Tag Archives: Fall

Adirondack Colors

Fall is currently putting on a spectacular show in upstate NY.  We’ve had warm sunny days and incredible colors.  The only thing that is not good about Fall is the long winter that comes after.   We went on a little adventure to savor these amazing days and took a drive on the Powley-Piseco Rd. in Fulton County, NY.   It’s in the southern portion of the Adirondack Park.

If you live in the area and have an opportunity, I highly (Haile, get it?) recommend exploring this bit of paradise.

Here’s a few of my favorites from our day.

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Being a Rookie

It’s really good for us to be a rookie, a beginner, sometimes.  I so enjoy my level of competence with photography but also love to challenge myself to learn new skills that have the potential to push me and my work a bit further.

I’ve been feeling like a total rookie lately.  I’ve been transported back to my early days of learning this craft, feeling like I don’t understand how my camera is working and how to control it, looking at my images and seeing more duds than successes.

What has caused all this?  The Lensbaby!   A Lensbaby is a specialized lens that, in the right hands, creates very dreamy images, which you know I love.  Heck, their motto is “see in a new way.”  Of course I’d want a piece of that!  I bought one of the early versions (on the left below) several years ago and could not master it.  To be fair to me, it was basically a lens on a squishy tube that you had to squeeze, bend, hold, and focus to get an image.   Just couldn’t get the hang of it.  But I still really admired the look of Lensbaby images that I saw.  Then a few years ago they came out with a more advanced version of the lens (on the right below).  It no longer had a squishy tube, but rather was on a ball that you could rotate and the lens would stay where you bent it.  Yay!

I thought this would be so much better and I’d have these wonderful images with soft, blurred edges and a sharp area of focus where ever I decided to put it. But I still just couldn’t get the hang of it.  It hung out in my camera closet taunting me.

So I decided to do something about that.  Kathleen Clemons is one of the photographers that is well known for her skill with a Lensbaby.  Her soft, impressionistic images are just exquisite. She teaches a 4 week online class covering the basics of Lensbaby photography.

We’re in our third week now, and while I understand now what I was doing wrong before there is still a bit of a learning curve.  This is where I feel like a total rookie again.  My images (mostly) don’t have good sharp focus where they should, the lens is much wider in scope (50mm) than I normally use. and more.  I’m getting there but I just generally feel like a beginner again.

But that’s OK!  I recently came across this great TEDx Talk by Andi Stevenson on Being a Rookie.   Take the time to watch it, it’s wonderful.  But two things she said resonated so much with me:

“When we stay safely within the boundaries of the things we already do well, we miss risk and innovation….We miss the chance to be afraid, to push through being afraid, and turn around on the other side and look back and see ourselves as brave.”

So here’s to risk, innovation, bravery, and being a rookie!

Here are just of few of the hundreds of images I have taken (most of which failed epic-ally) that are sort of a success,  I will keep risking and learning! 🙂

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Fall Flowing by: Mandala Monday: 11-11-2013

Today brings more mandalas created from my time in Root Glen, a fantastic garden and arboretum near my home.  I talked about Root Glen in my post last weekalso.  There is a small stream that meanders through the Glen over rocks and under bridges.  I was intrigued with the colors and textures in these leaves that were on the side of the stream as the one inch of water in the stream flowed by.   I must admit that browns and similar colors are not my favorite so I did not expect to like these mandalas so much.  That is often the fun of it, though… you never can completely know what to expect.  I hope that the texture and depth and even the colors of these show  up adequately in this post.  I look at each one filling a 22″ screen and love all the detail, all from some “debris along the rocks” .  It does depend on the point of view that you choose.

Into the Forest: Mandala Monday 10/18/2013

This has been the most beautiful Autumn that I remember for some time.  Part of it was the weather, lots of sun and warmth and only occasional rain, but never a driving rain that stripped the color from the trees.   The other part, for me, was that I had, or intentionally made, the time to get out and enjoy and capture the color.  There have been some years when I have been so busy with portraits that I barely came up long enough to even notice that the trees were changing.   That is just an incredible loss on my part.  While it wasn’t the most colorful fall ever, I feel like it was the one I’ve been most present for in a few years.  Yes, it’s been a good fall!

Today’s mandalas, and those for the next few weeks, are created with my fall color images.  This one was taken along Penn’s Creek in Pennsylvania where we spent a day visiting family.  I love the way the colors seem to be just floating and not necessarily attached to any one tree.   And I love the mandalas, which are not at all what I expected from this image.  The original image is very painterly and soft to me.  The mandalas make me think of gnomes and fairies and other magical beings that , perhaps, live in the forest.  They make me think of the fairy tales that I loved as a child and the stories that took place in those magical forests.

What do you see in these images?  What do they make you feel?

Drops of Gold: Mandala Monday 10-21-2013

A few weeks ago, I had a fantastic time leading a photowalk as part of  a larger  event, The Worldwide Photowalk.  The entire event had more than 1200 walks and over 28, 00 walkers all over the world. Here in my corner of the world, we had about 15 walkers and a perfect day for it.  It was a bit overcast and even started to mist a bit towards the end, but all that provided some interesting lighting conditions.  And it was like a giant photographers’ play date so we were all happy.  It was such an incredibly fun group of people with a wide range of interests and abilities and we all learned from each other.

We walked in an area that many, though not all, of us were very familiar with and tried to see the details that we too often overlook.  When we gathered after the walk, we reviewed all the images we had taken . It was so interesting to see the different things that people saw, or the different ways they photographed the same thing.

I’m always looking for interesting details that might be source material for mandalas and some of what I photographed during the walk fell in to that category.  The source image for today’s mandalas came from that day.  I like what happened to the background of this image, it’s out of focus but still created some interesting patterns.   The gold leaves have strong color and texture that contrasts well with that background.

There is a contest for the Worldwide Photowalk leaders to enter an image from the walk. (There is also one for walkers that has already closed for submissions.)  The rules are simple: it has to be an image that was taken on the walk.  Since one of the parent organizations for the walk is National Association of Photoshop Users image manipulation is allowed .   🙂   I’m planning on entering one of these mandalas and would love it if you’d help me decide which one.  In the comments section, please tell me your 2 favorites from this group of mandalas.  Each mandala has a number in it’s title (the titles show up when you click on an image to enlarge) so use those numbers to indicate your favorites.  Thanks for your help!


Note:  If you are new to this blog and wonder about why I create mandalas with my photographs, I suggest you visit my first Mandala Monday post, here.

You can also sign up to automatically receive the blog in your email.  Just fill out the form over on the right side of this page.   Please share with anyone you know that might be interested.


Mandala Monday 11-05-12

I thought we were done with Fall colors but I came across this image the other day and thought it would be interesting to see what sorts of mandalas it might create.  It’s not the sort of image that I have used before for mandalas.  The original image is of leaves reflected in water.  I took it while kayaking at one of my family’s favorite places, Piseco Lake, NY.

Not really sure what I think of them other than that they somehow remind me of blankets that Native Americans weave.  What do you think?

Mandala Monday 10-29-12

Usually a very dry summer is a precursor to a very dull fall.  This summer was one of the driest in many years so I was expecting more of a fizzle than a blast from the usual color show that the trees put on each Fall here in the Northeast.  That has been far from the case.  Instead, it has been one of the most vibrant displays of color than we’ve had in several years.  The majestic oak in our front yard went from deep green to tinges of orange to the beautiful color of caramel.  The ginkgo trees that abound in our village put on an amazing show of thousands of little bright yellow fan shaped leaves. The maples and birches played their part too with reds and oranges and yellows.  The added bonus was an uncharacteristic string of blue skied days to contrast with all those colors.  It has been a spectacular Fall.  But the leaves are almost all down now and there’s this thing called Sandy approaching that is sure to wipe the remaining color from both the trees and the sky.    I took a few minutes last week to capture just a bit of that color with my camera and then see what mandalas might result.