It's October, meaning the leaves are changing, the air is (sometimes) crisp (when it's not raining), and every Oberlin student has dug into their closet to find their L.L. Bean flannels and pashmina scarfs. I love this season. It represents the emergence of everything obnoxiously liberal-artsy about my life: hot apple cider, wool socks, thrift store sweaters, and/or pumpkin beer.
Oh, also, autumn may or may not mark the beginning of SCHOOL! And homework. And papers. And studying.
Forgot to mention that minor detail.
Meet my flannel-wearing friend, Ness Smith-Savedoff. He's a fellow blogger, but he, unlike myself, is also a radio whiz, drummer and dancer.
A rainbow for my feet.
I can finally drink hot chocolate aka my favorite activity and not feel feverish! Success.
Anyways, I digress! A few years ago Ma'ayan posted a beautiful entry about fall in Oberlin, chock full of amazing photographs of colorful leaves. "Dang!" I remember thinking. I want to frolick through campus and bike around and take pretty pictures! What fun!
Disclaimer: This is not actually me. This is a random biker in the arb who I have never met before but seemed to be enjoying the fall day as much as I was. Hopefully he/she doesn't mind being on my blog.
Guess what, Ma'ayan? I did. I copied you. Only here's the thing: It's actually way harder to take pretty pictures of leaves than you make it seem. I could list the various problems I had trying to take a single decent picture (in a nutshell: over-exposing my photos, sunlight and shadows messing up the color, lugging around my camera lenses and worrying my bike would break down and destroy my camera, my bike actually breaking down, etc) — but really, why waste anyone's time with my silly complaints?
Just kidding, I'll complain for one second - one problem I have is focusing. My macro lens is really old-school and only manually focuses, so if there's a huge gust of wind, or even a small gust of wind, the leaves would blow out of focus. I know, my life is SO hard, I don't know how I live either.
But when it comes down to it, at least for me, photography isn't about the shutter speed, or the equipment, or adjusting your angle to maximize the light (although that's definitely a part of it). For me, photography is the art of noticing. It's about seeing things that you normally wouldn't, the little things, and finding beauty in something kind of simple.
I found these little mushrooms on my neighbor's tree (which also happens to have some of the most beautiful leaves in the neighborhood). So cute!
For this reason, I loved going outside to photograph the changing leaves, because it allowed me to notice the peculiar differences in the way deciduous trees get ready for winter.
For example, some trees go splitsies, where half changes and the other half resolutely stays green.
Some change in a gradient of green to pink to red.
Some leaves decide to take their time, each slowly giving in to its color.
And some trees have a leading leaf, i.e. the one who decides they're ready to go first.
Biking around campus on a beautiful fall afternoon to photograph pretty things is perhaps one of my favorite ways to de-stress (besides meditating, running, and rock climbing, among others). Photography allows me to get outside of my own head, and open my eyes to the world around me. Part of it, of course, is intended to share with other people; but more than that, I cherish photography for its process, and how it serves my own soul and purposes, if you will.
I ran into my friend Chessie while biking around campus - she was enjoying the fall afternoon by drawing a picture of the Arb with the most ADORABLE dog in the world. Perfect.
Sometimes, photography requires you to literally get down to Earth.