How the Art Happens - Happy New Year

January 01, 2020  •  3 Comments

Happy New Year

New Years Eve CelebrationNew Years Eve CelebrationEach New Year's Eve Crested Butte Mountain Resort celebrates the end of the year with a torchlight parade, the Bat Signal, and fireworks.

At the end of each year, the Crested Butte Mountain Resort celebrates new beginnings with a skier's torchlight parade, a spotlight on the mountain peak (we call the Bat-Signal), and fireworks. The challenge, photographically, is usually the cold, the potential for snow, and finding a great location. In the 33 winters I've been here, I have captured the event successfully only a handful of times.

Back in the days of film photography, we pretty-much stopped the lens down, opened the shutter, and hoped for a good result. With digital cameras and software, we now have better options. The Bat-Signal is a fairly new addition to the celebration but the fireworks and the torchlight parade used to occupy distinctly different spaces in time. The fireworks were never launched until the last skier had arrived in the base area. This made trying to capture both the fireworks and parade in a single exposure very difficult. The exposure time just became too long so I composited separate photos of the fireworks and the parade into a single image. In more recent years the fireworks have begun while the skiers are still coming down the mountain so the event doesn't last as long and the only real technical issue is the Bat-Signal overexposing the snow on the mountain peak. Since they only do this once a year, there's not much opportunity for practice but a great opportunity for failure.

The photo above was from New Year's Eve 2015, the last time the weather and my schedule cooperated on New Year's Eve. I had not planned on photographing the event that year but as the sun went down I realized that it's more fun to try and photograph the celebration than just standing around in the cold watching other people have fun. I walked about a block from my condo to this overlook of the base area and set up the tripod just as the skiers started down the mountain. Trying to photograph their entire descent would make the exposure time far too long so I used their time on the upper trails to test my exposure time and ISO settings. I decided that and ISO of 100, an exposure of 60 seconds at f22 would get the job done. I waited until the fireworks began and made two exposures before the torchlight parade was over. The whole event only lasts about15 minutes so I didn't even get very cold!

I hope all of you had a happy New Year's Eve and will find 2020 healthy, happy, and prosperous!


Susan Hammonds(non-registered)
Absolutely beautiful!
Meegan Mitchell(non-registered)
Thank you for keeping my memories of my “forever home” fresh and crystal clear - your photographs are truly a gift from above! Happy New Year!
Caroline McLean(non-registered)
Love how art happens! Excellent work and love your passion! Thanks and HNY to you!
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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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