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How to Submit Reports and Photos

Bear Creek (11/1/15) Robert Kermen

Over 75 volunteer “color spotters” (our term for contributors) submit photographs and reports to CaliforniaFallColor.com each autumn.

To be one of them is very easy. Email photos within a few days of when they were taken* to editor@californiafallcolor.com. Include the photographer’s name, date the photo was taken and the location where the photo was taken.

If you know the foliage seen in the photo (particularly if it is unusual or wouldn’t be evident to us), please describe it (e.g., bigleaf maple, black oak, silver willow, etc.).

Photos should be** high resolution, particularly if you’d like them considered as one of the best photos of the week. The week’s best photos are (with photographer’s permission) sent to major broadcast and print media and they won’t accept any photo less sized than 300 dpi. Photographers are credited and get valuable recognition/exposure.

Reports should include: % of color change (Just Starting, Patchy, Near Peak, Peak or Past Peak) at the location, the name of the location, roads (e.g., take Rock Creek Rd. east from US 395), date visited and any helpful information (e.g., “The trail is steep for the first 500′. but then levels out for the two mile hike to the lake. A grove of peaking aspen is found at the western side the lake trail.”).

Reports and photos can also be posted CaliforniaFallColor’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Though, emailing photos and reports is the best way to get them on this site.

Thank you and happy wandering!

* Historic photos, like Robert Kermen’s shot of Bear Creek (seen above), are published – on occasion – days or even years after they were taken, but only to illustrate an article that is not time-sensitive. Fall color reports only use photos taken during the previous week, in order to present what can be seen at that location.

** Please don’t hesitate sending a photograph just because it isn’t 300 dpi. Pictures taken with mobile devices often get included in our reports.

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The Low Down on Down Low

Chinese pistache, Watsonville (8/21/16) Chuck Eads

Chinese pistache, Watsonville (8/21/16) Chuck Eads

For the past week and a half, we’ve received a flush of reports of near peak fall color appearing down low (Oakland, Berkeley, Watsonville, Salinas, San Diego), though spots of color have been reported up high, too (Eastern Sierra, San Bernardino Mountains).

So, what’s the low down on color that’s down low?

Almost all the early peak color seen at lower elevations so far (with the exception of Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve in San Diego) has appeared on non-native trees, whereas native trees appear to be developing normally.

Every year, we get reports of trees with early color.  Often the trees happen to be exotics (non-native), like the liquidambar that LA Leaf Peeper reported as fringed with red in June.

Does this mean an earlier autumn? We suspect not. Early change is more likely a product of a particular environment, locale or specie, than it is a harbinger of an early autumn, statewide.

Our recommendation to see the best color is to plan travel to see fall color in California, as normally.  The best way to do this is to use this site as a research tool, by looking back at the area you want to visit (category) or date when you plan to visit (archives).

Notice when the color was at peak at a given location during the past five years, then pick an average date for past peaks, or find locations where it was peaking when you can travel and go there.

With either approach, your choice should be very close to peak color. And, that’s the low down on traveling to see the best fall color in California.

Near Peak (50-75%) – Watsonville Community Hospital (Go Now!)