The Maroon Bells area is a popular site for photographers. Because of its location near Aspen, Colorado, and its sheer beauty, it is visited every day by people looking for the classic shot to hang in a gallery.
It's only a hundred yards from the parking area to the lake shore, which has plenty of room to accommodate a large number of shooters. You have to take a shuttle bus out to the lake during tourist season. After Labor Day, the shuttle buses run only on weekends for the rest of September.
I was there mid-week and got to drive out to the lake. Arriving late in the afternoon, I noticed right away that the smoke from a forest fire in the northwest was going to prevent any decent photography. Still, there were about twenty photographers lined up along the shore. I hung around, hoping for some special atmospherics around sunset, but it didn't happen.
There are several campgrounds along the road as well as an overnight parking area at the lake. So I pulled into the last slot there and spent the night.
The next morning I was up at 5 and out on the shore. The only other person was a fellow from Australia. I was hoping for some star shots, but the moon was on the other side of the sun and it was too dark to get any detail on the land.
As the sun rose, it appeared that much of the smoke had blown away. I spent several hours waiting for the light to come to the trees and hoping that the water would calm for some good reflections. It would do so occasionally, then the wind would pick up and the surface would get choppy again. There were probably about 50 people out along the shore taking photos or just watching.
Although conditions were never perfect, I got a few pleasing shots. Here's one.