Mike Bucher Photography, LLC | Mesa Verde Trip

Mesa Verde Trip

April 15, 2014  •  5 Comments

Cliff Palace PanoramaCliff Palace Panorama This trip to the canyon country of southwest Colorado included the Mesa Verde National Park, the Dolores River Canyon, and the Colorado National Monument, using Cortez as a base of operations.

Ship Rock 140330-5357 20DShip Rock 140330-5357 20D On our first day we had heavy overcast skies, with poor conditions for landscape photography.  Hoping we could find better conditions, we drove south to Shiprock, AZ.  Unfortunately, the conditions deteriorated further and we drove into a blinding dust storm.  We drove south of town and made a couple photos of the Ship Rock formation despite the conditions.  We’ll need to visit this area again in better conditions to capture the beauty of this landmark.



The next morning, I got an early start (4:00 AM) to shoot the Milky Way from Park Point in the Mesa Verde park.  The low clouds were backlighted by the towns of Mancos and Durango adding color to the photos, and the pre-dawn twilight gave a light blue color to the sky.

Mesa Verde Milky Way 140331-7350 5DMesa Verde Milky Way 140331-7350 5D Mesa Verde Milky Way 140331-7359 5DMesa Verde Milky Way 140331-7359 5D

After returning to Cortez for a little more sleep, we returned to the park to shoot the ruins on top of the mesa, which are even older than the cliff dwellings.

Mesa Verde 140331-5375 20DMesa Verde 140331-5375 20D


Continuing into the park, we visited two of the more completely restored cliff dwellings: Spruce Tree House and Cliff Palace.  Both of these multi-story complexes are dramatic examples of the design and building skills of native peoples whose only tools were stone axes.

Mesa Verde 140331-7387 5DMesa Verde 140331-7387 5D Mesa Verde 140329-5347 20DMesa Verde 140329-5347 20D












We continued our trip driving north through the Dolores Canyon, where the river has worn through hundreds of feet of sandstone to create spectacular bluffs. 

Dolores Canyon 140401-7447 5DDolores Canyon 140401-7447 5D Dolores Canyon 140401-7464 5DDolores Canyon 140401-7464 5D













We wrapped up this trip with a visit to the Colorado National Monument just outside of Grand Junction as the daylight faded.

Colorado National Monument 140401-7540 5DColorado National Monument 140401-7540 5D Colorado National Monument 140401-7543 5DColorado National Monument 140401-7543 5D













This trip increased our appreciation of the red rock country of the southwest, and we will be taking more trips to this part of the southwest in the near future.


To see more photos from this trip, please check out the Mesa Verde gallery at http://www.mikebucherphotography.com/p879464228


Colorado National Monument contrasted by the blue lighting in the background and the Milky Way shot with the light blue background are very striking.

I like the trip commentary too. It helps me feel a bit more connected to the photos. I have been to Mesa Verde, but not the other locations (OK, so maybe I've seen the Milky Way before!).
Rob Roy(non-registered)
It’s good to feel small in the presence of our home-town galaxy. I’m looking forward to such images on our wall.
Dave Thompson(non-registered)
Mike, I too enjoyed the dialogue and the format you used. Clean, simple, and wonderful photos. I can just see the smile on your face and in your heart as you captured those memories.

In March this year I spent one night on top of Mt Haleakala in Maui. I should have taken Sandy's Nikon as my point and shoot did not do it. But the images of the galaxy I saw that night are forever etched in my memory. Sunrise sucked but the brilliance and quantity of the stars more than made the trip worthwhile. They say Mt Haleakala is the 4th clearest point on earth to view the galaxy. I wonder what and where the top three are?
Great pictures Mike! We were down there a couple of years ago.
Doug Dempsey aka Jackrabbit Driver(non-registered)

Beautiful pics, especially the Milky Way. Just seeing it in a pic makes one feel sorta small?? Guess I better get on Jackrabbit and get back to MY reality!!

For whatever reason, I really like the dialogue. It somehow adds a sense of time and place to the pics....even the dust storm.

Thanks for the email....I tagged the website.

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