San Juan Mountains – Fall Colors Sunset


San Juan Mountains Fall Sunset Alpen Glow Needle Mountainssan-juan-mountains-fall-sunset Needle Mountains-far-5578San Juan Mountains Fall Sunset with snow, Engineer Mountains

This fall season left me in a state of frustration as I kept choosing the wrong area to set up. No matter where I went the sunset/sunrise was always just around the next mountain or in one case just around the corner.

It had just snowed with everything covered in a pure white blanket with the fall colors at their peak. I set up on a particular mountain base that I’ve had a hard time getting a really good shot before. Well, this time was no different as the mountain just around the corner went crazy with light dancing all over it while my location lit up not so well leaving me in a state of near panic. I thought about making a run for it but knew I’d never make it there in time and decided to focus on the shot at hand. The snow quickly melted the next day leaving me with a nice shot but I knew how much better it could have been (the curse of a landscape photographer).

The next evening I was in a rush as I planned on leaving for a photo shoot to the Pacific Northwest the next day. I actually arrived early for once and had time to hike to my spot and preplan the composition. As sunset approached, the clouds thickened and it appeared I would get skunked once again. However, the sun was stubborn as it broke free and lit up a large section of the mountain. I started firing off shots just in case it ended premature as it so often does around here.

Then just as the sun seemed to be gone for good, the tops of the peaks took on a beautiful alpen glow so typical of this mountain range. I have seen this happen here even when it is completely clouded over. It’s as if the mountain itself has its own light source. This is where I got really serious snapping off shots as the last beams of light painted the colorful aspens and tops of the peaks. Finally! – I got a break and felt fortunate to capture a decent shot… I was hoping this meant my cold streak was over for now as I would need some good fortune when traveling to Washington State and BC, Canada in the next few days.

Above pictures taken in the Needle Mountains and Engineer Mountain located in the San Juan Mountain Range of Southwest Colorado.

Below are a few miscellaneous shots taken this fall in the alpine above 12k showing queens crown stems turned brilliant red and other wildflowers gone to seed.  One picture showing turned aspens taken near Silverton, CO.

Fall grenadiers pano Red on Red fall sunset sp san juan mountains fall colors red-on-red-fall-sunset-mf-4479

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