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As summer winds down in the Eastern Sierra Nevada in California something wonderful begins to transpire. The days are warm but the nights are long & brisk, good signs for a true fall season. At an altitude of 5,000 to 10,000 feet the Quaking Aspens start to change from green to yellow, golden and amber. Aspens along with Cottonwoods and Willows change colors in the Eastern Sierra, putting on a show for all.
The June Lake Loop off of Highway 395 and northwest of Mammoth Lakes is a great place to photograph and otherwise enjoy the fall colors. The Aspens begin to turn from mid-September all the way through mid-October. There are many other fall color locations to photograph in this area and there are several web sites you can check that give a current color report including maps.
Here are some tips for photographing Aspens and all fall colors:
• Using a polarizer cuts down on the leaf reflection and also adds to the saturation and warmth of the leaves.
• Using a tripod is also important for image sharpness but also because of the loss of two f-stops of light with the use of the polarizer. Because of this, when using a polarizer keep an eye on your shutter speed and ISO to prevent motion blur on the subject from a breeze or the wind.
What is so great about fall color photography is that there are opportunities at every location. It’s important to keep an open mind and look for unique opportunities and compositions. So regardless of what the fall color reports say, get out in the field and make images because before you know it, the season will have passed.