Bright Sunny Aspens
Bright Sunny Aspens
Bright Sunny Aspens
Bright Sunny Aspens

Christopher Burkett

Bright Sunny Aspens

Colorado, 2003

Original Cibachrome Photograph

Pristine condition

certified authentic
Add to Collection $1,500.00
Bright Sunny Aspens
Bright Sunny Aspens
Bright Sunny Aspens
Bright Sunny Aspens



Original Cibachrome photograph individually handmade by Christopher Burkett from 8×10-format transparency film, mounted on cotton rag Antique Rising Museum Board. Signed in pencil on mount with title, date and edition number on verso.



“September 23, 2003 was the first day that my wife Ruth and I photographed in the Kebler Pass area in Colorado, and this is the first photograph I made there. I used a 450mm lens with the rising front used on my 8×10 camera to eliminate converging verticals on the trunks. The exposure was f/32-5/6 for 1/4 second on Provia film.

There was a remarkable, almost palpable sense of sunlight throughout the entire scene. The transparency was exposed correctly but the sense of enveloping light was muted by the contrast of the shadows on the trunks and the overall contrast level. I didn’t know how to make a Cibachrome that showed what I saw and felt at the original scene until fifteen years later in 2018.

I spent two days working on this Cibachrome and ended up with one that was technically fine, but it still felt heavy, so I gave up on it and went on to another image. However, two days later when I came into work in the morning, I saw the Cibachrome I had made and realized that it had a lot of potential and I needed to continue to work on it.

The difficulty I had with making this image is that when I tried lowering the contrast of the image a long way through contrast masking it just got flat. There was no shape or tonal separation in the gold leaves, the trunks looked flat and there was no feeling of depth as you looked back into the sunlit forest. Yuck.

So, building on my 35 years of experience in contrast masking, I thought through the tone reproduction problems with this image, and devised a unique way of solving the problem by crafting two specially made contrast masks to sandwich with the transparency in order to make the Cibachrome. Even with those masks, each Cibachrome requires a lot of very precise dodging and burning. I can safely say that if I didn’t have 40 years of experience in the darkroom with Cibachrome, I could not have done it.

The final Cibachromes have a remarkable sense of light and hold the delicacy of all the highlight values. It raises the midtones from a Zone III to a Zone VI, yet still holds shape and tonal separation in the gold leaves. It shows me a place where I want to be.”


All Christopher Burkett photographs sold at Photography West are new and in pristine condition. HD videos of the individual piece you are purchasing are available upon request. For more information, please


Christopher Burkett has labored for over four decades to create what many regard as the most impeccable and luminous color photographs in the history of photography. Gifted with a contemplative spirit as well as painter’s eye, Burkett has an uncommon ability to capture the natural world in a manner that simultaneously reflects “the world behind the world” as Minor White and Paul Caponigro might have put it. And although Burkett has been compared by curators to American color landscape photographers Eliot Porter and Ernst Haas, whose genre of American landscape photography he extended, neither of them exclusively developed their own film, nor attempted the darkroom standard clearly in evidence upon viewing Burkett’s original Cibachromes.


Cibachrome, also known as Ilfochrome, is among the most stable of all color photographic processes. The dyes reside within the emulsion layers, giving the photograph its characteristic color saturation. The base is a polyester triacetate, rather than fiber-based paper, which adds to the longevity. It was a positive-to-positive photographic process based on the Gasparcolor process, created in 1933 by Bela Gaspar, a Hungarian chemist. Purchased after the merger of Ilford UK and Ciba-Geigy Photochemie of Switzerland, the process was first trademarked and marketed as Cibachrome in 1963. Each Cibachrome is composed of ten layers containing various combinations of light-sensitive silver halides and dyes that are sensitive to blue, green, or red light waves, which gives it an incredible depth and three-dimensional quality. After exposure of a positive, either through an enlarger or direct contact, the Cibachrome must be developed with black-and-white developing chemicals. This step creates a silver negative image within the layers. Next, the photograph must be bleached. The bleaching rids the photograph of dyes in proportion to the amount of silver that has been developed in the previous step and produces a positive dye image in color. In 2011, Cibachrome/Ilfochrome products were discontinued and it is now considered a historical process.