A Step at a Time-Eagle Cliff Falls in New York

McClure Creek plunges over Eagle Cliff Falls and then over a series of rocky shelves in a narrow, rocky canyon sprinkled with autumn leaves in Havana Glen Park outside of Montour Falls, New York.
McClure Creek plunges over Eagle Cliff Falls and then over a series of rocky shelves in a narrow, rocky canyon sprinkled with autumn leaves in Havana Glen Park outside of Montour Falls, New York.

There are many waterfalls to be found in the Finger Lakes region of New York. The geology of the area with an abundance of shale creates some impressive cliffs and canyons for the water to flow though. This fall was the first time I had visited the area.

Many of the waterfalls were right in town. I was surprised to find this waterfall right outside of the village of Montour Falls. It still took some time to actually get to it though. I had made the mistake (once again, you think I would learn!) of saving the GPS coordinates for the falls themselves to my Garmin, rather than the coordinates for the parking area. After driving right over the top of the falls and circling back, I stopped to figure out how to get to it. Fortunately, I had some documentation on my tablet that reminded me that the falls were in the Havana Glen Park & Campground.

The falls are tucked back in a narrow, rocky canyon. A trail follows McClure Creek up a series of metal steps before ending beside the creek in an opening surrounded by sheer rock walls. There you see Eagle Cliff Falls plunging from a notch in the hanging valley above. The highlight of the falls to me though was the way the creek steps over this rocky shelf and flows downstream. The two together make for a nice composition.

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Autumn Harmony-Golden Aspen Grove in Colorado

Rust colored ferns carpet the ground beneath a golden aspen grove outside of Crested Butte, Colorado.
Rust colored ferns carpet the ground beneath a golden aspen grove in the Gunnison National Forest outside of Crested Butte, Colorado.

One of my favorite areas to photograph in Colorado is around Crested Butte, especially in autumn. Driving west on Highway 12 will take you over Kenosha Pass and through miles and miles of aspen trees. In the fall, it is quite the site to see.

Early in October I spent a couple of days in Crested Butte before heading south to Ridgway. Many of the aspen trees close to town had started to lose their leaves, but the large aspen grove out west was just about at peak color. A real bonus this year was the ferns that blanket the ground beneath the aspens in many areas were a nice golden brown. In the right light, they almost seemed to glow.

This scene caught my eye many times as I drove along the road. I stopped to shoot it a couple of times, but it never seemed to have just the right light that I was looking for, until this day. There was a light drizzle falling when I arrived. The bright overcast sky illuminated the aspen grove, highlighting the white tree trunks and the golden ferns. The entire grove seemed to glow. It was just what I wanted.

This panoramic image was made by combining six separate exposures in Lightroom. The final result can be printed very large with lots of detail.

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Autumn Daybreak-Golden Valley Below Snow-Covered Mountains

A glorious fall scene with early morning sunlight shining on the golden fields of the Double RL Ranch with the snow-covered Mount Sneffels looming in the distance outside of Ridgway, in southwestern Colorado.
A glorious fall scene with early morning sunlight shining on the golden fields of the Double RL Ranch with the snow-covered Mount Sneffels looming in the distance outside of Ridgway, in southwestern Colorado.

I thought I would mix things up a bit and get back to a shot from this fall here in Colorado. I was able to spend more time shooting fall colors this year since I wasn’t doing any art festivals. It was nice! The area around Ridgway in southwestern Colorado is always a popular spot and the leaves around there turn a little bit later, usually early October.

I was surprised when I first arrived at the area to find that many of the aspens hadn’t started to turn yet. The colors this fall were a little bit different than previous years and obviously, it was no different there. I met up with a non-photographer friend and spent a day showing him around. One of the first stops on the way out of Ridgway was at this beautiful scene right along the highway.

This is Ralph Lauren’s Double RL Ranch. I have been there many times, but it isn’t very often that there are hay bales in the scene. The light streaming through the valley made for a peaceful setting and the hillsides were covered in colorful brush. Add to that the snow-covered mountains with Mount Sneffels in the center, and you have one pretty picture!

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Golden View-Sunrise at Split Rock Lighthouse

The sun begins to break through a bank of clouds and casts a golden glow on Split Rock Lighthouse perched along the rocky coast of Lake Superior in northern Minnesota.
The sun begins to break through a bank of clouds and casts a golden glow on Split Rock Lighthouse perched along the rocky coast of Lake Superior in northern Minnesota.

My trip out east started with a vacation with my son along the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. The timing was perfect with fall colors about at their peak. I had plenty of locations picked out for us to visit and tops on the list was Split Rock Lighthouse.

We stopped at the lighthouse a couple of times both at sunrise and sunset. This morning started out with considerable clouds over the lake (something I am sure is normal, but what do I know?!). As the sun rose, it started to shine through the clouds and right about sunrise, it broke through enough to spread golden light over the bay. It was a beautiful scene. The water was fairly calm, but with a couple of seconds exposure for the foreground, it smoothed things out and added to the serene feeling.

This final image is a blend of two images, one for the sky and one for the water and coast. As the sun broke through, the range of light from dark to light were impossible to capture with just one shot.

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Gorge Tranquility-Rainbow Falls in Watkins Glen, New York

Glen Creek cascades down Rainbow Falls and spills into a calm pool surrounded by fallen autumn leaves in a narrow gorge in Watkins Glen State Park outside of Watkins Glen, New York.
Glen Creek cascades down Rainbow Falls and spills into a calm pool surrounded by fallen autumn leaves in a narrow gorge in Watkins Glen State Park outside of Watkins Glen, New York.

I just returned from a month-long trip out east after fall color season ended here in Colorado. I was interested in visiting some new areas and was hopeful that I might time it right to have some good color as well.

Four days of the trip were spent around the Finger Lakes region of New York. You know that I love waterfalls, so tops on my list of places to visit in the area was Watkins Glen State Park. I had seen many pictures of Rainbow Falls in the park and wanted to see it for myself. I was not disappointed.

Located right outside of the village of Watkins Glen, the state park gets a lot of traffic. There is a stone walkway that travels a mile and a half beside Glen Creek as it flows through a narrow gorge that is the popular attraction. There are several hand-cut tunnels and over 800 stone steps along the way.

I arrived late in the afternoon to hopefully miss out on any direct sunlight in the gorge and have a better chance of seeing fewer people. The first part held true, but the second, not so much! When I arrived at Rainbow Falls, there were plenty of people in the gorge. Looking at the picture, you can see that the trail passes behind the water coming down the left wall and then climbs a series of stairs before crossing the stone bridge above the falls. I set up beside one other photographer and waited to take shots in between people passing along the trail. I tried shooting from a few other angles, but this turned out to be my favorite.

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Summer No More-Virginia Peak in Early Autumn

Summer gives way to autumn and Virginia Peak is dusted with snow and the valley below is filled with golden aspens and underbrush in the San Isabel National Forest outside of the old mining town of Winfield.
Summer gives way to autumn and Virginia Peak is dusted with snow and the valley below is filled with golden aspens and underbrush in the San Isabel National Forest outside of the old mining town of Winfield, Colorado.

Autumn has arrived. Day by day, more and more aspen trees turn from green to gold with a few orange and red sprinkled in here and there. I have spent hours the last week driving around my local area to witness the progress.

Yesterday I headed back up the painfully bumpy road through Clear Creek Canyon to the old mining town of Winfield. As you gain elevation you immediately start to notice the change from green to gold. Many still have a way to go to reach peak, but I did find this scene shortly before town. It was striking in the late morning light with puffy clouds rushing over. I climbed up a rocky hillside to find just the spot to frame up the autumn beauty.

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Rambling Descent-French Creek Falls in Central Colorado

French Creek Falls spills over a log jam and winds its way through a rocky section on its race down a steep mountainside in the White River National Forest outside of Minturn, Colorado.
French Creek Falls spills over a log jam and winds its way through a rocky section on its race down a steep mountainside in the White River National Forest outside of Minturn, Colorado.

My map with all the waterfalls in Colorado showed there was one just south of the town of Minturn called French Creek Falls. After scouring the internet for any information on how to get to the falls, I finally found mention of it on a forum for four wheelers. There were a few cell phone snaps of the falls that looked promising, so a couple of weeks ago I set off to find it.

The discussion on the forum mentioned that the falls were just off the road after starting up the Jeep trail. A large sign posted at the entrance stated how challenging the road was and what equipment your vehicle should have. After reading that, I decided since it was just up the road that I would park and hike up. The road was very steep and rocky. I could see the stream occasionally through the woods and would stop to see if there was any sign of the falls. After what seemed to be miles (it was really a quarter of a mile!), I heard the rush of the falls just as the road reached a sharp turn. I climbed down to the edge and found that the best shot was going to be from the other side of the stream. The rocks were slick and the water had many deep spots, so rather than get soaked I opted for putting on waders (which of course were back in the Jeep). At least the falls were definitely worth the exercise it took to get a shot of them!

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I’ll Find My Way-Snyder Falls in Central Colorado

Lake Creek drops through a log jam and over Snyder Falls before winding through red rock walls on its way downstream in the San Isabel National Forest in Central Colorado.
Lake Creek drops through a log jam and over Snyder Falls before winding through red rock walls on its way downstream in the San Isabel National Forest in Central Colorado.

Here’s another waterfall I found nearby and recently visited. Snyder Falls is along Lake Creek about ten miles before it runs into the Twin Lakes Reservoir. It’s an interested creek that runs through extremely rocky terrain. Many of the rocks have an orange-red tint and the water itself is not your normal blueish, but more on the green side. The contrast between the two is beautiful.

I had the GPS coordinates that showed exactly where the falls were, but before I went, I searched the internet for any mention of a trail that gets there. I found very little, I assume since not a lot of people know about these falls. What I did find directed to a small area to park on the side of the road a ways past where my GPS showed the falls were. The directions made it sound simple: “Hike down to the river and bear left to follow an overgrown trail and reach the falls at less than half a mile”. Sounded like a piece of cake. I figured I would be in and out of there in no time. Well the “overgrown” turned out to be much more than that! A series of beaver ponds along the creek forced me to bushwhack through fallen trees and dense underbrush. Most of the time I didn’t see a hint of a trail. I plowed my way through tearing holes in my clothes and finally emerged on the rocky bank. At least for all my struggles I was blessed with overcast skies to allow me to get some nice shots. Then I only had to get back to the Jeep…

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One Step at a Time-Browns Creek Falls in Central Colorado

Browns Creek twists and turns down a rocky hillside after flowing over Browns Creek Falls in San Isabel National Forest outside of Nathrop, Colorado.
Browns Creek twists and turns down a rocky hillside after flowing over Browns Creek Falls in San Isabel National Forest outside of Nathrop, Colorado.

The summer monsoons have hung around a lot longer this year in central Colorado. With the odds of having good cloud cover in the afternoons, I have spent some time recently visiting waterfalls in my neck of the woods.

Browns Creek Falls is just south of Buena Vista outside of Nathrop. The creek by later summer still has a good flow, but it is striking how big and impressive the falls are after crossing it a couple of times on the way up. The hike is a popular one in the area, so I set out on the trail late in the afternoon to hopefully have the falls to myself. When I got there after the three-mile hike, there was only one other person to share the falls with. I let him sit and enjoy the rushing falls as I setup. He soon went his way and I spent an hour shooting a variety of compositions from up close to as far away as possible. This is my favorite of the day. I like the texture of the water in contrast with the rocks surrounding it.

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Time to Shine-Marcellina Mountain in Springtime

Sunlight breaks through evening clouds to light up a spring green aspen grove below Marcellina Mountain outside of Crested Butte, Colorado.
Sunlight breaks through evening clouds to light up a spring green aspen grove below Marcellina Mountain outside of Crested Butte, Colorado.

I spent some time camping and shooting along Kebler Pass Road outside of Crested Butte, Colorado last week. The aspen trees were decked out in their springtime bright greens and the ferns and flowers where all budding and blooming below them. It is a great time of the year!

The weather was gorgeous and there were clouds that came and went throughout the day providing opportunities to catch some nice light. I spent some time looking for new compositions of the area since I have been there many times. I have very few pictures of Marcellina Mountain and decided to try to catch it with some nice clouds at sunset. I would have preferred to take a shot from farther away than where this shot was taken, but I needed a higher vantage point to get above the roadside scrub oak bushes. I made a note that I need to bring a ladder the next time I come or rig my Jeep up for shooting on top! Fortunately, I showed up early and started shooting because by the time the sun set, the clouds had all but disappeared.

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