Photo Journal & Trip Reports

Photo journals and trip reports from some of my outdoor photography adventures, starting with the most recent. You can subscribe to follow my latest blog posts (and any other blogs as well) by using a feed reader such as Inoreader or Feedly.

Winter Skies over Sneffels
November 2022  |  Ridgway, Colorado

Earlier in the month I complained a little bit about how strenuous my last backpack trip was. Turns out it was more strenuous than I initially thought, as I had badly strained my calf near the end of that trip...

Desert Freeze Fest
November 2022  |  Southeast Utah

Despite a 20º weather forecast I drove out towards Moab to do an exploratory backpack trip up an obscure canyon all the way to a high rim overlooking the Fisher Towers, camping two nights along the way. Between the frigid temperature, fresh snow, rugged terrain, and torturous bushwhacking, the trek ended up being one of the more physically and mentally challenging backpack trips I've done.

A Week at Capitol Reef
October 2022  |  Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Having had my fill of autumn colors in Colorado by mid-October this year, we headed out to the desert for a week of car camping, hiking and exploring in Capitol Reef National Park in southern Utah (with one little backpack trip to cap it off at the end)...

Aspen Immersion
October 2022  |  Colorado

Autumn really put on a show this year in Colorado, with snowy peaks and brilliant aspen colors. Most notably, the golden aspen colors were nearly two weeks late and lasted for longer into October than I ever remember happening before...

Sultan Sunset
September 2022  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

In late September my wife Claudia and I spent a chilly but pleasant evening watching the sunset from the 13,368 ft. (4074 m) summit of Sultan Mountain, high above the town of Silverton in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado...

Wildkogel
September 2022  |  Austria

After our 8-day trek through the Hohe Tauern in Austria, we still had two days to kill before heading to Munich for our flight back home. What to do? We thought about squeezing in another short hut trek, but the logistics would have been hectic and besides we knew we'd be too tired anyways after our big trek...

Hut to Hut in the Hohe Tauern
September 2022  |  Austria

In early September we headed south to Alps for an 8-day hut-to-hut trek through the Hohe Tauern National Park in Austria. A north to south crossing of the Hohe Tauern range, our route started from near the town of Kaprun, took us right past Grossglockner (the tallest mountain in Austria), and ended in the town of Mörtschach – while staying at alpine huts for seven nights along the way.

Figments of Albrechtsburg
August 2022  |  Meissen, Germany

While visiting family in Dresden, Germany recently, one day we made a trip with Claudia's mom and sister to Albrechtsburg Castle in nearby Meissen. This beautiful Gothic castle perched atop a hill above the Elbe River was built starting in 1471 on the site of a fortress castle that was originally built in 929...

High Hanging Fruit
August 2022  |  Sneffels Range, Colorado

When I first moved to southwest Colorado in 2006 I had a good 5-10 year stretch when the San Juan Mountains were pretty much a blank canvas for me for planning grand backpack treks and discovering loads of unique scenes to photograph...

Wild in the Gore Range
August 2022  |  Gore Range, Colorado

High above the bustling ski town of Vail and the drone of cars and trucks zooming along Interstate 70 rise the rugged mountains of the Gore Range, surrounded by civilization yet harboring some of the burliest peaks and wildest valleys in Colorado...

Light in La Platas
July 2022  |  La Plata Mountains, Colorado

La Plata Mountains are located just northwest of the town of Durango, Colorado, in the southwest corner of the greater San Juan Mountains. I guess it shows how vast the San Juans are that it's taken me 16 years to finally go visit La Platas! I've spied their rugged ridges off in the distance many times from the Weminuche Wilderness or the western San Juans, but for some reason I just never got around to driving down there...

Home Light
July 2022  |  Ridgway, Colorado

During the first week of July, the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado have experienced a strong monsoon weather pattern, bringing many moments of extraordinary weather and light. Here are some photos taken over the course of just 5 days, all from my backyard!

Chasing Sunsets in the Weminuche
June/July 2022  |  Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado

After a dry and extremely windy spring, this summer so far a strong monsoon weather pattern has settled in over the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado, bringing much needed rain along with plenty of lightning and thunder...

A Semi-Traverse of La Sals
June 2022  |  La Sal Mountains, Utah

At the end of May/beginning of June, we headed over to La Sal Mountains above Moab, Utah, for our first mountain backpack adventure of this summer. The route I had in mind more or less traced the same route I did as a ski traverse of the northern La Sals back in 2008 with my friends Ann and Seth - except this time we were walking instead of skiing, we did a loop trek instead of a one-way shuttle, we stuck to the ridges instead of dropping into various basins, and we camped two nights along the way instead of powering through in one day...

Sandstone & Ponderosas
May 2022  |  Bears Ears National Monument, Utah

In mid-May we drove west to Bears Ears National Monument in southern Utah for a quick 3-day backpack trip into a unique canyon full of giant ponderosa pines amongst giant sandstone spires. A spring-fed creek provided a pleasant base camp location to relax and spend a day exploring some fascinating and seldom-visited ancient cliff dwellings...

Winter in the San Juans
Winter 2022  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

The 2021-22 winter season was extremely busy for me - but not with photography or snowboarding... my wife and I finished building our new house and finally moved in at the end of winter! With life settling back down I finally have a chance to post some photos from the few times I did manage to get out to photograph the mountains this winter...

More Mojave
October/November 2021  |  Mojave Desert, California & Arizona

In late October and early November, my wife and I hit the road for two weeks of warmth, camping, and hiking in the Mojave Desert of western Arizona and southeast California. During this trip we returned to the Black Mountains, camped at Kelso and Cadiz Dunes, spent a few days exploring The Needles along the Colorado River, and returned to the Turtle Mountains...

Autumn Overload
October 2021  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

As I write this in mid-October, snow is falling outside my window and only a few yellow leaves cling to the aspen forests above town. It has been a phenomenal fall season here in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado, with vibrant aspen colors, lots of amazing light and clouds, and fresh snowfall frosting the mountaintops...

Summer Stories from the San Juans
July/August/September 2021  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

As summer fades to autumn, I thought I'd share some new photos and stories from the last three months of backpacking in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Including and continuing from my last blog post ("Monsoon Explorations in the Weminuche"), my backpacking adventures this summer have been mainly focused on exploring hidden nooks and crannies of these mountains and finding unique perspectives to photograph...

Originality in the Grand Landscape
August 2021

This article was originally published at Photography Life in October 2012, but I still consider it to be the most comprehensive article I've written about my photographic methodology in the grand landscape genre...

Monsoon Explorations in the Weminuche
June/July 2021  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

In late June a record-breaking heat wave settled in over the southwestern United States. With a week of 95º heat in Ridgway and smoky skies from a huge wildfire in the nearby La Sal Mountains in southeast Utah, it was shaping up to be another dry and smoky summer here in the San Juan Mountains...

Springtime in the San Juans
May/June 2021  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Spring is quite possibly the most beautiful time of year around the lower elevations of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado, with snow capped peaks rising above brilliant green aspens and wildflower-filled meadows...

Journey Around the San Miguel Range
June 2021  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Recently I've had an itch to do an adventurous high-mileage trek - something with long hiking days to whip my winter beer belly into shape. With snow still clinging to the alpine basins in early June here in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, I knew the best place to trek would be something in the lower-elevation subalpine zone where the aspens are green as can be and the meadows are filled with flowers...

Southern Utah Getaway
April 2021  |  Southern Utah

Usually in the wintertime my driving force is to ride my snowboard/splitboard as much as possible whenever I'm not riding my office chair. But every year by about March or April cabin fever sets in and my powder lust wanes as I start to dream about warm weather and dry ground backpacking...

61mp Digital vs 4x5 Large Format Film Resolution Comparison
April 2021

For photographers producing large prints like I do, resolution is easily the single most important factor of a camera system. The higher a camera's resolution, the larger prints can be made while still retaining sharp details...

Winter in the San Juans
Winter 2021  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

The 2020-21 winter season in southwest Colorado got off to a slow start, with around 60% of average snowfall at the beginning of January. But in late January a potent southwest storm cycle dumped over 3 feet of much-needed powder in the San Juans, bringing us closer to average...

2020 in the Rearview
December 2020  |  Colorado

I think we can all agree that 2020 was a bummer year for the record books. From struggling through an out-of-control global pandemic, to choking on wildfire smoke for months on end, to enduring the daily depredations of dumpster-fire politics -- almost every single day of 2020 seemed to serve up another steaming poo platter for us to digest...

Into the Black Canyon
September-October 2020  |  Colorado

With sheer walls towering over 2,000 vertical feet above the Gunnison River, there's no easy way to visit the bottom of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison; every possible hiking route is a steep, rugged scramble...

A Sunset and a Lion
October 2020  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

By mid-October all the aspen leaves have fallen and the color is gone from the mountains. Nevertheless, on Thursday afternoon last week, with clear air and a sky full of high clouds I decided spontaneously to go for a big hike to watch the sunset from the top of a 13,500 foot peak high above the town of Telluride...

Autumn Gold Rush in the San Juans
September-October 2020  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Walking through a grove of autumn aspens must be one of the most beautiful experiences that nature has to offer. Sunlight illuminates the golden leaves like a brilliant stained glass window in a cathedral of nature, like stepping into a colorful pointillist painting of Vincent van Gogh or Gustav Klimt...