Estes Park, Colorado is a photographer’s paradise.
The scenery of the Rocky Mountains goes on for miles. Surrounded by vibrant aspens and pine trees. Wildlife often walk the streets, including the infamous Moose. Wildflowers bloom in the late spring into early summer. Snowy mountain peaks create a winter wonderland in the colder months. No matter which season, there is always something to capture here. It is no surprise since Colorado is six times the size of Switzerland.
Home to 9,600 miles of streams and 2,580 lakes.
This is why it is consistently ranked one of the top ten most beautiful states in the country. Nature and Photography go hand in hand in this stunning place. Luckily, there are plenty of opportunities in Estes Park to learn about both.
Yellow Wood Guiding offers Rocky Mountain National Park Photo Tours. During this tour you can learn the skills of nature, macro, landscape and wildlife photography. Perfect for both beginners and also experienced photographers. Professional cameras are recommended but you can also use your everyday phone to take photographs. For beginners, a four to six hour tour is recommended. You will be taught how to use the different settings on your camera. They will teach you skills on composition, light metering, reading a histogram and some super secret tips. For the pros out there, eight hour split day tours are offered. If you are looking to get that perfect shot and improve your practice. Advanced skills are used including hyper-focal distance, prime apertures for sharpness, live view focusing and more. You can even set up a custom trip for specific photographs. If you don’t have your camera that is not a problem. You can use one of their professional digital cameras with a variety of lense attachments. All of the tours are private and limited to four people at a time. For a one on one photography learning experience, Yellow Wood Guiding is the place to go. Check out their tours here at http://ywguiding.com/.
Rock Light Photo Tours provides hiking and photography all in one. Colin D Young is a photographer who creates customizable half day, full day or multi-day tours. Spend the day hitting the trails in Rocky Mountain National Park while snapping some stunning images. Visiting 1-2 locations for a half-day tour or 2-4 locations for a full day your. Hosting a variety of options, depending on what light you prefer to capture. Watch the sunrise over the mountains with the Dream and Emerald Lake sunrise hike tour.
A sunrise driving tour of the mountains is also available for those not wanting to hike. For sunset photography, the Gem Lake Hike is a scenic tour for golden hour. During September to October, you can get a shot of the vibrant aspens during the Fall Color Tour. The Night Skies Tour is a unique way to shoot images of the Milky Way and stars. If you are nervous about the length of hiking, he is more than happy to customize a tour for you. Making Rocky Light Photo Tours a great option for all physical and photography skill levels. Book your tour here https://rocklightphototours.com/estes-park-options/
Since the 1980s, The Rocky Mountain Conservancy has taken care of Rocky Mountain National Park and other lands through education. They assisted in transferring the lands of Rocky Mountain National Park and Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest to federal agencies. Keeping the lands protected. They now have Field Institute Programs. A hands-on learning experience for people who are interested in the environment. Most of their classes are in the National Park itself. Some choices are learning about wildflowers, birds, outdoor skills, painting and more. Wintertime Wonders Bus Tour is ideal during Colorado’s colder months. A naturalist guide joins you on a trip throughout the park in the snowy season. Classes on bird migrations, the sound of coyotes and owls are just some of the ways you can educate yourself on the mammals and animals of the park. History behind the nature of the area, including Estes Valley and the ecosystem, are offered to learn about the land. Compass basics and map reading classes are needed to improve your survival skills. Volunteer events are scheduled throughout the year too. Help clean up the parks and trails. If you are interested in learning more about the ways you can assist or learn, visit their website here https://rmconservancy.org/.
The YMCA of the Rockies, located in Estes Park is a significant spot to learn about nature. Spend your evening star gazing by signing up for their Astronomy program. Learn about more than a dozen constellations and the myths associated with them. This program is available to all ages. Family Programs are also a special opportunity for younger children. Hosting short nature walks to help educate them about the land. Outdoor games are encouraged, such as ball play and parachute games. Educational classes are taught to youth about fire building and local wildlife in the area. You can learn about all of these programs on the YMCA website here: https://ymcarockies.org/.
Rocky Mountain National Park hosts distance learning. A variety of virtual classes that are offered for guests who do not live close to the park. The classes are streamed via zoom, skype or google hangouts. Teachers can request the classes to help educate their students about the nature of the park. “Animals of the Rocky” is a class that explains what the animals need in order to survive in the landscape. “Ecosystem Explorers” touch base on the science behind the mountain peaks to the meadows. “What are National Parks” features a ranger that breaks down the NPS emblem. A chance for those who may not be able to visit in person. If interested you can find more information on their website here. https://www.nps.gov/
Learning about nature and your surroundings is an educational experience. This is important since Colorado is home to some of Mother Nature’s finest spots. Grab your camera and capture the picturesque mountains and wildlife. Take a class on the stars and constellations. Help the environment and volunteer for a trail clean up event. Every piece of information you learn is a way to invest in the community. We are lucky enough to have many programs to assist with that in Estes Park. Spend a bit of your free time this year giving back to this beautiful mountain town.