Thursday, 17 November 2016 10:53

Only for a While Do the Aspens Sleep

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The aspen forests that flow down the slopes of the La Sal Mountains are places of great beauty regardless of the season; but here's the interesting thing: An aspen grove is not a collection of individual trees, but rather, more accurately, is a single huge organism, whose life force is hidden away under the ground. Aspens send out "runners" which regularly sprout above the ground to form "trunks" which act just like trees. Moreover, in contrast to other deciduous forms, aspens are never dormant, but continue growing - synthesizing sugars - by means of a thin photosynthetic layer located just under the outer bark. So "sleeping" is a misnomer when applied to this marvelous species. I was willing to forego the bases of the "trees' in the foreground, as well as their tips, so that I could avoid both ground and sky. The opening into the forest gave me a pathway through the trees into the background. A focal length of 78mm gave me the angle-of-view I wanted. An aperture of f/18 provided depth-of-field, and a shutter sped of 1/6th second at ISO 100 gave me an overall medium exposure. Not dormant; perhaps not even really a tree, but a world of wonder and beauty for everyone.

Read 1542 times Last modified on Sunday, 11 December 2016 08:10
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  • Comment Link Donald McGowan Friday, 25 November 2016 09:21 posted by Donald McGowan

    Good morning to All of You. Thank you for joining me for this conversation. It is, indeed, great to be home even inasmuch as we thoroughly enjoyed being in the beautiful places we have traveled over the past three months, and especially since going West in October. It going to be a chore catching up with the present, but we wouldn't change anything about what we have done.
    Hey Dorsey, it is really good to be home and to have you with us. There were many occasions during this adventure when I thought about how much you would be enjoying being there; the aspens in the La Sals were just such a place. I agree completely: my first inclination was to think in terms of a vertical image, but as I stood there looking at the wonder of this grove it just seemed that going vertical gave up too much of a sense of the scope of the forest. That's not to say that a vertical image would not work, but the energy would, I feel, be completely other than what I felt and wanted to express. I also agree about the possibility of converting this to a B&W. In fact, we worked with several aspen groves in the La Sals and in each one I has the sense that B&W would work every bit as well as the monochromatic color image here. Thanks for you kind words of analysis and of welcome. You are right about the fires creating a different world in the mountains we love. It is a sad truth. Hope you had a happy and safe Thanksgiving.
    Hi Joel, it's great to hear from you. Bonnie and I were delighted that you were able to join us for this adventure, and it was a pleasure getting to know you better. I appreciate your words about aspens. They are, very much, special trees, and your observation about their appearance implying relationship is well-taken. I glad to learn that your journey home allowed you to spend a little more time with this wonderful and beautiful species. Hope your Thanksgiving was filled with peace and joyful times.
    Hey Nancy T., Bonnie and I were so glad you were able to join us for the barn adventure. It is so good to see you out and enjoying what you love. I hope it will prove to be only a beginning. "Dancing" is so appropriate a description for this grove of trees, and aspens have always seemed like dancers to me. They certainly seem to be happy with the music. Hope your Thanksgiving was a wonderful day of peace. Bonnie and I went back to the Maris barn for a picnic and some great light.
    Thank you all, again, for being with me. Walk in Beauty.

  • Comment Link Nancy Tripp Tuesday, 22 November 2016 23:05 posted by Nancy Tripp

    A beautiful lesson in lines, patterns, textures, and relationships. The opening looks like an invitation to an exclusive Aspen costume party. The twigs pointing up at an angle creates motion. It looks like the dancing has begun. Thanks for sharing the image and story.

    Thanks for a wonderful Barn workshop this past week.

  • Comment Link Joel Price Monday, 21 November 2016 05:47 posted by Joel Price

    Thanks for the photo, and for the information about Aspens. I knew they were special trees, but didn't realize how special. In some way, it seems that one can sense their connections with each other just by looking at them. Their stance and intimacy imply relationship.
    I very much enjoyed our adventures in Utah, and especially the aspens. On my drive back from Moab to Salt Lake City, I allowed myself a detour through the upper part of the LaSal mountains, where there are again aspen groves. So I got one more opportunity at photographing them.

  • Comment Link Dorsey Davis Sunday, 20 November 2016 10:43 posted by Dorsey Davis

    Glad you are back among us,Don. With all the fires in your area I am afraid it is going to be a different world than the one you left. This has to be one of my favorites of the several excellent images on this blog over the past few months. If I were photographing this scene, my first inclination would be to set my camera up in a vertical orientation because of the vertical nature of the subject. However the little opening you framed so perfectly with the foreground trees allows us to look deep into the aspen grove and makes the horizontal framing the perfect decision for this image. I love the textures and depth that you have captured in this almost monochrome scene. In fact, I think it would make a beautiful b&w image as well. Welcome home.

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