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James Kay


Autumn in the San Juan Mountains - Telluride, Colorado   September 29 - October 5, 2019



With fourteen peaks reaching more than 14,000 feet into the Colorado sky, the San Juan Mountains are one of western America's preeminent mountain ranges; on par with the Tetons, Sierras, and the mountains of Glacier NP. What sets the San Juans apart from these other mountain chains is the vast acreage of yellow aspen groves which carpet the lower flanks of the mountains every autumn. When the first storms of winter dust the peaks in late September and early October with fresh snow as the colors peak, there are few mountain settings on earth which can match the breathtaking spectacle of the San Juans at this time of year. Tucked away at 9,000 feet in a remote glacier-carved canyon surrounded by 13,000-foot peaks, we'll use the small town of Telluride, with its excellent amenities, as our base for photographing this remarkable region at its most beautiful time of year. From sunrise to sunset, with our small group of 8 participants, we'll maximize our time out in the field for 5 full days as we explore and photograph Colorado's most spectacular displays of autumn color.  READ MORE

$4,175.00 - Single Occupancy
$3,550.00 - Double Occupancy
Includes 6 nights accommodations in Telluride's very comfortable Camel's Garden Hotel plus 5 full days of photography instruction in the field.


Use the button above to add your name to the wait list. Please email us if you have an interest in this workshop for 2020. We'll add your name to the advance-notice list to receive an email before we post it on our site next yearCancellation Policy  Spouse/Partner Policy


Dates: September 29 - October 5, 2019
Based in: Telluride, Colorado
Maximum Number of Participants: 8
Accommodations: Included in the price of this workshop - We'll enjoy the very comfortable Camel's Garden Hotel in the town of Telluride. We provide single-occupancy accommodations for our guests but offer a double-occupancy discount to couples or other guests who have found another person willing to share a room with them. As with all our workshops, we've reserved the most desirable rooms in our hotel.
Meals: Telluride is known for its excellent dining venues and we'll enjoy many of them. We will handle all meal reservations and we'll dine together as a group. Meals are not included in the price.
Ground Transportation: You are responsible for your travel arrangements to the town of Telluride. Once on location, we'll share vehicles and carpool to our various photo locations. SUVs are recommended for possible muddy, backcountry roads.  
Photography Skill Level: Novice to advanced - Jim will work closely with each participant based on his/her individual skill level.
Physical Difficulty: EASY This is our easiest workshop with short, easy strolls from our vehicles to our photography vantage points; albeit at elevations between 8,000 and 10,000 feet.




As a field workshop, we'll maximize our time outdoors for 5 full days capturing images in a wide diversity of locations throughout the region. We will likely need to adjust this itinerary to accommodate weather and field conditions.
For 5 full days, we've chosen the most dramatic locations to capture autumn color in the San Juan Mountains; all within a 30-mile radius of Telluride. This 4,000 square-mile mountain range is a vast region of towering peaks and aspen-covered slopes with countless photography locations.
Sunday September 29, 2019
4:30pm - Opening-night reception at Camel's Garden Hotel in Telluride, Colorado.
6:00 - Dinner at one of Telluride's excellent restaurants. 

Monday September 30, 2019
We'll travel to a region of serrated volcanic ridges and vast aspen groves east of Telluride today beneath the 14,000-foot summits of the Big Blue Wilderness, one of Colorado's largest wilderness areas. We'll depart our hotel at 6:00am for a full day in the field to photograph this dramatic region of serrated limestone peaks and endless groves of aspen trees.
4:30 - Arrive back at our hotel in Telluride.
6:00 - Dinner at another excellent restaurant in town.
Tuesday October 1, 2019
Today, we'll concentrate on the region west and south of Telluride
where the redrock layers of southern Utah bump up against the western edge of the Rocky Mountains. This is a region of high rolling 10,000-foot high mesas carpeted with vast tapestries of aspen trees below the 14,000-foot summits of the San Miguel Mountains.  
6:30am - Depart our hotel to capture the first rays of sunlight as they illuminate Wilson Peak above the aspen groves of its namesake mesa. With a little luck, the first snows of winter will have recently dusted the peak.
8:15 – Breakfast in Telluride.
9:45 – Depart for our morning photo session along the South Fork of the San Miguel River southwest of Telluride. The waters of the South Fork flow from glacier-carved cirques high on the slopes of some of the most spectacular mountain terrain in the American West. We'll photograph several locations with thick groves of yellow aspen trees beneath these peaks. 
1:00 - Picnic lunch in the field.
1:30 - After lunch, we'll depart for another location along the San Miguel River to photograph more aspen groves and snow-capped peaks.
6:00 - Arrive back at our hotel.
6:15 - Depart for our sunset location overlooking town.
7:45 - Arrive back at our hotel.
8:15 - Dinner at another of Telluride's renowned restaurants.

Wednesday October 2, 2019
This will be our second day exploring the region west of Telluride with its rolling, aspen-covered mesas and glacier-carved peaks. We'll explore a new portion of this vast area today with tremendous sweeping views of the mountains surrounding the headwaters of the San Miguel River.
6:10am - Depart for our sunrise location overlooking Wilson Mesa and the San Miguel Mountains. After sunrise, we'll photograph a variety of mountain slopes and ridgelines covered with kaleidoscopic groves of aspen.
11:30 - Lunch in Telluride.
12:30 - After lunch, we'll travel west to a new area to photograph rolling, aspen-covered mesas with the peaks of the Sneffels and San Miguel mountains providing a backdrop. As evening approaches, we'll travel back towards Telluride for our sunset photo location overlooking the glacier-carved canyon of the San Miguel River.  
7:30 - Arrive back at our hotel.
8:15 - Dinner at another excellent restaurant in town.

Thursday October 3, 2019
We'll spend another full day in the field today exploring the region to the south of Telluride at the headwaters of the San Miguel and Dolores Rivers. There are a variety of locations within this region we've yet to photograph over the last few days so we'll take advantage of them today.
6:15am – Depart our hotel for our sunrise location.
9:00 - Breakfast in Telluride.
10:15 - After breakfast, we'll travel south to the headwaters of the San Miguel River between the 13,000-foot summits of Lookout Peak to the east and Sunshine Peak to the West. After capturing images from two main locations in this region, we'll head into new territory over 10,222-foot Lizard Head Pass for a late lunch in the small town of Rico; one of the San Juan's historic mining towns. After lunch, we'll return to the area around Telluride for one more photo session.
5:00 - Arrive back at our hotel.
6:00 - Depart for our sunset photo location high above the aspen-filled canyon of the upper San Miguel River. With no mountains to cast shadows from the west, we'll capture the very last rays of warm, golden light illuminating a high ridgeline of 13,000-foot peaks. 
7:15 - Arrive back at our hotel.
7:45 - Another great meal in town.
Friday October 4, 2019
After photographing the mountains and mesas around Telluride for the last 3 days, we'll venture further afield today to explore the Sneffels Range; one of the most dramatic regions of ice-sculpted peaks in the West with 14,000-foot summits and deep glacier-carved canyons filled with brilliant yellow aspen trees at this time of year. We'll depart our hotel at 6:00am for our sunrise location and then spend the entire day exploring the aspen-covered flanks of these awe-inspiring mountains.
7:30 - Dinner in Ridgway.
9:00 - Arrive back in Telluride.

Saturday October 5, 2019
8:00am - Breakfast; end of workshop.




"Telluride in autumn is an absolutely magical place. The tremendous variety of dramatic locations provides an intense and rewarding five days of photography. Add to this, your deep knowledge of the region and the wonderful hospitality you provided, and this was one of the most rewarding photographic trips possible.Dr. Cyril Mazanasky, Boston, MA.

"Autumn in Telluride is a tour-de-force and both of you did another outstanding job leading us through a visual, emotional, and gastronomical smorgasbvord of views, colors, images, & camaraderie. A fantastic experience that I would highly recommend to anyone!" Paul Kaufmann, San Diego, CA.

"Thank you once again for exceeding all of my expectations in Telluride. Your choice of shooting locations, knowledge of the area, perfect fall colors along with near perfect weather were all off the charts. You and Susie are - hands down - the best at your craft. You helped me capture some extraordinary images. Thank you again." Fred Kraut, Salt Lake City, UT.

"Thank you again for giving me a wondeful photography experience!! It could not have been better!! I recognize how much preparation and effort goes into making such an event succesful. Every day day was carefully planned and you were able to select the best places and times to photograph. The lodging could not have been better and the food was always excellent." Dr. Cark Kjeldsberg, Salt Lake City, UT.



Jim is a regular contributor to Outdoor Photographer Magazine and has served as one of their professional advisors for more than 25 years. His work has been featured in the Nikon Legends Collection and his photographs have been published in a wide variety of magazines including Nikon World; Los Angeles Times; Arizona Highways; Sunset; National Geographic Adventure; and Time. A short list of his commercial clients would include The New Zealand Tourism Board; VF Corp; American Express; Sundance Institute; Nikon USA; Visa; and The Nature Conservancy. His landscape photographs have been displayed in the Utah Museum of Art & History; the Natural History Museum of Utah; and in the US Capitol Rotunda in an exhibit advocating wilderness protection for Utah's Colorado Plateau region. His recent book, Resurrection Glen Canyon, published by Mountaineers Books, showcases his ongoing project to document the legendary canyons of Glen Canyon as they have emerged from the waters of Lake Powell due to the ongoing drought in the American Southwest. See his full biography.


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