Floating Cottonwood Leaves, Autumn. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. October 24,2012. © Copyright 2012 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Floating cottonwood leaves nearly obscure the surface of a small pond along the Escalante River, Utah
On our first of two hikes into the Escalante Canyon we had to contend with very strong winds. Wind is usually not the landscape photographer’s friend. Not only does it create some issues for camera stability, but it also sets trees and other foliage in motion, and given the relatively long exposures we sometimes use – especially when shooting down in the bottom of a deep canyon – making motion blur a very serious issue. It is virtually impossible to stop the blurring motion of leaves and grasses and branches. To some extent you might be able to make use of this and “go with the blur,” but that isn’t likely to work with all shots.
However, there is often a silver lining behind such clouds, and one bright spot with wind is that in the fall it drops lots of colorful leaves on the ground and into any water than happens to be lying about. As we worked our way downstream we came to a spot where a small stream joined the main watercourse in a flat area. Because of the flat terrain the water had created some almost still pools in places where faster flows had previously carved out hollows in the sand, and the surface of these ponds was almost completely covered with freshly fallen cottonwood leaves.
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.