Autumn Colors in Utah's Wasatch Range

November 02, 2012

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Photographer: Ray Boren
Summary Author: Ray Boren

Leafy underbrush turns a blazing red along the Alpine Loop scenic highway as autumn gains a foothold in Utah's Wasatch Range. The narrow road connects American Fork and Provo Canyons, and it was streaming with leaf-peepers and their vehicles near the summit, at an elevation of 8,060 ft (2,457 m), when this photo taken on Sept. 23, 2012. This stand of quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) is just beginning to turn from green to gold, and relatives visible beyond have already done so. After a dry summer, the prospects for eye-pleasing fall colors seemed dim this season in northern Utah, but such fears proved groundless. The reds of the scrub oaks and maples seem even more vibrant than usual, and the high groves of aspen (see bottom photo, taken from Wasatch Mountain State Park) look to be just as spectacular. Even more than cooler temperatures, which have been summer-like despite what the calendar says, the decreasing daylight as the Sun moves south seem to be the most important trigger this season for those deciduous trees and other plants fated to change into their autumnal finery.

Photo details: Top - Camera Maker: NIKON CORPORATION; Camera Model: NIKON D60; Focal Length: 24.0mm; Aperture: f/20.0; Exposure Time: 0.100 s (1/10); ISO equiv: 100; Exposure Bias: none; Metering Mode: Matrix; Exposure: aperture priority (semi-auto); Light Source: Flash; Flash Fired: No; Orientation: Normal; Color Space: sRGB; Software: QuickTime 7.6.4. Bottom, same except - Focal Length: 116.0mm; Exposure Time: 0.077 s (1/13).