Impromptu trip to Independence Pass

One of the benefits of living in a van is that when plans change you have everything you need with you. Last weekend, we were all set to go to a climbing area near Vail, CO, but when we were about halfway there our buddy had to bail. So we pulled off the side of the road and looked at our options. There was an area nearby that could entertain us for a day, then we decided to extend our trip for a few days and go check out Independence Pass. Genevive had never been, it’s one of my favorite areas in Colorado, and it was going to stay much cooler than lower elevations (It was in the upper 90’s in Denver, but it stayed in the 70’s in the Pass).

I call this Rock

Independence Pass is beautiful for a multitude of reasons, but on this trip, I was pulled towards the Grotto Day Use Area, aka the Ice Caves. I hadn’t checked out the cascades before, and I’m glad I did! It’s an incredible series of waterfalls. We got there right after sunset, so the light was fading quickly. I took advantage of the low light to do some long exposures of the moving water.

When I woke up the next morning the light was looking too good to not try to get more photos. I used a 6 stop ND filter to allow me to shoot with slow shutter speeds even in the bright morning light. I love both looks, but I think shooting slow shutter speeds in full daylight makes for really dramatic and interesting photos with the bright highlights that usually don’t exist with long exposure water shots.

On the way out after a few days of exploring several new-to-me climbing crags at Independence Pass, I saw this S-Curve with perfect light hitting it. I turned the van around and waited till a nice vehicle came around the corner.

I always love driving up through Independence Pass. It’s what I always dreamed Colorado would be growing up in Indiana.