My goal this past summer visiting Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, CA was Chasm Falls. I had never been and it was a interesting afternoon driving the scary dirt roads of the park. Just about 1 mile in you can find a pull off and take the 5 minute rocky trek to the falls. Follow the creek upstream and it appears magically! Such a wonderful little 25-30 feet waterfall. A perfect subject for HDR!
Some info from the web: Rocky Mountain National Park is a national park located in the north-central region of the U.S. state of Colorado. It features majestic mountain views, a variety of wildlife, varied climates and environments—from wooded forests to mountain tundra—and easy access to back-country trails and campsites. The park is located northwest of Boulder, Colorado, in the Rockies, and includes the Continental Divide and the headwaters of the Colorado River. The park has five visitor centers. The park headquarters, Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, is a National Historic Landmark, designed by the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture at Taliesin West.The park may be accessed by three roads: U.S. Highway 34, 36, and State Highway 7. Highway 7 enters the park for less than a mile, where it provides access to the Lily Lake Visitor Center. Farther south, spurs from route 7 lead to campgrounds and trail heads around Longs Peak and Wild Basin. Highway 36 enters the park on the east side, where it terminates after a few miles at Highway 34. Highway 34, known as Trail Ridge Road through the park, runs from the town of Estes Park on the east to Grand Lake on the southwest. The road reaches an elevation of 12,183 feet (3,713 m), and is closed by snow in winter. The park is surrounded by Roosevelt National Forest on the north and east, Routt National Forest on the northwest, and Arapaho National Forest on the southwest.
Don’t let the ghost stories be the only great thing about the hotel….it is beautiful!! The photo above is form the reception area. With that fire burning…what a great spot to sit, relax and read!! After my visit I wanted to learn more. I had heard about a TV Show called “Ghost Hunters”. I checked the iTunes store and saw they have a few episodes from the Stanley! There is a “Best of” …so I downloaded and watched it. These ghost shows always seem to see a dark figure in the corner or a cold spot in a room…hmmm…acting to me! But after watching this show, I was intrigued by a few things. Not sure if it real or great advertising?
Whatever your thoughts are for such X-File type phenomenon, the truth is out there! LOL I’d prefer to see Bill Murray from GhostBusters stay here one night! Have a ghostly good time and visit here one day if you can!!
The alarm went off at 4 AM and I grabbed my gear and was out the door. I really didn’t get a chance to see the hotel the day before, so it was all new to me! The most famous location in the hotel is Room 217. This is where Stephen King stayed and many ghostly happenings may have occurred. It was quite spooky at 4 AM walking around the hotel. As it is an old building…the hallway wood creaks with every step. At least someone cannot sneak up at you! But if they are floating, maybe they can!! I set up the above shot and gave it a little photoshop touch to create a eerie feel….Room 217!!
I continued on and wanted to grab a shot of the famous stairway near the reception. I walked down and bumped into a family walking around taking photos just like me. The daughter mentioned that she awoke this morning with someone stroking her hair!!??? The mind can do amazing things…I guess?? I went into this visit without much knowledge of the happenings here, so if I experienced anything, it would be real. I was at the stairway for a while, as occasionally a worker or person would walk by my long exposure HDR. Take 2, Take 3, Take 4…finally I got it!!
I then talked to two ladies that were walking around and they knew all the history. They told me about the little ghost kids that run around on the fourth floor all through the nite. I immediately went up to the 4th floor and someone was actually watching a movie in their room and the TV was blasting..I did not see or hear anything. Oh well. I wanted to get a hallway shot perpendicular to this area by another set of stairs. As I set up for my shot, I heard someone walking up the stairway. Worried about traffic with my long exposures, I looked over the rails downward a second or two later and there was no one around???? Spooky!!!!
I kept on taking pics until around 6 AM. The shot from yesterday was just before sunrise outside the front of the hotel. The Ballroom and Music Room are supposed haunted areas. I went to photograph both…no luck! After I returned from my trip, I checked all my pics…no shadowy figures or apparitions found. I loved my stay at the Stanley. I would gladly stay there again! I will finish off Part 3 tomorrow…until then!
I was recently in Boulder, Colorado and arrived in on a Sunday. I decided to stay in Estes Park as I had always heard that the Stanley Hotel was a wonderful place to visit! All I knew about the Stanley is that is was the inspiration for the fictional “Overlook Hotel” in the movie “The Shinning”. I had always thought that it may have been filmed here, but it was not. Unfortunately, there is no maze out front as well. But what makes this more of a famous spot is the possibility of hauntings by numerous ghosts! Now I do not believe in ghosts, but if anyone can prove otherwise, you never know!
I arrived late in the afternoon on this Sunday and it was a beautiful day. Rooms are not available until 4 PM, so I hit the Rocky Mountain National Park until my room was ready. I arrived back late…around 7 PM, ate dinner and went to sleep. I wanted to take some photos, but there were a few weddings going here this day and many people walking around taking tours. So I set my alarm for 4 AM and wanted to walk the hotel at its quietest and hope to see some ghosts! (to be continued…)
Info from the web: In 1903, F. O. Stanley, co-inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile, came to Estes Park for his health. Stanley suffered from tuberculosis and came West at his doctor’s suggestion. The doctor arranged for the couple to stay in a cabin in Estes Park for the summer. Immediately, they fell in love with the area and Stanley’s health began to dramatically improve.Impressed by the beauty of the valley and grateful for the improvement in his health, he decided to invest his money and his future there. In 1909, he opened the elegant Stanley Hotel, a classic hostelry exemplifying the golden age of touring.
Stanley built the hotel on land that he had purchased from the Irish Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl. Dunraven came to the area in 1872 while on a hunting trip. He built a hunting lodge, cabin, and hotel for his guests and illegally homesteaded up to 15,000 acres (61 km2) in an unsuccessful attempt to create a private hunting preserve. Dunraven was finally run out of the area after trying to swindle folks out of their land and money. In 1907, construction started on the Stanley Hotel. Wood and rock were obtained from the nearby mountains and the hotel was built in the Georgian architectural style, which experienced a revival in the early Twentieth century. Equipped with running water, electricity, and telephones, the only amenity the hotel lacked was heat, as the hotel was designed as a summer resort.
Here is an infrared photo from the top of Rocky Mountain National Park’s Trail Ridge Road (Fall River Pass)….located at the Alpine’s Visitor Center. Elevation 11, 796 feet (3,595.4 meters). This shot was from roadside at the top of the mountain. After the treacherous yet beautiful 12 mile trek up Fall River Road, it was nice to see pavement as 95% was a dirt road that hugged mountainside along the route with no guardrails and lots of hair-pin turns. Whew…dont look down!! LOL I stopped pulled over and enjoyed the view along with a few elk grazing in the distance. It was about 85 degrees in Estes park this day…up here it was a nice cool 52 degrees!!
If you make the visit…dont forget to stop at the Visitor’s Center. The Alpine Visitor’s Center includes restrooms, a restaurant and an information and gift shop. The visitor center opens around Memorial Day and closes around mid-October due to snow. In mid-summer, the visitor center is also accessible by Fall River Road, which is one-way going up. The original visitor center building, constructed in 1936, was later remodeled in 1938 and added to in 1965. It was renovated recently in 2000 and 2001. Its rear decks face southeast and offer views of Fall River, and Estes Park and Longs Peak in the distance.
…..continued from yesterdays post… So after my stop I kept driving up the steep mountain. It is a bit scary knowing you are on a dirt road climbing higher and higher with no guardrails. Whew…I tried not to look left…but it was difficult…such a beautiful dangerous drive! A few cars were ahead of me…so it was a nice 10-15 mph cruise. the road wasn’t close to perfect…it had tire ruts all over…so a 4 wheeler would have been nice. I had a rented Camry….great! About another 2 miles ahead…I noticed a pull off with a few cars parked. No sign, but I decided to park and check it out. Another family was getting out of their car…I asked if this was Chasm Falls. They had no idea. I saw 2 dudes walking near the river…they told me that there was a waterfall about 5 minutes hike ahead. But to be careful the hike is very rocky! Nice! Could this be it?
I felt like Indiana Jones is search of the lost Arc! LOL I threw my gear on my back and began the trek. The river was cascading all over and with every chance, I stopped and took a few shots. My second stop I could see a waterfall in the distance. A couple snaps, then on my way! I arrived and there ahead of me was Chasm Falls. Lovely! I really enjoy shooting waterfalls! HDR + Flowing Water + Long exposure = Cool shot! It doesn’t matter if you take a wide angle or close up…..its all good! I’ll post another shot soon from here and give you details of this great location. Also of my fun drive back to the hotel. An amazing park 2 explore, but one describes it all word…Whoa!! (Driving, views, Wildlife, etc…) I have to go back one day with time on my hands!
Talke Photography Settings:
Camera: Nikon D300
Lens: Nikon 12-24 f/4
Setting: Aperture Mode
Focal Length: 12.0mm
Exposure: HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza, Color Efex Pro
If you are traveling into beautiful Colorado, one amazing place is Estes Park. I think in the US after California, Colorado is the second most beautiful state in our country. So many amazing locations. I had to visit customers up in Boulder and had a nite to stay in town. Been to Boulder a bunch…so I decided to stay up in Estes Park. It is about 50 minutes northwest of Boulder. A beautiful drive. The Rocky Mountains are so lovely up here! I arrived on a Sunday and had just a few hours to enjoy the area. I was waiting for my hotel room to be available and had a few hours to pass. I found a great waterfall to photograph called Chasm Falls (pic coming tomorrow in HDR). To get there you have to enter the Rocky Mountain National Park. I had no idea how far it was or the exact location…so I drove in and decided to wing it! The road was nice for the first mile or so, then suddenly you have only have one main choice…drive up the one way dirt road on the side of the mountains! Just up the hill around the first bend is this view!! I pulled over and grabbed this shot in IR and HDR. Breathtaking! The journey continues tomorrow….onto Chasm Falls!