Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fallen Foliage

I couldn't help myself. My first thought upon waking on a rainy morning was "no photography today." Then I looked out the windows facing my deck and saw a great assortment of maple and oak leaves and Ponderosa Pine needles. Decided to walk out there bent over to protect my camera from the rain and get a few photos. Difficult lighting with light bouncing off wet surfaces, but the scene captured me for a while. A friend and fellow naturalist Rex Burris e-mailed me with the question "are the leaf colors at peak?" since he's contemplating a photo trip up this way. I answered that we might not have a real peak this year. The unusual sequence of rain and temperature patterns seem to have made for a very uneven and unpredictable [although I did predict this in an early September post!] season for viewing fall colors. Some species of maple have turned bright red and are already losing leaves while just a few blocks away the same species of trees is still green. Some maples are turning yellow then falling, skipping the red period altogether. Along Highway 89, north of Quincy, there are some great splashes of Bigleaf Maple turned yellow, California Black Oak turned yellow and orange with occasional patches of red, and some dogwoods have turned bright red. However, as I said to Rex, the sequence of events is rather uneven and I find myself not so much longing for colorful panoramas as looking for spectacular individual leaves. And if you scroll back through the past month or so on this blog, you'll see many of my findings. Every fall has its interesting phenomena whether or not we have a great season for bright colors. My passion as a naturalist is to find these interesting things and alert others to them. One of my role models is Rex. He has been doing this for many years. Among my other heroes in this occupation are the late Aldo Leopold and the very much alive E. O. Wilson whose book "Naturalist" I just finished last night. Very inspiring. Makes me want to waterproof my camera or get one of the those waterproof notebooks and a Rapidograph pen with India ink and head back outside right away.

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