How the Art Happens . Christmas in Autumn
June 19, 2019 • Leave a Comment
Christmas in Autumn
Contrasts have become a theme in my photography. Whether it's a shadow on white snow, a warm color against a cool color, dark against light, or a conifer in a sea of deciduous trees, I seem to be drawn to contrasts. Many of my very favorite images feature some type of contrast.
"Christmas in Autumn" is no exception. I just really enjoy the contrasting shape of the conifer against the straight, white, tall aspen trunks. The dark tones of the pine also contrast nicely with the lighter trunks of the aspens. The addition of the fallen aspen leaves are a major bonus and really help the pine tree "belong" in the scene. The leaves provide a relationship between the competing species. Visually, the leaves just tie the image up in a neat little package.
The panoramic format was chosen for a couple of reasons. If I had photographed the scene in a more traditional 2:3 or 4:5 ratio the scene would have included a lot of bright sky which would draw attention away from my subject. The placement of the pine tree 1/3 into the left of the scene seemed to be the most comfortable placement. It's hard to put the reasoning behind a chosen composition into words sometimes. This is one of those times. The longer format of the panorama helped me emphasize the continuation of the aspen forest which makes it feel much larger than it might have in a more traditional format. The original image was photographed using a Hasselblad XPan camera which captures a dedicated panoramic format image on film. The lens was a 90mm which helped compress the depth of the forest.
The light in the image is really important, in my opinion. Bright, overcast lighting is probably my favorite light for almost every subject. That is especially true for fall color and aspen forests in particular. Bright, direct sunlight creates deep shadows and bright highlights which tend to compete with the way I think the forest feels. It shouts when I want to whisper! Most of my favorite images are photographed with softer, diffused light.
I knew when I made this photograph that I had exactly what I was hoping for. It's a photograph that seems to represent something different to everyone who sees it but it almost always evokes some kind of response. A funny sidebar to this story is, years later, as I was cleaning out old, unused, unsuccessful photos, I found three other versions of this scene in different seasons. I had forgotten that I had made the pictures since none of them created the emotional response I was hoping for. All of them were made using exactly the same composition.
Thanks for reading the story of "Christmas in Autumn". I've been sharing this photograph as archival paper prints and gallery-wrapped canvas prints for a few years now. It's one of my favorites!
Keywords: Art, aspen, autumn, Colorado, conifer, contrast, fall, forest, leaf, leaves, panorama, panoramic, Photo, Photography, pine, The art of photography
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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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