In the one and only trip out for the Fall Colors in the Eastern Sierras (specifically Hope Valley), I spent a little bit of time to experiment with what the people in the know call Light Impressions. It gives a photograph the appearance of an Impressionist painting. Maybe mine is a crude example, but it was definitely fun to try.
As for the trip itself, I sent off a quick summary to Carol Leigh at CalPhoto, but will also post it here. I estimate Hope Valley as a whole will be in “peak” in 2 weeks (10/19 weekend). The areas right around Sorensen’s will be peak a little sooner.
Update 10/19: As I had mentioned previously, I was estimating the 10/19 weekend to be the peak color time for Hope Valley, minus Sorensen’s which should be past peak now. Dave Henry from the Sacramento Bee published an article overnight (HERE) confirming this is the week to hit Hope Valley this year. If you figure the incoming storm set to arrive by Tuesday (10/23), the leaves will be down by then. So if you are thinking of going, do it this weekend!!
The weather in Northern California has cooler considerably since Thursday (10/4) and looks to remain that way for the next 10 days. Daytime highs in the 60’s with overnight lows into the 20’s. Thunderstorms are forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday next week.
(As of 10/5) Starting from west to east along Hwy 88:
- Woods Lake Road (right past Caples Lake) – everything you need to see is within the first 1/4 mile, mostly around the old cow corrals
- Carson Pass/Red Lake heading east – 10-15%, lots of green occasional stands of yellow
- Iconic cabin – 10-15%, barely any color, but in case you’re wondering, cabin is for sale!
- Area around the 2nd unmarked, unused Emigrant Road, midway between Blue Lakes and 89 Junction – 50%, yellows
- Hope Valley pre-campground (northside) at the corrals (couple of heavy machinery parked nearby right now, easy to spot) – 50%, good variation of color, walk across the meadow to the trees, everyone else does.
- Hope Valley campground (northside) – 25-30%, 2 specific stands that require driving into the campground – 1st stand yellow, green, 2nd stand yellow, green, some orange
- Sorensen’s – 50-60% yellows
- Sorensen’s Fire Trail – 75%, yellows, some trees past peak, not worth walking beyond the stream (4th turn?)
- West Fork Carson River, heading downhill – 10-15% scattered throughout
Along Hwy 89 to Tahoe:
- Luther Pass – 20%, all along the road
- Christmas Valley – 10-15%, interspersed among homes
As is always the case, check out these sites for the latest on the rest of the Eastern Sierra, where many locations are coming into peak as I type:
Unless you live up in the Eastern Sierras or have the ability to drive to the area every few days, your best bet is to visit the following sites for the latest color information:
- California Fall Color (John Poimiroo)
- Fall Color in California (Carol Leigh)
- SacBee’s Fall Leaves (Dave Henry)
- Sierra Impressions (Cory Freeman)
- Mono County Tourism Board – download the Fall Color guide, reports not yet updated
- Weather.com – one large storm and the season might be over with blown down leaves
- Flickr – search for specific lakes, creeks, destinations and see what other photogs have done and what to expect
EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center weighted metering mode, 130mm, ISO 200, 30 sec, f/9
Aspens, Colors, Light Impression. Hope Valley, California. October 05, 2012. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.