Ken Papaleo: X Marks the Shot: Colorado National Monument Photos - Fruita, Colorado

Colorado National Monument Photos - Fruita, Colorado

 “X Shot” Information

Camera - Canon EOS Mark III
ISO - 400
Lens - Canon 500 mm
F/stop - 5
Shutter - 1/1000 sec.

Turning off I-70 at the Fruita exit, I headed south towards the Colorado National Monument. I decided to enter the monument from its western entrance and follow the 23 mile road called Rim Rock Drive to Grand Junction. The highest point is 2,000 feet above the Grand Valley of the Colorado River below. It didn’t take long to see the splendor of the area filled with colorful canyons and magnificent freestanding rock formations. Weathering and erosion formed this area and it will continue to change. The shadows in the area would be coming quickly since most of the views are off to the east of the road and below. I tried to use my 16 and 500 mm lens for most of the shoot because it would give me a unique look at the monument. I used the shadows to create depth in my photos but exposed for the sunlit rocks. As I drove I could see what areas got sunlight compared to the shady areas that still held some snow. It made an interesting photo opportunity for me. But with one side of the canyon in bright sun and the other in deep shade, exposure would be a problem. I decided to come back to this spot once the whole canyon was in even shade and that’s what I did. It was getting dark and I hadn’t made it to Grand Junction yet. With a sliver of the moon coming up over some rocks, I headed back to my hotel in Fruita. Next morning I got up early and drove Rim Rock Road almost to Grand Junction. I stopped at a switch back  that overlooked the city and set up for a sunrise photo. After shooting the city at predawn, I spotted this great looking tree and started shooting it with my 500 mm lens. While shooting, a raven landed on the tree and I thought, “Great!”, then another raven came in for a landing, “X Shot”. As I enjoyed my good favor, the mirror on my new Canon EOS Mark III locked up! I still had my Canon 5D but was bummed out and decided to drive back to Evergreen. It turns out my Mark III had to be sent back to Canon, with a shutter problem, maybe a month for repair. I have used my 5D for some shooting but mainly relied on my big boy. The 5D is a good camera but the motor is slow and that is limiting. For the next four weeks I plain to pick subjects that I can comfortably cover with the slower camera.

“X Shot” Location Information

1. Drive time from Denver 4 hours.
2. I-70 west to the Fruita exit. South on hwy. 340
    Turn right into the park on Rim Rock Road.
3. Remember late afternoon light is nice but comes early
    and doesn’t last long.

Ken Papaleo
Colorado Photographer


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About Me

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Evergreen, Colorado, United States
I worked for the Rocky Mountain News for 28 years, until they went out of business. I now do freelance work, post this weekly blog, ski and play with my four grand children. I still have the love to get out and take photographs, which brings me great peace and comfort.

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