We made a trip across the Cascades in October to see what sort of colors there were in the trees. Choosing when to go is tricky because the timing of the color in the mountains isn’t the same as it is near us. Things were very pretty as we headed across Steven’s Pass. One the run down to Leavenworth, the road is tucked up against the banks of the Wenatchee River. There are a few places on the otherwise narrow road where you can pull off. The colors were pretty intense in parts providing a focus for the eye of the viewer of the photos.
Our trip took us onward to Leavenworth. I wasn’t sure how busy the town would be given the time of year but there were plenty of people around. The warmer environment downtown meant that some of the trees were still showing their color. While people were everywhere, it wasn’t so crowded which meant getting some openness in the foregrounds was possible. Preparations were underway for the Christmas lighting so I suspect it will soon be a lot busier.
Alongside the river at one end of the town was a rather nice looking hotel. It had a hot tub in the garden in which a couple of people were hanging out. Given how chilly it was, they looked rather incongruous but I imagine the water temperatures meant they were very comfortable. It looked like a nice place to stay and, if we ever decide to overnight in Leavenworth, we might consider it.
Having made our first stop at Lake Wenatchee State Park, we continued on in the direction of Leavenworth. The highway takes you down a river valley with the Wenatchee River at its core. This is a pretty drive at any time of year and the many pull offs are often filled with people stopping off the enjoy the view. A colder fall day meant it was slightly less busy but it also meant deeper shadows. Still, there were plenty of people enjoying the scenery, even if they weren’t getting out of the cars for too long.
Having written about whether HDR is still worthwhile in a recent post, the shaded valley was something that I figured was still possibly needing a technique that could handle a wide dynamic range. Other spots were still in open light and were an easier bet. The difficulty of a valley like this is communicating the feeling within the rocky walls. Wider lenses allow you to show more of the scene but they also diminish the scale and I find it hard to give the impression you get when actually there. I actually spent some time with a longer lens picking out details of the scenes rather than the whole thing but I wasn’t going to give up on that completely.
Sometimes trips that are set up with something specific in mind end up delivering something totally different. We knew it was a little late but planned a trip up into the Cascades with the aim of checking out the fall colors. We went up towards Stevens Pass but rapidly realized that, while there was some color in the trees, the more important issue was the amount of snow on the ground. The temperatures up in the pass were well below freezing and the ice across the highway was something that focused the mind.
We were heading for Lake Wenatchee State Park and the park was certainly a lot more snowy than we expected. It has a north and a south entrance and, having not been there before, we headed to the north entrance first. It turned out that this was mainly the campground and heading around the roadway which was pretty snowy got us nowhere interesting. A reversal of course and we tried the south entrance which was far more productive. It took us down to the edge of the lake and a wonderful vista. The combination of blue skies, a lake, snow and some tree colors was beautiful. While the air temperature was low, there was no wind. Consequently, it was quite comfortable. Add in the lack of other people and you felt like you had discovered something special.
Our original plan had been to walk along the trails in this part of the park. However, the depth of the snow was not something we had brought boots for so that was not going to happen. Instead we stayed in the area near the parking lot and enjoyed the views across the water before retreating to the car with its plentiful heat!
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 first few of the bull riders at Rowell Ranch Rodeo seemed to do pretty well and make it for the full duration. It turns out that this was an aberration and the remainder of the riders seemed to have a lot of problems. Some still went the distance but a lot of them were thrown off. Getting thrown from a bull is a risky proposition.
Let’s put aside the problem with falling at speed from an animal. Instead, contemplate being on the ground and a little disoriented when you need to get out of the way of a seriously pissed off bull that weighs a lot! This is where the other people come in to play. Their role is to distract the attention of the bull away from the rider while someone helps him get to his feet. It is something that looks perilous and, I imagine, it is.
Fall color is usually associated with trees. However, grape vines are also prone to some nice color changes through autumn and we took a ride up to Napa Valley to see how things were looking. We probably we there a little after the peak of the colors but there were still some nice colors to be seen. A good number of vines were already devoid of leaves but others had developed a strong red hue. Heading up to Calistoga, we could get up on the hillside and see the valley floor below us. The variation in the different fields helped to emphasize the colors more in my opinion.
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.