Crested Butte, Colorado, USA by James Covello

Picture Story

I have been fortunate to visit Kebler Pass, near Crested Butte, Colorado, on two occasions. Both were in early October when the aspen trees are typically in their full bright golden glory. Every little side road is full of wonderful subjects for a camera, whether it is a grand scene or a something smaller. Aspens are photogenic at any time, with their straight white trunks, often packed together in dense groves. But in fall, when their leaves are bright gold, the effect is magical.

This scene was particularly special because the morning sun off to the left was slipping underneath some dark gray clouds, acting as a spotlight on the aspens further up the slope, while side-lighting the aspen trunks in the foreground, giving them some shape and texture. The clouds, deep shadows on the ground, and dark right hand sides of the foreground trunks all give the scene some mood and drama. The aspens in the foreground are important elements in the composition, but the eye goes straight for the bright gold leaves in the center before exploring the rest of the frame.

I can’t recommend visiting this area highly enough; there are so many areas to explore over a wide area and innumerable beautiful scenes. There are a few iconic views, but countless smaller compositions such as this are waiting to be found. You will find many in even a single morning of exploration, and it is unlikely that anyone else will find the same one. (I am sure that even I would never be able to find this exact spot again, let alone someone else.) In any event, the light and weather and leaves will be different from one visit to the next, even in the same week.

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