What a difference …

This year’s Fall colors in the mountains of SW Virginia and North Carolina hardly compare (to me at least) to what I saw exactly one year ago. I know this to be a fair comparison because I saw photos our daughter just made around Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina where I was a year ago. This year’s colors seem far less vibrant and generally dull. Why this is the case I can only speculate and I won’t. I’ll just show two photos I made last year near Grandfather Mountain. What a difference one year makes. I certainly hope better views lie ahead for us this year because I’ll definitely be out looking.

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In Between

It’s what I’m calling an “in between season” when our daytime temperatures suggest it’s still Summer, while our eyes tell us it’s Fall. So far this year, tree colors are not what I’d expect for mid October. Certainly not what I saw a year ago, but maybe things will improve as October moves on and temperatures cool off, especially at night. I’m fine with it overall. Having a camera with me all the time (iPhone, Fujifilm or Panasonic) makes it easy to document what I see. The following made this week off the front porch of our home.

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Dogwoods in Color

It’s that time of year again. Our neighborhood thankfully has lots of Dogwood trees (first and second photo) and others that “get their color” early in the fall. It helps having good light (sun rise) when you make a photo of trees and leaves. Backlighting is also really nice as in the second image. Dogwoods are one of my favorites. Very colorful in the spring and equally so in the fall.

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A Favorite Mountain View … for me

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There is no doubt that, for me and my cameras, the 2016 Fall Season was the most scenic and spectacular I’ve ever experienced. For the first time, I was able to visit the mountains of Western North Carolina during a time when colors were at their peak. My experience over many years there and along the Blue Ridge Mountains of South Western Virginia proved that if one missed “peak” by just a few days, winds and rain could make most of the most vibrant colors fade, as leaves fell to the ground. This year I was just lucky, because my visit to Western North Carolina was timed not for the leaves, but for other reasons. Whatever, it worked out extremely well. Adding to this special time was the opportunity to share my experiences with two grandsons, recently moved to the mountains from the flat, drab and often dusty landscape of North Texas. So, as we now close in to the end of the year, with leaves mostly on the ground, and with colder weather at hand, I share this photo, which as the title says, is one of my favorites.

Smith River Colors … and a Bee

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One great aspect of living where we do in Henry County and Martinsville, Virginia is the tremendous outdoor recreational activities available. The Smith River lies at the center of that. Trout fishing, canoeing, kayaking and trail hiking along its banks are very popular with visitors and residents alike. I decided the other day to take a look at a river access point near our home, and found some nice colors awaiting. I was especially happy to see the yellow colors in the river itself, as a result of seasonal changing river vegetation I’d not seen before. So, I wandered about the bank looking for possible photo compositions.

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Later, I spotted some flowers still in bloom, given the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having. And on one flower sat this lone Bumblebee, most likely feeding one last time before going to places unknown to me, perhaps Bee heaven. It made for a great photo.

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Spectacular Fall in 2016

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The last time I was sort of overwhelmed with the beauty of nature all around me for a short period of time was when my wife and I visited Alaska. Everywhere I looked I saw a great “keeper” photo. The same thing happened to me a week ago when I was in the high mountains of Western North Carolina. The colors this year were spectacular. My camera lens smiled, as did I.

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On Top of Mt. Mitchell, NC

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Mt. Mitchell,NC is, at 6684 ft, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. I’ve always wanted to go on top; now in my mid-70s via car, but when I was younger perhaps via foot. So, recently with my son-in-law and two grandsons, we did just that, right when the 2016 Fall colors were perfect … for us. Beauty all around. Just wonderful. This, my friends, is why I love making photos!

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Seeking Fall Colors

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I love Fall in Southwestern Virginia. I’m using my photo above to make a point why I love this colorful season so much. First, I have to pay attention to the weather and pick a time when to be out in the country. Second, I have to be somewhat lucky, such as I was when I found this nice composition above. (It just YELLS look at me!) And third, when I go out seeking Fall colors on trees above 3000 feet elevation in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia as I always do, I really don’t know if there will still be enough leaves on the trees, and I have to hope they have not yet passed their peak in terms of oranges, yellows, and hopefully some reds. Last year, for example, I waited too long and most of the colorful leaves had fallen. In sum, I like this time of year because of the “not knowing part” of what my hour long drive up to the mountains from lower elevations at home will give me in terms of good color opportunities. The best part of it all for me this year was that my wife Barb rode along. That must have been the ticket I needed because the colors were far better yesterday than they have been for me over the past several years. God is good. He created all this beauty for us, and made it so special that it’s not around for long. If you have been following my photo blog, you’ll know I won’t be able to limit my Fall color photos to just the one above. I’m processing those I made and will over the next several posts here, show you what Barb and I saw, on our wonderful drive yesterday through the winding roads of SW Virginia. Cheers!