October 5, 2015

Colorado Fall Color Tour — A Report


My attitude towards photography tours used to be, “why pay someone to take me around when I can do some research and find my own way?” But that changed when I went on the 2015 Colorado Fall Color Tour, hosted by my friend Rick Louie.

It was my friend Chris Nitz who convinced me to take Rick’s tour. Chris had gone on the tour the first three years and was joining this year’s fourth edition as a crew member, providing a second (much needed) four-wheel-drive vehicle.

Also joining the staff was my friend Armando Martinez of The Photo Frontier. Armando conducted a creative demo of Adobe Lightroom for the group, offered shooting advice along the way, and documented the trip in photos and video.

Aspen and Mountain

The tour started on Wednesday, September 23 at noon when we left Denver for the Aspen area for one night and a morning shoot at Maroon Bells. It continued on to the Telluride area for three nights and concluded on Sunday with a drive back to Denver. Each of the long drives was broken up with frequent stops to photograph whatever caught our attention.

The official list of locations we hit looks something like this:

  • Maroon Bells
  • Crystal Mill
  • Crystal Lake
  • Last Dollar Road
  • Mt. Wilson
  • Bridal Veil Falls
  • Imogene Pass
  • Assorted Aspen Groves
  • Grand Mesa (on the drive back to Denver)
Color from Last Dollar Road

Yes, I could have planned a trip to Colorado. And yes, I could have gotten some good (if not great) photos. But I would not have found half of the locations we hit and, even if I did, I never would have attempted to navigate some of the roads we drove. And I know I never would have stuck to such an exhilarating, aggressive shooting schedule if I were on my own.

Rick kept things structured, but flexible. He mapped out a schedule of sunrise and sunset shooting locations as well as additional possible/probable afternoon shooting locations. But the plan could be easily modified to accommodate weather conditions and the overall desires of the group. On a couple of days, for example, we were presented with options to shoot sunset.

Aspen

There was an infectious, creative vibe that permeated the Tour. We were eight photographers with a single minded desire to find and take great photos. It was that desire that helped this diverse mix personalities get along so well.

There was a lot of one-on-one attention. Even though this wasn’t a workshop, Rick and Armando were happy to suggest comps, lens selection and camera settings.

The proof of success is, of course, is in the final take of images. And to that I can say that this was the most productive trip I have ever been on.

Thanks again, Rick, Armando and Chris.

Color from Grand Mesa

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  1. could not have said it better and your description of the tour was spot on! Glad to finally have the chance to meet and shoot with you!

    JD