Better than Fall Color?

Like a lot of folks and especially photographers, I spent much of the last four weeks chasing fall color. It started in mid-October when my sister and I took a weekend trip to Damascus, Virginia. Here’s what we found right across the state border in our home state of Tennessee:

fall scenic of stream at Backbone Rock State Recreation Area, Stream Valley, Tennessee

But guess what? Fall color wasn’t the highlight of the weekend. The highlights came the next day.

What can cause more excitement than fall color? Snow! Yes! Our Sunday morning adventure began with snow. Granted, we had to drive to the top of White Top Mountain (that’s really the name), but here’s some of what we saw:

Admittedly, not a blizzard, but for this Nashville girl escaping 80 degree temperatures, it was way cool (in fact, really cold). Certainly an exciting and invigorating way to start the day.

We next visited Grayson Highlands State Park and just a short hike down the Appalachian Trail we found THE highlight of the weekend – wild horses.   Needless to say, I love wild horses. They’re so beautiful and free. I think the last time I saw some was several years ago on a trip to Wyoming.

Okay, so these horses weren’t running wildly with wind blowing freely through their manes like you see in the movies, but …

here are a series of images, shown in chronological order, that are very tender and sweet. It started with this:

and then this happened: 

Dam and foal #2
Dam and foal #3
Dam and foal #4
Dam and foal #5
Dam and foal #6

Now how many weekends have you found beautiful fall color, been surprised by the first snow of the season, found wild horses on the Appalachian Trail, and a foal nursing from her mother? Whatever you may think of the images, it was all pretty awesome.

I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to spend this “fall color” weekend with my sister and to share it now with you. 

So here’s a thought – as we move from Thanksgiving to Black Friday and beyond, should you get a little overwhelmed by it all, you might think about these images. Why? Because they might help you keep things in perspective.

No matter the deal you may land on the internet, the best things in life are actually … free. Better yet: “the best things in life aren’t things.” – Nancy Whitfield

Thank you for following my blog.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Art and nature

It’s a theme that seemed to come up a lot when I was an English major in college.

I experienced some art and nature firsthand last Tuesday morning when doing some early morning photography in Nashville’s Edwin Warner Park.

The first two images below are abstracts made by intentional camera movement.

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Green

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Green and blue

They’re art. Or perhaps, nature in art?

The next two images are not abstractions, but pretty nature images.

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butterfly on red salvia

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one fine day

They’re nature. Or perhaps, art in nature?

Which images do you like better?

I like both and am reminded of the famous quote from John Muir: “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”

How true.

Thanks for following my blog. It’s a great month to be outdoors in nature.

 

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a little Halloween hocus focus

I love Halloween. I love the crisp chill in the air, all the scary movies, ghosts hanging down from trees, spiders taking over my living room, and the last minute rush to carve and light the pumpkin before the first wave of trick or treaters start ringing the doorbell. I love all the trick or treaters, but especially the first-time pink costumed fairy princesses.

But this year, I think a black cat crossed the road when I wasn’t looking because there’s something a little scarier about Halloween this year. You can see it in my photographs.

It may have started with a little double vision or um … “ghosting.”

girlweb

Initially, I didn’t think too much about it, but then, when another photo went all blurry on me …

nightweb

I knew I had to do a little problem solving.

So I went out and took a few test shots with a couple scarecrows to figure this whole thing out, and here’s what I got.

scarecrowweb copy

Ruh-Roh.

Scarecrow #1 kind of looks blurry and like I’ve got double or octuplet vision.

And here’s scarecrow #2.

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Well, you can see for yourself that this focusing problem was spiraling quickly out of control.

So I went to my eye doctor to see what’s up and he said the epithelial lining of my eyes looks like Swiss cheese.

“Holy candy corn conjunctivitis Batman!” I said.

batmanweb

“Is it permanent?” I asked.

“No, but I suggest you take these eye drops along with these other prescriptions and take a little fall break from photography. Limit your screen time.”

So I left his office feeling a good bit dejected until I returned home and was looking around in one of our cabinets and found a little square photograph of the sweetest little pink costumed Disney princess I have ever known. We used to call her “Boo.”

boo copy

Holding that photograph helped me put everything back in its proper focus.  Look at Boo now.

Bweb

Sometimes the best medicine is not found in prescription bottles or even in laughter but in the smiles we get when thinking of our children or other friends and family. I guess I have a lot to smile about.

So with everything now in focus, let me say Happy Halloween to you, and to you, and to Boo!

And for any of you wondering, I’ll have my camera back in hand and working this weekend.

Thanks for following my blog posts.

 

Happy Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th has never been a particularly unlucky day for me, nor has it been for most people.  Sure, if I burn the lasagna on a Friday the 13th I might laugh and chock it up to the day, but I just don’t attach any real significance to it.

Some people do, however. In fact, it’s estimated that there’s an economic loss of 700-900 million dollars every Friday the 13th due to people staying at home or superstitiously avoiding certain activities, such as airline travel. Just the number 13 bothers some people.  Lots of hotels and other buildings lack a 13 to press in their elevators.

So for the superstitious among you, I offer these photographs.  They were not taken on a Friday the 13th, but I’ve always been intrigued by the somewhat odd, almost Alfred Hitchcock-ish quality they share in common. I took them with my iPhone on a couple of unseasonably warm days in January 2012, so maybe this is what you get when the weather is out of whack.

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So that’s my photo homage to Friday the 13th.

Now, so you know I do take more comforting photographs that are more seasonably friendly, I’ll end with this one.

gristmillw

It was taken several years ago in Babcock State Park in West Virginia.

Happy October.