High Mountain Aspen

High Mountain Aspen

20×24 prints are $1,500
30×40 prints are $3,000

In 1993 Ruth and I went on a one-month photo trip starting at the beginning of October. We (meaning mostly Ruth) drove our camper van a total of 9,000 miles during which time I took 40 different photographs with my 8x10” camera, and others with my Hasselblad camera. This is one of the 14 8x10” transparencies from that trip which I made into exhibition quality Cibachrome prints.

Ruth is a tremendous help on these photo trips by doing most of the driving while I’m on the lookout for worthwhile images. When we’re in areas which have great photographic potential, I’ll ask her to drive at whatever specific speed that will allow me to spot a potential image. Ruth also helps lug the heavy gear to where the photo op is, helps with the camera setup, opens and closes the lens for me as I adjust the focus, dusts off the film holders, and writes down the exposure information along with a brief description of the image in my logbook.

We were at the 9,000 foot elevation when I saw this unique, beautiful scene. The sun was setting, which illumined the scene with soft, warm light. There was virtually no wind. The scene was set, it was time to bring out the 8x10” camera. I compose my images completely intuitively, looking at the image as a whole, with no mental words cluttering up the process. I composed the image, set up the camera and made one exposure on Fujichrome 100 film with a 30” Red Dot Artar lens at F/64 with an exposure of 50 seconds.

Now when I study the image, I discover there are three layers: the vertical white trunks, the horizontal black branches (highly unusual) and the orange background. The white trunks are perfectly arranged in the scene, with their visual weight balanced but lively and the whole group delightfully centered in the image. The black branches are in dramatic contrast to the white trunks and provide an electric vitality to the image. The orange layer gives a warm, soothing background which mollifies the strong energy of the black branches. The open area at the bottom of the scene allows us to see deeper into the forest, giving a greater sense of depth to the image. Since the orange background has softer focus, it allows the white and black trunks be clearly defined without confusion. Wow.

It is an image I can come to fresh each time. My eyes roam over the image, discovering new intricacies and visual relationships. In what appears to be a chaotic, scrambled scene, exquisite beauty appears, peaceful, yet energetic.

Would that we could see our world in this light every moment.

Format: Large (horizontal)
Location: Colorado
Reference key: hma