Last week I had the good fortune to study the rushing waters of South Boulder Creek in Eldorado Canyon after a few storms. At first I was watching the dramatic parts of the scene where the stream cascaded through the canyon with the most velocity. After awhile, I climbed on some rocks closer to the center of the stream. Again, I was drawn to the area where the most water was passing through, but suddenly I looked down below my feet and saw smaller rivulets of water leaping off the rock into the chaos below. The water seemed to move in slow motion compared with the rest of the stream. Suddenly it made me think of the big bang and it was as if the saying I have heard ever since Standing Rock about water being the source of life was being demonstrated before my eyes . When I processed the photo, in the center I noticed a pyramidal form that looked just like a gem. We forget how precious water is to our survival. Looking through my lens and on the computer afterwards, I was mesmerized by the magical powers of water I was able to witness that day.
My first encounters with water were gentle and spiritual and taught me many lessons about going with the flow, avoiding snags and the like, but water is incredibly powerful too and carves through rock. Often, I photograph water to capture a its grace and ephemeral spirit by using a filter to achieve long exposures that evoke gradual movement. And indeed I made a few images like that this particular afternoon. But when you hear the water pounding in your ears over and over again, the experience seems closer to reality when the image is made with a quick shutter speed to freeze the action.
Right at the heart of one particular section of the stream, water cascaded over and around big boulders in torrents. The rocks were covered with moss and the colors were spectacular. The yellow-golds refracted in the water were spectacular and the water resembled a precious gem, a living, ever shifting amber-like tableau with droplets of life suspended in a briefly frozen moment. The more we destroy our rivers and waterways, the more precious water becomes. I want to capture it in all its majesty and remaining purity before it is turned to sludge.
The dappled light and rich reds of the rocks made the riparian banks appear just as special. I think I could have stayed there until dark watching and taking in all the myriad ways the stream flowed, its unique momentum and all the different ways it interacted with the boulders that once again contained it in the absence of floodwaters.
A short way before this rocky area, the creek was more level and many fly fisherman were casting their lines People were picnicking and some were even dangling their legs in the water. Not here int this more rapid and turbulently flowing area, although this volume of water was probably nothing compared to 2013 when 500 residents were under evacuation orders.
There was no way I was attempting a stream crossing here. This image gives a clearer sense of exactly how turbulent the water was.
South Boulder Creek starts in the Indian Peaks near Moffat and the source of its water is the melting snowpack. There is an ashram nearby as well as an artesian spring fed pool and walking around this area I got the sense that it was a spiritual place. Of course for me the overused saying Nature is My Church is the truth. I envisioned the scene in black and whtie to, in order to evoke a more timeless feel. What a glorious place to witness the power of water.