Photo Journal & Trip Reports

Please enjoy these 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, Feedly, or a Mac app like NetNewsWire.

National Geographic Atlas of Wild America
December 2023

I don't normally toot my own horn when my photos are published in books or calendars, but I'm pretty thrilled about this one!

I recently licensed 9 images to National Geographic for their new coffee table book "Atlas of Wild America", written by Jon Waterman...

Ring of Fire over the Valley of the Gods
October 2023  |  Valley of the Gods, Utah

A few days ago we made the last minute decision to drive over to southern Utah to witness the annular totality of the October 14, 2023 solar eclipse. I had seen on the eclipse maps that the path of totality would pass right through Cedar Mesa and the Valley of the Gods, and I figured it would be worth it to make the 4 hour drive to see the "Ring of Fire" (versus just staying home in the San Juans where I could have still seen a nice 85% "Crescent of Fire")...

Fall Colors in the San Juan Mountains
October 2023  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

This October we had yet another glorious season of autumn colors here in the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado. Having just returned home from a long road trip to Idaho and California, I was content to hang around close to home so I mostly just visited some of my favorite aspen forests around the Sneffels Range area near Ridgway and Telluride...

The One and Only Yosemite
September 2023  |  Yosemite National Park, California

In my previous post I spoke about how Claudia and I were on a "highlights tour" of the Sierra during our 3 week road trip along the Sierra Nevada range in California this September. Well, what better way to cap off a Sierra highlights tour than to visit the most famous highlight of them all - Yosemite National Park! No backpacking or even any particular plans this time; just a few nights at one of the campgrounds and a couple days to mosey around with all the other tourists...

Roaming the Ritter Range
September 2023  |  Ansel Adams Wilderness, California

In mid-September after our 7-day trek near Bishop, Claudia and I drove up to Mammoth for a few days of rest and restaurants, then headed out on another backpack trip in the eastern Sierra - this time a 4-day jaunt along the base of the Ritter Range in the Ansel Adams Wilderness...

Evolution Loop
September 2023  |  John Muir Wilderness, California

In early September Claudia and I continued our Sierra highlights tour, driving down from Tahoe to Bishop along the foot of the rugged and impressive peaks of the Eastern Sierra. We loaded up our backpacks for the longest trek of our summer road trip: a 7-day, 54-mile route through the John Muir Wilderness in the Eastern Sierra from North Lake to South Lake - a near-loop that would take us through Evolution Basin, an area which we've heard numerous people describe as the heart of the Sierra and one of the favorite highlights of the John Muir Trial and Pacific Crest Trail...

Granite Islands in the Sky
August 2023  |  Desolation Wilderness, California

As fun as our time in Idaho was in August, it was actually the opening act for the main event of our big summer road trip - a month in the Sierra Nevada in California! So in late August, Claudia and I hit the road again and continued on from Idaho to California for the first of our Sierra adventures: a backpack trip up to Lake Aloha in the Desolation Wilderness, just southwest of Lake Tahoe...

Two Weeks in the Mountains of Idaho
August 2023  |  Idaho

Back in 2011 Claudia and I did a wonderful 7-day trek through the Sawtooth Range in Idaho. With its plethora of lakes and super jagged peaks, the Sawtooths are easily the most popular mountains of Idaho, but the state is plump full of other lesser-known mountain ranges which I've been longing to explore ever since that first trip...

Paintbrush and Columbine
August 2023  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, what was shaping up to be an epic wildflower season in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado was a bit stunted by a month of hot sunny weather in July. Nevertheless, the residual moisture from the big winter snows and wet spring storms seem to have won out in many areas where glorious fields of wildflowers have sprung up in late July and early August...

Above the Uncompahgre Gorge
July 2023  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Last week in mid-July I did a pleasant 3-day solo backpack loop through the Uncompahgre Wilderness above and east of the town of Ouray, Colorado. This is a favorite trek I've done numerous times before but this time I varied my camping destinations and did a bit of exploring along the way, and I also had a notable encounter with the local wildlife!

Sneffels Summertime
July 2023  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

At the beginning of July I spent a pleasant evening and morning on a high ridge in the Sneffels Range with a wonderful view facing my favorite mountain: Mount Sneffels.

July Gallery Showing at 610 Arts Collective
July 2023  |  Ridgway, Colorado

During the month of July a bunch of my prints are on display at the 610 Arts Collective gallery in Ridgway, Colorado, as part of an exhibition along with fellow local photographers Natalie Heller and Tom Heywood...

My Backpacking Gear
June 2023

UPDATED JUNE 2023! A comprehensive and continuously updated backpacking gear list with extensive recommendations, reviews, and backcountry tips, including premium and budget gear picks for tents, backpacks, sleeping bags, and much more...

Sunrise on Wilson Peak
May 2023  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

In late May during this spring of unusually stormy weather here in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, I finally had a clear weather window to go for a more ambitious high-altitude photo mission. I've had a particular photo idea of Wilson Peak in mind for several years and now would be a good time to go for that!

Some Early Season Backpacking in Colorado
May 2023  |  Colorado

The weather this spring has been quite wet in the mountains of southwest Colorado with frequent rain and thunderstorms, almost like an early monsoon pattern. The unsettled weather has dissuaded me from attempting any high camps in the snow so far, but with a hankering for some backpacking I have been seeking out some lower elevation destinations this May for some quick backpack outings...

Sliding into Spring
April/May 2023  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

I'm a month late with this post, but I thought I'd share some snapshots from a few spring skiing days in late April/early May here in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado. I didn't get out as much as I expected this spring, due in large part to unusually thunderstormy weather in May but also just generally being too busy on the computer (something I'm trying consciously to change in my life)...

Exploring in the Needles District
April 2023  |  Canyonlands National Park, Utah

With its fantastic red and pink spires, the Needles District is a spectacular and popular part of the Canyonlands National Park in Utah. In the busy spring and fall seasons, most backcountry campsites are completely reserved months in advance...

Winter Scenes around Ridgway
March 2023  |  Ridgway, Colorado

The 2022/23 winter has been one to remember, with numerous "atmospheric river" events bringing record breaking or near-record snowfall throughout the West (particularly in California and Utah, which both shattered their all-time snowfall records with over 800-900" inches of snow in some places!)...

Remote Wanderings in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts
February 2023  |  California & Arizona

Although the weather was still a bit on the chilly side, in February we headed southwest for two weeks of camping, backpacking, and exploring craggy desert mountain ranges. Our road trip took us through the deserts along the lower Colorado River, first through the Mojave Desert in California, then down into the western Sonoran Desert in far southeast California and west Arizona.

Winter Skies over Sneffels
November 2022  |  Ridgway, Colorado

Earlier in the month I complained a 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...

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...