The Quiet Time


Snow has come to the peaks but the valleys have received very little moisture. What has fallen melts, leaving a landscape in-between seasons. It’s a quiet landscape … summer and fall visitors are long-gone and winter enthusiasts haven’t arrived. Some businesses close and workers take time off in what is known as ‘shoulder season’. It’s a good time for everyone to slow down, and take a break. And I have too (to some extent) but my camera and I can’t stay away from the landscape long! Getting out is good for my head no matter what, and I love the more relaxed feeling this quiet time brings.

A broken fence creates a western theme in this Colorado mountain scene.

‘Broken Fence Below Mountain’ © Denise Bush

Low clouds hang in the valleys after a snow and rain storm in the mountains.

‘Cimarron Inversion’ © Denise Bush

A half moon rises over Lone Cone Mountain, near Norwood and Telluride Colorado.

‘Moon Over Lone Cone’ © Denise Bush

Snow starts on the peaks and works its way down the slopes into winter.

‘Winter Is Coming’ © Denise Bush

It wouldn’t be fair to close out the fall foliage season without giving cottonwoods their due. Perhaps they are not as beloved as aspen trees but they do have qualities all their own. While they may look big and strong, their large branches break easily. I am always on the lookout for some with nice shapes. Cottonwoods are still hanging on to their leaves when the aspen trees are bare. Their colorful offerings help ween me from the aspen’s explosion of color, into a more monochromatic landscape. I hope you enjoy the images … the credit goes to the cottonwoods!

Cottonwoods adorn a sweeping view near Ridgway, Colorado.

‘Ranch View In Fall’ © Denise Bush

A closer look at some cottonwood trees refeals their structure and character.

‘Cottonwood Brilliance’ © Denise Bush

A beautiful group of cottonwood trees light up with late day light.

‘Cottonwoods & Mountain View’ © Denise Bush

Some golden cottonwoods below Mount Sneffels create a pleasing autumn scene.

‘Cottonwoods Below’ © Denise Bush
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The right light and golden foliage lights up a group of cottonwood trees in fall.

‘Below My Mesa’ © Denise Bush

Bright autumn cottonwoods border some grazing land in Ridgway Colorado.

‘Good For Grazing’ © Denise Bush

Hills with backlit cottonwood trees is a pretty sight, photographed at just the right moment.

‘Cottonwood Hills’ © Denise Bush

Do you love fall too? Check out my four previous posts … just click on ‘Denise Bush’s Photo Blog at the top and scroll down to see more!

Here’s the last of my three-part, ‘Autumn Magic’ series, highlighting foliage in the beautiful San Juan Mountains of Colorado! I hope you enjoyed seeing the images. They were fun to make and share. Upon noticing some golden cottonwoods on a recent drive north I think I might have one more seasonal post in me. Found below the mountains, their color changed later and lasted a longer than the aspens. But as I write this, snow is expected. Soon it will be time to share winter scenes! I will surely miss fall, and warmer temperatures but getting out in the beautiful landscape is a blessing no matter the season.

A wooden corral is an accent to a beautiful scene near Ridgway, Colorado.

‘Corral With A View’ © Denise Bush
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A mountain lake and view of a snow covered mountain creates an idyllic scene.

‘Lake With Mountain View’ © Denise Bush

Beautiful, happy clouds add to a perfect day for a leaf peeping drive!

‘Happy Clouds Over Autumn Road’ © Denise Bush

Aspen trees mingle with spruce while catching the light on the side of a cliff.

‘Bright Bits Of Gold’ © Denise Bush

Nothing beats scenic beauty like snow on the peaks in autumn!

‘Snowy Peak In Autumn’ © Denise Bush

Golden aspens set the stage for an autumn scene with a distan outcropping.

‘Rocky Outcrop Beyond Autumn’ © Denise Bush

A curvy dirt road winds through the countryside toward the autumn colors up ahead.

‘Curving Toward Autumn’ © Denise Bush

Tall aspen trees display a beautiful gradient from orange to yellow

‘Orange & Yellow Combo’ © Denise Bush

With a snowstorm expected overnight, here's the last look at some autumn foliage below Sunshine Mountain, near Telluride.

‘End Of Autumn’ © Denise Bush

You have to capture the magic when you can! The images here and in the previous two posts were shot between September 19 and October 11 … a 23 day window. That’s not a lot when you consider a year is 365 days. It doesn’t seem right … that’s less than 7% of the year! Shortly after my last outing on the 11th we had snow and wind that took away most of the aspen foliage. Some golden cottonwood trees lingered, but the best of it went way too fast. Here are more images that I hope show why autumn is a magical time for me!

Wilson Peak, near Telluride Colorado, peeks out above some autumn, leaning aspen trees.

‘Through Leaning Aspens’ © Denise Bush
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Awesome autumn views can be seen from high points in the San Juan Mountains.

‘Awesome Autumn View’ © Denise Bush

An open view of a bluf and forest below creates a scene that looks like a tapestry.

‘Tapestry Slope’ © Denise Bush

The Million Dollar Hwy runs through this breathtaking valley in Ouray County, Colorado.

‘Down In The Valley’ © Denise Bush

Pretty clouds and light create a tranquil autumn scene, in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.

‘Autumn Near Ophir’ © Denise Bush

Young aspen sprouts create a beautiful array of fall color against the dark, blue-grey rock.

‘Fall Foliage, Slopeside’ © Denise Bush

Early morning light and a long pinkish cloud create a pretty autumn scene in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.

‘Long Cloud Over Distant Mountain’ © Denise Bush

Orange aspens set the stage for a knobby mountain in the distance.

‘Knobby Mountain View’ © Denise Bush

To see my previous 2021 autumn posts click ‘Denise Bush’s Photo Blog’ at the top and scroll down. Thanks for visiting!

Autumn is a magical time of the year for me and I love every phase … from the first colorful signs to the last leaf. I contemplated how I wanted to present my fall images this year. Should I show them by date? Should I show all the mountain scenes together? Another ‘tree’ post? Thinking while processing, processing while thinking, I came to the decision to simply show them as a mixed variety. I hope there’s some magic in your fall wherever you are! Here’s my first set …

Orange aspen leaves help a lone aspen tree standout against the background slope.

‘Autumn Standout’ © Denise Bush

Bright sidelighting illuminates close aspen trees as a mountain shows its colors beyond.

‘Through Golden Leaves’ © Denise Bush

A frosty morning in a wetland area accentuates the texture of some grass for an unexpected foreground.

‘Frosty Fall Morning’ © Denise Bush

A group of aspens look like flames ... orange and red and fiery!

‘Fiery Grouping’ © Denise Bush

A slope of aspen trees is reflected in a wetland area, creating a different view of autumn.

‘Wetland Reflection’ © Denise Bush

Some aspens light up with vibrant color while the sky darkens, warning of an incoming storm.

‘Before The Storm’ © Denise Bush
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There’s more ‘Autumn Magic’ to come, and in case you missed it, my previous post was dedicated to fall aspens.

Unlike some autumn landscapes I’ll be posting in the future, this collection is all about aspens! Oh, upcoming posts will include aspens too, along with mountains of course. Fall is very fleeting here and I have been getting out as much as possible to capture it, before some friends visit, and before its over. I’ve been a little absent from blogging for that reason. I fell early in the season and damaged my favorite lens, a 24-105mm. I’ve missed it but it probably has been good, since it has me getting even better acquainted with other lenses. Most of my shooting has been with my 70-200mm f/2.8 which is an excellent lens. For other shots I’ve used a wide 16-35mm, 50mm prime and sometimes the big 150-600mm for far away captures. No matter what lens I’m using it is always fun to photograph aspen tees. I love them and many people tell me they do too! I hope you enjoy this selection … thanks for visiting.

A few orange aspen leaves add an accent to the yellow!

‘A Touch Of Orange’ © Denise Bush

An attractive arrangement of aspen trunks allow a glimpse of autumn ... in-between.

‘Autumn In-between’ © Denise Bush
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Younger aspens often have foliage lower on their trunks. Here, in a uniform row, they make a unique design.

‘Low Riders’ © Denise Bush

Ferns beneath tall aspens create a pretty early autumn scene.

‘Fern Forest Floor’ © Denise Bush

Leaning, bright white trunks and colorful foliage are the theme of this aspen image.

‘Tricolor Leaners’ © Denise Bush

Fabulous Fall


Autumn is a beautiful time of the year and to celebrate I’m offering 20% off my commission, on everything in my online store. There are all kinds of options … great for all occasion gift giving and decorating your home or office. All products come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Use code XUZGSH at checkout to apply the discount. Offer expires 10/31/21.

In this post I am combining images from three of my working, blog folders. It dawned on me that the themes can easily work together … structures, vehicles and outhouses. My original goal was to collect more for each of these subjects and create separate posts. But, since I’m my own boss here, and lean on new work because of the smoky air, I figured … why wait? Here they are, in a trio of threes, some ‘oldies but goodies’!

–– Three Structures ––

A quaint little log cabin nestled among the aspen trees tells the story of a time gone by.

‘Little Rustic Relic’ © Denise Bush
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An old mininer's boarding house, no longer needed is ready to collapse altogether.

‘Mountaintop Boarding House’ © Denise Bush
notecards, unframed, framed, canvas, acrylic & metal prints available

An abandoned, old-style  grocery store takes us back to a time when towns had corner stores to buy groceries and more.

‘Groceries’ © Denise Bush

–– Three Vehicles ––

An old chevy truck rusts away in an abandoned farm field.

‘Chevy Resting Place’ © Denise Bush

Close-up of an old door on a truck at one time belonging to Ouray County.

‘Ouray County Relic’ © Denise Bush

Now resting at the bottom of a gulch, an old truck looks like it tumbled down the mountain.

‘Wrecked Relic’ © Denise Bush

–– Three Outhouses ––

Weathered wood and a rusty tin roof make this outhouse, built for two a nostalgic find.

‘Outhouse For Two’ © Denise Bush

A weathered outhouse is a reminder of less luxurious times.

‘Outhouse & Barrels’ © Denise Bush

An old, weathered outhouse door comes complete with the standard moon cutout.

‘Weathered Outhouse Door’ © Denise Bush

Summer just goes too fast … doesn’t it? Here in the mountains it goes especially fast, with snow possible so early, and winter lasting so long. What’s making it even shorter this year for photography are the all too frequent smoky skies, from fires in states west of Colorado. At times, and as I write this, the mountains are not visible … not at all like the clear, blue sky scenes shown here! It all depends on how the wind blows so getting out on days when the conditions are more favorable is key. Still, summer feels especially good to me this year. With jeep roads clear of snow, being able to experience the high country is the highlight of the season. I added a few (less scary) jeep roads to my solo ventures and had a lot of fun. I explored other high places with my husband as driver, visiting some that had been on my list for awhile, including the pond location shown here. Well, even though I am already seeing signs of fall, summer is not over … the last day is September 22nd. I do hope conditions will improve soon so I can get back out there!

Sneezeweed has a special place to blossom in a summer meadow in Colorado.

‘Sneezeweed Mountain Meadow’ © Denise Bush

A pretty patch of Sneezeweed (Asteraceae) makes a bright statement in a Colorado alpine meadow in July.

‘Sneezeweed Get-together’ © Denise Bush

A still pond creates a beutiful scene reflecting the blue sky and red mountain ridge high in the Colorado Mountains.

‘Red Mountain Ridge Reflection’ © Denise Bush

A pond reflects the vibrant colors of the sky and mountain. One of the San Juan Mountain's, Red Mountains is visible.

‘Reflecting Pond In Morning’ © Denise Bush
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A beautiful blue sky and red mountain make perfect subjects for reflections in the ponds below.

‘Seeing Double’ © Denise Bush

Elkweed is also known as Green Gentian or Monument Plant. It can grow up to 7 feet tall!

‘Corn Lily Passage’ © Denise Bush

The last few summers I have been working to improve my wildflower landscapes. My goal is to have the flowers in a scene for a sense of place, instead of isolating them for a portrait. Creating these kind of landscapes to my satisfaction is one of the more challenging goals I have assigned myself. Finding a good cluster of flowers that can be aligned with an interesting background, getting low to include some close up, while balancing on rocky uneven ground, and waiting for the wind to die down is just half the challenge! For the most part I use my wide 16-35mm because it focuses close and has good depth of field. Distance to subject is one of the factors that affects depth of field. So, when focusing so close it is impossible to get it all as sharp as I am aiming for in one click. To fix this I focus stack … one shot focused close, one or more in the middle and one in the distance. The shots below are anywhere from 2-5 shots layered and blended in post for acceptable sharpness throughout. A lot of photographers who do this kind of work use a tilt-shift lens which enables them to get everything in focus in one shot. Tilt-shift lenses are expensive and a little tricky to use too! I might find more wildflowers while out shooting, but at this point I am happy with my efforts. I picked my favorites to show, and archive for myself as well. There were many more that did not make the cut! Shot between June and July, I hope you enjoy my bigger than usual post … a wildflower extravaganza!

Lupine and Mule's Ears grow along a fence line in Ouray County Colorado.

‘Flowers Along The Fence Line’ © Denise Bush
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Some pink paintbrush greets the morning high in an alpine basin.

‘Pink Paintbrush View’ © Denise Bush

Sneezeweed and lupine combine on a hill for a pretty combination of yellow and purple. Elephant's head provides a pink accent on the left.

‘Yellow & Purple Combo’ © Denise Bush

Lupine line a back mountain road in the San Juan Mountains.

‘Lupine Lined’ © Denise Bush

Lined with wildflowers a mountain cascade tumbles down the mountain feeding water to rivers below.

‘Wildflower Cascade’ © Denise Bush

The hills are aline in San Juan County, Colorado with displays of wildflowers including this King's Crown.

‘King’s Crown With A View’ © Denise Bush

Pink Paintbrush wildflowers like this spot, way uo high in a Colorado mountain basin.

‘Paintbrush Gathering’ © Denise Bush

Spring melt flows from the mountain tops, surrounded with a lovely natural garden along the way.

‘Nature’s Zen Garden’ © Denise Bush

A patch of lupine bloom along a mountain road, inviting a longer look.

‘Roadside Pretties’ © Denise Bush

Some Elephant's Head gather to eagerly greet Colorado's San Juan Mountain, morning sun! Elephent's Head or Elephantella grow in moist areas. The individual blossoms look like resemble the head and trunk of an elephant.

‘Elephant’s Head In Sun & Shade’ © Denise Bush

Here's a good look at how we find many of the wilflower meadows in the mountains of Colorado.

‘Assorted’ © Denise Bush

A wild primrose is sitting pretty beside a mountain waterfall.

‘Beside The Falls’ © Denise Bush

Columbine grace the Colorado high country with their beauty in July

‘Columbine Season’ © Denise Bush
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