Rainy September Colorado Colors


Early aspen colors at Trout Lake.

Rain saturates colors. Far from being a deterrent to good nature photography, it creates opportunities.


Trout Lake panorama, September 19.

Thus I drove into the San Juan Mountains in San Miguel County in southwest Colorado, in the Telluride area.


Rainy mountains south of Telluride.

The aspen colors were coming on nicely, due to the recent warm sunny days and cool nights. It was raining lightly but it wasn’t very windy, allowing for some beautiful images of colorful foliage.


Red-orange aspen colors on the San Juan National Forest.

Aspen fall colors are primarily bright yellow, as the tree stops producing chlorophyll, making the green color disappear and letting the other colors that were there all along become visible. So they don’t really “turn colors”, they just let summer’s green go.


Aspen gold is highlighted by the dark greens of evergreen foliage in the background.

Some aspen stands, and even individual trees, exhibit a lovely orange or red instead of gold.


There’s nothing like a peaceful country road in the Rockies in the fall.

On the way home I drove down the South Fork of the San Miguel River.


South Fork of the San Miguel. 

The clouds were obscuring the high peaks, but I had plenty to interest me. I stopped for a Gambel oak sapling that had vibrant red colors, much more red than most oaks get.


Gambel oak colors on the South Fork.

And the cherry red of wild rose hips.


Wild rose hips. 

As I continued west, away from the San Miguels, west of Norwood the clouds opened and the nearly setting sun turned the distant La Sal Mountains and the sky a brilliant gold.


Utah’s La Sal Mountains at sunset from Colorado.

And since it was still raining, directly opposite to the east the dark clouds formed the perfect backdrop for a full rainbow.


Sunset rainbow at the San Miguel County – Montrose County line.

Photo location: San Miguel County, southwest Colorado.

See much more of my photography on my website: www.NaturalMoment.com.

© Copyright 2018 Stephen J. Krieg

September Again


September 2nd Rainbow.

It’s September. Again, at last. Or as I call it, October Eve.  October being the best month.

Even this early in September, the chill of fall is whispering. The shortened days, the way the heat of the day dives so wonderfully steeply before sunset.

I even have to put on some long pants in the evening and the morning. It’s been months. Finally. Oh, yeah.


© Copyright Stephen J. Krieg

Third Rainbow Of The Day

Evening rainbow over Bears Ears Buttes, Natural Bridges National Monument.

Evening rainbow over Bears Ears Buttes, Natural Bridges National Monument.

It has been a rare wet spring in the high desert of southeast Utah and the Four Corners region. On top of that, this week-end has brought a lot of extra moisture up from Baja, from a tropical storm down there. Straight up through Arizona to San Juan County, Utah.

We love the rain. All desert dwellers do. The tourists, though: not so much. Especially with the muddy roads around here, slick as grease when saturated. That makes sticking to paved and gravel surfaces a must for a time, greatly limiting where some people had planned to go into our amazing backcountry.

The international travelers are even more perplexed. This is high desert Utah? Where is the famous sunshine and heat? How am I supposed to get iconic pictures in this?

A young couple from Europe was in the Visitor Center yesterday afternoon. We were standing at the windows, watching the sweet smelling rain pour down. “In fifteen or twenty minutes this might well let up and we could see a rainbow” I said. They looked at me, uh, kindly. As in: okay, then we hope so, too, but you’re crazy.

Soon the sky started to brighten to the west. After a few more minutes a brilliant rainbow appeared just above the Pinyon pine and juniper trees, toward the Bears Ears Buttes above us to the east. The rainbow faded after just a few minutes, but the couple got to stand leaning up against each other, admiring it before it disappeared.

Not long after was a second rainbow, which another family got to enjoy. And I didn’t have my camera.

About an hour later, a third, partial rainbow appeared. This one I got some shots of.

Three separate rainbows from the same location in the same evening. Pretty rare. Way exceptional.

I drove out under the heavy skies, looking for water flowing. Several washes were running, though many had already drained.

Over at normally dry Comb Wash I got out to document the muddy stream flowing. It had already gone down by at least a foot. Soon it would become a dry wash again. “Never park your vehicle in a dry wash”. This flow was mild compared to what can happen with little warning.

Comb Wash flowing after rain.

Comb Wash flowing after rain.

Photo locations: Natural Bridges National Monument and Cedar Mesa, San Juan County, Utah.

© 2015 Stephen J. Krieg

And The Rain Came Down

Arizona monsoon thunderstorm and rainbowAt least it came down in one very localized area, as seen in this photo. So typical of Arizona’s “monsoon” summer thunderstorms. You’re either in one, or not. No in between.

I wasn’t in this one, which afforded me a view of it to the east, as sunset time approached. With a rainbow, no less, courtesy of the low angle of the sun through the rain curtain.

Evening sunlight and shadow splashed across the grasslands of the Central Arizona Highlands between Prescott and Chino Valley. Blue sky and more white and blue clouds in the far distance.

Life at the speed of the moment.

A Touch Of Rainbow

Thunderhead clouds, Woodchute Mountain, Rainbow

I walked out into the early evening light. Glorious summer day, the moisture of blessed rains teasing through the afternoon.

To the east loomed Woodchute Mountain, dark blue on the horizon. A white billowing thunderhead cloud above. And, underneath, a bit of rainbow. Somehow the evening sun had found a slit in the western clouds and lit up the rain.

Just a bit of it.

Mountain, sky. Summer. Rainbow. Heading home to shower up from another hot summer day and relax in the cool blessed night.

Fall will arrive soon. Meanwhile, such grandness in the highlands heat.