Dual Milkweed Trees, Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park

Santa Cruz island features many milkweed trees, a specific plant that provide food source for larva of the famous migrating monarch butterfly. We didn’t find any monarch butterfly on those trees on the island. Nevertheless, the trees were a wonderful subject to photograph on black and white film, just like oak trees.

These two milkweed trees were at the edge of a campground on the island. When passing by them, we were attracted by the shape of the trees with their far-reaching branches and bare barks. We set up our Intrepid 4×5 large format camera, and captured this photo on a sheet of Fomapan 400 film. We positioned the tree in the front and let it play a dominant role in the frame. The tree in the back, while smaller, provides a sense of depth and balances the weight in the frame. At a small aperture of f/32, both trees retain the sharpness we wanted.

Fall colors of an aspen forest, Inyo National Forest, Eastern Sierra

We love the fall season! Mother Nature brings us so many wonderful colors each year during this period. In California, Eastern Sierra is one of the most popular destinations to observe fall colors. Melting ice water from the top of Sierra mountains create many creeks here. These creeks provide valuable water source to many aspen forests, which changed color seasonly. We had been to this region many times in the past, and every time there were new surprises, even at the same locations.

In a late afternoon of early October, we arrived at Conway Summit, a popular scenic viewpoint alone high 395 in Eastern Sierra. Alone the hill, some aspen forest was near the peak of fall colors. Several years ago, we captured some memorable pictures here after the peak. This year, it was a mix of green, yellow, and orange. It was even more impressive than pure yellow.