The Crystal Mill Photography Adventure


I’m all about the road trip I just love
driving through cities and towns especially small towns in the USA you
get to meet all kinds of colorful characters you get to see all kinds of
shops cafes vehicles that the stuff that you see is just unbelievable and I’m on
my way through Utah and Moab a place that I know quite well I’ve been coming
there for years but this this part of Colorado is completely new to me so
tonight I’m spending the night in Grand Junction so that in the morning I can
drive to the crystal mill and get that beautiful fall color shot that I’ve been
after for years as you can see I’ve been sleeping in the
blunderbuss for the last two nights but I’m absolutely sick to death of it last
night when I got up for a peer banged my head on the roof there’s just no
Headroom so I’m done with it tonight I’m gonna spy all myself I’m
checking into a hotel I gonna have a nice long soak in a tub and get lovely
and clean or a nice comfy bed but tomorrow I’ll get up super early head
out to that shoe the life of a landscape photographer is more miserable than most
people realize lots of sleep deprivation hemorrhoid inducing drives and
three-star hotels and yet even with all that misery and suffering that can’t get
enough of it well it’s 4:30 in the morning I’m in
Grand Junction Colorado and I’m gonna head out to the crystal mill now I’ve
got two and a half hour drive I’ve got my coffee and fully loaded up with fuel shut up
right ready to go let’s get cracking don’t leave you can see me I hope you
can but I’ve just hit the highway and I can see lightning just peppering the
landscape of the distance is absolutely brilliant super dramatic I really hope I
can get those conditions when I get to the Crystal Bill after the fireworks in the sky the Sun
was just starting to rise and it was time to get off this Highway
the next 30 minutes of the drive were a landscape photographers wet dream with
lush autumn colors steep cliffs and early morning mist just look at this
business so I’m driving through a place called Pitkin County in Colorado and I
just cannot comprehend how spectacular these autumn colors are it’s absolutely
gorgeous it’s like a a carpet of bright yellow
colors and that’s even before the Sun has risen and it’s a cloudy overcast day
imagine when the Sun hits these they’ll just set on fire and just glow so I’m
really excited and I expect I’m gonna get some good shots okay I do realize
that this is a lot of dashcam footage but come on just look at these colors
with scenery like this all you’ve got to do is just show up and switch on your
camera in fact it almost feels like cheating it’s that easy well minus the
thousands of miles of driving of course and the hemorrhoids
I don’t mind admitting that this has got to be one of the most beautiful drives
I’ve ever have ever done I just can’t get my head around these police autumn
colors it’s story spectacular I’d heard reports that the road to the
Crystal mill was pretty brutal but even though I was equipped with all-wheel
drive and winter tires there were a few sections that were testing the limits of
my suspension and it didn’t fancy the idea of breaking down in the middle of
nowhere with the thunder and lightning storm rolling in at this point the roads
so sketchy I think I’m gonna bail and just hike the rest of the way it’s about
four miles so I took me an hour and a half to get there but I’m not bailing
now after thousands of miles of driving so I just hope this thunder and
lightning doesn’t get me if not it’s just over there there’s an entrance to a
cave which is kind of weird this area used to have active silver
mining in fact the ghost town of Crystal is a former silver mining camp now
despite the doom lid and atmosphere of the day and the challenges of the road
and I was too close to quit so off I ventured into the elk mountains like a
bowlegged lightning rod so it’s occurred to me that I’m walking through a thunder
and lightning storm in the forest there’s lightning everywhere and it’s
probably not a wise idea to be walking around with three tripods and being like
a walking lightning conductor so I’ve put my tripod over there by that rock we
sat under this overhang hopefully it gives me a bit of protection but yeah
it’s probably wise just to stay off the trail and stay stay hidden for a bit
still be sketchy so I waited out the worst of the storm and after an hour of
hiking I was rewarded with this majestic Vista orgasm so after a very soggy hi
and a bit of dodging thunder and lightning finally here at the crystal
mill and is absolutely gorgeous these are
the perfect conditions this is everything that I wanted it to be I love
this soft light and I love wispy rain clouds that come in and out at the scene
it’s a beautiful mood what I also love is when you get this lovely contrast of
gloomy gray clouds that have no color against these gorgeous aspen trees that
are just bursting with yellow and yellow and gray gray for me are a beautiful
combination so I could not have asked for anything more so what I’m gonna do
get down to the river try some composition and then go down the
opposite direction and shoot back towards the mill and try some
compositions there but when I found the composition that I like I’ll show you
how I got there and what I did well Mother Nature had different plans for me
it started raining so hard that I just gave up on the GoPro and then tried
using my phone to film the tutorial but even that got so soggy it could not
focus so I finally found my shot books I can’t give you a tutorial yet because
I’ve had to take my camera off the tripod because it’s getting drowned it
will not stop raining it is pouring and even though I’ve got water proofs on
I’m still pretty soggy so if it clears up and I get a little bit of a quiet
spot with no rain then I’ll do a tutorial and you can see how I got this
lovely composition I got it’s pretty sweet in terms of video tutorial that
was a bit of a disaster and I got some really nice shots and I spent a while
trying different compositions got some good shots and then thought right well
I’ll I’ll shoot the video tutorial for you and then as soon as I started
filming it the heavens opened up and it was monsoon time so I tried and
everything was getting drowned my camera was getting drowned the GoPro was
getting drowned even cried with my phone and that was getting drowned and then
all of these tourists started arriving and I was getting cold and shivery and
this this just was completely drenched so I thought sorry I’ll just bail
luckily I got a ride out with some Vietnamese tourists that was really nice
of them and so now I’ve just got back to the car gonna crank this blower get warm
and they’ll show you what I got so this is the shot that I was trying to
shoot the tutorial for but with no look I just love those blue layers in the
valley way off in the distance and you can really tell how wet everything was
so the circular polarizer came in very handy for this shot I moved further downriver
and got really low to the ground to balance out the building with those
delicious textures in the white water I went for a cooler tonality because I
remember shivering my nips off at the time on this one I had to shoot three
vertical shots and then stitch them together as a panorama and my goal with
this shot was to capture the entire River as it carves relentlessly through
the valley of all of the shots from that day this
one is my absolute favorite the slate gray sky really sets the tone for this
shot and I love that lens distortion that comes as a result of getting lower
to the ground so let me take you through how I got this shot of what I did so
looking at this the screen recording that I’m doing if you look to the left
there you’ll see the Sun poked through just for this little moment in time and
it lit these rocks beautifully now usually I’ll polarize that I’ll turn it
pulverize it and it’ll kill all of that glare but in this case I really liked
how that looks so I left it in now this is a square crop but in order to get
that shot I had to do a two horizontal shot stitch and I’ll show you the raw
files now so this is the top frame and even with 18 millimeters on a full frame
Sony a7r – it’s just not wide enough so I took that shot and then I moved the
camera down a little bit and this is the next shot so you can see I’ve got G
Austin off material there to stitch everything together if I go back to the
top shot and I had a little bit of extra space there in the sky because I knew
when I stitched them together I would lose some of that so stitch those two
together and I ended up with this and I’ll go back to the raw files again you
can see those are just a raw file so they’re very dull they’re very flat
looking it’s almost like a hitch D our image I basically pulled up all of the
shadows and pulled down the highlights and especially in the water there and
then once I stitch them together I then cropped it and then I got to work
with contrast and a few color adjustments and I really liked the end
result I just love this this motion of the water coming in it kind of frames
the shot it comes in and then it goes out and of course the mill just looks
fantastic because I’m lower down so you’ve got this lens distortion we’re
just kind of making it look a bit more imposing as it juts up into the sky all
in all that’s my favorite shot from that day couldn’t have asked for more
this road is of the worst roads I’ve been on it sir
it’s not the easiest route to get on you definitely need 4×4 the guys that pulled
me out of here were in an SUV so I could have made it but I just didn’t fancy
trashing my tires and scraping my paintwork so I’m ready to get out of here we’re
really desperate for a coffee and their next stop Moab. Ugh….. me grapes.

Posts created 2006

100 thoughts on “The Crystal Mill Photography Adventure

  1. One of the best channels! Love the results, and the journey. We must not forget how much the journey factors into our experiences, not just the destination.

  2. Photogasms indeed! Everytime I watch your videos I always think how freaking entertaining it would be to road trip with you haha, hemorrhoid buddies haha!

  3. Those shots are stunning, really nice work. I'd love to hear the gory details of how you process them from the RAW to the final with the adjustments to color & contrast.

  4. Great video. Would have been nice to see a start to finish, but unfortunately Mother Nature didn't cooperate. When doing a pano, do you use manual mode to lock-in in your exposure, or do you use aperture priority? Thanks!

  5. Oh what landscape photographers will endure to get photos. Lightning and bad roads won’t stop a photographer.

  6. Hi Gavin. Discovered your channel after watching some of Mr Heatons latest. Really enjoying the videos, keep up the great work!

  7. Gavin just started watch you. Love this video your humor.Your pictures are awesome.I have this on my bucket list and after seeing this I think I have to plan this for 2019.I came through southern Colorado from Page Az. and found that to be Beautiful also.Thanks and keep up the great videos.

  8. All great shots. In my opinion, the first one at 7:47 was the best shot. But it is all personal preference, isn't it? Wish you had taken us thru' the entire editing process because the final product is simply picture perfect.

  9. Nice! Thanks for the video. I'm from Grand Junction, and I have to say I have never been to Chrystal Mill! I will be going there at some point. Within 150 miles in every direction is a photographers dream. Keep up the good work.

  10. Please clean that spot off your windscreen. :). The trip and the shots are great, I always like working shots in the wet weather. Showing how you post possess images is all so very interesting.

  11. So I take it my little Nissan Micra would struggle on that road Gavin? Best leave it to the experts then. Amazing shots that you came away with. Well Jel me like! Oh and why is there only 301 likes on this vid?

  12. Really good, getting out of sports slowly, want too do more landscape, glad I’ve come across your channel, look forward to more.

  13. Brilliant stuff. As a UKer who's done lots of road trips in the US, your videos highlight there are endless options and opportunities for stunning photographs in the US. I fully understand why many Americans don't have a passport.

  14. My medical tip for you driver photographers for your hemmoroids .. drink water … less alcohol and caffeine
    And definitely use sensitive skin baby wipes … not toilet paper
    Nothing worse than trying to get a perfect photo with an itchy butt…. lol

  15. I live in Colorado and was at Crystal Mill about a month ago and it was roped off where you weren't aloud to go past. Did you just go around the ropes?

  16. Banging shots Gavin, so worth the grape crushing haemorrhoid spreading journey. Did wonder about your sanity walking along that track with lighting all around.
    Commitment, dedication and a touch of insanity.

  17. I loved the driving shots because the landscape you were travelling through Β was just so awesome. As for the Crystal Mill images, they are fabulous.

  18. Fantastic Video. It was great seeing the scenery on the drive out to Crystal Mill, what a stunner of a location. Stunning photographs Gavin πŸ‘Œ no wonder you were so pleased. πŸ‘

  19. Your shot is the one that inspires me to never accept less than what a nice hike may reveal on the other end!! Congratulations!

  20. Don't know if anyone is still watching this video but please don't stay near tall trees during thunderstorms because lightning loves tall trees. Be safe out there everyone. Also you, Gavin.

  21. I'm sorry to say Gavin but the first video i watched i thought you was a bit of a knob, but I loved your work, but by the 2nd 1 you grew on me, now I secretly piss myself, your a real grafter & produce stunning images.
    Keep up the hard work as your destined for greatness.

  22. Great video! Dumb question though – would you recommend carrying an umbrella to keep over the camera when shooting?

  23. Ok..its me again ha….cracking captures as per usual mate…no offence to other togs on youtube…but how the hell have you only got 11k followers? Heads above the rest imv re content and presentation and funny as!!.. but thats SM eh …do you have an IG account? Need to get your work out there bud to let ppl know your great work!
    I just do local NE/Northumberland/Lake District imagery …keeps my aging mind together ..not at your level but its enjoying the journey.!
    DaveChristieNorthEastImaging

  24. Excellent images Gavin. I am planning a trip there in the Fall 2019. When is the best time to go there to get the good color? I was thinking Mid-September or toward the end of that month. Thanks for another great Video.

  25. Those photos were beautiful! Great video, informative, fun and educational. Photogasm is a new word I might borrow. πŸ™‚

  26. Nice images! Came from Thomas Heaton’s channel. Subscribed! I’m shooting with a A7rii. What lenses were you shooting with here? Currently have the Sony 16-35 f4.

  27. I tried to get out to Crystal Mill once but my vehicle doesn't have enough clearance and I was worried about punching a whole somewhere bad lol.

  28. I was there 2 1/2 years ago and there were all these No Trespassing signs all over "preventing" you from getting close to the edge overlooking the mill. You also could not go down near the water. Have they removed those? Just asking for future reference. Also, we rented a UTV in Marble and drove that all the way down. Still pretty rough – big boulders on the road. Very good BBQ place in Marble also. I enjoy your videos – they crack me up. Keep them coming.

  29. 8:19 my God.. what a shot/view/location! I drove through the Rockies once but didn't have my camera with me. Next time, 1,000 memory cards will be filled.

  30. New to the channel and iv watched all of them lol πŸ˜‚ love your content/photos and even more your a Yorkshire man to!!! Happy days. Iv subscribed and hit your bell πŸ””

  31. Damn!! I'll be in Moab later this year on my way back to Colorado but won't be able to detour to The Crystal Mill. Won't have 4WD either so maybe just as well not to tempt me. But got to be one of my favourite sets of photos ever!!

  32. Hemorrhoid inducing drives lol. Too true. As an architectural photographer who's on the road 8 hours a day I can easily relate. Love your channel found it through Thomas Heaton.

  33. Nice video Gavin! I really like your shot of Crystal Mill. I have to say it’s one of my favorites I’ve ever seen! I live relatively close by and have photographed the mill many times but never thought of that angle. Glad you didn’t get electrocuted also! Summer storms around here can be terrifying and I’ve had my share of stimulating lightning adventures! Love your channel, your humor and your charismatic entertaining personality!πŸ‘Œ

  34. 2 and a half hour drive!??? I live on the Isle of man. I'd have to drive around it 15 times to be on the road for that long!!! 😁
    Stunning photo though, well worth the drive. You don't get those kind of photos without some damage to the grapes! Nice work, Gavin

  35. Awesome capture of the location. Your channel is very inspiring as well as entertaining – I am very glad I came across it!

  36. Gavin, nice video. Makes me long for my log cabin that I used to own that’s literally just a little ways down that β€œroad” you weren’t found of. As you found out, there is heaps of flora and fauna to feast your eyes and camera on for sure!

  37. Never a good idea to sit next to a tree during a lightning storm! If you are in a field for example what you Do Not Want to do is go to that one lonely tree!

  38. Awesome awesome photos. Another fun adventure. I just did a Harley ride with my boys through the Colorado back country starting in Breckenridge. WOW! We were all in a daze from the sights of the snow capped mountains/valleys with plush green prairies since it was early June. The most amazing country I have ever seen.

  39. Gavin, I am sure you will appreciate my poor vision as I first read the title of the video as The Crystal Milf.

  40. ❀️❀️❀️❀️❀️🍻 is ther any workshops coming up in Vancity brother I would love to join. β˜ΊοΈβ˜ΊοΈβ˜ΊοΈπŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜

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