October in Oak Creek

In mid-October, I drove over to Colorado to visit an old friend from college. He lives in a little town called Oak Creek a few miles southwest of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The weather was beautiful – cool, crisp autumn with blue skies. My friend, whose name is also Tim, retired there a few years ago, and this was the first time I made it over to see him in his home. Tim is a real outdoors kind of guy, so we planned a nice hike up in the Flat Top Mountains, southwest of Oak Creek.

This is looking generally westward from a small river near the end of our hike.

Unfortunately, yours truly messed up his knee a bit a few days prior to the trip. (I was getting something out of the bed of my truck and jumped out of the bed off the tailgate. Guess the older knees didn’t like that.)

So, we made the hike a bit easier; we still had a great time, though. The scenery was wonderful, but I was about a week late for peak fall colors. The hike had two awesome highlights. The first was that my buddy got a great laugh when I slipped on a rock while crossing a stream. My right foot went right off that algae covered rock into the very cold water!

That is the Flat Top Mountains with their first fall dusting of snow.

Tim asked me if my boots were waterproof, and I replied, “Yes, but not when they go in over the tops!” Lots of laughing followed. Then, when we stopped a little father up the trail so I could get the water out of my boot, there was even more laughter! Especially when I poured the water out onto the ground. At least my foot didn’t get hot on the hike! 🤣

Another view of the upper part of the Flat Tops.

The second highlight was when we spotted a large cow moose across a pond. She was busy grazing in the pond, and she seemed wholly unconcerned about us.

Here is Ms. Moose.

Besides having to dry out my boots, the hike was great with no ill effects on my knee. That evening, we went into Steamboat Springs and had some great Mexican food with lots of fun conversations.

This little stream crossing under the rail bridge caught my eye with the way the sun was lighting up the golden leaves.

The next day, we decided to spend more time on photography as both Tim and I are quite passionate about our mutual hobby. It’s amazing that we get along as he is a dedicated Cannon guy, and I am a dedicated Nikon guy. 😉 Tim and I took a drive down CO 131 out of Oak Creek, and it wasn’t long before we found some subject matter.

I had found a spot to pull off the road at the edge of this little dirt trail. If you look closely at the top center of the photo, you’ll see the moon.
This is the same shot, but I converted it to black and white, reducing the blues, bumping up the greens and reds a bit. I also used an 85W photo filter to give the image a warm tint. The moon is still there, but it’s pretty dark in this version.

I really had fun photographing with Tim because we would both find different things that caught our eyes. Then we would tromp off to get “the shots”.

Here is my buddy, Tim, working on his own photograph.

Tim has lived in Oak Creek for about 5 years now, so he really knows the area and the cool sights. What I found especially interesting was how we would both see the same thing but end up making very different compositions. This was a blast to watch each other work!

These rocks caught my eye as well. Tim was also photographing here, and I have yet to see his compositions.

I really don’t know how many photos we took in this small section of the drive out of Oak Creek, but we spent quite a bit of time here. We kept finding new scenes and subjects.

As I was walking back to my car, I noticed the view through this meadow and how the sunlight was just making things glow. Even the cows seemed like they were glowing, too.

We decided to finally move on and continued our drive. Later that day, as we were rounding a curve on Colorado 14, I stopped the car and pulled over. Tim was wondering what I saw, and I told him to take a look ahead, down the road. This is what I saw.

The afternoon sun was really lighting up the remaining colors, and I just loved the way the road curved around, leading the eye over toward that barn.

Hopefully, you’ll agree that I have saved the best for last. Back near our first stop on CO 131, there was a very prominent rock formation over past the rail tracks on the east side of the road. Tim and I both spent considerable time scoping out the best views. Here is what I thought would work.

I really liked the contrast between the dark lava outcropping and the lighter cliffs behind.
But this was the better scene by far, in my opinion. That late afternoon sun was really highlighting the trees and the rock. The rails were catching just enough sun to provide some interesting contrasts and highlights. And the clouds were really intriguing.
As I was processing these photos, I got curious about what this scene would look like in black and white. Here is the result.

Well, that is about it for my trip to Oak Creek. What a fun long weekend! Spending time with Tim was really wonderful, and I so enjoyed the time we spent together on our photography. This is definitely something that we need to do again. I haven’t photographed with a colleague since the last time Tim and I got together in Steamboat Springs many years before he retired there. The mental collaboration was pretty cool. I really would like to see his photos. He just started using a mirrorless Cannon and really seems to love it!

Hopefully, you all enjoyed the post. I had a blast doing this.

2022 is nearly history now, so I just want to say thank you to all of you who follow my blog. You inspire me so much, and I really cannot say how much these friendships mean to me. Thank you, and have a wonderful and safe New Year!

4 thoughts on “October in Oak Creek

  1. Railroad tracks connote a mystery around the bend, or into and through their convergence into infinity. Some folks now are building rail carts to access abandoned rail routes and the regions rarely traversed. There’s a story around every corner or bend. The raison d’etre of the wayfarer is to seek out and explore this rarely untraveled country.

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