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.
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.
This prairie is maintained by periodic burning. It is filled with wildflowers in the spring, and fall brings its own colors.
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.
Red sumac leaves.
This is a glade, a dry, south-facing slope, which includes desert species not otherwise found in Missouri.
Shooting Star flower.
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.
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.
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.
Before the drought, the water level would have filled the foreground. Several nearby lakes were at best only damp mud at this time.
Lily pads fill the lake, and many frogs and turtles can be found here.
A wildlife viewing platform.
Website of the Shaw Nature Reserve.