April 27, and the Four Corners region was finally getting back to some real springtime weather. As in moisture: rain, snow showers. Good. It had been almost three weeks without precipitation.
I had gone up onto Mesa Verde early, hoping for some parting clouds kind of scenic shots before I had to be at work. I pulled over at a choice spot, waiting. But it turned out to be a nice little nap while the rain continued to softly fall on the windshield.
As I neared work, a wild turkey gobbler (i.e., a male) was strutting his stuff on the shoulder of the road. It’s mating season, so he feels the urge to proclaim to his corner of the world that he’s the top male around here. Living in a national park, he knew that he wasn’t going to get shot, so he had the luxury of parading around only semi nervously. I made a number of (camera) shots of him, but the light was still too poor for more than a few in-motion captures.
Mesa Verde is covered with innumerable shrubs of Utah Serviceberry, which emerges early in the spring, both the leaves and the white blossoms. I stopped to capture them in the soft overcast light and wetness.
Then some Bitterbrush as well, a tough shrub that is a favorite food of deer.
Then it was to work, cooped up inside the Chapin Mesa Museum building except for a couple of short breaks, and lunch. Outside it was rain, clouds, fog, and even a blizzard-like snow squall for a while.
After work, it was my time. I drove out the Mesa Top Loop road to see what was going on with the interesting light from the clearing storm front. First stop was the Navajo Canyon Overlook. Some sunshine through the heavy clouds provided a rich and dramatic view.
Nearby was the Square Tower House Overlook. This Ancestral Puebloan village is not the largest cliff dwelling in Mesa Verde, but it is one of the most photogenic. Its tower is the tallest in the park. At that time of the early evening in late April, the sun and shadows contrasted nicely.
At Sun Point View, I made a panoramic series of shots of two converging canyons, including a distant view of the iconic Cliff Palace. A number of cliff dwellings are visible to the sharp eyed, especially as aided by the interpretive signs.
The last stop was to drive the Cliff Palace Loop and take another several shots down onto the Palace. The crowds were gone for the day, the overcast light was soft.
Photo location: Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado.
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© Copyright 2017 Stephen J. Krieg