Photo Essay: The Soul of Colorado Wildflowers

Anyone in Colorado knows that the summer is a time of vibrant beauty, with small pops of color surrounding us as we hike and explore. Wildflowers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors–offering the viewer something unique each time you stumble upon them. While many of them are small, the intricate detail surrounding their growth is something that often leaves the viewer in awe–if he or she takes the time to truly look.

As a photographer, I did just that. I moved to Colorado five and a half years ago and looked and looked at the wildflowers here. As a person, I have often been drawn to wildflowers more than any other kind; they speak of untamed grace and tenacity in the midst of harsh environments. They do not get nurtured and coaxed along; they learn to thrive no matter what.

Five and a half years later, I’m still enthralled by the small, intricate beauty that lies right at our feet. I’ve roamed far and wide capturing unique moments, portraying these wondrous plants in an artistic manner through my lens and the post-production process that makes my work look akin to some sort of ethereal painting. I purposefully let the focus go in and out as I take photos of wildflowers, offering a glimpse into the transitory nature of these tiny masterpieces.

For wildflowers will be gone almost as soon as they bloom; winter will come shortly, and we will long for the colors of next summer to come once again in their short yet beautiful vitality.

If you’re interested in finding wildflowers, I would suggest the following areas that are accessible yet beautiful:

Crested Butte: This city known as the wildflower capitol of Colorado. I visit each year and am always astounded by the variety of flowers I encounter. They also hold an annual Wildflower Festival in July where they celebrate all things wildflowers, a ton of festivities give guided hikes, teach you how to capture flowers through photography, etc. I’ve been all over the state, and Crested Butte is still one of my favorite areas. If you go in the summer, you’ll see what I mean.

Roxborough State Park: This is a unique state park in that it has a variety of ecosystems contained in it that often aren’t seen together, including both prairie and wetland. You’ll see the Kansas plains mesh with the start of mountain terrain, and with the rising red rock formations–it’s just a pretty unique location to hike and enjoy the variety of flowers no matter what your taste is. It’s a little less-know area and should be explored.

Lorey State Park: Another beautiful area that is pretty accessible is Lorey State Park near Ft. Collins. This is a day-park where hikers can try out advanced, intermediate, or beginning hikes–all with access to dozens and dozens of wildflowers varieties.

Most of the photos that are featured in this essay were taken on a hike in Breckenridge. While not known as a particular hot spot for wildflowers, a lot of mountain towns you visit in the summer are going to have amazing views along with Colorado wildflowers. So don’t stress about making it to the exactly right locations; just go out, enjoy, and explore.

No matter where you end up adventuring, find joy in these small details that shouldn’t be overlooked.

All photos copyright Teryn O’Brien Creative. Used by permission.