Tag Archives: autumn aspens

Remembering Utah

With the limited time I’m faced with this season, autumn photography is mostly not happening.  We have had a great and long summer but this seems to have not been helpful to possible fall colors.  Bummed at first, I have turned to memories of great times on the road chasing color.  Included here are three compositions from a trip to Utah.

The first from Mt. Timpanogos Wilderness.  As I recollect:

“After many years since our last trip, we were able to return to Utah and revisit a few favorite locations. Although the colors were not as glorious as during our previous trips, this particular grove caught my attention. The soft sunlight was filtering through the canopy giving the leaves a beautiful glow…and I really liked how the branches appear to be reaching out from the glowing boles. I can still remember the sweet aspen aromas and the crisp autumn mountain air.”

Luminous aspens, Mt. Timpanogos Wilderness | Utah

Luminous aspens, Mt. Timpanogos Wilderness | Utah

The second photo is from the Fish Lake region.  A moment that stands out particularly vividly because as I was making this composition an older gentleman was walking by with his very old dog and we shared some good words.  He did reveal with sadness that this would probably be the last walk with his beloved pup….

“After departing from Capitol Reef National Park, Fish Lake was to be the last location to visit before heading back home. The area was mostly deserted and quiet. Although some color remained on a few of the numerous aspen groves, this leafless grove grabbed my attention. The brilliant white of the boles and electric clear blue sky made me actually think of the approaching winter, but I was pleased that the sun’s warmth could still be felt on this day.

I really like how the aspens on the left are almost mirrored on the right, with those on the right bathed in light but not those on the left….”

Aspen sky, Fish Lake | Utah

Aspen sky, Fish Lake | Utah

The final image was made late in the day in the Mt. Nebo Wilderness.  There was a warmth reflecting onto the landscape from the brilliant pink sunset clouds above.

Mt. Nebo aspen forest, early evening | Utah

Mt. Nebo aspen forest, early evening | Utah

I sure would love to be standing among these trees but since that isn’t possible at this point I will reflect on the time I did walk here and will hope to return someday.

Autumn Tapestry

As various obligations take priority over photography it is often difficult to be creative.  There is no time or energy to get out and make new compositions, no time to work on more recent digital archives and definitely no time to scan transparencies from years past.  Then I begin thinking and wondering why I even bother with this blog.  Very few people look, almost nobody comments as the attention span of the average viewer may be no more than that of a hummingbird pausing at a flower…on to the next thing.  There is no engagement, no conversation, no thought that lasts more than 7 seconds.  And perhaps most viewers want to see very cooked up and unrealistic images that have flooded the digital world.  Does anyone care to see something more honest?  Or is a sunset with colors never seen by the human eye somehow more fascinating than the one that can take your breath away while you are witnessing it?

Does anybody get out to see the real world and appreciate the beauty?  Perhaps not.  Some questions for thought.  I know, I shouldn’t care, but somehow, at least at some moments, I do.

. . .

In the meantime, here is an image I made several years ago along a busy highway (not a pleasant experience at all).  It was drizzling and the colors were saturated from the wetness.  As this scene was farther away and not very accessible I set up my camera with a 200mm telephoto lens.  The rain began to increase and within seconds after capturing this scene I had to quickly pack up and run back to the vehicle.

I love the myriad of colors here, the blue berries on the bush toward the bottom left, the depth beyond the aspens.  There is a peacefulness to the scene…and looking at it I see the beauty and hear the gentle rain.  The noise of the road has been forgotten and erased by my mind, there is just the glory of the scene and thankfulness for witnessing something real….

A beautiful forest scene in late autumn | Central Cascades, Washington

A beautiful forest scene in late autumn | Central Cascades, Washington


Autumn Splendor

It has been beautiful and warm in the Puget Sound with clear skies despite all the fires raging east of the mountains.  I love summers here.  If we had more days like these it would be an ideal place to stay forever.

As it gets too hot at times I begin to think about other seasons, particularly autumn.  As my favorite season nears, the days become shorter and soon enough we’ll see a cooling trend in the air.  I’m in no hurry, but I’m reflecting on past autumns.

Particularly I’m taken back to the year 2000.  Early that year I abandoned the 35mm film camera system and with much excitement switched to a medium format Pentax 67II and four lenses.  I was full of anticipation and energy to explore with a system much more capable of my vision.  For a few years I had the thought of going to Colorado’s San Juan Mountains during autumn’s glory.  I booked a budget flight for a quick four-day “vacation” to Albuquerque.  From there I would drive to Durango and begin my fairly quick loop drive around the San Juans.

Having never experienced aspen trees in autumn’s splendor, my eyes were feasting on the magnificent trees and mountain landscapes sprinkled with them.  I was simply blown away by God’s perfect artistry and to this day feel very blessed to have witnessed the San Juans even for such a brief time.

Quite a few memories from this trip are still vibrant after all these years, and some have become sepia tinted.  I made many compositions but one of my favorites to this day is the one I’m sharing here.  I was driving down a dirt road toward viewpoints of grand peaks when I noticed this arrangement, particularly the four trunks growing together.  And the mystery of what’s down the hill beyond this scene has kept me wondering to this day.  I wish I took a glimpse.

I wonder if this scene is still splendid or if the many winters have changed its face beyond recognition….

Aspen trees in autumn's splendor | San Juan Mountains, CO

Aspen trees in autumn’s splendor | San Juan Mountains, CO


Mt. Nebo Aspens

If I could live anywhere it would most likely be in a beautiful aspen forest.  There are few trees that take my breath away like aspens, and I love trees.  When they are in their autumn garment I could photograph them forever.

When my wife and I traveled to Utah’s Mt. Timpanogos Wilderness we were simply overwhelmed by the beauty of the landscapes and especially by the gorgeous and radiant aspens surrounding us.  It was like a candy store or an amusement park for a kid.  The conditions were sublime:  crisp, with storms rolling through the region but not to the point where we’d be just socked in, and the trees were in brilliant color.

It was difficult to leave but we were hungry for many more destinations we had planned.  As we were making our way to Mt. Nebo Wilderness a huge thunderstorm was building just to the west but its fingers were already reaching over us.  The sky was growing dark, there was an electric feel in the air, heavy rain was falling behind us, thunder was piercing the silence.

Then I saw it, a grove so beautiful it was like glimpsing a piece of heaven.  The trees so graceful, glowing with color, silent and sweetly fragrant, dark thunder clouds in the distance.  An occasional distant sound of massive thunder was the only sound breaking the silence.  I felt great joy descending on me as I began setting up my tripod and then my Pentax 67 film camera.

We witnessed many breathtaking moments and landscapes during this trip but to me this remains the most fantastic memory, and the fact that my wife Heather was standing next to me makes it infinitely more special.  And to this day, the image I was blessed with is one of my favorites of all time.

Mt. Nebo aspens at peak of autumn with distant thunderstorm | Utah

Mt. Nebo aspens at peak of autumn with distant thunderstorm | Utah