For years, I had been scoping out Mesa Vista retirement center’s roof for a vantage point. The infamous and prolific Boulder photographer, Rocky Mountain Joe Sturtevant, made a photograph of the city and Flatirons from that exact location in the mid-1890’s.

I had lived in a bungalow near Chautauqua Park for nearly seven years. It was an early October day. The wind had howled through the night leaving me quite restless before sunrise. I grabbed my cameras, tripod and bag and headed out the door. Sometimes you must rely on your intuition above anything else in making photographs. This day was one to be served well by following my deep abiding sense of where and when to go.

I ended up at the retirement center. The roof was only three feet above the parking lot grade with no signs saying, “Keep Off.” I thought of asking before climbing. A lost thought in hot pursuit of a sunrise photo.

I setup and stayed put on the roof for more than 45 minutes while employees came and went without one asking what I was doing. And then there it was. The only time I had seen it happen in twenty-four years. The sunrise sky turned a bright burnt orange-red, but for just a few minutes.

Before I left, I knocked on the retirement home’s door.  A bewildered old man opened the dooor setting off fire alarm. He fled when he saw me. Then I slammed the door shut. The blair of the alarm stopped. Camera in hand I lighted out for the photo lab to see what I had captured that day. 

A Nikon F-4 Camera with a Nikkor 55mm Micro lens with the shutter setting at 1/60thth of a second; F-Stop f16.0; with Fuji Velvia Film ISO 50 was used to capture this cityscape and the Flatirons.