I'm sure many outdoor photographers agree that fall colors are a highlight of the year for us. To make a metaphor that skiers can relate to, fall colors are like the "powder days" of our photographic year. We look forward to it for months, and when the colors finally start changing we are giddy with excitement and anticipation. We compulsively check fall color reports on social media every day, just like skiers obsessively check snow reports and forecasts. As the colors get closer to peak, a frantic autumn fever kicks in with an acute desire to capture every place and every moment, along with perhaps an intense feeling of FOMO if we miss a spectacular morning or sunset but see it plastered all over social media, or hopefully a deep thrill and satisfaction if we do manage to capture some successful photos. It's the exact same nervous energy that skiers know on the morning of a powder day, whether they are lucky enough to be there for first tracks, or stuck inside while everyone else is out tracking up the powder.
While the autumn fever is part of the fun, it can border on being stressful at times too. Particularly this year with the late arrival of color, patience was the number one challenge! It felt like being in line at a ski resort on a powder day morning, only to have the lift opening delayed by hours.
I think it's important to try to not get totally carried away by autumn photo fever to the point where it ruins the fun or obscures a simple appreciation for the sheer beauty of being outside in the mountains amongst the aspens. In fact that is always a challenge of nature photography in general – to pursue our photographic creativity and goals while simultaneously being able to preserve that basic gratitude and openness to our natural surroundings. In the end, the personal experience and connection to nature is the most important thing of all; the photographs are just the icing on the cake (or the powder on the slope)!