Finding October – the October Light (part 3)

It’s not just only the Range of Light…it’s the October light as well. Autumn’s light changes and becomes less harsh and brassy. Softer, deeper and warmer; in turn, more striking and dramatic.  Then there’s the glorious contrast of a deep blue sky framed by the golds and oranges of autumn foliage. It’s such a treat for me to see the deep blue October sky at higher altitudes. C’mon, let’s go hike around:

Just after dawn.

Oh, somewhere around 9,000 feet up near the summit of Tioga Pass.

I could lose myself in this achingly blue sky.

 The aspens soar, don’t they?

Just look at the light pouring through the aspen leaves and giving them a sheer, gauzy quality…

The lodgepole pines are taller than the aspens – by Tenaya Lake.

It’s all about balance, isn’t it?

The wind suddenly picked up at Tuolumne Meadows and I turned around into the wind – and there were these clouds.

Oh, if this didn’t take me back to one of Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings, “The Lawrence Tree.”

Sometimes the light just blazes – sunset at what had to be a good 10,000 feet up in the alpine zone.

Or it can flame, as in this corner of an abandoned ranch house.

The dawn October light scatters everywhere, giving an ethereal quality to the South Tufa surroundings at Mono Lake.

The light scatters more gently late in the afternoon…

And it’s reflected in the Lee Vining creek, hidden away from the highway.

What does it take to achieve this kind of clarity in our own lives and our own  minds?

Promise. There’ll be more pictures of the abandoned ranch house. It was awesome.

The October light again.

Pumpkins were made for October light.

 Or was the October light made for pumpkins?

… stay tuned …




  1. Beautiful photographs! Specially loved the one with the moon peeking over the trees. ;-)

    • Thanks, Anneri! When I first saw the moon, it was seemingly a ways off from that tree – and then as I walked around the rest stop, I realized I could make the moon seem to balance on top of the branches – how cool was that?!

  2. Sue, Thank you for sharing these photos! My favorite: #3, the moon in the blue sky, framed by the yellow-gold-orange leaves, was breathtaking! 2nd favorite is the same one Anneri mentioned, with the moon balancing above the tree branch. Glad to experience your trip vicariously through these beautiful photos.

    • Hi, Janet, and thanks! The autumn blue with the golds and oranges is an unbeatable color combination, isn’t it? One reason why Autumn is a great favorite…

  3. Gorgeous! Really loved the image with the moon balancing on the tree branch….such wonderful composition:)

    • Thanks, Jennifer! It was a very good self-lesson in composition for me and magic in a way – I was able to create it. What a feeling that was.

  4. Oh, these are so beautiful! My favorites are the tall trees with sunlight shining through and the one where the tree appears to be holding the moon. Incredible.

    • Thanks, Michele – sunlight and trees were made for each other! I could lose myself in the dance between light and leaves…

  5. Just beautiful images, wish I could go there! I love the lake image with the rock formations in the foreground and the suns light blazing through in the background, just beautiful and warm light.

    • The rock formations (tufa) just seem to soak up and reflect and bounce off the light…Julie, if you are anywhere out this way, give me a holler as I need no excuse to go back up there! (Well, from April to October, as it’s snowed in otherwise.)

  6. These photos are stunning. Judging from the comments, the moon balancing on the tree is a favorite.

    As an artist, I’m always aware of the quality of light. Such a pleasure to read your descriptions and observations of something so many people take for granted.

    • Hi, Susan! The quality of light up in the Eastern Sierras is unbelievable and while I’m nowhere near an artist with paint or pencil, I can at least see and share it with my camera…so glad you see that as well.

  7. Beautiful photos. I am a tree person. Love to be the middle of them and look up and feel the energy. Enjoyed your post. June Maddox

Share your two cents worth