Colorado Fall Color Travel Guide – 2017

Mt. Sneffels from County Road 7 - Dallas Creek. October 3.

Mt. Sneffels and the Sneffels Range from County Road 7 (East Dallas Creek), Colorado. October 3, 2014.

Welcome to my Colorado fall color travel guide with 100 pages of information (if you print it all out), 109 photos, and 17 maps. I cover some of the best known fall color locations in Colorado, and one real gem of a road that is mostly unknown to photographers and leaf peepers. Spend anywhere from a few days to three weeks exploring the beautiful Colorado Rockies at a gorgeous time of year.

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The Best Scenic Photo Location Guides

Some of my favorite photo location guides.

Some of my favorite photo location guides.

“If you want to be a better photographer stand in front of more interesting stuff!”  – Jim Richardson, National Geographic photographer.

Looking for the best scenic locations to create beautiful images? You need good scenic locations guides written by and for photographers. Photographers are much more in tune with what other photographers want to photograph. And for each location, photographers will tell you the best season of the year and time of day to get the best photo.

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The Best Months to Photograph the Best National Parks

Parks Collage. Click for a larger version.

What are the best months to photograph our best national parks? Truth to be told, the best national parks can be photographed just about any time of the year. But parks do have some months when they are at their photographic best. So what are the prime months?  This park by park article is based on my own experiences as well as the advice of the photographers I most trust.

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The Best National Parks to Photograph in Spring

 Ocotillo. Big Bend National Park. Texas.

Ocotillo. Big Bend National Park, Texas.

If I could go on a fabulous spring photography trip to the national parks of my choice, with no time limit and all expenses paid, which ones would I pick? Here are my choices, grouped by state from west to east. This list includes the favorites I have been to and want to go back to again, plus the ones I haven’t seen and most want to photograph.

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Happy Birthday, John Muir!

John Muir

John Muir

John Muir was born April 21, 1838. He had a profound influence on how Americans viewed our wild lands and his influence led to the establishment of many of our National Parks and other protected lands. He was nicknamed The Father of our National Parks. This is National Parks week. Go explore somewhere this week, or make plans to visit sometime this year.

Here are photos from some of my favorite National Parks (and one state park) along with quotes from John Muir.

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Using Google Earth to Find the Name of a Mountain (and How to Get GPS Info into Google Earth)

"Mountain in Colorado"

“Mountain in Colorado”

What is the name of this mountain? Photo editors want to know. They like caption information. If you have a distinctive mountain in your photo, “Mountain in Colorado” won’t cut it with your friendly neighborhood photo editor. Here’s how to identify that mountain in Google Earth (and how to get GPS coordinates into Google Earth).

Originally posted Jan. 26, 2016. Updated and re-posted Feb. 5, 2017.

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“Where Were You When You Took Those Photos?”

Mount Rundle, Two Jack Lake

Mount Rundle, Two Jack Lake

Today (Mar 18, 2014) I was asked by a client where I was when I took some photos in Banff National Park. I was able to provide him with the exact locations, complete with marked satellite images. It is a good idea to known where you were when you created your most important images, and the more specific the information the better. It is good info to have for your own use and sometimes it can make the difference between whether or not one of your images is published.

Originally posted Mar. 18, 2014. Updated and re-posted Jan. 30, 2017.

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When is the Best Time of Year to Photograph the National Parks?

Denali, Arches, Bryce Canyon, and Rocky Mountain National Parks

Denali, Arches, Bryce Canyon, and Rocky Mountain National Parks

Planning a trip to photograph some of our national parks? You will get better images if you visit a national park at its prime season of the year. But when is each park at its very best? And how do you figure out the best time of year for other locations that aren’t in the national parks?

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One Photographer and Nine Outdoor/Travel Writers Pick the Best Winter National Parks

Mount Hunter from a Bush Plane. Denali National Park. Alaska.

Mount Hunter from a Bush Plane. Denali National Park. Alaska.

I am planning a winter photography trip to some U.S. national parks, some of which I haven’t been to before. So I am narrowing down my choices to fit the time I have. My search is what led to the advice in this article. I recommend you also read The Best National Parks to Photograph in Winter.

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Metering Nighttime Winter Scenes

Twilight, Rocky Mountain National Park.

Twilight, Rocky Mountain National Park. Sirius, Canis Major, Orion, Taurus, the Hyades star cluster, and the Pleiades star cluster are all visible in the fading light. Click for a larger version.

You can photograph the night sky year around, but winter brings an added bonus: SNOW! When you don’t have the benefit of moonlight, most of the year land forms a dark to black  silhouetted skyline against the night sky. In winter you have the possibility of including the highly reflective snow. You can see both in this photo. Any place not covered with snow is very dark to black. Having reflective snow is why winter is the favorite time of year for a lot of photographers to go out and photograph the night sky.

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Metering Wildlife in the Snow, Part One

Elk in the Snow, Rocky Mountain National Park

Elk in the Snow, Horseshoe Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Metering dark toned wildlife in the snow is a major exposure challenge. It is usually best to avoid large “burned out” areas (washed out, featureless white) in a nature or landscape photograph, but with properly exposed snow, the wildlife can be so dark as to lose all texture. On other hand, metering for the wildlife can burn out the snow. So what do you do?

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Colorado Fall Color Travel Guide – 2016

Mt. Sneffels from County Road 7 - Dallas Creek. October 3.

Mt. Sneffels and the Sneffels Range from County Road 7 (East Dallas Creek), Colorado. October 3, 2014.

Note: I just posted the 2017 edition (July 16, 2017).

Welcome to my Colorado fall color travel guide with 104 photos and 17 maps. I cover some of the best known fall color locations in Colorado, and one real gem of a road that is mostly unknown to photographers and leaf peepers. Spend anywhere from a weekend to three weeks exploring the beautiful Colorado Rockies at a gorgeous time of year.

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A Road Trip to All of the National Parks in the “Lower 48” States

Travel Route to 47 U.S. National Parks by Randy Olson. A larger version of this map is farther down the page.

So you wake up one morning with the crazy notion you might want to go on a road to all 47 of the U.S. national parks in the contiguous 48 states. Setting aside the sanity of such a project, how would you go about it? And what if you only want to go to some of these parks?

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Colorado Fall Color Travel Guide

Aspen and Evergreens, Marshall Pass, Colorado. September 25, 1990

Aspen and Evergreens, Marshall Pass, Colorado. September 25, 1990.

UPDATE: The most recent and updated version of this article is here.

Welcome to my Colorado fall color travel guide with 103 photos and 17 maps. I cover some of the best known fall color locations in Colorado, and one real gem of a road that is mostly unknown to photographers and leaf peepers. Spend anywhere from a weekend to two weeks exploring the beautiful Colorado Rockies at a gorgeous time of year.

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Some Days Are Amazing!

Snowy Egret Feeding

Some days are “so so”, some days are average, and some days are amazing. This is not the best time of year to photograph birds at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, but July 14 was amazing. This photo of a feeding Snowy Egret was just one of many fine images from the morning. He stabbed at his prey and it came out of the water but not in his beak.

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Seven Southern Utah “Parks” in 46 Hours

One day in Utah

One Day in Utah.

When I left home headed for Northern California I had no intentions of being in Southern Utah. By the time I reached Denver, snow in the forecast for N. Utah, Nevada, and the mountain passes in N. California made a detour much more appealing than fighting snow on I-80, especially since I have never been to the spectacular parks and monuments in Southern Utah.

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