I predicted in last week's column that the fall colors along the Highway 67 corridor would be better last weekend than this coming one... but the colors have hung on, and great leaf-peeping should persist at least through Saturday. With colder weather predicted in Divide for Sunday and snow a possibility for Tuesday, the fall colors will likely be at their best for the last time this weekend.

Mueller Fall Colors

Fall colors in Mueller State Park, October 2020. Note the use of filling the frame, and also leading lines.

This past Tuesday, the Highway 67 corridor and Gold Camp Road were ablaze with gold. On Wednesday, Mueller State Park was looking great, too. So be sure to get out there this weekend. Really. This weekend.

And part of leaf-peeping, of course, is photography. The fall colors are too beautiful to not snap a few — or a whole hell of a lot — of photographs. Here are a few pointers for getting really great photos, no matter if you're using your cell phone or an actual camera:

Fall Colors

Filling the frame. Mueller State Park, October 6th, 2021

  • Fill the frame. While our eye is drawn to whatever is attracting our attention, the camera sees much more. A lot of dead space is not only a waste of your cameras megapixels, it just isn't pleasing. Use your zoom function (or just move in closer) to fill the frame with whatever you are shooting.
  • Pay attention to the foreground and background. It's easy to be so focused on the central subject of your photo that you might miss power lines, cars or buildings in your shot.
  • Pay attention to the sky. A plain blue sky is boring, and a white overcast sky is just ugly. A day with a blue sky with puffy white clouds is the best. But, if Mother Nature isn't cooperating, include the blue sky but  exclude any ugly overcast by carefully framing your photo.
  • If your day out is overcast, don't despair. Sometimes overcast can actually be a good thing; it's sometimes preferred by landscape photographers. Overcast skies even out ambient light, eliminate harsh shadow and expose more detail.
  • Look down. A blanket of leaves of various colors and shapes can make for a compelling photo. 
  • Get out of the car. Shooting from the roadside is great, but your photos will look like the million others taken this fall. Instead, park your car where it's safe and get out. You'll be surprised by what you might see just a few feet from your vehicle.
  • When shooting the big, wide landscapes, make use of leading lines to draw your eye into the photo. It can be a trail, a dirt road, a line of trees or a rustic fence.
  • Calm days are a good time to look for reflections in ponds and lakes. Reflections can sometimes save what may otherwise be a pretty bland photo.
  • Watch for distracting elements. Dead branches and the like can be easy to miss when shooting, but will be immediately obvious when you look at your photos later.
  • Don't forget to practice Leave No Trace and Nature First Photography principles!
Fall Colors Cathedral Park

Gold Camp Road, October 4th, 2021. Note the use of reflections, leading lines and including clouds in the sky

Cheyenne Mountain State Park will be the site of the Cheyenne Mountain Run foot race on Saturday, Oct. 9. Many trails in the southern half of the park, and also the Dixon Trail to the top of Cheyenne Mountain, will be closed to all except race participants during the course of the race. The closure will be from early morning to early afternoon, according to the Friends of Cheyenne Mountain's Facebook page. See map below for closure areas.

CMSP closure

Everything in red will be closed during the Cheyenne Mountain Run on October 9th.

A reminder that Saturday morning is also a "Motorless Morning" at the Garden of the Gods, with the park closed to motorized vehicles from 5 a.m to noon. 

Motorless Morning.

LNT HotSpot

And finally, next week is a Leave No Trace "Hot Spot" week in some Colorado Springs parks and open spaces. There will be events at Palmer Park and Stratton Open Space, and other venues around the city. The public is invited to participate, however pre-registration is required for some events. Go to the Hot Spot Week web page for more information and to sign up.

Be Good. Do Good Things. Leave No Trace.

Follow Hiking Bob on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (@hikingguide), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc. to Bob: info@hikingbob.com.

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