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Apr 11, 2020
As I sit in my home contemplating the state of our world right now; I looked at my wall and saw the photograph I took last September. We were walking down the trail in the pitch black of night headed for a ghost town, we had to use headlamps to see even a few feet ahead. I truly could not see my hand in front of my face; not to mention the uneven surface of the trail and the 20 pounds of camera equipment on my back. Fortunately, I had visited the site during daylight hours to scout out the best building to light up and where I wanted to stand. I was with a group of fellow photographers and they lit up the Old View Hotel with battery operated led string lights (when it is this dark, it doesn't take much to light up a building).Once we were all set up, the headlamps were turned off and we stood in the dark and took photographs for around an hour. Standing in the total darkness, gazing up at the abundance of stars and seeing the Milky Way is an astounding experience. Then add the excitement of capturing what you are seeing; it was one of those "soul dancing" moments that I will never forget. However, there are other things that go through your mind when you hear rustling in the grass or in the trees and you hope it is not a bear or a very large moose. The moose is a story for another day.
The image I captured shows the core of the Milky Way over Ashcroft, Colorado and it has the ability to calm my soul. When I look at it now, I know that the universe is a vast infinite place and somehow that makes me feel that this will pass.
For a little background information, Ashcroft is a ghost town that went from boom to bust in about five years because the silver mines that lured the prospectors in 1880 turned out to be shallow deposits. At its peak, though, Ashcroft was flourishing with a population of 2000, plus two newspapers, a post office, twenty saloons, and a school. Just a few buildings remain today. Located just south of Aspen, it is now preserved and run by the Aspen Historical Society. Ashcroft is a very inviting place for photographers to visit with many abandoned buildings that are surrounded by mountains. Best of all, Ashcroft has very dark skies, making it perfect for night photography.
I am grateful for having had that experience and so many others. I am grateful that I have shelter and food during this dark and difficult time. I know that many are not as fortunate. We must all think about the positive things in our lives right now and remember the beauty that is right outside the door. Even if you must view nature from a window, porch or balcony please let it calm your fears. If at all possible, get out for a walk where you can practice social distancing. Sit outside on your porch at night and enjoy the stars. Having a "soul dancing" moment is a wonderful way to forget, for just a little while. I sincerely hope that everyone reading this is safe and healthy.
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