If you were thinking about scheduling a family or engagement portrait to coincide with the vibrant colors of fall, you might find yourself asking the obvious: why haven’t the leaves changed? To answer your question, I bring you the 2016 leaf peeper report, illustrated with the Central Park fall family portrait of Sheila and Layla.
Why Haven’t the Leaves Changed?
The predictions for this fall were that the leaves should have started changing here in the northeast by September 30th. At this rate, we should already be at peak season. The photos from Sheila and Layla’s shoot on Wednesday, however, prove this forecast wrong. As you can see for yourself, the leaves are very much still green. So why haven’t the leaves changed? Place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the warm weather we’ve been having.
Leaves change color when a magical combination of length of night, amount of precipitation, and air temperature come together to cause trees to lose their chlorophyll — the chemical that helps plants absorb sunlight and gives them a green hue. While brown colored leaves indicate just an absence of the chlorophyll pigment, red, orange, and yellow shades are caused directly by bright light and cold air. (Read this article by DePauw University.) If you are missing these two vital ingredients, the result will be a dull leaf peeping season. And in case you were wondering why leaves change color in the first place, scientists have a few theories: possibly as a form of sunscreen to filter out sunlight, or as a sly plan to divert the attention of insects.
It’s been on average much warmer than normal here in New York City, and the leaves reflect this temperature variation. While New York is currently experiencing a drought — which would normally cause an early change of foliage — the hyper warm temperatures trump the lack of rain. From my personal experience in years past, once the cooler weather arrives, the leaves will quickly change color and then drop. So a word of warning: while you have longer to wait for the leaves to change, you can expect that when they do you will have precious little time to take photos. The weather is scheduled to take a cold turning starting November 1st, so get ready. And don’t forget to factor in the rain. One significant rain storm, and all the leaves will be off the trees. Looking ahead at the calendar, Accuweather.com reports that rain is scheduled to start November 3rd. My forecast: a lackluster year for leaves overall.
A Central Park Fall Family Portrait
The lack of fall foliage did nothing to dampen the spirits of mother-daughter team, Sheila and Layla, who celebrated a trip to the Big Apple with a Central park fall family portrait session. Sheila is in town for her friend Nancy’s wedding, which I will be shooting today in Central Park. Sheila was an excellent planner, and put together a great Pinterest board for me. We also coordinated on her and Layla’s outfits via text. They selected outfits that they both loved, and that made them feel great. I think it shows in the photos.
We started the shoot at 4:00 p.m. to make the most of ‘golden hour.’ The shoot began on the hill overlooking the pond. While there were a lot of tourists soaking up the good weather, we were able to avoid most of them by concentrating on background vistas which obliterated the view of so many people. From the hill we moved to the Pond where Layla put on a gymnastics show. Though Sheila was a bit nervous at the beginning, these two turned out to be fantastic models who were able to naturally light up the lens.
We ended the shoot with Sheila and Layla’s first trip on the subway after a few shots in the Inscope Arch. I got them safely to Times Square, where they were able to continue their fabulous vacation in New York City. Enjoy the photos!
Helpful link: New York State Fall Foliage Report
If you would like to see more images from my family portrait portfolio, then please visit my website — KellyWilliamsPhotographer.com.