Glenn Randall Photography

Extraordinary landscape photography from Colorado and the West

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Sunrise from Blanca Peak



Sunrise from Blanca Peak, Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, Colorado

Sunrise from Blanca Peak, Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, Colorado

‚ÄčTwo days after summiting Kit Carson, I hiked up the Holbrook Gulch jeep road for nearly 3,000 vertical feet and found a beautiful campsite in tall timber on the east side of Lake Como. Lake Como is the basecamp for three spectacular 14,000-foot peaks: Blanca, Ellingwood, and Little Bear, perhaps the most formidable and dangerous of all the Fourteeners. My first shoot would be on Blanca, the tallest of the three.


Dawn glow over Mt. Lindsey from Blanca Peak, Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, ColoradoThe night was starry when I left camp at 1 a.m. The full moon helped light my way up the excellent trail built by the selfless volunteers of the Rocky Mountain Field Institute. I had timed the shoot so I could photograph the moon setting over Little Bear at the moment of sunrise. The moon was still shining brightly when I summited Blanca at 4:30 a.m., over an hour before sunrise. It looked like my plan would succeed. A golden glow developed to the east about 40 minutes before sunrise, and I started shooting. Every minute or two I glanced over my shoulder to see if color had begun to appear in the sky to the southwest, above Little Bear.


Ten minutes into the shoot, Little Bear abruptly disappeared. A silent wall of mist had suddenly boiled upward from the western valleys below. The moon and stars vanished. Fog began filling the valleys to the east, rising until it almost covered Mt. Lindsey, another Fourteener, then ebbing. As the sun crested the horizon, I got fleeting glimpses of a red orb through the gloom. The scene in front of me was amazing, but also nerve-wracking. The steady breeze flowing in from the southwest carried enough moisture to condense into fog as the abrupt uplift of the Blanca Massif forced it to rise some 6,000 feet. What if that moist air was conditionally unstable, as the meteorologists would say, and continued to rise until it turned into a thunderstorm? The summit of Blanca was no place to be standing if that happened. I checked the point forecast for 13,000 feet in the Sangres on my smart phone. The forecasters were now calling for a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, a big jump from yesterday's forecast that today would have a 20 percent chance of storms. As the mist continued to thicken and the sky well above the mist became solidly overcast, I hurriedly packed up and headed down.


Mist still capped the highest peaks when I got down to 13,000 feet, but sunshine was beginning to break through the overcast into the valleys below. Gradually the skies cleared completely. The rest of the day was gorgeous and tranquil. Not a single drop of rain fell. Though the air mass had obviously contained enough moisture to condense into clouds when forced to rise, the rising column of air must have remained colder than the surrounding air, a condition meteorologists call conditionally stable. As the air mass continued over the crest of the range and began its descent, it warmed and the clouds evaporated again. Fortunately, the air mass never formed the explosive updraft that would have triggered a dangerous thunderstorm.

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Glenn Randall Photography  |  2945 Colby Dr.  |  Boulder CO 80305-6303 | Office 303 499-3009  |  Mobile 720 320-7126

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I offer over 100 images on this site, in four or five sizes each and as many as five different presentations (loose, matted-only, framed, gallery-wrap canvas, and gallery float). It is impossible to keep every size and presentation of every image in stock at all times. Accordingly, most of the items I offer for sale on are hand-built one at a time as customers order them. It normally requires between five and ten business days to complete an order, but it may take longer if I am on an extended shoot. Shipping time is in addition to these figures. To get specific information about delivery time for a particular item, please call 303 499-3009 or email me. I will do my best to accommodate rush orders. Thanks for your patience!

All photographic prints, regardless of presentation (loose, matted-only, framed, etc.) are delicate and require careful packaging to be shipped safely. Accordingly, all online purchases will have a 15 percent charge added for shipping and handling. This shipping charge only covers shipments to the continental United States. Please contact me for a quote on shipping to Alaska, Hawaii, or to international destinations. If you would like to pick up your print at my home office in Boulder rather than have it shipped, please call 303 499-3009 (office) or 720 320-7126 (mobile) to complete your purchase and make arrangements for pickup. Alternatively, I can deliver prints in the Denver metro area for $1.00 per mile based on round-trip mileage.

All matted-only and framed prints larger than 24x30 inches, all gallery-wrap canvases and gallery-float prints larger than 30x40, and all framed panoramas wider than 30 inches, are too big to be shipped via FedEx ground and too big to fit in any standard-size art box. While these prints can be shipped, they require a custom-made crate and the cost is exorbitant ($300+). I strongly suggest that all customers who live outside the Denver metro area and who wish to purchase a print larger than the maximums specified above buy the loose version and take it to the custom frame shop of their choosing. Loose prints can be shipped rolled at the standard shipping rate of 15 percent of the retail price. I will gladly provide detailed instructions to the framer on the moulding I use and my preferred method of mounting and framing the piece.

I use elegant hardwood frames on all of my framed prints. The image above right shows the frame I use for the smallest framed size of this image. I use proportionally larger frames with the same color finish for larger prints. The moulding shape will vary, depending on the size. For more information on the frames I recommend for different size prints, please visit my framing page.

Studio Moulding frame 353-125 cherry Studio Moulding Forte 4934 mahogany-finish picture frame Studio Moulding Forte 4834 mahogany-finish picture frame

I allow returns for a full refund (minus shipping) for 30 days from the date of delivery if you are dissatisfied with the print. You are responsible for the cost of shipping the print back to me, including the cost of insuring it for the full retail value, and the print must arrive in salable condition for a refund to be issued.

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