Colorado mountains don't disappoint - again

"Bristol Head Sunset" is just one of the prints added to my gallery during my recent trip to Colorado's San Juan Mountains.

Snow-capped peaks make for awesome photos

I just returned from two weeks in the beautiful state of Colorado. I began in the eastern plains, and then my wife and I headed to the San Juan Mountain Range, with the little town of South Fork serving as our headquarters.

Click here to read about the first week in the plains!

We arrived in South Fork after high winds chased us from the Comanche National Grasslands, where we had planned to spend several days. While disappointed we didn't have more time in the grasslands, we knew from an earlier trip that the San Juan Mountains are a great consolation prize.

Snow-capped mountain peaks greeted us when we drove into the mountains, and we spent the rest of that day chilling at the cabin and prepping for the coming days.

The next morning we woke up to light snow, which I loved but my wife — well, not so much. However the snow didn't stick, so we were good to drive around.

We spent that day driving through the mountains north of Creede, all the way to Lake City.

The scenery was just as beautiful as I remember from our first Colorado trip in 2019. We spent the next four days banging around, ranging from South Fork to Pagosa Springs to Lake City — even as far as Chama, New Mexico.

On our last full day, we decided to drive farther than we'd ever been, passing Lake City to see what was farther up Highway 149. It was a gorgeous drive!

We saw a nice mule deer, which I stopped and photographed. And when Highway 149 dead-ended, we took a right and drove on to Gunnison where we ran across a really cool hotel sign that would be right at home on Route 66!

However, the best decision we made was to continue on to beautiful Crested Butte. I couldn't believe all the photographic opportunities around this quaint ski town. The town itself is pretty touristy (even though the architecture is really cool), but take two steps outside the town and it's all ranches and panoramic mountain views.

I didn't shoot many photos because my loving wife made me promise to spend more time with her than my camera for the day, but when I saw the view of the snow-capped mountains to the north of the town, I made two quick stops and really nailed some beautiful shots!

This is an area to which I just HAVE to return when I have more freedom to work the area.

We even made the drive east to the Great Sand Dunes National Park to grab a sunset shot I've been dying for. You see, the setting sun literally sculpts the edges of the dunes, creating a wonderfully textured look a the highest dunes in the United States.

I set up along the entrance road with a 70-200mm lens set at 200mm. My goal was to have the light-sculpted dunes in the bottom of the frame with the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the background. I was hoping for some color in the sky, as well.

The sky didn't light up as hoped, but I was successful in creating a wonderful panoramic view of the Great Sand Dunes backed by the mountains.

It was just beautiful!

We wrapped up the trip at an overlook near Bristol Head, an iconic landmark between Lake City and Creede. We arrived about an hour before sunset, with a light breeze blowing and temperatures hovering in the 40s — cold for us South Louisianans. 

My wife opted to stay in the truck, so I simply positioned it so she could watch the show while I set up my camera and framed everything up.

Bristol Head is actually 180 degrees from the sunset, so my plan was to create a print showing the evening light on the huge cliff as the setting sun colored the clouds above. And the clouds were perfect!

As we sat and waited, everything seemed to point toward a dud of a sunset. I mean there was zero color as the sun fell behind a mountain. Honestly, I was about to give up.

However, my wife always accuses me of "calling it too soon," so I just sat tight.

The reward came about 10 minutes after official sunset, when the light clouds above Bristol Head began turning pretty pastel colors.

I jumped out, ran to the tripod and literally danced about as I tripped the shutter with a remote.

We left Colorado the following day for the two-day drive home, taking with us many memories — and a bunch of new prints.

I still have a lot of files to work through, but click here to see the growing Colorado Collection!