Marriage of Mist and FogPersistent drizzle and rain made the autumn colors pop and created this moody scene over the Pemigewasset River (Near Lincoln, New Hampshire) The curtain is about to go up on one of the greatest shows on earth.
Not meaning any disrespect to winter, spring or summer (spring is my favorite time of year, after all) but foliage season has a certain je ne sais quoi. It's a spectacle like none other; the landscape demands a reaction.
I'm happy to oblige.
Can trees dance and play? Can they shout? Show off? Of course they can. Take a drive on New Hampshire's Kancamagus Highway in early October and you'll think so, too.
Not everywhere in the world erupts into a cacophony of brilliant color in autumn. I've lived in places you wouldn't exactly characterize as leaf-peeper paradises. But I've also called New England home, and for my money you'll never see a better show than the one staged by the trees there - especially the sugar maples. They're botanical overachievers. Exuberant exhibitionists.
Want the best seats in the house? Head for the White Mountains. Non-ConformistA few maple saplings dot the woods otherwise dominated by a dense stand of conifers - making their brilliant autumn colors even more striking. (Hiawatha National Forest in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan)
I've seen and photographed beautiful color elsewhere, like the mountains of North Carolina, Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and throughout the Intermountain West - but I stand by my claim regarding autumn in New England. If you've never seen it, you should. It's a bucket list item for sure.
Here in Teton Country, the show is tantalizingly close to getting underway in earnest. Rabbit brush and other low-growing plants on both sides of the mountains began turning yellow a few weeks ago; now the trees in Jackson Hole are beginning to show color.
The summer has been very dry; I suspect the display might come a little earlier than usual.
Persistent, heavy smoke from California is a cause for concern as far as the local foliage show goes. It's been a lousy couple of months in terms of photography here due to poor air quality. Terrible. It'll be more than welcome if we're gifted with a shift in wind direction to help clear things out, at least while the aspens and mountain maples are strutting their stuff.
The coming weeks will be busy. I'm kicking things off in Dubois, Wyoming and then will follow the foliage from Grand Teton National Park to Eastern Idaho and down to the Wasatch. After that it's off to New England; I'll wrap up the season in Zion National Park.
Let the show begin! Scene StealerThe sun's first warm rays light the trees along the Snake River shoreline, making the foliage pop. The effect is magnified with Mount Moran in partial shadow. (Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming)
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