location: steens mountains
backstory: aspen are one of the few deciduous trees that thrive in this high desert climate, as long as they are close to some water. this scene is in the steens mountains, within big indian gorge, 7500 feet elevation. it's a harsh environment; big wind and snow in winter, baking heat and dry in summer. not much in between.
aspen are tough, they are survivors in this place, along with their friends mountain mahogany.
fall season colors here are awesome - filling one's heart with awe (see fall bows to winter). at this elevation, fall has a pretty narrow window between intense heat through mid september and the onset of winter storms the first few weeks of october. a fall color seeking photographer needs to be pretty nimble.
hiking through these gorges in the steens during fall can be a lovely color splash against the dry browns of the desert. round a bend in the gorge, this scene unfolds: golden light setting sun reflecting off aspen trees and white trunks. seems like the essence of this seasonal transition from summer to winter.