I made a quick trip down to the Ridgway area in southwestern Colorado the first of October last fall in hopes of being there at peak fall color. What I found was a little disappointing. The colors this past year were a little different in Colorado as well as many other states. You were likely to find areas where a few aspen trees might be at peak color right next to a stand that hadn’t even started to turn yet. Oh well, that is what makes nature photography so fun (and frustrating!) at times.
There weren’t many clouds around this evening, but I headed out west of town to see how things looked out there. I thought I might shoot Courthouse Rock and Chimney Rock from the overlook along County Road 8. The valley below the mountains was filled with scrub oak bushes that usually were brightly colored even if the aspens weren’t at peak yet. I had shot there a couple of times before and thought I might try to get something a little different.
That sounded like a promising idea until I turned the corner to drive back to the parking area and there must have been at least twenty-five other photographers along the road! Not wanted to be part of a crowd, I turned right around and started back towards town figuring that was it for the day. The sun was setting and as I drove along I couldn’t help but notice the Cimarrons lighting up to the east. I quickly searched for a spot along the road that would let me see over the bushes. I came upon a gate in the fence and jumped out with just enough time to shoot a couple of panoramic sequences before the light was gone. I ended up with a nice sunset shot anyway, and I even had a cloud!
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