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Foliage Sweepstakes, Vermont, 1997

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Among factors that combine to give Vermont an edge in the U.S.'s foliage sweepstakes are the abundance and density of broad-leaved tree species, each with a contrasting color scheme, and a climate inclined to bring out the best in all of them.

What is the proper warm-up for a good leaf season? The answer is a source of endless debate among Vermonters, though scientists say sunny days and cool nights are best.

(Text adapted from "Leaves of Autumn: A Vermont Sampler," Autumn 1984, National Geographic Traveler magazine)

(Photograph shot on assignment for, but not published in, "Vermont: Suite of Seasons," September 1998, National Geographic magazine)

Photograph by Michael S. Yamashita

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Long Exposures

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