Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Filtered Fall

Bayfield is a tiny port town on the south shore of Lake Superior. Located about three hours east of our home in Minnesota, it is a wonderful weekend getaway. Much like many tourist towns in the Midwest, Bayfield closes its doors when the weather gets cold and the tourists head south. We quickly discovered that our trip was the “final weekend.” Neon posters with claims of fifty-percent discounts or modified menus were plastered to store windows, and crowd-free streets made for a peaceful calm throughout the town.

We spent our evenings in a bed & breakfast near the salmon and trout hatchery just east of downtown Bayfield. The Artesian House is an “A” frame style home situated on twenty-five acres of north woods. Al, the owner and “innkeeper,” purchased the former apple orchard and has nurtured the restoration of his land. The Artesian House proudly boasts a “Wisconsin Travel-Green Seal,” and the B&B relies on solar panels for heat and an artesian spring for water. Needless to say, it is a lovely spot to capture a bit of fall.

Unfortunately, the bad weather continues follow us like a dirt-cloud on Pigpen, and our trip to Bayfield did not break the trend. Rather than give in to the cold and precipitation, I tried to make the most of the light and fall color. I knew that grand scenes and brilliant color was not in the cards on this weekend. As such, I shot with my black & white eyes knowing that a bit of filtration would build up the contrast and accentuate the patterns. In the end, our filtered fall made for some decent photography, good eating and a peaceful break from work.

©2000-2010 / Bruce & Tamy Leventhal. All rights reserved. No image on this site may be used without permission

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Going, Going, Gone!

It was fall yesterday and now it’s winter. The snow wouldn’t be a surprise on a January morning, but it’s October 11th. Fall is our fleeting opportunity to absorb nature’s technicolor, and the photography community waits with baited breath for the big show. This year the show was a “B-Movie...,” bizarre, entertaining, and disappointing. A cool dry summer was followed by a hot dry September. When the rains finally came, they were followed by high winds and a frosty cold snap. As summer waned, the moderate temperatures of fall were brief and so was the “show.”
Rather than dwell on what could be, I offer you a chance to glimpse at what is. The cottonwood pictured above is one of my favorite subjects. This venerable old tree has the character of a wizened face. The wrinkled bark with deep invaginations unveil the scars of winter while its leafless asymmetric limbs suggest a better past. I love this tree and I love to watch it change with the seasons. 

In contrast, the images below reveal fall in all its glory. To make these images, I looked for patterns of shape, texture and color. These leaves are the show, they reveal the potential of a camera on a fall day. 

©2000-2010 / Bruce & Tamy Leventhal. All rights reserved. No image on this site may be used without permission

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Great Transition

We have just entered the great transition. 

Having grown up in Manhattan, I know and understand winter. New York City has winter. January streets are dreary and gray and yellow cabs streaked with dirt soak pedestrians with the ubiquitous slush of water, drainage and dog shit. I loved winter in New York. I still remember standing over steamy manholes while chewing on a warm vendor pretzel. 

Having left “the City” for SoCal during my teenage years, I learned to forget seasonal transitions. We traded in the mixed precipitation and windy streets for sunny days, comfortable nights, and climactic stability. Snow was that stuff in Big Bear and Arrowhead... it was in the mountains, if you could see through the smog. To the denizens of SoCal a seasonal transition was an excuse to buy a new car. 

Today Tamy and I live in Minnesota... 
I thought I knew winter, but that was just a lie. On September 25th the temperature kissed 80 degrees, ten days later we struggle to hit 45. The cold is on its way and the landscape is beginning to change. We have entered the great transition. Fall in Minnesota is beautiful and painfully brief. Leaves begin to change in September and their delicate petioles cling to caring branches as relentless winds howl from the North. The locals who seem to trace their ancestry back to the dawn of humanity embrace the cold and treat it like a friend. It is no friend to us. We shiver and whine as the temperature dips... fall foreshadows and pain will follow.

As green is replaced by orange I try to capture one last moment of sanity. Our photographs are a record of what could be, and they are a reminder of better times. We are in the great transition and I’m afraid to sleep... winter may arrive tomorrow.

©2000-2010 / Bruce & Tamy Leventhal. All rights reserved. No image on this site may be used without permission