Grand Teton Photography and Field Guide

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Winter Photo Safaris

Wildlife safari, see wolves


San Juan Autumn Photo Shoot
San Juan Sunset

Custom tour & immersion workshop

Mount Sneffles at Dallas Divide, True Grits’, Chimney Rock at Owl Creek Pass, the golden trees of the Million Dollar Highway, the snake rail fences of Last Dollar Road and the cool refurbished mining towns of Ouray; Silverton and Telluride draw photographers from around the world like a magnet. The San Juan Mountains is a must see destination for any mountain landscape photographer.

Autumn brings incredible changes to the alpine terrain in the San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado. Crisp nights and cool days make it an especially enjoyable time of year in southwestern Colorado. Fall foliage glistens with golden leaves of the cottonwood and aspens, as well of the reds of the oaks. The proliferation of summer wildflowers has succumbed to the first freezes of fall subsequently turning the understory of berry bushes and sub-alpine tundra orange and ruby red. 

All this beauty is crowned by the stunning granite peaks of the largest mountain range in Colorado. Lucky photographers, get a new blanket of snow on the peaks adding another layer to accent the panoply of color. The leaves typically begin changing around the tenth of September, and the peak is often the third week of September.  However, there are ample patches of golden aspens well into the second week of October in most years.


The combination of golden aspens and colorful oak brush provide a stunning complement to the beautiful mountain scenery.  A treat for me since we don’t have the red oak where I live up by Jackson Hole Wyoming.  The San Juan Mountains are a truly sensational destination for fall color photography. An endless ocean of golden aspen trees flow across a landscape which rises up to jagged, snow-capped peaks.

The old mining towns of the San Juans, Ouray, Rico, Silverton and Telluride add a cooi eighteenth century western charm to this already incredible landscape. These towns are also worth a shot or two as are a few of their saloons.

While considering my permanent escape from California in 1987, I had narrowed my options between Telluride Colorado and Jackson Hole Wyoming.  I chose Jackson Hole because not only did it have stunning mountains; it also had grizzly bears. Telluride or anywhere in the San Juans would though have been a worthy choice, having shot Jackson Hole for three decades I feel kind of wistful.

If you would like to join me for a private photo tutoring tour of this incredible destination let me know.