This is Late April!

And it was wonderful!  With my son (young then) looking at the pristine blue waters of Crater Lake, the beauty of the Cascades was in full view.  If Bend was beautiful, the view from the snow covered edge of the caldera that forms the lake is nothing but spectacular.  The blue waters.  The strong springtime winds.  The setting sun.  And getting used to snowshoes.

My older son is in college now.  His younger sibling will soon follow.  Each second seems long enough, but the years spent with the children seems all too short.  The transient nature of every moment.  Each slice of time unique.  Some joyful.  Some challenging.  All part of lives lived and still being lived.  A lot has been told.  A lot has yet to unfold.

Life is indeed beautiful.  From the places that we visit and look on in awe.  To the short moments that we share with each other.  Each day unique.  Each day a chance to appreciate the world that we live in.  And hopefully, in our own way, moments lived making a world  that is a better place for all who live in it.

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You Know a Place is Beautiful when

IMG_0443d_sEven in the early morning, as the planes are being deiced in the airport, the beauty of Oregon and its mountains won’t let you go.  Bend, Oregon.  Incredible town.

Flying across the continent, we arrived in Bend – the launching point for a mid spring visit to the Cascades.  It was an ideal base to drive around the high desert and visit Crater Lake.  I did not know much about the town until we landed.  And for several days, it became clear to me.  This is one of the great places in the United States to visit, and perhaps even live in.  Mountains and lakes nearby.  A river to go tubing in.  And as we were leaving, the view from the window was still spectacular.  Beautiful deicing?  It was, in Bend.

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Dancing Flame

Taking a picture of a candle isn’t particularly exciting.  To add a little zest to the standard lit candle image, I used a macro lens and a longer than one second exposure to capture the flame moving around.  And since the picture was indoors, blowing on the candle ever so slightly introduced the requisite amount of motion to capture the dancing candle light.

Autumnal Beauties

The birds are still here.  And they are at Huntley Meadows.  Just look for bushes laden with berries.  Or seed bearing pods.

And with autumn in the air, in the leaves, in the sky (the sun angle is far from its summer heights), the birds remind us that season after season, life is everywhere.  And beautiful to behold.  In all its forms.

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Roadside Pictures

It was a cloudy day in the D.C. suburbs.  We are getting some badly needed rain.  And, I had to make a short trip to Harrisonburg, Virginia.  So I drive westward on Interstate 66.  The clouds were hanging low as I approached the highlands of Shenandoah National Park.  A little past the exit to the park, the sun peeked through the clouds.  The low lying clouds, the fall colors highlighted by diffused sunlight – it was beautiful.  So what kind of photography can you come up with while taking pictures from the side of a highway?

There’s only one way to find out.  Slowing down from seventy miles per hour, I stopped by the roadside and glanced across the lanes of the interstate.  Nestled in what looked like a small nook by the mountain was a house surrounded by saturated trees sporting saturated autumn colors.  Out came the camera.  One click.  Another click.  Another click.

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It was time to go back to the highway and head westward towards Interstate 81.  The traffic remained relatively light as I reached the junction to I81.  Heading south towards Harrisonburg, the sun was beginning to set towards a horizon barely clear of clouds.  In some spots.  I saw a silo, the sun was setting behind some clouds, and I slowed down again to take more pictures from the highway.

DSC05101_sDSC05103_sAfter ten minutes in Harrisonburg, it was time to go back towards the D.C. suburbs.  It was getting dark rather rapidly, but in the rear view mirror I spied upon a bright red sunset.  The sun was nearly gone as I headed towards an exit at I81 and stopped by a gas station.  Through some barren trees, towards Interstate 81, I saw the last vestiges of light.

DSC03048_sWho knew that a gas station would be a good place to be to watch the sun set?  Photography is incredibly rewarding.  Images are waiting to be taken at almost every moment.  Just keep your eyes open and your mind free.  The pictures will be there for the taking.

Impressionistic Reflections

Fall is definitely here in Northern Virginia.  The trees are finally resplendent in coloration.  The lack of rain may have dampened the deep red, orange and yellow hues so prevalent in autumns past, but the warm weather affords many opportunities for walks in the parks and nature reserves that dot the Washington area.  Huntley Meadows, with its wetlands replenished by recent rains, is particularly beautiful in the fall.  Reflections are a mirror image of reality and with a little bit of help from a slight breeze, the reality becomes a beautiful dream.  A reflection seen in a calm body of water can be beautiful.  With longer exposure taken with a tripod mounted camera, the slight undulations in the surface, made possible by a gentle wind, transform the beauty of a tranquil day into a treasure of moving colors, a feast for the eyes.DSC09361_sDSC09365_s

Oh what a beautiful morning!

Sometimes, when the light is right, you don’t even have to see the sun to see a beautiful sunrise.  With the dust scattering the morning light towards the mid autumn sky, how can one not stop and just wonder at the beauty that is around us.  We forget, sometimes, that every day can be special.  Each day is a gift.  Our mind knows this, but our heart must feel it.  In the midst of life’s trials, there is always something that can bring love into our lives.  And in truth, as long as love prevails, beauty will always be there.