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Postcard: The Week That Was

Silver Lake Still Life (10/24/15) Mariusz Jeglinski

Silver Lake Still Life (10/24/15) Mariusz Jeglinski

Color spotters from across California sent images this week of what they captured.  Most came from US 395 in the Eastern Sierra, which had its last great week of peak. Here’s a postcard collection. Click to enlarge.

Silver Lake (10/24/15) Mariusz Jeglinski

Silver Lake (10/24/15) Mariusz Jeglinski

Silver Lake (10/24/15) Mariusz Jeglinski

Silver Lake (10/24/15) Mariusz Jeglinski

Owens Valley, near Bishop (10/24/15) Mariusz Jeglinski

Owens Valley, near Bishop (10/24/15) Mariusz Jeglinski

June Lake Loop (10/24/15) Mariusz Jeglinski

June Lake Loop (10/24/15) Mariusz Jeglinski

June Lake Loop (10/24/15) Mariusz Jeglinski

June Lake Loop (10/24/15) Mariusz Jeglinski

Aspendell (10/24/15) Mariusz Jeglinski

Aspendell (10/24/15) Mariusz Jeglinski

Mariusz Jeglinski shared this collection of photographs taken on one day in the Eastern Sierra.  One day, one word… Beautiful!

Convict Lake (10/24/15) Pushkar Gejji

Convict Lake (10/24/15) Pushkar Gejji

Inyo National Forest (10/24/15) Pushkar Gejji

Inyo National Forest (10/24/15) Pushkar Gejji

Aspen, June Lake Loop (10/24/15) Pushkar Gejji

Aspen, June Lake Loop (10/24/15) Pushkar Gejji

Pushkar Gejji sent these impressions of the Eastern Sierra.

June Lake (10/25/15) Ivan Alo

June Lake (10/25/15) Ivan Alo

Owens Valley (10/25/15) Ivan Alo

Owens Valley (10/25/15) Ivan Alo

Ivan Alo journeyed to the spot where Greg Newbry took our masthead image and provides his take.

Then, he shows us the beauty to be found in the Owens Valley, when we open ourselves to seeing it.

North Coast color spotter Walter Gabler traveled from Humboldt County to Mendocino County on US, and reported very little color along the route.  Walt says Mendocino’s vineyards are still very green and have changed little since he took this shot last month, though harvest was completed two weeks ago.

Elsewhere in Humboldt County, Gabriel Leete found similarly disappointing bigleaf maple with dry leaves at the East Fork Campground, past Willow Creek.  Several spotters have voiced concern over what effect another year of drought might have on the bigleaf maple and aspen which have struggled in places throughout California.

Bigleaf maple, Grizzly Creek State Park (10/26/15) Walter Gabler

Bigleaf maple, Grizzly Creek State Park (10/26/15) Walter Gabler

Black oak, Benbow Inn State Recreation Area (10/26/15) Walter Gabler

Black oak, Benbow Inn State Recreation Area (10/26/15) Walter Gabler

Vines, Ukiah (9/21/15) Walter Gabler

Vines, Ukiah (9/21/15) Walter Gabler

East Fork Campground, Willow Creek (10/24/15) Gabriel Leete

East Fork Campground, Willow Creek (10/24/15) Gabriel Leete

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Owens Valley Soft and Lovely

Rawson Ponds, Owens Valley (10/25/15) Gary Young

Rawson Ponds, Owens Valley (10/25/15) Gary Young

Warm Springs Rd, Owens Valley (10/25/15) Gary Young

Warm Springs Rd, Owens Valley (10/25/15) Gary Young

Rawson Ponds, Owens Valley (10/25/15) Gary Young

Rawson Ponds, Owens Valley (10/25/15) Gary Young

Rawson Ponds, Owens Valley (10/25/15) Gary Young

Rawson Ponds, Owens Valley (10/25/15) Gary Young

Bishop color spotter Gary Young drove down to the Owens River before work, yesterday morning and returned with these beautiful shots of soft, lovely fall color.

The pond shots are from Rawson Ponds near the Owens River (Between East Line Rd and Warm Springs Rd, southeast of Bishop) and the road with the Eastern Sierra seen in the background is Warm Springs Rd.

Gary writes that “you can sure see the effects of the drought in the Owens Valley with only a small percentage of trees showing great color.  It certainly has become the Cadillac Desert, described in literature.

Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – Owens Valley

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Inyo County: Color Descends to the Owens Valley

North Lake Road (9/30/15) Jared Smith/Parcher's Resort

North Lake Road (9/30/15) Jared Smith/Parcher’s Resort

With the seasonal closing of Parchers Resort, we lose a reliable color spotter in Jared Smith.  This was not a stellar year for Bishop Creek Canyon, as drought and weather stripped 2/3 of the aspen early in September.

North Lake (9/27/15) Elliott McCucken

North Lake (9/27/15) Elliot McCucken

By October, much of the color was gone. What remained, had glorious and intense color (including some spectacular reds at North Lake), but the show was not as big as in past years.

So, we’re now officially declaring Bishop Creek to be past peak, though some lower areas are still showing color.

We recommend exploring the Owens Valley for interesting color.  In and around Bishop are many stands of cottonwood and some oaks, as well as urban landscaped trees that show bright color.

And, Bishop is a great place to stop, refresh or regroup. Our favorite stops in Bishop include Mountain Light, Galen and Barbara Rowell’s studio; Schat’s Bakkery (home of the original sheepherder’s bread and all kinds of baked goodies) and Mahogany Smoked Meats on N. Sierra Hwy (US 395), though from now through early November, the fall color pleasantly surprises.

Past Peak YOU MISSED IT! – Mist Falls and the groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (8350ft)

Past Peak YOU MISSED IT! – Aspendell (8400ft

Peak GO NOW! (50-75%%) – Four Jeffreys (8000ft) – Four Jeffreys is showing the last of its color.

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Intake II (8000ft) – Very few groves near the dam and along the shoreline have peak color.

Near Peak GO NOW! (50-75%) – Big Trees Campground (7800ft) –Nice color remains in this past to peak area of the canyon.

Near Peak (50-75%) – Bishop (4,150ft) – The upper Owens Valley has developed beautifully and has such a mix of patchy to peaking trees, that we’re calling it Near Peak and issuing an alert to go now. Beautiful gold can be found along Pacific St. in Bishop, while some areas in the Owens Valley are still early. Ornamental pear and other deciduous exotic landscaped trees in Bishop and other Owens Valley towns are coloring up, depending on their specie.

Patchy (10-50%) – Lower Owens Valley – Independence and Lone Pine are developing spots of color along streams and in lower Eastern Sierra canyons.

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Eastern Sierra Moves From Fall to Winter

Convict Lake (11/2/14) Nicholas Barnhart

Convict Lake (11/2/14) Nicholas Barnhart

June Lake Loop (11/1/14) Nicholas Barnhart

June Lake Loop (11/1/14) Nicholas Barnhart

Lundy Lake (11/1/14) Nicholas Barnhart

Lundy Lake (11/1/14) Nicholas Barnhart

Silver Lake (11/1)14) Nicholas Barnhart

Silver Lake (11/1)14) Nicholas Barnhart

Mono Lake (11/1/14) Nicholas Barnhart

Mono Lake (11/1/14) Nicholas Barnhart

Mammoth Lakes (11/2/14) Nicholas Barnhart

Mammoth Lakes (11/2/14) Nicholas Barnhart

Owens Valley (11/2/14) Nicholas Barnhart

Owens Valley (11/2/14) Nicholas Barnhart

Great fall color photographers are patient.  They’re willing to wait past sunset for the alpenglow or get up early for the morning light.  They don’t quit when everyone else says peak has passed. They go to unexpected places and find glory.

Great fall color photographers are methodical. They plan their shots, considering the calendar and locations they discovered previously and have banked away as worth returning to another day.

Great fall color photographers capture scenes others will never get.

Snow blanketed higher elevations in the Eastern Sierra this past weekend.  Most fall color photographers packed away their cameras when it had peaked a couple of weeks before, but not Nick and Alena Barnhart.  They’re great fall color photographers.

This past week, Nick called to say he and Alena were making one last trip to the Eastern Sierra, and if possible, cross over Tioga Pass to Yosemite.  That wasn’t possible, as the pass closed for winter, but they did bring back images few others got. Here’s what they found in Mono County and the Owens Valley as fall and winter collided.

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Weekend Roundup: Snow and Glory

Narrow Gate Vineyards (11/1/14) John Poimiroo

Narrow Gate Vineyards (11/1/14) John Poimiroo

Pomegranates are the color of fall at Boa Vista in Apple Hill (10/30/14 John Poimiroo

Pomegranates are the color of fall at Boa Vista in Apple Hill (10/30/14 John Poimiroo

Grape tubs are full of rainfall at Narrow Gate Vineyards (11/1/14) John Poimiroo

Grape tubs are full of rainfall at Narrow Gate Vineyards (11/1/14) John Poimiroo

Counoise vines at Holly's Hill Winery (11/1/14) John Poimiroo

Counoise vines at Holly’s Hill Winery (11/1/14) John Poimiroo

Color spotters from around the state have sent reports on what’s showing as November and daylight saving time arrives.

Western El Dorado County (Near Peak 50 -75%) – The brilliant orange-red of exotic Chinese pistache is a show stopper along El Dorado Hills Boulevard and at all US 50 exits in Placerville.  Newtown Rd between Placerville and Pleasant Valley is a veritable canopy of yellow and lime bigleaf maple with occasional orange flushes of black oak. This is one of the most beautiful drives in the Gold Country, though has few turnouts, so you have to stop before or after you see the color to photograph it.  GO NOW!

Apple Hill (Near Peak 50-75%) – Apple orchards, fruit trees and vineyards are a blend of yellow, gold and green. GO NOW!

Sierra Foothills Wineries and Vineyards (Near Peak 75-100%) – Counoise and Grenache vineyards at Holly’s Hill and Narrow Gate wineries in the Pleasant Valley area south of Placerville are a mix of lime, yellow, orange and red.  GO NOW!

Beckstoffer Vineyards, Ukiah (10/29/14) Walter Gabler

Beckstoffer Vineyards, Ukiah (10/29/14) Walter Gabler

Ukiah Valley (Near Peak – 50-75%) – North coast color spotter Walter Gabler reports that Mendocino County vineyards are near peak in the Ukiah Valley. Vineyards tend to change by variety.  Because of this, it’s difficult to know which are peaking and which are progressing toward peak. Our advice, regarding all wineries, is to visit anytime from early October to mid November and there is likely to be color in their vineyards. GO NOW!

Monument Campground, Lake Camanche (10/30/14) Terry Willard

Monument Campground, Lake Camanche (10/30/14) Terry Willard

Lake Camanche (Near Peak 50 – 75%) – Colorful fremont cottonwood and exotic trees are reflected in the Monument Campgrounds trout pond, providing an idyllic setting for RVers. GO NOW!

Castle Crags State Park (10/30/14) Cory Poole

Castle Crags State Park (10/30/14) Cory Poole

Castle Crags State Park (Near Peak 50 – 75%) – Cory Poole posted this photo of Castle Crags State Park on California Fall Color’s Facebook page, showing how the color is developing in Shasta County. GO NOW!

Tilden Park, Berkeley  (11/1/14) Sandy Steinman

Tilden Park, Berkeley (11/1/14) Sandy Steinman

Tilden Park, Berkeley  (11/1/14) Sandy Steinman

Tilden Park, Berkeley (11/1/14) Sandy Steinman

Tilden Park, Berkeley  (11/1/14) Sandy Steinman

Tilden Park, Berkeley (11/1/14) Sandy Steinman

Tilden Park, Berkeley (Patchy 10 – 50%) – Color spotty Sandy Steinman reports that fall color at East Bay Regional Parks’ Botanic Garden is mixed.  He writes there are no grand displays, but some nice color spots. Some decidous trees have peaked while other are still showing green.

Oakland Camp, Quincy (10/31/14) Mike Nellor

Oakland Camp, Quincy (10/31/14) Mike Nellor

Aspendell (10/31/14) Steve Wolfe

Aspendell (10/31/14) Steve Wolfe

High Sierra (Peak 75 – 100%) – Three to six inches of snow fell in the High Sierra this weekend.  That’s a dusting of snow by Sierra standards.  Steve Wolfe and Mike Nellor captured snow and fall color in Inyo and Plumas Counties.  The combination of fall color and snow is dramatic and emotional, as seen in Mike’s shot of Oakland Camp.  This does not mean the fall color show has ended, only that it has moved to a different stage. GO NOW!

Owens Valley (10/31/14) Steve Wolfe

Owens Valley (10/31/14) Steve Wolfe

Owens Valley (10/31/14) Steve Wolfe

Owens Valley (10/31/14) Steve Wolfe

Owens Valley (Peak – 75 – 100%) – Color spotter Steve Wolfe – on departing the Eastern Sierra provided this last report on the Owens Valley, where rabbitbrush, willows and black cottonwood are peaking with gorgeous tones of orange, yellow and gold. GO NOW!

Switzer Falls Trail (11/1/14) Dan Riley

Switzer Falls Trail (11/1/14) Dan Riley

Switzer Falls Trail (11/1/14) Dan Riley

Switzer Falls Trail (11/1/14) Dan Riley

Switzer Falls (Past Peak) – Dan Riley sent these photos of: Switzer Falls in the Angeles National Forest.  The forest floor is orange with spent maple and black oak leaves. The Switzer Falls trail is an area from which we’ve not received photos, previously.  A tip for photographers – take pictures of places not seen on this site previously and you’re almost assured of getting them posted. YOU MISSED IT.

Lone Pine to Bishop – Glowing

US 395, Bishop (10/17/12) Jon Klusmire

Eastern California Museum, Independence (10/17/12) Jon Klusmire

15 – 30-% – Owens Valley – Color spotter Jon Klusmire reports spots of bright yellow just outside Bishop, red near the Eastern California Museum in Independence and the entire lengh of U.S. 395 from Lone Pine to Bishop showing a mix of color from deep green to bright yellow.  He comments, “It’s like the yellow or red pops out of nowhere amid the sage and other greenery.”