Saturday, 8 January 2011

Trees, Shadows and Snow

Today, Friday 7th, was a travel day from Telluride to Carbondale. We are skiing Aspen over the next 3 days and this was the only place with reasonably priced accommodation but a short drive away.

It was another blue sky day with clear roads and lots of mountains along the roads.

We did stop at one spot for me to take mountains with a frozen river in the foreground but the main planned stop was the McClure Pass.

Looking at the map I expected to see good views to some big peaks. At the pass it was very snowy underfoot but a well used snowmobile and ski track led up the hillside.

About a half mile or so from the car the view opened up and the snowy mountains of the Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness looked great, but better was to come.

The sun was low in the sky and the shadows were long and, at 8755 feet, I was surrounded by shapely Aspen trees. These are great as they grow straight up with few low branches. It was time for tree trunks, shadows and snow pictures; lots of patterns from the tree trunks and shadows too.

After wading through thigh-deep soft snow, wishing I had bothered to put on snowshoes, I found myself amongst an Aspen wood. I metered off the shadows with a spot meter to make sure I kept the detail I need (I use film, so for digital you need to meter off lighter areas than this).

I also ran off a film just looking up at the tree-top canopy. Aspens grow close together and give good effects if you point the camera, and suitable wide-angle lens, up the tree trunk. I also took several shots from the centre of a stand of Aspens. By carefully choosing your viewpoint you can frame the picture so that trees appear to come in from all 4 sides.

For most of these tree-top shots I used an orange filter, with my usual Ilford FP4, to darken the clear blue sky.

I could have stayed there for hours but dragged myself away so that we could get on down to Carbondale and prepare for skiing Aspen tomorrow.
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