Aspens in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Fall is one of my favorite times of year. In most of North America fall means great color in the trees and plants. In New Mexico the color is mostly yellow. There aren’t lot of hardwood trees that turn reds and oranges although there are a few places that they occur. There are good reds and oranges in some of the smaller bushes, particularly near water. I did get a chance to go out for fall color shoots several times this year but in most cases I missed the peak of the color. There were still some nice photo opportunities.

In late September I went up into the mountains in northern New Mexico near Taos and Red River for a week with my wife. I was hoping to shoot the Aspens turning yellow. Since we were having a particularly warm fall there was basically no fall color on that trip. We did get to spend a couple days at the Red River Folk festival however and it was some really great music.

Bridge over the Rio Grande new Taos

In the week and a half after that I went out several times hoping to get good photos of the cottonwoods turning yellow. It is less than half an hour from my house to several parks along the Rio Grande so it is a pretty easy trip. I managed a few decent shots on one of the trips but didn’t really hit it at the peak.

Cottonwood and Sandia Mountains
Cottonwoods along the Rio Grande

Some friends and I made one trip up to the Sangre de Christo mountains above Santa Fe and the Aspens were pretty close to the peak on that trip. We drove the road to the Santa Fe ski basin which isn’t the best Aspen spot but there were a few good photo ops. I’m happy with several of the shots from that trip.

Fall color in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains

We get a fair number of nice sunrises and sunsets here in New Mexico. Although you can’t really call it “fall” color I got some nice shots of a few of them last fall.

Sunrise over Placitas from my driveway
Sunrise at Bosque del Apache

Some friends and I also went down to the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge which is about an hour south of Albuquerque. We usually drive down there for the birds since it is a great winter spot for Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese. This time we went in January to scout for landscape and fall color locations. Even in the winter there are still some reds and oranges in the brush and grass so I took a few shots while we were there.

Winter color at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge

From what I have been reading the timing and intensity of fall color is changing all over North America. I certainly can see the difference between what I saw in the late 1970s when I was in grad school at the University of New Mexico and what I have seen the last few years here. I’m still hoping next fall will be a little better for fall color then the last few years have been.