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Feb 18, 2021
"Rocky Mountain View" is one of the amazing scenes I enjoyed during my first trip to Colorado. Look at those aspens!
As a childhood fan of westerns I dreamed of visiting Colorado, but the opportunity never presented itself until a 2019 invitation from an acquaintance who owns a cabin in South Fork.
That trip changed my life.
We arrived about midnight, so we hadn't seen much on our drive in. I woke up before daybreak and was drinking coffee when daylight began creeping over the mountains. So I walked outside for my first view.
I almost spilled my coffee getting to my camera gear stowed in my truck. The mountainsides surrounding the cabin.
"Morning Storm over the Rio Grande" was the first photo I captured in Colorado. The beautiful fall color can be seen on the mountainside in the background.
Our cabin was tucked into a bend of the Rio Grande River, and there was this huge boulder just across the water. I used it and the pebbles on my side of the river to anchor what turned into a really dramatic print I titled "Morning Storm over the Rio Grande."
It was just the beginning of a photography trip of a lifetime.
We spent the next six days tromping around South Colorado, from Creede to Pagosa Springs to Lake City. It was a dream come true.
"Colorado Glory" is just one of the amazing prints produced during my first trip to the Rocky Mountains.
The star of the trip really was the beautiful aspens, which were lighted up in brilliant gold. Our timing was perfect!
Everywhere we drove the aspens were amazing. Hours after the sun rose above the San Juan National Forest we were hiking through groves of these iconic trees, composing photos that captured the essence of the Colorado experience.
"Mother Tree" is one of my favorite prints from this trip.
One of the highlights came on the final day of the trip. We were driving through the national forest, returning from a drive to the ghost town of Summitville when we stopped at a grove of aspens along the forest service road.
We jumped out and walked around shooting photos. I looked up and knew I had to find the perfect tree to be the focal point of a print that captured the story of aspen groves, which spread out from what is known as the mother tree because every tree in the grove takes its cue to turn color from that single tree.
I found a large-trunked tree, stood right next to it and pointed the camera straight up with a wide angle lens.
The result was "Mother Tree." The golden leaves and white tree trunks were perfectly contrasted against the sapphire blue sky.
I didn't expect to capture this photo that turned into "North Clear Creek Falls."
I soon learned that the Colorado Rockies are more than just aspens. There are stunning views that do not require the fall colors to be mind-blowing, there are wonderful waterfalls and then there's the unexpected found about 1 1/2 hours east of South Fork.
The print above titled "North Clear Creek Falls" was an unexpected surprise. Not because I didn't expect the waterfall to be stunning. Instead, I thought the scene would be ruined photographically by the bright sunlight, which I generally don't like for waterfalls because it often creates too much contrast.
However, I walked to the overlook to find a perfect scene that required me to set up. I used a long lens to compose the wonderful tiered waterfall, along with the aspen-draped mountains in the background.
We also traveled to Great Sand Dunes National Park not knowing at all what to expect. The photos I had scene didn't prepare me for the soaring piles of sand tucked against the Sangre de Cristo mountains.
I shot the wonderful photo below of the sand dunes and chose to leave people in the scene to give scale.
"Climbing the Great Sand Dunes" shows the amazing scale of this unique national park.
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