Aspen Flames

aspen; autumn; bishop-creek-canyon; sierra-nevada; eastern-sierra; fall; foliage; lake-sabrina;  photofool

Aspen trees in the early morning light on Lake Sabrina


After my morning shoot on North Lake, I headed over to Lake Sabrina, sat out on the rocks and waited for the water surface to settle; it never did. I turned my attention to the east side of the lake. There were a lot of trees getting lit up as the sun rose above the mountains behind the trees. The slope seemed to catch on fire with the bright leaves burning in the morning sun. Didn’t want to photograph just a bunch of random trees, I scanned the lake side looking for interesting compositions.

I found this group of aspens forming a flame-like pattern. Knowing that a “proper exposure” would produce a flat and washed out image, I under exposed my shots to get the highlights to really pop against a dark background. I am not comfortable with the whole “expose to the right ” theory quite yet. Being a computer science major, I totally get why it makes sense to “expose to the right”, but having a washed out RAW image and having to dial back the exposure to obtain a more “correct” exposure later during post processing seems unnatural for me. I still tend to under expose my shots to keep my highlights in check. For what I typically shoot, shadow details aren’t that important to me. As long as I get my highlights the way I want, I’d be contented to let the shadows fall where they may.

I had a productive morning in Bishop Creek Canyon. After the light became too harsh, I went back to town to pick up Mrs Photofool (she rarely wakes up early for my sunrise shoots). We then drove up the mountains and spent the next few hours enjoying Autumn colors flowing down various creeks and streams. Well before sunset time, we left for Little Lakes Valley to scout for potential locations for my next sunrise shoot.