Everyone’s experience with Corona Virus has been so drastically different but I find it heart warming when I hear something similar to what I feel, which is that this pandemic has given me time to slow down and think about what I really want to do with my life. In July, we had an amazing phenomenon in our skies: Comet Neowise. I have never seen a comet with my own eyes before so going out at night to photograph it was so exhilarating.
The first time we went out was on July 12th 2020 in Golden, CO. We arrived around 4:05am to our spot and we were already late to the show. Even though we could see the comet in the sky and photograph it, it was not long before the morning light would make it fade. There was a giant fireball that I missed because I had the wrong lens on my camera… It would have made for the most epic shot of North Table Mountain and the comet. Lessons learned I suppose.
A few days later I saw some incredible images posted by my friend Lisa (of Lovesome Photography) and it inspired me to want to take more photos of my own. Lisa, her husband Ian, Adam and I all met at an amazing location in the mountains to photograph Neowise. Wow! What a DIFFERENCE it makes to move further away from light pollution. Granted, this photo below was also taken a week later as Neowise made its way closer to Earth… but still. Wow.
As we approached July 23rd (the date Neowise would be closest to the Earth), we planned our next trip to the mountains. I checked several weather forecasts to see what the cloud coverage would be like around that date. The 22-23 were not looking promising in the mountains but Monday, July 20th was looking quite perfect weather-wise. So we charged our batteries, cleaned our camera lenses, packed our chairs, snacks, layers of clothing, tripods, etc. and off we went… And apparently, most of the Denver area photographers had the same thought. Crap.
As we approached the Grizzly Peak Trailhead parking lot, cars began to appear parked WAY before the Continental Divide sign. I began feeling quite nervous that my sheer genius thought of going to Loveland pass was not so genius after all. And it wasn’t, there were cars parked all up and down US 6, the Grizzly Peak Trailhead parking lot was PACKED but I wasn’t about to turn around after over an hour drive at almost 10pm on a Monday night. NOPE. I was going to get my shot! So, I drove a little further down to the overflow lot about a quarter mile away and found parking. I was still nervous that the spot I was thinking about would be packed – luckily because there are various mountains all over, people dispersed. Yes, there were quite a few people but not so many that you couldn’t secure a perfect spot of the comet.
Adam and I set up our tripods with cameras and off to work we went. It was amazing! The comet was on one side and the Milky Way on the other. It was a perfectly clear night as well and to my surprise for Loveland Pass not too cold and not too windy. Not only did I capture stills, but I played around with making a time lapse video out of a few stills I took.
Photographing Comet Neowise was such an amazing experience. Adam and I had the opportunity to do something we do not regularly do, which was to drive INTO the mountains in the dark. Luckily our Subaru did just fine and was a very comfy ride to each destination. Since then we have purchased an inflatable mattress that is fitted for our car specifically so we can just spend the night at a nearby campsite vs. driving out and back the same night.