POW!! FOLIAGE!!

If you’re one of those people that chase foliage from afar, I feel for you! As a veteran of attempting to predict, photograph, and schedule the best hikes around the changing of the leaves in New England, I can tell you that this is about the toughest gig in town. This year, even worse. Those loaded tour buses were likely long gone when the trees really started to pop with color in Massachusetts.

I did okay, but peak foliage in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, traditionally one of the hottest tickets in foliage town, and peak in Western Massachusetts, where I live, were a full three weeks apart, which is very uncommon. In fact, I had given up on the colors popping in my local area and then, BOOM! There it was! Crazy stuff!

Though I am merely an amateur photographer and don’t much aspire to be a professional, I still have thoughts about taking a good picture. In my humble (or not so humble?) opinion, fall foliage is the hardest thing to get a great shot of. Those calendar pages with fire engine reds and neon yellows are the work of Photoshop, not a great professional. Or, as I have come to say, “Nature doesn’t do that.” I think it’s quite unfortunate that we live in a world that alters reality to the point that when we see something naturally amazing, we aren’t amazed. How did this happen?

As someone who spends a lot of time outdoors in nature, I have learned to accept the natural world as it is, even if I don’t always capture it in its finest form. I do my best, and let memory take care of the rest. Autumn 2021 sure seemed like it was going to lack foliage memories, but it really turned out okay in the end!

The White Mountains were loaded with visitors, so busy that I had to forfeit a hike or two because of parking issues. Truth: There were so many leaf peepers around, I couldn’t even out hike them! Mind you, I’ve had the Grand Canyon and other national parks to myself by doing unpublicized trails with huge secret views. I thought I had outsmarted the general public a couple of times in old New Hampshire, but voices nearby soon proved me wrong. I’ve done the Whites two year in a row. Next year, I’ll head to some other nearby hills instead.

Know what the worst thing about foliage is? What follows it. Once the leaves are off the trees, I lose interest in the forests of New England. There isn’t anything too great about a naked maple and a frigid breeze slapping you in the face. Even snow is better than that! But what’s better than everything is the hope of spring. My sights are set on it.

My Picture Store

Traditionally, my least favorite time of the year is the end of summer vacation, and the end of summer in general. This year it’s a lot different for me, maybe because I’m on a road trip later than usual and don’t have time to mourn yet. Then, as if any of us can forget, there’s this pesky virus that just won’t go away and threatens all the things that we want to get back to doing. And of course I now have lung cancer and never know when my two year streak of good luck will run out. Yeah, my head is in kind of a weird place, I’ll admit it. Trying to turn the corner to better thoughts and having a tough time doing it. Maybe writing about something that makes me happy will help?

I’ve been posting about how important it is to continue to love life even when you’ve been diagnosed with a serious and chronic illness. In my last two blogs I’ve discussed finding new ways to do what you love and finding new things to love. I failed to write about my love for taking pictures, which sometimes gets forgotten with all the talking I do about the traveling and hiking that go hand and hand with the camera work! As further proof that I’m continuing to move forward with my life in spite of the fact that I live every day with a death threat hanging over my head now, I’ve finally done something that I’ve been wanting to do for years: I’ve set up an online photography store! I’m excited to have some of my beloved snapshots for sale after many years of collecting them.

People have been telling me for decades to sell my photography. I have thousands upon thousands of pictures from my travels through fifty states, forty countries, six Canadian provinces, more than forty U.S. national parks and several national parks in foreign countries, as well as thousands more from around New England, my backyard. Overwhelming stuff!

So, where to start? I chose Picfair as the place to set up my store. Picfair suggests picking out twenty excellent shots. Many of my files are saved on an external hard drive, and that’s where I began, going in alphabetical order. I just about made it through the A’s and B’s! Check out my store with my first “twenty best” pictures.

Whenever someone asks me how I take such nice pictures I have the same line: “Being able to go to really cool places is 75% of the battle!” I’m always looking for an interesting shot. Pictures are so easy to delete now, why not take a whole bunch and only keep the ones you like? Better yet, keep them all in case you change your mind. I’m totally guilty of loading up my cameras and only deleting the blurry ones.

Do you ever see that person that seems to be taking pictures of stuff that you walk right by? Yeah, guilty again! That someone is me. I chase butterflies and bugs and flowers. I’ve been accused of talking to rocks. I’m the slowest hiker on the planet because I have my camera bag and stop every twenty steps for a new shot. With odds like that you’re bound to hit the photo jackpot every now and again.

When I was a little kid my eyes were always drawn to the color green. Green just totally did it for me, and my parents indulged that by buying me green clothes, green bikes, green everything! I still love the color, though my eye has gotten a little more sophisticated. I dig color combinations when I take photos, but I also love black and white and sepia tone. When I picked my twenty best I included all the above and shots from several different places. Soon enough I’ll add to them.

Hey, I’m not asking you to buy anything, but I’d love to know if I made some good choices. I tried to do a post on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, but of course you can’t expect to reach anyone on FB without contributing to the Let’s Make Zuck a Zillionaire Fund. Have a look and drop me a line if you can!

I’ve peppered this post with more of my favorite shots from around the country and around the globe. They will probably make it onto Picfair sooner or later!

Okay, I feel a little better now. Life goes on!