CampsG OP t1_jc75f9r wrote

The forests in New Zealand are different from anywhere else on earth I have been. They are dominated by ferns in a way really unseen elsewhere due to a prehistoric separation of the landmass that became New Zealand from the rest of the Southern supercontinent Gondwana back in the days of the dinosaurs. Ferns remained more dominant to this day than elsewhere in the world, giving you the feeling of stepping back in time when you roam the forests there. This sense of wonder was only enhanced by the wall of rock and snow that rose out of the valley across from me as I emerged from the forest to the edge of this lake. It was so beautiful I stopped short of my planned campsite to camp nearby so I could enjoy the view here for sunset. It was worth the extra miles the next day.

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CampsG OP t1_iyr4nq5 wrote

I started hiking up with the intent to photograph sunset from a nearby grassy summit, but as I toiled upward and the clouds built I realized the light was not going to wait for me. I threw down my pack and got my camera gear out to make the most of the views from a clearing just above the treeline, trying to use the close glowing larches to my advantage. The light did not last long, and this is the only panorama I managed to capture before the night went dull and lifeless. The good news was that after the light left I didn't need to climb fast any more, so I got to enjoy a leisurely rest of the hike.

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CampsG OP t1_iy3aucl wrote

Something I discovered while roaming around the Italian Dolomites this fall was that larches shine best when lit from behind. Unlike other fall trees which look equally good with front light, larches have thin needles which glow in their entirety when the sun shines through them, creating a fantastic effect that feels like watching a lit torch. This high alpine lake was the perfect place to watch that magic happen as it was surrounded by a sea of the deciduous conifers that lit up fantastically with the rising sun, justifying the decision to hike up here in the predawn light.

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CampsG OP t1_ixyywwu wrote

It was cloudy most of the day following the overnight storm, and another storm was building for the night as the sunset approached. I hiked along a forest road from my campsite down this valley to reach this viewpoint where I had seen some amazing fall colors coming in. I was halfway here when a single ray of light started to hit the bottom of the mountain, and I knew it wouldn't last, so I ran to get to the nearest colors. The light inched upward and by the time I finally got into position it was almost gone, but I managed to capture it as it beamed across mighty Mt Sneffels with it's snow coated ridges. A few shots later and it was gone. As I walked back to my tent the first drops of the storm began to fall, promising fresh snow for the morning.

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CampsG OP t1_ivewldq wrote

The Dolomites are a special area of the Italian Alps that are made up of a wonderland of steep rocky cliffs, grassy hills full of wildflowers in summer, and valleys full of changing larches in the autumn. The multitude of incredible cliffs are formed from what are the remnants of ancient coral reefs from the Triassic period that have calcified into an extremely erosion resistant rock known as dolomite. Over time as the area was pushed to the surface by plate tectonics the dolomite rock refused to erode, forming islands of rock surrounded by steep drop offs in the place of the ancient islands made of coral. When visiting the Dolomites you can see this island nature, the mountains all feel like atolls with wide gaps between, instead of the normal connecting ridges. The result is some of most beautiful mountains in the world, especially when the deciduous conifers below them, the larches, start to change to a beautiful gold in the autumn, and the pinkish dolomite rock is hit by the setting sun.

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CampsG OP t1_iqv9glt wrote

Fall has begun to peak in parts of Colorado, with aspens everywhere beginning to glow gold. It’s one of the latest years in the last 20 thanks to a wet and warm fall, but the colors are finally starting to show and they are looking to be as spectacular as always. This morning a few days ago I was woken before sunrise by some bugling elk near my tent, and took a walk along an aspen lined forest road to get to this viewpoint that overlooks the area near Twin Lakes. The smallest bit of snow remained on Mt Hope from the storms of the day before, but it was Mt Rinker with it’s aspen coated slopes that really made this spot stand out to me. Much more to come from Colorado, the fall is only beginning!

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