Colorado National Monument

It was hard not to take a good photo in a place and on a day like this. The July monsoon season was brewing making a quickly moving partial cloud cover, so the light was constantly changing. I was admittedly a bit trigger happy with the camera and it took awhile to consolidate 100 images down to about four dozen as shown.

The camera used was an Olympus E-500 with a Zuiko 14-45mm lense. I set it to landscape mode and went to work. This mode tends to enhance the blues and greens, but the ‘Vibrance’ and ‘Velvia’ functions in Darktable brought the reds back up to par. Some images are slightly cropped to reduce excess sky space, most are as-is. Working in Linux Mint and processing using Darktable, most images have the following modules applied:

  • Velvia
  • Vibrance
  • Sharpen
  • Levels
  • Local Contrast
  • Shadows & Highlights
  • Lens Correction
  • Crop & Rotate

Grand Junction can be seen in the distance on some images, it’s a really nice smaller city and a great launching point for multiple points of interest in the area. Summer can be a bit warm especially hiking around on the rocks. In the shade, what little there is, and if the breeze blows it’s not insufferable if you’re accustomed to a warm climate. By late afternoon there was a good downpour and it cooled off considerably. The thunder echoing off the sheer canyon walls is an experience I cannot capture with words or photos.

I would reccomend entering from the more Northern entrance of Rimrock Drive so you can hit the visitor center sooner for a map and details. If you can, budget the better part of a day to get a good sampling of the park without being too rushed. One could easily spend a few days camping and exploring the trails and spring or fall would probably be the ideal time.

Happy Trails!

— Kenn Ranous

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