Colorado Fall Color

Jason and I arrived in Southwest Colorado hoping to find that there had been an early snowfall on the mountains like last year, but it was not to be. So, we made the decision to focus on scenes that were not so dependent on mountains.

With the clear morning skies, the first subject on the list was the rather well known group of curved aspen trees near Ophir, Colorado where the rising sun would provide some nice back lighting on the aspen trees along with a beautiful sun star.

Colorado, Ophir, fall, color, aspen, curved
Curves : Prints Available

Just south of Telluride is Cushman Lake, one of the prettiest fall color settings in Southwest Colorado. It had been windy for days, which causes ripples on the water and prevents the lake from having good reflections of the trees. We finally got a good forecast of calm winds so we got there before sunrise and were well rewarded.

Colorado, Telluride, Cushman, Lake, Fall, Color, Reflection
Morning Reflection : Prints Available

Colorado, Telluride, Cushman Lake, Fall, Color, Aspen, Tree,
Above The Lake : Prints Available

Colorado, Telluride, Cushman, Lake, Fall, Color, Reflection
Morning Calm : Prints Available

The remnants of Hurricane Rosa that had come ashore in Mexico were on their way to Colorado. The viewpoint of Mount Wilson near Telluride was the perfect place to capture the incoming weather. The morning sun was still shining on the mountain and the aspens in front of it when storm clouds began building behind the mountain. I could not have asked for more.

Colorado, fall, mountain, Mount Wilson, Storm, Clouds
Southwest Storm : Prints Available

We continued searching the back roads around Telluride for good fall color scenes and came across a stand of aspens where an old road appeared to go through them. It was raining, which did a nice job saturating the color of the leaves, but had me heading back to my dry car without spending time to see where the old road went. Maybe next time. Down yet another back road was a stunning setting showing off the contrast between the pines and the aspens.

Colorado, Telluride, Fall, Color, Road, Aspen
The Old Road : Prints Available

Colorado, fall, Telluride, trees, aspen, color
Constrast Of Colors : Prints Available

Not too far northeast of Ridgway, Colorado this unusual ridge with Courthouse Rock makes for a wonderful fall color scene. At sunset, it sits high above to the east allowing the setting sun to light it up beautifully. On this day, the sun was not blocked by any clouds as it made its way to the horizon behind us, providing us with a warm glow on Courthouse Rock.

Colorado, Ridgway, Sunset, Courthouse, Rock, Fall, Color
The Courthouse : Prints Available

We headed to Crested Butte in search of some new scenes. The leaves had begun to fall off most of the aspen trees, but we headed out early on the winding dirt road west of town where some very nice fall color scenes can be found. On the way back to town, we came around a curve and there it was, this wonderful grouping of pines and aspens that we couldn’t see when previously heading the other direction. Everything about it was perfect, with the pines surrounded by the aspens on the left and the grouping of the white aspen trees on the right.

Colorado, Fall, Color, Crested Butte, Ridgway, Telluride, Aspen, Tree
Fall Contrast : Prints Available

It was on to Aspen to see what was happening with the fall color there. The iconic image at Maroon Lake was not possible due to extremely low water levels and still no snow on the mountains. So, we headed up Fryingpan River and were able to capture a nice scene of the Cottonwood trees overhanging the river. Just like Aspens, they turn yellow in the fall, as well.

Colorado, River, fall, Cottonwood, Aspen
Cottonwood Colors : Prints Available

Finally, during the last two days of our time in Colorado, it began to rain, with snow at the higher elevations. The best place to capture snow on the mountains was going to be at McClure Pass, west of Aspen. On our last day, we got there before sunrise planning to photograph from the river at the bottom of the valley, but found the entire valley to be covered with low clouds and fog. I thought our day was done, but then decided to drive to the top of the pass to see if we could get above the clouds. It worked, and we were rewarded with two incredible images.

Colorado, McClure, Pass, Mountain, Fog, Fall, Color
Morning Light : Prints Available

Colorado, Mountain, McClure Pass, Fall, Color, Sunrise
Above It All : Prints Available

Next up will be a November trip to Death Valley and the red rock country of Utah during the peak of fall color there.

Thanks for looking and feel free to share. You can also follow the journey on Facebook for more current photographs that may not be on the blog. https://www.facebook.com/JosephFilerPhotography

Fall Color In Colorado

The San Juan Mountains in Southwest Colorado can simply be spectacular in the fall if you have the good fortune to have some snow on the mountains. The last time we were there, two years ago, there wasn’t much snow and it was somewhat disappointing. As we headed south from Grand Junction and got near Ridgway, we could see there had been snow!

We headed to an area known as the Dallas Divide for sunset and captured the first photo you see below. It was the best sunset I had ever seen there. In the days that followed, we had more success at other nearby locations.

Sunset On The Divide : Prints Available
San Juan Sunrise : Prints Available
Sunset On Sneffels : Prints Available
Mountain Sunrise : Prints Available
Mountain Winds : Prints Available

We came across this out of the way location by chance. The horses in the pasture were fenced in by the rustic wood fence, which was just what the image needed in the foreground. If I go back again, I’ll have to take some apples for the horses to get them closer to me.

Fenced In : Prints Available

It is said that the shootout scene at the end of the original “True Grit” was filmed in the pasture here beneath Chimney Rock. Other scenes were filmed nearby in and around Ridgway, Colorado. The clouds at sunset above the Rock almost look like smoke coming out of the Chimney.

Smokin' Chimney : Prints Available

I really love it when I can find some nice ferns under Aspen trees in the fall. We were driving through an Aspen grove area near Crested Butte and I let out an excited “Stop, Stop” to my friend who was driving when I saw this scene. Long hours and lots of searching can really pay off big.

Aspens and Ferns : Prints Available

More Aspen trees photographed in the area.

Endless Aspens : Prints Available

I was delayed getting this report done as I have been working on my New Website! Everything is now found at www.josephfiler.com. There are some boring Google search reasons for the change, but aside from that, it is designed to load images faster, work on all sizes of devices from desktops to phones, show what is in the galleries at a quick glance and be easier to purchase prints. I still have some small tweeking to do, but I am really pleased with it.

Next up will be a trip to the Lofoten Islands in northern Norway at the end of January. The winter mountain scenery on the rocky coasts there is incredible and there is also a good chance of seeing and photographing the Northern Lights.

Thanks for looking and feel free to share. You can also follow the journey on Facebook for more current photographs that may not be on the blog. http://www.facebook.com/JosephFilerPhotography

Fall In The Georgia Mountains

There are a variety of options in late October for fall color. This year, I was visiting with family in North Georgia, but I knew there were some opportunities there. I did my usual research in advance, made notes of my main targets and headed out.

I was pleased to see how much color there was in some of the locations. I don’t often shoot a scene with a road in it, but the paving was new, dark, wet and begging to be included. So, I obliged.

Georgia, Chatahoochee, Fall Color, Fall, Mountain, Road
Fall Road : Prints Available

As with anywhere, you have no idea if you are going to have any decent color in the sky at sunrise or sunset. Over the years I have done this, I would say it is about 20% of the time something good happens. This is making the 5am and early alarms harder to get up for. We did manage two good sunrises and one good sunset.

Georgia, Mountain, Fall, Sunset, Chattahoochee
As The Sun Sets : Prints Available
Georgia, Mountain, Sunrise, Fall
Georgia Sunrise : Prints Available
Georgia, Chatahoochee, Mountain, Sunrise
Chatahoochee Sunrise : Prints Available

Pretty much anywhere in mountain areas, there are going to be waterfalls. The first one, Brasstown Falls, required hiking a remote trail and then sliding down a steep, wet, muddy embankment on one’s rear end while carrying the gear. Clothes had to be washed, but it was well worth it.

South Carolina, Brasstown Falls, Waterfall
Georgia Cascade : Prints Available

The other waterfall doesn’t have an official name and is located at the end of a long dirt road along Dick’s Creek. The first morning, to my surprise, several guys and their large dog were there fishing off the rocks on the side and I just couldn’t get a good image without them or their dog in it.. I got there maybe 30 minutes after sunrise, which I guess was too late. The next morning, I got there before sunrise and beat them to it. It’s amazing who you can run into when you least expect it.

Georgia, Dicks Creek, Dicks Creek Falls, Waterfall
Streaks And Swirls : Prints Available

Next up in November are the South Georgia swamps, where the cypress trees should be displaying their fall colors. I’ve got my locations well planned, and just hope I don’t have to compete again with guys fishing.

Thanks for looking, feel free to share!

Utah and Colorado Fall Color

Utah and the Wasatch Mountains were the main target for western fall color this year, because different from Colorado, in Utah some of the leaves turn red in addition to yellow. Mark, from my office, came with me and did a fantastic job handling the driving. The weather didn’t cooperate enough to give us a wide angle view of mountains with red foliage, but we did have some success finding some really nice settings with fantastic colors.

Utah, Wasatch, Mountain, Fall, Color, Aspen, Tree
Pink Splendor : Prints Available
Utah, Wasatch, Mountain, Fall, Color, Aspen, Tree
Utah Colors : Prints Available
Colorado, Aspen, Trees, Fall, Color, Crested Butte
Fall Ferns : Prints Available
Utah, Wasatch, Mountains, Aspen, Trees, Fall, Color
Utah Aspens : Prints Available

Part of our plan was to take a few days over in Colorado and photograph a couple of my favorite locations there. Near Aspen is Maroone Lake, known for its reflection of the mountains in the lake. We had to get there 2 hours before sunrise to get a good spot because well over 100 photographers will show up there each morning during the fall.

Colorado, Maroon Lake, Maroon Bells, Sunrise, Fall, Aspen
Sunrise At Maroon Lake : Prints Available

Another location near Aspen is the view of Capitol Peak. The last part of the long dirt road to get there is an extremely rough section that requires a high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle and some good experience navigating it. Our rental F150 4×4 did the trick, although it was a little more exciting at a few spots than we wanted. But in the end, it was worth it.

Colorado, Aspen, Fall, Color, Capitol Peak
Capitol View : Prints Available

The color in Colorado was the best it has been in years. The view at McClure Pass was a prime example. Last year, it was half green and half bare. What a difference a year makes!

We also headed down to the aspen grove near Crested Butte. Nothing says fall in the western United States like the yellow aspen trees. The trick is finding some settings with some nice undergrowth with color.

Colorado, Crested Butte, Aspen, Trees, Fall, Color
Aspen Burst : Prints Available
Colorado, Aspen, Trees, Fall, Color, Crested Butte
A Little Backlighting : Prints Available
Colorado, Aspen, Trees, Fall, Color
Morning Aspens : Prints Available

We drove over 2,500 miles scouting for locations, and while the days were long, we still had a lot of fun. I have a feeling I’ll be back there next year.

Next up is October fall color in North Georgia. Will report on it as soon as I can.

Fall In The Smoky Mountains

The Smoky Mountains have a wide variety of photographic possibilities from the rivers in the valley to the outstanding views from the top of the mountains.

We arrived in mid-October to be able to capture some fall color images. My struggle with weather this year continued on this expedition with clear blue skies every day up until the day we departed.

We went to the Big Creek area on the east side of the Smokies, where we had not been on previous trips. Wow, talk about your long and winding road! I was happy to find a river where all the rocks were being covered by water.

Along Little River Road, there is this small cascade that just begs to be photographed every time I drive by. I relented and decided on a vertical composition, which was different from what I had done on previous trips. It picked up a little fall color above the river, which was nice.

Since we weren’t getting any clouds for sunrise, we went into Cades Cove at dawn hoping for some fog around the trees. I could not have been more pleased with the fog swirling around the trees, but it only lasted for a few minutes. Sometimes that is enough.

There are not too many locations in the Smokies displaying red colors. It took some slow driving, probably aggravating drivers behind me, but we finally found a beautiful section of the road with the contrast of reds, yellows and greens.

The morning we were to head for the airport at 10am, we finally had some clouds that gave us reason to head up to Clingman’s Dome for sunrise. Sunrise is always a crapshoot and ,as I stood there in the cold and dark, I could only hope the sky would fill with color. I can’t say how excited I was when it happened after clear skies for an entire week. It was so worth the wait.

Next up will be a trip to Utah’s Canyonlands and Arches National Parks with some possibilities of some night photography.

As always, hover over the photo for more information. Best viewed in Safari or Chrome, IE tends to shows too much contrast and saturation. Also, remember to “Like” our Facebook page to get more up-to-date reports on our expeditions:www.facebook.com/josephfilerphotography.

Tennessee, Smoky Mountains, Little River, Fall, Cascade
Color Cascade : Prints Available
Tennessee, Smoky Mountains, Cades Cove, Fog
Fog Bound : Prints Available
Tennessee, Smoky Mountains, Cades, Cove, Fall, Color, REd
Smoky Mountain Colors : Prints Available
Tennessee, Smoky Mountains, Clingmans Dome, Sunset
Explosion Of Color : Prints Available