My Photos — on display for the benefit of the world

The San Luis Valley, Colorado

Here we are looking down on the San Luis Valley in Southern Colorado.  I’ve never been on the ground here, but I’ve flown over this valley a few hundred times.  This view is out the left window, looking south.  We are headed towards Los Angeles.  As you can see in this picture, the San Luis Valley is farmed pretty heavily.  There are more irrigation circles here than I’ve seen anywhere else in the country.  Each one of those circles is a mile across.  The top of this frame is 45 irrigation circles wide.  That should give you an idea of the scale of this operation.

I highlighted a few areas and posted the 100% crops below to help you get a better view of this dusty valley.

1)  Here are some runoff ponds.  Using the crop circles as a scale I am guessing both of these ponds are about a mile across.  I wonder if they put these lakes in the tourist brochures?

2) I realize this stuff isn’t as interesting as it was pre-google maps satellite view, but I still think it’s cool to see the scale of these giant circles when compared to these farm buildings.  What’s this farmer’s water bill?  Oh yeah, they get their water for free — directly out of the aquifer.  “This land is your land this land is my land”

  3) Here’s what the San Luis Valley looks like minus the irrigation.

4) Look hard at the left side of this image.  That’s a town mixed in between the irrigation circles.  I wonder what the high school kids do there on a Friday night?

*David is a California Photographer . You can order prints of the photos featured on this blog by clicking on the image or visit our website at Support this site by using one of my links to Thanks!
  • Julie Theriot

    Hey there Captain Dave, how interesting the contrasts…this is an excellent post!!!!
    I love looking at maps and comparing before’s and after’s as well!!!
    you get a Gold Star!!!!

    keep up the Great work, again, I appreciate it!!!!


  • Patti Kuche

    Absolutely fascinating and thank you for this info. I have always been curious about such oddities viewed from the air and I have some photos I took – they are brown circles, brown squares, somewhere in Nevada I think.

    Great photos, heartbreaking subject but I suppose this is the price we pay for year round supermarket salad.

  • Gary

    Most pivots (including the ones shown, are 1/4 mile long (many shorter). Your cirles are 1/2 mile diameter, not 1 mile.

    • photos4u2c

      Thanks. I am no farmer… A couple guys I fly with swear the circles are a mile wide. I’ll have to edit with your new info.

      • Kevin Hart

        Did not see this post, but you are correct sir.

  • Gary

    No sweat. There are a few longer ones, I think. But, have a look at Google Earth in the San Luis Valley area and use the measure tool.

    That really is quite an irrigation area. I wonder if your radar altimeter would drop if they all turned on at the same time. :o)

  • DeAnn

    Nice … I’ve looked at these a few times now. Very cool.

  • DeAnn

    … what do HS kids there do for fun … idk, but those lanes between the circles seem to be begging for some speed activated dust …

  • Timothy Houston

    There’s plenty to do. Look at all the swimming pools! JK =D

  • Tom Swoboda

    I drove thru the San Luis Valley in April 2005 while returning home to Illinois from my daughter’s wedding in Las Vegas, NV. I thought the views were stunning. The valley is at 8000 feet, very wide and long and surrounded on four sides by mountains. I don’t like being in the mountains because I feel they block the view but here you have the view of the mountains in the distance all around you. It’s gorgeous. If I were to live in Colorado this is the place I’d want to be. Unfortunately my memory cards were full and I got only one or two shots in the valley.

  • Kevin Hart

    I live in the valley. Those crop circles are not 1 mile by 1 mile, they are actually 1/2 mile by 1/2 mile.

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