Cool nights and sun-filled days — a recipe for some excellent leaf peeping. This ideal weather pattern, for viewing foliage now into high color across northwestern parts of the Washington D.C., area should continue for much or all of the rest of this week. Color is also increasing quickly to areas south and east including the immediate metro area.
Eager to get some imagery outside the city, I met up with my Plains storm chase team for a chase of another kind on Saturday (Oct 20, 2012). Elevated places not too far to the west and northwest of D.C. are near or at peak color, so we decided to target the general region between Frederick and Hagerstown, initially with no ultimate destination in mind.
Although most autumns have awesome stretches of weather around here, finding a “perfect” day to line up with foliage watching isn’t easy, partly because it’s often windy (which makes still photography of leaves a bit more difficult) and the weather is changeable. Saturday was about as good as it gets, though arguably some days this week may be better. Patches of clouds accented the sky, but late-day sun was pleasant, and winds diminished into dusk.
After a few quick roadside stops along the way, we headed to Catoctin Mountain Park and Cunningham Falls State Park in Thurmont. A majority of the photos were taken there. These elevated spots were very close to peak, though perhaps just shy with patches of green still left. We noticed good color throughout much of the corridor from D.C. north and west, though it did appear some impact from a dry summer was seen in spots, including muted shades and/or early leaf drop.
The photos below are in chronological order.