"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag
 

Autumn Gets Ready for Christmas

From School of the Woods by William J. Long:

“And lo! … the flutter of tiny wings, light and laughter of little bright eyes, chatter of chickadees calling each other cheerily as they hunted the ice-bound twigs over and over for the morsel that Nature had hidden there, somewhere, in the far autumn days; and then one clear, sweet love note, as if an angel had blown a little flute….”

From A Garden of One’s Own by Elizabeth Lawrence:

“In the pale autumn sunshine, it looks too ethereal to be true.”


Hello!

About ten days ago, I scoped out a few previously unphotographed locations for some more fall color hunting, and while much of it had already dropped off the trees, there were some big old oaks and maples around the park and the ‘hood still showing off their orange, yellow, and red. I didn’t have my camera with me at the time — I was running some errands and getting my “hair” cut — but planned on going out the next day. That night the rains moved in, long dreary rains that make that sound that’s very relaxing for a while — like for a day or two when you first wake up — then starts to get on your nerves when it just doesn’t stop. It didn’t clear out until yesterday, and all those same oaks are mostly leafless now, with more than my fair share or leaves deposited as a four-inch thick blanket in my back yard. Too bad they didn’t melt in the rain… yeah, I know, it doesn’t work that way….

From my previous photoshoots, I had saved a few images for a last autumn post, knowing it would be closer to Christmas by the time I finished them up. All of the images below are photos of Japanese Maples, the first seven showing that deep fall red that these maples are known for, and the rest — of a Japanese Maple Shrub or maybe a Weeping Japanese Maple — from one I found where the leaves showed so many different colors. I always think sights like this are nature’s way of decorating for Christmas; the leaves from the shrubby one remind me of multicolored twinkle lights.

If you’ve been visiting here for a while, you might recall that I have a Christmas photography project that I call “Days to Christmas” — where I post quotes about Christmas and photos of my Christmas decorations every day for the ten days leading up to the big one. That will start this week — what!?! already? — so I’ll be buzzing around here assembling decoration montages pretty much daily from now until the 25th. My foyer gets transformed into a makeshift photo studio, and I use the project to experiment with color and light, trying out different lenses with different lighting combinations to see what I can come up with. Many images get thrown out but many make the cut, and those that do will show up here as I finish them.

If you would like to see my previous “Days to Christmas” posts, here are the links:

Days to Christmas 2019

Days to Christmas 2020


If you would like to see my previous fall color posts for this year, they’re all organized under this tag:

Autumn 2021

Thanks for taking a look!








Maples and Oaks in Blazing Orange (2 of 2)

From One Art: Letters by Elizabeth Bishop:

“Last week has been the most beautiful autumn weather. For three days the woods were blazing and we just wandered around admiring this leaf and that. But yesterday there was a windstorm and they all blew off.”

From Adirondack: Life and Wildlife in the Wild, Wild East by Edward Kanze:

“The scene is of a dark forest, perhaps in the Adirondacks. A river pours from bottom center to middle center. Beyond a wooden gate on the left rises a big country house. Of simple gable design, the house has latticed shutters and a red roof that give it a Germanic feel. A rustic log bridge without side rails spans the river. The surface is decked with planks and wide enough to allow the passage of freight wagons and stagecoaches. There are no human figures. The style of this work is self-consciously Hudson River School, with stylized, almost tropical-looking vegetation…. Still, the season is clear….

“It’s autumn. Orange colors some of the trees, which may be sugar maples.”


Hello!

For this post, the second of two… more trees! more leaves! more orange!


If you would like to see my previous fall color posts for this year, they’re all organized under this tag:

Autumn 2021

Thanks for taking a look!







Maples and Oaks in Blazing Orange (1 of 2)

From The Complete Works of Henry David Thoreau by Henry David Thoreau:

“I never saw an autumnal landscape so beautifully painted as this was. It was like the richest rug imaginable spread over an uneven surface; no damask nor velvet, nor Tyrian dye or stuffs, nor the work of any loom, could ever match it.”

From Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology by David Abram:

“Whether in the heart of the city or the thick of the wilderness, our indigenous soul stirs and comes awake whenever we find ourselves thinking in storied form, and so the buildings lean toward us and the trees in the backyard begin to speak in low, groaning tones as the trunks rub against one another. If we are thinking in literate, logical terms then these tones are not voices, but when we’re thinking in stories then they are indeed a kind of speaking, for to the oral imagination every entity has its eloquence….

“The breeze is an elixir carrying the chemistry of the needles up through the double arch of our nostrils to burst as a steady tang on the moist membranes inside, while the autumn blue of the sky, as it filters through the branches, is itself a kind of wine casting a giddy charm upon our limbs, making us crouch and leap with pleasure….”


Hello!

For this and the next post, I’ve assembled photo collections of large trees around the neighborhood and at Oakland Cemetery’s gardens, those whose leaves turned seriously orange over the past couple of weeks. These are maple and oak trees, not to be confused with orange trees at all; though if one was speaking in color, it wouldn’t be wrong to call them orange trees. What????

They really are massive trees; you can get some sense of the scale from those images below where I included nearby brick sidewalks (this one, for example). Photographing them from different positions and angles (and in a mix of clouds and sun) was definitely an immersive autumn experience.


If you would like to see my previous fall color posts for this year, they’re all organized under this tag:

Autumn 2021

Thanks for taking a look!







Autumn Groundcover (2 of 2)

From John Muir Ultimate Collection: Travel Memoirs, Wilderness Essays, Environmental Studies and Letters by John Muir:

“During these blessed color-days no cloud darkens the sky, the winds are gentle, and the landscape rests, hushed everywhere, and indescribably impressive. A few ducks are usually seen sailing on the lake, apparently more for pleasure than anything else, and the ouzels at the head of the rapids sing always; while robins, grosbeaks, and the Douglas squirrels are busy in the groves, making delightful company, and intensifying the feeling of grateful sequestration without ruffling the deep, hushed calm and peace.

“This autumnal mellowness usually lasts until the end of November. Then come days of quite another kind. The winter clouds grow, and bloom, and shed their starry crystals on every leaf and rock, and all the colors vanish like a sunset.”


Hello!

For this post, I took a closer look at the autumn ground featured in the previous one (see Autumn Groundcover (1 of 2)) and picked out a few prominent leaves that could be isolated and photographed with a macro lens. There are five such images below, followed by five additional recreations with the backgrounds rendered as black. On black backgrounds, the shapes, colors, and textures really stand out, don’t you think?


If you would like to see my previous fall color posts for this year, they’re all organized under this tag:

Autumn 2021

Thanks for taking a look!








Autumn Groundcover (1 of 2)

From The Complete Works of Henry David Thoreau by Henry David Thoreau:

“With the autumn begins in some measure a new spring. The plover is heard whistling high in the air over the dry pastures, the finches flit from tree to tree, the bobolinks and flickers fly in flocks, and the goldfinch rides on the earliest blast, like a winged hyla peeping amid the rustle of the leaves. The crows, too, begin now to congregate; you may stand and count them as they fly low and straggling over the landscape, singly or by twos and threes, at intervals of half a mile, until a hundred have passed.”

From John Muir Ultimate Collection: Travel Memoirs, Wilderness Essays, Environmental Studies and Letters by John Muir:

“In autumn, when the colors are ripe, the whole circular grove, at a little distance, looks like a big handful of flowers set in a cup….”


Hello!

I spent one of my recent autumn photo-shoots looking mostly at the ground. Gravity and the fall wind position the leaves in some of the most delightful arrangements of shape, pattern, and color, so I set out to capture a few images where those arrangements caught my eye. Admittedly — since I’m basically an adult-adjacent kid at heart — some shuffling and kicking through the leaves did also occur… but not until after I took the photos!

While I was taking these pictures, I heard a leaf blower off in the distance, so it’s not impossible that some of these patterns were created by one of those satanic wind machines. I do own one, I’ll admit: it resides just inside my crawlspace door where it’s been idle for about a decade, gathering under-house dust while it rests there unused. It’s a “deluxe model” actually, one of those that you can use to vacuum up leaves which it then sucks through a grinder, reduces them to a fine powder, then deposits them in an attached (and very large) canvas bag. Sounds efficient, huh?

I used that capability once: the exploding noises made by leaves, sticks, and occasional bits of pea gravel getting pulverized a few inches from my stomach and groin just about drove me insane while I considered what would happen if the mechanism split open — which struck me as inevitable (though in real life wouldn’t happen, probably) and potentially life-changing (and not in a good way). What got the machine rendered into crawlspace oblivion however was an untended consequence of its mulching: since I live in an urban area and yard trimmings and debris have to be placed for curbside pickup in paper lawn bags, I had to transfer the ground leaves to those bags. So…

Imagine my surprise when I dumped the leaves from the stuffed canvas bag into a paper one and a cloud of leaf dust rose up like a desert sandstorm filling my back yard, covering the brick courtyard, the walls of the house, two windows, and a double-glass door — all of which I had to spend the next two hours hosing off and windexing until they were clean again. It’s probably true that I exaggerate here occasionally, for fun, just to entertain myself (and hopefully you’s)… but this is exactly what happened.

Later that same day… I went out and bought a new rake.

🙂


If you would like to see my previous fall color posts for this year, they’re all organized under this tag:

Autumn 2021

Thanks for reading and taking a look!








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