Photo a Week: Changing Seasons

Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week Challenge: Changing Seasons

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO (OR MORE) THAT DEPICT SEASONS.

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I live in the Northeast USA and signs of Autumn are everywhere.

My favorite indicator of the approaching fall season is what I like to call the “natural look.” The trees changing color on a daily basis.

It reminds me of the huge leaf piles I loved to jump in when I was a kid. I don’t recall having to rake them, but I probably did help. The sound of the crunch, the distinctive smell of…fall…drew me in one way or the other.

I clearly recall – one late fall afternoon in the backyard – lying face up on the damp grass amongst the fallen leaves. Watching the few clouds in an otherwise blue sky. The sun’s rays shifting. Leaves continuing to float down. I must have been 9 or 10. I will always remember this moment…I thought…staring hard…listening…trying to make sure the memory stuck.

There was also a dubious activity I took part in: hiding inside leaf piles at curbside. Dutifully raked by all the neighbors. Huge mountains of leaves…ready for the loud lumbering city trucks which came by to suck them all up every week. My game (along with my friend Kathleen): jumping out seconds before the trucks reached us. We shocked the heck out of those drivers.

Not smart, I know.

Remember, children were very unsupervised in the 60s. We played outside all day. One adventure after another.

We also got lucky. At least I did.

It was an exciting time.

natural fall

 

Other signs of summer changing into fall?

Walking downtown yesterday,  I noticed the local shops had updated their decor.

Orange is the new color-of-the-hour. As in pumpkins…and mums….

signs of fall

 

On the other hand…

During my afternoon trip to the local wholesale club, I was greeted by another type of decor marking the change of seasons.

Still orange, but not nearly as tasteful.

Definitely not the “natural look” I know and love…

commercial fall

 

[To my horror, this was also a few aisles away from a display of artificial 7 foot high Christmas Trees!! Yes, Christmas Trees on September 28th – WTH]

 

Smile

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #65: Smile

…I challenge you to pay attention to and share some smiles this week.

[also submitted for September photo a day challenge: Autumn colors]

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A multi-dimensional word…smile. I try to coax a smile from my elderly neighbor who is not happy to be living here in the Northeast. She misses the warm dry weather of her former home in Las Vegas. Sometimes I succeed. Often I don’t.

At the grocery store I often catch the eye of a curious toddler or infant propped up in a nearby cart. Looking around while her or his parent inspects tomatoes or apples in the produce department. I’ll hold the little one’s gaze and smile…or wink. Nine times out of ten I’ll get a smile back. A real smile when the eyes join in. Later in the cereal aisle, I’ll sense someone looking at me. It’s that same smiling kiddo…often peeking around mom or dad. Who often don’t even notice. And if they do, they’ll smile too.

A smile just brightens the day.

Lately it’s not only the spontaneous grins from children that make me smile. Since I’ve dug more into photography, I’ve started smiling more at nature. Or more specifically, what I discover during the picture taking process.

When I got my first 35mm camera at the age of 24, it was all about people. Friends and family. I whipped out the Canon for my children’s milestones, school events, birthdays, first days of school. Or just fun everyday life stuff.

I was first in line at family reunions to record stills and video. Vacations were for photographs of scenery. My everyday life was full of work and focus on family. My husband was the one who would be crouched down taking pictures of a spider web or peeling paint on old rocking chairs. I didn’t understand why.

It’s interesting how things change.

Since retirement, emptying of the nest and downsizing, all of a sudden (it seems all of a sudden, but it really isn’t) another dimension in life has opened up.

Perhaps it started with this blog. Or just coincided with it; nudged forward by all the WP support. Digital photography and instant results played a part…as it encourages practice without the worry of buying film and paying for processing.

For instance….a few days ago I was finishing the last loop of my late afternoon walk when I noticed these trees up ahead:

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The light. The colors. Oh my.

No cars in sight.

I crossed the road. Stood under the tree and looked up, focusing with my iPhone (wishing I had brought my “real” camera…). Turned around in a circle. My head back. Ignoring the cars going by. Hoping I wouldn’t lose my balance (I didn’t).

And then this exact moment caught my attention:

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The longer I looked, the more I smiled.
And captured it minutes before the light shifted.

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I was smiling even more when I discovered this sunflower extravaganza in a nearby town.

I will admit I went (more than) a bit crazy there.

A sunflower convention…a sunflower Woodstock…!

sunflower crowded

The crowd goes wild!
sunflowers group

I was a grinning fool by the time I hiked out of there.

Perhaps the moral of this story should be…
“We become more easily amused the older we get”

 

 

 

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Trees

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Trees

 

I am visiting my daughter and her family in Washington DC.
A 3 day celebration of her successful defense of her doctoral dissertation. After 7 years of hard work, perseverance and dedication. Including…as she puts it… “producing a human.” My adorable three year old grandson.

Yesterday afternoon…we enjoyed a brief respite at one of her favorite places.

This is the view…bordering the rear parking lot…

 

trees in DC
Washington DC

…behind Politics and Prose…
A bookstore and coffeeshop in one!

We browsed the shelves
Of so many books.
Until time for
Cookies and tea.

Precious time
To chat
With my daughter
The new PhD.