Soft afternoon light seeped through the cloud cover and illuminated the soft bark of spruce trees and mist rising off of the valley floor. As I captured this photograph - a handheld triple exposure - my partner lay fast asleep in our nearby rental car, and hail - visible as white dots in the foreground of "Colorado River" - began to pelt down from the oncoming storm to my rear.
As the storm intensified. we continued up the road. As we rounded a sweeping corner and turned into the overlook, the thick cloud cover broke on the horizon and sunlight streamed down, dancing across peaks that were an immeasurable distance away. I leaped out of the car and clambered to the top of a nearby cairn to gaze out to the edge of the storm. The moment I lifted my camera to my eye, screams emitted from the parking lot followed by pounding feet and the slamming car doors. A young girl stood with her hair on end, and her father yelled out.
Everyone scattered for cover in their cars and screeched out of the parking lot. No lightning came.
As we descended back into the throngs of tourists filling Estes Park, we took a pause in the final empty turnout to reflect on the day.