Photo Journal & Trip Reports (Colorado)

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.

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Gladstone High Camp
June 2020  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Situated in the center of the San Miguel Range near Telluride, Colorado, Gladstone Peak (13,913 ft.) is overshadowed by its two popular neighboring fourteeners Wilson Peak and Mount Wilson. But Gladstone is an awesome peak with a dramatic pyramid shape, and in my opinion one of the more photogenic mountains of the San Juans...

Early Summer in the San Juans
June 2020  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Here in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado there's still snow lingering in the high peaks, as usual in June, so lately I've been doing a bunch of short backpack trips in the sub-alpine regions at or below treeline...

Spring in the San Juans
May 2020  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

May is always a glorious month in the mountains of Colorado, when the freshly budded aspen forests have a brilliant green glow and snow has mostly melted off the trails but still lingers in the high peaks...

San Sophia High Camp
May 2020  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

It's pretty rare to be able to camp up high in Colorado. In the summer the threat of thunderstorms above treeline is too terrifying, and in the winter it's just too damn cold. But in mid-May I had a perfect window of opportunity to hike up and camp at 13,200 feet up on a high ridgeline here in the Sneffels Range of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado...

Rock, Rust, and Lichen
May 2020  |  Ouray, Colorado

Rock textures photographed while hiking in the mountains around Ouray, Colorado.

Canyons Close to Home
April 2020  |  Southwest Colorado

Yearning for some closer-to-home adventure this spring, we ventured out for a few quick overnight backpack trips to explore some canyon and desert areas along the Dolores and Gunnison Rivers, both major river drainages of the San Juan Mountains where we live in southwest Colorado...