Sunday Stills: Signs of #Autumn

summer's end signs of autumn

The official start to fall begins with the Autumnal equinox on Monday, September 23 this year. Not much in the way of fall leaves just yet here in Sacramento, Northern California, as we are still experiencing our normal warm temps (upper 80s, low 90s). Luckily, the heat only lasts a couple of hours each day. In fact, we had some rain last week which IS unusual. By mid-October, trees begin to blush their fall colors and the weather begins to cool.

What we don’t want are the mountain thunderstorms that ignite the dreaded and devastating wildfires that are more common this time of year!

Around town and in my own backyard, the signs of Autumn are subtly making their presence known. To celebrate the coming Fall here in the northern hemisphere, this week’s Sunday Stills’ theme is “Signs of Autumn!”

I said an official good-bye to summer as one last sunflower peeked out with the beautiful orange and red which made me smile!

summer's end signs of autumn

Other signs include more traffic on the roads as students of all ages settle into the Fall semester. And turkey traffic? …suburban turkeys are back, walking obliviously through our neighborhoods.

Urban Turkeys taking a walk

Another sign of Autumn or at least a sign that summer is coming to an end here is shown in this image of the Bee Blossom or Gaura lindheimeri.

I am always hopeful when I see a few golden leaves amidst the riot of greenery in the trees.

Green autumn leaves

Or on the grass.

Autumn leaves amid clovers

Because I still must wait a few more weeks for Autumn to show her pretty face in my area, here is a gallery of some of my favorite Autumn images over the past years.

Your fellow bloggers are showing off their Autumn scenes as well.

Cee Neuner continues her various photography challenges, adding Fall foliage to her flower of the day challenge.

One of my favorite photo prompts is “Festival of Leaves” is back, hosted by Dawn at The Day After.

I just joined Flickr as another way to show my photography. Please follow me if you are on Flickr.

What signs of Autumn can you share with us this week?

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Festival of Leaves: An Inspired Start to Autumn

Autumn leaves amid clovers

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you know I love posting photo challenges on Fridays. I have gotten used to the fact the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge has gone the way of the dinosaur, but we photo-bloggers have found continuing inspiration with each others’ challenges.

Having joined the pink party a little late at Becky B’s Squares in September, I was inspired by all the shades of pink that surround us in nature. So much so that I have been posting pink photos on Instagram for October’s traditional Breast Cancer Awareness Month. More about this in the Sunday Stills challenge this week!

I was pleased to see that Dawn, from The Day After, is again hosting her photo challenge Festival of Leaves. Because you know how much I dislike Autumn

There is still a LOT of green and very little color this early in October.

Green autumn leaves

But, the Festival of Leaves is slowly working its way to the ground amid confused pink clovers.

Autumn leaves amid clovers

In a couple of weeks, we may see this!

Red and green fall leaves

Keep your fingers crossed!

“Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.” Elizabeth Lawrence

Cee Neuner posts an extensive list of photo challenges. Perhaps you will find one that inspires you!

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Sunday Stills: Signs of #Autumn

signs of fall leaves

Autumn Has Arrived, like a postcard

Saturday was the official start of Autumn with the autumnal equinox. According to Internet sources,

…the Autumnal equinox occurs the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above Earth’s Equator – from north to south. This happens either on September 22, 23, or 24 every year.

When this happens, both the Northern and Southern hemispheres will experience an equal amount of daylight, hence the word “equinox,” Latin for Equal Night. For those south of the equator, it’s the beginning of spring.

For many, Autumn marks a kind of sadness as longer nights set in. For myself, I love this time of year. After so many hectic summers working as a full-time Aquatics Director, trying not to lose my mind after working 30 days straight, being on emergency stand-by or dealing with 150 lifeguards and their drama, fall was a welcome respite at work. It meant I could be in my office and get administrative work done as I looked forward to some vacation time for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Now that I teach in Fall and Spring semesters, my Autumns are ironically busy, but in a different way. I don’t have to deal with the threat of drownings or other emergencies (unless you call a student’s desperate plea for an extension on their term paper an emergency). Plus I am inspired every day that I am on campus watching the leaves change from shades of green to a brilliant variety of colors.

This is one of my glorious views when the ginkgo trees hit their peak!

Campus Ginkos create both a canopy and a carpet of yellow

On a bike ride last weekend, on one side of the American River Bike Trail, were bushes of yellow cone flowers or Black-eyed Susans, which to me just scream “summer is still alive and well!”

Black-Eyed Susan on the trail
But just down the trail were some deciduous trees providing the preview of Fall shown in this image. The signs of Autumn SLOWwwwly morph our warm September days into those longed-for crisp Fall days.

signs of fall leaves

The traditional Autumn colors normally peak here in mid-November, around Veterans Day. Whenever we travel to San Diego for Christmas holidays, Autumn still shows her lovely self in many of the Liquid Amber trees that are still draped in Fall splendor.

California is slow to get into Autumn but we get a long dose of it over several months, depending where you live.

Which just makes it that more special to me as I fill up my Dropbox with yet another set of images of Autumn. For now I will continue to love Indian Summer and embrace the sunny yellows.

For those in the Southern hemisphere, tell me what you like about your autumn!

Festival of Leaves is back!

If your inner geek still needs more of a scientific explanation of the autumnal equinox, check out this article 8 Things to Know About Autumn.

Show us your favorite photos, poems, music, or stories of Autumn from your perspective for Sunday Stills! Link up or pingback your post to this post!

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Experimental Autumn Perspectives

Backyard porch light illuminates delicate Fall leaves

Backyard porch light illuminates delicate Fall leaves

For a photographer, perspective means everything. Many photographers have their specialties, whether it is landscapes, macros, portraits, street, action,…well, the list goes on.

I don’t feel I have a particular specialty, but my eye tends toward landscape and macro photography…and color! I prefer color but I appreciate the black and white images that I have seen from many fellow bloggers that are incredibly stunning.

Since Autumn is in full swing here in Northern California, my new phone is collecting all kinds of Autumn leaves and trees. This might be my obsession but I hope you will indulge me today as you look at my collection of Experimental images.

The featured image above was taken from my cousin’s deck in Portland, Oregon, last fall as the porch light illuminated the leaves in such a beautiful way. I even caught a spider web in this shot.

“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

On the Sacramento State University campus, where I teach, the eclectic collection of trees and the Autumn show is breathtaking!

It is normal to take photos of landscapes like the one below. This happens to set the stage for the rest of the images as the perspectives and angles change to capture some experimental shots. The ginkgo trees in two areas of campus attract a lot of attention by students taking photos and selfies with their phones.

Campus Ginkos create both a canopy and a carpet of yellow

Once I see a landscape like this, I look up and then down for any unusual perspectives. I was not disappointed with what I found!

Rain had fallen the day before, leaving behind puddles with floating leaves. I noticed right away the reflections of the trees from which the leaves had fallen which created unusual images.

More reflections from the ginko trees

Students looked at me with curiosity as I squatted down and contorted by handbag-laden body for these unusual puddle shots.

Fallen Leaves float in puddle amid the reflection of the tree from which they fell

At least I didn’t fall face forward into one of the puddles.

Famous photographer Ansel Adams said: “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”

Indeed!

Think of yourself casually walking along on an asphalt-covered road and take a peek at the show under your feet.

Don't forget to look down for an Autumn show

“Photography helps people to see.” Berenice Abbot

Ansel Adams Quote

These photos are submitted for another photography trifecta for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge,  Sunday Trees and Festival of Leaves.

What unusual photos can you make today?

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A Festival of Leaves and Some #FREE #Photos

Autumn Birch Tree

Autumn Birch Tree
Autumn birch leaves look like butterflies.

If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you probably know I LOVE photography and combine that with my love for Autumn!

Growing up in San Diego, there wasn’t much to see in the way of Autumn leaves as the palm and eucalyptus trees didn’t yield to Fall’s changes. Once in a while, in December, when some of the east areas felt a few cold nights, did you see the few Liquid Amber trees show their Fall colors.

One I moved to Sacramento as an adult, and lived among “the City of Trees,” my obsession for Autumn grew each Fall as the entire region became a burst of color. It also does this in the spring, but that’s for another season!

You also may know that I love my photo challenges and am including this photo (from a two-year old post) into a fun challenge I discovered through fellow blogger Lisa from A Day in the Life. She has a well-developed eye for photography and joined A Festival of Leaves.

I will be joining Lisa each week with a new post sharing my “Festival of Leaves” photos. Some will be older photos that would love to show you their beautiful colors all over again. Feel free to join the festival!

Here is another one from November, 2015.

Autumn Has Arrived, like a postcard


FREE PHOTOS

The title of this post mentions FREE photos. I feel very strongly about proper photography and image use on blogs and websites. More often, these days, I am reading accounts of bloggers being sued for copyright infringement when using random images on their websites.

Not everyone feels comfortable taking their own pictures, so I created a sharing file from the thousands of images I have taken over the years.

Author and fellow blogger, Tina Frisco, used one of my photos in a recent post!

If you can take your own pictures, please do! I use Canva and PicMonkey for post-editing (cropping, exposure/color, watermarking, adding frames and text).

Please visit my page “FREE PHOTOS FOR YOUR BLOG” and click on the Dropbox icon the visit the files. I have been busy adding more photos in the Autumn Splendor file. Feel free to use them!

I would appreciate it if you would share this post.

WordPress Anniversary LogoSidebar: WordPress tells me that this is my sixth anniversary of when I started this blog. Wow!

 

 

 

Happy Autumn!

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I Feel Fall is in the Air

Autumn descends on students

Autumn descends on students

My photo was taken on the Sacramento State University campus where I am teaching three classes this Fall. I captured this particular photo early last Friday morning on my way to class.

As I aimed for the trees, I inadvertently captured two students strolling to class and they seemed to be discussing something. I figured they were as impressed as I was with the beautiful leaves.

I wonder if they know that Sac State is “Tree Campus USA”?

This article explains:

Many of the campus’ beautiful trees date back to 1953, during early construction of the campus. Some 3,000 saplings were planted, helping create the foundation for today’s 3,500 plus trees that now shade the main campus, the University Arboretum, and Alumni Grove.

“I feel FALL is in the air.”

Indeed! This student gets an A+ for the day!

The Seasonal Sensations Link-Up is open again for Autumn Weekly Leaves theme. Link a blog post that features a story and/or photo relating to Autumn, Fall, flowers, leaves, nature, well, you get the idea.

I’ve been checking the WordPress Reader recently and I know you have some great Autumn photos to share!

Click the blue frog below and link up!

Monthly Photo Challenge: Deceptive December

Maple begins to turn to seed

Chinese Maple In early December
Chinese Maple In early December

After one year of posting photographs of my little Chinese Maple tree for the monthly feature The Changing Seasons, this is the final post.  The above photo was not edited other than to crop, frame and watermark it.

Maple begins to turn to seed
Maple begins to turn to seed

My title “Deceptive December” intends to show how quickly the maple tree flamed into its Fall glory, then within just a few days, began to dry and go to seed before taking its winter rest. Just when I thought the beautiful fall colors would last a few weeks, winter storms moved in and blew most of the leaves off over a short period of time.

The colors of this tree should have reached their peak in mid-November, but because of exceptionally warm weather through Halloween, the maple’s colors peaked right after Thanksgiving.

Here is a gallery of the maple in various stages just in the first few days during the month of December.

Participating in this photography challenge was fun and interesting. When I decided on a whim to photograph my own maple tree, I learned I had to be very creative with the photos since many of them looked EXACTLY the same. As a blogger, I came up with different angles and stories to capture the changes not always evident.

I also learned that my Samsung android phone takes dang good pictures!

In January I showed a naked tree shrouded in fog. By April, the maple was in full leaf and lasted that way, lush and green, until late September when it began to show the stress of the dryness of the fourth year of the drought in California. By October and November, subtle evidence of autumn was in the leaves.

Here is the gallery of the entire year!

 

I hope you enjoyed the year of the tree and its journey through the seasons.

This feature was brought to us by Cardinal Guzman. Please visit his blog for his final wrap up and his spectacular photos.

Under Construction

Late-Summer-cone-flowers

Late-Summer-cone-flowers

If we were having coffee today, I would wish you a happy Labor Day weekend and toast the holiday with a nice Colombian medium roast. I can offer you a variety of teas if you prefer.

Labor Day, observed as a national holiday on the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. This holiday traditionally bids farewell to summer as schools and universities begin and autumn is in the air (supposedly).

I am spending the three-day weekend at the delta enjoying the last of the windsurfing season. My wrenched knee is healing slowly, so I’m not sure how much water time I will get. Luckily,  I can stand-up paddle a little, and get up and down the launch OK. We also have to pack up a load to take home, then starts the de-construction of our camp.

I like to think of this time of year as being “under construction.”

Back to Teaching
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week I started back to my part-time lecturing gig at the university. My last time teaching was in December. When I retired from public service in recreation, I had to take 6 months off (really eight) from my CalPERS public agency. Both my full-time work and part-time teaching are public agencies that pay into CalPERS. As I go back to teaching, my new title is “Retired Annuitant.” Retired annuitants can go back to work at their former workplace on a half-time basis, and still receive a pension.

Not to brag, but I “work” 8 hours a week on campus. Of course there are lots of papers to grade which can done at anywhere. Teaching two classes per semester is fantastic. And my students are enthusiastic (and laugh at my jokes).

One of my classes is new to me, so I am still constructing lectures and putting together good class activities to keep my 80 students occupied.

Master Bedroom Construction
master-under-constructionIf we were having coffee, I would show you how the bedroom addition is coming along. You will have to check out my Pinterest boards for the decorating ideas we are choosing. I am particularly excited about my bedroom office nook, where I plan to spend hours blogging, grading papers, and generally organizing my life.

Summer into Autumn
Are you ready for autumn? I sure am. Ironically, fall is the driest time of year in Northern California and the threat of wildfires is worrisome. Fall seems to also be under construction, as the sun goes down earlier and the nights and mornings are blissfully cool, and the leaves slowly change from green, to yellow, then to vibrant oranges, reds and browns.

I think my attitude goes under a little reconstruction as well. Does this happen to you when the seasons change? I enjoy the unique things that each season brings, but the Fall brings a sense of peace despite the sometimes frenetic pace of school, work, the imminent holiday season, and perhaps some travel.

I hope you enjoyed coffee with me today. What parts of your life are under construction now?


Join me each week for Part-Time Monster’s Weekend Coffee Share.