Gold Rush

marcellina mountain, aspen

Marcellina Sunset : Prints Available

Marcellina Mountain (11,348') and the surrounding aspen forest seems to glow in warm evening alpenglow of an October sunset.

We just returned from a magnificent fall color trip to Kebler Pass in the West Elk Mountains and Telluride in the San Juan Mountains. Conditions varied greatly, from brilliant stands of gold and red to bare trees, stripped by storms a few days prior. Photographically, it was a completely different situation every day, and exhilarating to make images of the inevitable march towards winter. I hope you enjoy my photo essay – just click on more:

east beckwith mountain, kebler pass, aspen forest

: Prints Available

 East Beckwith Mountain (12,432') and golden autumn aspen are reflected in a beaver pond on Kebler Pass. Kebler Pass is renowned for its enormous aspen forest and limitless photographic opportunities.

marcellina mountain, kebler pass

Marcellina Shadows : Prints Available

 Morning light grazes the rugged edges of Marcellina Mountain (11,348') and tops of gold aspen on Kebler pass.
aspen forest, full moon, kebler pass

Moonlight Tent : Prints Available

 A full October moon lights the aspen forest above our tent on Kebler Pass.
alta, wilson peak

Wilson Peak View : Prints Available

 The ghost mining camp of Alta is situated at 11,800 feet with a stunning view of the San Miguel Range. Here, Wilson Peak (14,017') is viewed through windows in one of the remaining buildings. The town was never incorporated and operated from 1877 to 1948. Alta was Colorado's first mining town to use AC current, completing a long distance power line in 1891.
wilson peak, Telluride

Autumn Transition Wilson Peak : Prints Available

With "termination dust" on Wilson Peak (14,017'), the aspen forest below is both brilliant gold and bare trees. Winter isn't far away in early October. This image was made on Wilson Mesa near Telluride.
aspen forest, moon

Aspen Moonset : Prints Available

 The October moon sets behind an autumn aspen forest near Telluride, almost looking like a ball rolling downhill. A 600mm lens enabled me to simplify the scene to just trees and moon.
aspen forest, telluride, wilson mesa

Bare Aspen : Prints Available

Sunrise spotlights an aspen forest on Wilson Mesa near Telluride after leaves have fallen in early October. Nearby aspen were still brilliant gold.
last dollar road, telluride

Aspen Bole Chaos : Prints Available

 Bright white aspen boles in chaotic patterns contrast with a golden backdrop nearing the end of fall color. The image was made along Last Dollar Road near Telluride.
aspen forest, Telluride

Aspen Bole Closeup : Prints Available

 While photographing the limitless compositions in an aspen forest near Telluride, I chose a simple closeup view with a slice of fall color for this image. 
wilson peak, silver pick basin

Silver Pick Morning : Prints Available

 Wilson Peak (14,017') and Silver Pick Basin catch morning light on a golden autumn day. If you look close, you can see a hawk on the tall pine to the left.

21 thoughts on “Gold Rush

  1. Fantastic set, Dave! I can just tell by looking at them that you had fun! Lots of goodies here… my fave is the first one but they’re all tight. I’m glad you came away with so many keepers… it’s especially impressive given the challenging blue skies you had to deal with!

  2. I love the moonlit tent and the 3-D view of Wilson Peak through the window! Amazing photos, Walt! Your hard work paid off… πŸ™‚

  3. Dave, your passion shows. And it is even more impressive that you are making more than a picture book. Making people aware of the environment is critical. Even more so than the economy. What good is a robust economy if you don’t have fresh air or clean water or other living things to share this planet with?

    1. Thanks Alicia, Larry, and Frank! And Frank, I really appreciate the kind words about my conservation work. Pairing images with advocacy is still the most powerful tool we have for reaching folks and getting them to act. Plenty of challenges ahead…

  4. Awesome pics, how soon we forget how beautiful it is there. Looks like y’all had a fantastic trip keep up the great work.
    The colors are just starting to turn here in SC.

  5. Fantastic set of images Dave! The Marcellina photo is a stunner, as is the Bare Aspens one (clever naming too). I’ve been digging patterned abstract nature photo lately! The Wilson Mesa photo is quite nice too. Looks like you had yourself a good time down in the West Elks and San Juans.

  6. Dave, love your photos…wow is all I can say… I know the trees are telling us Winter is coming….I love the fall. You capture the spirit of the season. Thank you for all that you do for our little blue planet.

    1. Thank you, Eva. It’s awesome to enjoy the seasonal changes and marvel at autumn’s brilliance while it lasts. I love the little blue planet comment – may we find a way to heal her.

  7. Hey Dave,
    Awesome always, but the Marcellina Sunset was truly Spectacular!
    Thanks for sharing such a Beautiful Season as only you could capture. πŸ™‚

  8. Exceptional photos! You set a very high standard for yourself. You always amaze us…You made impressive use of sun & shading in many of these.

  9. Our colors are unusually drab here this year. Yours just leap off of the prints. Wish we could have been there to enjoy them with you.

    Lori is taking Lindsey and Chris on the Parkway today (while I sleep—back to work tonight) but I don’t think it will compare. Some stunning shots.

    1. There are so many variables to leaf color and a prognosticator for every factor. Folks thought drought would lead to a drab color display in Colorado’s mountains and it turned out to be one of the best years in recent memory. But, rains did come fairly late in the summer and we didn’t have a heavy snow or freezing rain as the trees were changing. Here on the plains, it appears that leaves on many cottonwoods will turn brown and drop, but I’m seeing pockets of color. Are the healthier trees on top of a water source, such as a spring? The thing about autumn is there’s color elsewhere – the forest understory, willows, prairie grasses, ferns. You just have to recalibrate and look down more. Wildlife are still on their same schedule, active before winter, and completely indifferent to the color of leaves. Thanks!

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