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Getting the shot

Jeannie Jay Martin
Special to the Post Independent
“Dawn’s Early Light” is one of many photographs on display at the Artist's Mercantile. An opening reception for Jeannie Jay Martin takes place from 5-8 p.m. Friday.
Jeannie Jay Martin |

If You Go...

Who: Jeannie Jay Martin

What: Photography show opening reception

When: 5-8 p.m. on Friday

Where: Artist Mercantile in Glenwood Springs

How Much: Free

Editor’s note: Jeannie Jay Martin, aka the Fabric Chef, is the August guest artist at the Artist Mercantile in Glenwood Springs, where she’ll be showing her photography. Martin contacted the Post Independent with the following story, for which she then gave permission to publish.

I will be unveiling a new photograph called “Dawn’s Early Light” at the Artist’s Mercantile in Glenwood Springs as its August guest artist. It can be seen at the opening reception from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, where appetizers and nonalcoholic beverages will be served.

A new favorite, “Dawn’s Early Light” was quite an adventure in itself. If you have a moment, I will tell you the story.

I was up on the Flat Tops exploring the area and of course looking for that next great shot. It was getting late and, not knowing the area, I saw a sign that said “Rifle, 25 miles.”

This was around 7:30 p.m., and I was getting hungry. I thought, “25 miles? That’s not far,” and off I went.

Well, lo and behold, the road became treacherous with ruts that were a foot deep. One slip, and I would have been stuck. There wasn’t a soul for miles. Nowhere to turn around.

Precariously, I made my way slowly forward, but now it was getting really dark, and I was driving in a Honda Civic on a road that should have said 4-wheel drive only.

Being the adventurous sort that I am, I kept going forward even though the “road” was getting worse and worse.

“Gosh, where is Rifle?” I thought.

I was beginning to think I was on the wrong road, but it was so dark that I was afraid to turn back. I saw a little cow herder hut and honked. A man came out, but he couldn’t speak any English. I asked and pointed, “Is Rifle that way?” He said, nodding his head, “Yes, yes, Rifle’s that way.”

I thanked him and drove on. It was now around 10 p.m.

After about 3 more miles, the severely rutted road was blocked by a closed gate! I couldn’t believe it.

“Don’t panic,” I told myself. “I can do this.”

There really wasn’t any safe way to turn around, but I guess angels were watching over me. Back and forth, slowly I managed to get the car turned without ending up stuck in the ruts. I headed back thinking, “There is no way I can manage these ruts in the dark.”

All of a sudden, I saw the cutest little brown owl land in front of the car. Well, that broke the tension, and I began to focus on the owl as he dove in and out of the headlights chasing mice. I kept stopping to see if I could get his photo. Actually, there seem to be several of these owls flying around up there at this hour. That was cool.

Anyhow, after about 5 miles of rut driving, I decided I just couldn’t take any chances on the rest of the road. “What the heck?” I thought. “I will sleep in my car until morning light.”

I happened to have my sleeping bag in the car (thank goodness for that, as it got pretty cold), so I climbed into my backseat and attempted to sleep.

I must say, it was really rough. Not much room for a 5-foot-8-inch person. I drifted in and out and moved around trying to find a comfortable position, but it was not happening. I moved to the driver’s seat and tried again to sleep. The car windows were all steamed up from my breath and the cold outside. The night seemed to drag on forever. I flipped on the overhead light and turned on the radio to see what time it was. It was only 3 a.m., and with a big sigh, I closed my eyes and tried to sleep.

Finally, with great relief, the sky began to light up. That’s when everything changed from hunger and weariness to something awesome.

As the sun began its ascent and lit up the earth, I could see a fog that engulfed the valley. I no longer felt tired as I watched in amazement. The trees, hills and fog all had a pink hue.

Time to bring out my camera.

I began my drive back, but I had to stop several times just to absorb it all in and take pictures.

At one point the most beautiful thing happened. As the sun broke over the mountain, the coyotes all began to howl in unison. Wow, it was awesome, eerie and beautiful at the same time.

As I drove over the hill, I came upon the most glorious site ever, the rays of light shining through the trees and fog.

That’s my new photo. A new day is dawning, life renewed.

Wow, what an adventure.


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