The overbearing 103+ degree heat drove me out of my hometown of Moab in early July. Where to go? Float the Missouri River in Montana? Head for the mountains of Colorado? Nope, many of the high passes were still snowbound. Ahhhhhhh! High country and old trees! I was soon on the way to the White Mountains to join friend/photographer Colleen Miniuk for a few days of merriment at 11,000 feet above sea level. We made camp between the two groves. Schulman, the lower grove, holds the Methuselah tree, an ancient, 4,853-year-old Bristlecone pine, the oldest living thing on Earth! Methuselah is not labelled with a sign, and this is not it. I call this one "the Sentinel." It's been standing here for over 3,000 years, which means it has a BC birth.
I arrived at the site before sunset, hiking up the steep rocky ridge and then down towards the tree. Sun was still grazing the hill, and the Sentinel was hit with direct light. I decided to wait. As I did, there was nary a sound, not even the chatter of birds. I knew a few small ranching communities were on the scene, but there was no sound or lights. The sunset and an even deep quiet blanketed the land. The Sentinel held this glow against the cooling palette of the background. I made several exposures, vertical and horizontal, wider and narrower. I chose this one at home to process as it most accurately conveyed my experience. There was not much to do. However, it needed doing - up the shadows, drop saturation a bit (surprise!) and drop exposure in the sky a little. A slight color re-balance, and here we are. Enjoy!
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