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PHOTOGRAPHY REFRAMED: Re-Defining What Really Makes a Million Dollar Shot

In the Mystic San Luis Valley, a million dollar shot is not just a pretty landscape. Sure, we have some of the most incredible scenery in the world, but to us, a million dollar shot brings every unique moment to life.



A MILLION DOLLAR SHOT: Captures Authenticity

Photography can capture the truth of a place and the people who call it home. Next time you’re trying to decide on which filter to select, take a moment to consider if a filter could be detracting from the candid moment. Instead of relying on manufactured photo enhancements let nature, weather and people bring the genuine moment to life instead.

Tent in the San Luis Valley

A MILLION DOLLAR SHOT: Transcends the Frame

If a million dollar shot was a pretty picture, we’d be gazillionaires. Rather, we believe every photo represents a distinct moment in time. Each snap is imbued with the little things that made that moment special — the flower you’ve never seen before, the cool mist from the waterfall, the dirt track beneath your boots and all the people you met along the way.

Bison in the Sangre de Cristo mountains


A photograph lasts forever, but the remnants of our time there should not. A good photo should not come at the expense of the environment and the distinct ecosystems that call it home. Next time you pull your camera out, take some time to reflect on the history and biodiversity that make each area unique, and think about the actions you can take to better serve our natural wonders.

See Your Photos in a New Light

At what point are you satisfied with your photo? When the light is perfect? When no-one is blinking in the group shot? Or, is it the moment you think to yourself “this is the one I will upload later?”

When you visit Colorado, it’s tempting to snap everything you see, but we’re asking you to take a minute and ask why — why is it important to take so many photos of the same thing? Because in the rush to take photos, we may be missing the beauty of each moment.

Filter Free Zones

Filters have no place here. Let the authentic beauty of the moment shine through in these zones — whether it’s at one of our majestic landscapes, or the fun locals you meet along the way.

Shutter Speed Limits

Ever taken the same photo 20 times at slightly different angles? Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. Welcome to the Shutter Speed Limit Zone where there’s a limit on the number of photos you can take. As the old saying goes, "Less is more" and we promise your snaps will be richer for it.

Colorado Photo Preserves

Photographers document beauty in the everyday. When you press the shutter button, you are effectively creating a memento that will last forever. When finding these moments of beauty, we ask photographers to take additional care to ensure their practices leave no trace, so future generations can enjoy them for years to come.

Get in the Zone

Mystic San Luis Valley photo map

This page is in honor of Jeremy Elliott who shared his beautiful Colorado photography to inspire future travelers.