“Chimney Rock & Courthouse Mountain”

Chimney Rock & Courthouse Mountain, Owl Creek Pass, SW Colorado (c) Mike Utley

M20-1(S)—Chimney Rock & Courthouse Mountain, Owl Creek Pass, SW Colorado
Years ago, I was exploring near Ridgway, a tiny town in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado. I had photographed the famous Sneffels Range prior to that and was driving along and noticed a sign that said “Owl Creek Pass.” On a lark, I took the road and sort of stumbled across this scene in the Cimarron Range. I’d never heard of Chimney Rock and Courthouse Mountain and was surprised I’d never seen it in any of my photography books, magazines or calendars (this was during my pre-internet days). It’s a startlingly majestic place. I was there just as the leaves were turning, but it was a bit early as far as capturing the brilliant fall colors of that area. This is a place I’d love to revisit to observe its changing personality during different seasons and weather. The San Juan Mountains are world-renown for stunningly beautiful landscapes that would take a lifetime to photograph. (Canon gear, Fuji Velvia ISO 50)

28 thoughts on ““Chimney Rock & Courthouse Mountain”

  1. What a resplendent sight. I simply love hights. And when i look at that tall rock, i depict myself seated at the top and looking below with the feeling of the whole world under my feet. In fact, this has given me a story idea. When I write it. I’ll link it to this post. Thanks for sharing such a magical image. Your collections are always informative and gorgeous to behold.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you kindly, Lamittan. I’m honored and happy to know this inspired you to create a story! I’m definitely looking forward to reading it! This peak would certainly provide an eagle’s eye perspective on the world. Thanks again for your generous review. 🙂


  2. The colors, the angle, the light and shadows. I think you have a pact with nature, Mike. It always poses so beautifully for you. That definitely looks like a chimney. I could just sit and stare at it for a long, long time. You have a treasure of beautiful pictures. Well done and cherish them forever. Thanks for sharing them with us. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a bunch, Terveen. I really miss this stuff. I love having these images as memories, but I wish I could be making new memories nowadays. Life got in the way as it tends to do. I appreciate your kindness. I means a lot to me. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Reena! It’s been awhile and I missed seeing you around. Glad you enjoyed this image. I suppose life is all about contrasts. I like how you phrased this: “the green of life, the rock of hardship.” I always appreciate hearing from you and your nice comments make my day. Thanks again! 🙂


    1. Hey, Mark. Thanks for the kind words. Basic elements here in this image, for sure: rocks, trees and sky. I like the simple color palette of greens and blue, too, with the gray of the rock anchoring everything. I’d love to revisit this place in inclement weather, which adds a lot a character to nature images. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you kindly, Jeff. It’s a cool location. I really like when I’m totally surprised by nature like this. I had no idea at all this place existed until I came around a bend and there it was. Fun times. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much. I’m glad you liked this shot. Back when I was actively pursuing nature photography, I used this shot for the cover of my 2001 landscape calendar, and it was one of the images used for my greeting cards. Lots of time and effort but I really liked the end product. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Well, the calendars and cards looked really nice, but they were too costly to make and no one wanted to spend X for a custom-printed calendar when they could buy a cheap calendar for Y at the store. I ended up losing money on the calendar projects. Frustrating, but for a a do-it-yourself one-person show, that’s how it goes sometimes…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah. It’s frustrating that mass production squashes out the “little guy”. Watching my parents trying to make money out of growing olives organically… pshaw. Such hard work and so many rules around hygiene etc and then the expense of pressing, packaging, branding, getting them to market. It’s really tough.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks you so much. I like to believe much of nature is a mystery, and one of our base goals of being human is to unravel that mystery, to pull beck the veil and see the truth of our existence and how much we depend on nature. We’re not very good stewards of our planet, alas…but this is why nature photography is so important. It opens our eyes to the reality of our world and shows us what is in our care and protection. I always appreciate your kind comments. 🙂


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