When I moved to New Hampshire, I discovered autumn. It didn't matter that I'd experienced thirty-odd autumns previously. New Hampshire adds the exclamation point to the season. The color is vibrantly beautiful as the trees shout for attention.
"Look at me!"
The Granite State made a believer out of me. Growing up in the Midwest, I had previously only viewed autumn as the precursor to winter. Kind of pretty, but mostly depressing. I love mighty oak trees, but let's face it - they're not exactly known for being showy when it comes to foliage season. And it's oaks which dominated that landscape. So the leaves dropped, we hauled out the rakes, and then it snowed. Ugh.
In New Hampshire, though, autumn is electrifying - and it's all about maples. Glorious Acer Saccharum! Brilliant oranges, deep yellows, and rich reds. There is nothing so spectacular as those stunning hues of red. Scarlet! Crimson! Cardinal! Call it what you will....the autumn reds in New England are a spectacle. And there's nowhere quite as special as witnessing this extravaganza in New Hampshire's White Mountains.
No matter how many times I saw it, the "show" never failed to take my breath away. This year, my first time separated from that lovely signature sight after so many years, my heart has ached.
Though the aspens and cottonwoods in Grand Teton National Park, my new "backyard," light up this time of year, there is very little vegetation that adds red to the autumn palette. Without it, my season is incomplete.
So once I finished my foliage shoots at Grand Teton NP, I hopped on a plane and headed back East - to the crimsons which I craved.
I bypassed my beloved New Hampshire and instead prowled the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. (The Blue Ridge are a close second on my list of favorite places to experience autumn.) Though the region suffered from a lack of rain this summer and the trees were stressed, still the color shaped up nicely.
One particularly lovely spot ironically did not involve maple trees. Instead it was the "carpet" which was on display at Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park. I spent four mornings there photographing the wonderful patches of crimson, some of which you see here.
Red. Autumn. Beautiful.