Panorama View from Alpine Visitors Center, Rocky Mountains National Park, CO

October 06, 2012  •  Leave a Comment
Last week, Eileen and I took a trip to Denver, CO!  The two main reasons we went were to check another stadium off of our NFL bucket list (Sports Authority Field at Mile High) and to see our good friends, Eugene and Mary!  (Sorry we didn't have more time guys!)

While we were there we went out to Estes Park and grabbed a sightseeing tour on the "Top of the World Tour" through a company called "Rocky Mountain Rush".  It was unbelievable!  We drove up Fall River Road - in a 16 passenger Toyota Landcruiser - which is a one way gravel road that takes you from the bottom of the park up to 11,796 ft to the Alpine Visitors Center.  The road on the way up was a little scary as there were no guard rails protecting you from falling off the side of the road thousands of feet straight down and there were times you thought maybe the back wheels may slip off the side while turning through the switchbacks.  However, we had total confidence in our guide, John, who was just the right guy for the job. He got us up the mountain and was a wealth of information when it comes to the local habitat and how it all works together.

We stopped at the Alpine Visitors Center and took in the gorgeous view of which you see here.  The terrain we were in was called the "tundra".  I didn't really know this, but according to John, tundra is the name of a type of fragile ecosystem that resides above the treeline and it is made up of grasses and a variety of wildlife.  So, the more barren grassy portions you see here is the tundra.  Then below where the trees are is an ecosystem called "alpine".  And, the further down you go in the treeline, you hit another ecosystem called the "sub-alpine".  I always thought those names were more descriptions than actual names of ecosystems.  You learn something new all the time!

Anyway, back to this shot.  As nice as this turned out, it doesn't do justice to what we saw.  It was just an amazing view.  As far as the shot goes, this is made up of 8 separate shots taken in portrait orientation with my Nikon D300s with my Nikkor 18-200 lens at 18mm and then merged together in Photoshop CS6 to make up this panorama.  I then did a single image tone-mapping using the Graduated 1 landscape setting in Nik's HDR Efex 2.  After that I just did a little bit of noise reduction on the sky and some sharpening on the rest.  I also put a little Darken/Lighten Center filter in from Nik Color Efex 3.  Really not much to it.  I hope you enjoy it.  Speaking of which, the next several shots I'll be posting here will be from our trip to CO, so stay tuned!  Thanks for dropping by!



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