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Photograph by Jason J. Hatfield

Gear Closet: Camera Bags to Help Capture Fall in Colorado

Now there’s no excuse for going on an adventure without your (D)SLR camera.

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Picture this: a purple Rocky Mountain sunset, a vibrant yellow forest, a moose drinking from a blue river. All make for the perfect fall color photo, but you’re likely missing it because you can’t get the right lens out of your pack fast enough. Not anymore. These Colorado gear companies’ easy-access camera bags help you get the shot, fumble-free, while also winning major points for comfort and design—because, when you’re surrounded by all that natural beauty, your gear needs to look good too.

Osprey
Photograph courtesy of Osprey

Osprey Ultralight Camera Case Extra Large

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Price: $40
Headquarters: Cortez
Features: Padded main compartment, neck/shoulder strap
Best For: Keeping your SLR handy while you explore the Maroon Bells–Snowmass Wilderness

Topo Design
Photograph courtesy of Topo Design

Topo Designs Camera Cube

Price: $60
Headquarters: Denver
Features: Padded side walls and base, cinch top closure, adjustable internal dividers
Best For: Overlook shots in Rocky Mountain National Park

Mountainsmith
Photograph courtesy of Mountainsmith

Mountainsmith T.A.N. Kit Cube Large

Price: $70
Headquarters: Golden
Features: Water-resistant exterior, color-coded pockets for new and used memory cards
Best For: Dayhiking Kenosha Pass with every lens you own

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Three tips for crafting a fall foliage masterpiece from 5280 contributing photographer Jason Hatfield.

  1. Avoid The Icons: Off the beaten path, you’re less likely to encounter other photographers for sunrise or sunset shots (the most dramatic lighting conditions). If you can’t make it far on foot, drive to lonelier fall spots like the Flat Tops Wilderness or scenic State Highway 17 between Antonito and Chama.
  2. Chase The Weather: When a snowstorm is approaching, check weather.gov for announcements with details like what time the storm may break and the elevation of the snow line (like treeline, but with the white stuff). Capturing snowcapped peaks and dusted golden aspens in the same shot can create powerful fall imagery.
  3. Find A Strong Foreground: The most compelling landscape shots bring viewers in with striking elements up front. When framing your photo, get low and include eye-catching rocks, wildflowers, or autumn-colored undergrowth. You can also look for human elements like roads or cabins.

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