Hiking and photographing the West Fork of Oak Creek is a very popular activity in late October and early November. The rather large parking lot and available road parking locations often fill up by 8 am. I decided it might be better to try an evening walk and catch a space as someone left. It worked out quite well as I was mostly alone on the second half of my seven-mile hike.
I encountered a photographer friend leaving who shared that recent winds had blown most of the leaves off the maple trees. Indeed there were many trees, especially the oak trees, that had lost most of their leave, but I found isolated pockets of sapling maples with bright red leaves. They were away from the stream, however, so I kept hoping for better.
In this area, many photographers concentrate their efforts along the stream to capture water, red rocks and fall color. That was what I was looking for when this trailside scene popped up before me. It was within the first mile or two of the hike, with hundreds of hikers and photographers walking by it on their way back to a stream crossing. It begged to be photographed, so I obliged. It is special to me because I have seen hundreds of photos from along Oak Creek, but never this composition.
My hike continued until the creek became impassable without wading up to the waist, but there was no other composition as compelling to me as this one. I turned and headed back to my truck, hiking mostly alone in the dark and glad to have a headlamp on my head and a sandwich back in the truck.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor