A creek bathed in autumn color. Cunningham Falls State Park. See image larger.

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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.

Catoctin Mountain Park is shown on a map with Washington and Baltimore. A majority of the photographs were taken in that “green area” (forest) on the map.

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.

A cemetery along route 17 to the east of Hagerstown, Md. See image larger.

Random place along route 17 to the west of Catoctin Mountain Park. See image larger.

Color along the northeast edge (earthen dam side) of the man-made Hunting Creek Lake. See image larger.

Bright colors along Hunting Creek Lake. See image larger.

A calm late afternoon along the shore of Hunting Creek Lake. See image larger.

Creek (Hunting Creek?) running into Hunting Creek Lake. See image larger.

A footbridge near the edge of Hunting Creek Lake. See image larger.

The creek from above, as seen from footbridge. See image larger.

Cunningham Falls, the largest cascading waterfall in Maryland, at dusk. See image larger.

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Fantastic fall foliage sneaking into D.C., peaking in the mountains (2012)

A weekend of near peak color in Rock Creek Park (2011)