environmental journalism help provide a context for the views. Passing over Greenland, for example, and seeing the darkening snow is a reminder that our planet is melting down quickly, and seeing all the giant wind turbines in the German countryside shows that there is a way to avoid climate disaster, if we only get serious about choosing a renewable energy path.


Morning photo: Gorge du Verdon

The Grand Canyon of Europe

During the last few days of this visit to the Provence, I finally had a chance to visit the Gorge du Verdon, where the Verdon River has cut an impressive path through the massive limestone plateau that characterizes much of the Provence region geologically. Along with all sorts of recreation, the gorge, through a trove of fossils and other evidence, has revealed many secrets of the prehistoric people who lived in the region. The canyon walls tower as high as 2,500 feet over the aquamarine water in places, and the winding roads along the rim offer great access to view points and to trailheads leading deep in to the heart of the canyon. Truly, the Grand Canyon of Europe!


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