Three Ginkgo

It’s autumn, so I know you have already looked at a gazillion (plus three) photos of changing trees.  I may have contributed to that count once or twice already this season, but I try to keep it under control.

I certainly don’t like taking the typical images, so the autumn photos are fewer and further between.  And while I’ve been keeping an eye on our town’s Japanese Garden, I haven’t spent any time there taking pictures.  Usually because it’s so overworked.  It’s a popular location, being named one of the Top 10 Great Public Spaces in America didn’t help to keep the numbers down.

Matter of fact, Goddess and I strolled through late Sunday afternoon, just as the sun was setting.  There were several photographers shuffling tripods, trying to find angles that didn’t include the other photographers, sighing out of exasperation in the rapidly failing light.

Fair enough.  I’ve been there countless times.

I was trying to stay out of their field of view, standing on a paver stone underneath the one tree I have been waiting to change this year, a ginkgo biloba tree.  The ginkgo is rapidly becoming my favorite autumn tree, not just because it’s not very often you run across one, but because of the shape and details in the leaves.  They are beautiful in summer green, even more so in autumn yellow.  It’s rapidly supplanting my other favorite, the Japanese maple, which are more common.  You’ll notice one of those maples in my banner photo at the top of the page.

Standing on the paver, I looked up to see these three ginkgo leaves framed against a backdrop of Japanese maple and I immediately knew how I wanted to shoot it the following morning.

If only the leaves would stay in place for the next 14 hours.

They did, and mid-morning was perfect as Goddess and I were the only ones there, save for a few elderly walkers enjoying the colors.  Have I mentioned that we live in a very fit town?  Seeing them working hard reminds me that I need to step up my game.  The first pic below is another reminder.

For those of you over on that social media site, you’ve already been subjected to the image Goddess caught of me getting the feature image:

Lying Down on the Job

If you click on the picture, it will take you to that social media site in a new window or tab, if you’re interested.  No Mom, it’s not necessary to get an account over there.

But  it was necessary to lie down on the ground like that.  Otherwise I would be too close for the lens to focus.  Plus, at this distance (about 5 feet) I was able to get the separation between the ginkgo and maple leaves that I wanted, even though they were really only a few inches apart.

Three Ginkgo

And like most of the other images I post on this blog, if you click on the image it will take you to my photography page, either in a new window or tab.

In the coming posts, I’ll have a few more images to share from that morning.  It turned out to be a fruitful 45 minutes.

Hopefully your autumn colors are enjoyable wherever you are.  And for my friends in the southern hemisphere, hopefully the springtime warmth is giving you plenty of green to enjoy.

Painted Quaking Aspen

The early morning session featured in the Mount Thielsen Stars post was a bit of redemption for what I had considered a poorly executed star shooting session a couple of weeks earlier.  During that earlier session, I did quite a bit of experimentation, which is good, but came back with very little that I considered worthy of sharing.

Twenty-five years at this game and I’m still learning.

I like that.

I was hoping to get some more late night images this weekend.  I was down in California doing some work for the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA).  It was trail work in the mountains during the day, but I’d have free time after dinner to get out and shoot the stars some more.  Since we were in the area, I was really looking forward to getting this tree in the foreground.

Instead, it was cloudy and rainy.  Snow had fallen in the area the night before we set up camp.

That made for poor photography options, but made for a memorable trail work weekend.

It was great to see so many people out enjoying the mountains, regardless of the weather.  It was the second weekend in the deer hunting season, although none of the hunters we talked to spotted anything other than does and a few fawn.  In other words, no luck.

There were also plenty of hikers, including a father and his young (7-8 year old?) daughter, out for her first backpack trip.  We talked to them on Saturday, then again on Sunday as they returned to the car, no worse for wear after a rainy and cold night at their back-country campsite.  She was all grins.  There just might be a lifetime of adventure for that young lady.

Anyway, what does any of that have to do with this photo?  Well, I had some time to let it set after giving up on it a couple of weeks back.  That was plenty of time to remove any notions of what I wanted to get out of it, which let me experiment.  Considering it’s the result of a night of experimentation, that was perfect.

Shot a little bit after the moon rose in Fish Lake Moonrise, I turned my attention to the south in the direction of the Milky Way.  There was also a single Quaking Aspen on the hillside which had, luckily enough, already popped to its full autumn color.

The moon lit the ground and I used an LED flashlight to paint the aspen.  Meanwhile the stars and Milky Way did their thing, occasionally masked by cirrus drifting across the sky.

Painted Quaking Aspen

Messy, but quite a bit of fun.

Mount Shasta View

Although this was taken only eight days ago, it sure seems a lot longer than that.  It’s been a busy week, but a good week.

That and the fact that I know the view looks nothing like that this morning.  Yesterday we received 4-6″ of snow in just a few short hours and we’re 5,500′ below the summit of Mount Ashland, from which this photo was taken.  I know the mountain received quite a bit too, as I was able to watch it all day on a webcam.  By mid-afternoon, a few hardy folks were up there in the middle of it, strapping on their snowboards and trying to eke out a run in the few inches of snow covering the rocks.

They weren’t having much success.

Anyway, this picture was taken on Thanksgiving afternoon.  It was a balmy day in the 50’s.  Enough to get us sweating on the approach to the summit, which sounds more impressive than the reality that we parked about a mile away from the summit, just a couple of hundred feet lower in elevation.

As you can see, a beautiful day.  A grand view of Mount Shasta, some 54 miles distant, as the crow flies.

Mount Shasta View

It was a great Thanksgiving, spending the day with friends we haven’t seen since 2006, all of us taking pics and looking at things in our own unique ways.  It’s always fun to see how two (or three or four or more) people can stand side by side, take pictures and come out with significantly different images.

For their take on the view, please browse over to their post at Welliver Photography.

Summer’s End

Labor Day has come and gone and from the looks of the elementary school across the street, school is back in session.

But even before the kids rushed back with excitement, we were already getting a hint of autumn.  Which really wasn’t a surprise, considering those of us with gardens are watching mid-September closely, which is when we average our first frost of the year.

Cool, dry, crisp, gorgeous air.

The kind of air that makes the sky vibrant, day or night.

Speaking of night, they have been so nice that Goddess and I have taken to sleeping out on our deck, watching the stars and the Milky Way traverse the sky.  We talk until we fall asleep, then wake up to see how the patterns have changed, then wake up again when the star closest to us is visible.

It’s a great way to spend a night together.

But these aren’t the stars.  That’s for another time.  Here’s some of the local scenery, taken last November when Goddess and I flew out here from Germany to decide if this is where we wanted to plant roots for a bit of time.

It’s a bit more humid in November than it is now.  So we’ll have a few more storms, some rain/snow and some broken clouds to give some drama to the landscape.

I can’t wait!

Backlit Oak

I keep an eye on this oak, since it’s just 10 miles outside of town, up a windy mountain road.  I’ve yet to ride my bicycle up that road, but that will happen by year’s end.

And likely I’ll catch the perfect light on this tree.

With my camera sitting at home.

Solo

Summer is winding down here.  The days are getting shorter and it’s already getting cooler.

We are just three short weeks away from our average first frost.

And in just a few short months, this tree will be under several feet of snow.  By winter’s end, this area averages over 20 feet (7 meters) of the white stuff.

I can’t wait to get up there and see it.

Crater Lake Solo

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Black Sky

I’m always amazed at the power of a red filter at high altitude.

Black Sky

Yes, in this digital age, the red filter was applied in post-processing.  But the effect was no different than 20 years ago, putting that same red filter over the lens and burning through roll after roll of B&W film.

And the occasional roll of color slide film too.

Just for fun.

Contemplation

Sitting alone on a warm autumn day.  Wrapped up in a warm coat.  Hair perfect.

Wistful smile on her face.

 

Does the graffiti mirror her mood?

What’s the story?

Faded Colors

While out searching for fall color to shoot, we went to a nearby German War Memorial.  And found something new.

Mind you, this is a memorial that I run through usually once a week.

Normally the run keeps us to the main path, so there’s little exploration.  But while walking slowing along the memorial, Goddess and I spied a small building tucked away in the bushes off to the side.  So we had a look.

Turns out that the building, which is actually a small circular, roofless memorial, is a gateway to a cemetery laid out in the forest.  This was quite a surprise, considering that for the past year and a half, I had run past just yards away and never noticed.

While all of the remains in the main memorial grounds are German veterans of World War I, this cemetery was solely for World War II veterans.  Compared to the WWI gravestones, which are laid out in orderly lines in long rows, this WWII grounds had pairs of crosses scattered about the grounds facing in different directions.  But the crosses weren’t the gravesites, as they did not have any names or dates or unit designations on them.  They were just there.

Instead, the head stones were nothing more than bricks with the veteran’s name and dates.  Other bricks had unit designations, presumably to mark where members of that unit were buried.

So while we set out to find some color (there was some), instead we found a place to reflect.

Just a few feet off the beaten path.

So while we did find color, it just wasn’t appropriate for these images.