Aspen Tree Trunks. Eastern Sierra Nevada, California. September 26, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Aspen tree trunks in the first morning light
Frankly, aspen trees are fascinating in a huge range of ways, in all seasons, and in many kinds of light. At the current time of year most of us focus, with good reason, on the annual spectacle of their fall colors — blankets of yellow, gold, orange, and red. But aspens are beautiful when they are bare and they are beautiful when new leaves appear in the spring, and they are beautiful in the middle of summer when their leaves shimmer in the breeze.
The trunks in this photograph are those of “fall color” aspens, and you can see a bit of that color in the background. However, there is another aspect of color in this photograph that I like to consider, namely the range of colors and textures in the bark of these trees. Ideally, we often think of aspen bark as being white. With the right trees and the right light it can, in fact, seem quite white. However, in most cases the bark colors are much more varied, ranging from gray to green to brown. The textures are also quite something — the trees can be almost perfectly smooth or they can be very rough and rugged. The pair of foreground trees in this photograph are an interesting case, especially if you think of aspen trunks as being white. A closer look reveals that the tree on the right has strong yellow-brown-golden tones while the one right next to it is covered with interesting red patterns!
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. His book, “California’s Fall Color: A Photographer’s Guide to Autumn in the Sierra” is available from Heyday Books and Amazon.
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