Looking Back – October 2008 Color Tour

Note: while I won’t show all of the images in the body of the post, all of the images are included in the gallery at the end. I don’t know how fast galleries load, and I don’t know how fast your internet is. However, if you just want to see the photos, they are all HERE and they might load faster. Once there, click on any to see them larger.

In October 2008, we loaded up our then-brand-new Tahoe and went on a color tour. I believe it was our first color tour of Colorado. We were both working at the time, so it was basically a long-weekend tour. We drove the Million Dollar Highway, slept one night in Ouray, slept one night somewhere else I don’t remember, and included a drive through the Colorado National Monument.

At the time, I was shooting the Nikon D100. Also, I was using Lightroom 7 and Photoshop 3. I liked the photos I took, but I was never happy with the processing. If you want to compare the original processing to what I’ll show below, you can click HERE for what I could do with the tools available ten years ago. Mind you, the photos don’t suck but my processing tastes have changed. For instance, let me show you the processing for the first photo.



I don’t know if the tools were not that good for correcting color cast (probably the White Balance setting was off) or if I was still ignorant as far as processing photos (most likely true) or if the tools are now much better than they were. Probably a combination of all three, but you can formulate your own opinion. I also don’t know which one is closer to what I actually saw. 

For them interested in what the landscape looks like when the Aspens are turning, read on.

By the way, I used the (free) Nick Collection tools (color processing and sharpening) in combination with Lightroom to process the 138 photos . . . don’t worry, I won’t post them all, but they will be in the gallery at the end as well as in a SmugMug Gallery for them who want to see the best version of them (HERE). 

Occasionally, getting rid of the color cast produced a slight pink tinge to the sky. 

It’s only with certain photos and I spent a fair amount of time trying to get rid of it but everything I tried messed up other colors. Eventually, I decided to live with it. Hopefully, my readers will as well. 

Now, It’s been long enough that I can’t tell you exactly where I took most of these photos. Except, of course, the ones with actual landmarks in them. But, like this next photo, most are not tied to a specific location. All I can tell you is . . . Colorado. If I was really intrepid, I could probably recreate the route and mark all the spots. 

I’m not that intrepid. 

You can click on the photos for a larger version or wait for the gallery at the end. One thing I have to say . . . I’m impressed with Nick’s sharpening algorithm. There are two; one for sharpening the original RAW file and one for sharpening the post-processed file. 

My processing always involves sharpening as the last step of processing, and that’s what I did here. Again, these impressed me, especially if you compare them to the original processing. The only (mild) inconvenience is that the sharpening module is separate from the processing module. But, since they have a fast batch processor, it wasn’t too bad. 

One of the things I like about Aspens — aside from the bright orange/yellow color when they turn — is the “smokey” gray color of the branches in dense groves. When looking at them from afar, the gray almost looks like clouds hugging the sides of the mountains. 

One other thing about these photos . . . they really show off the colors of the rocks. You’ll see that in many of the photos. Here are a few . . . 

I mentioned Colorado National Monument. There are a lot of photos but I’ll only show a couple here . . . after I show our then-new Tahoe . . . we miss that car (here it is eight years later). It got us through the Alpine Loop (here and here) . . . no small feat that. 

Anyway, the monument . . . 

Needless to say, many more photos in the gallery . . . here’s one more.

Lot’s of red rock in the park. Nothing but red rock, in fact. It makes it difficult to process. I try to get the right colors for things I know like sky and trees, and yes, some of the rocks are that red. 

Anyway, back to the color tour . . . I don’t want to overload the post, but I have to show Ouray . . . it reminds me a lot of Alpine towns I’ve seen in Europe. I imagine even more so in the Winter. 

But, soon, we were back on the road . . . 

We drove through some impressive scenery . . . of which I’ll just give you a small taste . . .

Here are two panoramas . . . if you have a decent Internet service, click on the full-size links right after each . . . 

Click HERE for the full-size version (6MB – 7,000 x 2,100 pixels).

Click HERE for the full-size version (8MB – 8,200 x 2,200 pixels).

And, how’s this for colorful mountains?

There are remnants of mining operations scattered throughout the route . . . 

But the mountains really do catch the eye . . . 

But, we were here to see the Aspens . . . 

This color tour had some of the best photos I’ve taken of aspens, most of them as we approached Durango.

Anyway, I hope this has been fun . . . and now, the gallery:

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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