Rodeonexis Photo

Hell Roaring Foliage

In a Native American legend, spirit hunters in the sky slew the Great Bear (a constellation) in autumn. The bear’s blood, dripping on the forests, changed many leaves to red.

University of Maine

Ah yes, my favorite time of year again. There’s nothing like seeing the forest come alive with color. But if these changes aren’t due to mythical bears in the sky, then what causes this amazing phenomenon?

Capitol Creek Foliage, Hell Roaring TH

Capitol Peak, as seen through shimmering aspens. Old Snowmass, CO

Aspens, just like many other trees, take advantage of the suns rays for nourishment. Chlorophyll, found in leaves, helps with the photosynthesis process (making food from carbon dioxide and water). But it also has a major impact on the vibrant colors that we enjoy each autumn. As the days shorten and less light falls on the forest, trees automatically begin to slow their growth. Instead of collecting all their energy from the sun’s rays, they have to use food reserves that have collected in their leaves over the warm summer months. The green chlorophyll is slowly used up within the leaves, and what is left is vibrant yellow, red, or orange. What’s interesting is that these colors are always present in leaves, but we only see them when the more dominant green disappears. For more information on changing leaves, please click HERE.

Check back later this week for more details and images from © Rodeonexis Photography…brought to you by Jeremy Weir

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