How the Art Happens - Reflecting on West Beckwith

May 29, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

Lost Lake ReflectionsReflecting on West BeckwithEarly autumn snows leave West Beckwith Mountain reflecting nicely in Lost Lake along the popular Kebler Pass Road in western Colorado.

Reflecting on West Beckwith Mountain

About twelve years ago I started teaching photography workshops and leading photo tours. My buddy, J. C. Leacock and I decided to lead a weekend fall color workshop here in Crested Butte at the end of September.  Back then, the end of September was usually the peak of our autumn aspen extravaganza and seemed like the perfect time to capture some new images with some new friends.

We ended up with 6 "students" for our first workshop. Friday evening we got to know each other over dinner and prepared to head out before sunrise the next morning. We would photograph all morning, come back to town for lunch and editing, meet again late in the afternoon to share our best photos before heading out again for evening and sunset photos. Sunday we would repeat the procedure except for the sunset session. All went as planned on Saturday and everyone created some great new images and learned new techniques.

Sunday threw us a curve ball though. We woke up to fresh snow. If you've ever spent much time in the mountains then you know what a blessing it is to have brilliant, golden aspen leaves surrounded by fresh snow. It doesn't happen every year but when it does, you know you're going to capture some spectacular photographs.

We quickly agreed to head up to Lost Lake, betting we would be the only ones there. Our gamble paid off. We helped our students set up and compose photos while the sun slowly rose higher in the sky. We had been working quickly since the light was changing quickly and it was pretty cold at 10,000 feet. After about an hour or so everyone seemed to be ready to move on. J. C. was getting everyone back in the trucks when I had the idea of this panorama. I quickly set up and leveled the camera before making 7 overlapping photographs of the reflection of West Beckwith Mountain in the Lost Lake Slough. The still water created the mirror image. The snowy shoreline created the perfect frame.

When lakes get low in late autumn they develop this bath-tub-ring effect around the shoreline. It's usually ugly and a feature I would avoid photographing. This time it became the frame for my subject. It really only works because of the snow in my humble opinion. I would not have made the photograph if there had been no snow.

We got everybody loaded up and headed to our next location. I quickly forgot about the panorama I had captured. It was several days later that I pulled the files off the camera and into the computer and rediscovered this shot of the sunrise on West Beckwith Mountain reflecting in the lake.


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Crested Butte, Colorado photographer, Dusty Demerson creates fine art photography displayed as prints and canvases and provides private photo tours in and around western Colorado.

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