The Uncompahgre Wilderness (formally called the Big Blue Wilderness) is a U.S. Wilderness Area in southwest Colorado comprising 102,721 acres (415.70 km2). Elevation in the Wilderness ranges from 8,400 feet (2,600 m) to 14,309 feet (4,361 m), at the summit of Uncompahgre Peak. –Wikipedia
Expedition Uncompahgre took the entire expedition team from The Photo Frontier’s headquarters in Denver to the far reaches of the southern Colorado. The goal was simple, explore. Team transportation leader, Rick Louie, tricked out his 2006 Toyota 4Runner with fat gnarly tires, steel skid plates and a rad sound system. We packed up a ridiculous amount of gear and headed out. Although the goal was to explore, we had two major icons of the Colorado landscape on out radar; Engineer and Imogene pass. The following report is the official record of this journey.
- Location: Ouray/Lake City Colorado
- Date: July 10-12 2015
- Expedition Gallery: Click To View
- Armando Martinez: www.armandom.com
- Justin Balog: www.justinbalog.com
- Rick Louie: www.ricklouiephotography.com
- Chris Nitz: www.chrisnitz.com
Expedition Vehicles: Tricked out 2006 Toyota 4Runner
Strongest WiFi Signal: We didn’t even have cell coverage.
Team Shutter Actuations: 3233
Team Camera Count: 12
Avg Hours Of Sleep Per Night: 5.25
Casita Sightings: 13
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Members of the Fellowship and part of the remote expedition team provided valuable input and strong creative insight.
Remote Expedition Team
- Mark Garbowski: toomuchglass.net
- Scott Starks:
- Bob Lussier: www.lussierphoto.com
- Len Saltiel: lensaltiel.com
Unofficial Gear List
iPhone 6 (4x), Fuji x100s (3x), Fuji X-T1 (2x), Nikon D750, Nikon D810, Fuji 18-55, Fuji 55-200, Fuji 18-135, Rokinon 12mm, Nikon 17-35, Nikon 28-300, Nikon 70-300, Nikon 24mm 1.4, Nikon 105 Micro.
“It’s basically Noregian expedition music.”” -Justin Balog
Note: Click any individual playlist to view larger.
The Stetson Expedition hat is made out of 100% premium wool and features a cotton headband as well as shape retaining construction. Because of its moisture wicking properties and large brim for sun protection, the expedition hat is the ideal piece of headwear for easy packing.
A hashtag is a type of label or metadata tag used on social network and microblogging services which makes it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content. Users create and use hashtags by placing the hash character (or number sign) # in front of a word or unspaced phrase, either in the main text of a message or at the end. Searching for that hashtag will then present each message that has been tagged with it.-Wikipedia
“I took a nude photo in my room and it was too dark.”” -Anonymous
Ouray, CO – Imogene Pass
The first day of Expedition Uncompahgre began at our head quarters near Denver, CO and ended at 12,000ft on the side of an epic mountain. Along the way we stopped at the world famous Kay’s burger stand, photographed the Dallas Divide from Ralph Lauren’s ranch and ate 5 baskets of chips and salsa.
- Team Rendezvous – It’s always good seeing great friends from the fellowship.
- Rick officially becoming ‘Hardcore Hansrico’
- Finding Modelo on tap.
- Putting a ‘Gorilla Pod’ to the test. (see Low Points)
- Photographing the Milky Way from Camp 1.
- Staring the Expedition playlist strong with GnRs ‘Paradise City.’
- Forgetting a tripod.
Lake City, CO – Engineer Pass
Although the entire expedition was fluid, we were set on traversing the infamous Engineer Pass. After an incredible sunrise session in Governor’s Basin and quick breakfast burrito in Ouray, we began what would be an 8 hour adventure over one of Colorado’s more treacherous passes. Thankfully, we had the finely tuned 4 Wheelin’ team of Rick ‘Hardcore Hansrico’ Louie, and Chris ‘Passenger…no Driver’ Nitz to help navigate the challenging terrain. As the vehicles in front us began to throw in the towel and abandon the mission, we turned up the tunes and pushed on. It was only after hours of teamwork and incredible driving that we discovered what we had been hoping for….Oh Point!
Note – ‘Hardcore Hanscrico’s’ veins are filled with ice cold transmission fluid. In the face of daunting terrain, he grabbed the wheel, yelled ‘Yota Yota’ and ensured the team arrived safely at the most incredible vista we had ever seen.
“Sally loves wheelin’ “” -Anonymous
- Sunrise Jet Boil.
- H.A.L.O.D at the summit of Engineer’s Pass.
- Team decision to make one last push for an epic sunrise.
- Chris taking command of another’s man’s vehicle, with his wife as a passenger, to turn it around.
- Starting the Expedition playlist strong with GnR’s ‘Paradise City.’
- Running out of Key Lime Pie.
“I’m at f1.6. I don’t want to show off.”” -Armando Martinez
“High ISO can’t overcome a lens cap.”” -Justin Balog
Camp 1 & 2
“Howdy Neighbor!”” -Rick Louie
Typology of Rocks We Drove Over
Relevant Satellite and Radar Imagery
“Let’s talk about that jet boil.”” -Armando Martinez
A Fellowship of Explorers
Although we officially call them Photo Expeditions, they’re really Fellowship Expeditions. Sure, we made a few photographs along the way. However, it’s more about the memories, the laughs we shared, and the bonds we forged while #ExploringTheFrontier.
The Photo Frontier is a fellowship of explorers, guided by creative principles, who believe photography can enrich their lives and the lives of others.
“12mm? I’m going to have to renew my passport to get out your frame.”” -Justin Balog