The photographic explorations of a former film student.

Fall

One Last Nice Day

We had an unusually warm day in November. Most of the leaves were down, but it was such a nice day, so I decided to go out anyway. Who would want to waste the one last nice day of the year?

Christmas is coming soon. I do plan to do one last post for the year with a Christmas theme, but there is something that has been on my mind lately. I know the holidays will be different for many people this year. They will certainly be different for me from this year on. So take the pictures. Everything ends. Everyone dies. You never know when it will be the last day or the last Christmas for a loved one, a home, a relationship, a tradition, or a pet. I made the decision to haul my DSLR and speedlight to a crowded family gathering last Christmas. It was the last Christmas for someone there. My sister recently asked for the picture of us. We would not have a good one if I hadn’t brought the camera. Take the pictures. No regrets.


October Shoot

My apologies for not blogging in October. I will have to blog twice in November to make up for it. Fortunately, I’ve been out to shoot three times since I last blogged, so I have material.

My first shoot for the fall was at a local forest preserve I enjoy. There was lots of colorful ivy on the trees.

One of my favorite things about going out in nature is that it is always changing and full of detail. There is always something different, something I haven’t seen before or haven’t seen in this light. To me, this tree trunk looks like the head of an animal with its mouth open. What do you think?

I don’t think I’ve ever photographed the pond much, but I liked it that day. I liked all the leaves blowing in the wind and the late afternoon sun.

I hope you were able to get out and enjoy some lovely fall scenery where ever you live.


Late Fall

A few weeks back, I went out to a more distant, more in-town kind of park. It is in another city not too far from me. The weather that days was not the best. Dark, cloudy,  and somewhat windy. It had snowed recently, then mostly thawed. I had missed peak color. We actually had snow on Halloween and several times after. Not good for any outdoor fall activity. I had to make compromises with ISO and shutter speed. Most of the photos are OK for the blog, but they wouldn’t do well as sizable prints.

Many of the trees along the river were bare.
Riverbank

Oddly enough, the geese cooperated.
GeeseAndCave

The flag above the trees.
Flag

I found a stationary subject, so I walked back to the car and got my tripod. Worth it. I like the curve and the way the fungus is on it.
StumpAndFungi

Happy Thanksgiving! Sort of a cultural farewell to fall, or more like the day when we temporarily extract our heads from our Santa hats to give thanks and eat turkey before plunging into Christmas for the next entire month. Naturally, I plan to do a Christmas post next month.


Running Away South

Some weeks ago, Dad and I ran away from the deck and other house projects to find the last traces of fall with our cameras. We had to go south a ways. Since it wasn’t the best day, we decided to make the trip double as a scouting expedition of Matthiessen State Park. We’d been to Starved Rock several times, but Matthiessen never got past “if we have time”.

It so happens lots of people wanted to enjoy the end of fall. There was also an enormous geology class field trip. However, both of us did manage to get a clear shot of the dells and some other photos of the scenery.

TreeTopsSmallYellowTreeDells

BranchCU

Next Time: Merry Christmas

My goal this year was to blog once a month. I’ve been a few hours late a couple of times, and I’ve used a good bit of “archive” shot in previous years, but I’m calling it close enough. One more blog in observance of Christmas is all I need.


The Problem with Fall

Fall is a beautiful season. Unfortunately, it’s also crunch time for home improvement projects. I have not been out to shoot this year. Fortunately, I have a few photos left over from last year when I wasn’t blogging.

LateLeavesSquirrelInTreeWhiteFluff

I’m still plotting to get out this year. I’ll have to run away and go south a bit, but I’m still plotting.


The Long Fall Hike

These photos were taken on the 30th of September 2017, an entire year ago. It was a beautiful day. I was visiting my parents about two years after moving out on my own. I don’t live that far, but it’s far enough and I’m busy enough that I don’t get out to the parks and forest preserves I used to frequent. Dad and I went on a long photo hike that day. We went to the park with the confusing set of foot trails and horse trails (where you need to watch where you step), with streams, woods, meadows, and hills. No fall color at that point, but the vegetation was browning and fading for the year.

OakLeafOnMeadowPath

We crossed out of the woods up the hills towards the horse path area. There were trees and a stream.

StreamAndTrees

We continued to the horse path area because there was milkweed there, and Dad loves to photograph milkweed. I’m sure he has better pictures. It is a small obsession of his.

Milkweed

Then, we ended up out on a country road a little uncertain of exactly where we were. We found our way back to the park entrance. I kept getting gravel in my shoes and having to empty them. Does that matter a year later? No, but it’s part of the experience. Kind of a minor slightly humorous inconvenience.

We had the light, the nature, the photos, the time together. It was a beautiful day. Not perfect. Just beautiful.


Waterfall Hunt

Last fall, someone in the photo club told my father about a “waterfall” not too far from where we live. Technically, it isn’t a waterfall. It’s a man-made spillway, but it looks like a waterfall. The spillway was not easy to find. At one point, we gave up looking and decided to go to a park in the area instead. However, when we stopped at the park office, we found a sign featuring a large photo of the waterfall and the words “are you looking for this?” It then provided directions. Thus we continued in our hunt, but it still wasn’t easy. Roads were under construction or had similar names, I couldn’t get the maps app on my phone to work because the cell service was spotty, and we had to be careful to stay off private property in the area. The spillway was located right off the road. You had to be looking in the right direction at the right time to see it though. After a considerable bit of driving around in circles, we finally found it.

Spillway

While Dad was photographing it with his view camera, I found a Japanese beetle on a wildflower to photograph.

BeetleOnFlower

It was a long day, but we found what we were looking for. Sometimes, persistence does pay off.


Good Bye Fall: Gourds

I purchased some ornamental gourds when I went to the apple orchard about a month ago. Since they were pretty and I spent money on them, I photographed them. Fall is just about over. The gourds have rotted and been tossed. But at least I still have the photos.

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Next Time: Christmas

I should be able to put together a Christmas post in two weeks. Decorating is in process.

 


Stubbornness and the Tail End of Fall

I had these lovely plans for how I would spend October weekends this year: weekly walks in the woods with my camera, apple orchards and doughnuts, and maybe even a road trip to a distant park. But my front stairs happened. They are wooden with a deck-like landing area, and they needed to be repainted and repaired. Despite my parents very kindly giving lots of time and effort to the project, the three of us spent most of October on my stairs.

Last weekend would have been beautiful for photography: good lighting, nice temperatures, and just about the peak for fall color. But alas, you guessed it, stairs. This weekend was definitely past prime for fall color and quite dreary most of the time. However, I was free. The stairs were done, the parks were beckoning, and the temperatures were not bad at all. So I stubbornly decided to grab the month of October by the tail and try to cram all the things I’d wanted to do all month into one weekend. I needed to experience Fall before it was over: to see, hear, and smell it all around me.

Friday night, I visited a small, hard to find park in my city. It was almost dark, so not much luck there. Saturday morning, despite the dullness of the day, I took a two-hour walk in one of my favorite parks. Photographic prospects were better:

latefalloakbranchesoakleafflowerhangingleafredtreeandyellowleaves

After a few more weekend activities, I headed out to the local apple orchard for my annual sugar encrusted doughnut and hot spiced cider. The sun finally peaked out a bit.

pumpkinfield

My takeaway from all of this is that should plan on spending some time in November raking leaves in my parent’s large lawn, and I should start the deck refinishing project in April next year. Procrastination has consequences. You can cram a lot into one weekend, but it’s not quite the same as planning things and scheduling them appropriately.


One Last Fall Day

Several weeks ago, I went out for my last Fall shoot of the year. There wasn’t much left, but the colors were vibrant.


Fall Again

I went out for a hike and fall photography last weekend. I don’t think it was quite peak color. This is a hard thing to judge as the landscape often jumps abruptly from too green to all the leaves down. At least it was a nice day out.

AspensbyHill

DriedUp

SumacLeaves

TreeAndSumac


Impressions of a Windy Fall Day

Oak Leaves

Fall is here. It isn’t peak color yet, but I’m hoping to clear some time for that next weekend, if I’m not too late. Here are a few shots from our windy early fall. It’s interesting what moves and what stays still sometimes.

Flowering Bush

Oak Leaves

Pine Needles in Sun


The End of Fall: Leaves in the Water

It’s been cold lately. Cold enough that I wanted to go check out the ice formation in a nearby park. I remembered that the ice on the stream winding through this park formed in all sorts of interesting patterns several years ago. Unfortunately, it hasn’t really formed yet this year. Instead, an array of fallen leaves and semi-frozen water presented me with other photographic possibilities. With nature and other things in life, there are times I have to find the best in what is there, even when it’s not what I was hoping for. What there is can be just as good.

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This applies more to US readers because we celebrate Thanksgiving here on Thursday, but I wanted to take a moment to remind us all to be thankful. I worry that we are losing a valuable holiday to consumerism. Thankfulness and reflecting on the good we have in life is healthy. Right now, I am thankful for nature, creativity, the ability to express myself through photography and language, the internet, the ability to easily communicate with people from all over the country and the world, and a holiday to spend with family.
What are you thankful for this week? Please share in the comments.


Fall Colors

Fall is about over where I live. Fortunately, I was able to get out and take photos a few weeks ago to remind me of the beauty and color of the season.

This fungi is from one of my old favorite places to go shoot. I photographed this the same day as the fog photos in my last post.

FungiAndLeaves

Later, I explored a new park recommended by members of the photo club.

RedTree

The park featured this amazing old oak tree and lovely yellow bush.

OakAndYellowBush

Good bye for now Fall. I have a few more photos I might post, but I think it is time to move indoors for a while.

Next Time: More Fall or Still Life


A Little Morning Fog

Halloween is a traditional time for foggy scenery, but these photos aren’t creepy. This is more of a we had some light fog yesterday morning post than a Halloween post. I haven’t played with fog much, so I was excited to get out and experiment a bit yesterday morning.

 

TreeAndCornfield

SunlightandFogPath

 

Next Time: Fall Nature

It’s so lovely out that I’ve been compelled to spend more time than usual shooting.


Somewhat Abstract

I said I was going to do abstract. Well, this is a little more realistic than I normally do, but I would say it counts. Split toning on all but one of them, mostly close-ups, but, yes, a little more realistic than usual for this kind of post.

FeatherAndLeaf

LeafInWeeds

BrownLeaf

SilverLeaves

ChippedAway

Curve

Next Time: Night photography or try again.


Scouting Trip

I was going to do something else for the post this week, but I need something specific for a prop that I can’t seem to find. So I’ll share a few photos from a short location scouting trip I took yesterday instead. Several members of the local photo club have gone to this particular park in a nearby small city, so I knew there was potential in the area. I came a bit late in the day when there was a wedding, so the conditions weren’t the best, but it was OK just to see what was there and get a few shots for reference.

There are several small bridges like this:

BridgeandTrees

A variety of trees line the river.

TreeandSunset

Roses and other flowers add color and present more photographic possibilities.

WhiteRose

 

Next Time: Abstract or night photos.


Fall Scenic Part 2: Sun and the Rock

A week after my lone, cloudy weather excursion, I returned to the same park in sunny weather and accompanied by my father. Dad shoots with a view camera and 4″x5″ film. He was lured by the promise of aspen trees in their fall grandeur. I really wanted to check out the south trails of the park, which are farther down the curvy two-lane highway from the north trails I visited the previous week. Unfortunately, hunting is permitted in south trails all fall, and Dad and I had no desire to get accidentally shot. However, we were able to explore the large rock formations by the river.

bluffandriver

 

pinesonrock

 

leafinwater

After lunch, we headed back to the north section of the park. Dad found his aspens, and since I joined him in surveying, I thought I’d take a photo as well.

Aspens

Later in the day, I found this tree. I loved how dramatically the sun was hitting it and illuminating the leaves.

Illuminatedtree

 

Next Time:

Jewelry or archive portrait.


Fall Scenic Part 1: Cloudy Weather

My apologies for the late post. I was a little under the weather this weekend, and therefore got behind schedule a bit. Anyway, back on topic. A couple of weeks ago, I spent a nice Sunday afternoon exploring a new park not too far from home. It was a cloudy day, good for emphasizing color, but not much use for illuminating the fall foliage or keeping acceptable shutter speeds for the wind for that matter.

I couldn’t resist the shape of these bushes with the fringe of red leaves still clinging to the top. As far as the orientation, I went back and forth on that and decided that it’s sort of abstract, so it can be horizontal if I want it to be.

RedTwistingBushes

The form of this dead tree rising from the subtle fall foliage really drew me that day, but I hardly noticed it a week later in sunny “magic hour” conditions.

RisingDeadBush

One of the unique features of this park is the many aspen trees on the trails.

Aspens

There was an entire clearing of these bushes with almost nothing but red cones left on them.

RedBunches

I congratulate this park for having an overlook platform that actually looks out on a desirable view, rather than a mess of brush and trees right in front of the platform.

OutlookView

Despite my best attempts to stay wide for once rather than doing mostly close-up work, I couldn’t resist these two groups of fungi. They’re not what I typically see around here.

CondoMushrooms

subtlefungi

 

Next Time: Fall Scenic Part 2: Sun and the Rock


Fall on White

With fall upon us, I lament the lack of fall color this year. Maybe it’s because of the rain or the late warm temperatures we’ve had. However, a few trees did turn brilliant colors. Because of this select group, I decided to do a fall post similar to another post from several weeks ago (https://mycameramyfriend.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/vegitation-on-white/ ).

One maple in the front yard always turns and deep red.

fallingred

The ash trees and the oak have also turned for the fall. Most of the maples are still green.

variousleaves

Pumpkins: fall just wouldn’t be so much fun without them.

pumpkinandleaves

Oak leaves and acorn.

acornandoakleaves

Next Time: Late Fall Scenic