It was 48 degrees at my house this morning, true fall weather. Leaves, although mostly green, have been falling or blown off since Hurricane Isaac. Now, happiness is in the air as I hope all of those hot humid days of summer are gone. Yet, I could not wait until today this joy so last month I took the high road to Colorado to photograph that blanket of golden yellow that decorates the Rocky and Sangre de Cristo mountains at 8,000 - 10,000 feet.
Most of my time was spent in Wet Mountain Valley. It's in the shadow of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains which are called such because you see them light up in red on some mornings. Headquartered in the town of Westcliffe, once a silver mining community, I taught a natural history photo workshop specializing in fall colors, ranch life (see web page for more cowgirl pictures) and digital workflow. Our group of eight photographed cottonwood lined creeks with 14,000 ft. mountains in the background.
After shooting in the foothills, we took jeeps over Medano Pass. At 10,000 feet, it is in the heart of aspen tree habitat. The west side had many more photogenic trees than the east. They were in peak color with 13,297 ft. Mount Herard in the background.
Driving down the western slope, we crossed Medano Creek nine times. Then the road turned sandy as we had a view of the Great Sand Dunes National Park. You would think you were in the Sahara Desert; they are so massive. My best shot was framing the dunes in some partially changed cottonwood trees.
With so much to photograph, the students and I had a hard time keeping up with downloading and editing. Today I finally narrowed my shoot down to 300 images to label and keyword. And a few more of those photos will be trimmed in the coming weeks as the newness of the trip wears off and Louisiana fall gives me its subtle change of season to photograph.