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.

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 95ยบ 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...

At Home in the San Juans
September 2020  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

In mid-September just a few days after getting back home to Ridgway, Colorado after my big trek around Glacier Peak in the Washington Cascades, I packed my backpack once more and headed up into the Sneffels Range for a quick overnight backpack trip...

Hanging Around Glacier Peak
August/September 2020  |  Washington Cascades

In late August/early September I spent 9 days backpacking a 95-mile loop route around Glacier Peak, a volcano in the central Cascades of Washington. One of the more remote and wild volcanos of the Northwest, Glacier Peak is also unique in that it rises not solitarily but amongst a plethora of other surrounding rugged peaks and ranges in its namesake wilderness area...

Around Capitol and Snowmass
August 2020  |  Elk Mountains, Colorado

At the beginning of August we ventured into the beautiful Elk Mountains near Aspen, Colorado, for a 5-day backpack trek in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness circumnavigating Capitol Peak and Snowmass Mountain...

Columbines and Comets
July 2020  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

In mid July I ventured up to a 13,000-foot ridge to photograph Comet NEOWISE above the Sneffels Range, in the San Juan Mountains above Ouray, Colorado. Here are some photos from that evening, along with some additional photos from later in July...

Through the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness
July 2020  |  Sawatch Range, Colorado

This last week, in mid-July, we ventured out into the Sawatch Range for a 4-day, 25-mile, one-way shuttle trek through the southern bulk of the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness west of Buena Vista, Colorado...

Across the San Miguel Range
July 2020  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Over the 4th of July weekend, Claudia and I headed out into the Lizard Head Wilderness near Telluride, Colorado, for an adventurous 3-day backpack trek across the San Miguel Range. A week ago I did a solo backpack trip there near Lizard Head Peak, which got me thinking about a longer one-way shuttle trek route directly across and over the bulk of the range, starting from Lizard Head Pass on the southeast end of the range and ending at Woods Lake on the northeast side...

Lounging around Lizard Head
June 2020  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Last week I went out on a solo 3-day backpack trip into the Lizard Head Wilderness, which encompasses the San Miguel Range of the San Juan Mountains near Telluride, Colorado. With the below average snowpack this last spring, the alpine summer is slightly ahead of schedule and already by late June the wildflowers are starting to pop out on the high tundra...

Macey & Horn Lakes
June 2020  |  Sangre de Cristos, Colorado

In mid-June we drove over to the Sangre de Cristo Range in south-central Colorado for four days of backpacking in some new (to us) valleys along the eastern side of the range. As usual in June, there was less snow in the Sangres compared to most other Colorado mountain ranges, and it was great to get out for our first real multi-day alpine lake type of backpack trip this summer...