Some Summertime Scenes


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

53 Responses to “Some Summertime Scenes”

  1. Beautiful series of images!

  2. Nice collection. So nice you live in the mountains. I like ‘Seeing Double with the two lakes and the patterns in the mountain behind.

  3. What a lovely collection! All of them. I have to start using your stacking technique. It makes for such beautiful images. Of course, that means I’d have to use a tripod, too. Arrghh!

    • Thanks Rich. I primarily use the focus stacking method when there is something very close and very far and it’s impossible to get it all sharp in one shot. If there is nothing super close I often will stack just two … one that is hyperfocal distance and one for the distant mountains. I also stack for exposure and dynamic range too … often using a darker exposure for the sky. The first image is an example of that using an exposure that’s right for the shaded foreground and a darker one for the sky. I have more control with this method rather than using a graduated neutral density filter. Yes, a tripod is necessary for focus stacking and exposure blending. A tripod slows us down for the better … to take our time and compose a scene … that’s what they say anyway! 😊

  4. The pond reflections are lovely. Sorry about the smoky summer you are experiencing. It is a cause for concern for all of us. I pray some rain comes to clear the air soon.

    • Thanks Eliza.They say our smoke is coming from Oregon, California and Idaho. We had a week of monsoon rain here recently. Now, if it would just rain there! I hope we don’t have another smoky fall like last year.

  5. The color of those mountains never ceases to amaze me! We’ve been suffocating on smoke up here in Denver as well… sounds like it’s supposed to clear out a bit this weekend, so let’s hope that forecast is correct 🤞🏼

    • We get our news and weather out of Denver so I know that it’s been bad there too. We heard the worst air in the country the other day. I sure hope they can contain these huge fires soon! Thanks for visiting and commenting! 🤞

  6. Soothing landscapes, Denise. Soothing is a nice word as the shapes, shadows and the breeze are really wavy like wanting to say “soooo”thing : )

  7. I do not know if I said it before, but your landscapes are your own school for image creators. Artistic and clean in all its simplicity, with great content and fine compositions. A pleasure for a lover of mountains and a great source of inspiration.

    • Thank you very much for that kind review Hans! All I know is that I have been giving a good effort to my photo pursuits for a long time!

  8. More of your mountain goodness, Denise. That’s a wonderful pond. Is it the same one in all three? All beautiful shots.

    • Hi Steve! There are a few ponds in that gulch area. I’d say 5 or 6. I think these are all different. With the sun low I had to explore in order to avoid my shadow in the scenes.

  9. It’s good to hear you got out to some remote places when you could still come home with a bundle of clarity, as you’ve shown here.

    • Hi! When there is smoke it is widespread. When I see it at home there is really no sense in going out because it will be everywhere. I shot these before it got so bad. Thanks for your visit and comment!

  10. Thanks for sharing these lovely photos. After reading the introduction, I expected some shots from the Jeep going up steep inclines or around sharp turns with vast drop-offs. But these shots will do. Thanks again.

    • Well you pictured exactly right Bruce. I’ll keep your request in mind although it’s hard to get those shots when you are inside the jeep going up steep inclines or around sharp turns with vast drop-offs! Thanks for your visit and comment!

  11. Even having to deal with forest fire smoke, you are still fortunate to live in Colorado and be able to get out into the mountains so often. I always like seeing the wildflower meadows and reflection ponds in the mountains. I always look forward to seeing your photographs.

  12. 24 Ken Curtis

    Wonderful images, Denise. I do not have a favorite, but do like the feeling of fresh clear air I get when viewing them. Looks like the fires will continue, sadly. Keep up the great work.

  13. Such wonderful scenes! Summer is too short. Despite the extreme heat we’re having the leaves are slowly starting to change.

    • Thanks Belinda! I am seeing some subtle changes here but September is usually a really nice time of the year. Our peak foliage is the last 2 weeks of September and first2 weeks of October.

  14. Gorgeous pictures. Summertime heaven sceneries!

  15. Nice photos. ‘Columbine Time’ is a fantastic shot!

  16. Your explorations really sound wonderful…getting to the high country is the one thing we haven’t managed yet this year – it seems that by the time the roads open (those that are passable in our regular car) it gets crowded – and now, smoky. We need something like your jeep. These photos are beautiful – no wonder that pond was on your list. The stillness….
    Do you know what the blue flowers are in the Sneezeweed photo and the last photo?

    • We love our 2005 Jeep Wrangler that we bought a couple of years ago … she can go everywhere! In the second image there is some small type of lupine mixed in with the sneezeweed and a larkspur up front. It’s columbine in the last image. I know they are small images and hard to see the detail in the further flowers. Not only does my template display them small but I also don’t like to put a large image out there for people to swipe. Thanks for looking and commenting.

  17. Brilliant, as always! Red Mountain Ridge Reflection is my favorite!

  18. Stunning, Denise! The smokey skies were my nemesis while we were exploring Glacier NP and then down thru the midwest, so I’ve been disappointed with the hope of beautiful landscape shots. I worked with it best I could, I’m hoping to post tonight.

  19. Each image is beautiful! I wish our skies were as clear! We’re suffering here in No. Nevada with the smoke.

    • I know … it’s all over with no end in sight here. These were taken before it got so consistently bad. Take care and keep your fingers crossed it will clear up soon!

      • I sure hope so! Our aqi is 159 right now and it has gotten worse in the last hour. 😭

      • I looked ours up after seeing this and they say 74. I can barely make out an outline of the mountains. It is worse north of here in more open areas.

      • We’re down to an qui of 93 right now. Thankfully the Washoe Zephyr wind blew in yesterday and blew some smoke out. We walked up to the gate last evening for the first time in days! I hope to get again today for a walk at least.
        I hope it doesn’t get worse for you there!

  20. Hi Denise, Sorry about your smoke issues…it’s all so sad and scary. You sure have found the bright side of life with these magnificent captures. The pond reflections with the orange rocks are wonderful as are the wildflowers gracing the foregrounds of your landscapes. Seeing Double is clever. Beautiful series!

    • Thanks Jane! I had some good outings with the wildflowers before it got so smoky. Hopefully some rain we got this morning will clear things up … at least for a little while.

  21. It’s been so hot and smoky here that I’ve given up going to the mountains. Your images make me feel like my eyes have been washed…like freshly washed windows! Looking through muck all the time makes our brains forget the sharp and beautiful details that are hidden from view of smoky skies or filthy windows. Glad to hear you’re enjoying those jeep roads! 😉

    • Hi Linda! Even after a day and night of raining off and on we have smoke … no break! I heard there are some fires in Idaho and hope they aren’t too close to you! I’m hoping we don’t have another smoky fall and for rain wherever the fires are. Take care and thanks very much for stopping in! I will visit soon.

  22. Stunning shots as always!! You do have the “eye”!!! The smoke from the west has impacted most of the country….ugh!! Our daughter and her husband had to cancel their trip to Yosemite with the kids due to air quality. When I see pics from the east coast (and all areas between) with the smoke from out here….blows me away. Then I think back to when Mt St. Helens blew and the ash we ended up with in the Denver area. It truly is a small world!! Stunning captures!!

    • Thanks very much Kirt! We had pretty clear skies yesterday and will again today. The smoke is drifting farther north right now. In recent years it has become more common because there are more wildfires … especially in CA.

  23. 49 Sri V

    Beautiful Images. Superb colours 🙂

  24. It sounds like you had a great time and made the best of it, in spite of the smoke. We got lucky this year – so far, hardly a single day with smoke. But the summer drought was worse than usual. Oh, for a jeep or anything that could get me into those logging road-accessible places…these are beautiful, Denise! Is Elkweed what people in your part of the world call the taller plant on the sides of that last photo? I’ve seen False hellebore (I never like it when plants are called false anything) and Corn lily as well as other names for it.

    • I guess I mistitled the last image thinking it was Elkweed, also known as Monument Plants and I have corrected it here … thanks! I’ve heard people here refer to these as Corn Lilies. They were taller than me. Two years ago after our record snow we had a lot of the similar Monument Pants/Elkweed. They have an interesting life cycle. Most of the jeep roads here are old mining roads that go above treeline. We owe our trails and high country roads to those brave, hard-working miners. Thanks for your visit and comment!

  25. Beautiful mountain striations in Seeing Double!

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