Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wyoming Aspen

Wyoming. The cowboy state.

After a few days making my way across Colorado I entered Wyoming near the town of Baggs. From there it was up into the Sierra Madre.

This was ranching country and the Little Snake River valley was practically right out of movie. As I drove up into the mountains, I started to see aspen. Then more aspen. Then even more aspen. It reminded me of SW Colorado there were so many aspen trees. And 95% had lost their leaves. Winter beat me here. But that was ok, as the area and views were spectacular, even past the fall color.

This was one of those areas that really quick you knew you would have to be back.

Here are just a couple of the locations and views I took in. First is a grove of perfect vertical aspen. I think I spent two hours here photographing but I could have spent the whole day. The vertical lines and road were amazing.

Second image is from one of the scenic overlooks and takes in a view across the range. Unlike the neighboring Snowy Range, this lacks some of the big granite peaks but it more than makes up with all the aspen.
The views here really take in the entire heart of the range and those trees, even past prime they were pretty amazing.

Yep, this place is going on the must return list. But next time it will be a week earlier!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

White River Country

Driving from the Maroon Bells toward Wyoming took me through the White River country. I had been to Rifle once on my west out I-70 to Ouray, but had never ventured north.

After escaping the surprising development along the Roaring Fork between Aspen and Glenwood Springs, I was eager to get to a less settled area.

I followed the road north of Rifle into a hilly ranching country. This was a place of cowboys and had the look of the old west.

As I drove I encountered the White River and was I ever impressed. The grassy hills with this small river winding down the valleys lined with golden cottonwoods was a wonderful sight.

I was intent on getting to Wyoming but had to make a few stops to take it in and take a few images.

Here are a couple to just touch on the area.

The geese were honking and milling around the rivers edge. Not many more birds than you see in the image but a pleasant sight none the less.

Then a view of the river as it turns past a stand of cottonwood. I may have missed the aspen this far north but the cottonwoods were very nice and provided a source of photographic inspiration along the White River, Yampa River, and Little Snake River as I moved north.

All of them seemed right out of a movie and even the little towns had an authentic quality that most places lacked these days.

So after enjoying the river country I crossed the state line and headed toward the mountains.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Maroon Bells by Night

After waiting out the light and not seeing the Bells, I went back to camp while the snow fell. I woke up at 3:30 am and it was still and clear, so I went back up to the Bells to find them lit by the full moon.

Not one to pass up such an opportunity I started two cameras making night images.

This is one of the longer images at about twenty minutes. I really liked the curve of the star trails and the way the moon lit the scene.

Bonus to the night images was how I again had the whole place to myself. It was only at dawn the the first other photographer showed up, not realizing they had already missed the best light.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Blizzard at the Maroon Bells

My plan had been to drive from Great Sand Dunes NP up to the Snowy Range. But Mother Nature did not plan the seasons on my vacation schedule. Turns out the Snowys were living up to their name and WyoDOT had already closed the road through the mountains.


Ok, so now to reroute. I took a break, got out the map and a Dublin DP from the cooler to ponder for a moment. A good DP helps with that and a Dublin DP is about as good as it gets, but I digress....

Decided to drive over Independence Pass and then to Maroon Bells. I always thought that the Bells were overdone, heck there is even a bus stop to haul in the tourists.

But it looked promising for snow and maybe a little fall color hanging around.

I got there to find not only snow, but it was almost whiteout blizzard. The Bells were not out. The fall color was 98% gone. That might be generous on my part.

But the blizzard more than made up for it! Limited visibility with snow billowing in. It was not touristy at all. It was spetacular!

It reminded me of being in the Misty Mountains. The peaks I could see were hazy in the snow and the whole place took on a magical far away look.

And I had it all to myself!

I set to making a few images. Then wipe the snow from the camera as it was really coming down.

I stayed until dark photographing, hoping the mountain might pop out but there was just the snow. It didn't matter as this was so good I just enjoyed the time and the view.