Trail Running Photo Shoot

I had a great photo shoot with local trail runner Justin Busch yesterday in the high country. Justin and I have been planning to get together for some photos for a while and were finally able to connect for an early morning session. I was very familiar with the location, having hiked the area a number of times and most recently when I scouted the spot in preparation for our shoot.

Trail Through a Lodgepole Forest

July is traditionally the hottest month in the higher elevations of Colorado’s mountains but this summer is a lot like the summer we had six or seven years ago when it got hot in June and stayed hot until mid August with daytime temps in the upper 90s. July is also the month when the monsoon weather pattern sets up in Colorado, bringing predictable afternoon thunderstorms with incredible lightening displays and heavy, sometimes torrential, rain.

Colorado Storm Clouds

So a morning photo shoot is the perfect solution to all of the summertime variables. We started the day before sunrise, temps were in the low 50s and it had rained the night before so the forest colors were sure to be beautifully saturated. As we made our way to the trail we passed through valleys filled with mist and the sounds of the waking forest.

Pre-Dawn Mist in the Colorado Rockies

The two of us started on the trail just as the first few rays of morning sun began creeping over the mountains to the east.  On my earlier scout mission I chose three locations that I wanted to target for our photo session. I kept things super light, only bringing three lenses including a fisheye that I love to shoot with in the forest and a speedlight. Making our way up the trail to each spot, Justin and I talked about our roots from back East.

Trail Running Through an Aspen Forest

I was stoked to learn that his dad is on ski patrol for Jiminy Peak in the Berkshires. Jiminy is one of only two ski areas in the United States that generates a portion of their power from their own wind turbine, the other is at Bolton Valley twenty minutes east of Burlington, Vermont.

Bolton Valley’s Wind Turbine

I felt psyched about the images on my Nikon’s LCD but regardless of what would come from our shoot, I was happy just to be in the woods, being part of the orange light filtering through the aspens and lodgepoles, inhaling the rich earthy scent of damp forest. It reminded me of one of my favorite John Muir quotes, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks”. I couldn’t agree more.

Trail Running Through a Lodgepole Forest