Colorado Updated Fall Color Report

Fall Color Report, Sept. 29, 2013

I spent a few days driving the Alpine Loop in Colorado. this drive is especially nice in the fall as it’s a Photographer’s Gem. This year the aspens are slow to bloom, as we have a had a warm late summer and fall.  The West side of the loop, and the La Platas are not showing color changes just yet. We searched out a few of my favorite high altitude pockets of aspen, above 9000 feet, but I estimate a week to 10 days for prime time on the West side. Even though it snowed in Telluride and up on Lizard Head Pass, the aspen is still predominately green.

On the West Side of the Alpine loop, it was challenging to find aspen copse in full bloom.  It snowed so you can see a dusting on the fir trees at the top of this scene. ©Kit Frost

On the West Side of the Alpine loop, it was challenging to find aspen copse in full bloom. It snowed so you can see a dusting on the fir trees at the top of this scene. ©Kit Frost

I usually count 10 days from the first frost and then take a group of students to my favorite locations. Because a storm and strong winds were in the forecast for Friday, we went West to East on the Alpine loop; Durango, Mancos, Dolores, Telluride, Ridgway.

As we approached Dallas Divide, I knew there would be a ton of photographers at the "scenic viewpoint". So I took my class to one of my favorite locations without crowds.  ©Kit Frost

As we approached Dallas Divide, I knew there would be a ton of photographers at the “scenic viewpoint”. So I took my class to one of my favorite locations without crowds. ©Kit Frost

We hit the top of Lizard Head Pass just as a storm hit.  So we skipped Telluride, which was to have snow starting at 5pm through 10pm, and drove up to Dallas Divide.  I love changeable light and was like a kid in a candy store taking my students up to Ridgway.  I wasn’t disappointed.

Once we arrived at our Sunset location at Dallas divide, the Sneffels view was obscured by clouds, but still wonderful for photography and some time laspe, as the storm was driven by strong, cold winds, and was moving fast. At the Divide, the crowds were lined up for sunset and I noticed a strong cloud bank just to the west, where the sun would soon set. I like to be there an hour or more before to scout the light. Even though Star Walk app posted sunset at 7:05 I knew we would be “skunked” out of it if we got there too late. The best time right now is about 5-6:35.

  • Between Ouray and Silverton, I’d say the colors are at 50%
  • Between Silverton and Coal Bank, I’d say the colors are at 40%
  • Between Coal Bank and Durango, give it a week to 10 days for full bloom.
  • Between Mancos and Ridgway, give it a week at least, as the aspen, cottonwoods, and oak along the Dolores River, Dunton, and the West Fork of the Dolores, are all still green

Want to learn more about photographing the big scenes in fall color, the intimate aspen forest.  Trust a local…join us next Friday, October 4th or on Sunday, October 6th as we take you to our favorite locations along the Alpine Loop.  We’ll teach you everything you need to succeed.

The storm cleared for just a moment on Mount Sneffels.  I like this composition better when the aspens in the highlights are golden and the oak in the foreground is red-orange.  Next week.  ©Kit Frost

The storm cleared for just a moment on Mount Sneffels. I like this composition better when the aspens in the highlights are golden and the oak in the foreground is red-orange. Next week. ©Kit Frost

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Fall Color Photography Lessons in Colorado

Each fall, beginning in mid-September, I check the local weather, and the weather in the nearby mountains to plan our Aspens and Fall Color Photography.  Tonight, snow is in the forecast for the San Juan Mountains of Southern Colorado.  If we get a freeze tonight, we can look forward to the “rolling colors” beginning up north, Silverton first.  Shrine Road outside of Silverton is a favorite, as it Engineer Mountain (see the photo below).  I’m betting on the height of the fall, golden aspens, season to begin September 27.

We usually experience fall color change anytime between the last week in September through the second week in October.  We’ve had a warm and mild September, but today, the mountains are shrouded in clouds and it’s raining in Durango, with snow in the high country.  I count ten days from the first frost to get out and play and make new photos each year.

Join us this year for your Fall Color Photography Lessons.  Treat yourself to the amazing display of aspens as they change color throughout Colorado.

Colorado Fall Color WorkshopSeptember 27th and 28th, 2013
We’re driving the Alpine Loop from Durango to Dallas Divide, locations including West Mancos, Telluride, Owl Creek, Red Mountain and Molas Pass, and much more.  Register Here.

Sometimes an early autumn snow blesses us with amazing color ©Kit Frost
Sometimes an early autumn snow blesses us with amazing color ©Kit Frost
Right place, right time., right instruction, right skills. ©Kit Frost
Right place, right time., right instruction, right skills. ©Kit Frost

Join us for our Annual Colorado Fall Color Workshop.  Let Kit Frost take you to the most special places where the fall colors bloom.  We carpool from Durango to locations scouted just a few days before your workshop.  You will find us along the Colorado Scenic Byways known the world over for amazing fall color.

Learn:

  1. Compositional skills for Fall Color Landscapes, Aspens, Reflections, Mountains
  2. How to use your camera, Beginners are welcome, Kit will teach you how to use your digital or film camera, and to understand aperture and shutter selections.  Bring your point and shoot too.
  3. How to properly expose to saturate color (like the above photos)
  4. Learn “Right Place, Right Time” photo skills.
  5. Why using a tripod improves your photography.
  6. How to edit in the field to keep the best on your CF/SD cards