01 September 2015

Smokey and the Drone

One extremely smokey morning, thanks to Northwest wildfires, I went trekking for dramatic sunrise photos. The elevated location I'd planned wasn't as perfect as I imagined when I discovered it near sunset. The sun just minutes away from peaking over the eastern horizon, I could now see scores of telephone lines that had not been visible to my naked eye the night before.

I zoomed to my backup location, a highway pullout above Chatfield Reservoir I'd used multiple times because it has trees, which are great for silhouettes, and water, which is great for reflections and a bonus when mist is rising. This was my lucky day! Mist drifted across the mirror-like surface of former gravel pits-turned-ponds.

But another photographer had already positioned himself atop the best mound.

I selected another opening in the trees where I still had a magnificent view so as not to interfere with the other photographer. I waited for the sun to make its appearance, which took longer than I expected, thanks to a low bank of clouds completely hidden by dense smoke. Click, click, click as a sliver of the bright pink orb finally crossed through the murky twilight!

too thick to penetrate

"Hello, Deborah!" I heard as I clicked away.

Initially shocked, and perhaps a trifle nervously cautious, I thought I probably ought to be sociable. Obviously, this other photographer knew me. I just didn't know him.

Until I got closer.

His wife and one of his daughters were at my last girls' camp. He'd mountain biked with my husband. We're friends on LinkedIn. And he was using a drone to shoot the misty, smokey pink and orange sunrise! I'd never seen a drone in real life! It was fun to watch him operate it, and after watching a few minutes (and missing some great reflections on the water) I imagined my flight- and aircraft-loving husband would love flying a GoPro-equipped remote control F-15!

Lake of Fire

Eye in the Sky

Smile!  You're on Candid Drone!


A few more shots of my own, and it was time to make my way back home.

misty morning

Rosy Morning

Holy Foli-age

Making my exit, I discovered another gem of a pond I'd never used as a sunrise reflection point. Time to give my clicking finger another heavy workout!


Strands of Life

Fisherman's Dream

Once again, it was time to make my way home. But then I saw a balloon. And then another. And then yet another.

I'd forgotten this would have been the weekend of the Rocky Mountain Balloon Festival if it still existed.

Area balloonists had not forgotten.

Once Upon a Time

I took a bunch more shots, and once again, I thought I should go home. But then I noticed a skeleton tree full of red-winged blackbirds. If you've never walked by a flock, chattering or murmuration of blackbirds, then you will not understand why I HAD to stop one more time, and attempt to breathlessly, covertly and painstakingly get One. More. Shot.

Best Seat in the House

Should have used the movie function!


  1. You sure got some great shots. It would be fun to see a drone in person. I'd like flying one if I had enough space so I wouldn't crash into anything lol

  2. Those are nice shots, smoke and all. The drone looks like a lot of fun.

  3. Lovely pics! Thanks for dropping by and making kind comment on my blog ;)

  4. These are beautiful, really differnt photos. Just goes to show it's worth getting up early sometimes when you have the urge. And what a coincidence you knew that man, no wonder you were spooked at first though! Drone shots are fun too


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