Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Aspens no longer yellow or even leaved

with 21 comments


On October 23, four days after I photographed the aspen trees (Populus tremuloides) in northern Arizona that you saw last time, we found ourselves heading for a part of Zion National Park that most visitors don’t go to. Kolob Terrace Road stretches north from the town of Virgin, Utah, and winds in and out of the park’s western region several times before passing the Kolob Reservoir. The aspen trees we saw on the shore there had hardly a leaf left, but their bare trunks and branches against the dormant underbrush and the hills beyond made for a pleasing sight in the subdued light of the overcast sky.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 10, 2016 at 5:07 AM

21 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Amazing photo. It is inspiring. May I ask your permission to feature it on my blog with a poem and a pingback to you?

    Maria Gianna Iannucci

    December 10, 2016 at 6:07 AM

  2. This is beautiful beyond words. Yellow aspens interlaced with conifers are a commonplace, and of course Adams-like black and whites appeal, but I’ve never seen anything like this. It has a direct, deeply emotional appeal.

    One word that did come to mind was “otherworldly.” Then, I saw where you found the scene, and laughed. I learned about Kolob when I lived in Salt Lake City. A commonly sung Mormon hymn includes the line, “If I could hie to Kolab…” I’m glad you at least made it to Kolob Reservoir.


    December 10, 2016 at 7:28 AM

    • As we got closer to the reservoir, more and more land along the road bore “Private Property” and “No Trespassing” signs. I began to see groves of bare aspens that I wanted to photograph, but with all the restrictions I wasn’t able to reach any good vantage points. Finally we arrived at the reservoir and I could get some clear shots of bare aspens. I’d never photographed anything like them, nor probably ever shall again.

      My intuition about Kolob was wrong. I assumed it to be an Indian name, like many others in that region. What a surprise to learn from you that it’s a Mormon word with so much history behind it. As for the verb hie, I found in the American Heritage Dictionary that it’s from Old English hīgian, which meant ‘to strive, exert oneself.’

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 10, 2016 at 8:30 AM

  3. Just beautiful; what a memorable sight and site for you. I agree with “otherworldly.”


    December 10, 2016 at 8:51 AM

    • Now that’s a coincidence: a few minutes ago, around the same time you wrote your words, I left a comment on another blog and thought about playing with the words sight and site.

      Let’s always hope for the sight of another otherworldly site.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 10, 2016 at 9:00 AM

  4. Such a pretty, subtle color palette, Steve. Love them as much without leaves as I do with. Wonderful image.

    Jane Lurie

    December 10, 2016 at 6:26 PM

    • It was the subtlety of the colors (along with the forms of the trees, of course) that got to me, too. I’d never seen anything like it. Fortunately the picture caught the spirit of what I saw there.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 10, 2016 at 7:58 PM

  5. Almost snow-like. Beautiful.


    December 10, 2016 at 11:45 PM

    • Agreed: it has the feeling of snow, yet the only “snow” was the white bark of the aspens.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 11, 2016 at 7:02 AM

  6. Very Nice! I really enjoyed it!

    Reed Andariese

    December 11, 2016 at 2:06 PM

  7. This is so lovely!

    Steve, this photo reminds me of an infrared capture. Did you know you can modify your *OLD camera to get an infrared photo? Look here: http://lifehacker.com/5940326/modify-an-old-camera-to-give-an-awesome-infrared-effect-to-your-photos

    *NOTICE: To those who might like to try this: It is a permanent makeover. Hence the emphasis on old cameras.


    December 12, 2016 at 8:18 AM

    • I see what you mean, Lynda. This does look like some pictures I’ve seen from cameras that have had the mildest sort of infrared conversion, meaning that the sensor still records a fair amount of visible light as well. You may not know that I worked extensively with black and white infrared film from 1976 through the early 1980s. When conversion of digital cameras became available a few years ago, I toyed with the idea of getting one of my old cameras converted but never went ahead with it. It seemed to me that my past should stay in the past, so to speak. I might still change my mind.

      Two of my “ancient” infrared pictures have appeared here:



      Steve Schwartzman

      December 12, 2016 at 8:33 AM

      • LOL! What goes around comes around, so to speak… seems you told me about this trick first in your cedar post! 😉


        December 12, 2016 at 5:04 PM

  8. An extraordinary sight – ghostly.


    December 13, 2016 at 12:27 PM

  9. […] in and out of the western side of Zion National Park. Eventually we got to the Kolob Reservoir and the grove of bare aspen trees you’ve already seen, but before then we stopped for the fall color shown here. While I […]

  10. […] October 23rd of 2016, after I photographed red leaves among black trunks and leafless aspen trees and some other things, we drove back down Kolob Terrace Road to the town of Virgin and headed west […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: