How the Art Happens - A Mountain of Bones

October 23, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

A Mountain of Bones

A Mountain of BonesA Mountain of BonesBare aspen trees resemble bones below McClure Pass in Colorado.

Once the leaves fall from the trees, a quiet, somber, introspection, sets upon me. It may look, to some, like I'm depressed, but it's really a different emotion that has taken over.

Autumn, with all its color, vibrancy, and exciting promise of change is my very favorite season. It stands to reason that when the excitement and color ends I might get in a funk. I think that's the correct term. A funk. It's a major shift of emotional and visual gears. It's usually abrupt with little transition. Visually, the contrast is quite stark. Forests that recently were covered in golds, yellows, and orange now struggle to show any colors at all. It's like the forest has lost its skin and now we can only see the bones.

The bones are pretty interesting in their own way. Details and patterns, now obvious, were recently obscured by an outlandish and colorful skin. Bright hues have been replaced with subtle browns and new textures. The light has changed too. Soft, overcast, skies occupy territory once filled with blazing sunlight creating a visually quiet and calming scene.

"A Mountain of Bones" was photographed November 2, 2018, while traveling toward Aspen, Colorado over McClure Pass. I absolutely love this particular drive. It is visually rich, offering mountain peaks and beautiful forests of aspen mixed with oak and conifer. Some of my favorite images have been found along this drive.

I usually like to drive to Aspen in late autumn before Kebler Pass closes to check out galleries and the Aspen vibe. Lots of times I don't actually make it to Aspen due to the need to capture the grandeur of the route. Last year, I didn't make it to Aspen!

I ended up spending several hours photographing patterns in the aspen forest on the climb to McClure Pass. Spots of sunlight kept moving over the scene and spoiling the serenity. I played with vertical and horizontal panoramas of the mountainside but really only like the horizontal versions. "A Mountain of Bones" is one of the smaller scenes but, after much deliberation, I decided it was more than adequate to tell the story, show the details, and express the emotions that the scene evoked.

Here's another panoramic version. Which do you like better?

Waiting for Winter

Waiting for WinterWaiting for WinterBare aspen trees near McClure Pass in Colorado wait for the first snows of winter.


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Crested Butte, Colorado photographer, Dusty Demerson creates fine art photography displayed as prints and canvases and provides private photo tours in and around western Colorado.

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