Autumn is one of my favorite times of year, especially when it comes to photography. Aside from football starting up, the MLB postseason (go Royals!), and the weather finally cooling off after a brutal 75 degree California Central Coast summer, the aspens begin their annual transition. I chase the color every year, usually in the Colorado Rockies and Arkansas hardwood forests. This year, I had a chance to explore a completely new area - the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range in California.
I took off the weekend before my wedding to have a little bachelor getaway with my good friend Tyler Brigham and my dog, Charlie. We made a loop down past the southern region of the Sierras, through the Mojave and up to Bishop for the first night. The color around Bishop Creek and Aspendell was fantastic, but different compared to what I’ve been used to.
The groves in Colorado are something out of this world. Gigantic and mature, these organisms span entire mountain valleys and up into the alpine region of the Rockies. The groves near Bishop were small, young, and quite patchy. While still beautiful, many of the intimate scenes looking through the trees were snuffed out due to the forests being so thick and the trees being so immature.
The three panoramic photos you see above are all from the Crested Butte area near Kebler Pass. From these three photos, you can really tell the difference between the forests around the Bishop, CA area and the giant forests of Colorado. The spacious, mature trees make for incredibly unique and textural images.
Charlie had a blast on the trip. He had the chance to approve a couple exposures, meet some tourists, romp around in the wilderness, and even got to drive a little bit - his four favorite activities. The 8x10 got some good use on this past trip, and not including my evening through Yosemite on the way home (post to come later) I ended up shooting 3 sheets of film. Two of these were the aspen scene from above and the the third was from the scene below.
The aspen scene above, I've entitled "Autumn's Grasp." I spotted the scene earlier in the afternoon on the day we arrived to the area and knew I needed the perfect low contrast light to photograph it. I set up well before sunset and waited for the calm twilight to come. As the sun sank well below the mountains behind me, the warmth of the sky above reflected a gorgeous light onto the grasses and aspens. I have been forcing myself to see more "intimate landscapes." These scenes are quite difficult to compose and photograph, but I find that as an artist, I strive to search for these compositions. They can be incredibly unique and have so much to say if you let yourself into the image. I composed this photograph intentionally symmetrical. I loved how the textures and colors stacked into perfect thirds, the brown grasses, the almost purple brush, and the pine trees, with that pop of fall color directly in the center. Something new from me, that's for sure.
The white granite in the Sierra Nevadas is an absolute dream to photograph. Because of its silvery / white color, the stone reflects nearly every quality of light, especially during the twilight hours. In the photograph below, the calm twilight of sunrise sometimes known as "the blue hour" was reflected by the bright white granite foreground. Typically, I don't photograph many scenes with clear skies. Clouds add texture and interest to usually otherwise dull photograph, but this particular scene worked quite well with clear skies. With the small pops of fall color in the distance, you can almost feel the peaceful, crisp autumn morning when looking at this photograph.
Because these photographs are so new and need drum scans and go through rigorous dust and spot removal, these are all still in their early stages of proofing for print. If you'd like to get your hands on one of these early proofs, fill out the form below to shoot me an email for a chance to own one of the first prints!