In celebration of fall color

I lived in Colorado most of my life, and I find myself missing time wandering through the mountains to drink in the color of the aspen in fall. Most every year there, the peak color fell on this week – from about the 20th to the 30th. In the posts this week, I want to share the stories behind some of the fall images I’m adding to my Colorado album (or reside in my field journals).


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In 2008, we headed out in the Jeep to enjoy the local color near where we lived. I don’t recall much about the day other than the images I took. I was still learning photography then – as I am now – can you ever “master” photography? Going through these images, I could see how far I’ve come, as well as reminders to pay closer attention to exposure settings. I also reworked some photos since technology has improved over the past dozen years.

The Cameron Peak Fire currently burns not far from the cabin my family had at Crystal Lakes in my youth. I can’t help but recall a low point in my life in 2002 when we were evacuated for two full weeks for the Hayman Fire. The stress level was enormous. I still occasionally have firestorm nightmares from it when I let my stress levels rise.

Six years later, though, as we rode in the Jeep through non-burned areas (header image) to the burn area. The contrast was stark. In the non-burned area, life went on as usual. The focus was on the small open space. But in the burn area, the aspen that sprang up the year after the fire blazed with color. Because of the fire, we had views we never had before. Yes, there were still standing burned trees, but the brilliance of the aspen shone brightly even with the storm overhead. That’s when I knew that I could let go of the stress of being evacuated. I found myself appreciating what the area had become and how it was coming back to life. Eventually, it would look like the areas that didn’t burn as is the cycle of forests.

Six Years After the Hayman Fire
Aspen trees grow below pine trees burned in the Hayman Fire in 2002

So for those in the midst of this unwanted storm of fires throughout the West, be gentle on yourself. If you have to evacuate, bring comfort items. Find that which soothes (coloring really does help as silly as it sounds). And know that this will pass. New beginnings will show themselves. You will be able to see life beyond this with vistas you didn’t know even existed. But for right now – know my thoughts and prayers are with all who are affected, especially those at Beaver Meadows.

SnowMoon Photography

Be Outside • Take Notes