Golden fall aspens along Rush Creek, Inyo National Forest, Sierra Nevada Mountains, California (Russ Bishop/Russ Bishop Photography)

Autumn is one of my favorite times of year. The crisp air and shorter days stimulate the senses, and the light takes on a magical quality. Throughout the country the deciduous trees from aspen to maple are a visual reminder that summer has passed and that winter is not far off. And for the photographer, this transition is literally a golden opportunity to capture the landscape in its finest hour.

When many people think of fall color the hardwood forests of the eastern United States immediately come to mind, but the aspen groves of the western states and the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California in particular can rival even the sugar maples of Vermont. Photographing aspens is often best on overcast days when the light is soft and harsh shadows are minimized or late in the day when the sky is clear and the warm back-light makes them glow from within. This image was made along Rush Creek near June Lake just moments before the sun dropped behind the Sierra peaks.

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  1. Thanks Ethan! Hope you’re having some great color up in your neck of the woods.

  2. Russ, love that dramatic contrast of the golden trees against the dark mountains!

  3. Thanks Bret and Edward! This should be a good year with the wet winter we’ve had.

  4. Lovely image Russ and nicely said regarding the Eastern Sierras. It’s the best color show in the western US.

  5. Oh wow, Russ – the gold leaves against the cool mountain backdrop are outstanding. Lovely composition and a gorgeous image all-around. Looking forward to photographing some aspens in a couple weeks!

  6. Thanks Julie! I agree, walking through them the light seems to radiate from within. I only wish the season lasted longer.

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  8. This image is gorgeous! Viewing autumn colors from afar can be breathtaking, but my favorite place to be is right in the middle of them. The way the light filters through the leaves makes everything glow. It’s the closest thing I can think of to feeling like you’re sitting in a rainbow.