Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Cottonwood trees turning yellow at Fort Davis

with 12 comments

Cottonwood Trees Turning Yellow at Fort Davis 9239

One of the things that caught my attention at the site of Fort Davis was a row of cottonwood trees (Populus deltoides) whose leaves had turned yellow. You’re seeing two of those cottonwoods here, and you’re also getting a glimpse of another section of the cliffs that border one side of the camp. The picture below provides a closer look at some of the bright yellow leaves on another cottonwood tree in this row.

Cottonwood Leaves Turned Yellow 9250

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 6, 2015 at 5:22 AM

12 Responses

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  1. When I saw yesterday’s photo, it occurred to me how much it looked like a place along the Santa Fe trail in Kansas called Point of Rocks. There are real differences, geologic and otherwise, but the impression was much the same.

    Today, that impression was only heightened. The Cimarron River flows beneath Point of Rocks, and when I was there, the cottonwoods were in full color. Western Kansas has more in common with the Big Bend than with the Texas coast, that’s for sure. And, it’s interesting to recall that a good jumping-off spot for the Tallgrass Prairie is Cottonwood Falls, Kansas.

    I love the trees. They’re always such a bright spot, and so often the leaves, like the ones in your photo, seem to shimmer like gold leaf.


    December 6, 2015 at 9:07 AM

    • I see that Point of Rocks is in the southwestern corner of Kansas not far above the Oklahoma panhandle. The pictures I found of it online make me it seem greener than I imagine the fort grounds in Fort Davis ever get (although there are the greener sky islands at higher altitudes that you mentioned). I couldn’t get your cottonwoods link to work, but I see from the USDA map that cottonwoods grow in all but the westernmost states of the USA and also in Canada, so these trees are clearly able to handle extremes of climate. You make a good point that western Kansas has more in common with west Texas than with the Gulf Coast.

      I wonder if your use of the verb shimmer was inspired, consciously or unconsciously, by the title of Melissablue’s most-recent post.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 6, 2015 at 9:43 AM

      • Well, there you are. I misspelled my own name in the URL. Try this. I’d noticed a post by Melissa in my inbox, but haven’t read it yet. It’s interesting that we both turned to “shimmer” as a description. I think autumn’s the most shimmery of the four seasons, so it makes sense that she’d pick up on it, too.


        December 6, 2015 at 9:54 AM

        • Ah yes, those are very much like the larger cottonwood trees I saw turning bright yellow in several places outside the grounds of the old fort. If you’d told me that your cottonwood pictures came from west Texas, I’d have had no reason to doubt you.

          In the same sort of way that we call autumn fall, we could as well call it shimmer.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 6, 2015 at 10:03 AM

  2. I think that is a great idea.


    December 7, 2015 at 8:45 AM

  3. Nice yellow-blue combo in that second shot.

    Steve Gingold

    December 8, 2015 at 4:13 PM

    • Yeah, there’s more of an interplay between the yellow and blue in the second shot; in the first image, the cliff separates the two colors.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 8, 2015 at 4:43 PM

  4. Love the yellow leaves against the craggy rocks that serve as the backdrop for your image…Such a nice boast for a Wednesday.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    December 9, 2015 at 2:21 PM

    • I got to see plenty more fall foliage (and of course mountains) on the west Texas trip than I get to see at home in Austin. These pictures were taken on a Friday and posted on a Sunday, but you’re welcome to enjoy them on a Wednesday.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 9, 2015 at 2:37 PM

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