"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.”


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.”


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….”


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!

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