We have a blank wall over the couch in our living room. It’s been that way for years now, but I could never commit to what I wanted to fill such a prominent area of our space. Two years ago, I had the epiphany: I would fill the large wall with a photo broken up into 3 canvases. I could picture exactly what I wanted, all I had to do was wait until fall arrived.
Last year, I planned a trip with my family to go up into the mountains and take photos of the aspen trees as they turned gold. The white bark of the trunks and the yellow leaves contrasted against a bluebird sky would be the perfect accompaniment to the colors and decor that already occupied the living room space.
I took lots of photos on that trip – I even made a post about it – and I liked the images a lot. But none of the pictures that I had accumulated ended up being what I had envisioned for the wall space.
I waited all year to try again and I almost missed my opportunity. The fall colors lasted longer this year than I’ve ever seen before and I took advantage of a day off of school to try again. This time, I was on my own. My kids are in a different school and they didn’t get the day off and my husband had meetings all day, so I set off with my camera and my day pack and my fingers crossed that the aspen trees still had leaves on their branches. I headed toward Estes Park. Someone from a local photography group had mentioned that it was still peak color up there. The drive took about an hour and I popped into the visitors center to see if there was any information about hikes or locations that might be of interest. I stopped immediately in the parking lot and grabbed my camera because right next to the visitor center, a herd of elk had decided to relax and watch the tourists go by.
Just for the record – I know better than to try to get close to wildlife to take pictures. I’m using my longest lens, behind a fence barrier, and this photo is cropped significantly. I’ve seen too many “Tourons” (tourist-morons) get dangerously close to animals trying to get selfies or make loud, sudden noises in an attempt to get them to look in the direction of the camera. These animals will cause you significant harm, so safety is always the first consideration.
After I had my fill of photos with the elk, I set off on a nearby trail to see if I could find any stands of aspens. I have to admit that I was nervous. There were no obvious signs of yellow leaves or white bark at the trailhead and I had never hiked this area before. It took almost a mile of walking before I reached the top of a ridge and could see what was further up the trail.
I was thrilled to see that my gut instinct was correct. I could see aspen trees in the distance and they still had their leaves intact on most of their branches.
I took several photos and then decided to see what else the trail had to offer. I happened upon a creek and tried a variety of compositions with the leaves and the reflections.
I looked up to see the blue sky contrasted against the gold leaves and white trunks.
But ultimately, I had to keep walking a bit further before I happened upon the view that I had been hoping for. I held my breath and crossed my fingers again and shot a variety of angles and compositions until my battery finally gave up. When I got home, I poured through the images on my computer quickly and stopped immediately when I got to this photo. I had found “The One.”
I can’t wait to get it printed – a split canvas where the middle section is slightly larger than the outer two segments. I know it will look perfect in the space and I can’t wait to see it on the wall.
Always looking~ Angie