Grand Mesa National Forest – Colorado

 

I searched for Nirvana using online mapping software and it didn’t find this place. I don’t know how they could have missed this one, Grand Mesa is the largest flat top mountain in the world. Located in Western Colorado, imagine approximately 500 square miles of lush green forest averaging 10,000 to 11,000 feet elevation with peaks over 14,000 feet. There’s 300+ lakes with fish and many with water so clear you can see to the bottom. Some fluoresce a blueish-green in the afternoon sun. It’s the ideal place to escape the summer heat as even in mid July it was about 60+ degrees.

If you go, don’t stick to the main roads. The gravel and dirt roads that criss-cross the area are amazingly well graded and easily navigated by any car. If skiing and winter wonderlands are your thing, this area gets LOTS of snow. Photos at the visitor center showed snow up past the eves. As this is a National Forest there’s no fees or hours involved to visit. This is freedom, Will!

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 these modules applied:

– Velvia
– Vibrance
– Sharpen
– Levels
– Local Contrast
– Shadows & Highlights
– Lens Correction
– Crop & Rotate*
– Vignetting*
– Soften*

* Deviating somewhat from my normal process of making all images sharp and bright, some have discreet usage of vignetting and softening often with masks to highlight the subject and bring it out of the background. I’ve come to feel that not all images must be technically precise, and instead try convey some of the feeling of being there.

– Kenn Ranous

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