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Clearing Storm at the Colorado National Monument

Sunday, January 27, 2013

By now I’m sure many of my regular readers are tired of seeing photos from the Colorado National Monument. For those of you who might feel that way, I’m sorry to say I have another trip report of photos taken there. Better stop reading now! After spending over five hours photographing the inversion layer in the Monument on Saturday I had no plans to return on Sunday. However, in the afternoon I noticed the clouds that had been hovering over the Grand Valley all day were finally beginning to break up. I couldn’t resist, so I grabbed my camera and drove back up there. I’m glad that I did!

As I was driving to the Fruita entrance I noticed the clouds hanging in the canyon obscuring the view of Independence Monument. I found somewhere to pull over and switched to my long lens for a closer look.

In the Clouds by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

When I reached the Monument Canyon view I was pleasantly surprised to find many dynamic clouds in the canyon below.

Clearing Storm by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A disappearing act.

Kissing in the Fog by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Closeup of the Kissing Couple before it was completely obscured by the clouds.

Closeup by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I waited until The Island was almost completely engulfed before pushing the shutter for this image. The Book Cliffs stand prominently on the other side of the valley in the distance.

Engulfed by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A small break in the clouds looking down Monument Canyon.

Clouds by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I keep trying for a decent shot of this twisted Juniper tree. I may not have a great shot, but I’m still drawn to it.

Twisted by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Grand View over the cloud bank.

Edge of the World by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Some of the most interesting clouds I have seen at the Monument.

Cloud Layers by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Canyons and Clouds by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After taking the previous two photos I looked down and to my right and saw my shadow on a thin layer of clouds below surrounded by a circular rainbow. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but I knew it was nothing I had seen before, so I quickly took a few photos before it disappeared.

Personal Rainbow by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here’s a closer look.

Brocken Spectre by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

…and a wider panoramic view. When I got back home I learned that this is an optical phenomena known as a Brocken Spectre or a glory.

Independence Glory by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The other side of the Kissing Couple as the clouds disappear.

Monoliths by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Next I went over to check out the conditions at Pothole Point. There was a lot more cloud coverage over here. I only had a few small breaks like this one.

Passing Clouds by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After waiting a while for the clouds to clear a little I finally gave up and headed back to Monument Canyon view. I noticed these sandstone formations in the late sunlight as I drove back.

Sandstone Shapes by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I also stopped for yet another shot of Independence Monument. I love the dappled light on the Book Cliffs in the background.

Independence Sunset by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

By the time I reached the viewpoint again most of the clouds were gone. I did get to catch the last light of the day striking the Kissing Couple.

Highlights by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

As I was leaving the Monument for the evening I made one last stop at Redland View to capture the beautiful colors in the clouds over the valley.

Redland View by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

>> Clearing Storm Photo Gallery


  1. Charlene Mahoney
    Charlene Mahoney March 2, 2013

    I love your photos. You have caught some unusual photos: hense, your “broken spectre”. THANKS for sharing!

  2. Leni Panitz
    Leni Panitz March 8, 2013

    Just a dream

  3. Shahbaz Parsipour
    Shahbaz Parsipour March 9, 2013

    great photos!

    (please note: the website above is down right now but can find the same name’s page on Facebook)

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