Mt Sopris Sunrise

A forest of color leads to one of the most prominent mountains in Colorado. After dropping fresh snow on the peaks an autumn storm parted just enough to let th...
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A forest of color leads to one of the most prominent mountains in Colorado. After dropping fresh snow on the peaks an autumn storm parted just enough to let the morning light spill out.

My favorite scene of the season. My friend and I spent an hour driving around in the dark trying to find a spot for sunrise but we weren't having luck. We ended up just sleeping along the road close to the spot we thought was the best and it couldn't have worked out better. A beautiful ranch setting leading up to amazing aspens and stellar peaks!

This location is featured in my "Colorado's Fall Colors - A Photographer's Guide" eBook 2nd Edition:

In this guide you’ll find some of Colorado’s iconic places and a few “secret” ones as well. By no means does the guide cover every place worth photographing during autumn in Colorado, use this book as a starting point for your exploration! Fall in Colorado usually starts in mid September and can last until the end of October in the lower elevations.

56 Photo Locations (17 new!) including areas around Aspen, Crested Butte, Ridgway and more!

GPS coordinates and driving directions for each location

Best time of day and date ranges for each location

The camera settings I used for each featured image

The 2nd Edition includes 17 new locations and updated info-images on some of the other locations as well as a GPS map link for all the locations.

$14.95 - Instant Download
For more info and to purchase click here
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Absolute Masterpiece
LorisPhotography RMCROC jennay510 BLPhotography loutyler watkinsvk omkarphutane +29
Peer Award
Mikhailan jerseybrat611 Briana_Amaro alef0 markusfiedler cricketnrp artiste9999 +12
Superb Composition
MikeB1950 gratielarusu RuiFarinha_Photography AdelinaAlexe karensommerslohre AntonioMarchetti cindycarlind'agostino +10
Top Choice
DoraArt DerrickSteeves LucaConradPhotography sudharshan LindaT Camera-Gypsy scarlettnjo +6
Jaw Dropping
bobbysluder Dan_Kinghorn desertpagan Casper hmwilsonphotos matravers GBloniarz
Magnificent Capture
allanvenables CLee-Byrd michaelstephens JBdesign
Exceptional Contrast
MichelleTricker ashagiharahap Michael53 PKnot
Outstanding Creativity
Arohi_Choudhary Onthewildsidephotography denisegauvreau-mosseau
All Star
Superior Skill

Top ClassTM

Colorful Landscapes Photo ContestTop 10 class
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78 Comments | Report
Serendipity1 October 27, 2012
Very nice!
GBloniarz PRO+
GBloniarz October 27, 2012
What a profoundly beautiful world we live in and you captured a sampling of such in a most remarkable way!
tsambaproductions October 27, 2012
canon7d PRO+
canon7d October 28, 2012
Great capture!!!
mturnau PRO
mturnau October 28, 2012
magnificent !!
tsambaproductions October 29, 2012
Redjule PRO+
Redjule October 29, 2012
Very nicely done, congrats on the award
Woombaway October 29, 2012
Congrats beautifully captured, awarded.
snowdon PRO
snowdon October 29, 2012
Majestic location and excellent photograph, well done beautiful detail. Congratulations on your feature.
bobbynall October 29, 2012
Very nice !!!
Daniel-Enderle October 29, 2012
Love Colorado :)
djensen Platinum
djensen October 29, 2012
Perfect capture of our beautiful Colorado! Congrats on the feature!
edadamos October 29, 2012
////////// Magical! Such vibrant colors! Great feature! \\\\\\\\\
stillmovingphotographs October 29, 2012
really nice capture
rachmonte October 29, 2012
PSJPhotography October 29, 2012
danissumawijaya October 29, 2012
amazing view and colors.. great...
Carli October 29, 2012
excellent shot! congrats :D
F8user PRO+
F8user October 29, 2012
Great color and depth! Congrats!
jamesearle October 29, 2012
The colour of the trees is amazing!
svetlanapaegel October 29, 2012
very nice!!!
Coomanator October 29, 2012
What an awesome capture. The colors are magnificent. Congratulations on the feature. Very well deserved.
iceman2 October 29, 2012
Beautiful capture.Congrats!
hmwilsonphotos October 29, 2012
What a wonderful shot - and a great adventure trying to get it! Fall - what a beautiful season! Congratulations on being Featured photo! Awarded!
jpsphotos PRO
jpsphotos October 29, 2012
Great shot here. Great color and coposition. Congratulations on the Feature win.
hmwilsonphotos October 29, 2012
VOTED = on Photofocus contest! :)
Casper October 29, 2012
Superb jaw dropping shot. Great beauty! Congrats
Strick PRO+
Strick October 29, 2012
wow, favored
tetvet PRO+
tetvet October 29, 2012
beautiful, congrats
lisawiza October 29, 2012
glorious and i dont use that word too often..
carolcardillo PRO
carolcardillo October 29, 2012
Gorgeous! Congratulations on your Feature!
VB October 29, 2012
pretty ! congrats
julieklene October 29, 2012
absolutely gorgeous! congrats on your feature!
prashanwilfred October 29, 2012
Gorgeous to say the Least !!! Just WOW !!!! - What camera & Lens? And are you using any filters ?
jasonjhatfield October 29, 2012
Sony a900 w/ Zeiss 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. 3-Stop Hard Split ND
ltj Platinum
ltj October 29, 2012
nitti October 29, 2012
rturnbow Platinum
rturnbow October 29, 2012
Beautiful, congrats!
Cindi_Tonkovich PRO
Cindi_Tonkovich October 29, 2012
Very nice. Love it!
TAHammer October 29, 2012
Beautiful capture, Congrautlations on your feature
rmr731 PRO+
rmr731 October 29, 2012
Simply gorgeous!
joebaxter October 29, 2012
Sooo Nice. I want to be there.
ManCorMac October 29, 2012
Congratulations on your feature
bernieyoung October 29, 2012
beautiful capture,congrats
beetlestone October 29, 2012
Congrats! Very pretty!
SarahKeates PRO
SarahKeates October 29, 2012
Fabulous shot! Congrats!
MYCPhotography October 29, 2012
This is beautiful!!
BINCPHOTO October 29, 2012
tjberndt PRO+
tjberndt October 29, 2012
very nice
PhotoAlaska October 29, 2012
very nice
inge_vautrin PRO+
inge_vautrin October 29, 2012
So beautiful! Congrats!
tisherself October 29, 2012
congrats, gorgeous scene
Tulips October 29, 2012
Very impressive!!!!
melda PRO
melda October 29, 2012
Steller composition!
Thimbee October 29, 2012
Your hard work paid off. It Is just beautiful!
ollylikesphotos October 29, 2012
beautiful landscape
anbareen100 October 29, 2012
wow beautiful shot :D love all the different colors :) congratsss
photojourney October 29, 2012
Beautiful capture!!!! Magnifico! Bravo!
colljan October 29, 2012
This is gorgeous!
cycyak1 PRO+
cycyak1 October 29, 2012
Gorgeous! Congrats!
dimarudinov October 30, 2012
Great view! great shot!
PKnot October 30, 2012
What a way to wake up!
jesusfreak3520 October 30, 2012
Fabulously done! Wish I was there! Congrats on the feature!
luvmtnlife PRO+
luvmtnlife October 30, 2012
nice! congrats!
disneymamom PRO+
disneymamom October 31, 2012
congrats on feature
redwriter Platinum
redwriter October 31, 2012
Amazing landscape capture. Congrats on your feature. - Jake
Emerald_Wake November 01, 2012
Perfect work, glad this one is visible !
My Award
rkperry215 November 04, 2012
Beautiful shot!
MariposaRosa November 05, 2012
Great capture! Amazing scenery!
desertpagan November 05, 2012
Wow! A breathtaking capture of the sunrise! What a sight this must have been! Congrats!!
chipbhi November 05, 2012
The colors you've got here are amazing! Great work!
gappman PRO+
gappman November 19, 2012
Gorgeous! I love Colorado!
dpgoldphotos PRO
dpgoldphotos December 04, 2012
Hari_Subagio April 04, 2013
beautiful stunning, great color ,Congratulations
jvillainc PRO+
jvillainc June 16, 2013
Amazingly beautiful - voted
photosue50 Premium
photosue50 June 16, 2013
ashagiharahap October 02, 2013
Superb shot!
Lovely color, very vibrant. Nicely done.
ToddGrivettiPhotography Ultimate
ToddGrivettiPhotography October 03, 2015
There's nothing better than waking up to this for sure! Magnificent colors and light.
RDVPhotography June 24, 2018

Behind The Lens

Along Prince Creek Road near Carbondale, Colorado. The mountain is a twin summit peak called Mt. Sopris; both peaks have the same elevation of 12,953 ft.
This was a sunrise shot around 7am.
The side lighting of the rising sun was perfect this morning as the cloud cover in the distance broke at the same time as the cloud cover on the peaks. Without the perfect timing of both I would have been left with either no morning light a bright group of clouds obscuring the peak.
Sony a900 with Zeiss 24-70mm f/2.8 lens set at a Focal Length of 55mm, Shutter Speed 1s, Aperture f/14, and ISO100. I used a split ND filter to help with the bright sky. All my landscape shots are on a Feisol tripod for sharp, stable images, as well as the giving me ability to fine tune my composition over hand-holding.
I'm an avid fall colors photographer and had just released an eBook guide to fall photography in Colorado. This year (2012) I was looking for more locations to add to my second edition and while I had admired the mountain from a nearby highway, I had never attempted to photograph it in the fall. After a tip that the colors were looking great up there from a photographer friend I met at Maroon Bells, I decided to head up Prince Creek Rd for a sunrise shot of the mountain. As I was driving the road in the dark I couldn't see the best location for sunrise and eventually ended up camping nearby with the plan to find something in the morning twilight before sunrise. My luck actually placed my campsite very close to the perfect spot for sunrise with an amazing layer of fall colors for a foreground/mid-ground and the towering Mt. Sopris in the background. Not only that, I was gifted with one of the best sunrises of my fall travels to date!
As I shoot in RAW all my images require some work out of camera. I performed the standard adjustments of WB, exposure, contrast, color, as well as some localized sharpening all in Lightroom. Since I used a split-ND filter I was able to work with just one image, negating the need for image blending. To finish the image I used Nik Color Efex to bring out the fall colors and sunrise I saw that day.
In my camera bag
Sony a7r, Zeiss 24-70 & 16-35 lenses, Sony G 70-200 f/2.8 lens. Polarizer, split-ND, Big Stopper 10-stop ND, Lee filter holder. L-plate and pano plates along with my Feisol Tripod. Lots of batteries, usually 6, as the a7r batteries are small. I usually have some accessories for video now as well like a shotgun mic and vari-ND filter. All my gear goes into my F-stop pack.
To get a great fall shot takes patience, planning, knowing your camera, and of course luck. The first part you can play a big impact on is planning. The more location scouting and planning you can do beforehand online, the better you set yourself up for great images. I've found eBook guides are also a great reference for finding some of the best and iconic shots, as well as leading you to some lesser known spots. Patience obviously involves waiting for the right conditions and right time of day, as well as shooting the same location over and over until you get that "perfect" shot. Part of getting that perfect shot requires you not only knowing the settings on your camera, but how your camera performs under certain conditions. Having shot with the a900 for 4 years I know how the sensor responds to different lighting and best settings to ensure the most dynamic range for a given shot. As you know from above though, the biggest component of this shot was luck. I was lucky to find a great spot and get a stunning sunrise on the same day. Luck isn't something you can really change but it is something you can plan for by following the other steps!

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