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Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

When we lived in the Denver area, I absolutely loved visiting the Rocky Mountain National Park whenever I could. It was about 1.5 hours away, and had some of the most spectacular scenery in the United States. On one visit in 2015, I wanted to find some scenery from the Trail Ridge Road up high in the tundra, but I struggled to find a good spot. On a hunch, I parked at the Lava Cliffs Overlook and walked up the hill across the road where I found this amazing view of the Trail Ridge Road zigzagging down the mountain with Longs Peak in the background.

Spring Twilight, Waitsfield, Vermont

Spring Twilight, Waitsfield, Vermont

Spring in Vermont can be magical, and we were fortunate it put on a wonderful show for our trip over Memorial Day, 2019. The flowers were blooming, the grass was a lush green, and everything just felt so alive. And while it rained (a lot), I was especially fortunate to get out for some photography between the rainstorms to find this scene near Waitsfield.

Sunrise, Quartz Lake, Colorado

Sunrise, Quartz Lake, Colorado

Last year I did a solo backpacking trip to Quartz Lake in Colorado’s South San Juan Wilderness. While there, I was fortunate enough to take an outstanding night photo showing Mars and the Milky Way together in the sky at the same time. The next morning, when I woke up, I was greeted by the sunrise bathing the mountains in a warm, pleasant glow. Sort of…

The Milky Way, Independence Pass, Colorado

The Milky Way, Independence Pass, Colorado

This is one of my favorite photos from recent years because it really captures the beauty of the Milky Way from a remarkable location. My cousin (the very talented Allison Otto) and I had been scoping out good weekends to take Milky Way photos from somewhere in the Colorado Rockies, but our schedules never quite aligned to make it happen. So when my wife suggested a trip to Aspen on one of those weekends, I already knew it would be a good opportunity to see the stars from nearby Independence Pass. While Aspen is certainly beautiful, Independence Pass is a marvel and one of the most spectacular passes in Colorado.

Mars and the Milky Way, Quartz Lake, Colorado

Mars and the Milky Way, Quartz Lake, Colorado

Taking astrophotos can be a challenge – you need to be in the right place (dark skies) at the right time (little moonlight) with the right weather (no clouds) at the right time of year (the Milky Way is only visible in the warmer months of the Northern Hemisphere). Fortunately, all of this worked in my favor on my backpacking trip to Quartz Lake in August, letting me take a truly dream come true photo of Mars and the Milky Way together in the night sky. There was a reason I lugged all of my heavy camera gear up and over a mountain pass, and this was it.