Autumn Aspens

The arrival of autumn usually brings two colorful tree images to mind, the Appalachians and New England with their brilliant maples. and the Rocky Mountains and their aspens groves, usually bright yellow, sometimes reddish orange. However, the Front Range of Colorado was unusually warm and dry this past summer, so the fall colors around us have been muted. Nevertheless, there was fog in the area a few days ago, and we decided to go aspen hunting, knowing that fog usually presents imaging opportunities like none other. We rode a loop from our house along County Road 68C and then the Manhattan Road to Red Feather Lakes and back home. For the unfamiliar, CR68C and Manhattan are unpaved, sometimes very bumpy, sometimes muddy. Mud was the feature of the day.

Suggestion: these images are better observed on a larger screen rather than a telephone.

The first image was captured on private property along the south side of CR68C where I was shooting over an ancient barbed wire fence. The ground here was moist, so the tree colors are typical aspen. Hints of fog can be seen in the background through the trees. The tall grass and the heart pine gate and fence posts, bolstered by lodge pole struts are remnants of earlier times when the property owner probably had or allowed cattle or horses to graze the area.


The second scene was captured alongside the Manhattan Road on land managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The dominant trees are evergreens with aspen groves scattered about. When the aspens have shed most of their leaves, but not all, their white trunks and remaining yellow leaves are spectacular against the dark green fir and spruce trees. Again, there is a hint of background fog.


The final scene came from our back yard aspen grove adjacent to the road. I had envisioned a completely different shot when I stepped out of the car, but it just wasn’t there. So in turning in a different direction to return to the car I looked back, and there “it” was. It’s the same with hiking; stop periodically and turn around to observe that which you have just passed. You will invariably see something you missed in passing. This is perhaps my favorite of these three photographs. The first two have main subjects with fog in their backgrounds, but it’s all just “there”. The subject is more diffuse in the third, but the shapes and the colors lead or move one’s eye into the scene, So for me, it’s a most dynamic image of the group. It was that fading edge that led to the capture.


The autumn snowfall began a few days after these images were captured.