Monday, September 19, 2011

Early fall in the San Juans

Yesterday was the first sunny, rain-free day we've had since we got back from Boise last week.  So, it was up to the mountains for us!  With the system that came through the region, we got much lower temps and rain, but the high country got its first snow of the season above 12,600' or so.

I brought my plein air gear (including chair and folding table) along for the ~3 mile RT hike along Cascade Creek.  However, the resultant painting was so horribly bad (on the black construction paper...last time I bring that along) that it's going straight in the trash whenever I get around to breaking out my plein air box.

In the meantime, here are some photos from the hike and a drive up to Molas Pass to scope out the fall color situation.


Engineer Peak as seen along Hwy 550 on the way to Cascade Creek
Lookin' good, as always

Mourning Cloak butterfly
These butterflies are one of the earliest to appear in spring (I saw them on our trip to Cedar Mesa back in early April) and keep right on going well into fall.  They are extremely wary, which makes them difficult to approach and photograph.  Because I didn't anticipate any butterflies on the hike due to the low temps, I didn't bring my telephoto lens on the hike.

This was shot @70mm holding the camera near the ground, carefully moving it as close to the insect as possible, and shot blindly.  Sometimes, that works!

The Cascade Creek trail
My painting location was to the right and closer to the large boulder near the trail

A pair of Clouded Sulfur butterflies (male in front) feed on some late season red clover

3-part pano shot taken at Molas Pass - view is to the northeast
Molas Lake is seen in the middle
(click on photo to see larger view)

Snowdon Peak as seen from the Colorado Trail after it crosses Hwy 550
View is to the south


  1. Sorry the painting didn't work out, but the photographs are wonderful.
    That Engineer Peak is pretty spectacular!

  2. Thanks, Debbie. Actually, I don't mind that the painting didn't turn out; they really never do on these hiking/fishing trips (assuming I even try to paint). Just getting out on the trail and even making the effort was a good thing for me :).

  3. Thanks Liz! I had a great time shooting them, that's for sure :)


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