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Colorado and the Rocky Mountains are wonderful to see and photograph, especially in the fall when the aspens turn golden yellow. After spending a couple of days in Aspen to photograph the Maroon Bells, Mt Sophris and the surrounding area, we drove south along CO 133. Along the way, we visited the Crystal Mill and spent much of the day photographing the aspen forests that blanket the area. As a result we reached County Road 12 very late in the day. Driving towards the Kebler Pass, we stopped in our tracks at the sight of several old groves of very tall aspens. Most of my limited time here was spent shooting panoramas of this grove with the mountains in the background, but I did manage to get a few detail shots of the aspens and the colorful underbrush.
For me, shooting forest scenes is not as simple as it first seems. Trees tend to be crooked, scenes lack a central point of interest, are busy, etc. But aspens tend to simplify things with their ramrod straight trunks and regular spacing.
Crested Butte is the best town to stay in for this region. Late September through early October seems to be the best time for fall color. While most of the county roads including CO 12 are not paved, they are generally well graded and drivable in a regular two wheel drive vehicle. Some of the side roads can be rutted, in which case a high clearance vehicle is helpful to have. I relied on Jason Hatfield’s Colorado’s Fall Colors - A Photographer’s Guide for excellent advice on locations and road conditions.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor