Wet spring and summer may dampen fall colors

Some aspens and cottonwoods have been hit by leaf blight


An aspen stand in the Lower Blue Valley, north of Silverthorne, Colorado.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Colorado’s wet spring and summer dampened the fire danger and kept the state nearly drought-free, but there may be a down side. Some of the state’s aspens and cottonwoods may not be at their most brilliant this autumn, after leaf-spot diseases afflicted some stands in northern Colorado and along the Front Range.

The Colorado State Forest Service says tree experts have been seeing an unusually high degree of leaf blight spreading as far south as Aspen, the Collegiate Peaks and Colorado Springs.

At least two fungal diseases are to blame for the leaves now showing significant spotting or dark splotches. Marssonina leaf spot is caused by the Marssonina fungus and is the most common leaf disease of aspen and cottonwoods in Colorado. The disease can be identified by the presence of dark brown spots or flecks on leaves, which can then fuse into large, black splotches on severely infected leaves. Continue reading

Morning photo: Fall revisited


FRISCO — With a few thousand new autumn photos in the files, it’s time, in this in between season, to go back and start focusing on the very best shots of the season. There’s no question in my mind that the best images are from the days when the sky wasn’t just a passive blue bystander, but an active participant in the show, will billowing gray clouds acting as a perfect foil to the incredible brilliance of changing aspen leaves. And a few times we even enjoyed autumn rainbows as a bonus to the season. Follow our Instagram feed for daily photo updates and visit our online gallery for a great selection of Colorado landscape and nature images, available as fine art prints and greeting cards

Morning photo: Autumn glory

A look back …


Lifting clouds form a pleasing backdrop to this aspen scene on Swan Mountain Road.

FRISCO — The fall color season is just about over, at least at our elevation, but that’s why photos are good! Watching the trees race through their seasonal change is always inspiring, a sign of the inexorable force of nature. In looking back at some of the images, it amazes me how fast the change happens, resulting in different patterns of light and color nearly every day. These images span about a week in Summit County, just before the first wintry storms swept through. Check out my Instagram feed for daily updates and be sure to visit this online gallery for fine art quality prints and greeting cards. Continue reading

Morning photo: Sunday snaps

Amazing aspen show


Alpenglow on the distant summit of Peak 1; aspen glow in the foreground and luminous clouds.

FRISCO — It doesn’t really get much better than the sunrises and sunsets of the past few days, as rainbows competed with luminous clouds and golden aspens in a — pardon the cliche — riot of color.It’s almost as if Mother Nature is trying to overcompensate in advance for the relatively drab days of November, just ahead. With more rain and clouds in the forecast for the next few days, we’ll probably lose most of the leaves by the end of the week and, who knows, maybe we’ll see our first valley snow! Continue reading

Morning Photo: Aspen magic

Peak colors

Piercing evening light helped ensure good sharpness in this iPhone pano.

Piercing evening light helped ensure good sharpness in this iPhone pano. Click on the image to view it full size.

FRISCO — It’s hard not to take photos when Colorado’s aspen groves explode into a riot of fall colors each year. The past couple of days, we’ve had quick-building thunderclouds appear late in the day. Friday evening even brought a few lightning bolts. But the clouds are not the same as the thick summer monsoon layer that dampens the light. These high-based storm clouds allow plenty of sunlight to creep in from beneath, giving some of these traditional foliage shots some extra drama. Continue reading

Morning photo: Sweet September!



Aspen tapestry.

FRISCO — As if knowing that there are a couple of drab months ahead, Colorado’s aspen trees burst into full color this week in a magical transformation that never fails to amaze. In some cases, entire hillsides change over in just a day or two; in other areas, the shift takes a little longer, but the end result is the same. And with relatively calm and sunny weather forecast for the next few days, the show should continue, at least until a big windstorm or the first real snowfall of autumn (at valley elevations) starts to sweep the leaves off the trees. Continue reading

Morning Photo: Sunday set

Tis the season … for fall colors!

Fall colors Colorado

Fall colors unfolding along the Tenderfoot Trail in Dillon, Colorado.

FRISCO — One of the things I like best about autumn photography is the strong contrasts in light. That may not always be the best situation for capturing all the nuances in a scene, but it does help create drama and tension, some of the key ingredients to a captivating image. Don’t wait for the “peak” of the fall color season. Start your hunt now, because a sudden freeze after a hard rainstorm could put an end to the display. Follow our Instagram feed for daily updates and browse our selection of fine art prints and greeting cards at our online gallery. Continue reading


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