San Juan National Forest
North of Ouray, Colorado
San Juan National forest is a place that’s sometimes beyond words.
The road that leads through the heart of the San Juan Mountains offers little room for sight seeing. This formidable road named "The Million Dollar Highway" (Highway 550) climbs to an elevation above 12,000 feet, and it does so clinging to the edge of the mountains! In spots along the switchbacks, there’s little more than 6-inches of shoulder between your car and a long plummet down the mountain! Despite this, it’s a drive that is not to be missed.
In the time I spent living around the four corners area of Arizona and Colorado, the San Juan Mountains were my playground. I explored these mountains every chance I got, and I thought I had seen it all. One day, I was sitting in my car at a pullout along the road when a woman loudly knocked on my window. It scared the daylights out of me, but she nonetheless asked if I had seen the waterfall that was right outside my car. I had no idea such a waterfall existed even though I’d been up this road countless times.
When I investigated, sure enough there was a beautiful waterfall hidden between the mountains! I couldn't believe I had never noticed it before! I knew a wide angel lens with a long exposure was the most ideal way to capture the falls, mountains and changing aspen trees all in the same frame. Even the overcast clouds couldn't ruin this shot! They actually helped add to the chilly feeling of fall and the landscape ushering in the wintertime!
Image Code: A040
Creasted Butte, Colorado
If you’ve never been to Crested Butte, you really must set some time out of your schedule to go there! It’s a small town nestled in the mountains and there is no shortage of shooting locations that can yield some really amazing shots!
I visited Crested Butte on the Forth of July last year, and decided to get into a good location for the fireworks early. While I waited for the sun to set, I noticed some beautiful wildflowers off the side of the road (after all, Creasted butte is the wild flower capital of Colorado).
With my foreground discovered, I still wanted to keep the town in the shot to highlight the natural beauty that surrounds it. In order to get the homes and mountains sharp along with the flower, I needed to take multiple focused images, and then blend them in Photoshop. This yielded an image that is sharp from foreground to background.
Image Code: A093