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!

Click on the image to view it larger in the galleries. Fine art prints are available.

Leave a comment.

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.

Click on the image to view it larger in the galleries. Fine art prints are available.

Leave a comment.

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.

Click on the image to view it larger in the galleries. Fine art prints are available.

Leave a comment.

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.

Click on the image to view it larger in the galleries. Fine art prints are available.

Leave a comment.

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!

Click on the image to view it larger in the galleries. Fine art prints are available.

Leave a comment.

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…

Click on the image to view it larger in the galleries. Fine art prints are available.

Leave a comment.

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.

Click on the image to view it larger in the galleries. Fine art prints are available.

Leave a comment.

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.

Click on the image to view it larger in the galleries. Fine art prints are available.

Leave a comment.

Raging Descent-White River Falls in Oregon

The White River thunders over White River Falls into a canyon lined by basalt walls covered in vibrant green moss before dropping over the smaller Celestial Falls on its journey downstream at Falls River State Park, Oregon.
The White River thunders over White River Falls into a canyon lined by basalt walls covered in vibrant green moss before dropping over the smaller Celestial Falls on its journey downstream at Falls River State Park, Oregon.

I took a trip out northwest in May of 2013 and spent a month shooting over 100 waterfalls in Oregon. This was the first stop once I came into the state at The Dalles on the north.

Falls River State Park is found mixed among the farm fields and the rolling hills. The falls are on the White River just before it meets up with the Deschutes River. My view from where I took this image was actually looking at three waterfalls. White River Falls are the wide falls in the back, with Celestial Falls in the center, and an unnamed waterfall in the front. It was hard to get any other vantage point here. The water was roaring down the canyon making it treacherous to get too close. There have already been a few people that have died here and I sure as hell wasn’t going to risk it for a different shot!

Click on the image to view it larger in the galleries. Fine art prints are available.

Leave a comment.

Evening Finale-Sunset Panorama from Crested Butte

Dorothy Peak, Avery Peak, Crested Butte, and Gothic Mountain are lit by sunlight streaming through glowing clouds at sunset in this panoramic springtime scene looking down the East River Valley outside of Crested Butte, Colorado.
Dorothy Peak, Avery Peak, Crested Butte, and Gothic Mountain are lit by sunlight streaming through glowing clouds at sunset in this panoramic springtime scene looking down the East River Valley outside of Crested Butte, Colorado.

I was looking back at my images from the past springs, while planning for this year, when I ran across this this panoramic series of a dramatic sunset outside of Crested Butte, Colorado. I remember it well. I was camped not more than a couple of hundred yards from this location.

As sunset drew near, I packed up my gear and headed out into the meadow to find my spot to shoot from. There were only spotty clouds in the sky, but soon they began to build. It all happened quickly and soon the sky was filled with clouds. Rays from the setting sun somehow managed to shine through and light up all the peaks. This was one of those shots you only get a couple of times in your lifetime and I was grateful to be in the right place at the right time.

Click on the image to view it larger in the galleries. Fine art prints are available.

Leave a comment.