“In the autumn the sighing of the winds is softer than ever, the gentle ah-ah-ing filling the sky with a fine universal mist of music, the birds have little to say, and there is no appreciable stir or rustling among the trees save that caused by the harvesting squirrels. Most of the seeds are ripe and away … everything alike drenched in gold light, heaven’s colors coming down to the meadows and groves, making every leaf a romance, air, earth, and water in peace beyond thought, the great brooding days opening and closing in divine psalms of color.”
From The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates: 1973-1982 by Joyce Carol Oates (September 28, 1979 and October 14, 1981):
“These extraordinary autumn days! A godlike beauty to the countryside that cannot be described, and very nearly cannot be experienced — it is so amazing. One walks or rides along in a veritable daze. Surely there is no season quite like this….”
“The remarkable energy and passion of these autumn days: simply, a feast for the eye … almost dazzling, such beauty … maples, and ashes, and dogwood …. Why is my wish always, always and forever, if only this season would never pass.”
From the essay “The Allegash and East Branch” in Walden and Other Writings by Henry David Thoreau:
“I was in just the frame of mind to see something wonderful … and it put me on the alert to see more like it…. I let science slide, and rejoiced in that light as if it had been a fellow-creature. I saw that it was excellent…. It suggested to me that there was something to be seen….”
Sometimes you have to take a closer look to see certain colors and textures of autumn, especially in their late stages. The photo below, taken at Point Au Roche State Park in northern New York, shows the red and orange leaves of a withering vine hanging from the branches of a tree and running into the ground — where the colors blended with the forest floor, making the leaves nearly invisible.
Select the image to view a larger version. Thanks for seeing!
From the essay “In Plato’s Cave” in On Photography by Susan Sontag:
“The photograph is a thin slice of space as well as time. In a world ruled by photographic images, all borders (“framing”) seem arbitrary. Anything can be separated from anything else: all that is necessary is to frame the subject differently…. Through photographs, the world becomes a series of unrelated, freestanding particles…. The camera makes reality atomic, manageable, and opaque.”
Below is a photograph of three isolated red leaves — an image I imagine many people would associate with autumn — taken in northern New York one October. You may see the image as having a certain 3D quality to it … that’s a bit of an illusion, an enhancement the brain makes because of the focused foreground and out-of-focus background, with the strong color contrasts emphasizing the illusion. If you close one eye (which eye you should close varies by person), the 3D effect may be strengthened depending on what kind of device you’re using to look at the photo. You may have never tried this before, but it’s often true that you can see this sort of 3D magic when viewing just about anything on a screen that displays in HD quality or better, by using only one eye. Apparently the brain’s not so crazy about seeing the world in two-dimensions, and the realistic image quality of modern screens cause it to over-compensate for the sense of “flatness” that ought to be created by closing one eye.
Here’s a before and after version of this same image; click the first one and page back and forth to compare the two. You can see the 3D quality is somewhat present in the original, and contrast and color enhancements jazz up the illusion: some of the Color Efex filters in the Nik Collection include settings for “perceptual saturation” that can be used for that purpose. You may also notice I removed some spots from the leaves … because, well, I can’t help it!! 🙂