After a hiatus from trying to make great photographs over the past 18 months or so, I have recently become enlivened with photography again. Fall color in the Eastern Sierra was nothing short of spectacular this year – or at least it seemed that way to me! Fall colors may have come on a bit later than usual, as some have noted, but it was amazingly colorful in early to mid-October in our local canyons.

Forest of aspen, South Fork Bishop Creek

Aspens are generally the stars of the fall color world in these parts, but western water birch, wild rose, and creek dogwood were also adorned in their best and brightest this fall. The warm golden and red pigments of these leaves really shone through following the wet winter, and the cool nights and warm days of autumn. In fact, all of those factors – high soil moisture, cool, frost-free night-time temperatures, and warm days with abundant sunshine – help contribute to the most vibrant fall foliage. Green chlorophyll pigments block the other yellow, orange, and red leaf pigments during the summer growing season, but as day length shortens, chlorophyll production slows to a stop, and the other pigments become unmasked.

Below are my “top ten” images from our vibrant autumn that I hope you enjoy!

Western water birch among aspen, S Fork Bishop Creek

Granite wall with creek dogwood and aspens, S Fork Bishop Creek

Creek dogwood beneath aspen trees, S Fork Bishop Creek

Aspen and water birch above the sagebrush scrub, McGee Canyon

Aspen grove beneath the sedimentary wall of McGee Canyon

Lee Vining Creek reflecting the warm colors of sunlit, yellow willows

Long exposure of aspen grove with wild rose, Lower Rock Creek

Long exposure of aspen grove, Lower Rock Creek

Long exposure of two spiraling eddies with aspen and birch leaves, Lower Rock Creek