How to Turn a Mountain Goat into a Rainbow!

July 14, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

I decided to take off work a little early Friday and head out to the mountains.  My goal was to photograph mountain goat kids.  

I headed up one of Colorado's 14ers (peak that is higher than 14,000 feet) that is pretty well known for mountain goats.  As I was driving up to the summit, the weather, as it is wont to do above treeline, became a little wet, cold, and slippery.  I noticed droves of cars coming down the narrow mountain road.  

At last, I reached the summit.  The view was . . . underwhelming.

Alpine View Atop a Colorado 14er on July 13, 2018Alpine View Atop a Colorado 14er on July 13, 2018Do I really need to watermark this photo? :D Did I really need to put a watermark on this photo?  

That's a cloud.  OK I think technically, maybe it's fog, but I'm going to call it a cloud instead of fog since I took the pic at around 14,130' elevation.  Yes, really.  :) 

Alpine weather changes fast, so I hunkered down in my truck to wait it out to see if my luck (and the weather) would change, mountain goats would emerge from wherever they were hiding, and the sky would provide some of that gorgeous late afternoon light!  

I waited.  I read a book.  I napped.  It thundered.  It hailed.  It sleeted.  

Hail and rain on the hood of my vehicle Hail and rain on the hood of my vehicle Hail and rain accumulating on the hood of my vehicle while I waited for the sun (and hopefully some mountain goats) to emerge. While waiting out the weather, I snapped a mobile pic of the sleet and rain accumulating on the hood of my truck.

I took a walk around some old buildings on the mountain.  This thermometer read 43 degrees.  It was July 13th.  

Alpine SummerAlpine SummerThermometer at the top of a Colorado 14er read 43 degrees Fahrenheit on July 13, 2018.

Finally, I ended my mountain goat quest and promised myself to come back again soon to try again.  I started the truck and just as I was about to pull out of the parking spot, I noticed a rainbow!  I turned off the car, changed the 100 - 400 mm lens to a wide angle 15 - 30 mm lens, and hurried outside to photograph the rainbow as fast as I could.  The results were amazing!!!  

Alpine RainbowAlpine RainbowYep, it really looked like that! Aside from how darned exciting it is to see a vibrant rainbow, what I love about this scene is the huge scale of the photo.  For a big view like this, I used a wide angle lens and shot this at 19 mm.  I also told the camera I wanted as much of the landscape in focus as possible, which means I set the aperture (also called F-stop) to F22.  If I used a smaller number such as F8, less of the photo would have been in focus -- not what I want to do for a big scene like this one!

The weather geek in me finds it exciting because, although the sun is behind my back, the rainbow seems to have refracted the light passing through it so that it appears rays of sun are emanating from below the hillside.  

Another thing I adore about this photo is you can see the movement of the raindrops falling through the scene.  You can even see a mini prism in the rain drop just to the right of the "r" in the Outsider watermark -- how cool is that?  To get the movement of the rain through the photo, I set the shutter speed at 1/400th of a second.  

So, while I was unable to get pics of my mountain goat friends, my patience paid off with this gorgeous scene.


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