Forest Light
Forest Light
Forest Light
Forest Light

Christopher Burkett

Forest Light

Colorado, 2006

Original Cibachrome Photograph

Pristine condition

certified authentic
Add to Collection $2,000.00
Forest Light
Forest Light
Forest Light
Forest Light



Original Cibachrome photograph, “Forest Light, Colorado.” 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.



“This image was photographed in October 2005. My wife Ruth and I were on a very productive photo trip for two weeks in Utah and Colorado. When the dust settled, we ended up with 14 images that I made into exhibition quality Cibachromes.

The weather was cooperative, and the aspen forests were in full color. Never before or since did we encounter this wealth of opportunities and so many good images in such a short time.

This group of trees was located in the Grand Mesa area of Colorado at the edge of a small dirt road. The sun was behind the trees, backlighting the open central area with yellow light. Bright full light was coming from the aspen trees behind me which intensified the orange colors in the trees. It was a unique and extraordinary scene.

While aspens are most commonly yellow, there are some groups of trees that turn orange under ideal spring, summer and fall weather conditions. The leaves on this family of trees were turning directly from green to orange which gave tremendous tonal separation to these leaves, especially the group on the left.

The contrast range was rather high, so I needed to expose the transparency film to keep the bright yellow values from washing out and even hold a bit of the sky color peeking through here and there. That meant that the rest of the photo would appear too dark and require exceptional darkroom skill to open the values up to keep the pervading sense of luminosity in the scene, not flatten the overall contrast or lose tonal separation in the lighter tones. I used a 450mm lens at f/64 and 1/2 second with Provia film and made two identical backup exposures. The rising front on the view camera was moved about 1” to keep the trunks vertical.

The transparency languished in my “to print” box for five years until I was ready to tackle the challenge and it was a struggle. I spent four long days and made lots of Cibachrome tests before I was satisfied that I had produced a Cibachrome that was worthy of the scene. Each one requires skillful dodging and burning to bring the brightness and density levels into harmony with one another.

The Cibachromes of this transparency continually astonish me with their depth, rich tonality and three-dimensional qualities which exemplify what can be done with 8×10” film and skillful darkroom craftsmanship.”


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.