Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fall Color at the Shaw Nature Reserve

THIS SUMMER'S SEVERE drought caused widespread crop failure, but also harmed many trees. But late rains meant that fall foliage would once again put on a grand show of color before winter.

Fall Colors near Tyson Range on Interstate 44

Driving a short distance out of Saint Louis, along westbound Interstate 44, takes you into the foothills of the Ozark mountains. A beautiful region during a beautiful time of year.

The best times of the year in Saint Louis are April and October, not only because of the generally pleasant temperatures, but also because of spectacular natural color.

The following photos are at the Shaw Nature Reserve (formerly called the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri.

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - autumn tree in yellow

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - autumn tree in orange and green

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - clump of autumn trees on prairie

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - clump of autumn trees on prairie 2

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - prairie with figure

This prairie is maintained by periodic burning. It is filled with wildflowers in the spring, and fall brings its own colors.

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - lone tree

Many of these photos were taken along the same path I recently took under the light of the full moon. See the article Night Photos at the Shaw Nature Reserve.

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - red sumac leaves

Red sumac leaves.

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - forest edge

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - forest path

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - glade

This is a glade, a dry, south-facing slope, which includes desert species not otherwise found in Missouri.

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - Shooting star in glade

Shooting Star flower.

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - autumn colors in glade

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - view of autumn forest

All of these photos were made to look best under full resolution: to my eye, they look a little bit rough here, and are cleaner at full size. Click the photo to be taken to Flickr, where you can see the full-sized images.

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - yellow tree

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - forest path 2

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - cemetery

An old walled cemetery, hidden in the forest. The Fall of the year is a natural symbol for the fall of man — and the consequences of that fall. 

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - opening in trees

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - serpentine wall

The serpentine wall. The key to getting good color in photographs of autumn leaves is to avoid any overexposure whatsoever, which would turn bright reds and yellows into dull, pale unsaturated colors.

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - wetland parking

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - large trees

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - view from path

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - lake

Before the drought, the water level would have filled the foreground. Several nearby lakes were at best only damp mud at this time.

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - lake 2

Lily pads fill the lake, and many frogs and turtles can be found here.

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - lake 3

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - prairie

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - wildlife viewing platform

A wildlife viewing platform.

Shaw Nature Reserve (the Arboretum), in Gray Summit, Missouri, USA - trees and path

Website of the Shaw Nature Reserve.

3 comments:

  1. Great pictures! Always love the Lebanon, MO and Devil's Elbow area off I-44 and old Rt 66 for the fall colors.

    The springtime I find best enjoyed from Washington, MO westbound to Jefferson City and up to Fulton, MO.

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  3. Last weekend we went to Hannibal MO for the Fall Folklife Festival. We also took a short drive down MO Rt 79 toward Ilasco (noticed a tiny Catholic church there) and were struck by how rugged (lots of steep hills, bluffs, valleys, etc.) that area is -- especially since we're accustomed to the flat Illinois prairie. Perhaps you could post pictures of that area sometime? I always enjoy your nature photo shoots.

    Elaine

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