That’s what I saw. That’s what I felt. Luckily, I was able to make a picture that has feeling rather than just the usual documentation of a thing or place. Let me tell you, that doesn’t happen very often.
It was kind of a fluke. Kind of photographer’s luck. Kind of what I tell me people who are suffering from a photography disorder.
It was a fluke because the dog and I normally don’t walk in this direction. It was photographer’s luck because we picked the time of day. It was the solution to the question I had been asking myself earlier in the day.
Together, all of this worked in my favor. Or, really, your favor.
The picture. From a technical standpoint, it was be there, see it, push the button. In post production it was more of the same. Most of the work was about darkening and enhancing the color to the point that I saw it while we were walking.
I was wrong. I found this tree a day or two after I said that all the leaves were down. However, I walked by it this morning thinking I’d add to the red collection. Now, I can safely say that all the leaves are down. The street was covered in the red leaves you see in this picture. I took a picture to prove it. I might post it next week. Or, tomorrow.
I guess this picture proves what I’ve long believed. Don’t mess with mother nature. Or, her trees.
Today is Black Friday in The United States. It’s a silly day created to drum up business. Prices are supposedly deep discounted. People used to line up at malls and big box stores at something like two o’clock. In the morning. Some stores are open on Thanksgiving Day.
According to some news reports that I read, it’s becoming a thing of the past. And, hopefully buyers are realizing that the deepest discounts are made on old stock, specially wholesaled stock, and stuff nobody needs. The good stuff may or may not be discounted. And, there may not be much of it. A lot of people have also discovered the joys of shopping online.
We don’t go to stores to celebrate overbuying. And overspending, which stretches out your Christmas giving for the rest of the new year.
Even when we do look at Black Friday prices, we actually don’t buy any goods. We might buy services. For instance, last year we subscribed to Hulu for 99 cents a month. This year, I’ll likely buy some photo software at a discount with a bunch of other goodies included. I may also subscribe to The Athletic, a very well reported and written sports website. It’s worth the normal price, but today it’s half price for a year.
What do you, in The United States, do on the busiest shopping day of the year?
Hopefully, like us, you mostly ignore it. Even the two items that I might download and subscribe to for the next year, came to me because I already use those services. I wouldn’t know about them if I didn’t. And, I wouldn’t care.
Didn’t I say that in just one day the brightly colored autumn trees turned bare? That the still living leaves fell to the ground in faded piles?
Well, here it is. The proof.
When I photographed this tree, we were out just around dusk. That didn’t matter since the sky was grey. There was no blue in it at all. As I worked the picture in processing, what little color left in the tree and leaves disappeared. So, I let it go all the way to black and white on its own. I like it this way. It’s stark and wintery.
I started thinking about the trees and their loss of color and leaves. It’s a natural thing. We see it in seasons as they pass by. But, it exists in living breathing mammals. My hair is graying. That’s not so bad. But, my beard is silver except near my neck where it is white. That wouldn’t matter so much if it wasn’t so soft. It takes some hard work to shave there.
Then, there is the dog who sees stuff. She’s 11 years old. She’s a buff cocker spaniel. Her face is turning white. And, so is her back. It’s not white yet, but buff has turned to light sand color. You can see the original coat color down by her rear legs.
That doesn’t seem to matter to her. She loves long walks. When she’s home with the other dogs she aggravates them just like she’s always done. It’s funny to watch. She still loves to play soccer with her humans. She uses her front paw to kick a tennis ball around the house. We block it and kick it back. She catches it and returns it. The dogs also play a kind of rugby. The dog who has the ball is attacked by all the rest.
So, everything seems fine. I treasure that. For her. For the rest of the doggo family. For all of the humans. And, for me.
The end came quickly. I made this picture yesterday evening. By this morning the leaves fell to the ground or they faded dramatically.
There’s a good lesson in nature’s teachings.
When you see a chance you take it. When a door opens walk through it. When I window opens dive out of it. The old saying of “he who hesitates is lost,” certainly applies. This a lesson that everybody should listen to, and pay attention. I’m as guilty as the next guy of not doing things when they are presented to me.
How do I overcome that? Maybe you too.
When an opportunity appears, don’t think about it. Don’t weigh the pros and cons. Just do it. If the opportunity stops glowing as you work through the process you can always back out. Just don’t sign any contracts until pretty much everything is in place and you like it. If you must walk away, no harm no foul. Don’t make a habit of it because the most precious commodity you have is time. You know the rest.
The picture. It really is the last fall picture. My comments above stand. The fall colors are muted. Yes, that’s how quickly that can happen. That’s why it’s hard for me to travel to photograph fall in another location. Arrive too early and you sit waiting for peak color. Get there late, and you’d better find something else to photograph.
Life changes. Seasons change, but they are cyclical. For sure, there are four seasons. Our winter usually isn’t very cold. Our summers are unbearably hot. The transition seasons, spring and fall, do what they are supposed to do. They just come earlier and later than most places.
Once you understand that, things get easier. I suppose that’s about like other of life’s changes. Trying to act and do things you did them when you were young often doesn’t work out so well. You adjust. You carry on. Supposedly, as you get older wisdom overtakes knowledge. I haven’t seen that yet. With me.
Of course, we live in dangerous times. What was wise once doesn’t hold now. Maybe things will revert closer to normal, but we all know that even if a sense of calm returns, it will be different than it was in the past. That’s okay. We made a lot of mistakes getting here. If we learn from those mistakes we’ll come out a little ahead.
The picture. The coolest thing about the digital world of photography are the LCDs. You can rotate them. You can turn them. You can use them to see what you couldn’t see in the past when you just pushed the shutter release button hoping for a good outcome.
That’s how I made this picture. The camera was almost on the ground. But, I could see what I was doing.
The post production was interesting. I worked the picture for longer than normal. It got brighter and the color was turning electric. That wasn’t what I wanted. I used another approach and almost flipped the color over making the picture look like a negative. I brought back some of the color and made sure that everything was in sharp focus.
Come to think about it, in Louisiana it’s always about the weather. After all, we live with six months of hurricane season. In about a week, that season will finally be over for 2019. I’m pretty sure that I can say we were lucky this year. The only storm that disrupted anything was the non-storm that became a storm. It was nowhere near hurricane force. It was a light tropical storm.
The strangest thing about Autumn in the south is extreme weather changes. Yesterday, the thermometer topped 80 degrees. Today, we’ll be lucky to reach a high of 65 degrees. This will go on until after Christmas. We’ve had Christmas days when we wore shorts and t-shirts. We’ve had other Christmases when we had snow that actually stuck. I went racing around photographing places with snow covering them.
I suppose I like changing seasons and weather because it is a very measurable way to look at life. Seasons come and go. Life moves on. But, as I get older and older, I am able to more clearly see the relationship between the two. Add to that, my birthday and I sort of want to plan the next year. What to leave in? What to take out?
I know one thing for sure. For a long while, maybe a year or two, I was cutting back. I was thinking that I was old now, and I shouldn’t start this or that. Nonsense. It’s true. Some avenues have closed. But, not because of my age. Instead they are closed by natural occurring changes in technology, in distribution, in usage. Not just in my world, but across the board.
What’s the saying?
“Change or die.”
I’m far from death. Think about that. I’m willing to bet most of you near aren’t death either.
I can’t remember seeing clouds shaped like these. They looked as if they were following each other after being pulled apart in the sky. There wasn’t much wind, at least down below where I was standing. It could have been quite gusty up above. That would have done it.
I don’t photograph many clouds unless something dramatic is going on. This isn’t dramatic. It’s interesting to me. I liked the repeating shapes. I liked the pristine blue of the sky, something that only happens around here after rainfall. When the rain stops and the storm clouds blow out, I try to take advantage of my time outside to make pictures like this.
Funny thing about going outside.
There was another discussion of how to break a photographic block. A writer’s block but with pictures. The discussion got complicated. Photography is fun. Folks should stop making it hard. Finally, I jumped into the question. Here’s what I said. “Get your camera, attach your favorite lens to it and go outside. Walk around. You’ll see pictures. Lots of pictures.”
The discussion ended right there.
Presumably, everybody was outside taking pictures. Or, not.