Million Dollar Magic


This post features one of my favorite viewing points along Colorado’s Million Dollar Highway, between Ouray and Silverton, near Red Mountain Pass. In the first image that little spot in the lower right is a peek at the highway. If you haven’t heard, it is one of the most dangerous roads in the country, but it is also exhilarating and breathtaking! It switch-backs through the mountains and along very steep cliffs (with no guardrails). The views are simply magnificent!

The images below represent three different visits, from September 15th through the 21st. I love all the stages of fall and the images here start with greens still in the mix. We can see many of the aspens already taking on brighter color. As you view the images, note how the color changes in just six days time. I often go back to a place with potential just hoping for ideal conditions! When there are pleasing clouds and changing light I like to stay for a composition I am determined to capture. Sometimes just a matter of minutes can make a difference. My last two images illustrate this, captured just 30 minutes apart! Which do you prefer?

‘San Juan Tapestry’ © Denise Bush

‘Million Dollar Vista’ © Denise Bush
click to view larger or order a print

‘Light Atop Red Mountain’ © Denise Bush

‘Vertical View I’ © Denise Bush
added to my ‘Colorful Colorado’ gallery

‘Vertical View II’ © Denise Bush
click here to view larger or order a print

37 Responses to “Million Dollar Magic”

  1. The magic of autumn beautifully captured, Denise. I’m drawn to the bright light in ‘Magic In The Mountains’ and ‘Light Atop Red Mountain’ – fabulous shots.

  2. I like both of the final shots. Each makes their own statement. Well done, again.

  3. 5 Deb

    My favorite time of the year! You captured it so well! I love both of the last images, my first inclination was the second one but the more I looked, I think the first one!

  4. Stunning views and colours. I have driven in the Rocky Mountains during a heavy thunderstorm, scary.

  5. beautiful – and I like the last of those two final images. It has the feel of evening about it.

  6. Beautiful work, Denise.

  7. Magic in the mountains! Beautiful captures and illustration on how a matter of minutes can totally change the mood of a scene!

  8. 16 Ken Curtis

    Very nice. I can see why you go back time and again.

  9. Nice to see the Rockies with their fall colors. I’ve mostly seen ’em in winter, en route to one ski area or another. I like both of the last two. But then I got to thinking you probably got to make that risky drive back in the dark…

    • These are the beautiful San Juan Mountains … a subset of the Rockies in southwest Colorado. Fortunately the drive back home from this spot is on the less scary side of the road. And I’ve driven the highway enough now that I’ve gotten quite comfortable with it. Thanks very much for the visit and comment!

  10. Very beautiful landscapes.

  11. 22 Will Beeson

    Wonderful images Denise. Kudos to you for standing in those itsy bitsy overlooks to capture these. Well done 😉

    • Thank you! It was fun meeting you again and now becoming friends on FB. I was happy to find some new vantage points throughout the mountains this year. I appreciate the comment and visit.

  12. How breath-taking! Maybe not to drive, but to stand on one of those ridges and inhale that entire scenery.

  13. Million Dollar Vista and Vertical View 1 …

    • Thanks for your likes! I put both of those on my online store so I guess I prefer them over some of the others too. Nice to hear from you!

  14. Very nice images Denise, good composition.

  15. I know exactly what you mean about changing conditions (so quickly!) and going back to the same place over and over again – that’s one reason I’m happy to be here, where the water creates plenty of different conditions, like fog, and it’s easy to return many times to gorgeous places. The other day we had heavy fog, today, none. I think I prefer the final photo to the one before it, and I like seeing the changes you point out that occurred in such a short time. I love the expansive feeling of the second photo.

    • I do miss the fog … it is so dry here. We do get cloud inversion which can produce a similar affect … usually after a storm. Thanks for looking Lynn!

  16. Your ‘Magic In The Mountains’ appeared to me as if the heavens were opened. Stunning, Denise!

    • Thank you again! I heard someone say the sky looked colorful on that evening because of a forest fire miles away. We had a drought and several forest fires in Colorado this summer into fall. But we’ve had rain lately though so the threat is not as great.

  17. Hard to say which one I prefer as I like both of them. I find the first one easier to look at, and I like the deep and rich orange/yellow color of the second.

  18. Gorgeous light in Magic in The Mountains! I love the color and light drama in Vertical View II.

    • I think I heard the sky looked so orange on the night Magic In The Mountains was shot was because of smoke from a fire. Colorado had a lot of them this summer into early fall. I’m glad you picked Vertical View II. It was one I have been unsure of because 99.9% is in shadow and the color unusual!

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