Colorado Fall Colors Photo Workshop

In Colorado Fall Colors Photo Workshop, Archived Photo Workshops by Matt Shetzer

Colorado Fall Colors Photo Workshop

Dates: September 26 – October 1, 2017

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Locations: San Juan mountains of Southwest Colorado. Montrose, Ridgway, Ouray, Silverton, Telluride and Marble Colorado

Limit: 3 photographers per guide

Duration: 6 days/5 nights

Skill Level: Beginner to Pro

Trip Leader: Matt Shetzer

Trip Origination: Montrose, Colorado

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Colorado-Photo-WorkshopColorado local photographer, Matt Shetzer, will be hosting a unique tour of southwestern Colorado’s fall colors. His local knowledge, combined with a 4×4 Jeep and a small group of just 3 photographers per guide, will take you to places that other photographers just dream of during the Colorado Fall Colors Photo Workshop.

This Colorado Fall Colors Photo Workshop will take you to iconic Colorado locations such as Crystal Mill, Yankee Girl Mine, and Dallas Divide with its stunning views of the 14,150 foot Mt. Sneffels.

These locations are gorgeous themselves, but add in the beautiful yellow, orange and red aspens and you have a photographers’ paradise.

Colorado’s aspens are famous for their stunning gold colors and the southwestern Colorado landscape has some of the most picturesque locations to catch them in their prime.

Whether you are looking to photograph beautiful white snow-capped mountains, the zigzag patterns of split rail fences, lake reflections, or colorful aspen groves, this small and personal tour has a little bit of everything for you.

The end of September provides beautiful weather, and you will enjoy the crisp cool mornings and the rugged beauty of the San Juan mountains each day. The beautiful golden Aspens together with the colorful underbrush provide stunning foreground focal points to capture the beauty of the region.
By keeping our group size extremely small during the Colorado Fall Colors Photo Workshop, we will be able to visit many popular locations in the area, and explore areas where vans, buses and 2-wheel drive cars can’t access. You will enjoy the serenity and the unlimited access to great compositions in these back-country locations.

Locations we will be planning to visit during the Colorado Fall Colors Photo Workshop


  • Ridgway, Colorado
  • Ouray, Colorado
  • Silverton, Colorado
  • Marble, Colorado
  • Telluride, Colorado
  • Iconic Crystal Mill
  • Aspen Groves
  • San Juan Skyway
  • Mining ruins
  • Ghost Towns
  • Million Dollar Highway
  • Owl Creek Pass
  • Silver Jack Reservoir
  • Ralph Lauren’s Double RL Ranch
  • Dallas Divide

Below are some of the locations we have scheduled to photograph during the Colorado Fall Colors Photo Workshop.

Ridgway, Colorado

Fall Colors Colorado Photo Workshop

The 14’er Mt. Sneffels during a beautiful Colorado sunset

A small rural town in Southwest Colorado that has some of the most beautiful aspen groves in the country with views of the rugged mountains.

Ridgway is located in the picturesque Uncompahgre Valley and is surrounded by the San Juan and Cimarron mountains. From Ridgway we will photograph Mount Sneffels that at 14,150 feet, towers 7,200 feet over Ridgway. This is the highest summit in the Sneffels range with autumn colors of yellow, orange and red in the foreground.

There are many fantastic compositions of this beautiful mountain range that keep photographers coming back year after year. We will also photograph the vibrant Dallas Divide from Ralph Lauren’s Double RL Ranch as the fall colors of the aspen and scrub oak frame this rugged mountain range.

Ouray, Colorado

Colorado Fall Colors Photo Workshop

Snow-capped mountains against the vibrant Colorado blue skies

Explore the high country of Ouray, nicknamed the Switzerland of America due to its rugged and vertical mountains.

Ouray offers great opportunity for photographers with its vibrant aspen groves, mining ruins and ghost towns that were abandoned over a hundred years ago with the gold rush of the late 1890’s.

Ouray is always a favorite stop due to the diversity of images that can be taken here and this location provides access to other regions via Ophir Pass, the Alpine Loop and Ironton.

We will explore this region and utilize our 4X4 on the back-roads to provide you with unique images.

Marble, Colorado

Colorado Fall Colors Photo Workshop

Historic Crystal Mill

Marble is the home of the iconic Crystal Mill, which is only accessible by 4X4 Jeep.

The mill was built in 1892 and was a powerhouse for mining for the Sheep Mountain Tunnel. The mill is surrounded by yellow and gold aspens and is perched above the green colored Crystal river offering beautiful images.

This is always a highlight of the Colorado Fall Colors Photo Workshop. While in the area near the mill we will also photograph colorful aspen groves in the area, as well as a beautiful lake with reflections and an aspen covered ghost town.

Owl Creek and Silver Jack Reservoir

Colorado Fall Colors photography workshop

Beautiful reflections in a remote lake in the Uncompahgre wilderness

Based in the Uncompahgre Wilderness, photographers will love the views of Owl Creek and Silver Jack Reservoir.

The colorful aspens of these areas combined with vertical rock bluffs and spires, and Colorado’s deep blue skies will produce great scenic photographs. In addition, the remote lakes of this region offer colorful reflections of the aspens as they glow yellow in the sunlight.

The Owl Creek region was made famous in 1969 by the film True Grit, staring John Wayne and the film, How the West was Won.

Silverton, Colorado

Colorado Fall Colors Photography

An abandoned mine outside of Silverton

Established as a former silver mining camp in 1874, Silverton Colorado is a National Historic Landmark and on the San Juan Skyway. Silverton is one of the best examples of the Colorado history of mining.

We will visit one of the best-preserved ghost towns in Colorado which at one point was occupied by 450 people, containing 30 cabins, stores, saloon and post office. The ghost town, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places has nine standing buildings, as well as the original jail house, the oldest structure on the site.

Silverton is connected by the Million Dollar Highway to Ouray. The road received its name because when built through the mining rich region, a million dollars of gold was found every mile. This road runs through the Colorado high country and is full of aspen groves.

Colorado Fall Color Photography Workshop

Join us in the backcountry as we use Jeeps/4X4 to get into locations photographers dream about.

The Colorado Fall Colors Photo Workshop is a unique opportunity to explore locations off the beaten path and create beautiful images with your own personal touch. Our discussions will hone your photography skills and you will learn how to get the most out of your camera equipment. It’s also an adventure that will leave you with lasting memories and plenty of pictures to commemorate the experience.


Day 1

The workshop will start as you are picked up at the Montrose, Colorado airport. We will greet everyone and them embark on the short 45-minute drive to Ridgway, Colorado.

Once settled in the hotel, our home for the week, we will head out for afternoon and sunset shots hoping to capture a beautiful golden sunset over the high mountain peaks with aspens in the foreground. Once the light fades, we will head out to an enjoyable dinner and get to know everyone.

Days 2-5

During the week, we adapt our schedule to the weather and tree fall foliage conditions to ensure we obtain the best possible photographs of the landscape.

Each day we will plan a sunrise shot, morning photography, mid-day break, afternoon photography and sunset shots. As we see opportunities with the weather, we will have discussions on different photography techniques and post processing examples.

We will be photographing the rugged vertical mountains in the area, surrounded by the colorful aspens and cross buck fences, iconic Crystal Mill, aspen groves, mining ruins, ghost towns and much more.

As time permits, we will also explore Ophir and Telluride, Colorado. Our Tour schedules are subject to change due to changes in weather or other unforeseen events.

Day 6

We will head out again this morning for another sunrise shot, checkout of our lodge, and head back to the airport for departures.

Colorado Fall Colors Photography Workshop



The cost of the Colorado Fall Colors Photo Workshop includes all the following amenities:

Colorado Fall Colors with Jeep

Aspen groves in its peak colors in the Colorado high country

  • 6 days/ 5 nights of lodging in Ridgway, Colorado at centrally located lodge. Double occupancy (Single Occupancy available)
  • 4X4 / Jeep transportation for the trip
  • Transportation to/from the Montrose Airport to Ridgway, Colorado.
  • First night’s welcome dinner in Ridgway, Alaska
  • Breakfast while at the lodge
  • Instruction in the field with your photographer guide
  • Photography classes and workshops on photo editing techniques
  • Planning Package including recommendation on the proper camera gear and clothing
  • Prior to embarking on your journey, we are happy to provide a free phone consultation with your trip leader, who will give you guidance on what equipment to bring, answer questions about the locale, and give general photography advice to make sure you are ready to capture your dream image.
  • We take care of all the trip logistics once guests reach Montrose, Colorado, so the only thing you have to concentrate on is having a fantastic time and capturing beautiful images the beautiful fall colors in the San Juan Mountains



  • Transportation to/from Montrose, Colorado
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Dinner/Lunches
  • Travel/Cancellation/Emergency evacuation insurance
  • Personal Items


You should be in fair physical health. While we will rely on the 4X4 and Jeep to cover the miles. You must be able to walk short distances on dirt roads and improved paths (approximately 100 feet). Walking surfaces are typically dirt and uneven.

We will be at high altitude from 7,000 to 12,000 ft. It is recommended you discuss your travel plans with your doctor prior to coming and drink lots of water during the trip.

If you are concerned about the physical demands of this trip, please contact us and we would be glad to discuss the typical day and options for your needs.

Colorado Fall Colors Photo Workshop

Matt having a little fun with the family.


The Colorado Fall Color Photo Workshop is open to all photographers, from beginners to professionals.



Fall temperatures are normally very pleasant this time of year, with lows around 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) and highs of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). While in the Colorado high mountains, weather can change rapidly with chances of snow any month of the year. We always say, “Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.”



Matt Shetzer – Colorado local since 2000 has been photographing the stunning mountains of Southwest Colorado and exploring the remote backcountry of this beautiful state either on foot, by skis or by Jeep. To read more about Matt, click HERE.



Colorado Fall Colors Photography Workshop

Zig zagging cross buck fences, aspen and mountains give the photographers many options

While our primary goal is maximum field time, we will take advantage of non-optimal photography conditions to provide photo workshops, discussing the following subjects in detail:

  • Achieving the best composition
  • Proper exposure for the scene
  • Focus techniques for that crisp image
  • Filters for the digital age. Split ND filters and polarizers
  • Getting the most out of the histogram
  • Mastering the modes (when to shoot manual, aperture and shutter priorities)
  • Taking images for HDR (High Dynamic Range)
  • Image workup techniques with Photoshop and Lightroom. At each workshop, we demonstrate how to work up attendees’ images from scratch, displaying our nondestructive techniques to produce the highest quality image.
  • Best Plugins to use
  • Color Correction
  • Layers and Masks (Masks are targeted adjustments)
  • Noise reduction and sharpening techniques
  • Lightroom and portfolio management
  • Photography discussions – Review select images and discuss which images work and why to expand your skills and move to the next level

Over the course of the Colorado Fall Colors photography workshop you will learn photographic techniques to hone your digital photography skills, learn how to achieve the perfect exposure with the camera and take control of your camera to achieve the sharpest and highest quality images.

Colorado Fall Colors Photography Workshop

The Colorado deep blue sky and golden Aspen


  • A wide-angle lens from 24-100 for landscapes
  • A telephoto lens from 70-200
  • Tripod with a Ball Head
  • Polarizer filter
  • Graduated Split Neutral Density Filters. 2 or 3 stop with a soft edge is normally preferred
  • Cable Release/Wireless Release
  • Camera Bag/Backpack

If you need assistance in selecting gear to meet your photography goals just let us know. All guests will receive a detailed planning package to assist in the process prior to the trip.


The magnificent setting provides a spectacular experience for anyone involved in the Colorado Fall Colors workshop. Non-photographers are welcome to join us in the field and join in on all activities with a discount of $250.00.



Read what our fantastic guests are saying about our Photography Workshops. Client Comments



We strongly recommend all participants purchase trip insurance purchased from a third-party operator to protect your travel investment against medical emergencies, participant trip cancellations, trip interruption and delay, weather delays, missed connections, baggage loss or delay, emergency evacuation and repatriation or simply ‘Cancel for any reason coverage’.

Because Shetzers Photography must pay fees for reservations and leases of accommodations and transportation needs of the group far in advance of the workshop, all paid tour fees are non-refundable, non-transferable and cannot be applied to a future workshop. Shetzers Photography runs small group workshops and wants to ensure the workshops are not canceled due to participant cancellations thus impacting the participants who do not cancel. All tour cancellations must be submitted in writing and will result in loss of deposit and all fees paid.

Please review our Workshop Terms and Conditions.

COVID-19 and Variants Policy

If regulatory restrictions in the hosting location prevent the workshop from running as scheduled, the workshop will be rescheduled to a future date. All participants must meet hosting country vaccination requirements. No refunds or rescheduling will be allowed due to guest cancellations when the workshop is able to run following all host location regulatory restrictions.


Colorado Fall Colors Photography workshop

Beautiful reflection and hills covered in aspen down a jeep road


To reserve a spot on this tour, we require a $1,000.00 deposit per person that is paid by credit card at the time of registration. Full tour payments must be completed 90 days prior to the start of the tour and are paid by check or bank transfer.

Once the final trip payment has been received, the detailed trip planning documents will be sent to each guest to assist in planning for the best photography workshop.

Our workshops are based upon a first come, first serve basis. Workshop availability will be updated on this page.

If you have any additional questions or would like to speak to us, please contact us at 303-888-2710 and we would be happy to answer your questions.

Colorado Fall Colors Photo Workshop was last modified: April 2nd, 2024 by Matt Shetzer