March 27, 2017
I’m pleased to announce the launch of a new website, this one featuring my Colorado images. After the success of Images from Texas, I felt the time was right to start displaying some of my work from the Centennial State. I’ve created several galleries on the website and will be adding more in the coming weeks, months, and even years. My plans are to feature some of the more popular mountain towns like Ouray, Silverton, Aspen, Breckenridge, and Winter Park. Complementing these galleries will be a collection of wildflower images from American Basin, Yankee Boy Basin, the San Juan mountains, and many other iconic summer locations. Other galleries will showcase hiking trails, mountain summits, including some 14ers, and even black and white photography. Eventually, I hope to include a Denver gallery by adding both local flavor and skyline images.
Please take a minute to peruse these images. I’ll be adding to this work every day for a while.
Happy Travels! ~ Rob
August 1, 2015
I have spent the past 6 weeks in Colorado hiking, photographing the amazing landscapes, and enjoying the cooler weather. From the southern portion of the state in the San Juans to the Maroon Bells near Aspen to my base in Winter Park, the roads I’ve taken have been beautiful and exciting. Along with a friend, I was able to climb another 14er this summer (Humbolt Peak – 14,064 feet), my 31st mountain over 14,000 feet, along with hikes to Booth Lake (over 10 miles) and Byers Peak (nearly 13,000 feet). All were great experiences that left us a bit tired but satisfied with our accomplishments, especially the 14.90 mile trek up Humbolt Peak. Here is the view from the summit as it looks across to Crestone Needle and Crestone Peak.
The last week or so I was in Colorado, high country wildflowers began to bloom. Oh, if I only had a few more weeks there!
But alas, work calls and I had to return to photograph the Austin skyline for a client.
When I was rolling out of Winter Park, the temperature was 41 degrees. Even while driving through New Mexico, the temps staying in the 60s. Amazingly, as soon as I crossed into Texline on the Texas/New Mexico border, the temperature suddenly jumped into the 90s. That’s crazy! And now we’re in the 100s once again. I think it is going to be a long month of August (Coincidentally, August and February are my least favorite months of the year for many reasons… but that is another story). The goal now is to survive August, find a few nice photo opportunities, and make it to the fall when the leaves change and the cooler temperatures prevail!
I’ve put some of my favorite Rocky Mountain photo here: Colorado Images
Stay cool, everyone!
July 9, 2015
I recently headed to the Maroon Bells Wilderness Area with a lifelong friend this past week. I had hoped to photograph the area and add to my Maroon Bells portfolio. The weather forecast was not great, but I’d seen worse and still ended up with some great sunsets. So we met along I-70 and drove west through Vail, Eagle, and Glenwood Springs. Along the way, since we were ahead of schedule and the skies were great, we decided to take an excursion to Rifle Falls State Park. Neither of us had been to this small park, so we wanted to check it out. About 20 minutes past Glenwood Springs heading west, we turned north at Rifle and then drove another 20 minutes to the park.
While not big, this little park offers a view of three separate waterfalls that plunge 70 feet and converge into a green, lush valley. A trail makes a loop around the falls – up and over and back down. It is short (maybe a mile), easy, and offers visitors to Glenwood Springs a nice excursion if you have a few hours to kill and the weather is good.
Next, we headed to Rifle, stopping to eat at a local establishment before driving back to Glenwood Springs, down to Carbondale, then on 82 heading to the Snowmass/Aspen area. We drove up to Snowmass Village, checked into our room, and then, since the weather was still ok, drove the 35 minutes up to the Maroon Bells. While driving the final 10 miles or so the clouds rolled in. We pulled into the parking lot and decided we didn’t mind a little sprinkle, then began a short walk around the lake loop. (We had planned on hiking to Maroon Pass, a 13 mile round trip, the next morning at sunrise). For now, we just wanted to be outdoors.
The view from where you begin this walk is amazing. The two 14,000 foot peaks of Maroon and North Maroon rise above Maroon Lake and provide one of the most grand views of Colorado – and I think the most photographed of any location. This is an image from last year.
However, the peaks were hidden in a thick fog. Every once in a while, we’d see a blurred outline of something in the distance.
About 50 yards into our walk, the rains picked up. No matter, it wasn’t bad. We continued on. A minute later, the bottom fell out. We turned and walked back to the car. We are optimists. We sat in the car for another hour and a half, thinking the deluge would pass by. Finally, near dark, we returned to the room, but not before trying to find something to eat. Everything was closed. The evening was a complete wash, literally.
I set my alarm for the next morning at 430am. When I awoke a little before the alarm, I went outside to find the rains just as we had left them – very active. So I checked again at 530am, then 630am. (As a sidenote, my buddy and I had both played college tennis, so we figured at least we could watch a little Wimbledon on the hotel TV, but even those matches were rained out). Since this trek was for hiking and photography, we finally bailed on our plan and decided to head back towards Denver. Along the way, we’d find another hike. We passed Hanging Lake, a beautiful waterfall at the end of a mile-long uphill climb (it was raining when we passed by the exit). The we passed through Vail – still raining. Next, the rains followed us through Frisco and Dillon. I finally dropped off my friend at his car and drove back to our place in Winter Park. The short trip was a bust. And it still rained all night.
Oh well… the weather doesn’t always cooperate.
Next week, we’ll try again!
Feel free to visit my Colorado galleries for more (and more colorful) photography.
August 10, 2014
One of these days I’m going to write a blog about my favorite locations to photograph Colorado wildflowers amid sweeping landscapes. (Visit my Colorado Wildflowers Gallery for more images).On that list would be a little known area (except to locals) close to Berthoud Pass called Butler Gulch. In the summer of 2014 the colors were the best I’d seen – and I’d visited the iconic Colorado locations like American Basin near Lake City and Yankee Boy Basin near Ouray. I imagine the landscapes near Crested Butte were excellent this summer, but I hit that location a bit early.
Butler Gulch is located on Highway 40 past the town of Berthoud Falls. The turnoff is at the first switchback just before you start the climb up Berthoud Pass. Turn left before the first switchback. You’ll follow the road past the Big Bend picnic area a few miles before eventually turning onto an easy dirt road (you’ll have to turn right because you’ll encounter a gate – if you go straight that is restricted access – I think it is a mine). After another mile or so the road will split with the right branch heading uphill. Go left and you will reach a parking area in ~100 yards. Park, walk past by the gate on an old jeep road, and start hiking as the road makes a sweeping left curve before starting a gradual ascent. The trail to the best meadows for wildflowers is just over two miles and about 1000 vertical feet . There are parts of this hike that become a grunt but nothing too bad. The most treacherous portions of this hike are a few water crossings that require short traverses over trees laid across the water. Even these parts are not too difficult, but crossing them in the dark can be a bit sketchy (I usually have to do this because I head up there for sunrise.) Last year I did take a misstep and went down to my knee in a very cold stream. That made for a long morning.
Eventually you’ll come to a large cascade before heading left and making a few semi-switchbacks. This portion of the trail will shoot you out at a clearing that is the upper portion of the gulch. Continue here for a few hundred yards and off to your left you’ll find the flowers. You can continue on to some old mine ruins or even hike up to the ridge. But if you’ve come for Colorado wildflowers, here you’ll find daisies, various colors of paintbrush, elephants, and even columbine on the rocky outcrops to your left. Walk over to the stream 50 yards or so to your right for some images of flowing snow-fed waters lined with pink and red flowers. If you arrive really early – like about 4am – you can even photograph the Milky Way rising over the ridge.
Butler Gulch is one of my favorite Colorado locations for wildflowers and landscapes. I make the trek up here several times each summer. Many folks use this trail, so go early because parking can be limited. If you get up there before sunrise, you’ll have the place to yourself unless I’m up there!
Having to spend 6 weeks in the Rocky Mountains is a tough job, but I suppose someone has to do it. Alas, this is my job – photographing Colorado landscapes and Austin, Texas, skylines, as well as other Texas locations.
In late July, wildflowers begin to burst forth in the basins and gulches of Colorado’s high country. When the timing is right, one of the areas I try to visit is Yankee Boy Basin near Ouray, located in the Uncompahgre National Forest. The dirt road leading to Yankee Boy isn’t too bad for the first 6 miles. Most passenger cars can do it. Along the way you’ll pass by an old mine and the much photographed Twin Falls. After that, however, the road turns considerably worse. I’m willing to take my 4WD SUV another 2 miles, but no further. You can take a high clearance 4WD higher, but I’m happy reaching the 8 mile point. This area provides colorful Colorado wildflowers, including columbine, paintbrush, daisies and bluebells, against a landscape punctuated by one of Colorado’s 14,000 foot peaks, Mount Sneffels. In the evening you can shoot towards Sneffels and, if the conditions are right, you’ll have a great sunset as well.
The most recent evening I was there I arrived about 6:30pm after bumping my way up the last two miles. As soon as I got out of my car, the rains came. After a few minutes, as usually happens at 12,000 feet, the air quickly cleared and gave way to a beautiful evening. I spent the next few hours enjoying the scenery and practicing my craft.
Yankee Boy Basin is actually private land and made public by the generosity of its owners. The wildflowers tend to peak the third and fourth weeks of July. If your are adventurous and physically fit, you can also hike Mount Sneffels. Alternatively, the hike from Yankee Boy Basin over Blue Lakes Pass and down to the second and first Blue Lakes is also breathtaking. On the other side of the ridge, especially looking down on the turquoise waters of the Lower Blue Lake you’ll find a slope filled with wildflowers in mid summer. I’ve done this hike and, while tired at the end, I thoroughly enjoyed the vistas and landscapes and most of all the colorful flowers of the area.
If I can answer any questions about this area, just let me know.
In the meantime, feel free to visit my Colorado Gallery.
Also, keep up with my photography on my Professional Facebook page.
July 29, 2014
I’ve been fortunate this summer. I’ve had the opportunity to spend 6 weeks in the Rocky Mountains photographing Colorado landscapes and wildflowers. One of the great hikes on my bucket list, both for Colorado images and simply for hiking pleasure, is the Ice Lakes hike that originates near Silverton.
For this hike, my wife was able to join me. She’s not a big outdoors person like I am, but she is a Colorado native. She also understands that as a professional photographer, I have to start these treks when it is still dark outside so I can be in a good location at sunrise. But this time I let her sleep a little later in our Ouray hotel room, setting the alarm clock for 3:45am. We were on the trail, which starts 5 miles down South Mineral Road at the South Mineral campground by 4:45am. An hour of walking in the dark slowly gave way to light, and we soon found ourselves within sight of Ice Lake. The meadows to our right were sprinkled with columbine, aspen daisies, and chiming bells. We had already gained ~1600 vertical feet and now continued onto Upper Ice Lake. Here you gain another 700 vertical feet in a little over a half-mile. From Upper Ice Lake we followed a small ridge over to the real jewel, Island Lake. With Grant Peak, Fuller Peak, Vermillion Peak, Golden Horn, and Pilot Knob rising in the distance, the brilliant turquoise waters of Island Lake rest in a beautiful cirque.
We lingered here a while with no one else in sight, enjoying this remote Colorado landscape for nearly 45 minutes. I took the opportunity to photograph the lake from several angles, and we enjoyed the wildflowers that clung to the steep slopes leading to the water’s edge. I did not want to leave, but all good things must eventually come to an end, and we grabbed our backpacks and headed back down the mountains. On the way down I we stopped several more tomes to capture the moment with my camera. We also passed more than several folks on their way up, including two young men who said they were planning on swimming in Ice Lake. Brrrrr!
The Ice Lakes hike quickly became one of my favorite Colorado hikes, as well as a top location for summer wildflowers. I look forward to my return in the coming years.
Also, feel free to follow my current photography on facebook.
July 25, 2014
Taking a break from the Texas heat, this summer, I’ve been in the Rocky Mountains shooting Colorado wildflowers and landscapes. Some of these photographs are already on my Colorado Images gallery, and many are yet to be posted (feel free to check out these sites). I will update the galleries as I work my way through the photos.
While I was down in the San Juans near Durango, Silverton, and Ouray last week, I had the chance to meet up with my family and, for the first time, ride the Narrow Gauge Railroad and take in the vistas this trip provided.
The Narrow Gauge Railroad allows you to step back in history and enjoy a trek through some of Colorado’s most beautiful landscapes.
The town of Durango was founded by the railroad, and the narrow gauge railroad between Durango and Silverton was constructed in only 9 months – completed in 1881. And if you’ve ridden this train, you’ll know that seems quite a feat. Built to transport gold and silver ore out of the San Juans, it was quickly discovered that this trip offered great views. The 52 mile track follows the Animas River, winding through lush valleys and over high rising rock cuts that allow you to see mountains in all directions. Each way, the train is 3.5 hours and makes for a great way to spend the afternoon. The folks working on the train seemed to be college students (at least the two I talked with) and were both very knowledgeable about the area and willing to share the best turns in the track for photography.
I’d definitely go back and ride this again, though I’d have to save my money to do so. It is fairly expensive, but worth the splurge. I’d also like to return and ride the photography train in the winter that allows you to photograph the train as it winds through the snowy forest.
I’ll be back with more about this trip, including images from Yankee Boy Basin and the Ice Lakes Hike.
Feel free to follow my current photography on my professional facebook page.
All images are available for license or as prints. Please visit my photography website for more information.