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It’s That Time Again!

Porcupine Mountain State Park
Upper Peninsula, Michigan
Copyright Andy Richards 1997

Predictably, I do this every year. We are a month or less away from Fall foliage season, and I feel compelled to write about it in my blog. Sometime in about the middle of August, things start a natural progression that show that Summer is winding down and Fall approaching. It has always been in a sense a bittersweet time for me, as I have never been a Winter person. I love being able to get outside, get into the woods, onto the water, or even occasionally, the golf course.

Craftsbury Common, Craftsbury, Vermont
Copyright 2010 Andy Richards

Early Fall is, has always been, and probably always will be, my favorite time of the year. Ironically, it seems to be one of the most short-lived seasons, and is a time when things are dying, turning, or being harvested. There is something exciting about the sights and smells of that time of the year and I am always sad when, sometime in November, things turn grey and snow is in the air. But from now until then: exciting times.

Glade Creek Grist Mill
Babcock State Park, West Virginia
Copyright 2011 Andy Richards

Fall always has been, and always will be, my favorite time to photograph

In my view, Fall is the best time to be a photographer. Along with the sights and sounds, comes clear air, with puffy clouds, low-angled light, and shorter days. Why are shorter days good? It means that we don’t have to roll out of bed quite so early to beat the sun, nor wait quite so late for the evening light. And of course, there is the foliage. There is nothing wrong with green foliage (or even the pastel “colors” of early spring). Spring itself rivals Fall with everything coming into bloom. But the Fall foliage is still the “king” of photographic subjects. It makes everything come alive and give color and interest to scenes that might otherwise be “just nice” or even “ho-hum.”

Jordan Pond
Acadia National Park; Maine
Copyright 2009 Andy Richards

Fall foliage is the “king” of outdoor and nature photographic subjects

Foliage need not be just the traditional reds, oranges, rusts and yellows of large, deciduous trees. Sumac, grape vines, corn and beans nearing harvest-readiness also provide some wonderful, colorful photographic subjects and backdrops.

Harvesting Soybeans
Saginaw County, Michigan
Copyright 2002 Andy Richards

One of my favorite image subjects is the reflection. And nothing brings a reflection more interest than the vibrant colors of Fall foliage.

Kit Carson National Forest
Copyright 2008 Andy Richards

In years past, I have traveled to Vermont, Maine, Virginia, West Virginia, California and New Mexico. Each has their own “take” on foliage. We were too early for foliage in the San Francisco Bay area and wine country and I will undoubtedly return there in the late Fall in the near future, for the colorful vineyards. The “bucket list” also includes the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, The Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, Alaska and closer to home, Cuyahoga National Park in Ohio. I also hope to spend some time in Canada just to the Northeast of our Upper Peninsula and on the Bruce Peninsula, just East of where I live, and in an area surrounding the North Channel of Lake Huron known as “the Canadian Shield” one day.

Boley Lake
Babcock State Park, W. Virginia
copyright 2011 Andy Richards

As football season starts up, students go back to school, the vacationers close up the summer cottages, and things begin to gear up for Fall, excitement builds for my own photographic senses. I always have a week-long, dedicated trip planned for foliage photography. This year, I travel to the familiar, Michigan UP for a week-long workshop by my friend and mentor, James Moore, where I will have the great privilege of serving as the “local guide.” We have locations lined up, and I have watched the later summer rains and now-changing weather with great anticipation.

The Common Road
Waitsfield, Vermont
Copyright 2010 Andy Richards

I hope you have a plan to get out during the “season” and photograph some of the wonderful foliage on our continent!

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