Aspen and Evergreen


Fell in love with this stand of aspen. Thinking about my last post and the idea of breaking a pattern, here we have another good example. It would have looked nice as a lush stand of aspen, however, with the evergreen added to the composition, I believe it makes for a stronger one. I’ve added a multiple exposure version below.



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Posted in Abstract, Colorado Tagged , , , , |

Leaning in or Leaning out? Further discussion.

Thanks to all who shared their thoughts about the last two posts.  I posted the two leaning tree images, as they generated an interesting discussion in the field while making them. When Dan (tour partner) showed me the first image (below) with what some of you see as a tree leaning out, I too had the same reaction. It felt like the tree was leaning out of the frame. He responded by saying “I see it as an element that is directing the eye into the frame.” Commenter Rad, has done a good job of articulating what Dan and then I ultimately saw, thus prompting me to make the capture. “The leaning out image for me has a circular, repeating motion to it. I find my eye following the leaning tree into the frame at the bottom, across to the yellow trees on the right, and then up and to the left to do it all over again. The vertical lines are less figural and play a supporting role to the lead characters of the leaning tree and the two yellow trees on the right.” So, at this point, I would argue that the leaning tree in the first image is actually leading the eye into and not out of the frame.


Now, lets look at the other image. This one, most agree, has the tree leaning into the frame.  Again Rad does an excellent job breaking down what my eye is doing.  “The one leaning in takes me in a clean, horizontal but staccato ride from left to right. It’s about the horizontal line of color contrasted with the staccato rythym of the vertical lines of the trees. I can almost hear it as a cymbal crash, followed by a drum beat with a thread of yellow “melody” holding it all together. For me it flows in one direction – left to right- and exits at the right.” Man, I love the drum and cymbal analogy! Thanks Rad.


I think it instructive to reiterate what commenter Frank said as it is why I added the leaning tree to each composition. “This is a great example of a comp(composition) based on a pattern and a break in pattern, with all the verticals except for one. ” Frank is correct about adding an element to break a pattern. Pattern images are fine, however, when we add an element that breaks the pattern, we add visual interest. This element may direct the eye in a very clear way. Other times it may simply break the pattern giving the eye a place to go and then bounce back to the pattern. I’ve cloned out the leaning tree in the image below to illustrate. I think the leaning tree makes for a more interesting and impactful image.


As evidenced by the varied comments, there appears to be no right or wrong image. We each see or read images differently. Ultimately, you need to decide what works best for you. And fight for your vision by the way. Just because someone does not agree, this does not make them right and you wrong. 

Lastly, I believe discussions like this are important. Not enough people carefully assess their (or others) images. Doing so allows you to make a more thoughtful decision about your composition in the field. 

Which image do I prefer? The second one.

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Posted in Colorado, Fall Color, Inspiration Tagged , , |

Leaning Towards You

_DSF5180In keeping with the previous post, this image was made in the same location with yet another leaning tree. So, once again, what are your thoughts on this composition? How do you feel about the direction of the leaning tree as compared to the one in the previous post? (image show below)



Posted in Color, Colorado, Fall Color Tagged , , , , |

Leaning into you


A favorite stand of Aspen. What drew me to this was the more open feel as opposed to a wall of color. To me this is much more interesting as it adds a graphic element, and a sense of story. A wall of color can be pretty but tends to look more like a postcard. 

I’m curious, how do you feel about the leaning tree on the left side of the frame?


Posted in Color, Colorado, Fall Color Tagged , , |

Horse in the Aspen




While waiting for the clouds to move and light up the grand landscape we were focused on, off to the right this little scene was happening. I waited for soft diffused light to illuminate the horse and the pasture. Of course a stand of colorful aspen didn’t hurt either.

As a side note. This was shot with the 16:9 aspect ratio available with my Fuji X-T1. I use the three different choices (1:1, 16:9 and 2:3) often as a way to pre-visualize how it will look. I do not lose any data as the full 2:3 raw file is left intact. But, when I open it in Lightroom, I see the in-camera crop which is nice. If I want to see the full 2:3 image, I simply click the crop tool and there it is.

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Posted in Color, Colorado, Fall Color Tagged , , , |

Evergreen Impression

_DSC0309-EditAnother multiple exposure. This time adding the ubiquitous evergreen trees. In the past, I had not considered adding evergreens to my compositions for fear they were too heavily weighted visually. This year, I was actually drawn to them and found them to add interest.

One of the things I suggest we bring with us as we make our images, is our ever maturing sense of composition. Each year we photograph we learn more, and thus mature in our ability to see and compose. We also learn from others, and add that to our visual vocabulary. I believe this is exactly what happened for me here. It’s been three years since I’ve been to Colorado. I’ve learned and grown as a photographer, and this image is a more mature composition for me. 

As always, I’m interested to know your thoughts. 

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Posted in Colorado, Fall Color Tagged , , , |

Got Gas?


Found this lone gas pump on the side of the road three years ago. We could not resist another run at it on our scouting trip. Especially with the nice sky behind it.

For those living in my area, I have two spots available for my upcoming Fonthill Castle Workshop on November 2nd. Details on my WORKSHOP page.

Posted in Uncategorized Tagged , |

Aspen Colors


I was drawn to the yellow stand of aspen set against the more colorful stand in the background. Typically the aspen tree turns yellow, so it’s nice to find splashes of other colors to add to your composition. I tend to like aspens in soft light as you’ll see in upcoming posts, however, on this stand, the backlight was very soft and seemed to be making the foreground trees glow.

Posted in Fall Color Tagged , , , |

Aspen Multiple


I love multiple exposures. Two of my favorite images from our last trip to Colorado were multiples. Because my Fuji does not have the capability, I brought my Nikon D3x that does. I’ve been shooting a lot of them and having a blast. The posted image is a new favorite.

Posted in Creative Tagged , , |

Colorado Tour


Not much time for posting on the blog as we have been pedal to the metal scouting for our tour in Colorado and then working with the group that came in on Monday. We have wonderful conditions and a good group of folks. Today’s blog image is from the Owl Creek Pass area. It was raining during the entire ride up to this location. In fact it was said at one point, “this is kind of useless, maybe we should head back down.” And then as we approached the pass, the sky seemed to be lightening up a bit. Then as we reached our destination this is what we found! Needless to say we scrambled for our gear to capture this as quickly as possible before it faded away.

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