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Thread: Paonia, Colorado

  1. #1

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    Paonia, Colorado

    I might be travelling here in a few weeks time on business and I am trying to manufacture a few hours to shoot a few pictures. Options appear to be flying to Montrose or Grand Junction and getting a car. Any thoughts as to which is the best route / whether it is worth dragging my large format gear and if there are any star attractions to to see / shoot. Thankyou for any imput.

  2. #2
    Robert Oliver Robert Oliver's Avatar
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    Re: Paonia, Colorado

    that entire region is worth dragging the camera for....

    Lot's of mountains, streams, old mining relics... All the things I like anyway. There should be plenty of stuff to keep you shooting in the general vicinity.

    a couple of hours away in any direction will find some of the west's best locales for large format... (imho) Moab, Arches, Great Sand Dunes, Four Corners, Mesa Verde (etc..)

    Grand Junction would probably be easiest... but even the drive over the mountains from Denver is spectacular.
    Robert Oliver

  3. #3
    Don Nelson
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    Re: Paonia, Colorado

    Quote Originally Posted by 747sp View Post
    I might be travelling here in a few weeks time on business and I am trying to manufacture a few hours to shoot a few pictures. Options appear to be flying to Montrose or Grand Junction and getting a car. Any thoughts as to which is the best route / whether it is worth dragging my large format gear and if there are any star attractions to to see / shoot. Thankyou for any imput.

    Hours for western Colorado? Not much time....

    Your title mentions Paonia -- I presume that is where your business is?
    If so, you are very close to some interesting places to make images ---
    1) 32 miles north on highway 133 is the turnoff to Marble, Colorado. A former marble mill is in Marble. Taking the dirt road (easy in car) up to the still running Marble mine will give you high altitude access to a blue stream (no kidding -- its mineralized) as well as aspens and forest.

    2) 84 miles south is Ouray. Lots to do and see in this area. Yankee Boy Basin, Telluride, Dallas Divide, Engineer Pass. Make arrangements to rent a 4WD, in advance, in the town of Ouray and ask them how to get to Yankee Boy, Imogen Pass and Animas Forks. IF you really have grit, ask them about Black Bear. IF you like old John Wayne movies - several of his last movies were filmed in Ridgeway, notably True Grit (http://www.gjsentinel.com/featr/cont...rue_grit.html). As you drive south from Ridgeway to Ouray, you'll see Courthouse rock way up on the ridge to the East -- you can drive to the meadow where filming was done plus get close to Courthouse rock.

    3) More flights go into Grand Junction -- nearby is Colorado National Monument. If you really only have several hours out of Grand Junction, then that's where you are headed.

    4) West of Grand Juction is Moab.

    5) If you do fly in to Montrose, just for pictures, then see #2, plus Black Canyon of Gunnison NP.

    If you truly have only a few hours....I feel sorry for you. There's too much to do and see in Western Colorado. There are many more suggestions than those I've given....

  4. #4

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    Re: Paonia, Colorado

    Grand Junction has much better air service, perhaps cheaper car rental, since it's larger (but who knows these days). It's about an hour from Grand Junction south to Delta, where you turn off to go to Paonia. From Montrose, it's about 1/2 hour north to Delta. Colorado National Monument is very scenic, close to Grand Junction, probably best morning or evening for color.

    There's some interesting scenery and vistas in the area: Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP, Kebler Pass (a good dirt road runs from Hwy 133 just past Somerset, not far from Paonia) over to Crested Butte, some of the vistas near Blue Mesa Reservoir are outstanding as well- if the light is right, there's a fabulous shot later in the day from a pulloff on the reservoir side of the road with mountains in the background. Unfortunately too late for wildflowers and too early for foliage, but some interesting mountain vistas on Kebler Pass Road. If you take that, suggest you turn around near Lost Lake (poor but passable dirt road 2 miles in)- some very nice scenes there- unless you need to visit Crested Butte, which I don't find particularly interesting or scenic.

    Further up Hwy 133, past Kebler Pass road is the McClure Pass, which is also very scenic.

    Hard to say about the LF gear- depends on how heavy/bulky, your 'style" and preferences, but you should find a number of good opportunities whether on LF or other. And bring any film/supplies you'll need- you won't find anything beyond 35mm Kodak Gold-type film for 200+ miles.

    Have a great trip.

  5. #5

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    Re: Paonia, Colorado

    Definitely an area worth taking a camera. Paonia is at the foot of Kebler Pass, one of the greatest destinations for aspens in the fall and interesting at other times as well. It sounds like you'll be early for fall colors (which usually peak late Sept to early Oct). The pass leads to Crested Butte, which is good for wildflowers, though you'll be late for the wildflower season, which is peaking in the high country right now. To the east of Paonia, you'll find Marble and if you've got 4WD, you can reach the Crystal Mill, which is probably the most photographed building in Colorado. The town of Marble is home to a marble quarry that provided the stone for the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery and also the exterior of the Lincoln Memorial. Aspen is just an hour or so drive from Paonia and nearby there are the Grottos on Lincoln Creek and the Maroon Bells and the ghost town of Ashcroft. These are just a few of the things very close to Paonia, but that is a great part of the state and there are lots of locations worth a visit.

    You could also look at flying into Aspen or Eagle County airports.

    Mel-

  6. #6
    Don Nelson
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    Re: Paonia, Colorado

    Quote Originally Posted by mrladewig View Post
    ... To the east of Paonia, you'll find Marble and if you've got 4WD, you can reach the Crystal Mill, which is probably the most photographed building in Colorado. .Mel-
    Take a look at this link (not mine)
    http://www.ghosttowngallery.com/htme/crystal.htm

  7. #7
    8x20 8x10 John Jarosz's Avatar
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    Re: Paonia, Colorado

    If you are making the long trip from Britain, I would move heaven and earth to get an extra day or two to see that part of the west.

    I would fly into Grand Junction but anywhere would be fine. You will have tons of things to see and photograph no matter where you are in western Colorado.

    Specific recommendations can go on and on, there are an infinite number of places to go. The first order of business is to establish how much time you have. Then we can all argue on where is the best place to go. :-)

    john

  8. #8

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    Re: Paonia, Colorado

    The last time that I visited the Crystal mill (mid 90's) one could get from Marble to Crystal without a four wheel drive vehicle provided one drove carefully and with a good ground clearance vehicle. A pickup truck would have absolutely no difficulty. I never used 4WD, even though I had it available, in my wanderings in the area. Now when you past Crystal towards Lead King Basin or up over the pass to Crested Butte a 4WD might come in handy. Lead King Basin in wild flower season is a real treat...

    McClure pass has some outstanding aspen stands.

  9. #9

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    Do you have any real need to go back?

    If you are coming from England to the part of the world you indicated, is there really any pressing need to go back to England (UK that is) for at least a couple to Six months?

    The camera stores in that part of the World ONLY sell Medium and Large Format. You can't buy 35mm equipment or film in that region.

  10. #10
    Photographer
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    Re: Paonia, Colorado

    Terrific aspens groves at McClure Pass, between Paonia and Marble. Make sure you have mosquito repellant. Others have described some good areas. I haven't photographed in the town of Paonia, but it is a quaint town and offers some possibilities, perhaps for a free evening while there.
    Keith Pitman

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