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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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!

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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.

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Palouse Falls in the Round-Impressive Waterfall in Washington

A fish-eye view of the Palouse River gushing over Palouse Falls and flowing down a lush green valley into the distance on a beautiful spring day in Palouse Falls State Park in southeastern Washington.
A fish-eye view of the Palouse River gushing over Palouse Falls and flowing down a lush green valley into the distance on a beautiful spring day in Palouse Falls State Park in southeastern Washington.

Another stop on the trip out west in the spring of 2013 was at the impressive Palouse Falls in southeastern Washington. The falls drop almost 200 feet into a large plunge pool from where the Palouse River continues its journey through a deep canyon to meet up with the Snake River. The falls are in the Palouse Falls State Park and are quite a way from any town of any size. I stayed at of the closest hotels and still traveled over an hour to get there!

I setup in a rather popular (and scary if you are afraid at all of heights) location on the top of the canyon wall beside the fall where you could look down the valley to the south and hoped for a dramatic sunset. The clouds looked promising at first but unfortunately, they built up too much and sunset was a bust. At least I came away with this unusual shot taken while I was waiting. I pulled out my fish-eye lens just to see how the scene looked and liked what I saw. I think it turned out rather interesting!

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Evening Tranquility in the Desert-Arches National Park Panorama

The setting sun casts late day shadows on the Garden of Eden rock formations and illuminates a towering cloud formation above it as well as the distant snow-covered La Sal Mountains in Arches National Park, Utah.
The setting sun casts late day shadows on the Garden of Eden rock formations and illuminates a towering cloud formation above it as well as the distant snow-covered La Sal Mountains in Arches National Park, Utah.

I have lots of images that I have taken over the years that have never been processed and seen the light of day. I think it is about time that I start digging some of them up and posting them while I have time!

This panoramic image is from a month-long trip I took out to the Pacific Northwest back in 2013. My first stop after leaving Buena Vista was to stop for the night in Moab, Utah and I got there with enough time to head out to Arches National Park. I have been to the park many times before, but don’t ever remember shooting from this spot. The overlook is aptly named …continue reading…

Beauty Beneath the Bridge-Christine Falls in Mount Rainier National Park

Van Trump Creek drops gracefully over the lower section of Christine Falls and flows underneath a rustic stone bridge in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington.
Van Trump Creek drops gracefully over the lower section of Christine Falls and flows underneath a rustic stone bridge in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington.

Another waterfall image from my trip to Mount Rainier National Park last summer. This is Christine Falls which is a major park attraction, probably due to the fact that it sits right of the road and has a large parking lot. I drove by it many times, but there were always a lot of people there and I would rather have a little solitude while shooting if possible. I figured a rainy day would be perfect, but I was running out of time towards the end of my trip and decided to get up early and head there. The sun was just catching the corner of the bridge as I setup, but fortunately a cloud passed by and let me get a couple of shots with even light that I liked.

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Gold in Them Hills-Golden Aspens Surround Mining Town in Colorado

The abandoned ore processing facility in the ghost town of Gilman is surrounded by golden aspen trees at the peak of autumn color in central Colorado.
The abandoned ore processing facility in the ghost town of Gilman is surrounded by golden aspen trees at the peak of autumn color in central Colorado.

Another of the few photographs I took this past fall. This was taken on the same day and trip as the last post. As you wind your way south along Highway 24, just before reaching the top of Battle Mountain Summit (a 9,243-foot pass), you will see the remains of the mining town of Gilman. It’s a popular spot for people to stop and take a picture of the decaying properties nestled among the aspens on the mountainside. With the fall colors at their peak that day, I too couldn’t resist stopping and capturing the scene in its golden splendor!

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