What is the story of autumn?

Door County Panoramic

Door County Panoramic

I’m still working through the images from fall color hunting but as feared, not really finding any outstanding shots.  This was a grove of trees on the edge of a field on one of the few days with actual sunshine.  Casually driving around and looking at scenery would have convince the average person there was lots of great scenes this fall but taking time to find something to compose was a different story.

Speaking of which, what is the story for fall colors?  Is it the brilliant end of a growing season?  A nostalgic memory of earlier autumns?  The slight chill in the air accompanying the changing colors that reminds us of the season to come (and its associated holidays for family and friendship)?  If one had the perfect photograph of fall colors, what story would it tell?  What memory would it elicit?  What emotion would it stimulate?

Never really thought about it.  Photographing the changing colors just seems like the thing to do in and of itself.  But there must be some basic, primary essence of why we enjoy such images.  And linger our gaze on some while passing by others.  Perhaps figuring that out will enable me to see even the least autumn in a new way.

Comments?

Great slice of America

A colleague of mine recently asked if Door County has become my go-to place.  Hadn’t really thought of it that way but did realize we’ve visited there several times since moving here.  There does seem to be quite a bit of photo-material there, changing with the seasons.

Door County is that narrow thumb sticking out eastward from Wisconsin into Lake Michigan.  Because trade via the Great Lakes was such an important route prior to railroads this part of the state was site of many small ports and supporting villages.  From mining to forestry to farming the area has seen much change as different ethnic groups settled and thrived there.

Overall the county is pretty thinly populated, once the tourists go home.  Weekends are crowded but during the week things settle down a bit.  There are still many natural areas in the county, including an actual wilderness area in the northern part.  With water, rocks and trees abounding there is usually a good view somewhere.

Ephram, WI from Peninsula State Park

Ephraim, WI from Peninsula State Park

There is an overlook in the state park that has a clear view across to the town.  This was just right for the position of sun and moon, enough light to make the houses visible as the moon rose over the ridge behind them.

Cave Point State Park, Door County, WI

Cave Point State Park, Door County, WI

Sunrise with a strong wind coming ashore, driving waves at least 5-6′ high.  Fortunately the rocks are immune to the breeze even as the trees sway.

What is probably the most photographed section of road in Wisconsin.  South of Northport in Door County.

What is probably the most photographed section of road in Wisconsin. South of Northport in Door County.

I have no idea why the highway engineers laid out the road this way but it certainly attracts photographers.  Just about every gift shop in the county has some image of this hanging for sale.  I’m standing with a crowd of probably a dozen people, all waiting their turn for this spot and for all the cars to clear out.

Fading colors

Finally got around to having all the 4×5 slide film in the freezer developed.  A mix of last fall and this fall, so there were a few nicely colored images.  Lab manager told me the E-6 chemistry from Kodak is done – no more available.  Slide film will now only be processed with Fuji chemistry.  I do so little anymore it’s hard for me to know if there’s a difference in using Fuji chemistry on Kodak film.  Not much of an issue soon, though, since Kodak quit making slide film anyway.  Just have to enjoy it while it lasts.

Here’s the best of a couple years’ large format slides.

20161117004 20161117002 20161117013 20161117023

Autumn Extremes

Fall colors around here weren’t as I expected.  The many people I’ve mentioned this to are mostly likely tired of hearing about it and would prefer the seasons move on to something new.  Between being disappointed and being busy at work I’m only now starting to look through all my images to see how they may turn out.

So far a couple have caught my attention.  Neither is the grand landscape of fall quilted colors, but rather portray those aspects unique to photography of showing something usually missed or very difficult to see.

Lines of the season

Lines of the season

This one is just a close-up of a few leaves.  These were surrounded by hundreds of similar colored and shaped leaves but what caught my attention was how the lines and shadows enhanced the dimensionality of the composition.  The light was just the right angle to bring out the surface details while being bright enough to highlight the color.  All the little irregularities in the leaf, signs of its end, break up the linear nature of the image and bring some character to the subject.  It’s a scene easily missed if you are literally looking at the forest instead of the trees.

Morning Shore

Morning Shore

This one is a multi-image HDR composition, with enough exposures to enable the viewer to see the rocks as well as the clouds at sunrise.  The location overlooks Lake Michigan and that morning a strong wind was pushing 4-5 foot swells right into the rocky shoreline – hence the wispy appearance of the water.  Standing there you would be able to see the sunrise or the rocks, but probably not both – the dynamic range was too great even for human eyes.  I liked the color version but it was complex – grey rocks, green grass, pale blue water, pink/orange sunrise – and hard to decide on the subject.  Turning it into B&W resolved much of the conflict, I believe.  Now it portrays textures, from hard to soft, permanent to ethereal, giving a sense of anticipation of what might happen next across three distinct layers from bottom to top.

Getting hyped up about fall colors is easy to do since I have a history of color slides for my early photography experience.  Each year I just want to capture that feeling again, only this time with better skills and “seeing” so that I’m amazed at the images.  Some years it happens; some it doesn’t.  What I have to keep remembering is there are scenes everywhere – just have to seek them out and make something of them.

 

Fall 2015

As much as I’ve complained about the colors in Wisconsin this year I did see some good images once I got around to processing them.  Amazing what a little cropping and contrast will do.  Here’s the best of the bunch – until next year!

Devil's Lake State Park, Baraboo, WI

Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, WI

Devil's Lake State Park, Baraboo, WI

Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, WI

Devil's Lake State Park, Baraboo, WI

Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, WI

Devil's Lake State Park, Baraboo, WI

Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, WI

Mississippi River, WI

Mississippi River, WI

Prairie du Chein, WI

Prairie du Chein, WI

Lansing, IA

Lansing, IA

Lansing, IA

Lansing, IA

Somewhere in central Wisconsin

Somewhere in central Wisconsin

Somewhere in eastern Wisconsin

Somewhere in eastern Wisconsin

Sparta, WI

Sparta, WI

Devil's Lake State Park, Baraboo, WI

Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, WI

Sparta, Wisconsin

Sparta, Wisconsin

Peninsula State Park, Door County, WIsconsin

Peninsula State Park, Door County, WIsconsin

Door County, Wisconsin

Door County, Wisconsin

Devil's Lake State Park, Baraboo, WI

Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, WI

Devil's Lake State Park, Baraboo, WI

Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, WI

Holy Hill, Erin, WI

Holy Hill, Erin, WI