Introducing: "Alone on the Prairie"

"Alone on the Prairie" is one of my greatest sunrise prints of 2021, but it was an image that almost didn't happen.

This incredible sunrise print almost never happened

My wife and I arrived in the plains of Northeast Colorado on Oct. 11 not really knowing what to expect. What we discovered was a wonderful landscape of panoramic views. I was up each morning ready to see what first light would bring — but this amazing photo almost didn't happen.

You see, our host Matt Vincent and I decided the forecast for 100 percent cloud cover would mean a colorless sunrise, so we sat around drinking coffee and visiting until minutes before the sun was scheduled to crest the horizon. And then we headed out with our big lenses to shoot photos of mule deer and pronghorn antelope.

As we drove along one of the unpaved county roads, we were stunned to see a glow on the eastern horizon that only grew by the minute.

I had identified some old barns and homesteads to use as foreground elements, but we would never have made it in time.

So Matt hit the brakes when we spotted this lone elm tree in the middle of the plains, and I was soon setting up for what turned out to be one of the most spectacular sunrises I've seen in a long time.

The sun actually never broke through the clouds — but it pushed unbelievable colors through that thick blanket and created the perfect tableau.

I titled the print "Alone on the Prairie" because I believe it encapsulates the mood of this amazing part of Colorado, where you can see the curve of the horizon and easily find places where you are utterly alone.

We still shot photos of some deer that morning, but this sunrise was seared into my mind.