Autumn visions in Alaska are fleeting. Lasting from mid-August to mid-September — depending on your latitude — it is the shortest season in the subarctic and arctic regions of North America.
Even though the boreal forests of the taiga biome are populated mostly by black and white spruce, fall colors can be as brilliant as the deciduous forests in lower latitudes. Ground cover consisting of resin birch, blueberry, and bearberry bushes are responsible for the pervasive orange and red colors carpeting the land. Thickets of willow and alder with the occasional aspen stands add yellows and golds.
A composite panorama, at a focal length of 65 mm, captured the expansiveness of this autumn scenic with a perspective closer to what my eyes saw. Cutting across the landscape is the Susitna River. Its headwaters originate from the Susitna Glacier in the eastern Alaska Range. The 313-mile long river flows to the Cook Inlet and the Pacific Ocean draining 20,000 square miles.
In the background are the Clearwater Mountains. They displayed the first signs of winter as snow began to descend from the mountain tops. Side-lighting and spotlighting from broken clouds helped to give form and depth to the mountains and surroundings.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor