This fall, on the third day of our 4-day trip in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado to photograph fall colors, my friend and I were traveling on the Million Dollar Highway heading from Ouray to our intended destination of Silverton, a National Historic Landmark, part of the San Juan Skyway, for the day. Million Dollar Highway is so-called perhaps because of the cost to build, the amazing San Juan Mountain views, or the amount of gold ore that remained in the roadway’s fill. This road is winding with hairpin turns and few guardrails. We have no idea how tanker drivers drive this road without being nervous or white-knuckled.
On this canyon-clinging scenic roadway, we were lucky to find a pullout to park near a lake with surrounding hillsides of various species of trees, including Colorado's infamous aspen trees, in peak colors. It was still early morning. As we walked around, we saw no clouds or mountain reflections in the water, which is disappointing to most landscape photographers. Wind was minimal, which was good. What inspired us was the fog. Lots of fog. We walked a path on the side of the lake which positioned us across from the fog until we each found a spot to set up our tripods. Joy. It was pure joy. We spent three hours moving up and down the path photographing frost-ridden grasses with the hillside fall color reflections in the water before getting back in the car to head to Silverton. It was so much fun to do something new and different. Both my friend and I enjoyed finding unique compositions at different focal lengths and comparing what we each photographed. Our creativity was unleashed. Dressing in layers and wearing warm socks and a hat helped us enjoy it even more.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor