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jefflaidlaw November 11, 2015
Nice framing... a tad unusual but very refreshing as a result :) nice job

Aspen frames snowy ridge

This aspen begged for a close up which was the perfect frame for the snowy mountains beyond.
This aspen begged for a close up which was the perfect frame for the snowy mountains beyond.
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Behind The Lens

We had traveled to Telluride specifically to view and photograph the Aspen trees' autumn colors. One day we took a road trip, and found Last Dollar Road. We pulled over and got out of the rental car to enjoy the sound of the wind through the leaves. When I got close enough to this tree to capture the bark and branches, I saw the snow covered mountain beyond, and stood tippy-toe so I could frame it in the tree's branches. The shot has become an iconic reminder of taking time to slow down and enjoy the beauty in creation.
The shot was taken at 3:30 in the afternoon. Shooting in mountainous terrain in winter months can be tricky because of the angle, so I was glad to have enough sunlight for such a deep composition. Alone, the tree would have been lovely, but with the Aspens running at an angle behind it, and the snow-capped peak, the image becomes dimensional and varied, making for a gorgeous capture.
Taking pictures in the winter months in the mountains can be tricky because of the shadows and low angle of the sun, but in this case, the sunlight cast shadows of the leaves on the trunk, the Aspen trees beyond, and the snow all at once. A few minutes before or after, the shot probably wouldn't have been the same, but my timing seemed to be just about right.
I used a Nikon Coolpix S9900. ISO 125, 14.9mm, f 5,1/640. No flash, not even my beloved reflector. But I did have to stand on tiptoe!
I'm a fan of looking for unusual compositions, such as reflections, framing, and leading lines. When I got up close to the tree, I could see the snow-capped mountain, and knew that was my shot. I took exposures from several angles to find the perfect layout, with the trunk, branches, and trees on the ridge far away completing my vision.
Just some cropping.
In my camera bag
I like to travel light and I'm more about composition than equipment, so besides a couple of lenses, I don't carry a lot, but I always bring along a reflector. The soft light is usually just enough to fill in where the shadows fall, and provides less harsh lighting than a flash. I also carry a telescoping tripod, and a lens cleaning kit. For me, it's mostly about looking around, and taking lots of shots to find the very best, most interesting angle.
Look around and through, and also beyond the original subject to what's nearby and likely to be in the shot. Try a series of different angles. Get up close, sit down and look up or go around to a different side to try for something you might not have seen right away. Study the area, then look through your lens for an angle that might be unusual, like the frame these branches make, or something "pointing" to another subject. Notice what's in the background that will add to or detract, and what's nearby that could add an unusual element, like the broken branch that originally captured my interest. I originally thought I was going to focus on just the trunk and bark, but then the mountain peak and ridge line of Aspens completed the picture when I began to really work the scene.

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