The particular charm of a mountain autumn, for me, is the way winter sneaks in around the margins. For virtually every autumn in the mountains that I can remember, the riotous foliage colors are perking along nicely when along comes the first cold storm of winter. Well, not exactly cold, but coolish enough to put a bit of snow on the highest elevations, and drape the reds and oranges with white for a couple days, at least. It is such a great reminder that every season is a moving target, on the way in and on the way out at the same time.
This photograph captures that transition nicely. On the back side of the Wasatch Range in northern Utah, the oaks and maples are saturated with their reds and oranges, the aspens are in a slow transition from green to gold, while the high country gets a white blanket and scudding dark clouds. The contrast is perfect. This scene is at Cascade Springs in Wasatch Mountain State Park. The departing storm clouds let in a moving patchwork of sunlight, allowing the photographer to just wait and cherry-pick as highlights shift from this hill to that valley to the other ridge, and back again. This composition, with highlights on the foreground and distant horizon, with shadow in the middle, seemed the best to me. (pricing schedule C)
It’s up! Further To Fly Photography is pleased to announce the opening of “A Mountain Autumn,” an exhibition of 40 photographs celebrating Fall in the forests of Park City, the West and the World. The exhibition in the Park City, Utah, library runs from September 15 through November 25, 2017, and is open to the public during library hours.
Photos in the exhibit are from Tom Horton’s portfolio of nature and landscape photography and are from the past 10 years’ work. They are glicée prints of various sizes up to 40 inches by 30 inches, handmade by Tom on archival canvas and watercolor paper.
From the Artist’s Statement at the show: “The wistfulness of a passed Summer is unknown in mountain towns. In August, we begin stealing glances at the hills and forests. When the maples show hints of sunset-red and and the oaks are Halloween-orange, we sense the main event is coming. While the aspens blaze yellow, we clean house, fill the wood bin, and set out the good china for our guests (and ourselves). Our pace quickens and our hearts turn over. Life starts another chapter.”
Works in the exhibition are available for sale directly from Tom Horton. Tom is donating 15% of gross sales during the exhibition to the Friends of the Park City Library, a citizen’s support group for the library. Email Tom with this contact form,
“Slot” canyons — of which the Subway is one — are the darlings of southwestern US geography. They are narrow defiles carved in layers of sandstone hundreds of feet deep — so narrow that it is difficult to walk through them in places, and so deep that sunlight may reach to the bottom only a few minutes a day when the sun is directly overhead. They are often in remote wilderness locations, and require heroic hiking, climbing and/or swimming skills to navigate. Slot canyons attain their unusually tall and narrow forms due to flash floods that carry tons of fine sand that can grind though the soft sandstone relatively quickly.
One of the finest of these is “The Subway” in Zion National Park, so named because the flume at the bottom has an oval shape reminiscent of a train tunnel. True to its kind, it is very hard to get to, a long distance from trailheads on very rough, sometimes dangerous trails. The photographer is awarded an extra penalty, not only having to pack in heavy gear, but to do part of it in the dark so that the light on scene is just right. Attacking The Subway in the fall is a great choice, not only because the midsummer heat is absent, but because colorful fall leaves adorn the stream and canyon bottom. (Pricing Schedule B)
It took two nights sleeping in the back of the car in the parking lot on top of Signal Mountain to get this shot. I hope you like it. Two nights, because the first morning the dawn was still socked in by rain and the Grand Teton peaks couldn’t even be seen. By the second night the storm had faded out and dawn that morning was perfect. Morning mists were rising from the valley floor just as the sun caught the high peaks. It takes perfect timing and a healthy measure of luck to get this kind of shot, and if you spend the night too far away from the perfect spot, the probability of success can be discouraging.
Of course, this is a national park and camping outside of a campground is against the rules. Technically, I could get in trouble, but in many, many nights sleeping in the car that has never happened. I’m pretty sure that the park rangers have better things to do at midnight than roust out persistent photographers — like getting some sleep of their own. Believe me, I would much rather be nestled in a nice campground on a soft mattress in a comfy tent. It’s awkward and uncomfortable and never fun sleeping in the car. “You call this camping? No way.” And that’s how I rationalize this wanton, rebellious act. (Price Schedule B)
Further to Fly has donated “Wasatch Autumn,” a 48″ x 38″ exquisitely-framed photograph, to the National Ability Center’s Red,White and Snow fundraising gala March 5th at the Montage Resort in Park City. Preview this work at the NAC auction online site. The event always sells out quickly, but you may bid online if you missed the ticket sales.
Who wouldn’t love to head out on a photo expedition and know that you’re going to come back with awesome shots? I’ve had my share of those; I even published a list — “The Top 8 Places in the World Where You Cannot Take a Bad Shot.” But there are also the opposite experiences, and this image is about one of those.
I have struggled forever, it seems, to capture the essence of Aspen trees in a photograph. With their narrow white trunks and peculiar dancing leaves, Aspens are one of the icons of the mountains, and every mountain person lives in tune to the seasonal cycle of the Aspens. So, why are my image archives littered with years of what I consider failed Aspen photos? I don’t know — it’s just one of those bumps in the highway. But in autumn of 2015 a cold storm blew in and I found myself in tune with the forest and the storm and the colors for about a day and a half. “On a roll” is an apt description. This is my favorite Aspen image from that time. (Price Schedule A)