My Favorite Photos from 2020

2020  |  Colorado River near Grand Junction

I think most of us will be ready to bid adieu to 2020 in a few days. The past 10 months have been difficult for many, and even tragic for folks, too. I hope in some small way, my photographs of Colorado's beauty can help just a bit, though I know it can never undo the damage - emotionally, physically, financially - many have experienced.

Nevertheless, we carry on. In this last blog of the year, I'd like to share my personal favorites from 2020, in no particular order.

First up, an early morning hike up to Butler Gulch in late July found me freezing while standing in a stream photographing this tuft of Parry's Primrose. The sky was amazing and the air calm as cold snow-melt waters rushed downstream on both sides of me.

Parry's Primrose Cascade Sunrise 721-1

The wildflowers were so nice, I made the trek up Butler Gulch several times this summer and was rewarded with some amazing sunrises. Here, a pink wildflower (Parry’s Primrose) sits in the middle of a cold stream fed by melting snows.

On another cold morning, I had just about given up on sunrise when the sky lit up over Lake Granby. I made a quick pullout from Highway 34, walked along the rocky shore, and found this view of the still waters.

Lake Granby Sunrise 625-2

Lake Granby turns ablaze in color on a beautiful summer morning as the first light of day spreads across the landscape. Located between the towns of Grand Lake and Granby, this area offers amazing view and endless trails and hiking paths to explore.

One early morning, I left our place in Winter Park around 3:45am to make the 15 mile bumpy drive up to Rollins Pass. From there, I hiked along the CDC Trail to King Lake. With the temperature in the high 20s at just under 12,000 feet in altitude, these rugged little sunflowers, known as "Old Man of the Mountain," greeted both me and the morning light.

King Lake Summer Sunrise 703-1

From an elevation of around 11,700 feet, this is the view of King Lake on an early July sunrise. Calm winds and a beautiful sky helped make this photograph possible. I left my warm bed in Winter Park about 3:45am and drove the 15 long miles up the 4WD dirt road of Rollins Pass, then took a short hike down the Continental Divide Trail. From there, the view of King Lake came into sight, complete with golden sunflowers (also known as “Old Man of the Mountain.” It was a glorious morning.

From Grand Lake, Colorado, morning clouds made for a beautiful sunrise. I don't think I saw another person while shooting this amazing scene. The reds, yellows, and aquas of the boats as well as the blue and orange of the clouds and sky made for a stunning reflection in the still waters.

Grand Lake before Sunrise 626-2

Beautiful clouds hang above Grand Lake and make a beautiful reflection in the still water. This photograph was taken just before sunrise on a cold, June morning.

For a time, the comet NEOWISE was the talk of the astronomy world. I am including this photograph both for the beauty and wonder as well as for the effort it took. I'd started this hike up near Berthoud Pass to reach treeline around 3am. As I was attempting to cross a small creek, I slipped and the weight of a tripod, large telephoto lens and camera, as well as other accessories, pulled me backwards into the 34 degree water, soaking one side of my body. After some thought and regrouping, I continued on, figuring I was already cold and wet, so might as well keep going! Later, I'd discover my new Garmin GPS had slipped out of my pocket when I was partially submerged in the water. I returned that afternoon to search for it, but I imagine it was washed miles downstream by that point. Still, I made it up to nearly the treeline before finally stopping to set up, take a few shots with a telephoto lens, and calling it a morning.

Comet NEOWISE through the Pine Trees 2

The comet NEOWISE hangs in the deep blue sky about 45 minutes before sunrise. With a faint orange glow on the horizon, this photograph captures a rare celestial event high in the Rocky Mountains on a cold summer morning at about 11,000 feet. The dot on the right is the planet Venus.

Before this, I was able to take a few images of NEOWISE near Grand Lake, as well as from high up on the CDC Trail near Berthoud Pass and in Rocky Mountain National Park. Looking up and viewing the comet left me with a sense of awe at how small we are on this Little Rock as we hurtle through space.

Lastly, I made my annual summer drive to the Grand Junction area to visit a good friend. Several years ago when I was out shooting at Colorado National Monument, I met a guy, Dale, who was enjoying the views. We started talking, kept in touch, and became friends. Each year Dale and his son take me to some places I'd never find on the western slope. A few years ago, it was Rattlesnake Canyon. Last year, it was the Grand Mesa. This year, our time was spent in some areas overlooking the Colorado River as it flows westward toward Utah and the Pacific Ocean. Dale has opened my eyes to the incredible landscapes on the western slope, and I look forward to future trips.

Colorado River Sunset 717-2

Hiking along the bike trails of the Kokopelli Trail, some locals and I came across this amazing view of the Colorado River and Horsethief Canyon at sunset. The colors of the fading sun add a splas of red and orange to a beautiful end of the day.

Colorado River and Horsethief Canyon Morning 717-1

This aerial photograph looks east and shows the Colorado River at sunrise on a perfect July morning.

I hope everyone has a bit better 2021. Take care. Be safe. Hang in there.

~ Rob

Old Man of the Mountain (not me) grace the slopes around King Lake atop Rollins Pass near the resort town of Winter Park. The...
King Lake Sunflower Sunrise Panorama 703-1

Old Man of the Mountain (not me) grace the slopes around King Lake atop Rollins Pass near the resort town of Winter Park. The trek up here is a 15 mile drive down a bumpy 4WD dirt road, then a short hike along the Continental Divide Trail. These sunflowers bloom in late June and early July and add a splash of color to an amazing landscape high atop the Rocky Mountains.

This panorama is available in larger and custom sizes.

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If you have any questions about these photographs from Colorado, please do not hesitate to contact me.