Photographing Colorado landscapes through your car window 

click to enlarge The moon rises over the San Juan Mountains on Lizard Head Pass. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • The moon rises over the San Juan Mountains on Lizard Head Pass.
This Thanksgiving our family took a road trip. We traveled to Rico, Colorado, to celebrate the holiday and get some skiing in.

Rico is a small mining town nestled in the San Juan Mountains near Telluride. This area of Colorado is also known as the “Western Slope” and it’s one of the most beautiful parts of our state.

The drive to get there through mountain range after mountain range, and you have to drive over some of the most awe-inspiring mountain passes including McClure pass in the West Elk mountain range, Dallas Divide over the Uncompahgre Plateau and Lizard Head pass near the small town of Ophir.

Driving these passes can be a real nail biter, especially when you’re eyes are permanently fixed on the scenery outside the car window.

My wife Cathy and I decided to team up on our drive. One of us drove the car while the other photographed the mountain landscapes that we encountered.

Photographing landscapes through a car window or while riding a gondola is super fun, and the images we made on our trip remind us why we live here. 
Taking photos from a moving car can be tricky though. You have to drive slowly enough to capture a picture without making the foreground blurry, so a fast shutter speed is a must. A nice zoom lens is also key since you can use the zoom lens to crop out the road or road signs and frame the landscape without houses or power lines.

Occasionally, we had to stop the car. The moon rising over the San Juan Mountains near Lizard Head Pass was pretty much one we had to stop for.

A little patience goes a long way, too. We took a few hundred pictures out the car window and sorting through all of the bad ones I found a few keepers.

Final tip: The next time you’re driving through our great state, keep your eyes on the road instead on the scenery, give a camera to your passenger and you can enjoy the views after the arrived safely at your destination.
Sean Cayton is a wedding photojournalist of 19 years and operates a successful, award-winning wedding photography studio in Colorado Springs. He's also an award-winning photojournalist. Sean is happily married to the love of his life (also his business partner) and is father to three beautiful children. When he’s not working, Sean can be found outside flying kites with his kids, hitting golf balls or casting a fly rod to hungry trout.


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