Updated: Jun 5, 2018
California probably isn’t the first state that comes to mind when planning a photographic jaunt to shoot fall foliage. But a recent trip to Sequoia National Park proved to me once again that I live in an incredibly photogenic part of the world.
We left Visalia, California dark and early and arrived at Round Meadow (GPS 36.565971, -118.769200) 30 minutes before sun rise. Round Meadow is one of the easiest short hikes in Sequoia National Park. The meadow offers a perfect habitat for the ancient Giant Sequoias that ring it. There is no other old-growth Sequoia grove that has a big meadows like this. The meadow is a 400 meter walk from the Giant Forest Museum. Come early enough and you can park where you like in the usually busy parking lot. Tip: Park along the highway in one of the pull outs just past the handicap parking. It is a short hike to the meadow from there.
I was anticipating a few daubs of color among the giant Sequoias but to my surprise the rising sun revealed a tapestry of autumn. The Dogwoods, Aspens and other deciduous trees are wearing their fall colors and while they can’t compete with the vivid vistas of hardwoods in places like Vermont, they are nonetheless very attractive. Besides, there’s something to be said about finding a striking yellow-flocked Dogwood specimen, painted by shafts of sunlight against a backdrop of Redwoods.
Starting on the trail circling Round Meadow we were pulled by the splashes of color lighting up the hillside on the Alta Trail (just across the highway). At that time of day we had the forest to ourselves, and a 4 point buck mule deer sauntered into a small meadow to pose for us. Nothing like a little wildlife to add spice to your composition!
Sadly the fall colors won’t last long. If you plan to capture them, the last two weeks of October will see the peak of color (at least in the Giant Forest area of the Park). Go early and beat the rush.
These images were captured with a Nikon D610, available from Amazon for under $1,500 (as of Oct 2017).
About the author: JS Engelbrecht began his photography career in a High School dark room for the school's Year Book. Later he entered the fashion industry and product photography before turning his attention to Nature. "I moved from shooting pictures of beautiful jewelry to shooting pictures of natural beauty."
Now JS Engelbrecht enjoys capturing beautiful scenes during his travels. He is also a gifted teacher and guide for local photographers. Click here to see his fine art gallery.