Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison, Colorado
      Blue Mesa Reservoir
      Gunnison, Colorado
      June 29, 2009

      I’ve been working every day for the last several weeks, so yesterday I decided that I would take the day off and drive into the mountains. I had no idea where I was headed, but that was part of the fun. Unfortunately my favorite road trip buddy couldn’t join me, because Mike was out of town, but my dog Ally made for a great companion. We headed west on Hwy 50, and five hours later ended up in Gunnison, Colorado. By this time I was tired of driving and not looking forward to driving home in the dark. I decided to stay for the night, which turned my random road trip into a spontaneous mini-vacation. It was just what I needed.

      Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison, Colorado
      I bought a sandwich in Gunnison, and had a picnic in one of those pavilions by the lake.

      Grasses at Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison, Colorado

      Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison, Colorado
      It’s tough to work every weekend in the summer, but it’s great to have a place like this all to ourselves on a Monday evening.

      Dog at Wildflowers at Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison, Colorado

      Dog at Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison, Colorado
      Ally found all kinds of great sticks in the water, and would bring them to me for games of fetch.

      Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison, Colorado
      This stick was her greatest find, but she couldn’t carry it as well as she’d hoped.

      Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison, Colorado
      As the sun got lower in the sky, the lake became a deep navy color, surrounded by golden cliffs.

      Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison, Colorado
      Ally and I hiked around the lake for a while.

      Wildflowers at Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison, Colorado


      We found a great spot to sit and enjoy the view. As much as she loves to run around, Ally will sit right by my side anytime I want to relax.

      Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison, Colorado

      Dog at Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison, Colorado
      I love this picture of me with my wonderful dog.

      Sunset at Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison, Colorado

      Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison, Colorado
      As the sun went down over the mountains, the insects came out to eat me.

      Sunset at Blue Mesa Lake near Gunnison, Colorado
      It was so beautiful at this time of the night, but ferocious red ants were flying through the air and stinging me. Yes, I know that ants don’t fly, but these were gravity-defying mutants.

      Sunset at Blue Mesa Lake near Gunnison, Colorado
      I told myself that a devoted photographer would do whatever it took to get great landscape photos during a sunset like this. Then I reminded myself that I’m a devoted *wedding* photographer, and there are no homicidal insects at weddings. So I snapped a final photo from my car, and then checked into a hotel and watched “My Life on the D List.” Because I’m hardcore like that.

      Hartman Rocks near Gunnison, Colorado
      This morning Ally and I went hiking at Hartman Rocks Recreation Area outside Gunnison.

      Hartman Rocks near Gunnison, Colorado
      Hartman Rocks is a fantastic network of trails for hiking, biking, snowmobiling, and cross country skiing.

      Hartman Rocks near Gunnison, Colorado
      We climbed those rocks, then found a big mesa at the top, which we crossed and climbed another set of rocks. I loved it!

      Monarch Pass gondola in Colorado
      On our way back to Colorado Springs, we stopped to take the Monarch Pass gondola to a height of 12,000 feet.

      Monarch Pass gondola in Colorado
      Ally was allowed in the gondola, but she was terrified. She hid under my knees for most of the ride.

      Monarch Pass gondola in Colorado
      I don’t blame Ally for being frightened — the gondolas were old and rickety, and even I was nervous.

      View from the Monarch Pass gondola in Colorado
      But this was the view from the top, so it was definitely worth it!

      We’re back home now, happy and tired. Tomorrow I get back to my busy workload, but it has been a fantastic to take a break this week and enjoy Colorado.

      SHARE
      COMMENTS

      How fun! I need to do that! I love that Ally rode on the gondola with you. I hope you’re having an awesome summer!

      Wow! Wonderful landscapes!

      King and queen ants have wings at the beginning of summer. The males die, and wings on the queen fall off.

      You are not crazy.

      King and queen ants have wings at the beginning of summer. The males die, and wings on the queen fall off.

      You are not crazy.

      WOAH! You are totally spontaneous!! That is so awesome! We randomly decided to spend the afternoon in Baltimore with visiting friends from Miami yesterday…that’s as spontaneous as we get! But we got out of the house in 10 minutes WITH a baby! ;0)

      Really gorgeous! And, I have to say, as a videographer, I would graciously let my sound technician handle the mutant insects. You should really look into sound guys.

      Have you been to the Black Canyon – definitely one of the more memorable places that I’ve ever visited.

      Bill and I looked at these together for our afternoon treat. Thanks Charlotte. I loved them. You make me want to move to Colorado!

      Oh man, I miss being able to just take a random day trip into the mountains like this. I miss living in CO so much. I love that Ally got to go on the gondola. Looks like a very nice day/night…super relaxing.

      My family has a house up near the Taylor Park Reservoir (about 30-45 minutes outside of gunnison) and lately I’ve been really itching to go up there. Your pictures aren’t helping!! D:

      But seriously, they’re beautiful, as always. 🙂

      Thank you, I will try that!

      These gorgeous images make me want to take my own spontaneous road trip. Or move to Colorado!

      Thank you, I will try that!

      love these shots!

      i wish i could do that – just randomly drive off somewhere and take a break from London! but i should probably learn how to drive first lol

      Beautiful shots!

      If I may ask, did you take these with the 5D, or did you take them with the G10 (or both)?

      I’m also glad that you took a mini vacation, and spontaneously, at that. Spontaneity is so much fun!

      Beautiful shots!!!!
      I love how confident Ally is in carrying that stick (or at least trying)!

      yeah, same for northern California. 🙂

      Charlotte, I have been addicted to following the photography you and Mike do since I stumbled upon your site some time ago. You two do AMAZING work, and a mini-vacation like this was well deserved! Thanks for still sharing your journey with Ally in photo’s for us all to experience. Absolutely gorgeous as always!

      Those. Are. Gorgeous!

      And Ally reacts to open gondolas the same way I do… just freeze up and pray it gets over with soon. 🙂

      The Gunnison area is beautiful, and I think that’s the same lake my brother taught attempted to teach me to fly fish on the homebound trip after our Y2K family reunion in Co. Springs.

      Thanks! Summertime in Colorado is absolutely beautiful, so I have to keep reminding myself to back away from the computer and go outside. 🙂

      She really is! We did a five DAY drive with her earlier this year, and she loved it. Amazing.

      gorgeous! Glad you enjoyed some time for yourself amid the madness of summer weddings. 🙂

      beautiful! and ally must be a WONDERFUL dog to be good through a five hour drive!!

      I just use auto white balance. I usually underexpose a sunset a little, to enhance the colors and keep the horizons dark. Maybe that would help if you try that.

      Can I ask what white balance setting you use for sunsets? I’ve experimented and experimented and I can never get the colors quite right, even when I go completely manual on it. It’s starting to drive me nuts, because I’ve seen some beautiful sunsets thus far this summer and have yet to capture a picture that does them justice.

      Can I ask what white balance setting you use for sunsets? I’ve experimented and experimented and I can never get the colors quite right, even when I go completely manual on it. It’s starting to drive me nuts, because I’ve seen some beautiful sunsets thus far this summer and have yet to capture a picture that does them justice.

      that is awesome! glad you got to spend some time with your awesome ally! dogs are such a special part of our lives 🙂

      Charlotte Geary

      CHARLOTTE GEARY

      Lifestyle, event, and portrait photographer with a vibrant, joyful style and 17 years of professional experience.

      Located in Reston, Virginia near Washington, D.C. and available for travel.

      MY LATEST ON INSTAGRAM

      • MY LATEST ON INSTAGRAM image
      • MY LATEST ON INSTAGRAM image
      • MY LATEST ON INSTAGRAM image
      • MY LATEST ON INSTAGRAM image
      • MY LATEST ON INSTAGRAM image
      • MY LATEST ON INSTAGRAM image
      • MY LATEST ON INSTAGRAM image
      • MY LATEST ON INSTAGRAM image
      • MY LATEST ON INSTAGRAM image
      • MY LATEST ON INSTAGRAM image
      • MY LATEST ON INSTAGRAM image
      • MY LATEST ON INSTAGRAM image
      • MY LATEST ON INSTAGRAM image
      • MY LATEST ON INSTAGRAM image
      • MY LATEST ON INSTAGRAM image
      • MY LATEST ON INSTAGRAM image
      • MY LATEST ON INSTAGRAM image
      • MY LATEST ON INSTAGRAM image

      BLOG CATEGORIES