A rare early snow storm had moved in over Southern Colorado converging with the fall colors as they were peaking! The timing was impeccable. I was on a visit with my young son in Durango for seven days. We prepared our gear and food with anticipation and excitement of what lay ahead in the morning. We would not be disappointed. A light dusting of snow had covered everything. The snowflakes glistened on the edges of sunlight. The ambient light had softened as it filtered through snow squalls shifting and shaping on the fly. The natural surround was illuminated and the air had clean crisp feeling wherever we wandered to stopÑtaking it in.

We came over the top of Red Mountain Pass looking alertly as we wound down towards Yankee Girl Mine. At the apex of a 180 degree curve in the road, we stopped on cue. There before us was this luminate scene of the Yankee Girl Mine, golden Aspen and snow delicately lacing it all together. In a moment the sun backlit the landscape. It wasnÕt long for life this experience. The exhilaration of witnessing this beauty was incomparable.

ItÕs 9:59am on October 5th, 2008. Nikon D3000 with 70-200mm lens set up on tripod. Compose through the view finder. Build the base of the photo off debris of the mine tailings with the mine set near the lower center of the portrait. Do not include the horizon. Tighten in on the subject, the trees and the land. Focal length locked at 70mm. Exposure set at 1/2000 sec; f/3.2; ISO 200. White Balance set to cloudy day. Release the shutter. Release. Stay. Gone in minutes as clouds rolled in shrouding the scene.

Deep sigh. Hearts pounding. Yet we felt bathed in oxytocin. My son and I look at each other with a nod in amazement of what we had witnessed. ItÕs a keeper! LetÕs head home.

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