What Went Wrong?

Yesterday I left home at 5:30 a.m. to go shoot in the Kachina Wilderness near Flagstaff, AZ.  That meant my alarm went off at 4:30 a.m. and I do not consider myself a morning person.  However, the Aspen trees were at peak fall color in this area, so getting up that early was not difficult.  I was excited to do some landscape photography, as most of my recent work has been macro, and the day would be spent with a new photography friend!

The plan was to hike the Kachina Wilderness trail in the San Francisco Peaks.  The elevation is approximately 9,000 feet and hiking a few miles at that elevation with all of my photography gear was a bit concerning.  However, once in the cool mountain air and exploring a new location, my energy level was quite high.

aspen trees in autumn


I had planned on only using one lens, my 50 mm 1.8 to challenge myself with composition.  It didn’t take long for me to realize how many macro shots I was seeing along the trail and quickly switched to my 105 mm 2.8 macro lens.  Even my 18-135 mm kit lens came out of my bag for a cliché image I wanted to make for myself.  As I was laying on a large flat rock, I saw something different  A vertical shot instead of the typical horizontal shot while looking up and behind.


After hiking and shooting for several hours, we decided to head back to the trailhead and take a break.  We both had packed lunch and our camp chairs, however, at 4:00 p.m. it was more like a very early dinner.  We then headed down the mountain for the golden hour.  The aspen trees turned an amazing yellow-orange and was quite a sight to see.  Unfortunately those images won’t be shown.

aspen trees with fall colorSomething went very wrong yesterday, I am not happy with any of my macro and very few of my landscape images.  What went wrong?  A combination of factors played a role.  First, for the last several months all of my work has been macro so my vision for landscape had disappeared.  My macro shots from yesterday are not artistic in any way, probably due to being mentally prepared to shoot landscape.  The color and light were fabulous, but my images are anything but fabulous. Who knows, maybe I’ll let them “rest” for a while on my hard drive and look at them another day and see something different.

aspen trees with fall color


Ironically my last photo of the day is my favorite, which is the image to the left.  The image above and to the left were both taken at the beginning of the blue hour and handheld.  The shutter speed was too long for handheld sharp images, however, perfect for artistic images.  Some will say they are blurry photos and not see the artistic vision.  And maybe the more artistic, instead of traditional sharp images, is my style when it comes to shooting Aspens in the fall.



Click on the images in the below gallery to see a larger image.




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