This morning I went to buy fruit from Ken & Janet who once a week have their Blueberry Hill fruit stand in front of my favorite meat market – about 3 miles from our home. This week they had blueberries but were sold out by the time I got there, peaches, nectarines, plums, and a couple of early apples. As I was leaving to go home, I decided to go to the Dahlem Nature Center as it was almost on my way home, I had my camera, and the sun was shining so I was pretty sure I could get some good photographs for this week’s Lens-Artist Challenge: Here Comes the Sun.
I have taken a few photos of sunrises and sunsets but what I really enjoy about early morning photography is catching the moment when the rising sun shines through the trees to illuminate a subject. In those moments the ordinary is transformed into extraordinary. On my walk through the wooded area of the conservatory my mission was to find these moments.
Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. Rachel Carson
When I take photographs of nature in these circumstances, I think about the definition of beauty. When I do the post processing I become concerned that what I saw as beauty out in a wild field or along a dirt road won’t be perceived by others as beautiful. I wonder what a professional photographer would say about my images and whether anyone would want them matted, framed and hanging on the wall.
These questions and worries don’t discourage me from moving forward with posting them on my blog, however. I think it is because my photography is driven by a desire to share emotions, whereas my life’s work was driven by thought and skill. It seems like those posts of bloggers I follow that focus their photography on the natural world are the most enjoyable. And for me the most exciting, the most gentle, the most evocative are the ones that are gently bathed in early morning sun.
It had been years since I walked the trails of Dahlem Center and I have changed in body and soul. I am thinking that Jim and I need to take regular walks here. I was wandering along an easy path, taking a few photographs and enjoying the bird calls when something caught my eye. If you look closely you will see the doe and spotted fawn on the path ahead watching me. As I slowly walked closer, they ran away.
Here is a gallery of nature’s late-summer offerings, at least they are the ones that the sun wanted me to aim my lens toward and put into focus.
It seems to me that Mr. Wright needed to add, ‘take care of nature.’ Maybe he thought that loving nature would cover it but I’m not sure. If we don’t respect and protect nature it will destroy us instead of being there for us; if we fail nature, it will fail us.
A special thank you to Amy for choosing a topic that motivated me to grab my camera and hit the trails. It has been a long time since I have felt the joy of searching for beauty with my lens.
I love boardwalks for two reasons. First, they allow me to get deeper into nature’s beauty without the danger of falling due to uneven ground, tree roots, rocks, etc. Second, I love how they are made of pieces of lumber that form straight lines, but still their structure has lots of dips and zags and turns with surprises.
The Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary has a 2.25-mile boardwalk that meanders through pine flatwood, wet prairie, around a marsh, and finally into the largest old-growth bald cypress forest in North America. Can you follow these straight lines? Something like walking the straight center line while being falling-down-drunk.
I love this type of boardwalk (above and below) that is a great alternative to walking on soft, shifting sands. From this perspective you can tell which alternative I actually chose.
I love the pattern of straight lines that crisscross the “straight line” of the boardwalk path.
Central Florida is noted for its many springs bubbling up from the underground limestone aquafer. Many people, all of them young, were choosing to walk up the shallow river in the 72 degree (constant) water. They saw the wonders of the spring water up close but I chose the boardwalk even though it seemed a bit unstable, triggering my height anxiety occasionally. The straight boards shoring it up didn’t seem to increase my confidence in its safety, but my desire to explore the beauty of this unique landscape pushed me forward.
Thanks, Cee, for presenting this challenge of “Straight Lines” that gave me a chance to meander through my maze of files (in my brain and computer) looking for examples of boardwalks.
Yes, autumn is in the air, not yet the riot of color we will have in a couple of weeks, but as I drive through the countryside I see the subtle changes that have taken place that say summer is over. My favorite places are the wetlands that have been left uncultivated. It is there that I get the first hints of each new season. Many of the small ponds are covered with thick algae and this color always brings a smile to my face. A daughter calls the green I love on my public room walls “pond scum green.” I have so many of these little memories of family life that bring me joy now that I am in the (late?) autumn of my life.
The colors of early autumn in these wetlands are subtle but taken together create a wonderful palette. Where I took these photos earlier this week, the goldenrod and white asters were scattered in abundance.
Most of the cattails were still their beautiful brown but a few were bursting with abundant hope for the future. Maybe I need to remember them when I hit those moments of “covid fatigue” and burst out my hope for a healthy and social future.
I moved from my favorite marsh and started roaming down the less traveled east/west roads, looking for scenes of autumn color. The color is mostly in the small bushes and wildflowers on country roads, although as we ran our errands in town yesterday, I saw many trees that were starting to color up.
Frequently sumac is early to change into its most brilliant coat of color. I found this one that is in the process of changing. Look at all the various colors – truly a coat of many colors.
I found some small patches of color that are “picture perfect.” I love when color and composition come together in a way that pleases my eye.
With all the small family farms in my countryside, the crops will always reflect our progressions through the seasons. Last spring was really crazy with unseasonal periods of heat and cold interspersed so farmers had a long period between plantings of corn fields. This early gap is being repeated this fall as some fields were harvested a couple of weeks ago and others are still standing, some even showing lingering green.
I had a whole week of fun putting together this post for Amy’s Lens-Artist Challenge: Colors of Autumn.
I went looking for a little bit of red as I meandered through my photo files this morning (does that count as a mile walk?) But I must have been into a lot of red because I just had to use this photo of tomatoes. They are in season here in Michigan and I no longer take them for granted. When my daughter moved to southern Taxes she looked for tomatoes to can that first year – there were none to be found in fall or spring. So she tried growing them, twelve plants that she shared with the deer. She tried several years but never had enough ripen before the heat of summer baked them on the vine. It must be we need hot houses in Michigan to start our plants in the spring, in Texas they need cold houses to give them time to ripen. Now she drives up to Michigan in summer to escape the heat and can produce to take back for the next year. This year she came before the tomatoes ripened so she took the ones I had left from last year. Each of the past two weeks I bought a half peck of tomatoes to can, enough to replace them with a few more jars for safe measure. Canning brings so much pleasure to my life, if I don’t overbuy at the farmers’ market so my energy runs out before the job is finished. Such a temptation when all that fresh produce is calling “buy me, buy me.”
As I was leaving I noticed the little bit of red of these umbrellas, standing sentinel waiting for the lunch time crowd to come for a sandwich and a beer. How pretty they looked contrasted with the black against the just right red of the building.
The farmer I buy my corn from (I also canned some corn relish) always has some small bouquets of seasonal flowers. They smiled so pretty I couldn’t resist taking a quick photo. Now I’m getting a little closer to a little bit of red.
I hope these posies bring a smile to your heart. If you see one who really like, let me know and I’ll pick it up for you next Friday morning.
I like going to the market on Friday morning instead of Saturday. There aren’t as many people on Friday so I can meander and stop and think and back up without getting into someone’s space. I’m still nervous about the virus when out and about, even with a mask. I don’t see many masks in our area and that makes me even more nervous.
The next photo of a very little red is my favorite from that visit to the market. A quiet Friday morning, giving the farmers a chance to get together and chat a bit. I do believe this is what makes for a good life; hard work providing food for others who then work hard preparing it, and finding time to chat and laugh with friends.
Those of you who follow Jude’s blog Travel Words may have seen her post this morning asking if we have photos with some “eye-catching red,” even a little bit of red. Well I haven’t been posting red photos of my “Life in Colour” on a regular basis so I had a little catching up to do as we are getting close to the end of August. If you like red and like to post photographs and connect with other red-loving people, check Jude out. But hurry because another color is coming in September.