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Fall's Tapestry, Rock Creek Canyon

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 29 October 2010 in Landscape & Rural.

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Northern Arizona Photo Workshop - Grand Canyon, Upper Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and Sedona - March 16-20, 2011
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Perhaps more than any other season, I really look forward to fall. A quest for most landscape photographers is the onset of fall color. I am fortunate to start this quest in late September each year in the eastern Sierra canyons located off Highway 395.

This year I decided to visit an old friend, Rock Creek Canyon, located north of Bishop just past the Sherwin Grade summit near Tom's Place. This canyon leads one to the highest paved road in the Sierra ending at an elevation of 10,200 feet a couple miles past Rock Creek Lake.

While driving, I noticed this hillside of aspens and pines located at about the 8500 foot mark and decided to see if I could compose an image. I try visually to see a potential image in my mind as the camera would. I immediately thought telephoto for this scene. The main reason was to allow for some compression of the color. I grabbed for my 300 mmL f/4 and setup my tripod along the road and just began to play with various compositions until the scene felt balanced to me. An overcast sky and light rain allowed for the colors to saturate and provided nice even light over my scene.

I think what worked here was the two darker pines on the upper right and bottom left of the frame. Together they provided some contrast to the vibrant warm scene but perhaps more importantly, they allowed for an implied diagonal line to be formed in my mind (and hopefully yours). Diagonals are dynamic lines and provide much needed visual movement for a static scene of uniformed color such as this. Think of diagonals as alert lines.

My frames that excluded the pines confirmed my beliefs as they were pretty to look at but lacking the visual movement.

As a side note, I was really encouraged to see the darker oranges (and even some reds) with this year's color. Hopefully it carries forth to the western slopes of the Sierra. Perhaps by the time this image posts, I will know the answer.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III 1/50 second F/8.0 ISO 200 300 mm

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