A visual celebration of the beauty of autumn leaves in and around Raleigh.
by Ayn-Monique Klahre | photography by Kate Medley
“I am not a nature photographer, only because I find it incredibly difficult,” says Kate Medley. “To me, there’s nothing that can top the experience of seeing a scene in person.”
Medley typically captures images for newspapers like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. But when WALTER asked her to spend a few days walking around the Triangle looking for fall leaves, it was, she says, the perfect antidote to the more serious fare she’d been photographing. “It was such a nice reprieve to go into the community simply to find beauty in it,” she says.
In the Triangle, autumn leaves are in their full spectrum of crimsons, ochres, and umbers by early November. “Some trees, like tulip poplars and black gum, change early,” says naturalist Melissa Dowland, coordinator of teacher education at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. “The last ones are oaks and then American beech — their leaves turn a nice light tan and then hang on through winter.”
For this project, Medley worked to find new vantage points for nature’s spectacle: “I try to get a different perspective on a scene you may already be familiar with — to climb up a hill, to step off the trail.” And in doing so, she herself gained perspective. “I was struck by how fortunate we are to live in an urban environment that has so much gorgeous wilderness right within the city,” she says. “Even in a well-used park, there’s still plenty of room for everyone to roam and find their own space.”
This article originally appeared in the November 2021 issue of WALTER magazine.