Today’s trip through the Filmosaur Wayback Machine takes us to Colorado, sometime in the early 1990s. In one fairly epic Mountain Dew- and Mr. Salty Pretzel-fueled long weekend, Colorado was criss-crossed in a borrowed Audi Coupe that seemed to be on the electrical failure-a-day plan. Steaks were eaten, mountains were climbed, photos were taken. This having taken place lo those many years ago, memories beyond that are a bit fuzzy.
As was the case for the vast majority of my travel photography before the early 21st century, I was carrying my Pentax SFX loaded with basic consumer-grade Kodak color print film, Gold 200 in most cases. Looking back I was fairly lazy in my film selection, but I was young and ignorant. I’m no longer young; the other thing is questionable, but at least I know a little more about choosing film these days.
It’s a pretty interesting change of scenery for someone from the East. Having been raised on a steady diet of John Wayne, these sorts of landscapes have a particular appeal. As I recall, this was just as much in the middle of nowhere as it looks. I also recall, oddly, that the nameless little town on the near side of the fence was the place where I coined my “never eat pizza made more than 100 miles from NYC” rule. I do tend to remember some strange details….
We spent a day roaming Rocky Mountain National Park, which, unsurprisingly, was the subject of most of my photography on this trip. The landscape is just stunning in every respect; the massive scale, the endless views, the lack of horrible McMansions with identical landscaping and SUVs the size of Sherman tanks in the driveways. Coming from back east, this is quite refreshing.
Obviously, it’s not all sweeping vistas. The details, like these mountain wildflowers, are lost in the wide views, but are everywhere you look once the spell of distance is broken. The dichotomy of the enormous mountains covered with flowers that are tiny and clinging to the ground because of the altitude just adds to the remarkable beauty of the place.
I think this species is commonly known the Colorado Irony Bird. I was just glad he stayed still long enough to get this shot. Of course, he could be on the Parks Service payroll and simply told to land on the sign whenever tourists show up. Or maybe I just got lucky. Whatever the case, I’m glad I was able to record my fleeting encounter with the Colorado Irony Bird.