Last October, I spent a few days exploring and photographing the fall colors in the Colorado Rockies. I had been up to Kebler Pass outside of Crested Butte before, but this time the aspens were closer to peak fall color, near perfect conditions.
The area was busy with other photographers, leaf peepers, and people just out and about enjoying the idyllic fall weather and amazing colorful foliage. But I didn't have to hike too far into the glades to find peace and solitude.
The glades run for miles along the dirt road that goes through the pass. There are pullouts every so often and amazing compositions along the way. I spent the afternoon chasing abstract autumn aspen scenes in the glades until the light started to change. The tall golden aspens with an understory of dry ferns were just surreal to hike and photograph.
An autumn storm made for dark skies above the golden aspen glades. It was almost too much to witness all at once. I was fascinated by the sunlit peak in this image above the tall aspen stands. I don't know if this particular part of the ridge has a name.
I decided to isolate this scene with my long telephoto lens. I love the compression effect of the layers with the telephoto lens. I shot several images until the light faded, but this one stood out with the dappled light and golden aspens against the dark sky.
As the last of the alpenglow dimmed, I put my gear away and thought about what I had just witnessed. I was absolutely gobsmacked by the experience of catching the aspens in that kind of light. I headed out to find my campsite in the national forest and found a nice spot down the road underneath the aspens.
The entire West Elk mountain range that Kebler Pass sits in is incredibly photogenic, and there are a lot of opportunities to get out off the beaten path and explore the vast aspen forests and peaks. I can't wait for my next chance to return.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor