an autumn day

October 10, 2021  •  5 Comments

Viewing the Sangre de Cristo mountains from the city, it is sometimes hard to see the stages of aspen color.  One day it appears the trees aren't turning color at all, the next, they might show a very light color, and the next might hold a gash of gold.  Driving to the Aspen Vista trailhead below the Santa Fe Ski Basin, it was apparent we were not the only ones who thought this week might yield that "knock-out" color for which the southern Rocky Mountains are known.  The place was packed with people and cars and dogs and kids.  We have never seen that many cars, not only in the designated lot but on both sides of the highway.  Being flexible, we continued on to the ski area, where there was ample parking and we hiked the Winsor Trail.  The aspen color was not as intense as it was at Aspen Vista, but the rarified air at 10,800, along with the smell of wet leaves and earth told us we were absolutely in the right place.  Muted color also allowed my eyes to become obsessed with the beautiful texture and patina of aspen bark.  I also did what I had promised myself while shooting even tall aspen trees - shoot both vertically and horizontally.

Hiking along the trail, with slabs of grey-black granite and dappled light, there were surprises everywhere, including a branch that had broken off with its leaves intact.

In areas where the conifers opened up and aspens shot through, pieces of clouds provided a gentle backdrop in the saturated blue sky. 

I was beginning to discover how satisfying horizontal shots of aspen can be.


Aspen trunks are extraordinary.  Some are almost a blue white.

 Others, like the one in the middle of the image below, carry a very light greenish yellow to them, with a patina that works its way into your being.

When the gold and red in the trees shine in the afternoon light, it is the topping on the cake of a perfect autumn day!


Thanks to Fernando, Debbie R., Barbara, Donna K., Lisa, Steve, Donna C., Wayne, Barbara D., and M. Fred for comments of the autumnal sort this week!  I hope you are able to get out and enjoy some photography or just walk during these rare days on your breaks from work and the business of life.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the [email protected]


Steve Immel(non-registered)
These are all spectacular! I particularly like the ones where you're shooting straight up and the aspen trunks pierce the blue sky. In image one the broken branch becomes a bouquet of golden leaves. The perspective from your vantage point on the forest floor works beautifully as a horizontal or a vertical but I think the vertical format affords direction and energy. Image six is my favorite because of the way the dominant center trunk points to the clouds. Tough choice though.
Dianne James(non-registered)
Photo 1: Love the golden glow found in the edges of the shadows- reflections of adjacent tree leaves. So subtle, but beautiful. A vertical shot is very appropriate, isn't it?

Photo 2: I love the aspect you captured. Makes it so massive, like the amazement of a small child, lying on the ground looking through the golden canopy.

Photo 3: Great composition (are you a painter, too?)- the trees culminate in the upper central "third" of the "canvas". Awesome, and, yeah, a successful horizontal if I ever saw one.

Photo 4: The tree on the right truly shows how tall these trees must be. And that blue sky, wow. Love it.

Photo 5: Yes, and they are so full of character.

Photo 6: Yes, how irridescent-looking the patina is, and wowser, that backdrop!!

Photo 7: Yes, ma'am! Awesome, with the conifers, standing proud like exclamation marks in the midst of the pando.

Photo 8: Looks like a New Mexico/Colorado jungle. We'll see Tarzan swinging from tree to tree any moment now, through the gold and red.

Wonderful photos, as always, Daryl. I enjoy my own pando, now, which grew up from a neighbor's lone Aspen. I have almost twenty trees on the north side of the house, and a path through it that I dream (plan) of lining with wildflowers. One of my favorite trees. I am going to try to air-layer three young eight-foot-tall saplings for my sister, who also loves aspen. The deer love to munch them,though, so some of mine have wire around the bottom, argh. Thank you for taking us for a walk through the forest this week. Love you guys. Enjoy your week.
Wayne Gesterfield(non-registered)
It's hard to beat the Santa Fe Ski Basin for good fall Aspen color.
Very nice pics of the Aspens.
I miss doing exactly what you did up there.
You can't get enough of that.
Love aspens this time of year…they are magical! Thank you for the amazing pictures, Daryl!
Fred Barraza(non-registered)
Beautiful autumn aspen photos! Love the perspective.
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