How the Art Happens - The Calico Forest

September 27, 2023  •  1 Comment

The Calico Forest

The Calico ForestThe Calico ForestSpots of fall color in a Colorado aspen forest near Crested Butte.

The Kebler Pass Road leading west from Crested Butte is highly regarded as one of the premiere fall color routes in the USA. During late September through mid-October, it's not unusual to see well-known photographers and artists from all over the country, even from other parts of the world. I've even met photo workshops from Mexico and Japan during the peak of fall colors.


Usually by the middle of October, our temperatures are consistently below freezing at night and we've had a few snow storms come through. This type of weather plays havoc with the leaves and bare tree limbs start to replace the vibrant colors of the forest. I don't know of many photographers who seek these stark landscapes. But, I do. These barren landscapes evoke entirely different emotions than golden leaves.


"The Calico Forest" was discovered on October 17, 2010, on the west side of Kebler Pass just before dropping into Erickson Springs and The Dark Canyon Trail. I love that the bare trees surround more protected areas with pale, yellow, leaves. I also like the red and brown oaks and evergreen's contribution to the warm palate of colors. It just feels like autumn to me even though it's a little moody. The 300mm telephoto lens helps to compress the distance within the scene and kind of scrunches the forest into a smaller space.


Even though this is one of my favorite fall photos, it has never sold. I guess it only triggers my emotions and other viewers find it boring or depressing. What say you? Does "The Calico Forest" trigger any kind of emotional response from you? I would love to know.


Kathy hooge(non-registered)
Yes, probably depressing as we love summer so much and the long days. I still love winter but not the short sunlight hours. I think the Shiprock photo is stunning because it flows and looks more like a painting. I’ll comment on the others later- love your work- kathy
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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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