Doug Beezley Photography | Colorado Wildflowers & High Basins - July 2015

July 2015 found me heading up two back-back photo tours to Colorado on behalf of LightChase Photography Tours. The first focused on the Crested Butte area ("Wildflower Capital of Colorado") and the high basins of the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado. The second immediately followed the first but focused solely on the San Juans.

I developed the itineraries, made all the vendor arrangements (hotels, restaurants, jeep company, rental cars) and generally managed both groups of photographers. Along the way, I was more than ably aided in the San Juans by Brian Simpson. Brian teaches engineering at Montrose High School in Montrose, Colorado and is an absolute expert "jeep" driver, guide and mountain historian.

Late spring snow and a very wet spring and early summer made the wildflowers in the Crested Butte area about the best I have seen in the past ten years and the sunflowers absolutely exploded in every location. The lushness of every mountain-side and meadow was absolutely stuning. Conditions in the San Juans were much the same but the weather presented some real challenges with daily rain, heavy overcast skies, hail and even snow above 12,000 feet one day. Just your average July day in the San Juans!

While Crested Butte is my favorite Colorado mountain town, the mighty San Juan Mountains are special among all the mountains of Colorado because they bring together several of my special interests - mining history, railroad history, rugged wilderness, and endless wildflowers. During our time in the San Juans I took the two groups of photographers to the following basins: American Basin, Silver Basin, Governor Basin, Yankee Boy Basin, Storm King Basin as well as to a couple of special locations - the south saddle of Red Mountain #3 and the Blue Lakes Trailhead Meadow at the end of Ouray County Road 7. Other locations traveled and photographed include Corkscrew Gulch, Hurricane Pass, Cinnamon Pass, Animas Forks, California Pass, California Gulch, Grey Copper Gulch, Cunningham Gulch and Silverton for the arrival of the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

You would think that having spent nearly three weeks in such prime locations that I would have an abundance of images to share. You won't see evidence of all those locations in this gallery - in some I was just too involved assisting the photographers. In one (Governor Basin), I was surprised by close and long-time friends from Durango who were waiting in Governor to surprise me. They did - and what a great surprise it was. And, in other locations I was just enjoying the day too much to be bothered with a camera. I hope you enjoy our journey to the wildflowers and high basins of Colorado.

The Real "Wildflowers"

The Real "Wildflowers"

If you've looked at some of my other galleries you probably noticed they mostly contained just landscape images - few folks show up. This one was different. I've been on any number of photo tours and have thoroughly enjoyed being on every one but the two wildflower and high basin tours to Colorado in July 2015 really stand out. The scenery was fantastic, the weather stretched our endurance, the roads were rough and challenging but the people on both tours were absolutely the best - excellent photographers, fun-loving and great people both as individuals and as tour participants. The experiences and memories were in abundance and continue to provide hours and hours of recollections and forever moments of an outstanding experience. And, it wasn't just the flowers, mountains, and streams that created the memories but, most importantly, the people with whom I traveled and photographed. Check the "Real Wildflowers" out for a look at some of my traveling partners and friends on these two tours. Just click on the image below and you'll see the"Real Wildflowers".

Sunset Over Ruby
Sunset Over The Dyke +
East River Sunrise
Gothic Sunrise
East River Sunflowers in the Early Morning_
Cloudy Gothic Sunrise +
Glorious Gothic
East River View
Cloudy Gothic
Evening in the Meadow +
American Basin Columbines
American Basin Falls +
American Basin Columbines
Columbines and American Peak +
American Basin Pika
Pika Peek-a-boo
Look Closely +
Silver Basin Sentinel
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