View 43: Autumn Color

Mountain trail displaying the autumn colors in upstate New York.

Mountain trail displaying the autumn colors in upstate New York.

I can not recall such a beautiful Fall as this year’s has been. Lots of warm days, cools nights. Sky has the deep cobalt blue coloring and, when there are clouds, they are big and fluffy which add to the splendor. The weather has helped to bring out the most colorful leaves as the trees prepare for the long winter ahead. I’ve read other local photographers who were just in awe of the display found all over upstate New York from the Finger Lakes to the Adirondacks to the Catskills. The rest of New England has also been enjoying one of their most colorful autumns ever remembered

Autumn Leaf

Autumn Leaf

Why do leaves turn color? The shorting day and cooler temperatures start the processes in the deciduous forests in the northern hemisphere this time of year.

During the growing season, most tree leaves are green because they’re full of chlorophyll. The high amount of chlorophyll obscures other leaf pigments, carotenoids (which produce yellow, orange and brown colors) and anthocyanins (which provide reds and purples).

Cooler weather causes chlorophyll production to slow and eventually stop, so the carotenoids and anthocyanins in the leaves become visible. Oaks, maples and dogwoods have anthocyanins and turn brilliant reds and oranges. Aspens, birch, populars and hickories use carotenoids and have the bright golden yellows and bronze. I’ve noticed the golden yellow this year more than most but this week the red and orange of the many maples around me took over.

Varying fall temperatures and precipitation amounts affect the intensity of colors. For more on the science of autumn changes, visit my college alta mater, SUNY-ESF E-Center.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t give you a couple of links on how best to capture all the wonderful colors during this season:

5 Ways to Shoot Autumn Leaves

Five Quick Fall Color Tips

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15 Responses to View 43: Autumn Color

  1. Barrie says:

    That first photo makes me want to head out for a hike right now! Nice post Scott.


  2. giiid says:

    So wonderful autumn photos! The first photo is realy appealing for a walk, the area looks so nice.

    I saw your links and read some, they were interesting, so were your explanation about the colored leaves. Not that I didn´t know, but it was nice to have the details.


  3. That first picture reminds me so much of a place just north of Frederick, MD, where I used to live many years ago. The single leaf is gorgeous… and the next one looks really cool with the mix of green and red leaves.


  4. Gaye Johnson says:

    This is a great post. Beautiful pictures in addition to good information about why we have the colors. Thanks!


  5. Pingback: GO HERE TO SEE BEAUTIFUL AUTUMN PICTURES « Gaye Johnson Photography

  6. Rico says:

    I like tha third photo. Soft blue and white colors against the red and green.


  7. stphoto says:

    Barrie, hope you enjoyed your hike!

    The first photo is the trail up to Prospect Mountain and is a steep climb. Makes for a good workout.

    The third one was taken last year about this time. I liked the primary colors against the sky, too.

    Thanks, Gaye, for the linkback!


  8. morningjoy says:

    What a delightful post! I enjoyed your photos, particularly the mountain trail and oak leaves against a sun-filled sky, and I learned so much. Thank you, Scott.


  9. rvewong says:

    Nice autumn shots, the snow tonight should liven things up


  10. snooway says:



  11. whatsupwiththejoneses says:

    That third picture is amazing with the red and green against the blue sky…I just keep going back to it! The single leaf is fantastic too~


  12. Thad says:

    So many great colors. I especially love the road surrounded by the trees.


  13. mrgrosky says:

    I love that top photo. It seems like the iconclastic American country road photo. I could easily see it on the cover of Yankee Magazine. Mitch


  14. Phil Morin says:

    Really nice photos !


  15. Pingback: Autumn Color Photography Tips | Views Infinitum

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