Wednesday, February 27, 2013


A funny thing happened the other day on my way to taking winter snow images in Garden of the Gods park here in Colorado Springs. Just as I settled into position for a great scenic shot of Pikes Peak between two rock formations, a commercial jet arced over the mountain, dead center, leaving a bright contrail in its wake.

Timing really is everything in a case like this. Had I gotten my butt on the road even a few minutes earlier, the morning light would have been even better, and there would have been no ugly airline graffiti. I am sure the navigator aboard the aircraft would argue the plane was not at all “misplaced,” but I would beg to differ, from my vantage point on terra firma.

I pride myself on not retouching any of my images with digital software like Photoshop or GIMP, and I am still debating on whether to bother in this case. People viewing a manipulated image would never know the contrail was there, but no matter what I do to obscure or erase the “defect,” I would still know. I literally “can’t un-see that!” It will always be an indelible vapor trail in the landscape of my mind.

That is what really bothers me, I think. Any time afield, no matter what the results, is time well spent, but a true wilderness experience is getting harder and harder to come by. It is nearly impossible to avoid litter of some kind, and then there are those planes. I have to wonder how many flights I have been on that spoiled someone else’s photographic souvenirs 30,000 feet below me.

Yesterday I walked the dog around our complex of townhouses, just after another snowfall. Ours were the first footprints, even on the sidewalk. I have to admit it was both exciting to be a momentary pioneer, and disappointing to spoil the pristine cover of white.


  1. It's a beautiful picture, even so. You're blessed to have access to such a view.

  2. Thank you, Monica :-) Yes, I am blessed in many ways.

  3. I'd photoshop out the contrail. Sure, you know it's there. But the rest of us wouldn't... we could enjoy an unspoiled nature scene and never know the difference.
    Unless, of course, the point of your photo is that unspoiled nature is rare. 8-)