what can be found

Tomorrow morning before we depart, I intend to land and see what can be found in the neighborhood.
-Christopher Columbus

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It’s remarkable that every time I take my camera out for a walk around the neighborhood, it manages to surprise me. New growth, new decay, new shadows. I go out thinking it’s a lost cause and come back satisfied. I like bringing my camera on walks in familiar places because it forces me to dig a little beyond surface-level attractions to discover something unique, something that I never noticed before.

I’m so thankful for the sunlight and the lengthening days. I love this light-soaked neighborhood in all its brambly, kitschy, charming, brick-laden glory.

by a different route

or, Why Walks are the Best

moon in daylight sun sheer leaves glove love stark branch forest berries shallow dof tree stump virginia roadAfter taking Daniel to school on Monday afternoon, I looked about me on the drive home and realized suddenly that it was a beautiful day. We had about a week and a half of weird, dreary weather; it messed with my mood – everything felt stagnant. But Monday was cold and dry and crisp. The winter sun was at its brightest and the leaves and houses shone with its glaring light. I walked, this time, by a different route and felt refreshed. And at night, I looked up and saw Orion as clearly as if it were beaming out from a constellation chart.

Enjoy the winter light while it lasts.

shallow dof

shallow dofWhen my sister was in town, I discussed with her how I’d really like to achieve a better bokeh effect by purchasing a 50mm lens. A photography major, she scolded me promptly, telling me that achieving a shallow depth of field had everything to do with knowing how to adjust manual settings, not with buying more equipment. Although I was a bit embarrassed by the chastisement, I knew she meant well. And she was right. Too many wannabe photographers (like myself) think better equipment will automatically equal a better photo. All the while, we fail to take advantage of all the specifications and adjustments our fancy-schmancy cameras already provide. I read up on dof, then tinkered around with my camera outside until it started to rain. I’m pleased with these first attempts at achieving shallow dof.

fall branches n3 green purple bush 2 n8 n10 n11I leave you with this photograph of my favorite, naked tree.

bare tree

autumn light

I took a short walk yesterday evening to enjoy the crisp air and setting sun. I felt a bit crazy walking more after being on my feet all morning and having to hike back to my car by the least efficient route due to the Dalai Lama’s visit, but I’m glad I got out for a bit. The sun sets earlier each day, but the clarity and warmth it provides during daylight hours at this time of year make up for it.

The leaves are beginning to change their colors and fall to the earth, but many thriving green leaves remain. I plucked some from their branches to use as stamps for a small craft project.

the neighborhood

I decided to take a walk around my new neighborhood to get a sense of the community. Since most of the homes in this area were built in the 1960s, most of our neighbors are elderly; at least, I assume they’ve lived in the same home for 50 years. It’s a pleasant change to live in a duplex instead of a student-oriented apartment building, but the rowdy children who always sound like they’re pole-vaulting or roller-blading above us are about as annoying as drunk college students yelling obscenities by the apartment pool in the middle of the night.

Fun fact: my next door neighbors have a defunct toilet in their driveway.