Black Oak December

Forthcoming RIT Press Book --- Munsell Trees: A Season of Leaves and Colors

Expected Publication in Summer 2024

RIT Press

This site is the future home of images and resources from the Munsell Trees project, a forthcoming book on the colors of leaves via transilluminated photographs and their relationships with the Munsell Book of Color and Henry David Thoreau.

The image below is a poster layout of the 24 trees that will be included in the book. Each row contains leaves from a given species as collected and imaged through the 2021 growing season. Each column illustrates leaves from all 24 trees on a given date. The original image is 24K x 48K pixels. The illustration here is merely an icon of the original at a resolution of 1000x2000 pixels.

Below the poster image is a set of links to 13 trees that were sampled during 2021, but will not be included in the book. Each link connects to a separate page for each tree that includes a portrait of the tree, a layout of the leaf images through the year, and two plots of those leaf colors rendered on Munsell coordinates. These are samples of some of the layouts that will be included in the book for those trees that were selected for inclusion. Perhaps later on short descriptions of the trees will be added.

Here is a link to a nice Forest Service / USDA page that describes the science of autumnal leaf color changes. Science of Fall Colors

I've also uploaded a PDF of an old, out-of-print, brochure on Mendon Ponds Park, where many of the sampled trees are growing. It is an interesting look at the unique geology and history of the park, some of which is also discussed in the book. Getting Acquainted with Mendon Ponds Park

Draft Table of Contents:
1- Introduction -- A Place and a Time
2- Albert Munsell's System of Color Order
3- The Inspiration of Henry David Thoreau
4- The Nature of Trees (or The Tao of Trees)
5- Process
6- Calendar Mosaics
7- The Trees
8- The Season
9- 2022 Series
10- Annotated Readings
11- Appendix: The Technical Details

Small rendering of calendar poster

American Elm
Black Locust
Black Walnut
Common Chokeberry
Eastern Redbud
Gray Birch
Kanzan Cherry
Northern Catalpa
Shagbark Hickory
Wild Apple

Updated: April 13, 2024

Copyright Notice

Unless otherwise noted all images on this page, all pages linked from it,
and in the Munsell Trees hierarchy below this page are

Copyrightę 2020-2024 Mark D. Fairchild. All rights reserved.