"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag
Autumn Dreams of Christmas (1 of 2)

Autumn Dreams of Christmas (1 of 2)

From “Autumn Woods” in Poems by William Cullen Bryant:

Ere, in the northern gale,
The summer tresses of the trees are gone,
The woods of Autumn, all around our vale,
Have put their glory on.

The mountains that infold,
In their wide sweep, the coloured landscape round,
Seem groups of giant kings, in purple and gold,
That guard the enchanted ground.

From “The First Christmas of New England” by Harriet Beecher Stowe in The Ultimate Christmas Collection:

“Such are the woody shores of Cape Cod as we look back upon them in that distant November day, and the harbor lies like a great crystal gem on the bosom of a virgin wilderness. The fir trees, the pine trees, and the bay, rejoice together in freedom, for as yet the axe has spared them; in the noble bay no shipping has found shelter; no voice or sound of civilized man has broken the sweet calm of the forest.

“The oak leaves, now turned to crimson and maroon by the autumn frosts, reflect themselves in flushes of color on the still waters. The golden leaves of the sassafras yet cling to the branches… and every brushing wind bears showers of them down to the water. Here and there the dark spires of the cedar and the green leaves and red berries of the holly contrast with these lighter tints. The forest foliage grows down to the water’s edge, so that the dash of the rising and falling tide washes into the shaggy cedar boughs which here and there lean over and dip in the waves.”


One of the neat things about the change from summer to fall here in Georgia is that it often continues late into November — so autumn color hangs around until mid-December and a lot is still visible as people sling up their trees and festoon their houses with Christmas lights. It makes for an extended seasonal color show — especially delightful to people like me who like to explore color in nature then transition quickly to photographing the lights and colors of things around the house for a set of Christmas decoration posts. For the past three years, I’ve assembled a series that I call “Days to Christmas” — which starts ten days out from the big day and continues until December 25th. If you would like to see those from the previous year you can use these links…

Days to Christmas 2021

Days to Christmas 2020

Days to Christmas 2019

… or just wait until December 15 when I start over again.

There’s always a bit of repetition (let’s just call it a “tradition”) among the photographs for these series — I mean, one only has so many trinkets and baubles, doesn’t one? — so each year I try out new whatnot arrangements or background setups or color and light experiments to keep it interesting (at least for me!), and learn a little more about photography techniques in the process.

Last year, for example, I bought a rolling cart I could use to stage objects in front of different backgrounds (like the Christmas tree) instead of using my dining room chairs, and the cart doubles as a camera and lens storage cabinet off-season. I roll the cart around to see how different camera settings affect depth of field and bokeh. I also added a lightstand to my home photography “studio” (also known as: my foyer) so that I could hang wrapping paper in midair and use it as a backdrop instead of tacking the paper to my walls. This year, I ordered a lighting kit for the alleged studio — and though I haven’t received it yet, I’m hoping it will eliminate the need to position flashlights and random lamps to produce lighting variations, and, perhaps, pose more formal portraits of The Dog. Assuming I can get him to sit still, that is….

The photographs in this post (and the next one) were taken in late November and early December, when the Japanese Maple varieties were especially colorful. The first seven are Japanese Maple trees; and the group of five are photos of a gigantic Japanese maple shrub that hangs over one of the old stone walls in Oakland Cemetery’s gardens. The last three show droppings from a regular — as in not-Japanese — maple that I’ve seen before produces a lot of different leaf colors, mixed with some leaves that floated in from oak trees nearby.

Thanks for reading and taking a look!


    1. Dale

      Thank you very much! It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood when I took these photos, so I had a good time.

      The cart has worked out great. I hesitated to buy it, ‘cuz products like this often turn out to be junk and I didn’t want to have to take it apart and send it back — which besides being annoying would have made me grumpy — but it’s sturdy, height-adjusts and rolls easily, and holds all my photo-gadgets. A rare find: something that turned out to be better than I expected!

      Thanks for the comment!

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