Fall, Clouds, and Sunsets

Carson Valley SunsetFall arrived a couple of weeks ago. The warm/hot afternoons abated, suddenly. They were replaced with cool, brisk mornings and pleasant afternoons. As evening comes, it’s cool outside again and if the wind is blowing, it’s cold. A cover is required.

Last night I walked the Girl about 1800 or a bit after. Sunset isn’t really until about 1830 these days, but with the Carson Range, we lose the Sun about 1800. If there are any clouds, there is a chance we’ll see some color about formal sunset. Although I love the big blue skies of Nevada, I’m ready for a few clouds and the sunsets (and sunrises) they bring with them. I also love the promise of winter. I love cold mornings and the feel of the Sun on my body when I’m outside.

There is something wonderful about that sensation of cold/warm. Perhaps it’s the hint of danger of cold weather coupled with the feeling of warmth and safety, a juxtaposition of two extremes. I sometimes wonder if there is a deep gestalt wired into our lizard brains about such primal things as hot and cold, ice and fire. Civilized life comes with our central HVAC. These mighty machines are all powered from somewhere and by some means that is unknown to most of us. We scarcely give it a thought, unless the power is out. Then we revert to the primal, seeking warmth against the cold.

For me, fall hints at the coming winter with those cold, sunny days that I love so much. I put up with, perhaps celebrate the snow and the promise of spring runoff that drives agriculture in my area. The snow never lasts very long and it’s beautiful, particularly on the Carson Range and on the Pine Nut Mountains.

I love the yellow of the aspens against the darker greens of the pines. I can see the aspen groves in the valleys along the eastern slope from my house. One fall morning, I first noticed them. I wondered what the color was that I was seeing from my driveway here in suburbia. I called Wife and we got out my binoculars for a look. The eight magnifications of my Nikons brought the aspen groves into view.

Wife and I marveled at that for a bit, remembering our first experiences with aspens in Colorado nearly 30-years ago.

The aspen groves are visible now. I can see them on my travels to and from work. I planned to get the Girl out this morning and drive up to Hope Valley. I don’t know if the aspens are in fall colors or not, but I think the drive might be good. But, I hear rain as I write this. That probably means snow in the mountains. I might get her out and drive up there anyway.

One evening last week the Girl and I went out for evening walkies. I carried my D300 along with me, with the 18-70mm kit lens attached. The kit lens isn’t the best of Nikons optics, but it’s adequate. Of all the frames I shot that evening, there was only one keeper. The remainder were technically adequate, but artistically deficient. The colors just were not that good.

But that’s OK. It is the nature of nature photography… sometimes you get a shot; sometimes not. Mother Nature is not always cooperative.