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User / Bill Bowman
Bill Bowman / 1,357 items

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The waxing crescent moon slips down toward the mountain ridges of the Continental Divide as the last color of sunset drains from the clouds.

Tags:   crescent moon fingernail moon sunset Continental Divide North Arapaho Peak Colorado Indian Peaks Sugarloaf Mountain

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Full moons mark the annual cycle of life for many cultures, each one named by seasonal events. For some Native Americans/ First Nations the seventh month was the buck moon or thunder moon, in recognition for the growing of deer antlers or arrival of monsoonal moisture triggering regular thunderstorms. This moon was more reminiscent of a Hungry Ghost Moon to me (Buddhist and Taoist cultures), shining eerily through a thin scattering of clouds.

Touted as a suitable replacement for 4th of July fireworks, this full moon was also shaded in part by Earth’s shadow (penumbral eclipse), shown here at its maximum. I’m not sure I would have known without the media hype though- pretty subtle.

Tags:   Full Moon Buck Moon Thunder Moon Hungry Ghost Moon Mountain Research Station

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Sunrise on the longest day of the year hits the eastern face of Longs Peak (Arapaho: Neníisótoyóú’u; 14,259'/ 4346 m), casting few shadows on the summer solstice. Scattered pockets of new snow lie on the peak from a storm that blew through on the previous day. The trail to Chasm Lake and the Boulderfield is visible in the lower right quadrant.

The sheer wall of the Diamond shows up well in this view from the slopes of Twin Sisters Peak. The Diamond face is almost 1000' (300 m) high, and is slightly overhung. It is one of the most challenging climbs in Colorado, though is popular enough that climbers may line up at the bottom to start the climb during peak season.

Longs Peak is named for Stephen Long, who lead an expedition to the area in 1820. The first recorded climb was by John Wesley Powell's surveying party in 1868.

Tags:   Neníisótoyóú’u Longs Peak Mount Lady Washington Diamond sunrise summer solstice Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado

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Alpine buttercups (Ranunculus adoneus) are an impatient group, often not waiting for the snow to melt before emerging from the soil. The flowers and stems warm from absorbed solar radiation which passes through the snow. Their warmth melts the snow around them, allowing them to get a jump on the very short alpine growing season. The flowers also track the sun as it moves across the sky, warming the flower, potentially attracting pollinators, and gaining energy through photosynthesis (once developed the pistils (female parts of the flower) green up from chlorophyll).

Tags:   alpine buttercup Ranunculus adoneus heliotropism sun tracking Niwot Ridge

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A tree swallow alights on a cottonwood branch, pausing from its acrobatic aerial ballet while hunting flying insects. Tree swallows occur throughout most of North America, though migrate seasonally from Mexico northward during the breeding season.

Tags:   tree swallow Tachycineta bicolor Boulder Colorado


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