Cat and Monte live about 10 minutes from me on the Colorado Front Range (which is only desert-like in that it gets very little rain!) but they wanted desert vibes for their engagement session. We talked about doing their engagement photos at Red Rocks but there was a concert going on that night and we didn’t want to get tangled up in traffic. Instead, I suggested the Paint Mines Interpretive Park and we decided it would be the perfect spot for a desert engagement session (or at least desert-inspired!).
The Paint Mines are a little over two hours from where we all live so we piled in one car and made an afternoon of it. You know how all those cheesy bumper stickers say that its the journey and not the destination? This is a case where thats definitely true!
The directions my phone gave to get there avoided all the major highways, which was awesome. We spent hours driving down itty bitty two lane roads, many of which were dirt, and through so many different landscapes that I wasn’t totally convinced we were in Colorado anymore. We saw some of the cutest little towns, all different kinds of topography, and several herds of antelope grazing on the side of the road.
The drive down was so much fun that I think we all would have been ok if that had been the whole adventure but we were there to shoot so shoot we did!
Funny story: when I called to see if I needed to get a photography permit to “shoot” at the Paint Mines I accidentally dialed the number for the El Paso SHERRIF’s office instead of the Parks office. The person on the phone at the sherrif’s office sounded horrified and said “You want to do WHAT at the Paint Mines?!?!”. We got it straightened out. ha!
This place is so freaking cool and I can’t believe that I’ve never been there before! Monte is from the Western Slope and we kept commenting on how all that rock reminded us a little bit of Fruita, near where he grew up (and where we spend SO MUCH time mountain biking!). There was so much to explore (we only hit a small section of it!) and jack rabbits hopping all over. And the best part? Despite the fact that it had been in the 90s all week in the Boulder area, it was a super pleasant 70-something degrees down in the Mines.
In other words, it was a perfect evening.
Here are some shots from Cat and Monte’s desert-inspired Colorado engagement session. Enjoy!!
I had such a blast road tripping down with these two for their engagement session and can’t wait to shoot their Aspen, Colorado wedding this summer!
Pro Tip: If you visit (and you should visit!) you will see people climbing all over the rocks and will be tempted to do it yourself. Please don’t. The rock is extremely fragile and crumbles easily. Lets preserve the Paint Mines so they can be enjoyed for years to come!