Fall is a time of great excitement here in the mountains. People come from far and wide to experience the glory of aspen leaves turning magnificent shades of orange and gold. It is a time for photographers to create new images and capture the fleeting beauty of the season.As a large format film photographer, I don't click away and produce hundreds, let alone thousands of "pictures" in heat of the moment. I approach the beauty of fall as I do each of the other seasons. I compose singular images that truly move me. This requires patience and persistence, which can be difficult in such fleeting conditions. That is, however, how I am moved to do my art.
"Autumn Glow, Aspens, Lake Tahoe" is an example of patience and persistence being rewarded. After several days of wandering this particular area, viewing this expansive grove of aspens from many angles and in varying lighting conditions, I chose to set up my camera and compose this scene. After fine tuning my composition, I chose to wait until the last rays of light backlit the trees. It just didn't do it for me. So, I waited.
As the sun set behind the mountains, the light went flat. Nothing. My experience did teach me to persevere, however, so I waited (almost) patiently as the sun, hidden behind the mountains, sank below the horizon. As the sun dropped, its rays began to reflect off of the atmosphere, creating a subtle glow in the sky. I proceeded to expose one sheet of film for 90 seconds, hoping to capture this warming light on the trees. Then, while leaving the camera set up, I created a short video in order to share the experience (See below). At that point, while the level of light fell, the glow intensified. I was then able to expose another sheet of film for 4 minutes, capturing the ethereal light that took this scene to a whole new level. My aspen grove panorama took on the life of a painterly dreamscape. It's all about the light!
Camera: Canham Metal 5x7 with 6x17cm Panoramic Film Back
Lens: Rodenstock Sironar-S 150mm
Tripod: Gitzo 1325 Carbon Fiber with Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball Head
Film: Fuji RDPIII Provia 100F Transparency Film
Exposure: 4 minutes