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2023 Calendars

2023 Calendars

2023 calendars are here – two options are available. Each costs $25 ($18 + $7 flat shipping), plus any applicable taxes. See full details and ordering information here.

Fall in Southwest Colorado

Fall in Southwest Colorado

Fall 2022 Travels
Cumbres and Toltec Railroad
Northern New Mexico
Fall in Southwest Colorado

Fall is my favorite season in Colorado and the southwest region of the state is my favorite area in Colorado. Put the two together and it’s, like, really my favorite. Or maybe my favorite-squared? Sorry, I’ll stop.

Seriously, though, southwest Colorado has everything I want for fall photography. Of course, there are the aspen trees, but also big mountains, remnants of mining, and red-colored mountains that pop against both the yellow aspens and blue skies.

There is a ton of hiking, but also enough scenic drives* that you never have to leave the road to get great views. If the weather turns, you have several small towns – Ouray, Silverton, Ridgway, and others – to retreat to for food and coffee.

This year I was in the area for maybe only 48 hours, but took as many photos as I sometimes do on trips of a week or more. I couldn’t help but share more than usual today.

*Here is a short movie clip of the drive from this trip, taken from my dashcam and lightly edited via WeVideo. I think I’ll be sticking with photography rather than videography, but it’s a fun toy on long road trips. 

Ridgway at sunset from an elevated position
From Ridgway at sunset, which was some of the most beautiful light I’d ever seen in the valley.
Fall in Northern New Mexico

Fall in Northern New Mexico

Fall 2022 Travels
Cumbres and Toltec Railroad
Northern New Mexico
Fall in Southwest Colorado

As part of the same trip where I had my good fortune with the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, we also had good luck with the scenery and weather on most of drive. That is, if you don’t count the brief snow, rain, and too-close-for-comfort lightning strike. 

With any landscape photography, it’s helpful to keep expectations low. Weather, light, and just luck have big parts to play in any outing. I had viewed this detour as scouting for a future trip in a future year, so expectations were low for actual photographing, but it turns out they could have been sky high and I still likely would have been excited about how it all came together.

Brazos Summit on Hwy 64.
Cumbres and Toltec Railroad

Cumbres and Toltec Railroad

Fall 2022 Travels
Cumbres and Toltec Railroad
Northern New Mexico
Fall in Southwest Colorado

How does the expression go – it’s better to be lucky than good? That sums up my chance encounter with the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad. This narrow-gauge railroad is part of the same network that also comprises the Durango and Silverton narrow-gauge railroad, the only other section still in service.

We were taking a detour on our way home from New Mexico to check out fall colors and locations for future trips when we briefly pulled over at a viewpoint and heard a train horn in the near distance. I didn’t even think the train was still running this late into the season.

I raced to grab the camera and wait, wondering if it was actually coming our way. A minute later when it appeared around the bend, I shot several photos and thought I was lucky to get even one view of it. Then, I realized how slow it was moving and that we could easily keep up with it while it headed down the valley. We turned around and stopped three more times taking photos from different viewpoints.

I’ve planned shots like these before, researching possible locations via Google Earth, looking up train schedules, and figuring out the roads on how to get there. Then I’d wait for the train that turned out to be delayed, while I stood in rain and snow, to get only one shot. But this day, we just happened to show up at the right place at the right time. I couldn’t have planned it better had I tried.

My first view of the Cumbres and Toltec RR.
Trail work with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado

Trail work with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado

This summer I again volunteered for Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC), a statewide nonprofit that engages volunteers in stewardship projects across the state.  This includes restoration work, trail maintenance, new trail construction, and more.

I’ve photographed for VOC before as well as others (American Hiking Society (AHS) Annual Report Cover) and am glad I could squeeze in two outings this summer. Here are a few highlights.

If you are in Colorado, be sure to check out VOC. Even if actual trail work isn’t your thing, there are many other ways to help (photography is just one). If you’re outside of Colorado, I bet there are similar organizations near you that would benefit from labor and someone to document their work. For any of us who benefit from use of these trails, from hikers to climbers to photographers and others, we should take the time to give back and appreciate what goes into giving us access to so many beautiful places.

Registration.