Living in the desert Tucsonans have to drive to the top of Mt. Lemmon to see Fall colors. Only a little over an hour's drive from the valley the landscape is transformed from towering cacti to towering pines and Aspen. Temperatures can drop 30 degrees at the summit compared to the desert below. This was a fickle day for weather. The drive up Catalina Highway started in bright sun with big, blue skies, through clouds and fog, then heavy cloud cover at 9,171 feet. This is the highest point in the Santa Catalina Mountains and and the southernmost ski destination in the continental United States.
Desert dwellers flock to this location every Fall to enjoy the change in season not so evident at lower elevations. Getting this shot took patience. I was taken by the lone Aspen lit by fleeting sunlight ducking in and out of the clouds. Just seconds and the light would be gone. Then, it would re-appear, barely long enough to capture it before it was gone again. The light made the shot...that and the isolation of this one lone tree bursting in golden color against the dark shadows and silhouettes of stately pines. It brings to mind a saying, first popularized by minimalist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. "Less is more." The meaning here is that one single yellow Aspen is more dramatic than an entire hillside full of color.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor