Chasing Light: Roadside tundra

alpine tundra
A careful iPhone pano can be a useful tool for capturing more of the broad sweep of landscapes in the Rocky Mountains.

Roadside photography is a tradition that goes all the way back to the roots of the art, when landscape picture-takers used mules to lug their giant box cameras and glass plates to the edge of the Grand Canyon. These days, it’s a lot easier to get around and the cameras are smaller. So on a trip back from the Front Range yesterday, I took the scenic route over Loveland Pass, stopping at Pass Lake for a short leg-stretching/photo session. Patchy clouds helped create wonderful lightplay on the distant crags and the red-tinged tundra foreground says all you need to know about the changing seasons.

The first shot in the set is from a different spot, between Copper Mountain and Leadville, near Hoosier Pass, taken 10 days earlier but evoking a similar vibe. I’ve been playing with the panoramic iPhone function for the past couple of years, trying to optimize the image by maintaining a straight horizon and a steady panning speed, and also by not scanning too large a segment of the skyline. Of course, you can always tilt and move your smartphone while panning if you want to go for the carnival effect. Have fun out there!