Summer is winding down for another year. It hurts just to say that! Winter winds and snow will soon greeting us. As a kid I knew the cold was coming because the names of the months started ending of the with what one says when it is cold--brrrrrrrr! Some of the best planning a committee has ever done!
Before all the ice, cold and biting winds of winter become our daily living companions for what will seem like an eternity, there is this wonderful time and season named Autumn to be enjoyed to its the fullest. It starts off as a mild summer and ends with winter's first flakes. It is a transitional season. It helps get your mind ready for winter's long nights and gray days, but does so in a very slow manner. No sweltering heat that requires wearing shorts one day and then sub zero temperatures for the next 4 months. Nope, not with autumn, it is here to ease us through the change we do not want. For me, this gentler pace is a very welcome change after the hectic running of summer. Do not get me wrong, I love all parts of summer. Clear skies, puffy clouds, thunderstorms, watching rain from a porch, hail, sunsets, sunrises, dew, long days, flowers and even the bugs. All subjects to be photographed.
Autumn is a showcase of what the year has been building toward since January's deep freeze released it icy grip, and itself sent into hibernation. The flowers that bloomed in spring are now the fruits and nuts of autumn. The seedlings of spring are now the foods of autumn. The colors of spring are now the hues of autumn. The rushing of summer is now the relaxation of autumn. The snows of winter are now the water reflections of autumn. The babies of spring are now the children of autumn. The first steps of spring are the running feet of autumn. The hard driving rains of late spring are now a gentle sprinkling of leaves in late autumn. The deadlines of summer are now the finished projects in autumn. The games of spring have changed into the games of autumn. The dreams of winter have become the reality of autumn. All subjects to be photographed.
After 50 plus times of living though this yearly change one would think I'd be used to it and always ready when it comes. Wrong. Never wanting the “endless summer” to end so when it does, a temporary, mild bipolar condition is created. I'm saddened when the realization finally sinks in; summer has performed its final act and has left the stage. While other times, a small smile will sneak upon my face when thinking back on the many pleasant memories just created. Some days the feeling of sadness equals that of when a death occurs. Other days are happier ones, when I'm out early in the awaking day and breathing deeply in the heavy dewy air that carries with it the light scent of damp bark. Every year, it is always a surprise when I bounce back and forth. All times and feelings to be photographed.
Just as I temporarily develop a mild bipolar condition of happiness and sadness, so it seems autumn does as well. Some days it will be bright and sunny, while the very next can be gray, overcast and spitting rain. All this can be photographed, sometimes in one day. The skill to be developed is the ability to convey any particular emotion though photography thus telling a story in a manner that only photography can. Once mastered, the stories will seamlessly be told though each of the elements within the framed space. The rocks, trees, sky, movement, colors, shades of gray, etc all play equal parts in the performance of the storytelling.
If I could write down the steps exactly on how to do this so that it work for everybody every time, I would quit my cube job and no longer call myself “just a guy with a camera” but a photographer and teacher. Well OK, really I can write exactly what needs to be done in order to capture these stories and emotions. So here are the steps in no particular order.....
5. And most of all, have fun
But you already knew what I was going to write, didn't you? So, as autumn is a transitional season, it is the perfect time to do your own transformation from a person just taking photos to a person able to capture and tell stories with a camera.