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Alabama Hills Aspen

Pierson X


Behind the Shot

Eastern California is home to some of the most amazing natural features found anywhere. The main highway there, U.S. 395, is bordered on the west by the mighty Sierra Nevada, home of Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The area is also home to Mount Whitney, which, at 14,505 feet, is the tallest mountain in the lower 48. Passing through the area will take you near the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, where countless Western movies were filmed, as well as Django Unchained, and whose rocky features substituted for Afghanistan in the first Iron Man film.

Pierson traveled to the Alabama Hills on a recent day trip to explore the area for his first time. “I’ve been taking a lot of road trips while we could lately. With the quarantines and closures, lots of normally busy areas are empty now. The Alabama Hills are BLM (Bureau of Land Management), so they weren't closed to the public, but they were empty. The fall colors were starting to change. There’s not a lot of trees in Alabama hills, mainly bushes and low plants, and then there was this golden tree: a perfectly placed aspen with these super yellow leaves totally standing out. By the time we got up there, there were only a few hours of daylight left, and the tree just completely popped out. I had to photograph it.”