BOBBY MAGILL

Journalist • Photographer

Bobby Magill is a senior science writer for Climate Central in New York and a journalist who has covered fracking and the environment in Colorado and New Mexico since 2001. 

Straying close to home: The North Forty Series

It isn't entirely clear how long I'm going to be lingering in Fort Collins, and as we try to save some cash so we can eventually uproot, my straying hither and thither to photograph places somewhere out yonder are going to be cut back a bit. So, my next photography project will occur close to home. I've always found it difficult to be inspired by cities in which I live; my inspiration often comes from the landscape around those cities and towns. That's why my photo archives of 15,000-plus images contain almost no shots of Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Socorro, Taos, Albuquerque, Glenwood Springs, Rifle, Grand Junction, Denver and Fort Collins — all places I've lived in the last 34 (!) years. (Today, incidentally, begins the final year that I shall fall into that coveted 18-34 demographic. I'll try not to think about it too deeply.)

Larimer County deserves plenty of photographic love, so that's what I'll give it with the North Forty Series, which will be fully posted on my website, www.restlesswest.com, when it's complete.

The definition of the North Forty is somewhat murky, depending on who you talk to. Feel free to correct me in the comments, but the North Forty sometimes refers to the stretch of Interstate 25 between north Longmont and Wellington, the insanely congested stretch of the highway that is crammed into four very substandard lanes of traffic. That stretch is included in CDOT's long range plans for possible freeway widening and expansion.

But the North Forty most often refers to all of I-25 in Larimer County, roughly from Berthoud to the Wyoming line near Cheyenne. In other words, it's the northernmost 40 miles of the Front Range urban corridor in Colorado. (The Front Range urban corridor extends farther north into Wyoming, however, including all of Cheyenne and Laramie County.)

For my purposes, the North Forty shall include all of Larimer County, certainly one of Colorado's most geographically diverse counties, where the 13,000 foot peaks of the Mummy Range in Rocky Mountain National Park melt into the Fort Collins and Loveland metropolitan area and the Great Plains farther east. Then there's Soapstone Prairie, Poudre Canyon, the red rock badlands along U.S. 287 north of Fort Collins, the shapely Medicine Bow Mountains, the commercial wasteland of the Promenade Shops at Centerra, the rugged rocky canyons and pinnacles of the Red Feather Lakes area and the gaudy resortified tackiness of Estes Park. Few other Colorado counties can boast such a diversity of landscapes.

So, here are the first several images in the North Forty Series, which will also include some previously published images from around Larimer County. Check back weekly for new postings.