Aspen Fall Tapestry

Aspen Fall Tapestry

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One of the ways aspen trees propagate is by growing new trees out of the roots of older ones, resulting in groups of genetically identical specimens, referred to as clonal colonies. Different trees turn at different times and trees that are genetically similar turn together. This phenomenon creates patches of color where different groups of trees in the grove change at different times. Colors range from bright green through fiery yellow and all the way to deep orange and pink.

Tracking the Lion

Tracking the Lion

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A mountain lion (cougar/puma) left these fresh tracks among fallen aspen leaves. For all the years I’ve been photographing in these places, this is the only time I saw a live mountain lion in the wild.

Understory Tapestry

Understory Tapestry

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A storm the previous day blew these colorful leaves to the ground. Many have not yet fully turned and those that have were in various stages of decay resulting in a dazzling array of colors, patterns, and textures.

After the Big Show

After the Big Show

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Aspen trees in late autumn, about to shed the last of their leaves.

Aspen Bolero

Aspen Bolero

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Bracken ferns line the bottom of a grove of young aspen trees in the peak of autumn color. The curving trunks made me think of a slow sensuous dance.

Autumn Reflections

Autumn Reflections

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Aspen trees and dogwood bushes reflecting in a mountain lake.

An Unlikely Convergence

An Unlikely Convergence

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Aspen trees growing against a red sandstone wall. The title refers to the fact that it’s very rare for aspen trees and sandstone to exist in the same place. Aspens generally grow at high elevation, while red sandstone generally is found in the lower, hotter, parts of the desert. This is the only place I know where red sandstone is found high enough so that aspen trees can grow in the same place.

Foam Patterns and Aspen Leaves

Foam Patterns and Aspen Leaves

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Aspen leaves floating among intricate foam patters at the outlet of an alpine lake.

Wintry Pastels

Wintry Pastels

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Aspen trees, bare for the winter, atop a high desert plateau. The canyon country below, covered in thick fog, the peaks of desert mountains loom in the distance.

Whiteout

Whiteout

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Small grove of aspens looms out of thick fog in winter.

Last Light at Camp

Last Light at Camp

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Aspen trees in spring, glowing in the last of the warm sunlight, seen from my campsite.

Sapling in the Clouds

Sapling in the Clouds

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After a good rainy season, this aspen sapling sprouted at the edge of an alpine lake. In time, the water will recede back to its normal levels.

Aspens, Filtered Light

Aspens, Filtered Light

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Soft afternoon winter light filters through an old aspen grove.

Blue Grove

Blue Grove

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Aspen boles in winter. Recently-dead trees turn a bright orange before drying up.

A Place of Refuge

A Place of Refuge

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A small wind-battered grove of aspen trees next to a remote mountain road lined in blooming locoweed.

The Arrival

The Arrival

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Aspen trees on the shore of a thawing lake. The spaceship-looking ovals are spots where the ice had melted faster thanks to underwater springs.

Windswept

Windswept

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Testament to their tenacity, these stunted and wind-beaten little aspens grow on a precarious exposed promontory.

Autumn Kaleidoscope

Autumn Kaleidoscope

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Aspen and dogwood grow among the Sierra Nevada granite boulders.

Maplemorphosis

Maplemorphosis

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Yet-to-turn aspen trees mixed with maples in vibrant autumn display.

Misty Blues

Misty Blues

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Dormant aspen trees engulfed in wintry mist.

Shadowplay

Shadowplay

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Aspen grove against a backdrop of the slope of a desert mountain, green with new growth as spring arrives and the last of the snow had melted.

Summer Eve Among the Aspens

Summer Eve Among the Aspens

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Last light of the day, camping in a high-elevation aspen grove. In the summer months, these high groves provide shade and comfortable temperatures while the desert below bakes in the heat.

Early Autumn Storm

Early Autumn Storm

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In these high sagebrush-covered plains, thunderstorms can be violent, but usually for short periods as storm cells wander around the landscapes. The light during such storms, on the other hand, can be profoundly peaceful and revitalizing.

Meandering Headwaters

Meandering Headwaters

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Gently making its way through a grassy alpine meadow, this creek will eventually become a desert river destined to travel some of the most scenic desert canyons on Earth before arriving at the Pacific Ocean.

Winter Arrives

Winter Arrives

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Last of the autumn foliage still clings to these young aspens as they prepare for the big sleep.

Winter Tapestry

Winter Tapestry

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Bare aspen trees against a backdrop of crimson-colored willows during an early snow storm.

Misty Aspens

Misty Aspens

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Aspen trees in fog during spring rainstorm.

First Flurries

First Flurries

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First snow falling over aspen grove in autumn color.

A Merging of Worlds

A Merging of Worlds

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Aspen trees reflecting in alpine lake.

Summer Ethereal

Summer Ethereal

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Aspen grove in thick fog during a summer monsoon rainstorm.

Cold Embers

Cold Embers

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Burned aspen snags lit by the low sun in winter.

Fallen Comrade

Fallen Comrade

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Fallen aspen tree, likely felled by avalanche, supported by its brethren.

Quiet, Frosty Morning

Quiet, Frosty Morning

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A cold autumn morning by an alpine beaver pond surrounded by aspen trees.

Darkness Falls

Darkness Falls

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Young aspen tree catching the last light of the day.

Cold Fusion

Cold Fusion

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Bare aspen trees in winter, covered in hoar frost from a passing storm.

Inner Peace

Inner Peace

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Aspen trees in deep winter slumber in a clearing in a thick grove. Soft mist filled the grove as a calm winter storm passed through.

Life Recovers

Life Recovers

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New foliage on aspen trees and snowberry bushes in dazzling autumn display among the skeletons of trees killed by wildfire years before.

Bare Minimum

Bare Minimum

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A thick aspen grove reduced to thin, faded lines in winter.

Winter Haiku

Winter Haiku

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Red leaf on fresh snow
Autumn is no longer here
Sadness lies ahead