Friday, November 21, 2008

The Wild Blue Wander

Just Before The Clouds Came Rolling In

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


When I returned to Haines Junction in the Yukon a couple of months ago, after a nine-year absence, I was fairly tired after a long highway drive and an Icefields Discovery flight that took me, in part, over Mount Logan, Canada's highest peak.


I seriously considered just chilling in my hotel room at The Raven for an hour or so, but discarded the idea immediately. The last time I was here was in May, in very cloudy weather. This time, I knew the weather was going to deteriorate, so I wanted to get in as much photography as possible.


This clump of about two dozen aspens was right across the Alaska Highway from the front of the hotel, so I headed across the road to get as many shots as I could. Let me tell you something, mate - it ain’t an easy task shooting aspen leaves on a windy day.


You know how they’re called "trembling aspens"? Well, there is good reason for that. Even the slightest breeze sends the leaves a-flutter. For someone like me, who has not grown up or lived in the vicinity of aspen (Darjeeling had birch and pine, but not aspen, to the best of my knowledge) just standing there and listening to the rustling of the leaves was a rewarding gift from Nature.


It was, and I’m concentrating very hard here to paint a word-picture for you, akin to listening to someone rubbing tiny pieces of parchment together. It was a middle-range sound, akin to what Beethoven might have called The Leaf Symphony.


I was blessed, because the incredible blue sky was the perfect backdrop for this sequence of shots. And just a few minutes after I’d finished, the light had already changed and the mountains that form a half-necklace around Haines Junction were already fringed with low cloud.


For other participants in
Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch HQ.


50 comments:

spacedlaw said...

Lovely colours. I am glad you caught them before the weather turned.

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Beautiful photos, David. These recall to my mind the "quaking aspens" that grew in the mountains around my childhood home in New Mexico. I recall the sibilant sounds of the leaves very well, but remember them as being mostly yellow, not the beautiful red colors you have captured.

CrazyCath said...

A leaf symphony. Sounds beautiful. That blue sky is a perfect backdrop and I love the splash of white from the plane's v-trails too.

Your 3rd from last shot is my favourite. Unusual how you have focused with that one. Dreamy.

Moannie said...

Stunning!

Leslie: said...

My goodness, I just got up Thursday morning (8:00 am) and you're already onto Friday's skywatch! lol

These are beautiful shots and very seasonally appropriate for those of us in the northern hemisphere.

The brilliance of the leaves against such a sparkling blue sky is stunning! And your metaphor is something I'd like to relate to my 4th graders...

® ♫ The Brit ♪ ® said...

Wow! those red colours of the leaves against the deep blue sky are wonderful!
Sounds like a beautiful place and your photos prove that!
You've got a few tiny specks of dust on your lens by the way... haha

aims said...

That sound you describe is truly unique. And the smell that goes along with it - unable to describe - unable to photograph. But it's stamped in our memories - always.

Someday I'm impressed and somedays I'm just proud - of how Canada and the Yukon affected you David.

Looking at the world with eyes wide open is something everyone should learn. It changes a person I think.

Merisi said...

You evoked a whole stream of memories, David! Their coloured and trembling leaves are truly unique, and I like the way they stand out among other trees, even in black and white photographs (my favorite ones are by Ansel Adams).

These Trembling Aspens (also called Quaking or Golden Aspens) are native to North America, and grow only there. European Trembling Aspens are Poplar trees, and their leaf colour is not as vividly golden either.

Cheffie-Mom said...

I LOVE leaves. These are such a beautiful fall color. My backyard is full of trees turning beautiful colors, too bad you are so far away! (:

Maggie May said...

Wonderful colours and beautiful skies. I love the jet trail going across one of the photos at just the right angle.
Love the last picture too as it is a more dreamy sort of colour.

mrsnesbitt said...

Wonderful David, so autumnal.

lime said...

gorgeous. to my way of thinking there are few seasonal scenes more gorgeous than bright fall leaves against a clear blue sky. the only competition would be ice-encased trees after an ice storm against a clear blue sky.

Mrs. Organic said...

Quakies are my favorite tree for the sound they make when the wind rustles through them. You captured the turning colors beautifully!

Your EG Tour Guide said...

I think the aspens are much redder in Yukon than they are in Ontario. NICE!

Sara G said...

Beautiful photos. Love the fall colors.
Take care

richies said...

Absolutely beautiful photos. In Colorado they call the aspen "Quakies". I love the sound of the quakies in the breeze

An Arkie's Musings

Daisy said...

Very evocative and beautiful- thank you for a very peaceful break in my otherwise very urban day!

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Glorious colours!

A

Maalie said...

Wow! What glorious colours!

Tanya said...

Amazing series! Lovely post too :) Happy skywatch!

said...

I like the fall colors against that blue sky.

a picture tells said...

I've never been to CO, but it looks wonderful.

Photo Cache said...

Gorgeous. I love how one visitor termed it a leaf symphony, that's very precise description.

Mojo said...

It's true in all pursuits: "Timing is everything!"

And I for one am glad your timing was so spot-on for these. Especially that first shot!

Jeff B said...

From the golds of a couple of days ago to these hues of amber, one would think you are in the middle of autumn.

Beautiful shots as always David.

Pretty Life Online said...

lovely shots! Happy SkyWatching! I am back now... Hope you'll visit mine too...

Kim said...

Great photo series! I love aspen. They have a great sound and beautiful fall leaves.

bowledover said...

David the pictures are simply wonderful, colour combination too.
The con trail gave depth to them also.
I loved the faded leaves with what looked like drawn patterns on them.
Trembling trees have a groove down the stem, to the leaf. As the wind rises it plays across the grove, rather like a reed in a wind instrument. This causes the tremble.

imac said...

The much travelled David , does it again with fine shots.

Migs CFL fan said...

Fantastic shots once again David. You never disappoint. Thanks for sharing!

Cheers!
Regina In Pictures

Jenny said...

Hi David. Wonderful photos and I love the way you write too. Thanks for such a vivid SWF! Have a great weekend.

Leedra said...

Very vibrant.

ellen b said...

Beautiful skies David! I love those aspens against the blue...

Pearl Maple said...

Those colours are stunning against the blue sky. Thanks for sharing this view of the sky with us all.

Jack and Joann said...

Great photograpy that is surpassed by the beautiful prose descriptions. Thanks for posting these photos and descriptions for all of us to enjoy. I love the aspens of the west. They are also prevalent in Colorado and other parts of the Rockies.

babooshka said...

Classic pun today. I bow to to you. Two tone colours image, the right colours like these are always a classic. Mount Logan is the answer- how mant times have heard that in a British pub quiz.

Carver said...

Beautiful sequence of fall leaves against the sky and the mountain range is also lovely.

Olga said...

Great contrast of colors! Alas the changing leaves are pretty much all gone here in DC.

womaninawindow said...

Our ruffling of parchment has quickly been replaced with someone tossing heavy coats in the forest. That's what huge blobs of snow falling from trees sounds like.

alicesg said...

Very lovely photo for SWF. Love the colourful leaves, we dont get to see such beautiful leaves over here. Have a nice weekend.

fishing guy said...

David: The trees were nice but that mountain shot was outstanding my friend.

katherine. said...

I posted about my only chance to see the fall colors...we don't get much here...and I love them.

Baino said...

Don't you wish we had more Autumn in Australia. Melbourne has a bit, Canberra has a lot. Sydney . .meh!

Grammy said...

Awesome shots.Love all the color. We had lots of clouds today.
Have a great week.
See ya next Sky watch Friday.
Grammy

Rottlady of the Ozarks said...

I love your series of shots! The colors are beautiful!

indicaspecies said...

Lovely set of pictures. The last is my favourite - naturally, as I love mountains.

I've reached Jerash, Jordan with my post at: http://indicainq8.wordpress.com

Happy skywatching.:)
- celine

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Fab' contrasting colours in these shots David and I understand about the wind being a problem in photo's living where I do!

Colin Campbell said...

Memories of living in Aspen in the 80s with the same dramatic change of colour in the Aspens before the winter snows rolled in. Lovely shots.

Louise said...

I don't think Cottonwood leaves are much easier on a windy day! Your Aspens are gorgeous. And so is the mountain.

Tuga7 said...

very nice warm colors, good shots.