Wherever we live, we tend to end up at the arboretum and Seattle is no exception. The Washington Park Arboretum is near the university (and I think the university has something to do with managing it) and close to Lake Washington. We paid it a visit at the beginning of Fall with some hope of seeing a bit of color in the trees. The layout of the arboretum is rather long and thin so, while you have a choice of paths, you tend to make an out and back trip as you walk around.
We chose a good day to be there with the sun out and the colors shown at their best but we were either a little early for the full fall colors or the types of trees there were not the sort to turn too dramatically. This wasn’t a hindrance for us, though. Walking through the trees was really great and surprisingly peaceful given how many people were there. When we turned back, we took a larger path and that had a lot more people on it so maybe our choice of outbound trail was a good one for avoiding the crowds.
One end of the arboretum comes up to the lake. It is rather close to the SR520 bridge across the lake so not normally the most peaceful of spots. On this weekend, they were carrying out part of the rebuilding program on the bridge so it was closed one way and things were a bit quieter. Any other day, though, and I suspect that the noise would be rather obvious.
We visited Bothell to look at the trees as I mentioned in this previous post. We weren’t the only ones though. As we came around the corner, a row of the trees was very intense in their red colors and plenty of other people had come out to check this too. Families were all over the place taking pictures. The best place seemed to be in the middle of the road. Consequently, groups of people were standing there taking their shots and, hopefully, avoiding getting run down!
The area around where I work has a lot of trees and they have turned out to be the sort of trees that get very colorful in the fall. It is really nice to be able to look out of my window and see such vibrant colors when the sun pops out (which it does do in the Pacific Northwest sometimes). I had driven down the road in the opposite direction to normal one evening and saw even more color so, when the sun was out one weekend evening, we diverted to the area so I could get some shots.
The richness of the colors is sometimes hard to represent with photos. They don’t always have the impact that being there had but hopefully some of these shots will give you an idea of how pretty the street was.
The Big Island has dramatically different characteristics as you move across it. As we took our trip on the helicopter to see the volcanic activity, we continued up the east side of the island which is considerably wetter than the west. There are dramatic valleys and high cliffs. The terrain looks impressive from the air but I imagine it looks even more amazing when you are on the ground. Our pilot described hiking around some of these valleys. Crossing one ridge is apparently a six hour hike and that is if you are not loaded down with too much gear!
We flew in to some of the valleys to have a look around. The ground towered above us on most sides and you really felt in awe of the geology around you. Everything is so large, images don’t even start to represent what we saw. We also came in to the highest falls on the island. The largest of these drop over 3,000’ down the sides of the mountains. We flew in to a corner where these falls were raining down. The shots are not special but I include them to try and give an impression of what was there. The scale is impossible to judge and I also had plenty of reflections from the cockpit glazing but here they are anyway.
We buzzed around a number of these valleys always surrounded by lush, steep slopes. This is not an area for the faint of heart. We then headed back towards the west up another valley climbing towards the ridge ahead of us. As we popped over this ridge the green foliage was almost instantly replaced by the dry, brown landscape we had originally come from. The transition was instant and rather surprising as, while climbing up, you had no idea what was ahead. Then it was a straight run back to our base.
Big Island is not short of waterfalls. The most well-known ones attract tourists like us who will drive to see them. However, so much of the island is not close to the roads and there are rivers and falls all through this area. Our pilot was a keen hiker and he showed us his favorite falls. Apparently this trip will be a full day hike to get you in and out again. I assume this includes some time to hang out and enjoy the falls once you get there.
If you are slightly less energetic, flying over the falls in a helicopter is a lot quicker to do and certainly doesn’t tire you out as much. The location certainly looked cool though and, from above, you get less of an immersive feeling. Judging by the river we saw on our way to the falls, there are plenty of cool sights to see on the way as well. You do need to be well prepared though. Forget cell phone coverage. You are on your own out there!
It seems like a long time ago that we were in the transition from summer to winter. Fall in California is a little later than in some other places but, even so, it was still a while ago. We spent a day up in the wine country back then and the colors in the trees and the vines were very nice. I think we had missed the peak of the color for the vines but, as I was walking around Yountville, the sun was bringing out some great color in the trees.
Driving in to town we had passed a great variety of colors so I decided to walk back down through the town to take a closer look. Everywhere I looked there was another tree with the leaves glowing in the light. It was great. Whether looking along the road or up through the foliage, you couldn’t help but stare at the vibrancy of everything. It is cool to get good sun when the colors in the trees are nice too. Sometimes in the past I have struggled with getting the best of fall colors when the light became flat while the trees were at their best. Not so this time!
The UC Botanic Garden in Berkeley was beginning to show the signs of fall when we visited. Located in the hills above Berkeley, the climate is probably quite different to other areas nearby. In a previous trip to the area, the clouds were rolling across the hillside making it cold and damp when it was warm and sunny a short distance away. I imagine this impacts what thrives on the hills. Some of the plants were clearly suited to arid conditions. However, there were signs of the trees turning red and brown as fall set in so obviously they have quite a variety of plants as would befit such a garden.
I don’t know much about plants and so cannot name what we saw. Instead, I shall share a few of the views through the gardens which looked particularly nice given the lower angle of the sun as the time of day and year.
When talking about fall, the most obvious photography option is foliage. A favorite spot to go to see the fall colors is the Morton Arboretum out at Lisle. The full colors had not come into their own but, with a number of trips coming up for work and pleasure, I wasn’t going to have a chance to get out there before it was all likely to be over. When it is done, it is done very quickly. Therefore, an early visit seemed worth a shot.
We were certainly too early. However, there was still some interesting color developing with some of the trees. You could see what was going to look very good before too long so, while the conditions this year might not have been ideal for fall color, I suspect the large number of visitors they get at this time of year won’t be too disappointed. We got there later in the day to make the most of the nicer light and had a wander amongst some of the trees. Irrespective of the color or time of year, the arboretum is one of the more pleasant places to be.
I also wanted to play around with the fish-eye amongst the trees. This was something I had been thinking about for a while so had a quick roam amongst some of the stands. However, it was getting a little late so I had to get some quick shots. This is something I will come back to try again and spend more time finding the sort of trees that might suit what I have in mind.