Wednesday 22 October 2008

Strathspey Autumn Colours

Reports suggest that the woodland colours this autumn are especially spectacular. I find them impressive every year and haven’t noticed any big difference in Strathspey, just the small changes that make each year interesting and unique. Wandering round the woods yesterday I noticed that the aspens, often flashes of brilliant yellow, have already lost their leaves and stand grey and bare, stark winter trees. Last week their foliage was still green so any colour has been brief. Bird cherries, which can be a brilliant red, have lost many leaves too and aren’t as glorious as in many years. In contrast the larches are only just beginning to turn, their needles fading from dark to pale green and showing just the first hints of yellow, their magnificent peak still to come. Rowans, which in some years show little colour other than the red berries and lose their leaves quickly, are turning a deep bronze red, that looks rather like dirty rust close to but stands out as a burst of intense colour at a distance. The real beauty lies with the birches though, which glow bright yellow and gold, though the strong winds of recent days have stripped leaves from the most exposed trees and branches, leaving them bare and with the purple tinge that marks them out in winter. Whilst many individual trees are worth stopping to contemplate and admire I find a big sweep of woodland with a mix of the dark green of conifers and the dazzling autumn colours of the deciduous trees the most striking and inspiring. At this time of year the forest, which has been a mass of uniform dull green for months, comes alive and shines in the landscape. Beyond and above the trees snow lay on the slopes of the high Cairngorms and the sky was swept with fast-moving squalls of cold rain and sleet. The forest was the place to be.

Photo info: Strathspey Woodland. Canon EOS 450D, Canon EF-S 55-250mm IS@109mm, f5.6@1/60, ISO 200, raw file converted to JPEG in Lightroom 2.


  1. I look at that photo Chris and it sums up the wonder of colour that can be seen in the autumn. I also now that what you viewed is what you have photographed and this matters to me - as honest pictures encourage others that they can go see views like that to.

  2. Thanks for your comments. I was out in the same area today and the colours are even more intense, especially in the low later afternoon sun. Many of the birches have lost their leaves now but the larches, which were pale green a week ago, are a brilliant gold.