LaSal Mountains, Moab, Utah, USA by Bruce Hucko

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Picture Story

I'd pretty much missed the fall bloom here in the four corners area of the US. It was through no fault of my own, we've been in a drought for a decade so any color we get, especially here in Moab, is a bonus. I felt "obligated" to go at least take a look in the mountains and one day after teaching art at our local elementary I drove into the LaSals to see what was left. On the way up to the Warner Lake area the road makes this little hairpin turn that today was in full sun. Not good. I did notice that aspens with good color were pretty thick there, probably due to the streamlet that flowed. I went on my way and was gone about 2 hours or so.

Coming down the mountain with a few images from the hills around Warner Lake I encountered the hairpin collection of aspens again. This time they were in full shade and glowing in the ending light of day. Lazy, I drove into the curve and "composed" without leaving the driver's seat. Something clicked. "Hey! This is good enough to get out of the car!" I chuckled to myself. Something in me suggested to "paint with light," after all, that's what the definition of photography is. I stood my ground, made the basic composition and then shuffled my feet left or right a few inches to get the trunks space just right, anticipating that they'd blur and blend once I made the photo at 1/8 second. The fun part for me about in-camera-motion is to thinking about the effect you want and setting camera functions to a "thought-out" base exposure instead of just going willy-nilly. I knew the composition needed to be vertical and so did the motion. I also decide that the exposure should be on the up-movement of the camera. With this in mind I metered and decided to start with an exposure of 1/8 second. Factoring this time would determine the physical length of the up-motion.

I did a few practice images, saw the exposure was working and then set to concentrate on making the final image. It took a few attempts, ever so slightly altering the length and speed of motion and the shutter release point. Finally I got something I could work with. I'm sure a few drivers scratched their head as they came past from seeing a guy with a camera in hand, waving his camera up and down like he was directing some invisible orchestra while his poor tripod stood idly by! There are those like my friend Deborah Hughes who engage in ICM photography all the time. I can see why. It is often compelling. I don't perform it that much, but this little colorful canyon nook of color called for it! It sings for me!

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