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

Glacier National Park

We scheduled our photo expedition to the park several months in advance to be there in August when the flowers are blooming and the summer storms bring interesting weather. What we didn’t know was going to happen was the large number of wildfires that started two weeks before we got there and continued throughout the time we were there. It was happening all over the northwest section of the country, resulting in smoke and haze so think that you could barely see the mountains on some days.

We were there for ten days and every now and then the wind would blow out of the east and push the haze back to the west and we could get a few shots in. I considered leaving and going somewhere else, but there wasn’t anywhere else to go that didn’t have the same problem. We stuck it out and I’m glad we did.

The mountains there are impressive, especially Mount Oberlin. It quickly became my favorite and we returned there every afternoon until we could capture the image we were looking for.

Montana, Glacier, Glacier Park, Glacier National Park, Oberlin, sunset, mountain
Majestic Glacier : Prints Available

At the same location, there was this colorful field of Fireweed that made for a great foreground in front of the mountain just to the west of Mount Oberlin. Multiple attempts and a truck load of patience got us the great sky and clouds in front of the mountain.

Montana, Glacier, Glacier Park, Glacier National Park, mountain, fireweed
Morning Fire : Prints Available

In the Many Glacier area, if you are lucky enough to get a calm morning, there are some great reflections of Mount Grinnell and Mount Wilbur.

Montana, Glacier, Glacier Park, Glacier National Park, Mount Grinnell, reflection
Grinnell's Glory : Prints Available
Montana, Glacier, Glacier Park, Glacier National Park, mountain, Mount Wilbur, reflection, Many Glacier, sunrise
Reflecting On Wilbur : Prints Available

One of the iconic locations in the park is the view over St. Mary Lake with Wild Goose Island. Almost every morning the smoke and haze prevented us from photographing it. We got one clear morning, it was a little stormy, but still a nice image.

Montana, Glacier, Glacier Park, Glacier National Park, mountain, Wild Goose, Island
Wild Goose Sunrise : Prints Available

An unexpected surprise was this late day view of Clements Mountain. There was one tiny space to park on the narrow, winding road, but it was all we needed. The warm light of the setting sun provided exactly what the scene needed.

Montana, Glacier, Glacier Park, Glacier National Park, mountain, Clements, sunset
Glacier Sunset : Prints Available

A main target for the trip was to get up to Hidden Lake. It’s a little bit of hike, about a mile and a half uphill with one of the most spectacular views in all of the park. We hiked up there three separate times because of the smoke and haze. On this sunrise, the wind was out of the east blowing most of the haze away. The smoke from one of the new fires is clearly visible, and there is just something about it that seems to add an interesting element.

Montana, Glacier, Glacier Park, Glacier National Park, sunset, Lake, Hidden Lake
Hidden Sunset : Prints Available

Next up is Fall in southwest Colorado at the end of September. I’ve been there three times before, but it is just one of those locations that is hard to pass on. Thanks for looking and feel free to share. I also post more currently at www.Facebook.com/JosephFilerPhotography. We appreciate all “Likes” of the page.

From Roan to Rainier

June and July were busy months, photographically and otherwise. One of the main attractions in the east in June is the Rhododendron bloom in the mountains of North Carolina. In July, we headed back to Washington State and Mount Rainier for some unfinished business there.

On the way to Roan Mountain North Carolina, we made a stop at Babcock State Park in West Virginia to photograph the Glade Creek Grist Mill. Usually, this is done in the Fall, but I wanted to shoot it with a more lush backdrop of green summer trees. We were fortunate enough for it to have been raining all day, giving the trees deep, saturated color. I got wet in the rain, but it was well worth it.

West Virginia, Babcock, Grist Mill
Summer Flow : Prints Available

The Rhododendrons were in full bloom at Roan Mountain. There is an ideal spot to photograph sunset from that turned out to be a couple of miles over and up some of the foothills. I wasn’t alone and we all made the hike back to the parking lot in the dark with the help of our headlamps, where my sister and daughter were patiently waiting for me. The results were worth the effort.

North Carolina, Roan, Mountain, Rhododendron, sunset
Rhoddies of Roan : Prints Available

Flowers were also blooming in a variety of areas along the Blue Ridge Parkway. I was checking out a trail up the mountain to a viewpoint and came across this wonderful setting of Rhododendrons blooming under a tree. It was totally unexpected, which just made it all the more fun to photograph.

North Carolina, Rhododendron, mountain
A Pleasant Surprise : Prints Available

While scouting around the Parkway, we came across this beautiful area of ferns under the trees. I am just a sucker for ferns under trees. We immediately made plans to come back the next morning when the sun would be bursting through the trees behind them. We took a large number of multiple exposure images from various positions, but after all was said and done, this was the blend that worked the best.

Green Morning : Prints Available

Before heading to Mount Rainier after arriving in Seattle, we first headed to an area a couple of miles south of there. For several years, I have been wanting to photograph Lower Lewis River Falls, but just couldn’t get up there from where I was at the time in Oregon. It’s a short hike to the river, but the trail stops short of the river, about 6 feet above it. There is a rope you can use to repel down to the river at that point. With rubber boots on, we waded out to the middle of the river where you can get close enough to the deep aqua pool at the base of the falls. We had to keep wiping the spray off the lens between shots, and after taking a bunch of them, this was the one that really conveyed the beauty of the falls.

Washington, Lower Lewis Falls, Waterfall
The Aqua Pool : Prints Available

It was on to Mount Rainier, where I have been wanting to photograph it from the east side at Little Tipsoo Lake. The weather was a challenge, with either the mountain being covered by clouds and not visible or totally clear skies with no clouds. We would head out at 4am every morning to get there for sunrise, that would be behind us to light up the mountain. After days of zero clouds, they came back, but covered the mountain where you couldn’t see it.

With the heavy cloud cover, we took the chance to drive up to Sunrise Point to see if we could get above them. It was really spectacular. We captured this one image before the clouds moved in and covered the area that was picking up the color from the sunrise. In some ways, it was my favorite of the trip

Washington, Mount Rainier, Sunrise, Clouds
Clouds : Prints Available
Washington, Mount Rainier, Tipsoo Lake, Reflection
Tipsoo Morning : Prints Available
Washington, Mount Rainier, Mountain, Reflection, Tipsoo Lake
Reflection : Prints Available

It was a good couple of trips and I’m pleased with the images. We head for Glacier National Park in a few days. Hopefully, the flowers are in bloom at Logan Pass and we get some good skies. This is another one that has been on the list for a while.

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Patagonia!

Patagonia is an area at the southern tip of South America. It is comprised of two large national parks and has some incredible mountains. Being in the southern hemisphere, it is the fall season in April. This is a great time to go there, with cool weather, some fall color and the summer crowds are gone.

For a variety of logistical reasons, it is best to go with a photography group. This was my first trip there and it didn’t take long to realize that the group deal was the right decision. I departed Miami on a 9 hour night flight to Buenos Aires, followed by a 3 hour morning flight to El Calafate, Argentina to meet up with the group. We had a group of 12 photographers plus two guides and a great bus driver.

The next day, we headed out to our first location, the Perito Moreno Glacier. I have been to and photographed quite a few glaciers, from Alaska to Norway, but have never seen one this clean from dirt and debris. We were there all day, but the good light on the face of the glacier came in the late afternoon. The large area of floating ice in front is from a part of the glacier that calved (fell off).

Argentina, Patagonia, Perito Moreno, Glacier
Glacier Glow : Prints Available

Our next destination was the small town of El Chalten, about 3 hours to the northwest of El Calafate. Just outside of town is the famous mountain known as Fitz Roy. Our morning at the canyon, we had a clear sky with the sun rising behind us. This gave us the pinkish-orange glow behind the mountain just prior to the sun rising. This trip was a year in the making and it was truly exciting to be standing there.

Argentina, Patagonia, Fitz-Roy, Sunrise
Before The Sunrise : Prints Available

From El Chalten, we also made the 4km hike up to Laguna Capri. I was told it was a 1,200 foot vertical climb and it seemed like every bit of it during the two hours it took me to hike up there. We started out in the dark two and a half hours before sunrise so we could catch early light on the mountain. Unfortunately, the mountain was covered by clouds, which took another 3 hours to clear away enough to photograph. They didn’t stay away long, but the wind subsided at the same time to give us reflections. It was a hard day, but all’s well that ends well.

Argentina, Patagonia, Fitz-Roy, Laguna Capri
Bright Morning : Prints Available

While in El Chalten, we had an afternoon trip to another angle of Fitz Roy. Although it’s not the typical angle, this mountain just doesn’t take a bad picture.

Argentina, Patagonia, Fitz-Roy
Another View : Prints Available

We left El Chalten and headed back south, past El Calafate, crossed the border into Chile and on to Torres del Paine National Park. It was about a nine hour trip on our bus, but I knew it was going to be worth it. Whereas Argentina had somewhat of a brown desert look, like Arizona, Torres del Paine had much more greenery with wonderful rolling hills. The iconic mountain in the park is Cuerno Principal (Main Horn), distinguished by its jagged horn-like peak.

Chile, Patagonia, Torres del Paine, mountain, Storm
Stormy Peaks : Prints Available

My main goal was to photograph it from below the river. It is so rare that you can photograph jagged mountain peaks from rivers or lakes that are so close to them. The rapids and cascades are a perfect compliment. Nearby, there were other options with the rolling hills.

Chile, Patagonia, Torres del Paine
Sunrise Cascades : Prints Available
Chile, Patagonia, Torres del Paine
Former Life : Prints Available

We also headed out before dawn to a lake at the north end of the park to shoot the mountains with the three iconic towers that are to the right. The wind picked up and prevented us from getting the reflection, but this was more than made up for by the cool lenticular-like pink clouds over the mountains.

Chile, Patagonia, Torres del Paine, Lake, Mountain, Sunrise
Morning Glory : Prints Available

Our other good morning, we went before dawn to an area with lakes called Nordenskjold. The morning wasn’t looking great, but with a little patience it delivered what might be my favorite image of the trip.

Chile, Patagonia, Torres del Paine, Lake, Sunrise
Morning At The Lake : Prints Available

It was another long day on the bus to get back to El Calafate and two long flights again to get back to Miami. This was one of those photographic bucket list trips. I have a few more of those yet to do, so I don’t know if I will make it back to Patagonia. Even if I don’t , I couldn’t have been more pleased with how this one worked out.

Next up are the rhododendrons near Roan Mountain in North Carolina and Tennessee in mid-June. These flowers make for great foregrounds for sunrise and sunset.

As always, you can follow our journey on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/JosephFilerPhotography

Thanks for looking and feel free to share!

Eastern Sierra Winter

There are many photographic possibilities in the Eastern Sierra Mountains of California. We arrived right when the big winter storms where hitting the mountains. We really didn’t know if this unusual weather was going to help our hurt our efforts.

We were based in Bishop, California. Initially, the blowing rain and snow limited the locations we would go to. The weather began to clear, but we still couldn’t go to some of the locations to the north because of heavy snow on the roads. Fortunately, there are some beautiful mountains to the south of Bishop near the town of Lone Pine.

The sunrises and sunsets were fairly spectacular because of the clouds from the storm system. Even though it was winter, there was still substantial color to be found within the various foliage, especially when it was being lighted by the warm early morning sun.

California, Eastern Sierra, Winter. Mountain, Sunset
Winter Colors : Prints Available
California, Eastern Sierra, Winter, Sunset, Mountain
Sunset Glow : Prints Available
California, Eastern Sierra, Winter, Sunrise, Mountain
Sunrise Peak : Prints Available
California, Eastern Sierra, Winter, Sunset, Mountain
Sierra Sunset : Prints Available
California, Eastern Sierra, Winter, Sunrise
Sierra Sunrise : Prints Available
First Light : Prints Available
Cottonwood Colors : Prints Available

We also went down to Death Valley. Much of what we wanted to do there wasn’t possible because of flooding there due to rare heavy rain. As we left Death Valley and headed back to Bishop, we saw a crazy cloud formation over Eureka Dunes. The contrast of the warm sand and the cool sky was simply striking.

California, Death Valley, Eureka, Dunes, Clouds, Storm
Desert Contrasts : Prints Available

Next up in March is an expedition to Alaska to photograph the Northern Lights in the central part of the state and eagles down south near the town of Homer. As always, you can follow our journey on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/JosephFilerPhotography

Thanks for looking and feel free to share!