Black flowers are deep dark purple… well, it’s black to me. There are no such black flowers. Okay! It sure looks black to me. But then again, they don’t exist. I have to wonder how the owner came by these unusual annuals? We were on a house tour of historic New Castle. I like finding things they tell me don’t exist. And, I have never seen a magnolia tree seed pod (rock, under, me). – That’s the pod upper right.
I am unable to reliably compare my mania to others (who scan slides). But, I have an external hard drive with nearly 2 tb of scanned slides. I can tell you there are about 117k legitimate slides. This covers the 1970’s to 2004. In early June, 2004, I received my digital Nikon D70 and David’s graduation was the occasion of the last slides I took. Boom, just like that. I was digital. Jules hated digital for a long time. “They don’t look real.” And she could always tell the difference. Today, she tells me, “But dad, I always have my phone (iPhone 12) and it’s so handy when Noa does something cute.” My darkroom and all its equipment sits in the basement gathering dust. Digital is “free!” I just got 256gb SD cards for $20 a piece. A roll of film today would run around $9 a roll of 36 images. 256gb of memory card will give tens of thousands of images. It’s FREE! I am still poor from my film days and parsimony was ever with me. It’s why I bulk loaded my own Kodak slide film, developed it, and eventually printed a few. When I finally had money, it was a long time to shed those habits. Now, it’s off to CVS or Mpix for prints/enlargements with minimal turnaround time. Efficiency? It takes about a minute to scan one slide. You do the math. External hard drives started at around 40mb and now are up to 12tb. Memory keep dropping in price as my need keeps increasing. No need to be efficient or sparing, there’s always more memory you can get. Eventually, my kids asked, “Dad, why is the dog your screensaver on your phone?” “Because,” I replied, “I like the dog better.” I’ve come a long long way. i hope there is still a ways to go.
It was holiday ritual, the family group shot. In retrospect, any picture was precious no matter who had their eyes closed or was making a funny face. Duty. I’m glad i did it. I wish I had been more diligent. There were a lot of missed opportunities too.
If you would believe it, my kids liked raking leaves. Go figure. And then they would jump into the pile from ladders and trees. The compressed them for me to make bagging easier. It was an annual fall ritual. Fondly, I remember the time.
Some of the earliest slides come from my med school years. Yes, I lost a lot of early memory and experience before I started keeping track.
It seems that it’s been a few years since I got a quintessential fall foliage shot. This year was no exception. We just seemed to hit the fall leaves at the wrong time wherever we were. I chanced upon this scene in late November. Yes, it was way past peak time. I timed the 2nd game of the World Series as the best time to see foliage in upstate New York. It’s a rule of thumb that varies. Nonetheless I was way past time and did not expect to encounter color. Nice.
It’s ain’t me. It’s about nine year since I took the first picture you see. It’s on my blog and on my “About” (this blog) page. The image was shot on a back road of Maine. The image has a white primitive rail fence along the roadside and the fall colors are just peaking. I was shocked to see the same fence recently. I had seen it in good repair in 2014. We speculate that the owner died or became disabled and no one keeps up with the maintenance any longer. I have no way to know. The farm is still functional. There is a farmhouse in good repair. I’m saddened that something so picturesque has deteriorated so badly. I am glad to say that it’s not me who suffered a similar fate. I hope I’ll still be kicking around for a long time to come.
Central Park. Is there any other? In the middle of the “City” amongst a million people, a park was created to preserve open space. When you consider that every other inch is covered with developers scheming to construct a high rise something, it is pretty remarkable that someone didn’t pave over and build on this park. I took the kids to school many days. And in the fall, I could see and gauge the autumn color as it developed. Not enough, but a few times I would venture into the park and get some fall shots. I got lots of leaves in color, but, not so much of the city and park in peak fall foliage. In the midst of it all there is serenity to be found. I didn’t realize how crowded it was. Now I live where there are mere thousands (population). I have to drive for a while to find traffic. A car going by on my street after dark is unusual. The beach is crowded. I might have to cruise for five whole minutes to get a parking spot. I live with someone who worries about parking. She was lucky to see a car near her once a day. Geez! She worries about parking all the time.
The quintessential fall image? There were none while I worked in Saudi. Ha! No trees. No fall. No leaves. It was 100 every day. I rained a day or two a year. The trees and bushes bloomed year long. And I don’t look back with any longing. Meanwhile, I try each season… not too hard of late. Dover. I got lost. Ummm you are never lost as long as you never put the car in reverse. I turned the corner past a government building. There! Whoa! Getting lost (I wasn’t) has its benefits. Brilliant bright color! They say that rainy days give the colors more saturation. Well, they are wrong. I gravitate to the bright ‘in your face’ colors that pop! I got some images. This was fall.
It occurred to me… that fall pictures in a cemetery are somehow intertwined. Dead leaves and dead people. That’s kind of harsh and stark. Beautiful autumn color in a restful place for departed dearly beloved ones. I’ve taken many a cemetery pic and seek the quintessential autumn image. I have taken fall images in a cemetery for sure. Bittersweet.
One of the things about freestyle travel is that you never know what you are getting next. We ate dinner in a ski resort/brewery. I’ve been skiing enough to know that you avoid places like this (in season or out). We stayed in one Airbnb in a terrible (but up and coming) neighborhood.
We stayed in a lovely place in Lenox. It’s part of the adventure. It’s nice if things are predictable. And I hate it when my guess/choice is not ideal. It always seems to work out. SFSG (so far so good) It helps to have an understanding travel companion….because and up and coming neighborhood looks pretty threatening in the dark of the night. Anything tends to look better with a little daylight.
It’s a weed. It grows all over the side of the road and in the fields in the fall. I was told it gives you hay fever. My mother swore it did. My father suffered from it every year. We moved to WV because he convinced her there was no hay fever there. Wrong! He got it the worst. Wrong! It’s not golden rod. It is rag weed that is the culprit. Nonetheless, it’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. Meanwhile as we drove in peak season golden rod bloom, I was keeping an eye out for a ‘shot.’ I waited long. I passed up other shots. And then… sometimes good things come to those who wait.
Go small. The display of fall color eluded me this year. I saw lots of leaves and lots of color. I was just never on time or in the right location. We were passing through too early or too late or could not stop. So basically I missed the foliage display. There is still an opportunity to catch something. I resorted to single leaves. But even then the bar is high. Find a perfect leaf and isolate it. Hard to do, I did not really accomplish that either. It’s ok. There’s always next year. …I hope.
I have been seeking a peak fall foliage image this year. It’s November and there are still brilliant leaves to be seen. I’ve been around and about from Delaware to Colorado. There are still leaves of color. However, there has been no signature image. I was driving in rural Delaware. On a back road was this red maple. Brilliant. The color was deeply red. My image does not do justice to the grandeur. I chose not to manipulate in Photoshop. Of course there is no global warming. I state the obvious. It’s mid November and leaves are still on the trees, many of them green, while others are nude for winter’s coming. It seems that nature is confused too. Try and make sense of things. As the cowardly lion said, “I do believe…” And, I’m off to see the wizard.
The Little Pie Company makes a SCAW – sour cream apple walnut pie for which the recipe is intentionally left out of their cookbook. It is their signature pie. The apples are sliced, not wedged. The topping is brown sugar and walnuts in a thick layer of decadence. I’ve imagined this pie. And since I moved from NYC, it has seemingly been a pursuit to reproduce the recipe. We went apple picking. There was no better time to recreate the recipe. We looked in several places and settled upon the Silver Palate recipe. It utilized sour cream. The topping is described as a streusel. Our recipe tasted exactly as the Little Pie. The topping was too meager. It’s plenty sweet and tastes the same as the Little Pie too. It just needs to be thicker. After all this time, I have reproduced another recipe. Osso bucco was another recipe that turned out to be dead simple to make. Meanwhile, the secret recipe is really not so secret after all.
I did not realize that hydrangeas were the big fall flower. I’d lived several years in Maine and don’t recall autumn full of hydrangeas. But it seemed that everywhere I turned there they were. Pretty nice! Oh, and it seems they were all the same color. Yes, they all seemed to be this dusty pink shade. A nice stone wall to go and I am all set.
There was a play on Broadway that became a movie that had a haunting theme song. I saw the Broadway play. The movie starred Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda, and Catherine Hepburn. Henry won the academy award in his last film. Jane accepted on his behalf. The song is in my playlist. Dave Grusin composed it. So I was moved when we passed Golden Pond. I wasn’t looking for it. The pond just came up and bit me. But all the significance of the play, the movie, and the sound track are now linked in this image. We didn’t stop long. I just filled the tank. Looking at the sign in the gas station it announced where we were. That led me to take the image. A moment. A fraction of a second in shutter speed time.
In a follow up to a recent post on the engagement of my daughter Jules, I am posting this pic. It was the day after Thanksgiving. The annual leaf raking was in progress. Jeff her intended set up a video and shot scene. Julia and he jumped into a pile of leaves. Typically Julia directed how they should jump. And when they landed, he dug the leaves out of her face and hair and put a ring on her finger. Jules cried and in the hugs I heard her laugh with joy.
This shot was many years before. And yes, that was Lisa making the leap. It was a time when we piled them high and jumped from a fence or ladder. This time it was just a belly flop into a low pile. But it sure was a happy ending.
I went to Maine to see some trees before heading back to the dessert. After a while trees are nice to see. And then I was hoping to appreciate some fall color. By and large it was a hit and miss. The week we arrived it was green and in another week it was past peak for a lot of trees. Green and color simultaneously did not leave many opportunities for those stunning colorful vistas of changing leaves I had envisioned. So you make do. We stayed in a B&B named Wabi Sabi. The internet states the term represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.
We found the place to be delightful. The innkeeper was gracious and breakfast was a treat. Best of all I had a tree that cooperated and gave me some of the fall color I craved.
There are classic hot dog stands in Maine. Bob Draper and Kevin Frary introduced me to Wasse’s in Rockland. They have a couple more stores now. And the market carries hot dogs in a brilliant unnaturally red casing that you know is bad for you. Here is a lesser know institution in Boothbay. The name is self-evident. It looks like a one-man operation. Lots of folks come around. Even on this cold chill September day, there were folks braving a cool breeze and threatening rain. Business is enough to support a souvenir shop next door. Or is it the souvenir shop that brings people by? There is a menu with lots of other stuff. But why would you not order a dog?
We had dawdled, seriously meandered our way up the coast. So the plan to bike or hike the park trails was a bust. I refer to the carriage paths that the Rockefeller family bequeathed to the park. The trails are fabulous and definitely ride them if you can. I have. And maybe some day we will again. Meanwhile the view from the top of Cadillac Mountain is worth the ride too. The lake and the Maine coast are shadowed below. No HDR for me. Sorry. It was the sky that was the star.
Any other clear blue sky day and the coast and the lake would be the stars of the image. But the clouds and sunset were image. So I took it. Moments later I fell uphill. Yes you can be clumsy anywhere. I sustained a laceration deep enough to require stitches but was not willing to waste time in an ER. I’d have sewn myself up if I had the materials. Instead the local Rite Aid had the bandaids to pull the cut together and all was well.
In Bar Harbor the final throes of sunset gave the sky an impossibly beautiful orange color. So I managed two nice sunsets in the same day. We were foraging for dinner. So this second shot was a real bonus. I will parenthetically add that we were also carrying a pair of lobster socks that said “bite me.” The lucky winner of said pair will know this was the place we bought them.
I think this is becoming a specialty for me. So many of the lighthouses in Maine have water in puddles or pools among the rocks. If the wind cooperates then there is often a perfect reflection. And then I sit and watch. I even saw serious photographers wandering the rocks. I know you are serious if you are lugging your camera attached to an oversized tripod. (Really? I mean really?) But I estimate 99% never notice the reflection. So I wait and pick out some nice person, Colleen couldn’t believe how gracious I was being. But just to make someone’s trip a little more special… I would share the picture at their feet. Not everyone is receptive. Some guys are just there on a mission. I don’t bother them. But for some earnest tourist, it’s a pleasure to share something special. Maybe they will look at the world a little bit differently from now on too.
I have been to this spot several times. The first was on a bike trip with Lisa. She shot this picture. We had started off in sunny weather. As we rode into the point, the fog and weather were impressively picturesque. Lisa shot this as I am the subject in yellow. Misty, foggy, windy, and chilly all come to mind. It was a classic mood shot. More recently Colleen and I were there. It was a crisp chill clear autumn day. Same spot different day, you could never imagine how it changed. Things are like that. When you travel, you never know what you will come across. And you are not there long enough to wait for changes to be favorable. The sunset you see is where you are. I’d like to be just camped in a spot waiting for a picture. But that is simply not I. So I will take what there is when I am there. And there will always be a different good shot somewhere.
Well, at least that’s what I call it. It is a field in full fall color. The road is just up there in the corner. I tried this shot a few years ago and it is a favorite of mine. I tried again and it is not nearly as nice. It’s a different time and different place. Midday not evening, the mood is entirely different. But I like the color. And it reminds me that things I have seen and beauty I recorded are sometimes unique and in the moment never to be repeated. It has made me appreciate life and to slow down sometimes to savor a moment that will not be repeated.
It could just as well be sunrise. I hate power cables. They always ruin a potentially good shot, except when they are the shot. Well it is dusk and we are headed west. Do ya think? Ha, I like that phrase two days in a row. And the sunset is catching the power lines. And the glow is wonderful. We’re in Maine and headed down the coast to make it to a dinner reservation.
The technical – we are in the car. There is glare off the windshield. I need to zoom the lens up a bit to avoid the glass, glare, and the car mirror. And…I am the driver. Relax. I did not peer through the viewfinder to compose. I treated the shot like a point and shoot opportunity. And yes, my companion was not a happy camper as I clicked off a few shots. No, we did not stop, we did not pause, we just kept on going, and we got to that restaurant on time just as it was dark.
If you will look at my ‘About’ page this is the same fence from a different direction and in a different year. I have been up and down this road many times. The fence is in much need of repair and paint now. And the question always arises, if you go to the trouble of building a very long fence like this, why not build it right and proper? There is still no answer either.
For me the appeal remains. The autumn color reigns. And I still wonder where the road is taking me. I have a better idea some years later. But the road always curves. It beckons with a promise and some mystery. Yup.
My travel companion came across a book in an antique store describing the connected barns in Maine. It seems that it’s cold in the winter. Do ya think? And it’s very nice to get out of bed and go to the barn for chores without stepping outside. So there are enough of these to illustrate an entire book. Getting an image is a trick. There are lots of things that obscure the picture. This image isn’t the best example. But then again… well there was some fall color thrown in and well… it is connected.