Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Pale tree trunks in the Rocky Mountains

with 13 comments

On June 5th we were driving north on US 40 toward Rocky Mountain National Park when I pulled over to photograph a rushing mountain stream. Adjacent to it was this grove of trees, presumably aspens (Populus tremuloides), that made for a pleasant sight.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 5, 2017 at 5:00 AM

13 Responses

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  1. One of the trunks has some ‘red’ on it.. Just curious 🙂


    August 5, 2017 at 3:12 PM

    • A close view revealed it to be more orange than red. You can see a very pale orange color on some of the other trunks. I don’t know what causes that color, nor how commonly a trunk will take on the very saturated orange you noticed on the one tree.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 5, 2017 at 10:07 PM

  2. Aspen groves are as beautiful as birch groves, each in their own way. Both are favorites of mine. This grove of aspens is a pleasant sight, Steve!

    Lavinia Ross

    August 5, 2017 at 6:07 PM

    • It was quite a bonus, as I’d pulled over to get a better look at the rushing stream I mentioned. To my astonishment I found on the USDA map that aspens grow on Long Island, New York, where I grew up, but I don’t remember ever seeing any. I do remember birch trees.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 5, 2017 at 10:10 PM

  3. When I saw the scientific name, I thought this must be the “quaking aspen” I’ve heard of, and so it is. I noticed the single orange trunk, too. It seems it could be the result of a canker (which I learned about here, or even the result of an animal like an elk rubbing or gnawing on the bark. It’s interesting how, despite being so much smaller than that pair of beautiful white trunks, it seems equally weighted. It makes it a more interesting photo than if all the trees had been “perfect.”


    August 5, 2017 at 6:44 PM

    • And so it quakes indeed. Yours are the first two conjectures I’ve heard about what might have caused that rich orange color on the one tree. I’m of the same mind as you that that small strip of orange calls our eyes’ attention as much as the prominent white trunks that look so much thicker and taller. I did take a closer picture of the orange trunk and thought about posting it here but ended up not doing that.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 5, 2017 at 10:34 PM

  4. […] yeah, here’s the rushing stream I mentioned yesterday, the one we saw on June 5th near the aspen grove along US 40 in the Rocky Mountains. My guess is that some or even a lot of the water was due to […]

  5. This is the type image that beginning art students should see – to illustrate that trees are not usually ‘brown.’

    Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    August 12, 2017 at 4:17 PM

    • I grew up in an area with birch trees, so there was no question that not all tree trunks are brown.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 12, 2017 at 4:22 PM

      • I’ve sometimes thought that children color trees brown because that was the only option in the box of crayolas….

        Playamart - Zeebra Designs

        August 12, 2017 at 4:27 PM

        • Well, it’s still true that most tree trunks are some shade of brown. If you had to bet on the color of an unknown tree’s trunk, the safest bet lies with brown.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 12, 2017 at 4:34 PM

  6. A pleasant sight, and often, a pleasant sound as well.


    October 9, 2017 at 2:02 PM

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