As usual with my fall photography, I typically have a general plan of the areas and types of photographs I’m interesting in taking. I had scouted out several areas in the Cascade mountain range of Washington State where there was an abundance of larch trees. These deciduous conifer trees provide a brilliant display of color that accentuates the natural beauty of the Cascade high country. If possible, I was also hoping to locate areas that also included the low growing huckleberries.
As luck would have it, weeks before the peak autumn colors, several wildfires were ignited that, along with unusually stagnant atmospheric conditions, created dense smoke conditions throughout much of the Cascade mountain range. Although wildfire smoke can create wildly colorful sunsets, the visual distance to capture mountain peaks is severely limited.
Regardless, the of the situation, I was determined to follow through with my original plans. However, my focus had to shift from grand landscape images to more intimate scenes. Fortunately, I was not that disappointed. Although over many years I have enjoyed creating photos from large scenes, my photography has evolved to focus on what is visually close to me rather than distant views. So, even though the types of photos I intended to take changed, I felt comfortable in searching out small scenes.
On one high mountain trail, I found a pocket of brilliantly lit larch trees with an equally vibrant understory of huckleberries. I’m fairly certain the sun filtering through smoke added some additional color to the scene.
I do look back and wonder if I would have passed up this scene under normal circumstances, but I suppose having to be more spontaneous turned out to a very good thing!
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor