Friday, November 25, 2016

Where Do They Fall

"And softly through the altered air
hurries a timid leaf."
~ Emily Dickinson

Not all those timid leaves fall to the ground.

Some fall among bare branches.

Some fall among the thorns.

 Some fall on top of berries.

Some fall on top of leaves.

Some fall behind the fence wires.

Some fall on top the barbed wire.

Some fall into sticky webs.

Some fall into prickly needles.

Wherever they fall,
they take my breath away!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Give Thanks

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heav'nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
~ Thomas Ken, 1695

Wishing each of you a blessed Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Seeking Color

I anxiously await as I go through the long hot summer for cooler days and the brilliant colors of fall. Only this year in Arkansas, it didn’t happen. There are a few trees that have some color, but overall we didn’t get fall colors. We’ve had an abnormally warm fall and have been very dry which has caused the leaves on the trees to just turn brown, curl up, and fall to the ground. As far as fall colors go, this year was a bust! So, I had to turn to other things for autumn color such as pumpkins and mums. I knew just where to look for them . . . Garvan Woodland Gardens.

Not only were there pumpkins and mums, but the azaleas were blooming and the coleus was beautiful.

Notice in the picture below how green everything is. Of course, the garden is watered daily, but my goodness this is the middle of November and everything is still so very green. The plants are loving the warm temperatures.

It was quite a busy day at the gardens. I almost waited too late to see any fall colors, they were quickly being replaced by Christmas lights and decorations. The garden begins its Christmas light show this week. It was quite a challenge to take autumn pictures without Christmas lights in them. 

The Camellia trail was quite beautiful and led to the end of the garden where there’s a spectacular view of Lake Hamilton.

Well, I finally got my fall color fix, so I’m ready to move on. In fact, after watching with fascination, the Christmas decorations being put up I’m ready to go back and see the lights. I’m going to wait a couple of weeks, hoping it will be colder. It just doesn’t seem right to walk through a Christmas wonderland of lights in a T-shirt, capris, and sandals!

"I go to nature to be soothed and healed,
and to have my senses put in order."
~ John Burroughs

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Camp Clearfork

Hidden in the Ouachita Mountians down a short gravel road lies Camp Clearfork. The camp was developed in the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corps and includes several cabins, dorms, and a dining hall. This was the location of the photography workshop hosted by Taylor and Brenda Bellott. As I mentioned in my first post about the workshop, Taylor is a nature/landscape/wildlife photographer. He and his wife put on a fantastic three day workshop. Not only is Taylor an amazing photographer, but he loves to share his knowledge with others. His wife, Brenda, is the perfect partner; while he fed our brains, she fed our stomachs. Oh my, did we eat some delicious food! 

Some might call the location primitive, but I call it rustic. It's vintage, but clean, It smells old, but you can open the windows. It has features that are antique, but the cabins do have running water and a bathroom. Primitive would have been no bathroom in the cabin. There is also no heat or air conditioning, but  the weather was mild so neither was needed.

The first time I went to the bathroom in our cabin I laughed out loud. Instead of the metal rod that locks the door, there was only a very small stick. The stick would only be good for keeping the door shut, not keeping anyone out!

Not all our time was spend in workshops or group photography. There was plenty of time for us to explore and for me to find the little delights of this beautiful area.

After the workshop my sister and I stayed in the area for a while. We walked a trail around the lake until it became very overgrown, then we backtracked. We also went to Camp Charlton which is right across the highway from Camp Clearfork. Charlton is a historic recreation area located on Walnut Creek. The rustic bathhouse was also built by the CCC in 1935. It has the most fascinating shape. As you can see in the picture all the walls curve. From the top they curve in and then curve back out to a wider base. It's not just curved at the corners, but the whole wall is curved.

Walnut Creek is lovely. It was a fun place for rock throwing and looking for fall leaves.

We couldn't have asked for anything better from this workshop. We learned, we took pictures, we made new friends, we laughed, and we ate! I'm already saving my pennies for the next one. A great be thank you goes out to Taylor and Brenda. You made my first photography workshop perfect!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Sunrise, Sunset, and Water Motion

Sunrises and sunsets, they happen everyday. Of course, there are times you can't actually see the sun, but it's still there. The first night of the photography workshop I attended we drove to the top of Hickory Nut Mountain to photograph the sunset. The drive itself was an adventure; four miles on a gravel road, six or seven cars, mine next to last, and dust so thick you couldn't see very far in front of you. We finally made it to the vista at the top and found a spectacular view of Lake Ouachita and the Ouachita Mountains.

There were clouds that night which obscured the actual sunset. These pictures were taken a little more to the north. The sun rays broke through the clouds in brilliant colors. I love the way a bit of the colors are reflected in the water.

On our last morning, we went back up to Hickory Mountain Vista to capture the sunrise. Once again there were clouds and we saw little of the actual sunrise, but the gorgeous colors were there breaking through the clouds. In the picture below, see all that fluffy white right above the tree line? That is the lake, totally covered by a low hanging cloud. The cloud was fascinating as it moved. It make me think I was looking at ocean waves. 

Even though there were clouds, the morning was gorgeous as the sun rose higher and began to shine on the trees.

Notice my title, Sunrise, Sunset, and Water Motion. You've seen the sunrise and the sunset, that just leaves the water motion. I saved these pictures for last because they were my worst. We set up our cameras near a stream with the goal of creating silky water flow. I got the silky water, but I also got blurry everything else. Yes, I used a tripod. No, I didn't use a remote shutter release. Yes, the wind was blowing a little. I deleted most of my blurry, water pictures, but I kept a few just to remember the fun of trying.

We did a lot of other photography at the workshop, but these three challenges were my favorite even though I didn't succeed at water motion. Mistakes are all right as long as we learn from them and I certainly learned that a remote makes a difference. 

I'd like to post one more time about the photography workshop, mostly just snapshots of where we were and a little of the small things that caught my eye.

Until then, if you ever get a chance to photography a sunrise or sunset, go for it. It's a magical time of the day!

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
One season following another,
Lainden with happiness and tears.
~ Sheldon Harnick
(Fiddler On The Roof)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Seeing Reflections in the Water

Just a quick note this morning. I shared several of my pictures from the photography workshop I attended over at Focusing On Life. I love to be around water and see what kind of reflections I can find. If you have time, stop by and take a look at them. Sometimes the world is better upside down!!