Travel Colorado 

Crystal Mill / Crested Butte / Ouray / San Juan Mnts

5-Day Technical On-Location Photography Based Workshops

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Ouray Hilltop Kaliedescope.jpg
Ouray Painted Mountain #3.jpg
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All workshops kick off from my hometown of Avon, Colorado.  For participants flying into DIA shuttles will be coordinated to provide transportation into Avon, CO.  

DESCRIPTION OF WORKSHOP:

 All summer and fall workshops, although visiting similar destinations, will have uniquely designed routes giving all those who desire summer and fall experiences with my personalized technique focus groups here in Colorado, will have different experiences and planned stops throughout our journey.  As an examle,  in june through August, the wildflowers in the high country are VAST and demand frequent random stops to capture the beauty of Colorado's high elevation summer displays. In the autumn the aspen leaves' golden flutter will draw us in....hence, regions may be similiar but the stops will vary dramatically.   There are towns, such as the world renowned Crested Butte that have the distinction of the Wildflower Capitol of the Southwest; where the Dallas Divide, which lies just outside the township of Telluride, is an iconic pull for impressive, sweeping mountainscapes covered in dramatic bold colors and rich vegetation. 

 

The workshop is all-inclusive once you meet up with the group in your desired location, excluding the afternoon & evening meals and accommodations.  (Breakfast is included).  Snacks and water are supplied daily and all park fees and jeep outfitter tour prices are included.  

Tips are encouraged at your discression for the drivers of the 4 x 4 jeep tours .  Group rates are arranged for all participant's desiring hotel and campground reservations for a fixed number of rooms/spaces pending availability.  I will personaly assist you in booking all hotels and campgrounds.  

On my adventurous "TRAVEL COLORADO"  tour, we'll begin by heading out toward Marble, CO where we'll embark on an adventure with outfitter, Crystal River Scenic Jeep 4 x 4 Tours, and venture into the backcountry of the Alpine Snowmass Mountainrange.... along the way we'll pass by one of my favorite mountains in Colorado, Mt Sopris, due to its bold lines that demand to be appreciated.  One of the defining characteristics of Sopris is that she is often being hugged by beautiful cumulus clouds and has a distinct cross etched into her face from years of erosion. 

COLORADO WILDFLOWER WORKSHOP  Option of single days or a buy (2) get the third day at no cost

(July 1 - 3)     3 Day Shared Transportation             COST:        $800pp ~~ Self-drive 3 -day option $600 ~~ Single Day self drive option $350

( July 8 - 10)  3 Day Shared Transportation             COST:        $800pp ~~ Self-drive 3 -day option $600 ~~ Single Day self drive option $350

 

These prices do not include hotels/meals. $400 deposit, non-refundable, but can be utilized up to 24 months in cases of cancellations.

 

Friday                 Flat Tops - Eagle Valley

Saturday            Crystal River Mill 4 x 4 Tour, Kebler Pass, Crested Butte  (4 x 4 tour included in workshop price)

Sunday               Crested Butte, Kebler Pass, Ohio Pass

 

SAN JUAN JEEP OFF-ROAD  & HORSEBACK LED PHOTOGRAPHIC WORKSHOPS 

(July 14 - 17)   4-DayShared Transportation                 COST:      $1950pp   (Includes two professional off-road tours)

$500 deposit, non-refundable, but can be utilized up to 24 months in cases of cancellations.

 

SUMMER LUSH WORKSHOPS 

(August  26 - 28)    4=DayShared Transportation       COST:      $950pp   (Includes two professional off-road tours)

These prices do not include hotels/meals

Option:        3 Day Self-drive option                              COST:      $850pp    -OR-    Single Day self drive option $350

These prices do not include hotels/meals $400 deposit, non-refundable, but can be utilized up to 24 months in cases of cancellations.                                               

Friday                    Crested Butte Backcountry, Kebler Pass, Ohio Pass 

Saturday               Dallas Divide, Telluride Bridal Veil Falls, San Juan Mountains, Ouray

Sunday                 San Juan Mountains 4 x 4 All Day Ouray WIldflower Jeep Tour, Travel Day (4 x 4 Tour included in workshop price)

Monday                San Juan Backcountry, Bookcliff Mountains & Travel Day                 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 COLORADO FALL FOLIAGE WORKSHOP  

(Sept 23 - 25) 3 Day Shared Transportation             COST:        $950pp ~~ Self-drive option $850 ~~ Single Day self drive option $350

These prices do not include hotels/meals

Addl days before or after the workshop by request

 

Friday                Crystal River Mill 4 x 4 Tour, Redstone, McClure Pass, Beaver Lake

Saturday            Kebler Pass, Ohio Pass

Sunday              Crested Lake, Gothic, Crested Butte

 

(Sept 28 - Oct 2)  5 Day Shared Transportation     COST:       $1850pp  (Includes two professional off-road tours)

(Oct 5 - Oct 9)      5 Day Shared Transportation     COST:       $1650pp  (Includes two professional off-road tours)

These prices do not include hotels/meals.  

(Sept 30 - Oct 2)   3 Day Self-drive option               COST:       $1150pp  (Includes one professional off-road tour)

(Oct 7 - 9)              3 Day Self-drive option               COST:       $1150pp  (Includes one professional off-road tour)

These prices do not include hotels/meals 

 

Wednesday           Maroon Bells, Independence Pass, Vail Valley, Prayer Waterfall, Snowmass, Buttermilk

Thursday                Crested Butte, Ohio Pass, Box Canyon, Ouray Night Sky Shoot ($4.00 Entry Included in workshop fee)

Friday                     Dallas Divide, Telluride Bridal Veil Falls, Ouray Valley, Million Dollar Highway, Molas Pass

Saturday                Governor's Basin & Red Mountain in San Juans 4 x 4 All Day Ouray WIldflower Jeep Tour ($150.00 included in workshop price)

Sunday                  San Juan BackCountry and Travel Day

 

As we head out across the majestic mountain passes and sprawling valleys we'll begin our discussion about your individual experience and personal goals for the trip while we photograph the scenery and begin our introduction into what you can plan to see, and some of the technique exercises we'll conqour during the week/weekend. A few of the lessons we will cover include shooting for HDR, shooting in natural light, photographing weather events, a wide range of composition topics, using accessory fill flash, exposure drag, and in field on-location filtration.  All topics will be taught at a beginner/intermediate level, with signifiant advanced techniques offered to those participants with the desire and skill sets.

 

Collaboration throughout the group will be encouraged as we chip away the miles on our exciting journey across some of the most scenic country on this great earth. I'll ask those who would like to share, to tell us about their  past photographic experience and memorable trips while we get to know one another....the first day is more of a "stretch your legs and settle in experience" with ample independent shoot time.  I will be on hand to answer any questions and begin my one-on-one interaction with each participant.  ALL SKILL LEVELS ARE ENCOURAGED TO PARTICIPATE.

 

 We'll be driven by professional outfitting guides that will not only masterfully tackle the narrow 4 x 4 trails for us, which provides us ample time to shoot. The drivers will point out significant mountain ranges and tell us about the history of the area on our 6 hour tour.  We'll see bountiful wildflower covered hills and waterfalls along the way.  The guides will stop on occasion so that we can execute tripod mounted imagery, while giving us freedom to shoot quick shots with frequent unplanned stops as we glide in and out of designated turnouts. Samples below. 

The true beauty of Colorado is in leaving the highways and scenic byways and adventuring into our stunning back county. 

McClure Pass, Crystal Creek Mill    4 x 4 Jeep Tour with Crystal River Jeep Tours

 

This trek between the falls and the mill takes 30 minutes to drive and traverses deep into the aspen forest which can be a bit bumpy.  The tour drivers drive very slow, so you and your equipment will be in very capable hands. Along the way to the mill, seen below, you'll pass one of my favorite hidden lakes, called Lizard Lake. The mirror is of a sheer face limestone cliff, with firs and aspens aligning the lakes edge. It is a sight to behold. There is also a gorgeous valley with a beautiful river running through it along the way that is fun to capture. Well before sunset, we put ourselves at the edge of Beaver Lake, image below, which often stills and is almost to beautiful to take your eyes off of long enough to shoot. It is a gorgeous but small body of water with algae and weeds floating just below the waters surface. Depending on weather, sometimes the water is so clear you can pick the weeds up in your image. The sun screams yellow in July as it sets; it is just so beautiful.  It is difficult NOT to jump out of the jeep every 5 miles along this incredibly scenic stretch of back road Colorado.  

 

The summit itself is one of the highest elevations in Colorado, it is brisk and usually a bit breezy; the views are absolutely stunning. We'll make a number of stops along the well maintained trail, capturing vast valleys, waterfalls, and twists in the road that are fun to shoot. The aspens forests hug the road between the summit and valley floor but what will truly inspire you is the millions of wildflowers blanketing the prairie lands, including  colorful poppies, Baby's Breathe and Columbine. From the time we leave Marble to the time we reach the Crystal River Mill is approximately 5.5 hours.  We'll stop at the beautiufl Coors Falls for a picnic lunch on the rocks of the falls.  (pictures below)

A diamond in the rough..... unplanned stops!

One of the joys of on-location travel photography for me is stummbling upon the unexpected.  Over the last years, I have spent countless weekends exploring the highways and the forest roads of Colorado.  Below, I have listed a few of Colorado's best "unplanned" stops that we'll incorporatie into many of our shoot days as time permits that allow for us to capture abstract tree imagery.  I'll work with your group to think "outside the box" as we attempt to capture each setting in 5 or more completely different exposures.  We'll incorpoate warming filters, gradient filters, polarizers, vertical and horizontal frame attempts......this in an effort to break some of your habits and encourage raw creativity while you collaborate with the varying styles and suggestions within our group setting.  I enourage fill flash to be practiced in these settings as well. (Samples below)  

Beaver Lake, located at the east end of Marble, Colorado often presents itself as a beautiful unplanned stop before or after the Crystal Creek Mill Jeep Tour.  All of these images  (above and below) were taken in the months of September through October...it is lush and green in the summer months.. There is no telling how long autumn's color will last from year to year or when the first snow will fall....we'll tackle the weather events as they come...and simply have fun with them.  As many of you know, my favorite days to photograph is when there are ample clouds and / or storm systems moving through.

 

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Aspens and other deciduous trees will offer ample opportunities throughout the week/weekend for stunning additions to your portfolios

SUNSET SHOOT-- Two of the most exciting hours of the day for a photographer are sunrise and sunset. Our route puts us  right in the McClure Pass, heading across Kebler Pass with a final overnight destination of Crested Butte during these critical magic hours.  Taking the collective opinions of the group in consideration, our sunset shoot will be dependant on the weather and desirable subject matter.  There will be an abundance of Aspen groves and mountainscapes to choose from.  I love shooting the McClure Pass as the sun falls low on the horizon because it truly accentuates the definition on the peaks down this valley.   If there is dense cloud cover or lack of dramatic clouds, we'll head toward a couple of my favorite outlooks and capture the stunning mountain passes on the way to Crested Butte.  Examples below.

 

GOOD MORNING~ AN EARLY RISE AND SHINE:  We'll get a very early start to the day, capturing beautiful blue hour and sunrise shots as mist rises from Pyramid Lake, then continuing to photograph well into the late morning before leaving Crested Butte and heading for Ouray.  Crested Butte is known as the wildflower capitol of the southwest. I love the sprawling valleys and winding roads that uncover a new dimension of rock, mountains, streams and lakes around every corner. It is truly one of the most beautiful destinations in America. We'll get off the typical trek that visitors that stick to paved roads experience and explore two of my favorite forest service roads.  The images below just scratch the surface of images we'll have an opportunity to capture before we head out of town.   

There is a beautiful state park and canyon, Black Canyon, that we'll be passing by, but should be mentioned as a  great destination for you to keep in mind for a later trip to Colorado. We are going to pass it on the way to Ouray, but will not have time to stop.  Once in Ouray, we'll stop at the Box Canyon Falls.  While visiting the falls, we will focus on a "fill flash" exercise integrated with silky motion waterfall movement.  The falls are dropping with such force that you can literally FEEL the rumble throughout your body.  The walk between the parking lot and the falls  is approx 5 mintues, a couple thousand feet, with stairs and railings at the base of the falls.  I'd measure the walk as "easy" but there is a slight elevation gain at  the beginning of the walk.   Samples photos below

Upon completing our shoot here, we'll check into the hotel, eat dinner and relax for awhile so that participants can check email, call home, etc..... at sunset, we'll gather for one last capture of the town of Ouray while perched high above the town at the Switzerland of America reststop.  Safely off the road in this large turnout, we'll set up to capture the lights of the town combined with a beautiful starlit sky.  This will be only night capture of the workshop, but Ouray is the perfect location for it!  We'll have 360 degree views of mountains with our view to the south including the quiant town of Ouray proper.  There is something for everyone and plenty of room to spread out!  Samples below!

GOOD MORNING DALLAS DIVIDE!!!!   This is one of the most widely anticipated captures for most photographers, however most from outside the state flock to the same turnout destination....we will capture the iconic MtSnuffels shot with the San Juans spanning from one end of your frame to the other, but we'll also slide outside the norm and head to a couple of my favorite secret spots.   After which we'll head into Telluride and capture Bridal Veil Falls, before heading back to Ouray for a two hour drive up I-550, better known as the Million Dollar Highway!  The views are sweeping and stunning.  

As we spend a second evening in Ouray, after we enjoy chasing the sunset captures inside the San Juan Mountains, we'll have some time to relax after dinner.  Time pending we can settle into a coffee house or wine bar and discuss post production techniques for many of the captures we will have already shot on this adventure...or if the conference room is available at our hotel, I will process one or two of my captures discussing the many layers I build into my post, as many have shown an interest in my workflow.  Every photographer has a workflow in post that is unique to that photographer..I find the more I learn about how others attack the post end of thier final piece, the better I execute in the field.  This has a lot to do with how I will enhance or meld multiple images together in layers during my final post and what is required in the filed to provide me with the wide range of options I'll need at hand.  This is a fun evening of collaboration within the group, as by now, we've begun to build lifelong peer friendships.  There is an opportunity for those who would like to attempt a second night capture to head up the canyon for a second evening.  I personally find the rest priceless as tomorrow brings a full day of 4 x 4 off road trekking into the San Juan Mnts where we will hit more than one incredible summit, with unparrelled views of Colorado's Outback!  Samples below:

Painted Mountain One~ Corkscrew Trail- A favorite

(Upper & Lower Image)

Painted Mountain One~ Corkscrew Trail- A favorite

Heavenly Trail- Private to SJJT and reaches the summit of Painted Mountain #3

(Below)  Image of Painted Mountain Two toward Yankee Basin by way of Corkscrew Trail.

Summit capture atop Governor's Basin Trailhead

Summit atop the Governor's Basin Trailhead. 

Capture from the Million Dollar Highway (Above)

After spending 10 -12 hours on the 4 x 4 trails in the San Juan Mountains above Ouray that will span our day from sunrise to sunset, we'll grab dinner settle in for the night.  As we wake early for a day of travel back to Denver, we'll have an opportunity to shoot the Dallas Divide one more time before leaving the area if we choose to. Many times, having two mornings set aside for this area is key, in that weather events hang close to these peaks and can make or break sunrise captures....Ouray is 7 solid hours from Denver. Our goal is to arrive in Avon by 6pm.  Participants that would like to stay at the B & B and extend their visit to a full week or more are encouraged to do so.  There are a number of additional day trips available from Avon for those staying ~ additional captures below of sunrise along the Divide.