My November 2020 Photo of the Month is LM78, photographed with beautiful Fall Color in our local Laguna Mountains.
This year, the Laguna Mountains in San Diego County had very nice Fall Color. The mountain province is a pine forest with Black Oaks that grow intermittently throughout the pine forest. Some years are better than others. Often, some leaves turn at different times because Autumn in Southern California can bring temperatures between 30 and 90 degrees. It is rare to have good, consistent, temperatures that allow these oaks to turn at the same time.
In addition, wind is often a factor. Any period of winds can ruin the chances of having good, consistent, color. In fact, that is exactly what happened this past week when a Santa Ana weather condition reached San Diego County. We have another one this week, meaning the leaves will be down.
I also tend to ignore Fall Color because that is what everybody else does. The pandemic may have held down the crowds this year, but we know everybody is up at Maroon Bells, Bishop Creek, and June Lake to take all of the photographs that look like all the other Fall Color photographs.
Fall Color is often a great place for shooting intimate landscapes, but I still think of myself as an “out-timate” photographer. Sure enough, this scene with a foreground of buckwheat with Black Oak mixed in the pine forest was just the thing I like to compose.
This section was along Kitchen Creek Road, which was closed1. This meant I mostly had the road to myself, and some weekend quiet/solitude in the Laguna Mountains.
LM78 was a favorite of mine due to the shadows, the variability of the foliage, and of course, the beautiful fall color in the pine forest.
As always, thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy the image.
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T.M. Schultze is a San Diego-based photographer, traveller, and writer. He writes, photographs, and draws things of the outdoors that have inspired humans for thousands of years. He co-authored the Photographer’s Guide to Joshua Tree Park which can be purchased here.