This new book by photographer Rod Hanna is simply beautiful. But simplicity really has nothing to do with this final product.
A professional photographer for more than 40 years, Hanna was the official photographer for the Denver Broncos for 10 years and was marketing executive for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. for 25 years. In 2000, Hanna finally retired and was able to explore in depth Colorados brief but spectacular autumnal explosion of color.
The book is arranged in four main sections. The movement from chapter to chapter is driven by the geographic locations around the state. After the foreword and introduction, Hanna begins with The High Plateau, moves to The West Elk and Gore Range Mountains, then The San Juan Mountains and finishes up with The Colorado River Cottonwoods: A Second Season. He then closes with his Photographers Notes: Going for the Gold.
The gold that is Colorados own is the incredibly short period of usually only 20 days in the fall that transforms the aspen into a stage set for riotous colors that range from pale yellow to a vivid and bold red. Whats surprising is that there are actually two seasons; the aforementioned aspen season that usually happens in late September or early October, and the second season that can stretch into late October and happens at lower elevations with the turning of leaves on the cottonwood trees that line the rivers of the state.
The pages of the book take the reader from Hahns Peak in the north to Lizard Head Pass in the south, to the Utah border on the west to the Continental Divide on the east. There is a helpful map included in the introduction that highlights the areas where the photographs were taken. The narrative integrated with the chapters describes how to travel to areas depicted within the pages.
The text is written by Tom Ross, longtime columnist and reporter at the Steamboat Pilot. Ross has worked in Steamboat Springs since 1979. The writing in Seasons of Gold is descriptive, informative, clear and friendly. Ross is just a well-spoken guy giving a visitor to Colorado the lowdown on the incredible aspen tree. Starting with the tidbit that aspens are the worlds biggest living organisms, Ross regales readers with facts and makes it very entertaining. Ross writing transforms this volume into more than an incredibly stunning coffee table book.
After using film for most of his professional life, Hanna now uses Nikon digital cameras. He then imports the images to Photoshop on a Mac computer, fine-tunes the color and fits the size to his format needs. Hanna equates using Photoshop to the previous incarnation of machinations in the darkroom in the pre-digital era.
Hanna has a masterful eye for composition and catching just the right moment in time with the just the perfect light. The photos vibrate with rich color saturation, making it almost impossible to pick a favorite from the many offerings. Many times this reviewer turned a page to reveal an image so beautiful it was breathtaking. This book is a must-have for lovers of the brief but glorious time that is autumn in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Dont forget, the holidays are coming soon.
Leslie Doran is a local freelance writer. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.