Aspen Leaves on Snow. Eastern Sierra Nevada, California. October 11, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Frost covered autumn aspen leaves lying on new-fallen snow, Sierra Nevada
Early October is the time of the annual aspen color transition in the eastern Sierra Nevada. For me, the combination of the dramatic color change and the seasonal weather changes clearly denote the fact that summer is over and that we are heading toward the cold part of the year. (I like this – I find that the fall through spring seasons are more photographically compelling, and I’m no longer a “hot weather person.”) While October in the Sierra can bring some beautiful and even warm days, there is not question that nights are both longer and colder, and the occasional passing weather front will drop enough snow to make it feel distinctly winter-like.
Although we knew that much of the iconic color at North Lake had already passed, we decided to go there anyway on this morning and look for more subtle things that remain. The road past the lake is on a north slope and we drove through plenty of recent snow as we passed along this shoreline in 22 degree temperatures. As expected, most of the trees had lost their leaves already, though we also found some trees that still held enough colorful leaves to make the visit well worth our time. And, when those leaves fall, they don’t simply disappear! On a snowy morning like this one they collect in piles on top of the snow, providing beautiful little compositions and highlighting the intensity of their colors.
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.