Shrouded Sentinel-Lone Bald Cypress Tree in Louisiana

A lone bald cypress tree with rust colored leaves stands shrouded in Spanish moss in the shallow waters of Lake Martin outside Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.
A lone bald cypress tree with rust colored leaves stands shrouded in Spanish moss in the shallow waters of Lake Martin outside Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.

I recently returned from a trip down to Louisiana to visit swamps as the bald cypress trees take on their autumn color. The leaves turn a rusty brown before they drop for the winter. I didn’t realize until planning for this trip that that is why they a called “bald” cypress trees.

The trip was definitely something out of the ordinary for me. I did most of my shooting from a kayak which was a first for me. The thought of being on the lake with my camera gear was a little discomforting at first, but I did my research in advance and got a good dry bag to work out of while on the water. It didn’t take me long to get the hang of the kayak and I had a lot of fun gliding through the swamp.

I took hundreds of pictures every day I was able to get out on the water, so it will take a while to get through them all. This is one of my favorites from this day. It was early morning and the light was just beautiful shining on this tree.

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Autumn Valley Serenity-Sunset View of Mount Sneffels

A few rays from the setting sun shine through glowing clouds and illuminate the side of Mount Sneffels above a valley filled with golden aspen trees in the Uncompahgre National Forest outside of Ridgway, Colorado.
A few rays from the setting sun shine through glowing clouds and illuminate the side of Mount Sneffels above a valley filled with golden aspen trees in the Uncompahgre National Forest outside of Ridgway, Colorado.

I have been to this location so many times over the years that I can practically drive there with my eyes closed. It is such a beautiful valley. I remember the first time I came around the corner and saw this scene. I believe my jaw dropped, it is so gorgeous.

And so, the pursuit for the perfect picture began. I have been there in spring, summer, and fall. I have been there at sunrise and sunset. But I still don’t have what I consider my perfect shot. This evening ranks up there as really nice with the clouds lighting up and the sun breaking through, but it still isn’t it. I will keep trying…

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Secluded Beauty-Warm Springs Falls in Southern Oregon

Warm Springs Falls drops over a sheer basalt wall into a lush, mossy valley in a forest sprinkled with autumn color in the Umpqua National Forest in southern Oregon.
Warm Springs Falls drops over a sheer basalt wall into a lush, mossy valley in a forest sprinkled with autumn color in the Umpqua National Forest in southern Oregon.

I have been to Oregon many times to photograph the many waterfalls around the state, but up until recently, I had never been there in autumn. It was nice to get a chance to get a different perspective of the same falls. Some were a bit of a disappointment due to low water flows, but many were looking good with a sprinkling of fall color around them.

It generally always rains when I am in Oregon, but not this time. The skies were cloudless, and the temps were in the seventies! This made it a bit challenging, but by shooting mainly around sunrise and sunset, I still had a productive trip. This was the last waterfall my son and I visited early on our last day. It had been five years since I last was there and was surprised to find that an official overlook had been constructed. There is quite a drop-off, so I suppose that was a good thing! The sun was just beginning to light up the background, but we were able to get our shots in before light hit the falls.

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Woodland Grace-Nellie Creek Falls in Southwestern Colorado

Nellie Creek Falls gracefully steps its way through a forest filled with the golds and greens of early autumn in the Gunnison National Forest outside of Lake City, Colorado.
Nellie Creek Falls gracefully steps its way through a forest filled with the golds and greens of early autumn in the Gunnison National Forest outside of Lake City, Colorado.

I spent the last couple of days driving around the state checking out fall color conditions. A little out of the way, but high on my list was to visit Lake City in southwestern Colorado. I have only been to this waterfall once before back in 2014 and was anxious to get to another chance to photograph it.

I made my way out of Lake City to the narrow four-wheel drive road that passes by the falls and found the parking spot. There was some good color in the aspens and underbrush, but still plenty of green in the aspens up above where I had shot from before. I took a few different shots and packed up. As I walked down the road I noticed a faint trail down along the creek and decided what the heck, why not check it out. The scramble down the hill wasn’t too bad and I made my way back to the falls.

From down below I was able to frame up with falls with a beautiful mix of greens and golds, much better than from above. This was my favorite of multiple compositions that I made. I love how the falls are framed by the golden foliage. I figured this was just going to be a scouting trip, but came away with a shot I love. Who knows, I might be back in a couple of weeks to see how it looks again!

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Gentle Awakening-Sunrise on Marcellina Mountain

Marcellina Mountain basks in early morning sunlight beyond a lush green meadow in the Gunnison National Forest outside of Crested Butte, Colorado.
Marcellina Mountain basks in early morning sunlight beyond a lush green meadow in the Gunnison National Forest outside of Crested Butte, Colorado.

I got a chance to get out and do some shooting last week over in the Crested Butte area. The skies were rather smoky at times due to a major wildfire burning down north of Durango, but Friday morning it was fairly clear to the north and west. After shooting sunrise from a new location (I have been to the area many times!), I drove down the road a way to see how things looked. I was glad I did because there was Marcellina Mountain with this beautiful soft light shining on it. I pulled into a camping area that fortunately had no one there so I could shoot out across this meadow.

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Gentle Steps-Autumn at Deckertown Falls in New York

Catlin Mills Creek gently flows over Deckertown Falls and winds its way down to a calm pool ringed with fallen autumn leaves in the village of Montour Falls, New York.
Catlin Mills Creek gently flows over Deckertown Falls and winds its way down to a calm pool ringed with fallen autumn leaves in the village of Montour Falls, New York.

This waterfall is one of two that I visited last October right outside of the village of Montour Falls, New York. You literally drive down a short residential street to the end and walk a couple of hundred feet through the woods to find it!

After finally finding and shooting Eagle Cliff Falls (read more here) shortly after sunrise, I drove the short distance over to the parking area for Deckertown Falls. The falls face the west, but after spending quite a bit of time at the other falls, there wasn’t much time before the sun would rise high enough to create bright spots in the scene. I worked quickly framing up a couple of different compositions before the sunlight began to stream through the trees behind the falls. This one came out nicely.

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Candy Lane-Colorful Maple Trees in New York

A narrow gravel road passes through a kaleidoscopic grove of maple trees in the Sugar Hill State Forest outside of Watkins Glen, New York.
A narrow gravel road passes through a kaleidoscopic grove of maple trees in the Sugar Hill State Forest outside of Watkins Glen, New York.

This past autumn the fall colors were just a little off the norm in many areas of the country. On my trip to the Finger Lakes region of upper New York in October, I found that the best color was at the highest elevations between each of the lakes. I spent one morning after sunrise driving many of the backroads above Watkins Glen and came across this gem of a road. Ironically it was appropriately signed as “Maple Lane”. With the brilliant collage of colors enveloping the road, I decided to name it “Candy Lane” instead!

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Cimarron Glow-Autumn Sunset on the Cimarron Range in SW Colorado

The fleeting autumn rays of the setting sun light up the face of a section of the Cimarron Ridge behind a valley filled with multi-colored brush outside Ridgway, Colorado.
The fleeting autumn rays of the setting sun light up the face of a section of the Cimarron Ridge behind a valley filled with multi-colored brush outside Ridgway, Colorado.

I made a quick trip down to the Ridgway area in southwestern Colorado the first of October last fall in hopes of being there at peak fall color. What I found was a little disappointing. The colors this past year were a little different in Colorado as well as many other states. You were likely to find areas where a few aspen trees might be at peak color right next to a stand that hadn’t even started to turn yet. Oh well, that is what makes nature photography so fun (and frustrating!) at times.

There weren’t many clouds around this evening, but I headed out west of town to see how things looked out there. I thought I might shoot Courthouse Rock and Chimney Rock from the overlook along County Road 8. The valley below the mountains was filled with scrub oak bushes that usually were brightly colored even if the aspens weren’t at peak yet. I had shot there a couple of times before and thought I might try to get something a little different.

That sounded like a promising idea until I turned the corner to drive back to the parking area and there must have been at least twenty-five other photographers along the road! Not wanted to be part of a crowd, I turned right around and started back towards town figuring that was it for the day. The sun was setting and as I drove along I couldn’t help but notice the Cimarrons lighting up to the east. I quickly searched for a spot along the road that would let me see over the bushes. I came upon a gate in the fence and jumped out with just enough time to shoot a couple of panoramic sequences before the light was gone. I ended up with a nice sunset shot anyway, and I even had a cloud!

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From Every Angle-Shavano Falls in Southern Colorado

The North Fork South Arkansas River tumbles down Shavano Falls in the San Isabel National Forest in southern Colorado.

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This past summer, I made it a point to visit some waterfalls in Colorado that I hadn’t been to before. A couple of those were not too far away from home outside of Salida. I packed up the camper and spent an afternoon and the following morning visiting two waterfalls on the North Fork South Arkansas River.

Shavano Falls was just up the road from the campground. I stopped by to check it out the afternoon before, but parts of it were in full sun, so I set my alarm for sunrise and got there as the skies were starting to lighten up. It is nearly impossible to get an uncluttered picture of the entire falls. A couple of vantage points let you catch sections of it, so I resorted to capturing this set of images.

I was there in August and the river had quite a flow. I assume it runs rather constant since there is reservoir five miles up the road. As you can see from the pictures, it is rushing right along at Shavano Falls.

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Fall Color Medley-North Shore Minnesota Autumn Panorama

A rocky hillside is covered with a variety of trees and shrubs at the peak of fall color outside of Silver Bay on the North Shore of Minnesota.
A rocky hillside is covered with a variety of trees and shrubs at the peak of fall color outside of Silver Bay on the North Shore of Minnesota.

My son and I timed our trip to the North Shore of Lake Superior at just the right time last year. I was worried we might be a little late for fall colors since I couldn’t get there until mid-October, but there was plenty to be found. In fact, this beautiful scene was right across from our hotel in Silver Bay, Minnesota. These bright red and orange trees caught our eye every time we came and went. Finally, one morning we pulled in behind the county maintenance buildings and shot from the parking lot. It was early morning and the sunlight seemed to make the trees glow. This is a large panoramic image stitched together from nine separate shots.

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