Posted by: kerryl29 | September 28, 2020

The Rites of Autumn

Ten years ago I paid homage to autumn in a blog post that approximately no one read.  A decade later, I’ve decided that it’s time to revive the theme, particularly in light of the fact that the audience of this space is a bit larger than it was 10 years ago.

Fall is my favorite season for photography and I have tried to indulge myself each autumn by taking a trip somewhere that will provide an opportunity for me to scratch this particular itch.  I have, in fact, done that almost every year beginning in 2010 (last year was an exception, in light of my September trip to Hawaii–not a place one should go if viewing fall color is the primary goal).

The truth is, these trips haven’t really satiated my appetite for fall color; in fact, they’ve had the opposite effect, beginning with the very trip that I alluded to in the above-linked piece.  That was a week-long sojourn to parts of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio that, in many respects, was extremely disappointing, largely because of the conditions in those locations that autumn.  It was a terrible year for fall color in most of the U.S. east of the Mississippi and, as it turned out, I was late for most of what color there was.  But I still found myself inspired, came away with some images I was pleased with and was encouraged enough to want to return to the Canaan Valley of West Virginia the following year.  (The two images immediately below are from the fall trip in 2010.)

Bridal Veil Falls, Bedford Reservation, Cleveland Metroparks, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

McConnell’s Mill, McConnell’s Mill State Park, Pennsylvania

The next year, I was determined to make up for what I missed in West Virginia the previous autumn and that I mostly did, despite a remarkable amount of rain (and snow at higher elevations!) during the first five days of the seven-day trip.  This trip was arguably the real start of my attempt to schedule a fall color trip each year.

Fog & Sun, Bear Rocks Preserve, Dolly Sods Wilderness, Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia

Sunrise, Bear Rocks Preserve, Dolly Sods Wilderness, Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia

Spruce Knob Sunrise, Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area, Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia

Due to a late summer trip to Arizona in 2012, there was no fall trip that year but in 2013 I went to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for a week of autumn photography.

Morning Rainbow, Council Lake, Hiawatha National Forest, Michigan

Au Sable Point at Sunset, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan

Upper Tahquemenon Falls, Tahquemenon Falls State Park, Michigan

In 2014, I made my first trip to the Canadian Rockies in the fall and discovered all of the glorious options available during autumn in that wondrous region.

Pyramid Mountain from Patricia Lake at Sunrise, Jasper National Park, Alberta

Majestic Kootenay Plains Sunset, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Aspen Leaves and Grasses, Preacher’s Point, David Thompson Country, Alberta

I was so entranced by the Canadian Rockies in the fall of 2014 that I returned the falling autumn, a decision I have never regretted.

Hungabee Lake Outlet Stream, Opabin Plateau, Yoho National Park, British Columbia

Airstrip Meadow, Banff National Park, Alberta

Aspen Forest, Celestine Lake Road, Jasper National Park, Alberta

In 2016, I fulfilled a longstanding desire when I visited northern New England–specifically northwest Maine, northeast Vermont and central New Hampshire–in the fall of that year.  I was exceedingly lucky to visit in what was regarded by locals as an excellent year for fall color.

Lily Pads and Reflections, Mill Brook Pond, Franklin County, Maine

Wheeler Pond, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Easton Road Birches, Grafton County, New Hampshire

2017 saw me finally fulfill yet another longtime wish–photographing in Colorado‘s San Juan Mountains and at Kebler Pass during the peak of fall color.

San Miguel Range Sunset, Last Dollar Road, Uncompahgre National Forest, Colorado

Mt. Sneffels Sunset, County Road 7, Uncompahgre National Forest, Colorado

East Beckwith Mountain at Sunset, Kebler Pass, Gunnison National Forest, Colorado

Aspen Forest, Ohio Pass, Gunnison National Forest, Colorado

Aspens Forever, Coal Bank Pass, San Juan National Forest, Colorado

Fall Color Majesty, Last Dollar Road, Uncompahgre National Forest, Colorado

In 2018, Alaska was the destination of choice, and it proved to be an exceptionally good one for fall color.

Autumn Tundra, Dalton Highway, Alaska

Brooks Range Autumn, Dalton Highway, Alaska

Marion Creek Falls Trail, Brooks Range, Alaska

Alaska Range Sunset, Denali Highway, Denali Borough, Alaska

And in those two years (2012 and 2019) when no fall trips were in the offing?  I tried to slip in a few day trips closer to home.

East Side Autumn, Morton Arboretum, DuPage County, Illinois

Waterfall #4, McCormick’s Creek State Park, Indiana

Autumn’s Remains, Illinois Canyon, Starved Rock State Park, Illinois

Autumn Tapestry, Brown County State Park, Indiana

LaSalle Canyon, Starved Rock State Park, Illinois

A Celebration of Color, Morton Arboretum, Du Page Country, Illinois

Autumn Alcove, Eagle Creek Park, Marion County, Indiana

The Chosen Path, Morton Arboretum, DuPage County, Illinois

Fall Color, Marion County, Indiana

LaSalle Canyon, Starved Rock State Park, Illinois

Wherever you are this fall color season, I hope you have the opportunity to capture some of the beauty.  I’ll be attempting to do that myself over the next few weeks.



  1. Dolly Sods in WV always so beautiful 😍
    Excellent pictures! I’m falling for them! Great job!

  2. The images of the colorful leaves suspended in water (stream, pond, lake) really captivate me. As the leaves begin to turn here, I will be on the lookout for similar scenes. I’m also hoping to get up into the high country to catch the alpine larch in full autumn color. Looking forward to seeing your autumn 2020 photos.

    • Thanks, Ellen. I hope you catch the golden larch peak.

  3. ….there just aren’t adequate adjectives for all this beauty

    • Thanks very much!

  4. So beautiful. I went to the older post first. Lovely images, Kerry. 💚🧡

    • Thanks very much! And thanks for checking out the older post. 🙂

  5. My goodness, I loved all these photos. I live in a place where we don’t get fall, so seeing these stunning photos was a beautiful gift in my day. Amazing 😍

    • Thanks! And I’m glad you were able to experience fall, albeit vicariously.

  6. Stunning photos!

    • Thanks very much!

  7. Gorgeous photos. Wonderful post!

  8. Words Fail Me, Absolutely Beautiful!

    • Thanks very much!

  9. Spruce Knob sunrise fog and hills look like the surf rolling in on the ocean. These are breath-taking photos!

    • Thanks, Jane!

  10. It’s interesting in your Alaska pictures that the relatively low foliage is so colorful.

    • That’s what the tundra looks like when autumn rolls around. It can be breathtakingly beautiful. It reminds me, a little bit, of the scrub oak I encountered in Colorado, which was a phenomenal rusty red/orange/brown complement to the bright yellow of the aspens.

  11. Your photos are so stunning! ♥️♥️♥️

    • Thanks very much!

  12. Reblogged this on In Pics and Words.

  13. […] The Rites of Autumn — Lightscapes Nature Photography Blog […]

  14. Absolutely stunning collection of images. You really have been determined 🙂

  15. Hey,
    This post is seriously one of the best posts of photography I have EVER seen. I just absolutely love the pictures ☺️.I aspire to be a writer like you….so for that reason can you please be a critic for my post: nature at it’s best. Please tell me in the comments and don’t forget to like it ☺️ !!

    • Thanks very much for the kind words. I’ll have a look at your blog post momentarily.

      • Thanks 😊 means a lot 😃

  16. Beautiful!

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