Today’s photograph was made on Kenosha Pass, Colorado in the Autumn of 2012 while on a photo trip with my dear old friend Merlin Peck. When I look at this image, it feels like it was only yesterday. (click on the photo to see a higher resolution version)
One of the first mountain areas near Denver to change color each fall season is Kenosha Pass. It’s an easy 52 mile drive from my home to the top of the pass and my friend Merlin and I made this a day trip in hopes of catching peak color.
One of the things I learned from working with Merlin was how to find symmetry in nature photography. Merlin had a good eye for the abstract and a good eye for finding scenes that could be divided or broken up into similar parts. I don’t know that one can be taught how to extract the abstract characteristics of a landscape scene, I think it has to come from within. A lot of the time the abstract is understated and a scene has to be studied. Sometimes, it simply jumps out at you.
I was working on sunburst compositions in these woods along a hiking trail and noticed that Merlin was preoccupied with something different. Knowing Merlin for what he did, I stopped what I was doing and walked over to him in hopes I could see what he was looking at.
What he was looking at (according to him) was the two parallel trails in the lower center of this scene on the distant hillside. We discussed this composition for a few minutes and both concluded that this was a symmetrical composition to the extreme and it was those two tiny trails on the hillside that made this photo work. Now you may disagree with the assessment, but Merlin and I both felt it was enough to stop and study it, and ultimately photograph it together.
Merlin passed away in 2019 and I never got to see his version of this photo, but when I see this image I immediately think of him and the morning we spent hiking the trails on Kenosha Pass.
Merlin my old friend, if you are watching, this one is for you.