Years ago, our plain-spoken Australian tour guide told us she couldn’t guarantee that we’d have a stunning sunset at Uluru, as seen in nature and travel documentaries about that part of the world.
We’ll get what we get.
This is real life, not TV.
Nature and travel documentaries about our part of the world often show fabulous drone shots: gorgeous fall colours as far as the eye can see. That’s TV: Real life is a different story.
We get years where low spring rainfall stresses the trees and gives us faded, muddy-coloured leaves in the fall. We get years where tropical-storm remnants blowing through at the wrong moment give us great leaves: all over the ground. We get years where the leaves turn nicely and hold on relentlessly but overcast skies for two weeks give us drab vistas.
This is not one of those years. Not any one of those years.
No, this year offered no photographic excuses: What we got is wonderful. The challenge? As always, to show what it looks like.
These photos taken from the side of the road show what it looks like. Sort of.
As usual, getting closer helps. This is more like it — along the lake’s edge and along the road along the lake’s edge.
Or this, with some dark-green conifers providing contrast.
Or this, just the leaves and the sky.
Or this, reflections of glory.
Or this, an entire riverbank and just one branch.
When you got it, flaunt it: That’s the sort of year we have this year. I expect to see drones overhead any day.
On a side note, the Smoky Mountains tourism website has put together an interactive map showing fall colours/colors across the USA by date, but it turns out that predicting the timing is complicated.
. . . the map draws on data including
precipitation and temperature forecasts,
average daylight exposure,
and soil moisture
to predict the timing of leaves’ color change across the continental United States.
– Smithsonian Magazine