The Dog Days of Autumn

Perfect autumn days are meant to be enjoyed. My favorite spot this time of year — well, pretty much any time of year, but especially in the fall — is about a 30 minute hike from the back gate.

There’s an open area in the middle of the forest where the sun shines down on a small, flat ridge covered with a thick carpet of moss. I think of this lovely place as “Mossy Ridge.”

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The dogs love the cool, soft bed it provides for taking a break from sniffing and roaming. Sammi was getting sleepy when I took the photo at the top of this page. The combination of sun and the moss bed was just so relaxing.

Below, Cookie takes a break but stays alert in case Franki finds something worth getting up for.

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I love this spot for many obvious reasons and am always looking for something interesting to photograph. The sunlight shining through autumn leaves, for instance.

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I liked the look of the plain brown leaf — from a hickory tree, I’m pretty sure — so moved aside all the others and focused only on the hickory leaf.

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Even the browns of autumn can be beautiful if you look at them in a different way.

Meanwhile, Sammi perks up when he hears Franki’s jingle bells tinkling and the crunching of long-dead leaves as she runs toward the clearing.

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I put the bells on Franki’s collar to help give any nearby wildlife an extra alert that the Blue-Eyed Wonder Dog is out and about. The bells also help me keep an ear on her while she’s out roaming.

Franki pretty much has two speeds: fast and stop. And she never stops for long.

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For obvious reasons, I don’t try taking many photos of Franki while we’re out in the woods. She’s just not her most photogenic when she finally plops down for a short rest.

So I go back to my leaf to see what more I can perhaps see … by shifting just a bit to change┬áthe angle of the light coming through the leaf …

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Or maybe …

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Then changing the angle on Sammi, just for kicks.

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My handsome boy.

Andie and Cookie, as mismatched bookends, enjoy a shadier spot toward the back of Mossy Ridge.

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Well, it’s time to head back home. We hope to see you around!

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The Dual Quality of Water: What’s On the Surface Can Be Hidden By What’s Below

It was a warm and sunny Saturday so we geared up — collars for the dogs, camera bag for me — and headed out the back gate and up the mountainside.

A few minutes later, as we’re trekking through an area recovering from a timber company harvest a couple of years ago, I paused to let one of the dogs pass me on the narrow trail through the remnants of trees left to rot and, eventually, return to the earth.

Along the trail, a once-stately middle-aged oak tree, now sliced in two, its choicest lower half now parceled out to suit some human purpose, provides me with an obstacle to maneuver around.

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It’s a familiar obstacle; one I’ve made my way around many times. It’s adorned with quite a lot of moss and the type of fungus commonly seen on old and rotting wood. The stuff that grows in little shelves with multi-colored stripes running through them.

Today I noticed the small rounded protuberance, which I often grab hold of to steady myself when stepping around the former tree, is partially filled with rain water.

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Taking a closer look, I notice hints of the blue sky and turning leaves reflected on the water’s surface.

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An even closer look and … oh, there’s Sammi peeking over the side of the tree … Hi, Sammi!

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There’s my boy, Sam. He’s been with me for more than 13 years.

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Squirrel?!?

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Anyway. I see a new photo opportunity with the tiny, shallow pond. The trick is to focus on the reflections on the surface of the water rather than what’s just under the surface, like the pic below:

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The colors of the sky and the leaves are reflected on the water, and it’s kind of an interesting shot, but it’s not what I wanted. But by moving the camera around and fiddling with the focus …

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I was able to capture through the camera what I was seeing on the surface of the water.

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The dual quality of water — what you can see below and what you can see on the surface — is a lovely thing.

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I wouldn’t call them fantastic shots, but their dreamy quality appeal to me. And I always enjoy a challenge and a chance to sharpen my skills. Even if I don’t end up with something I’d put in my portfolio.

Satisfied, it was time to continue the hike. I could hear Andie, Cookie, and Franki not too far up ahead, but my boy Sammi was waiting for me, as usual.

See you around!

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