Colorado Fall Colors

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The Rocky Mountains vie with New England as America's most spectacular spot for autumn photography, and nowhere else in the Rockies can one find richer, brighter autumn colors than in southwestern Colorado. The San Juan Mountains, geologically the youngest subrange of the Rocky Mountain chain, boast not only immense virgin stands of quaking aspen—the most colorful trees in the West—but also a photogenic mountain topography of soaring, saw-toothed summits and deep, breathtaking valleys.
"The tour exceeded my expectations. Todd was very professional and concerned about everyone's individual needs. He worked hard to get us to the best locations to photograph during the best light of each day."
- C. Koch

We explore this vibrant landscape at the very peak of the season and observe whole mountainsides ablaze with the vivid yellow, orange and red hues of the transformed aspen leaves. Often, at this time of the year, the mountain summits will be dusted with white from the first snowfall, imparting the seasonal drama of the coming cold winter to the panorama of warm autumn tones below. Imagine this scene under the crisp blue of high altitude skies and you will have an idea of the photographic treat in store for us during this weeklong shoot!

As we shift with the advancing color from valley to valley, the constantly changing vistas promise enough photographic variety to fill three or four weeks of shooting—not just one. We capture the scenic panoramas encompassing Ralph Lauren's Double RL Ranch, the imaginative zigzag patterns of classic western-style aspen bole fences, and pass through a number of well-preserved historic mining towns. Included in our shoot are visits to historic Silverton and the world-famous resort of Telluride. At every turn, we enjoy and photograph one of the finest displays of autumn leaf color in the West.

This Colorado photo tour is an especially good shoot for those wanting or needing individualized photography assistance in the field. Learn the techniques to design some of the best in western landscape photography—plan to join Todd Pierce to capture the exceptional splash of fall colors in the Colorado Rockies!

Check out Todd Pierce's trip report from our 2019 Colorado photo tour

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 (Oct 3)

Participants arrive at Montrose airport for the afternoon transfer by group van to our tour hotel in Telluride. (D)

Days 2–6

With only one hotel as our base, we spend these five full days photographing aspen forests—framed by rugged mountains or reflected in glassy lakes—all ablaze in backlit glory. We concentrate on locations made famous by a host of contemporary photographers, including the spectacular scenics of Dallas Divide, the superb high country along the Million Dollar Highway, the Uncompahgre Plateau and the back roads of Owl Creek Pass leading to Courthouse Rock—the filming location for two classic John Wayne movies, True Grit and Cimarron. Our daily itinerary and workshop topics will depend upon the weather and on the continually changing altitudinal aspen palette, as we seek out and photograph the shimmering yellows and golds of aspens at their peak of color. (BLD)

Day 7 (Oct 9)

We drive to the Montrose airport this morning for return flights home. (B)

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Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris Enrollment Information

Colorado Fall Colors

Oct 03, 2021 - Oct 09, 2021


A deposit and completed and signed Registration Form are required to reserve a place for you on a Joseph Van Os Photo Safari.


All prices are quoted in US dollars and all payments must be paid in US dollars. For deposits only, we accept Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Final payment of the trip fee is due 120 days prior to departure and must be paid by check or bank transfer. Trip deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.

We must receive written notice of your cancellation, at which time cancellation fees in the following amounts apply:

If Written Cancellation is Received:
90 days or prior:
89 to 61 days prior:
60 or fewer days:
Cancellation Fee:
100% of deposit
50% of entire trip fee
100% of entire trip fee

No partial refunds are made for unused portions or services of a trip for any reason whatsoever. Trips are sold as a package only. This policy also applies to tour extensions and independent travel arrangements. Cancellation fees are not transferable.

Protect your travel investment and purchase a trip insurance policy that includes emergency evacuation coverage. A trip insurance brochure will be sent with your enrollment confirmation. A CANCEL FOR ANY REASON policy is available.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris are within the capabilities of average people in good health. Some of these trips require the capability of walking for several miles over uneven trails, stepping from a small boat to a wave-washed rocky beach, flying in small planes and helicopters, and occasionally hiking at high elevations—all while carrying an assortment of camera equipment. If you have concerns about your own capabilities and/or fitness as it relates to a trip, please inquire with our office before reserving a space. By forwarding a signed Registration Form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants and you agree to inform our office in writing if changes in your health occur any time prior to the tour. We reserve the right to request a doctor's statement of good health. The company's or trip leader's judgment shall provide the ultimate determination of an individual's ability to embark upon or to continue a trip. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements. “Meatless” meals are normally available at most locations. Due to the remote nature of many photo locations, and the growing diversity of today’s dietary trends, participants requiring special food items are encouraged to bring their own.

Tour members are asked to refrain from smoking with or near the group.

Participants will receive three emails before the trip departs: 1. Initial Tour Information sheet confirms the deposit and provides pre-departure information. 2. Invoice/Practical Information provides clothing and photo gear recommendations, climate data, applicable health advisories and reading list. Visa information will also be included (if applicable). 3. Final Tour Information includes arrival instructions, itinerary revisions (if any), hotel addresses, trip telephone contact information and participant list. We provide the trip leader's telephone number(s) and/or e-mail address with final documents so you can inquire about special photographic questions you may have regarding your trip. We welcome your calls or e-mail messages to

Information supplied upon enrollment describes the specific costs that are included in your trip fee. Generally these costs include lodging in double room occupancy, all meals (specified in the itinerary as BLD denoting breakfast, lunch or dinner), ground transportation during the trip in vans or small busses, air transportation as specified, meal and baggage tipping, and guide services provided by the trip leaders. Not included are airfare or other transportation from your home to the trip staging location, airport departure taxes, insurance, alcoholic beverages and bar expenses (plus bottled water and soft drink expenses on international tours outside of North America), tips and gratuities to local guides abroad, phone calls, passport or visa expenses, laundry or items of a personal nature. Gratuities to Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris trip leaders are optional and always appreciated. Rates are based on group tariffs; if the trip does not have sufficient registration, a small party supplement may be charged.

Single accommodations are available for a supplemental cost in many locations; see the pre-departure trip information or call our office for details. You will be charged the single supplement fee if you desire single accommodations or if you wish to have a roommate, but one is not available. In some remote locations, clients with single rooms are infrequently compelled to share a room due to circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, appropriate per diem refunds will be made reflecting the direct cost of the single room at the facility where clients are required to share. There is no additional single supplement fee on ship-based cruises, if you request a roommate and one is not available.

Cost increases may occur unexpectedly due to rising costs of airfares, ground transport, fuel surcharges, accommodations and currency fluctuations, among others. Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. may be compelled to amend prices, and we reserve the right to do so without prior notice. An increase in trip prices shall not be sufficient grounds for any refund of funds paid for the trip other than as determined by the terms of our cancellation policy.

Whenever possible, our trip participants are lodged in comfortable, modern hotels. We select among the best available accommodations, but refrain from extravagance. Some interesting photographic destinations are far removed from modern amenities, however, and where necessary we will be accommodated in rustic country inns, cabins or tented camps.

Meals are always a special part of our trips for the camaraderie they engender and the opportunity they provide to try new foods from different areas. Depending on the trip and specific locale, participants order restaurant meals from the full menu or, less frequently, table d'hôte. Some trips include picnic lunches in the field. Fruit juice for breakfast and coffee or tea are included with the meals. Soft drinks are included with meals on tours within North America. Participants are responsible for their own bar tab (including bottled water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages on tours outside of North America) at restaurant lunches and dinners.

Our itineraries are intended as examples only. Participants should allow for flexibility due to changes in weather, natural history or cultural events, or other logistical arrangements deemed necessary by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. or our leaders.

The second tour leader (and any subsequent additional leaders) listed for each trip on the website will be added as the group size warrants. If only one space remains on a trip, and logistics permit, we accept two persons traveling together, even if it exceeds the trip maximum.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. and/or their Agents act only as agents for the passenger (trip participant) in regard to travel including, but not limited to, sightseeing, meals, lodging, transportation, and all other services whether by railroad, motorcar, motor coach, boat, ship or aircraft or other conveyance, and they assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason of defect in any vehicle or for any reason whatsoever, or through the acts, bankruptcy or default of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger or in carrying out the arrangements of the trip.

They can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay, cancellations or changes in flights or other tour services, and by force majeure including sickness, weather, strike, war, volcanic eruption, terrorist acts, political unrest, quarantine, epidemics and outbreaks, or other causes.  All such losses or expenses will have to be borne by the passenger, as trip fees provide for arrangements only for the times and locations stated. Baggage is at the owner's risk entirely.

The right is reserved to 1) substitute hotels of similar category for those indicated and to make any changes in the itinerary or transport where deemed necessary, or caused by changes in flight schedules or equipment substitution; 2) cancel any trip prior to departure due to low enrollment, in which case full refund of the paid trip funds will be given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 3) At the company’s sole discretion, suspend or postpone any trip due to force majeure in which case the trip may be rescheduled, or a refund issued less any non-refundable deposits paid to tour component providers on behalf of the passenger, or a travel credit given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 4) substitute trip leader(s) for the leader(s) originally specified, in which case the substitution is not a basis for participant cancellation or refund other than provided by our normal cancellation policy; or 5) accept or retain any person as a member of any trip.

Trip prices are based on tariffs and exchange rates in effect at the time of publication and are subject to adjustment in the event of any change therein.

A Registration Form including the Enrollment Conditions and Release and Assumption of Risk sections must be signed by each participant prior to the commencement of the trip. Participation by any trip member will be declined in the absence of the signed Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section, with no trip fee refund. No modification to the Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section will be accepted.

Should Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., or anyone acting on their behalf be required to incur attorney's fees and costs to enforce this agreement, the enrolling trip participant(s) agree(s) to indemnify and hold them harmless for all such fees and costs. In the event a lawsuit is filed, the enrolling participant(s) agree(s) to do so solely in the County of Lewis in the State of Washington. Certain ship owners require the use of pre-printed ticket forms that limit the ship owner's and operator's liability. When such tickets are used, the passenger is bound by the terms of these tickets with respect to the passenger's legal relationship to the owners and operators of the ship, their agents (Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc.), and the ship's crew.

Colorado Fall Colors: Easy Activity Level

Van transportation.  Photography near the van, from the road and very short hikes.

Trip Details
Oct 03 - Oct 09, 2021
Fee: $3,995 from Montrose, Colorado
Deposit: $500
Limit: 7 participants
Activity Level: EasyEasy
  • Photograph Colorado's rugged mountain landscapes during the peak of autumn color—with a chance of snow
  • Stunning scenery, fresh mountain air, historic mining towns—and great food
  • Only one convenient hotel for the entire trip
  • Improve your photography skills while learning about light, color and design on location with Todd Pierce in his home state
Tour Leaders
Todd W. Pierce

Todd W. Pierce


Stunning colors, the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen.
—C. Milea

This tour was by far the best photo tour I have taken because of the combination of the place, services (attention to detail) and tour leadership, resulting in a memorable experience that I won't forget. I came back with hundreds of great images that will decorate my house and office for a long time.
—C. Rivera