Aspen Glow

Aspen Glow

20×20 prints are $1,500
30×30 prints are $3,000

In 2003 Ruth and I were photographing at the end of September in Colorado when a friend told us about the large aspen forests in the Kebler Pass area. We went there that day and found what is now our favorite place to photograph aspen trees in the fall.

We were traveling in our camper van and parked overnight just off a small obscure dirt road in a quiet grove of smaller aspen trees. In the morning I got up and went for a walk in the woods. The sun was rising but not yet shining on the forest, so the light was soft and enveloping, the forest silent and private. The air was damp and there was no wind, which brought out the sweet nutlike fragrance of the fallen aspen leaves.

Although I was surrounded on all sides by a forest which was full of soft light and beautiful trees I wasn’t seeing a way to convey this through a photograph. After about 40 minutes of quiet but intense searching I saw a detailed section of the forest which caught my eye. Viewed from this particular standpoint the trees lined up in a lovely progression of shapes and the feeling of enveloping, almost fragrant light seemed to be concentrated in this scene.

I set up my Hasselblad camera and used my 300mm Tele-Superachromat lens with its matched 1.7x Apo-Mutar teleconverter which makes it into a superb 510mm lens. There were only 170 of these lenses produced. It is has perfect color rendering combined with the highest resolution of any lens for medium format work. I made an exposure at f/22 for one second on Velvia 50 film.

The image has very delicate tones. When making a print a careful balance needs to be main-tained between preserving the tonal separation and shapes of the many tree trunks and at the same time show the quality of the soft light which illuminated the forest that morning. I was finally able to make a successful Cibachrome print of this image six years later in 2009.

Format: Medium (square)
Location: Colorado
Reference key: agl