It’s no secret that I love photographing fall color in the La Sal Mountains near my home in Moab, Utah. Sure, this may possibly be due to the fact that in one half hour I can drive from my house in the desert to an alpine lake surrounded by colorful aspen trees. This does not suck. But, there’s a bigger reason: solitude. I won’t be crossing tripod legs with anyone else nor will I have to get up extra early to stake my claim at some iconic view. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not poo-pooing the icons. It’s just that by the time fall arrives I’ve usually been involved in enough combat photography at the icons around Moab that I’m no longer interested in rubbing elbows with three dozen camera toting tourists. The La Sals offer a respite. A respite from the heat of summer, a respite from the ubiquitous red rock of Canyon Country and a respite from people. I can pitch my tent in a frosty meadow below 12,000′ peaks and listen to elk bugling and coyotes yipping underneath a sky overflowing with twinkling stars. It’s a good life.
Last week Melissa, Jackson and I met up with our friend Pete and headed up, up, uphill in a pouring rain. The weather cleared not long after our tires hit the dirt en route to Medicine Lake. We stopped about halfway up the road that would eventually top out at La Sal Pass to photograph a grove of aspen trees decked out in yellow, orange and red leaves. The La Sals lend themselves to intimate landscape photography. The views are certainly grand but the peaks aren’t as dramatic as those you’ll find in the Tetons or San Juans, forcing photographers to focus their efforts on smaller scenes. An aspen leaf on a wet rock, a tight group of stark white aspen trunks or a lone evergreen amongst a sea of colorful oaks and aspens.
Enjoy the small gallery of images below from our recent foray into the La Sals. I hope they inspire you to visit Moab next autumn.
I am planning to host an overnight camping trip and photo tour in the La Sals for a very small group of photographers in fall, 2013. This event will be limited to 3 people who aren’t averse to sleeping in a tent at altitude and cooking over a Coleman stove in the frosty air of fall. Look for the details on my blog and website in a few months.