First light on aspens, Colorado. I waited for the sun to come up over a ridge and rake across this hillside, thinking that the first light catching the tops of the trees might be interesting. This turned out to be one of my favorite images from the trip. 297mm, 1/45th sec. at f/11, ISO 100.
After photographing fall color in northern Utah, and then having our course deflected toward Dinosaur National Monument, Claudia and I did finally make our way to the aspen groves in Colorado.
As we were quickly discovering on this trip, the pandemic has made outdoor recreation especially popular this fall, so well-known spots were busier than usual, and campsites hard to come by.
But there are lots of aspens in Colorado. Millions of them. If you’re in Colorado at elevations between 8,000 and 10,000 feet, there are bound to be aspens nearby. We didn’t have a particular timetable, so we looked at maps, picked out some likely spots, and just went.
Sandstone formations, Dinosaur National Monument, Utah
After visiting northern Utah on our recent road trip, we headed toward Colorado, but on the spur of the moment we decided to make a detour to Dinosaur National Monument.
When our son Kevin was five years old we made a trip to Dinosaur. Kevin was totally into dinosaurs at that age, and was thrilled to visit a place where dinosaurs had once lived, and to see actual dinosaur fossils in place in the dinosaur quarry. It was a magical experience for him.
Backlit aspens, northern Utah
Claudia and I have been on a road trip for about two weeks now. It’s been a fun, relaxing journey. We don’t have any specific plans, so we’re exploring some out-of-the-way places we’ve never been to before, looking for fall color and anything else that seems interesting.
We started in northern Utah. where the maples weren’t as vibrant as last year, but we saw some nice patches of color. And then we ventured farther into the boonies and found beautiful mountains, aspens, and some moose.
Tule elk bulls in fog, Pt. Reyes National Seashore, California
This photograph is from very deep in my archives: 1988. At that point I had only been photographing seriously for a few years. Claudia and I met in ’84, got married in ’86, and in ’88 were both working at The Ansel Adams Gallery and living in Yosemite Valley.
In those early years the main focus of my photography was wildlife. I also photographed landscapes and other nature subjects, but wildlife was my passion. I used to spend hours in the wonderful Yosemite Research Library, reading studies about wildlife habitats and animal behavior.
Comet NEOWISE over moonlit sand dunes, Death Valley. 20mm, 16 frames blended to reduce noise, each frame 15 seconds at f/2.4, ISO 6400.
I knew it would be hot. It was July, after all, and Death Valley is perhaps the hottest place on earth. But I was actually lucky; summer temperatures in Death Valley often climb above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, while the high temp on the day I was there was only 113. Practically a cold snap.
What was I doing in Death Valley in July? Photographing Comet NEOWISE of course. I know the internet has been flooded by comet images lately, but I totally get it. The last really photogenic comet visible in the northern hemisphere was Hale-Bopp in 1997. Who knows when we’ll see another one?
Sunset, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite. 35mm, 1/4 sec. at f/16, ISO 200.
It seems like a normal summer in the Yosemite high country. It’s less crowded than usual, since the park has limited the number of people allowed in. But the plants and animals are going about their business as they typically do. Creeks and rivers continue to flow. Clouds sometimes float by. It’s all serenely beautiful.
The park reopened on June 11th, with lodging, camping, or day-use reservations required for entry. After being away for three months, Claudia and I wanted to visit the park on that first day, and were able to secure a day-use reservation.