Gotta love them carotenoids

I’ve been watching theses Sugar Maples (three, with a Pear among them for good measure) for several weeks as their autumn colors have slowly developed. You may remember that plants produce their own food via the chemistry we call photosynthesis. Visible light drives this remarkable process in which leaf pigments capture the sun’s energy and pass it to plant tissues where sugars are then produced. As the autumn days shorten it becomes less economical for plants to continue production so they shut down the photosynthetic machinery as winter approaches. As part of this process chlorophyll, the pigment which makes leaves green, is broken down and its building block components are transported back into the plant to be used elsewhere. The other photosynthetic pigments, including those that are red (anthocyanins), orange (carotenes), and yellow (xanthophylls), are now revealed – and these comprise the vibrant palette that we see during fall foliage season. Although we had rain overnight, the clouds were slow to gather yesterday afternoon and the sun showed through breaks when I passed this majestic trio. As the light hit the leaves they lit as if energized, glowed like wood embers, and then dampened altogether as the light diminished. After several encores an expansive cloud layer put an end to the show and to my photographic reverie.

9 thoughts on “Gotta love them carotenoids

  1. We don’t have that intensity of seasonal change over here in Australia, nothing like it, but this photo is phenomenal! The colours are so vivid. Enough to make me apply for a semester of international study to see what I’m missing πŸ™‚

    • Interesting … my wife did exactly the opposite! She took a year in Australia, mostly Tasmania, as an undergraduate. That’s one trip that she’ll never, ever, forget. She always remarks that the light was different there. Much more saturated. Perhaps she’ll visit once more and I’lll tag along with my camera! Thanks for taking the time to comment – attentions are always appreciated. Dave

    • Thanks for asking after the camera. I’ve quickly discovered that I only like manual mode – my hands are experiencing something of a learning curve with the positions of aperture, speed, and ISO adjustments – but they’re getting there. I looked at a bunch of images that I took yesterday and was just a bit disappointed that they didn’t JUMP off the screen at me. Clarity was lots better than my Point & Shoot and exposures were fine – perhaps everything has to be run through post processing to really give it that snap we’re all used to. Hey … perhaps sometime you could address the issue of RAW versus JPEG shooting. I’ve never quite understood the advantage of RAW. In any case, the D600 is a really nice camera. I think I’ll be able to do good things with it … eventually. I think I’ll post a very simple image this evening – just to tell the world that I’m up and running. Thanks for asking. PS: I like the turtorial in black and white – the pieces-of-paper thing was very useful. Thanks for taking the time to comment Leanne. D

  2. Fall is my 2nd favorite season, spring being my #1, and the brilliant yellow-gold of these maples is one of the reasons. Just beautiful!

  3. Photographic reverie, indeed! I couldn’t have said it better myself! Beyond gorgeous. Divinely inspired!

  4. WOW! Is this with the new camera? Stunning … I must say, I love my new state but the xanthophylls and carotenes seem to be lacking compared to PA and NY. Or maybe it’s been just a particularly wet and gray fall. I am sitting here at work with soaked jeans and shoes full of rainwater from my bike ride in this morning … your photo helped start the day off right πŸ™‚

    • No … this was taken with the old camera. I’m afraid to take the new one outside! And, I’m still learning how to manipulate all of its many controls. I’m glad the colors perked you up a bit. D

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