First Light Over Dallas Divide

First Light Over Dallas Divide

This location is just west of the little town of Ridgway, CO (where the original version of the motion picture "True Grit" was filmed). I drove by this location one morning and was stunned by the colors, but knew the scene needed snow on the mountains to make it work.  A few days later, I heard a storm was heading toward the San Juan’s so I drove through the night with hopes of getting a nice image.

I remember how bitterly cold it was that morning as I arrived early to catch the sunrise (walking back to my car several times to get more layers). As a landscape photographer, you are always hoping for clouds to make for a great sunrise; but on this day, the clouds I had hoped for were working against me. A very overcast sky meant no sunrise – and the long drive would be for naught.  Might as well drive into town and grab breakfast.

After putting away my gear, I turned around to see the sun had broken through the clouds illuminating the San Juan’s in all their glory. The unworldly spot light on the peaks and the glowing colors in trees was simply breathtaking. My heart was pounding trying to get out my camera gear and setup my tripod before the light disappeared.  I didn’t even have time to check the focus or exposure. I just quickly snapped three shots hoping to get one right.

A few seconds later, the light disappeared and this magical moment was gone forever. I just stood there smiling, asking myself what had just happened. I waited for a while hoping to get another opportunity – it never came.

A moment I will never forget. N38 05.664W107 53.304

Aspen Gold

Aspen Gold

Fall is my favorite time of year and this image always reminds me of the cool morning air and wonderful Autumn colors as summer’s heat fades away. 

This picture was taken while traveling on the Last Dollar Rd, which goes from Ridgway to Telluride Colorado. This old dirt road passes through some of the most amazing ranches in central Colorado including one owned by Ralph Lauren and eventually crosses over the 12,000 ft peaks of the San Juan Mountains. Just after crossing the highest point of the road I came upon this wonderful Aspen grove and was able to capture this peaceful moment. 

For those who think you need a super expensive camera to take pictures – it is not true. This picture was taken with my little Canon G10 pocket camera that I bought used for less than $150. Sometimes big moments come in small packages.

A Little Piece of Heaven

A Little Piece of Heaven

Autumn in Colorado is something everyone should experience. The brisk mornings, clear air and glorious golden hues are simply good for the soul. 

I came across this location while driving on an old country road near Ridgway, CO. The road was muddy from the previous night’s snow storm and I was focused more on road than paying attention to the views. Luckily, I looked up for a moment and saw this wonderful sight - it simply took my breath away. 

I parked my Jeep and stayed here all morning without a concern in the world. I thought this must be what Heaven must be like…

The Guardian

The Guardian

I stumbled upon this grove of Aspens while hiking the Independence Pass in Colorado. I was stuck by how dense and pristine the trees appeared and felt that they were somehow guarding something further down the path. 

I have returned to this area several times but have never been able to find this unique spot.

Glowing Leaves

Glowing Leaves

Forgotten Mill

Forgotten Mill

This old mill stands along the Crystal River about 5-miles east of the small town of Marble, CO. and is only accessible with a high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle, horseback or on foot. 

After the most stressful 45 minute “white knuckle” drive you will ever take (make sure you take someone to navigate the huge boulders and 100 ft drop-off’s) you will be rewarded with a wonderful step back to an earlier in time. This special place is at it’s best in the Fall when the temperatures begin to cool and the Aspen’s turn their majestic colors. 

If you are ever in western Colorado in September this trip is a must. I would suggest hiring a local guide with a serious Jeep.

A Postcard From Heaven

A Postcard From Heaven

There are few places I have stood that simple take your breath away. The Maroon Bells in all her glory is one of them. 

I took this picture after a nasty storm cleared with my good friend Rob Jasany. We arrived at the Bells around 4:30 that morning but the weather was terrible. We waited for hours and were soaked to the bone, cold, tired and hungry – but then finally the sun broke though for a few moments to get this get shot.

Simply breathtaking...

House On The Range

House On The Range

This shot was taken while traveling on County Road 9 just outside Ridgway, CO. The road cuts through Ralph Lauren’s 17,000-acre Double RL ranch on the way to the Uncompahgre Wilderness. 

I had passed this range house several times in the past, but seeing it in the fall with the autumn colors in full bloom stopped me in my tracks. To me, this moment captured the essences of the open ranges from years past.