FAVORITE SHOOTING LOCATIONS:
These are a few of the places I return to regularly. They might be specific spots, reoccurring events, or just a general area I like to explore. Many of my best shots have come from these locations -- places I return to for inspiration, and where appropriate, solitude and spiritual connection. GPS coordinates have been included for easy identification, though most areas extend well beyond GPS designations. I frequently add to and modify these entries.
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Highway 7 - Estes Park
Colorado: Offers a great roadside overlook of Longs Peak. Located on Highway 7 approximately 8 miles south of downtown Estes Park. Look for the marker.
Great Reno Balloon Race
Nevada: Hosted in Rancho San Rafael Park on the second weekend of September, the balloon race offers close-up shoots and full vistas in the wee hours before dawn and throughout the morning.
GPS: 39.54954, -119.82967
California: A lazy, quiet agricultural area on the high desert of California, with canals, barns, fields and old fences. For some reason, it has great light -- a nice departure from the desert scrub just over the hill from Highway 395 and Reno just 45 minutes away. Also, just a short jump to Frenchman's Lake.
GPS: 39.80030, -120.13320
Paint Mines Interpretive Park
Colorado: Tucked away in the emerging plains east of Colorado Springs is a small, colorful, geological erosion area turned into an interactive park. It's free, not gated or crowded, and a great place to shoot vistas, macros, and isolated smatterings of people for scale.
GPS: 39.01948, -104.27434
Rose Garden at Idlewild Park
Nevada: Tucked away in a gated corner of Idlewild Park in Reno, is a not-so-tiny garden featuring more than 1700 flowers of 200 rose varietals. Access is easy, it's rarely crowded, and during late June through early July, the full potential of fresh blooms is in season. Absolutely free, bring a macro lens and an empty data card. Botanical gardens in any city generally offer great subjects.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Colorado: Situated 35 east and north of Alamosa, the Park offers endless vantage points alongside the entrance road or out on the dunes. The best shots usually require a sandy hike up the dunes.
GPS: 37.74950, -105.53293
Five-Points Jazz Festival (Denver)
Colorado: A local jazz festival with multiple stages, both inside and outside, with easy access throughout. Situated in the Five-Points neighborhood, this festival moves along Welton Street offering subjects from jazz, to food, crowds, dancing, etc. Look for it the third weekend in May.
GPS: 39.75465, -104.97802
Colorado: The flat vastness is a challenge to shoot well, and subject matter can be scarce. Patience is a virtue here, but when it clicks it clicks well. Located north of Highway 14 between Fort Collins and Sterling, you'll need a full tank of gas to cover the entire region.
GPS: 40.80988, -103.98927
Argyle Lake State Park
Illinois: In a state that's one of the five flattest in the United States, Argyle provides a lush and hilly landscape with water, trees, and rocks away from heavy crowds. Fall is especially gorgeous with the change in colors and tons on trails.
GPS: 40.45771, -90.79504
Toadstool Geological Site
Nebraska: Everyone thinks Nebraska is flat -- it's not. Nestled in the western panhandle is a small and obscure "rock park" with an isolated campsite. Light restrictions, go anywhere. The place is full of Hoodoos -- hard rock pedestals on top of eroding soft rock underneath. The formations make for great abstract subject matter. Go when it's cooler and the clouds provide drama.
MacGregor Ranch - Estes Park
Colorado: Less than 2 miles of downtown on Devil's Gultch Road, the vista offers roadside access overlooking ranch buildings, grazing livestock, and rock formations along Lumpy Ridge.
GPS: 40.39095, -105.52262
Nevada: This is a spiritual place 30 miles north of Reno, both for the Paiutes and for photographers. The lighting and conditions can change radically from hour to hour. These days, access to the east and north may be restricted by the Tribe, but there are lots of perspectives along the western road.
GPS: 39.95556, -119.60776
RiNO Arts District (Denver)
Colorado: If you're looking for street photography and funky art-scene material to shoot, RiNO is the place. Covered with graffiti murals, this is a classic old warehouse district long taken over by creatives. Lots of cool food, fun places, and interesting alleys.
GPS: 39.75903, -104.98561
Little Wild Horse Canyon
Utah: If you ever wanted to shoot inside a slot canyon, but also want to avoid the crowds at someplace like Antelope Canyon (in Arizona), try this little spot in central Utah, west of Goblin Valley State Park. Eight miles of near-endless narrow walls. Cool in the early morning, but hot by noon. Avoid during a rainy forcast.