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]