The reds, golds, oranges and browns of the changing fall foliage provides enjoyment to many.

Capturing Kenosha: Take time to enjoy the fall colors

Autumn leaves are bursting with color this time of year

By Thomas CorraoKENOSHA.COM

After retiring in 2021 with 38 years in public service, Corrao brings a passion for photography with his popular local sunrise and nature photos (available for personal use only). Corrao can be found on Instagram (@straycompasslifeguy) and YouTube (Stray Compass Life Channel).

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to another edition of Capturing Kenosha. This week is all about the changing fall colors.

Autumn officially began on Thursday, Sept. 22. At that time, many of us were in no rush for summer to end. We were even rewarded as warm temperatures remained well into the fall season. Over the last week, though, things have changed a bit around Kenosha with the tempeature dipping down to near-freezing at night.

If you drive around Kenosha County this week, you will notice we are in the midst of nature’s most beautiful time of the year.

With these lower temperatures, it’s only natural that we should start anticipating the leaves changing and crisper air sticking around during the daylight hours. As a photographer, this time of year always gets me excited — not for the weather, but for the opportunities it presents to capture nature’s most beautiful time of the year.

At the beginning of last week, I traveled around Kenosha hoping to capture some beautiful shots of local landmarks enhanced by the fall foliage.

Mother Nature did not disappoint.

Nothing says autumn more than the beautiful change of green foliage to vibrant reds, oranges, yellows, and purples. 

I found plenty of trees and shrubbery already displaying their full fall potential. The pictures I’m including here are the results of that excursion along with a few others I made out to catch some follow-up shots.

I began to see a lot of color in the tree lines as I drove around the city, which let me know that it was time to write about it before the leaves all turned brown and ended up on the ground.

Colors are exploding as you drive around town.

All of those red, orange, and yellow pigments I was beginning to see are the result of complex processes within the leaves, according to the United States Forest Service. These changes occur due to environmental factors the tree is experiencing during the fall. This happens around the same time of year when the nights become longer and there is less sunlight available to produce chlorophyll.

When the nights turn cool, the trees slow down their production of chlorophyll, the green pigment that plays a key role in photosynthesis. Therefore, some years we have an actual fall season that lasts for weeks and in other years a stretch of really cold weather may end it all in a very short period. 

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, peak fall colors can be seen Oct. 5-21.

The weather plays a big role in autumn colors. Simply because it takes a succession of warm, sunny days and cool, crisp, but-not-freezing nights to bring about the most spectacular color displays. A late spring or severe summer drought can also delay the onset of fall colors by a few weeks and a warm fall can lower the intensity of autumn colors.

You could say that it takes a perfect combination to create the beautiful fall colors like the ones we are seeing this year.

Oak trees generally acquire their fall foliage colors later in autumn.

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the time window for viewing peak fall colors for fall-color enthusiasts is Oct. 5-21. From my photo excursions last week, I believe that they are right on target since many of the trees have already started turning the most intense shades of orange, yellow and red.

In our area, it seems that the oaks are always the last to change. Many of them are still green right now, but with the cold snap that began Sunday, I believe that the trees in Kenosha are going to reach their peak by this weekend.

While I’m no Farmer’s Almanac, I believe this week through the weekend will be the best time for viewing the fall colors in our area. So, I advise you to get out there and enjoy the fall colors before the leaves turn brown and the wind and the rain put them all on the ground for us to rake.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s Capturing Kenosha and that you are able to get out of the house this week and take a look at Mother Nature demonstrating what she does best.

Happy Autumn!