Posted by: kerryl29 | September 21, 2020

Back and Forth

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m heading to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in a couple of weeks for a very careful (due to the coronavirus) photo excursion.  The goal is to catch the area at its peak of fall color; whether this happens remains to be seen, given the difficulty in predicting conditions even a few weeks in advance, but I remain hopeful.  Just thinking about fall color reminded me that I had a day’s worth of images from last autumn that I had never processed…or even examined on the computer screen.

East Side Autumn, Morton Arboretum, DuPage County, Illinois

Longtime readers of this blog have seen regular references to the Morton Arboretum, my go-to location for photography when I’m at my Chicago area base.  The arboretum is a 1700-acre oasis of (mostly) nature amidst suburban sprawl in DuPage County.  Landscape photography there can be challenging, but as I’ve said many times, this kind of challenge is a big part of my affinity for the intimate landscape.

East Side Autumn, Morton Arboretum, DuPage County, Illinois

For a variety of reasons, I had almost no opportunity to get out with the camera last fall, so when I found myself with a bit of time on October 28–while the color in northeast Illinois was still pretty good–I raced over to the Arb.

East Side Autumn, Morton Arboretum, DuPage County, Illinois

The conditions that day weren’t ideal.  It was threatening to rain and it was quite breezy, but beggars can’t be choosers, I made the 15-odd minute drive to the Arboretum and quickly checked things out.  I went to the West Side (the Arboretum property is bisected by IL-53, which runs north-south) first but wasn’t overly taken by anything I saw on my driving tour so rapidly headed over to the East Side where things were more to my liking.

East Side Autumn, Morton Arboretum, DuPage County, Illinois

The East Side of the Arboretum is larger than the West, and it’s a better mix of oak and maple.  Of the native trees on the property (there are many exotics), maple, oak and beech are the most common species.  Of these, maples tend to put on the best color show.

East Side Autumn, Morton Arboretum, DuPage County, Illinois

I didn’t get very far around the West Side circuit when I stopped for the first time that day.  The sky was doing me no favors, so I focused almost exclusively on intimate scenes.  My 80-400 mm lens was used on all but one of the images accompanying this essay.

East Side Autumn, Morton Arboretum, DuPage County, Illinois

Fall color in this part of the Midwest is dominated by shades of yellow, so when oranges or reds present themselves, there’s an innate tendency to try to make something of them, regardless of whether they’re maples or oaks.

East Side Autumn, Morton Arboretum, DuPage County, Illinois

When I photograph at the Arboretum in autumn, I usually spend a significant portion of that time in the East Woods–an extensive area of ancient maples that turns bright gold when fall color peaks.  This occasion was an exception, in part because when I reached the East Woods, about an hour into my visit, it started to rain.

East Side Autumn, Morton Arboretum, DuPage County, Illinois

The rain made the notion of trudging around the woods looking for compositions a pretty unattractive notion on this day, particularly when combined with the cold and wind.  This ended up being the right choice when the rain picked up.

East Side Autumn, Morton Arboretum, DuPage County, Illinois

I drove out of the East Woods and, despite the rain, stopped one more time at a spot where a very different kind of composition than those I’d been focused on that day–still one produced with a telephoto lens–caught my eye.

East Side Autumn, Morton Arboretum, DuPage County, Illinois

As the rain picked up in intensity I reluctantly called it a day.  I hadn’t been on site for even 90 minutes and I strongly suspected that I wouldn’t have another opportunity to photograph during the fall season.  Unfortunately, I was correct.

The only saving grace is, by waiting until now to process the images, I was able to appropriately whet my appetite for what will come in a couple of weeks.

For more fall images of the Morton Arboretum, go here.


Responses

  1. Bellissimi i colori di queste foto, penso subito all’autunno che io adoro.
    Saluti, Patrizia

  2. So pretty!!!

  3. Good luck finding comparable fall foliage in Michigan.

    • Thanks. I remain ever hopeful.

  4. There is nothing like a hardwood autumn. It’s much more subdued here in NZ, but still eloquent, in a much-more pastel way.

    • What do you think is responsible for the difference? Tree species? Climate? Something else?

  5. Lovely fall images!

    • Thanks very much!


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