Aspens and Granite, Autumn. Eastern Sierra Nevada, California. October 3, 2012. © Copyright 2012 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Aspen trees with golden autumn leaves grow among boulders on a rocky eastern Sierra Nevada slope
Before my single day of eastern Sierra Nevada aspen photography this season, I had been concerned about the quality and timing of the color – and reports by some other photographers who visited just before I was there were not encouraging. Reports mentioned trees that had turned earlier than usual (true) and trees that turned without producing special color and so forth. Compounding my concerns just a bit was the fact that my schedule required me to be there a bit earlier than the time I would typically regard as being prime for aspen color. But I’d rather shoot one day of less-than-stupendous aspen color than miss the entire show, so up into the eastern Sierra above Bishop, California we drove.
I was pleased to find that there was actually a lot of great color. Some of the usual “hot spots” that people seem to flock to were perhaps not as amazing as they can be, but after photographing the aspens for some years I have found some odd little personal places where I could find good color – and in a few places color that was downright excellent. I photographed these trees rather late in the day, perhaps after many people who prefer to photograph aspens in the sun had already left. I intentionally sought out an area that I knew would be in shade since I often prefer the muted and softer light this brings. Here the trees are not quite so thick since they grow on very difficult and rocky slopes. But what they lacked in density they made up for in color!
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer 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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