How the Art Happens - Castle Magic

October 18, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Castle Magic

Castle MagicCastle MagicFresh snow, brilliant leaves, and spots of sunlight team up to create a beautiful scene at The Castles near Ohio Pass in western Colorado.

The Castles are a commanding visual presence rising out of the West Elk Wilderness Area. They seem even more commanding while the leaves are changing every autumn.


I have visited this overlook every year and have so many images of The Castles that unless some kind of magic is happening I don't bother to set up the camera. But, we got a good snow storm to welcome the fall color this year so I had to spend some time checking out The Castles. When I arrived the sky was quite cloudy and there was no sunlight on the mountains or the forest. But I could tell that things were moving and starting to break up. So I set up my monster Really Right Stuff tripod with my Nikon D850 and the Tamron 150-600mm lens. Then I had to wait.


I'm pretty picky about having sunlight on mountain peaks in most of my photographs. It took quite a while for The Castles to become fully illuminated and a took a few photos along the way. I never know whether the light is going to get better or worse and those pixels are pretty cheap insurance that I'll at least get something. Eventually, the sun did cooperate and painted The Castles with brighter, warm light helping them to pop out of the surrounding snow. But then I saw the yellow patch of aspens just below. What if the sun hit that too? Wouldn't that be cool?


The wait got a lot longer but eventually a spot of sunlight moved across the valley and landed right on that patch of yellow aspens. My patience paid off with what is probably my very favorite photo of "Castle Magic". I enjoyed hanging out with the other photographers at the overlook. Each one of us was hoping for something a little different during our hour and a half together. I'm not sure everyone got what they were looking for but I was pretty happy.


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Crested Butte, Colorado photographer, Dusty Demerson creates fine art photography displayed as prints and canvases and provides private photo tours in and around western Colorado.

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