Colorado Orange

Aspen have a reputation, and more than deservedly so, of their beautiful and stunning fall colors. When we think of aspen in autumn colors, we think of wave upon wave of gold, stretching as far as the eye can see. Now and then we see gorgeous red aspen leaves, and when the red is intermixed with the gold, magic happens. Yet, there is another color that you can sometimes see as well, and this year I wanted to focus on that color: orange. What better place to look for it than Colorado? After all, Colorado Orange is a fascinating subject.

I journeyed to some of my favorite places for the aspen that I know of in Colorado, and by and large, found what I was seeking. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Fenced Aspen

Orange FenceJust outside of Aspen, Colorado, is one of my all time favorite places to find aspen. It isn’t know for its vast aspen groves, but it is where I have found extraordinary photographs, such as Aspen Sun. It was right along this that I encountered Orange Fence. It was still early in the morning, and the sun hadn’t risen too high in the sky, but nor was it dark, either. The strong backlight provided just the right glow that I was looking for, and the small fence running in the background created the perfect counterpoint. Orange Fence was the final result, and I enjoy the myriad shades of orange that can be found in this photograph.

 Kebler’s Oranges

Kebler's Oranges

Journeying a little ways away brings us into the Gunnison National Forest, and the famed Kebler Pass. Here, you will indeed find the incredible aspen groves that stretch as far as the eye can see, and the swathes of gold that is so sought after. Yet, it was a small, vibrant hillside that caught my eye, for on the top of it were just a few aspen showing off their orange coloration. The fluffy white clouds drifting serenely by completed the scene for me, and I adore the overall feel of this photograph. Kebler’s Oranges reminds me that you don’t have to have large numbers of aspen photographs to make an interesting composition.

Orange Aspen

Orange Aspen

We’ll finish up in the Grand Mesa area, which despite being fairly well known, isn’t photographed as much as it could be. Why this is escapes me, but that’s OK, too. Grand Mesa is exactly what it’s name indicates: a very large mesa. The mesa itself is so large that it is hard to believe you are actually on it, and it stretches flat and wide for so many miles that you forget you are driving on the top. That is, until you encounter the edge, whereupon you are instantly reminded that you are quite a ways up. It was out on one of the far edges of the mesa that I encountered the perfect stand of aspen for this project.

Orange Aspen is from that stand; younger than many of the surrounding aspen, this tiny grove stood alone and apart from its older cousins. As the sun was dipping toward the horizon, it lit up with the most surreal orange I have seen in a very long time. I love the white trunks that give way to the bright orange leaves, and I decided to make this a more intimate portrait to show off the color of the leaves.

The next time you think of wave after wave of aspen gold, remember that there are other colors, too, and Colorado orange aspen leaves can make for a powerful scene.