Aspen Turning II

2018

As the temperature drops above 8,000′ elevation in early autumn, the aspen’s leaves commence turning — initially from green to bright yellow, through various hues of gold and lastly to surprising shades of orange — while the tall, slender and graceful trunks subtly shift from white to taupe.

Just north of Santa Fe, along the western edge of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range among Santa Fe Mountain’s extensive aspen stands, most of the groves begin their turn dramatically at the same time. Others change at a different pace, depending on their particular exposure to sun and wind.

These out-of-sync aspen turns are invariably more muted, with the leaves’ change often blending closely with their trunks — creating quiet, blended tapestries that are contrasted against nearby evergreens.

Overlaying these quiet forest tapestries with minimal camera strokes enables me to achieve the antidote to my lifetime preoccupation to control time. It’s no accident that my landscapes convey the serenity I have always sought in my own life…

Aspen Turning<br>Aspen Turning, Santa Fe Mountain II — 2018 Aspen Turning II<br>Aspen Turning, Santa Fe Mountain II — 2018 Aspen Turning III<br>Aspen Turning, Santa Fe Mountain II — 2018 Aspen Turning IV<br>Aspen Turning, Santa Fe Mountain II — 2018 Aspen Turning V<br>Aspen Turning, Santa Fe Mountain II — 2018 Aspen Turning VI<br>Aspen Turning, Santa Fe Mountain II — 2018

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Aspen Turning I

2018

Every mid-September to mid-October, as the temperature begins dropping, aspen leaves — beginning above 8,000′ elevation on many western mountains — turn from green to bright yellow, then gold, and finally to various shades of orange, while the tall, slender, graceful trunks subtly shift from white to taupe-to-cream.

Santa Fe Mountain, immediately north of Santa Fe, and on the western side of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range, is one of those western mountains blessed with large aspen groves.

The ten mile drive from Santa Fe’s central square up Santa Fe’s ski mountain provides nearly continuous visual access to its many aspen groves. In fact, during early fall, it has become an annual ‘right of passage’ for residents, as well as many visitors, to go up Santa Fe mountain to see and photograph the Aspen Turning.

Having been traveling a lot during fall months, I’ve missed this early fall pilgrimage for the past  5-6 years. But this year I am remaining here in Santa Fe, and I have promised myself to spend time up on Santa Fe Mountain every possible day I can.

And, in turn, to devote the next 7 blogs — through the end of the year — to my various interpretations of ASPEN TURNING…

Aspen Turning<br>Aspen Turning, Santa Fe Mountain I — 2018 Aspen Turning II<br>Aspen Turning, Santa Fe Mountain I — 2018 Aspen Turning III<br>Aspen Turning, Santa Fe Mountain I — 2018 Aspen Turning IV<br>Aspen Turning, Santa Fe Mountain I — 2018 Aspen Turning V<br>Aspen Turning, Santa Fe Mountain I — 2018 Aspen Turning VI<br>Aspen Turning, Santa Fe Mountain I — 2018

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Aspen Turning

2012

The Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) Mountain range is the southernmost subrange of the Rockies; they begin in Southern Colorado and extend south to just below Santa Fe. At the north end of town, on the Sangre’s western slope is Santa Fe Mountain, whose west face is covered with very large Aspen stands.

Native to cold regions with cool summers at altitudes above 5,000 feet, aspens are medium-sized deciduous trees reaching as high as 100′. They generally grow in large colonies derived from a single seedling and spread by means of root suckers whose new stems may appear more than 100 feet from the parent tree. While each individual tree can live for 40 to 150 years, they send up new trunks as the older trunks die off above ground, so their root systems are long-lived, in some cases for thousands of years, which is why aspen stands are considered to be ancient woodlands.

Come the end of September through mid-October, the west face of Santa Fe Mountain lights up as the Aspen leaves turn their beautiful, riotous, yellow. Illuminated by the lower angle of fall sunsets, the light is just magical.

Aspen Turning<br>Aspen Turning - 2012 Sangre Foothills<br>Aspen Turning - 2012 Sangre Foothills II<br>Aspen Turning - 2012 Santa Fe Mountain<br>Aspen Turning - 2012 Aspen Turning II<br>Aspen Turning - 2012 Sangre Foothills III<br>Aspen Turning - 2012 Santa Fe Mountain II<br>Aspen Turning - 2012

 

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Aspen Orange

2007

Santa Fe sits on the windward side of the Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) mountain range. This southernmost subrange of the Rocky Mountains extends from Southern Colorado to Glorieta Pass southeast of Santa Fe.

Immediately northeast of Santa Fe, Santa Fe Mountain’s (10,350’) west face is blessed with an enormous aspen stand. Lit by the evening’s last light, they glow atop the mountain for all of Santa Fe to see.

Amongst the Aspens’ beautiful taupe trunks are the occasional aberrant blood-orange boles. Standing out like sentinels, their contrast is truly magical.

Aspen Grove<br>Aspen Orange - 2007 Aspen Orange<br>Aspen Orange - 2007 Aspen Orange II<br>Aspen Orange - 2007 Aspen Orange III<br>Aspen Orange - 2007 Aspen Orange IV<br>Aspen Orange - 2007 Aspen Orange V<br>Aspen Orange - 2007 Aspen Forest<br>Aspen Orange - 2007

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Trees II

2006

In the Woods 

Fifteen years after Trees I, I returned to my earliest motif. Trees were no longer a subject to be mastered, I saw their nuances and spirit in a way I had not earlier in my career. In deconstructing these images, I walked a fine line between representation and abstraction, yet when I released control and allowed the trees to speak, their story informed my lens.

In the Woods<br>Trees II - 2006 Canyon de Chelly<br>Trees II - 2006 Chelly Relief<br>Trees II - 2006 Last Light<br>Trees II - 2006 Aspen Stand<br>Trees II - 2006 Santa Fe Mountain<br>Trees II - 2006

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