Fall Colors – Part One

October has arrived, and the fall colors are just starting to peak in much of the United States. Over the next two weeks, I’ll be taking in some of what Tennessee has to offer in this regard. Meanwhile, I thought I’d share some of my fall color photo captures from a few other corners of the world.

If you’re curious, these were shot using three different cameras, a Nikon DSLR and two not-quite-pocket-sized Canon Powershot cameras. I typically use “P” mode if the light is cooperating, but will switch to “Manual” for trickier shots, or if I’m using a tripod.

Santa Monica Mountains

Fall colors arrive late in LA, usually around Thanksgiving, and usually peak just before Christmas. You won’t see a lot of orange leaves, but we do have yellows and reds. They don’t overwhelm like I imagine New England’s fall foliage might, but they add nice shadings to a oft-parched landscape.

Near Liberty Canyon 4

Above pic: Liberty Canyon. The grass is brown from six months of no rain, but the oaks on the right – slow to change – stand out, as does the blue sky. This pic was taken on Thanksgiving Day, 2009.

Below pic: Rustic Canyon. I am quite certain that Rustic Canyon is haunted. At the very least, it’s littered with spooky buildings such as the old barn shown here. The trail, which hugs the creekbed, is covered by fallen leaves that crunch under your feet most of the year.

Rustic Cyn ramble - Dec 2010-4

Zuma Edison hike - Dec 2010-15 - Upper Zuma Cyn

Above pic: Zuma Canyon. SoCal – and the Southwestern U.S. in general – doesn’t have many deciduous forests. What we have are mountains with chaparral and other desert shrubs. Oaks and sycamores grow well in the canyons, however, provided there are intermittent streams to nurse them.

Below pic: Looking up from the floor of Zuma Canyon. This picture is not upside down.

Zuma Edison hike - Dec 2010-6

Around Serrania Ridge - Dec 2010-2

Above pic: Looking down on Woodland Hills and across the San Fernando Valley from Serrania Ridge.

Below pic: My favorite fall color pic from my Santa Monica Mountains photo archives.

Around Serrania Ridge - Dec 2010-10 - Serrania Park

San Gabriel Mountains

The San Gabriel Mountains head east as you leave LA. They are steeper, taller, and more imposing than my beloved Santa Monica Mountains, and as result have a better collection of fall colors. The high passes even receive snow!

Sturtevant Falls hike - Nov 2011-4

Above pic: Pine forest spotted with gold, near Chantry Flat.

Below pic: Experimenting with extreme color contrast.

Sturtevant Falls hike - Nov 2011-13 - high contrast

Sturtevant Falls hike - Nov 2011-5

Above pic: A solitary hiker on the road to Sturtevant Falls.

Below pic: Sturtevant Falls. I think this series of pics was taken in November 2011. These falls roar following the spring rains, and it’s unusual to have them to yourself, as I did on this fortunate day.

Sturtevant Falls hike - Nov 2011-10

Other California

I never visited Northern California during the fall season, but I imagine it to be prime color-changing season. Still, subtle (and not-so-subtle) patches of autumn can be glimpsed throughout the southern half of the state as well.

Burbank fall colors - December 2007

Above pic: Burbank. This idyllic street scene is just two blocks from NBC Studios, where The Tonight Show was filmed during the years of Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, and – lest we forget – Conan O’Brien.

Below pic: Above Idyllwild. I did a late October hike to Tahquitz Peak (near Mount San Jacinto and the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway). As I raced down the trail to beat the sunset (a race I won, but just barely), I froze in my tracks at the sight of this mighty tree, which had already shed all of its leaves.

Tahquitz Peak hike - October 2009-30

Rhine and Moselle River Valleys

The Rhineland region of Germany didn’t crackle with color nearly as much as I’d hoped –considering that I planned my Germany trip during October 2011 for the main purpose of viewing the colors – but there were nice, soft tones…not to mention an end-of-season wine harvest!

Rhine River cruise 38

Above pic: Hillside castle along the Rhine, one of many.

Below pic: The same stretch of river and another high-contrast tweak, almost painterly.

Rhine River cruise 42 - high contrast

Tonhallenufer 1

Above pic: Dusseldorf. One week later and these trees would be orange, with half of their leaves on the ground. Cold here.

Below pic: Trier. Romanesque Trier is Germany’s oldest city, but the trees here are young and were just starting to change. I like the composition, however.

Kaiserstrasse-Suedallee 1

And Two More

Here are two more – one from Bavaria and one from Chicago. Check back later this month to see what I’ve managed to shoot in Tennessee. Thanks!

Augsburg 36

Above pic: Augsburg, Germany. This gorgeous tree was a perfect fall shade of yellow-orange. I walked past it in daylight during my day trip to this Romantic Road town in October 2009, and didn’t photograph it. I gambled that it would look better after dark, and I was right.

Below pic: Grant Park, Chicago. This picture clearly was not taken in autumn, but my jaw dropped when I saw this hearty grove in below-zero December 2014 weather. These trees represent the epitome of fall colors, and this picture is something of a miracle.

Grant Park 9

All images are the property of GringoPotpourri unless credited otherwise, and should be used with permission only.

Author: gringopotpourri

Gringo - aka Scott - was born outside of Chicago and has lived most of his life in or around big cities. He spent two years of his adult life in Mexico City (talk about big cities!) and fell in love with Mexican food and culture all while weathering the challenges of life in a city with over 20 million people. Life's unpredictable journey has since brought him to Tennessee, where he is close to family and to the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. Scott also enjoys movies, hiking, top ten lists, and travel in general.

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