Not too long ago, when temperatures soared upwards into three digits, we were thankful to have air-conditioned buildings and refreshing water retreats to keep us cool. And although those sweltering summer days are now just a memory, it is easy to still feel a bit wilted and bedraggled, like the remaining flowers that are past their prime.
With the change of seasons, it is now time to become more active again, recharge our energy reserves and venture outdoors to enjoy the cooler fall weather. It is a perfect time for taking nature walks and road trips to witness and savor the magic of autumn. This is when trees and shrubbery transition into brilliant reds, oranges, yellows and golds to perform their grand finale of the year. It is a wonderous show that never fails to bedazzle, enchant and lift the spirit. Even the early snow in the higher elevations creates a stunning contrast against the fall hues.
Driving around the greater St. George area, one may spot bright pops of color around every corner. A half-day trip to Kolob Reservoir or Zion National Park reveals even more colorful foliage throughout the landscapes and nestled along the banks of rivers and reservoirs. For a longer day trip, Cedar Breaks National Monument and the surrounding areas display even more grand and colorful vistas. Here, groves of aspen trees take center stage. Their brilliant, multicolored leaves mesmerize and delight as they flutter and dance in the breeze.
When heading north on longer road trips, the lesser traveled backroads as well as the main roads provide many colorful, sightseeing adventures. Some of my favorite places to take a leisurely drive during this season are over the Alpine Loop; on the mountain roads above Midway and Heber; through Provo and Logan Canyons; and along the way to Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons.
This is a perfect time of year for photography, so remember to bring along a camera or phone. The vivid fall colors set against deep blue skies, or the season’s first snowfall, will make almost every photo a "keeper," even for novice photographers.
Here are a few suggestions for photographing fall colors:
1. Plan beforehand by researching where to find the best locations in your area.
2. Ask a local landscape photographer when the colors will be at their peak.
3. Shoot near sunrise or sunset when the sun is not directly overhead.
4. Better yet, shoot on a lightly overcast day to avoid deep shadows and harsh light.
5. Take pictures during inclement weather to add contrast and drama to fall colors.
6. Find colorful reflections in lakes and rivers.
7. Look up to photograph leaves against the sky or down to photograph fallen leaves on the ground.
8. Be artistic by taking interesting close-ups or macro shots.
9. Showing the transition from fall to winter makes for a dramatic composition.
Cool autumn days are perfect for reenergizing body and soul, soaking in the beauties of nature and snapping a few memories along the way. It is the time of year to be thankful for this beautiful state of Utah that many of us are fortunate to call home!