Saturday, 27 June 2020 10:01

The Golden Aspens of the North Rim

Rising over 8,000' in elevation, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon fronts the Kaibab National Forest. Within the North Rim's footprint the Cape Royal Road and the Point Imperial Road will lead you through amazing forests of mixed conifer and aspen (Populus tremuloides) at altitudes that approach 9,000'. Sometime around the cusp of October, these aspen forests turn to golden prayer flags that dance in the slightest breezes  Since aspen generally reproduce clonally - that is by sending out root sprouts that, over a relatively brief time, result in densely packed clusters of individuals - these forests are similar in size and are all related as growing from a single mature parent.

In this image from along Cape Royal Road I used "negative clarity" to further soften the slightly dancing leaves, leaving the detail in the still trunks and resulting in a bit more of an impressionistic feel. A focal length of 160mm gave me a narrowed angle-of-view from a camera-to-subject distance of 12-15'. An aperture of f/8 shortened the depth-of-field to additionally soften the background; and a shutter speed of 1/125th second at ISO 200 gave reasonable detail to the original file, so that it could then be softened by negative clarity post-processing.

The debate as to the superiority of the North Rim v. the South Rim seems to be never-ending. Each rim has its pluses, and with each there are drawbacks. For me the truth is that there is only one Grand Canyon. It is our land and it should be preserved without compromise. Resource extraction has no place in this watershed. It is Beauty, purely and simply, to be held for our children's children.


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