Fall colors

The tamarack is Minnesota’s only deciduous conifer.

Lest we forget, the Minnesota DNR reminds us that fall is just around the corner, full of possibilities for outdoor enjoyment before the white flurries start flying. Ride a bike or horse under the multi-color canopy at one of the many state trails, or warm up by a fire at your state forest or state park. Go for a hike or climb to a high point for a sprawling view of fall colors. Just make sure you have a camera to capture the magical moment. Below is a list of fall photo tips from renowned photographer Travis Novitsky and naturalist Amber Brooks:

New perspectives:

  • Lie down or go high — change your angle, change your view!


  • Let the sun backlight your subject or poke through tree branches during the “golden hour” (dusk/dawn).
  • Cloudy days are best for photos from under the forest canopy — there’s less glare, thus, less contrast.


  • Capture the color variation within each individual leaf.
  • Look to the ground for frost or beaded droplets on leaves — you’ll get fascinating macro photography!


  • After a cold night, get to a high spot and look for fog in the surrounding lowlands for a magical image.

Land of 10,000 Lakes:

  • Love the leaves across the lake? Include the shoreline on your side for depth.
  • Capture the reflection of the colorful trees on calm water.

Fast-moving subject:

  • Make a video, pause it and take a screenshot to get the perfect action shot.

Slow down:

  • The less you move, the more nature will come alive around you.

Phone camera:

  • Get an app that will add SLR capabilities and get a zoom lens to attach to your phone.

No filter:

  • Not if you want to bring out the deep, rich colors in nature — use a polarizing filter.

Starry Nights:

  • As leaves are shed, find interesting tree silhouettes that will look nice against a starry sky backdrop.

Northern Minnesota's many falls: Visit at different times to observe completely different colors. Maples change first (typically peaking around late September, early October.) Birch, aspen, and other trees peak when maples start to fade, and can be enjoyed into mid-October.

Want to know exactly where color changes are happening? Sign up for weekly fall color updates newsletter at dnr.state.mn.us/emailupdates/index.html.

Sports editor

Dan Huss covers Eden Prairie sports and especially loves reporting on sports features and outdoors-related adventures. He lives in Shorewood with his wife, Marnie, daughters Aili and Britt, and Wilma, a pheasant-finding Deutsch Drahthaar.


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