How the Art Happens - Aspen Bisque

September 18, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

Aspen Bisque

Aspen BisqueAspen BisqueGolden aspen leaves float in an irrigation ditch in Gunnison County, Colorado creating a colorful mix.

About a year ago a friend from New York City was in town and we went out to make some pictures of our fabulous fall foliage. This involves driving some of the passes and valleys in western Gunnison County looking for golden aspen forests.

As we traveled up to Ohio Pass we came to an area that always delivers lots of colors and, as luck would have it, a good variety of yellow, gold and red leaves at the peak of fall color. That morning had been a little breezy so lots of leaves had blown off the trees and covered the ground. Aspen leaves are especially colorful while they're in the trees but the color goes to brown within a few hours of the leaves hitting the ground. 

I found a place to park and Lois quickly jumped out of the Jeep and started running to the fence line where the ground was carpeted with colorful leaves. It was at that point that I remembered that there was an irrigation ditch which ran along the fence. The ditch was filled with water but covered with leaves so you really couldn't tell there was water there. I jumped out of the Jeep to caution her about the invisible ditch. Just in time! 

The scene was quite magical. Every inch of the water was covered with floating leaves sporting a variety of our famous fall colors. We spent quite a while trying to capture unique images of the floating leaves which slowly moved with the water down the ditch. The challenge was to get close enough to keep from falling into the ditch while finding even light under the canopy of the aspen forest. Dodging shadows was quite a challenge and leaves were still falling. I didn't really notice the tiny water droplets on every leaf until after I began to edit images that afternoon. I knew this was going to be an interesting photograph so I posted it on Facebook that afternoon and titled it "Aspen Soup". Within a few minutes, a friend suggested "Aspen Bisque" would be a better title. I agreed. The following day I went back to see if I could improve my photo. All the leaves had turned brown and had sunk to the bottom of the ditch. So, here is "Aspen Bisque" from last fall as I wait, not very patiently, for this year's trees to turn so I can get back to work.


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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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