Aspen Leaves on Water - During this last day of our fall color tour, we ended up driving over Independence Pass into Buena Vista and then up Cottonwood Creek. One of my favorite locations for photographing aspens is about three miles past Cottonwood Lake where there is a large stand of pristine aspens. Next to the road is Cottonwood Creek and I noticed an area adjacent to the creek filled with pools of water. Thousands of aspen leaves had fallen into the pools and covered the surface in a thick blanket of golden color. We spent several minutes here enjoying the abstract patterns of leaves and river rock.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
The Grotto, near Aspen, CO - The Grotto is a little-known (to outsiders) waterfall and recreational area just south of Aspen, Colorado, off Highway 82 and about halfway between Aspen and Independence Pass. A steep stone-stepped trail leads down to the waters edge. The major pool is deep and locals will line up on a hot day to jump into the cold water from the cliff 20 feet above. While we were photographing, a fisherman was catching fish after fish in the deep pool. It's the perfect place for a picnic, as there are plenty of good "sitting" rocks all around.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Maroon Bells and Aspens - We rose before the sun today to photograph the Maroon Bells (along with about 50 other photographers!) and while we took the classic shot with the reflection in Maroon Lake, I actually liked this one the best. It's a very different composition with the top edge of the aspens following the jagged ridge of the peaks. The colors today were close to peak with a colorful patchwork from green to yellow. There are many diagonals in this image, which is pleasing to the eye - not only the peaks and tree tops, but there is a main diagonal line between the mountains and aspens, which nearly bisects the image. This primary diagonal provide a balance to the shot. This picture defines "Colorful Colorado"!
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Golden Aspens - This stand of aspen is located along Highway 82 just east of Aspen, Colorado. The late afternoon sun was backlighting the leaves causing a brilliant warm glow. I included a nearby aspen trunk in the foreground to give the image some depth. Today was a scouting day and I was able to check out a couple new areas for future tours in this area. The various canyons around Aspen are just filled with huge stands of aspens in all their finery. Tomorrow we'll start the tour with views of the iconic Maroon Bells and later in the afternoon, Crystal Mill/Pumphouse.
Aspens near Cripple Creek, Colorado - My annual half-day fall color tour was this morning and we had a good-sized group along. This stand of aspens was located just north of Gillette Flats along Highway 67S and was especially eye-catching due to the brilliant reds. The sun had just risen over the ridge to the east, which backlit the leaves, making them glow. Because it was located up rather high above a cliff, I used my 100-400mm zoom to bring it up closer. This year seems to be one of the better ones for fall color. I'll be leading a three-day tour around the Aspen area early next week, so you'll have a chance to see more of Colorado's "Golden Hills".
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Kudzu in West Virginia - Kudzu is gradually taking over the southeastern U.S. Introduced from Japan in 1876, as a forage crop in Florida. Kudzu has been spreading at the rate of 150,000 acres annually and is rapidly increasing. A you can see from this picture by Sheila, it transforms the native plants and trees into grotesque forms. For successful long-term control of Kudzu, it is necessary to destroy most of the root system (down below the crown) as well as all the runners. The city of Chattanooga, Tennessee has undertaken a trial program using goats and llamas that graze on the plant. If left uncontrolled, it will eventually cover old buildings, telephone poles and abandoned vehicles.
Moscow Bridge, Moscow, IN - The Moscow Covered Bridge (built in 1886) is one of many in Indiana, but this one merits a special story. Good friend, Bob, and I photographed this bridge in some detail May 23, 2008. But here's the rest of the story... Previously, and that same day, we had photographed another bridge that had been reconstructed following an arson-caused fire. We just happened to stop in at a store in that same town for sodas and started talking covered bridges with the lady at the counter. It turned out that she and her husband own a construction company that had actually done the reconstruction. Here's where the story takes a twist. Eleven days later, on June 3th that same year, the Moscow Bridge was completely destroyed by a tornado. Our pictures may have been the last ones taken of the original bridge. Following the tornado, Bob and I rephotographed the damage August 27th and decided to supply our pictures to the lady just in case they ended up doing this reconstruction, as well. Turns out they were asked to rebuild it, and this year, we were there again to document the rebuilding. About 30% of the original timbers were able to be reused, but everything else was fabricated with the construction techniques and materials used at that time period. The grand reopening is scheduled for September 25th!
Orange Mushrooms, West Virginia Backcountry - We traveled through coal mining country today, but didn't find much worth sharing, so I dug into our archives from a few days ago. Sheila spotted these orange mushrooms during our drive through the backwoods of West Virginia. They were so striking, I wanted to showcase them today. These were the only ones we noticed all day. They were down in a low draw several feet off the roadway and just about blinded us with their brilliance!