What a beautiful (probably smog enhanced) sunset at my friends house here in Larkspur. Wasn’t focusing too much on photos (more on just chilling after a tough couple of weeks) but was able to capture several with a 55mm prime f1.8 Carl Zeiss lens.
February 3rd 2017 was a cold, brisk morning in Larkspur. We had a good fog all night and the temperature went down to 15 degrees in the morning. I started my daily journey toward the megalopolis while dawn was just unfolding and I felt the urge to turn around to grab my camera. It was beautiful out!
So, I turned around and went back home and grabbed the camera. Along the first 5 miles of my route I stopped many times and took some photos. I then was treated to an elk herd that was in plain view so I stopped and watched them for a while.
A fun start to my drive to work! As always these photos are previews, click on the photo for a larger version.
As a large trough comes digging into Colorado bringing much cooler fall weather, we were treated with some autumn thunderstorms and lightning. I was able to capture some of these bolts during the heavy rain inside my car. All were taken with the camera hand-held, so focus on a couple is a bit blurry; but overall pretty good given the proximity, the amount of rain, and the varied distances.
These first few were directly overhead so I was only able to capture parts; not the whole bolt.
As the storm slowly moved north, I was able to readjust the vehicle and focus; a couple were a little closer than I was expecting so the focus was a bit out, but overall not too bad especially for hand-holding the camera. Focus is difficult with lightning every time!
I love the monsoon season, because 30% chance of thunderstorms means there will be one within 30 minutes of where I live; it is the way living atop the Palmer Divide usually works! I drove about 10 minutes south of home and was able to capture these tonight. Not as close as yesterday’s lightning by any means, but still pretty cool. Again, cell phone and daytime pictures so quality is appropriate, daytime lightning is much harder to photograph, especially getting the stepped leaders! What will tomorrow bring?
Today the National Weather Service issued an enhanced risk of severe storms for Central and Northern Colorado, likely having Colorado Supercells on the menu! My original thought was to wait near Prospect Valley and either hit the storms coming off of the Palmer Divide, or head into Northeast Colorado if the cells fired there. A tried and tested strategy, and it worked once again today.
I was in Bennett at about 2:30pm when the first cell fired up. Because I was nowhere near home, the cell was over Larkspur put down quarter sized hail. But this storm was the only play thus far in a good atmospheric environment and given the cap was strong I decided to head south towards Elizabeth and cut off this slow moving storm. I ended up finding a nice location a couple miles south of Elizabeth and set up the camera for a time lapse. The Larkspur storm slowly moved NE but it wasn’t tightening up and was obvious that it probably would only produce hail. It ended up completely vanishing within about 30 minutes near Kiowa.
Meanwhile, the cells behind this supercell merged and took a right turn. This was an amazing looking cell and I watched it from Elizabeth, then Kiowa. But like its earlier friend it couldn’t withstand the cap and environment east of Kiowa and quickly died. The good news is that for my second chase of the season I was home by 9pm, a rare occasion on chase day!
Was sitting down at the computer after the kids were tucked in expecting to do some armchair chasing action with the upper air trough and severe weather digging into the plains states tonight, and started hearing some pellets hit the windows of the house–it was graupel coming down. Graupel is pellets of snow/ice that is much smaller than hail which is not unusual for this time of year. About ten minutes later the first bolt of lightning lit up the house!
I wasn’t prepared for this like I usually am during the monsoonal flow in late July/early August, so I jumped into high gear and grabbed the tripod and camera and got everything ready. Focus is always a problem with the DSLR but I pointed it at a neighbor’s houselight (I usually curse this light because it is on all night, every night of the year, and makes watching meteorite showers frustrating) but tonight it seemed to have a purpose to get me a good focus as I changed the lens to manual focus mode. As you may know focusing lightning can be very difficult!
I then jumped out on the porch hoping for some visible bolts not obstructed by the clouds and immediately the bolts were flying over head. Being on a porch with lightning this close is extremely dangerous (by definition overhead is very close) so I quickly put the camera on autopilot and headed back to the safety inside.
Mother Nature’s show lasted no more than 15 minutes and was very localized; as luck would have it many of the bolts were in the least obstructed view from my porch! Nice! Captured several good shots making me even more excited for this upcoming chase season!
Over the last 15 or so years I have collected alluvial smoky quartz crystals along the roads in our neighborhood while out and about. Others in my neighborhood have also shown me crystals they have found. I have seen some Native American points found in the area made out of smoky quartz too that are quite amazing.
These quartz crystals are alluvial and are obviously a ways from where they started. I am assuming these originated in the Devils Head area and were ground down as they were transported by glaciers. Many of these are very gemmy inside and could be used for cutters.
At the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society rock show many years ago I visited a club booth where one of the members found a huge alluvial smoky crystal along Fountain Creek that was on display. This particular stone was a large gem (perhaps eight inches in diameter) and they had another similar size quartz they found faceted; both came from the creek bed. That is when I decided that the larger stones don’t facet well (at least to my eye) — although the faceter did an excellent job it just didn’t sparkle like the smaller cuts.
Just goes to show that prospecting can be easy and very close to home; just need to keep a trained eye on the ground!
I love lightning!
I love to look at the photos–this is a shortcut to my favorite posts so I don’t have to search. As always, you can click on any image on this site for a much larger version.
I have been feeling under the weather all weekend and was dozing off when I thought I heard a rumble of thunder. As always, that sound just does something to ignite my senses and I sat while awaiting another bolt. A couple of minutes later one hit less than a mile away lighting up the entire sky and trees. I quickly grabbed the camera and was able to grab some shots as the storm quickly intensified and headed east. I can’t say I “chased” this storm, but it was nice to have a break of the doldrums of being sick.
Need help from all of you with Mycology expertise! With the steady stream of precipitation this year we’ve had green everything all summer long; the first time since 1998. We went out into the back yard forest last night and discovered that mushrooms are popping up EVERYWHERE! I will capture more in the upcoming days but these were some of the different mushrooms we have thus far. We typically only get the large puffballs, which we have a couple in the front yard right now.
There are a bunch more varieties, but they are all pretty much brown and mostly smaller; pictures didn’t come out too well. These are the most interesting ones…
The next two I believe are the same, they are in close proximity to each other. One is by itself while the other is in a pair. The cap is about an inch-inch and a half in size.
There are a couple of these in the taller grass. Where the gills intersect with the top of the cap they are at the highest point. The top of the cap is light brown.
There are about 7 of these growing over a 20 foot semi circle area. Each cap is between 5 and 8 inches in diameter.
This one was cool, really pretty yellow/orange with white spots on the cap. I’ll check this one again in case the cap opens up in a few days. The cap is about 2-3″.
UPDATE. Several days later I made a trip completely around the yard. There are a ton of mushrooms, they are everywhere! My neighbor came out and asked me what I was doing; then he pointed me to a few in his yard too!