Photo Journal & Trip Reports (Colorado)

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 or Feedly.

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.

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)...

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!)...

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...

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...

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...

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...