Autumn color

It’s true that we here in Texas do not enjoy the same showy display foliage aficionados can watch in the Northeast.  In fact, we often say the bulk of autumn color in this neck of the woods consists of green turning to brown—all in one week.  And though that often feels truer than it is, finding nature’s gemstones this time of year doesn’t require a trip across the country.

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Autumn foliage surrounding the Sunset Bay swamp (2009_11_08_037687_autumn)
Fruit of Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense) in autumn (2010_02_20_050039_autumn)
The Dixon Branch riparian woods at the edge of the floodplain showing autumn colors (157_5744._autumnJPG)
Morning sunshine filtering through open woods in autumn color (157_5753_autumn)
The lavender fruit of American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) seen in autumn (2009_12_13_044546_autumn)
Rust-colored bald cypress trees (a.k.a. swamp cypress, southern cypress, red cypress, white cypress, yellow cypress, Gulf cypress or tidewater red cypress; Taxodium distichum) in autumn (2008_12_13_002386_autumn)
Autumn foliage on one of the small islands in the Sunset Bay confluence at White Rock Lake (20081101_14431_autumn)
Close-up of a common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) in bright sunshine (20080114_01296_autumn)
Autumn fruit of sacred bamboo (a.k.a. heavenly bamboo; Nandina domestica) seen on a cloudy day (2009_11_07_037328_autumn)
A blanket of autumn leaves showing a rainbow of colors (219_1928_autumn)

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Photos:

  1. Unidentified: this flower has all the traits of an aster, yet the flowers are smaller than a fingerprint, the plant never grows above the grass (thus the flowers are small white spots in the turf), and it matches none of the asters I can find.  So still looking…
  2. Autumn foliage surrounding the swamp at Sunset Bay
  3. Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense)
  4. Dixon Branch riparian woods at the edge of the floodplain showing autumn colors
  5. Open woods in autumn
  6. American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)
  7. Bald cypress (a.k.a. swamp cypress, southern cypress, red cypress, white cypress, yellow cypress, Gulf cypress or tidewater red cypress; Taxodium distichum)
  8. Colorful autumn foliage seen on a small island in the Sunset Bay confluence at White Rock Lake
  9. Common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
  10. Sacred bamboo (a.k.a. heavenly bamboo; Nandina domestica)
  11. Autumn leaves the wind collected outside my garage door

10 thoughts on “Autumn color”

    1. Thanks, Tim! I just wish we got a show like they do in the Northeast. One of these days I’ll have to take a trip up there just to get foliage shots.

      And I giggled at you dreading what comes after autumn. I’m the opposite: winter is my favorite season. Bring on the cold!

  1. You’ve captured some great shots of the local color that we do enjoy around here. It is certainly out there if you know when and where to look – I love that last photo of the leaves on the ground. Is that Black Cherry above it? Would love to find a place around my house for a Black Cherry tree…

    1. That’s exactly it, Amber: around these parts, you have to look for the colors of autumn. But it’s out there, even if mostly there’s a lot of brown to make you think otherwise.

      As for the photo you asked about, it’s actually sacred bamboo (Nandina domestica, also known as heavenly bamboo). I first thought it was one of a few species of smooth-leafed holly, but alas the leaf shape isn’t right, and nandina is invasive. Darn! Well, it’s still purty lookin’!

  2. I think you’ve done a great job of capturing the colors, too, Jason. I especially liked the last image of the leaves on the ground, and the yellow-green tree that looks to me like a live oak because of its gentle bowed branches. I lived in central Florida for seven years and, like you, had to hunt for signs of autumn; the red maples usually came through, though, with dependable color.

    1. Thanks, Scott! I have to admit all of these photos are from autumn 2009 and 2008 since I’m not able to be out and about yet, but they still do the trick. And you hit the nail on the head like Amber did: it’s not that autumn doesn’t give us a show, but it’s not as evident as it is elsewhere–meaning we have to hunt it down.

    1. Thanks, Jill! Before my camera died earlier this year–and before other things happened that diverted my attention–I had started playing with neutral density, color compensating, and intensifier filters coupled with UV and polarizing filters. Though I hadn’t mastered which combinations worked best under what circumstances, I lucked out in many cases through trial and error, hence the somewhat different look of these photos. Thankfully I have a lot more of these experiments to show (in my vast obsessive-compulsive collection of photos).

  3. Wonderful photos, Jason. Autumn needs no apologies outside of the northeast, as it is more than just colors – it’s also crisp air, pungents smells, and long sharp shadows. Long live fall!

    Callicarpa americana?

    1. Thank you, Ted! You nailed it: though we lack the landscapes blanketed in showy colors, autumn outside those rainbow-foliage-clad areas get to enjoy other benefits.

      Yes, that’s Callicarpa americana with the lavender fruit. What a gorgeous color that is to come across in the shadows. And I daftly missed it when Amber asked about the nandina, but now I realize I didn’t label any of these images. Oops! Time for an edit.

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