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A Denver Half-Day

Earlier this summer I went out to Denver for work for a week. I spent my Saturday in a rental car I found on Turo and drove around to explore some of the sites my Lyft drivers had been telling me about all week. Expecting Estes Park to be crowded with most Coloradans visiting on the beautiful Saturday morning, I resolved to hit up Red Rocks, Colorado Springs, and then see what time I had left. Boulder, Estes Park, and Garden of the Gods all sounded intriguing and had a lot of appeal, but I wasn't sure what parking would look like or how long I'd be on hikes. I'm sharing photos a bit in reverse order to reevaluate this sort of photo essay. Which makes me wonder, what is a photo essay? Am I using too many words for it? Or do I need less words? Anyways, here's ̶W̶o̶n̶d̶e̶r̶w̶a̶l̶l̶ Colorado.

Generic scenes of CO: mountains in the background, a stream off to the side, and cliffs peppered with tons of beautiful, lush, greenery.

It was a nice sight to see people just dropped into streams in waders to fly fish. Totally foreign culture to me, but the ability to just get out and go fish was sweet.

These streams were small, but clearly had deep channels and resulted in white waters. I was confused and also in awe of the rich water system I drove alongside.

Road trip views like these are always delectable.

My ride for the day. I think, looking back on this photo now, I needed a different focal length to reduce the amount of distortion.

Water movement. If you've ever seen my photography work, you know I love light and water. Laminar flow, light through water, light on water, etc. It's all so beautiful to me. It's like glass sculptures, but it only lasts for that singular moment never again to be repeated.

Aforementioned fly fishers.

Peaking through the trees at the river's bend.

Again, road trip views! This time, though, with burnt trees. Colorado has seen at least 32,860 acres burned in wildfires by July 1, 2021 alone. I thought this was such a strange sight to see. The green that exists in Colorado is so bright, vibrant, and verdant compared to the beautiful brick-red rocks and dirt that comprise so much of the National Forests and many parks in the area.

I took some time driving around the Garden of the Gods park. I had every intention of parking and going on a little hike, but I clearly did not time it well and looped one of the lots for a good 30 minutes before deciding to just drive north towards Estes Park.

Something about the clouds on these days just screamed out to me that this is an ominous place. True to its name, there is a reverence demanded from these rocks.

I enjoy trying to abstract already fascinating and unique structures. I don't know how successful I am, but looking at the diagonal of the shape and contrasting the cool, soft, weighted clouds with the jagged, bright, hard rock is pleasing to my eyes for some reason.

On the long drive around the park trying to find parking, a lot of cars are just stopped waiting for pedestrians and as others try to find parking. I happened to have my window down and heard a helicopter nearby and tried to capture the moment. I don't know if compositionally this works, but the helicopter, harsh rocks, and dark clouds craft a story that is unsettling to me. Granted, I grew up on the Potomac River which frequently had helicopters roving above the river to look for lost hikers and illegal swimmers.

The scale of the ampitheater at

Started my morning at Red Rocks, and took the little jaunt off to the side of the parking lot.

Did I mention the beautiful lush greenery all over Colorado? I love evergreens, and these periwinkle berries just brought light to the greenery that speckled the texture of these photographs.

Of course, we had to get some floral shots.

Pathway shots are still a challenge. I think I hate the railing, but without it, I'm not sure what would be guiding the viewer's eye from the bottom right into the composition.

The background reminds me of Settlers of Catan. If I were to go back, I'd easily reset the composition to capture that background.

Twisty, turning pathway shot. With a tree in the mid-ground. Not my most successful, but art is about the process and journey, no?

Always all about the trail views.

Is it wrong to share the journey of photography? Is it bad to highlight my photography failures in these posts?

I really love the look of these rocks. This photograph reminds me of the compression of breathing space that Frank Lloyd Wright accomplished in his Falling Water—pushing the viewer out into the open space to catch a breath. The irony is that this entire photo is wide open space and atmosphere.

And here! We wind up with that Settlers of Catan shot. I want to just rest my eyes on that mid-ground and raise some sheep there.

That was my half day driving around Denver, CO! I'm enjoying getting to add these compositions to my budding landscape photography portfolio. As always, feel free to reach out if you'd like me to add any of these to my store for purchase!


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