Category Archives: Landscape

Utah Fall Color

I spent a long weekend in northern Utah shooting fall color. The maples are spectacular this year near Heber City and on the Nebo Mountain Loop.  With heavy snow and generally bad weather wreaking havoc on theColorado fall scene, I headed across the border to Utah.  I had always wanted to see the maples there and finally had the chance.  I visited several of the canyons, including Pine Creek, Big Cottonwood Canyon, and Provo Canyon.  The best color was on the Deer Creek Overlook which is located between Salt Lake and Heber City.  I also drove the Nebo Mountain Loop south of Provo which also had some dazzling color, especially near the Bear Canyon Campground.

Heber City is a pretty little town on the back side of the Wasatch Front across from Salt Lake City.  It is a perfect place to explore the various canyons to the west such as Cascade Springs, Pine Creek, and Big Cottonwood.  I walked around Cascade Springs which is a natural spring and creek.  A nature trail winds through the area. Dispersed camping is available along the road past the springs.  This portion of the road road is quite rough so bring the 4×4.  I found some cool places to shoot maples.  The color was quite vibrant in this area.  From there, I explored the Deer Creek Overlook.  This was located down the main road just a couple of miles from the springs.  This is a great place to watch the sunrise.  Too bad there were so many clouds that morning.

That afternoon I did the Nebo Mountain Loop.  This road loops from Payson to Nephi a few miles south of Spanish Forks.  It has a number of highlights including great views of bald Mountain and Nebo Mountain. The best color on the loop is found near the southern end by the Bear Canyon campground.

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Rogers Peak Lake

I backpacked to Rogers Peak Lake in the James Peak Wilderness near Rollinsville, CO.  The lake sits at treeline in a beautiful valley near the East Portal train tunnel.   Rogers Peak is a pointed mountain that frames the south east side of the lake.  The hike to get to the lake is about 4.5 miles.  It is moderate climb from the trailhead until the last mile when the trail begins to climb steeply up to the basin.  

Trail Description

The trail begins rather easily as it parallels the railroad tunnel. At about 1/2 mile, the trail divides.  The fork to the right leads to Forest Lakes.  After a mile, the trail enters the forest and begins to climb up a rocky embankment.  You catch glimpses of the pretty South Boulder Creek through the trees.  Around 2 miles, the trail forks again.  The right fork leads to Crater Lake trail.  Around three miles, the trail crosses South Boulder Creek and climbs steadily to the lake from here.  The trail crosses several boggy spots and is lined with tree roots in this section.   The trees thin around mile 4 and the lake is close at hand.  Camping is plentiful below the lake, just a past a small tarn to the left.  Once at the lake, the trail continues up to Rogers Lake Pass or diverts to Heart Lake. 

Rogers Peak Lake contains several species of trout and offers decent fishing for sizable fish.  I caught three brook trout.  The lake is good for photography both at sunrise and sunset.  It’s also a good place to see the Milky Way.

Getting There

Take Highway 119 from Boulder to Nederland and turn south.  Go 5 miles to Rollinsville and turn right onto a dirt road to the East Portal. Go 8 miles to the trailhead. 

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Gap Lakes

I backpacked to the Gap Lakes in the Snowy Range of Wyoming just before the eclipse.  This is a pretty area with several small lakes and tarns just a short distance form the trailhead.  I camped near South Gap Lake and explored some tarns around the area.  There are many small ponds with beautiful reflections to photograph in this area.  Lewis Lake at the trailhead is perhaps the prettiest of all the lakes.  I will have to return to this area to do some fishing.  

Getting There

The trailhead to the Gap Lakes is located at the Libby Lake and Lewis Lake picnic ground which is about a half a mile from the summit of the Snowy Range road. Proceed west out of Laramie, Wyoming for about 30 miles on the Snowy Range Road to reach this area.  The trail itself climbs about two hundred feet in elevation from Lewis Lake and arrives at the Gap Lakes in less than a mile.  You can explore the trial further to reach Deep Lake and other lakes in the region or take a different trail to reach Mirror Lake to the West.  

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Total Eclipse

I drove up near Laramie Peak in the Medicine Bow National Forest to view the total solar eclipse.  This national forest area offers a large area for dispersed camping so it was very popular with eclipse watchers.  It was fun to experience the event with thousands of other campers.  I also hiked most of Laramie Peak which was a good hike.  We had a beautiful clear day to view the eclipse.  I had never experienced a total eclipse before so it was an amazing event.  

To shoot the eclipse, I used a Canon 100-400 lens.  I set my ISO at 800 and f-stop at 7.1.  I took shots about every 10 minutes.  I bracketed my exposures by setting auto bracketing to 5 steps (-2, -1, 0, +1, +2).  When totality hit, it was a crazy scene.  People started cheering as it got dark.  I shot a wide angle exposure of the area around the peak and then as I was taking the solar filter off of my zoom the sun came back out.  So I missed the shot of totality.  Oh well.  90 seconds goes by faster than you think.  It was still amazing to see.  

Then the world’s largest traffic jam happened.  I waited 4 hours just to get out of Glendo.  Maybe the DOT should’ve opened north and southbound lanes to go south.  It took 6 hours to drive back to Denver.  Truly mind boggling to think more people came out to watch an eclipse than for any rock concert or sporting event.  

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Waterfalls of Northeastern Pennsylvania

I just got back from a trip to Pennsylvania.  While I was there, I hiked to a number of waterfalls in northeastern Pennsylvania.  I visited Ricketts Glen State Park and several falls in the Delaware Water Gap.  While the falls are not huge, they are very ornate and pretty.  Many have incredible rock ledges or steps over which the water flows. I came away with a number of interesting compositions on the trip.  

Ricketts Glen State Park

The Ganoga Glen of Ricketts Glen State Park has ten waterfalls that appear one after another in a short 1 mile stretch of creek.  Then as you loop back up Glen Leigh, more waterfalls await.  I think I counted sixteen waterfalls in the span off a 4.5 mile round-trip hike.  This quickly became one of my favorite spots to see waterfalls in the U.S.  The trail descends steeply from a parking area and you reach Mohawk Falls after a short hike.  From there, waterfalls keep coming as you descend rock stair after rock stair. The tallest falls is just under 100 feet–Ganoga Falls.  But even a small ten-foot drop makes for a good photograph in this beautiful park.  I found Delaware Falls particularly photogenic with its tree-strewn cascades.  Mohican Falls is also very photogenic because of a large tree that has fallen along side of it.  The falls also reflects in the calm pool in front of it–a double bonus.  After Tuscarora Falls, the waters of the two creeks converge and you cross a bridge to head up Glen Leigh.  More waterfalls greet you as you climb back up to the parking lot.  The nice feature about Ricketts Glen is that the falls are often shaded by trees so you can get good photographs even on a sunny day as I had for the hike.  

Delaware Water Gap

The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation area contains several waterfalls along its many creeks that feed into the Delaware River. I visited three areas: Hornsbeck Creek, Dingman’s Falls, and Raymondskill Falls.  All are located just off Highway 209 in ascending order as you head north.  

Hornsbeck Creek

I think the most interesting waterfall to photograph was along Hornsbeck Creek.  The creek is located about 2 miles north of the Pocono Environmental Education Center off Emery Road.  The trail follows the north side of the creek as it descends below the road.  You come to the falls after about a half mile hike.  A short but steep faint trail leads down to the base of the waterfall.  It was a cool place to see but hard to photograph on a sunny day.  Lots of contrast!  

Dingman’s Falls 

The parking lot and trail to Dingman’s Falls is located just a little farther north on 209.  The trail first stops by the extremely thin but beautiful Silverthread Falls.  It is long and narrow and somewhat hard to photograph but still worth a stop.  The trail then winds around fro another half mile before reaching Dingman’s Falls.  This falls is much bigger.  A moderate wide angle or short telephoto would be ideal to photograph this waterfall as you can’t get right up to it.  

Raymondskill Falls

Raymondskill Falls is the last of the trio of waterfalls along 209.  It is allegedly the tallest falls in Pennsylvania but this is misleading.  It has several different drops and the main falls is not that large in and of itself.  It is still worth a stop and takes only a short hike along a loop trail to see the main falls.  

 

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