Big-leaf maple along the Merced River in Yosemite Valley from late October a few years ago

Big-leaf maple along the Merced River in Yosemite Valley (from late October a few years ago)

We had a great weekend with Sierra Art Trails. Sales were good, but it was especially nice to meet many online friends in person, and to renew old acquaintances. Thanks to all of you who stopped by!

I had a chance to check out the fall color in Yosemite Valley yesterday afternoon. Some of the maples and dogwoods are starting to turn, but I didn’t see a single tree that had fully changed. All the maples and dogwoods had at least some green leaves, and most were entirely green. At this point it looks like the autumn color in the Valley will peak near the end of October or beginning of November—the normal time.

Over on the eastern side of the Sierra the higher-elevation aspens started turning early this year, and are now mostly past peak. But recent reports I’ve heard indicate that the mid- to lower-elevation aspens are changing more slowly. They seem to be on a typical schedule, which means there should still be good color over on the eastside for another couple of weeks.

There’s a chance of rain and higher-elevation snow in the forecast for the next two days. The predictions don’t call for high winds, which is good news—strong winds could strip some of the yellow leaves off the trees. If Tioga Pass stays open I’m planning to head over to the eastern Sierra on Friday, so I can give you a first-hand report on the eastside color, and the effect of this weather system—if any.

—Michael Frye

Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He is the author and photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to YosemiteYosemite Meditations, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters, plus the eBooks Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom, and Exposure for Outdoor Photography. He has written numerous magazine articles on the art and technique of photography, and his images have been published in over thirty countries around the world. Michael has lived either in or near Yosemite National Park since 1983, currently residing just outside the park in Mariposa, California.