Commentary

Molybdenum Mine, Climax, Colorado, USA

What is Molybdenum Anyway?

This is the second part of a flight log that started on my old blog, if you want to read the first part.

The molybdenum mine, my patient pilot Stephanie explained to the flatland photographer, is at the top of a long high valley. This Cessna does not have a pressurized cabin, and thus cannot fly over the mountains to approach it from the north where we are, and thus cannot be done on the same day as the power plant and coal mine I wanted to the west…. And she was not sure she could do a second day.

The fracking sites, which were such a current topic in the region, persuaded me to stick with the plan and hope the molybdenum would come later.

Compressor trucks, well-heads and water reservoirs at fracking site, Boulder, CO

Compressor trucks, well-heads and water reservoirs at fracking site, Boulder, CO

Compressor trucks, well-heads and chemical tanks at fracking site, Boulder, CO

Compressor trucks, well-heads and chemical tanks at fracking site, Boulder, CO

Fortunately, Stephanie was able to make another day free, and we were again blessed with “bluebird” weather. In the mountains it was cold, still snow on the ground, so when we arrived at the mine, the colorful waste impoundments were partially covered with snow. In the end, one does the research, makes the plans, then makes the best of the situation as it develops, usually with some mix of surprises. In fact, the bit of colorful waste revealed under the snow was pretty interesting.

We circled a number of times till i felt that I had captrured the composition i had foreseen, and Stephanie, ever flying in the mountains with a light load of fuel, was anxious to get down to a lower altitude air field with petrol.

Waste Impoundment At Molybdenum Mine, Climax, Colorado, USA

Waste Impoundment At Molybdenum Mine, Climax, Colorado, USA

Waste impoundment at molybdenum mine, Copper Mountain, CO

Waste impoundment at molybdenum mine, Copper Mountain, CO

The other constant gremlin of this work is equipment. Digital photo equipment is constantly improving, requiring ever changing equipment. I had bought a new, highly touted zoom lens, but sensed that the auto-focus was not performing immediately and precisely as it must do, a problem that could only be seen on a computer at full resolution.

Once we were on the ground, I rushed to download into a computer and look at the pictures, which were slightly soft as I had feared. I explained the situation to Stephanie, who, with small complaint, immediately agreed to go up and do it again.

Thank you LightHawk for your great pilots and great work on the environment.