Temporary, Once Again

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Every season is a rehearsal for next year.

When in doubt wear red. — Bill Blass

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October Light

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Every season offers special delights, none more so than Autumn.

My favorite color is October. —unknown

October is a hallelujah! —John Nichols

Spinning

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After a long dry summer, autumn is a hopeful change.

Darn the wheel of the world! Why must it continually turn over? Where is the reverse gear? —Jack London

Last Kiss of Summer

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I didn’t imagine raindrops against the roof last night, but they were small kisses, and gone by mid-morning. Too Little, Too Late will be the epitaph for this summer.

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Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby. —Langston Hughes

The Other Monochrome

OR-0905-2015-007 WPCWhen I saw the theme for this week’s Photo Challenge—monochromatic—my conditioned brain said “That’s black and white,” and the leaf shown here was developed to accompany my post. I didn’t think about color for a second, until I read further and was reminded of the definition of monochrome—a photograph or picture developed or executed in black and white or in varying tones of only one color. So, while I presented two shots in color, just thinking about B&W reminded me of how I started out in photography. They’re nice memories.

The first rolls of film I shot on 35mm were a combination of Tri-X, Plus-X, and Panatomic-X; this was during the early 1970s, when Kodak was still The Great Yellow Father. I wasn’t attracted to black and white because I saw things in a range of  gray tones, but because it was cheap. I was just another poor student who didn’t give color a thought. I’d go out at any time of the day (and night) just to enjoy shooting. Anything could be interesting when it only cost pennies.

Later, after I discovered the pleasures of Kodachrome slide film, I continued using black and white, but not as often. After a while I abandoned it altogether (it was never a close relationship, honestly), and though I kept the reels and tanks and graduates from my darkroom just in case, their futures weren’t long. I loved the pictures, but hated the process.

The better part of those early experiences was earning an appreciation for black and white. Color wasn’t, and isn’t, better, it is different, and vice versa. I think that fits into the definition of monochrome pretty well.

Photography is a medium, a language, through which I might come to experience directly, live more closely with, the interaction between myself and nature. —Paul Caponigro

Of Birds and Trees

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Drought is in the news so often that the word has lost much of its power to truly shock people—unless they’re in one. I’ve lived in Oregon’s Willamette Valley all my life, and dry isn’t something we have very often—rain has traditionally grabbed the headlines. After a while everyone knew “it” rained here ten months out of the year. Oregonians warned newcomers not to ride their bikes during the winter, lest they fall off and drown.

As this summer winds down, we’ve received less than half of our so-called normal rainfall to date. Following dry seasons the past several years, we’re now hearing another word: trend. If you follow the weather channels, you know about the devastating wildfires that have burned vast areas here and in our neighbor, Washington state. The list goes on, of course. Today, when I looked at the extended forecast for the balance of September, I quickly saw that warm and dry are predicted to continue until October.

You don’t hear rain jokes any more.

Outwardly, the drought hasn’t affected the black-tailed deer that rely on our yard (and garden, when we forget to shut the gate) for a portion of their food, and water, but I don’t witness nature with a naturalist’s eyes—what am I missing? What of the birds who frequent our feeders? And the new generation of gray squirrels? There’s the start of another long and sobering list.

If I could chose only one sign to remember this parched summer by, it would be the brown dead leaves that are prematurely carpeting the ground. These specimens have been hurt. Bruised by the heat, sapped of all moisture. And as I was attracted to them as subjects for my camera, I found this one, with a tiny bird’s feather attached, and was reminded how they are connected to those deer and birds and squirrels (and on and on, microscopically).

There’s a word for that, too. Breathtaking.

The fate of animals is of greater importance to me than the fear of appearing ridiculous; it is indissolubly connected with the fate of men.
Émile Zola

And Nothing In Between

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The leaf was a holdover from last autumn, clinging stubbornly to the past at the top of the tree or caught in tall grass at the edge of our yard, but when I brought it to the house and set in on the wooden bench by the back door it became a study in contrasts in the morning sunlight. I definitely saw a lion when I flipped it over, but I prefer this version.

If everything isn’t black and white, I say,
‘Why the hell not?’—John Wayne

Intricate

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Examine any thing in nature, and you’ll see the intricate alongside the infinite.

Details create the big picture.
—Sanford I. Weill