How the Art Happens - Whetstone Mists

August 03, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

Whetstone Mists

Whetstone MistsWhetstone MistsWhetstone Mountain and the Cold Spring Ranch after a spring snowstorm captured in a black and white Colorado landscape photograph.

Whetstone Mountain is, in my opinion, the most photogenic mountain in the Crested Butte area. I say this because it gets great light almost all day long. It's also large and imposing as mountains should be. Another reason I love this mountain is that it can be a great backdrop to scenes from several surrounding valleys, like Brush Creek.

The winter of 2006/2007 didn't bring a lot of snow and spring came pretty early around Crested Butte. Roads that were typically snow-covered opened early in April instead of May or June. The Brush Creek drainage is one of my favorite places to photograph mostly because of these ranch buildings and the backdrop of Whetstone Mountain.  Due to the lack of snow, I was able to travel up Brush Creek Road a bit to get this composition. We had had some fresh snow overnight but not enough to close the road. The storm was clearing (probably my very favorite time for landscape photos) and was leaving whispy clouds around the mountain. The fresh snow had covered the fields and roofs, hiding a lot of brown ugliness that would normally ruin this scene. I made this photo on April 5, 2007.

I made a few compositions and played with both portrait and landscape orientations. I tried to use the rustic fence beside the road as a leading line or, at least a foreground, with poor results. This appears to be the best and most simple composition. But there was something that did not work for me. At the time, I couldn't quite figure out what I didn't like about the image. The sky in the original was blue. It was the only color in the scene. It was distracting. But, it took some time (several years) for me to figure out the problem.

A few years later I was experimenting with different ways of converting color photographs to black and white. I needed a sample image to practice on and, by luck, I picked this one. With just a few mouse-clicks on some unused Photoshop tools, I had transformed an image I liked into one I truly loved. Sometimes less is more! "Whetstone Mists" has been a popular image ever since and has been printed up to 40" x 60". With a grey or black rustic frame, it looks amazing!

An added bonus to being out early, after a storm, is that you get to talk to the rancher, Mr. Veltri.

Mr Veltri 2007Mr Veltri working the Cold Spring Ranch. April 2007Michael Veltri on Brush Creek Road with his dogs.


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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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