First Snow and Fall Colors

We had our first snow of the season in Flagstaff, Arizona last week (although snow had occurred much earlier in the nearby mountains) and it was a chance to photograph fall colors against the new snow. First stop was a grove of gambel oaks I had been watching for the past several weeks.

I had hoped for a light dusting of snow so that the leaves would stand out against the snow. Instead, several inches of snow fell and all but covered the leaves.

Gambel oak and several inches of fresh snow near Flagstaff.
Gambel oak and several inches of fresh snow near Flagstaff.

The next stop was in Oak Creek Canyon. Snow cover was quickly diminishing at these lower elevations with only a partial covering remaining as I arrived at around 5500′ elevation.

Clouds swirl around the cliffs of Oak Creek Canyon as a light dusting of snow covers the canyon floor.
Clouds swirl around the cliffs of Oak Creek Canyon as a light dusting of snow covers the canyon floor.

Additional snow fell that afternoon and evening and I returned the next morning to Oak Creek Canyon. The snow was a bit deeper this time and more widespread. And the cold temperatures of the previous days had resulted in a little more color in the leaves.

Maple leaves show their fall colors as snow lies on a fallen tree in Oak Creek Canyon.
Maple leaves show their fall colors as snow lies on a fallen tree in Oak Creek Canyon.
Finally! Some red appears in the maples this year.
Finally! Some red appears in the maples this year.