Fabulous Fall


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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
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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!

‘Elkweed 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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This post is about a quick trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park, at the end of May. The park is about a 4.5 hours east of us and even though it was cloudy and raining off and on, I enjoyed seeing some new scenery. We got to the park late and scoped it out. It was busy and the campground was full (another sign of Colorado’s booming tourism). We discovered that to walk on the dunes you need to wade through an inlet and then follow the paths of other climbers. It seemed like it would be quite far to reach areas that had no tracks. For those reasons we decided to admire the dunes from afar. A nearby lake provided a view of some mountains and the dunes below a hazy, but colorful sunset sky. In the morning it was clearer, for a little while, before the smoky haze settled back in. The wet sand drying in the morning sun added a little texture to the close-up shots and it was fun to see people, like little ants, through my long lens. During the day, time was spent exploring and taking in the surrounding green scenery. I had been wanting to visit the Great Sand Dunes since moving to Colorado, and now I can say I have!

The Great Sand Dunes National Park is bathed in warm sunset light as viewed from across a distant San Luis Lake.

‘Dunes Across Water’ © Denise Bush

The Great Sand Dunes National Park make an unusual foreground to Colorado's Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

‘Sand Dunes & Mountains’ © Denise Bush

The sand dunes start to dry out in the morning sun after yesterday's rain.D Bush_Making Tracks Climbers.jpgD Bush_Making Tracks Climbers.jpg

‘Sand Dune Curves’ © Denise Bush

Some people hiking below look tiny, giving scale to the dunes.

‘Making Tracks’ © Denise Bush

Some people hiking below look tiny, giving scale to the dunes.

‘Making Tracks Detail’ © Denise Bush
(Can you see them now?)

Soft light illuminates the dunes at The Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.

‘Morning Dunes’ © Denise Bush

A close look at the dunes at The Great Sand Dunes National Park reduces the scene to curves, shapes and shadows,

‘Morning Dunes Close-up’ © Denise Bush

The Great Sand Dunes National Park are visible across San Luis Lake and below the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Colorado.

‘San Luis Sunset’ © Denise Bush

Vernal Views


Following are some random landscapes shot this May & June. These didn’t fit into other planned posts using spring images so I put them together below. Since summer is here, I thought I really ought to post them! I was eager to get out this year and have been enjoying the warm weather, nature and the landscape. I love to explore and when something catches my eye I’ll stop to check out possible compositions. Sometimes a stop is just for scouting purposes. If the light or sky aren’t nice I’ll study the location and add it to my ‘places to go back to’ list. Being out there, immersed in the landscape, capturing what calls to me and then processing my vision is what it’s all about for me.

A watering hole out in grazing land provides a fun place to create a reflection photograph.

‘Watering Hole Reflection’ © Denise Bush
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Late day backlight brings out the yellows in the young aspen leaves.

‘Spring Passage’ © Denise Bush

Bright sprintime willows accent this landscape in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.

‘Mountain View & Spring Willows’ © Denise Bush

A little lone ponderosa pine tree has a perfect view, perched upon a sunny hill!

‘Little Ponderosa In Morning’ © Denise Bush
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A small Ponderosa Pine catches some warm light on a mountain morning in May.

‘Mountains Beyond’ © Denise Bush

The forest starts its annual spring tradition showing the first bright green aspen leaves.

‘Green Beginnings’ © Denise Bush

A little pond catches reflection of blue sky and distant mountains.

‘Blue Sky Reflection’ © Denise Bush

Backlit aspen trees make a stiking sight at sunset.

‘Through Backlit Aspens’ © Denise Bush

Gimme Shelter


I am grateful that interesting old structures keep finding me! They call to me to stop and put my camera to work. It’s a way of documenting them before they are gone forever. And it’s fun! Over the years many of the subjects of my ‘Remnants & Remains’ captures have disappeared. I am glad I had a chance to add them to my collection. Other times places that have interested me are changed in a way that makes them less attractive. I find myself wishing I had photographed them when I had the chance. The lesson … stop and shoot … don’t wait! The following are finds that go back to early spring as well as more recent.

A portion of an Old West settlement acts as a frame for the ominous sky and mountain beyond.

‘Rustic Framing’ © Denise Bush
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Remains from a small, abandoned settlement demonstrate building with materials readily available.

‘Rocky Shelters’ © Denise Bush

An old log cabin falls apart amid new aspen trees in spring.

‘Open Door’ © Denise Bush

A barn no longer strong enough collapses under years of harsh winters and strong summer sun.

‘Collapsed’ © Denise Bush

An small tin cabin takes on character as it weathers years of seasonal elements.

‘Little Tin Cabin’ © Denise Bush

Structures from a time gone by show the effects of time and weather.

‘Door Number Two’ © Denise Bush

An abandoned church strikes a dramatic scene with storm clouds hovering above.

‘Church Without A Steeple’ © Denise Bush

See my entire ‘Remnants & Remains’ Collections HERE!
notecards, unframed, framed, canvas, acrylic & metal prints available

I’ve been a bit slow adding to this blog lately but I can explain! My usual pattern is; shooting mode, processing mode and then blogging. With spring finally here I have been getting out and shooting more often. Like any other season it has its rewards and being outside in the warm sun feels so good! Adding to several different themes at the same time I hardly know where to start. So, I’ll begin with one of my favorite signs of spring … water in motion! Rivers, cascades and waterfalls I’ve had the pleasure to spend time with, are the theme for this post. Relax, breathe deeply, and imagine the sound of the rushing spring melt as it travels down from the mountains!

The San Miguel River merrily rushes along the spring green banks near Telluride.

‘Merrily Rushing Along’ © Denise Bush

A spring stream flows from the mountains near Silverton, Colorado. Kendall Mountain is featured in the distance.

‘Flowing To The Animas’ © Denise Bush

The greens are saturated and vibrant on a rainy spring day.

‘Rainy Day River’ © Denise Bush

A fast moving stream rushes water from the mountains near Silverton, Colorado to meet up with a river below.

‘Flowing Through A Forest’ © Denise Bush

Spring melt travels down the mountainside with tremendous volume.

‘From The Top’ © Denise Bush

A mountain waterfall flows in the spring, fed from snow melt above.

‘Springtime Plunge’ © Denise Bush

A brave little evergreen hangs on to the rugged cliff for dear life!

‘Waterfall Companion’ © Denise Bush

Rushing along in spring, a mountain river is a wonderful sound and sight of nature!

‘Raging River & Rocks’ © Denise Bush

A river rushes along due to the volume of water melting in the spring mountains.

‘In A Rush’ © Denise Bush

On one of this week’s photo adventures I found myself out in the open during an afternoon of scattered showers. Being able to witness (and feel a part of) the dynamic weather was exhilarating! I was not only excited by the visuals but relieved to get some rain in our drought-stricken part of Colorado. In addition to a lack of precipitation, spring has brought a lot of wind resulting in many ‘Red Flag Warning’ days. From where I’m sitting it’s way too early to start worrying about wildfires. People here are doing rain dances and praying for more! The storms on this afternoon entertained my camera and I, providing the opportunity for this little collection!

Rain clouds give way for some much needed precipitation in drought-stricken Southwest Colorado.

‘Let It Rain’ © Denise Bush

Scattered storms grace Southwest Colorado with some much needed moisture.

‘Over Wilson’ © Denise Bush

A not too far away isolated storm bestows some welcome spring rain.

‘Welcome Rain’ © Denise Bush

Rain clouds turn pink and puffy near sunset.

‘Clouds Over Mountains & Forest’ © Denise Bush

On a recent visit to nearby Silverton I decided to explore the train yard and back alleys with my camera. Among the mountain recreation opportunities like hiking, jeeping and camping, Silverton is known for its rich railroad and mining history. The quaint town is a midway point along the Million Dollar Highway between Ouray to the north, and Durango to the south. Many tourists come for a day trip back in time, to ride the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Train through the scenic San Juan Mountains. On this visit I started in the train yard, walking along the tracks to photograph some of the stationary relics laid here to rest. Afterwards I explored the back alleys where shacks leftover from mining days still stand and are now used for storage. For this set I limited my selections to one of my ongoing themes … windows and doors. Combined with the wonderful textures of rusting metal and weathered wood I found some subjects I thought were interesting, and hope you think so too!

An old rail car with a window creates an image full of texture and nostalgia.

‘Number 04965’ © Denise Bush
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A number of bent over nails assure a sturdy connection.

‘Bent Nails’ © Denise Bush

A rusty hinge accents weathered wood in this close-up of an abandoned building.

‘Hinged’ © Denise Bush

The side of an old rail car creates an image rich in texture and nostalgia.

‘Railroad Relic’ © Denise Bush

A weathered and contrasting in white shutter provides an image rich in geometry, texture and history.

‘Shuttered Portal’ © Denise Bush

To see more images in my growing ‘Windows & Doors’ collection, CLICK HERE!