Recently, I had the chance to spend the night at the Jon Wilson Yurt perched high above Lake San Cristobal. I arrived midday in time to snowshoe around and explore the neighborhood. Unfortunately, the clouds started to move in and cover the incredible blue of the sky with an unappreciated grey. I was worried the photo I had envisioned wouldn’t be possible, but right at 5pm the clouds got my message that they weren’t welcome. They disappeared rather quickly leaving a completely cloudless sky at twilight and a great view for the stars that began to appear. ⠀
I ventured into the fading blue light of twilight and set up my camera in front of the yurt. After that, I waited for the dark of night to come. Venus, of course was the first light in the sky as it followed the path of the sun and began to set in the western sky over Sunshine Peak. When true dark arrived, I was joined by more stars than I’ve ever seen before! Sure in the summer the Milky Way can be seen, but nothing can beat the clear and crisp winter sky with Orion overhead! This also happened to be the night of the New Moon, which means no moon. So when I set my camera to begin taking photos continually, the night was completely dark with absolutely no lights except for my small fire and the starlight. I then retreated into the yurt and its welcoming warmth to escape the surprisingly moderate, but still 14F cold.⠀
I let my camera brave the elements. Look closely in the photo, and you can see me having dinner with my new quilt wrapped around me while I listened to an audiobook. I was warm inside the yurt and only occasionally peaked outside to make sure Bigfoot hadn’t taken this opportunity to learn photography by running off with my camera. After about 180 exposures of 25 seconds each, I decided that was enough and brought my camera in and went to sleep.⠀
In the morning I awoke to the first light of the day spilling over the San Juans and hitting all the familiar peaks. Clouds had rolled back in, and made the sky almost all overcast once more, but I had gotten the photo I’d envisioned and was perfectly content snowshoeing back to the road!