Strangely enough, this series was born during peak fall foliage season. I was somewhere in California for a few days—the exact location doesn't even matter that much—and I was looking for a half-day hike through the high altitude forests. I came across a particular trail running just above a well-known valley and that raised my hopes for some good views of the colorful landscape below. The trail itself looked pretty unremarkable on the map—other than the potentially good position and the fact that it was ending at a lake, I didn't know anything about it. Even now, when I'm trying to find more information online, I can hardly get anything relevant. This truly seemed like a place known only to locals.
I set my expectations quite high at that moment—no surprise that the hike was disappointing in the end. The trail didn't offer the views I was expecting. The tree canopy was quite tall all the time, so I couldn't see the bottom of the valley properly. The shiny yellow aspens were mingled with the evergreens, which made it difficult to try interesting compositions. Somewhere in the middle I gave up on photographing the fall foliage and even contemplated returning to the car earlier than planned, but for the sake of some extra physical exercise in nature I decided to use the last hours of daylight and keep going.
Eventually I reached the lake, and while I hadn't regarded it as a potential subject until then, things were getting interesting now. The scenery was unexpected: tree stumps were rooted into the muddy shores, some directly on the beach, some a couple of meters into the water. The lake was their deathbed. The diversity of details was also fascinating: twists, cracks, hollows, patterns, eroded barks, decomposed trunks, all mixed with mud, all in gray tones. The trees were gone, but their spirits stayed a little longer, giving that place a new vibe. One that wasn't even macabre, but rather inviting to curiosity towards the natural transformation of something that was alive once.