How the Art Happens - Springlight

February 07, 2023  •  Leave a Comment


Springlight - East River ValleySpringlight - East River ValleyA sliver of sunlight illuminates fresh green aspen leaves along the banks of the East River near Crested Butte, Colorado.

Every spring when the aspen trees transition from their bare winter branches to lush green foliage we get a few days of new lime-green leaves. These fresh leaves are semi-transparent and seem to glow before they become their usual dark green. These few days are a great time to get out and capture this fleeting transition of the landscape.

One of my favorite views is just a few miles from my home. The East River valley offers lots of variety for landscapes all year long. On this spring morning, the sky was mostly cloudy but spots of sunlight provided occasional bright patches of light moving across the valley floor.

Finding a pleasing composition was a bit of a challenge but I liked the contrast between the dark conifers and the bright aspen trees. A 300mm long telephoto lens and a sturdy tripod got me much closer to my subject and helped reduce unwanted areas of the scene. Once discovered, all I had to do was wait for the light. It seems like I do that a lot. It doesn't always cooperate.

This morning, however, I got exactly what I was hoping for. The foreground and background fell into shade while the subject area became nicely illuminated. Since our eyes are naturally attracted to the brighter parts of a scene, I had very little editing work to do after the capture. I wanted the shadow areas to retain detail to reinforce the brighter subject so I did lighten the shadow areas a tad.

I have a few more months of white landscapes before I can chase these lime-green leaves again but I have a lot of winter scenes on my shot list. It's time to get to work! I hope you enjoy "Springlight".


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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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