Fall Color 2014 Assignment Winner Valerie Millett

Maroon Bells, CO
'Working The Season' by Valerie Millett

Congrats to Valerie Millett for winning the Fall Color 2014 Assignment!

"Long before I every became a photographer I'd seen a photo in a magazine of hundreds of photographers lined up in front of a spectacular scene. The article noting that the particular landscape was one of the most photographed in the U.S. I distinctly remember the image because it registered as odd to me – the crazy level of enthusiasm that seemed to overtake these photographers," describes Millett.

"This particular Autumn I found myself sleeping in the back of my SUV in freezing cold temps at Maroon Bells, CO, with an alarm malfunction that lead to almost missing the whole thing. Once I came to my senses, I hurriedly got up, bundled up and stood on the shores of a scene I couldn't see in the pitch of darkness but I knew I wasn't alone. In the complete darkness stood what seemed liked hundreds of other photographers all milling around and waiting for the sunrise. Those moments as the sun rose I stood there in disbelief at the amount of bodies, camera gear and electronic noise coming from such an incredibly spectacular landscape. Then it dawned on me that I was in THE exact place I'd seen all those years ago in that magazine. There I was, part of the many and struck by that same enthusiasm. It was an incredible bit of discovery so of course I had to take a photo of it."

Equipment: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS, polarizer, Induro Carbon tripod.


    Yep, I’ve been on that “firing line” with 50 other photogs, tripod legs overlapped, glassy-eyed automatons all rhythmically clicking off the same shots, shots that have been duplicated exponentially for five decades. One can find good views and angles at Maroon Lake, but they’re elusive. I had a visitor once to my gallery who asked if I had a good picture of the Bells in autumn. Yes, I said, and produced one of my different perspective shots. No, she said, that’s not the one. She wanted the same symmetrical mirrored view she, and everyone else, has been conditioned to expect. I appreciate your take on the whole situation for its capture of the essence of “group think.” Nice shot.

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