Every year in the Northeastern U.S.,we are lectured by meteorologist types about the linkage between the climate, and the quality of the fall foliage.
Now, it seems to me that most fall seasons are reported to be
drier than normal. This tends to result, we are told, in attenuation of the
colors of autumn leaves, and thus a dull 3rd season.
Now it seems that whatever happens, the fall colors suffer.
This year, the spring summer and early fall were much wetter
than normal. Seasonal totals are significantly higher at this point in the year that an
entire years precipitation from as far back as 1951. It has rained a lot in the last 6 months.
And interestingly, the foliage has suffered. Issues became apparent in mid
September when Maples, and some Oaks, did not assume their usual autumnal display
of reds and crimsons, but turned brown, and shriveled on the tree. Apparently
the wet conditions caused a normally inconsequential fungus to become a
problem, injuring several tree species, and causing their leaves to bypass the
fall colors we look forward to.
This affected mainly the reds of the season. The birches,
beeches, and some maples still turned yellow or gold. The deep crimson of many oak species less affected by the fungus, were also dulled looking, definitely more brown than red.
Many leaves just fell. By mid-October which is usually “peak
leaves” in these parts of Pennsylvania, the canopy was almost completely open, its leaves brown, and trampled underfoot.
As a landscape photographer, you do what you can to find beauty,
when nature conspires against you.. You look for isolated scenes with good
color. You include geologic or man-made artifacts into images. Or, you look for
patterns and texture. Black and White can work when the foliage is dull. You try to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.
Finally, on the 28th of October, nature lobbed a softball to those of us that shoot outdoors. The Pennsylvania Mountains received nearly a foot of snow, while there was still some color on the trees. The snow created a new canvas
on which to depict the fading autumnal display, and grab a few more images
before things fade to the dull façade of November. The white stuff lasted several days before succumbing to the late October sun.
Now, I look out my window to view a scene cloaked in the
browns and grays of the early winter. It’s early in the morning as I write this;
a heavy frost clings to the fallen leaves and grass.
But for me, this weekend, I will put away the camera gear
and break out the leaf blowers and rakes to deal with the remains of last year’s
fall scenery, a good bit of which now covers my lawn.
Soon, the snow will fall, and hopefully stay.