October 26th, 2009



It's actually not all that common for me to see really glorious autumn leaves. It requires a special combination of leaves at their peak color, weather that shows off their color well, and me being available physically and emotionally to see them. (Of these three, the last may be hardest to achieve.)

Last week, we entered a sudden eye in the long storm of our work, and we were urged by management to take Friday off.

I started my lazy day with a walk around the neighborhood. From our doorstep, I saw this:

That provoked me to take some more pictures as I walked around:

The view from the street coming up toward our house:

A tree a few blocks away:

After my walk, my plan was to head into Squirrel Hill to buy cheap CDs at The Exchange. But as I drove across the bridge whereby Forbes Avenue crosses over Frick Park, I was awestruck by the splendor of the hillside there. I considered stopping to take pictures, but there was no place to park, and so I drove on.

The parking lot in Squirrel Hill was full. All right. Sometimes I can figure out what I really want in only two tries. I drove back to Frick Park.

The hillside that make me turn back: 

Forbes Avenue, just west of the bridge:

Looking down into the park from the bridge: 

The Frick Park playground: 

More photos and larger versions of these photos are available at http://gallery.me.com/lorimelton#100024&bgcolor=black&view=mosaic . I'm not delighted by many of them--they don't seem to capture the rich lustrous colors that I saw. Even so, the process of taking these pictures nudged me to look at the gorgeous leaves more than I might otherwise have, and bringing me into the moment that way was a very good thing.

I took these pictures with my iPhone, and that's been a bit frustrating; I'm still having trouble taking great pictures. It's clearly able to do both overexposed and underexposed, so it seems that just right should be an option, but I'm having trouble finding it. However, the iPhone does have one major virtue as a camera: unlike other cameras, I actually carry the iPhone with me and take pictures with it. (And some minor virtues, like location-tagging pictures.) I dither about whether it would be more effective towards getting good photos to try to develop the habit of carrying a better camera with me, or to learn to take better pictures with the iPhone.

(A question for my photographically-clueful friends: can these pictures be improved with digital manipulation? (My handiest set of tools would be those provided by iPhoto.) Keep in mind that I have not developed much eye at all; I can barely explain that something is wrong, much less explain what the problems are. So I might very well be delighted by cheap tricks that would make better photographers scoff.)

Monday's leaves are not nearly as nice as Friday's were--many of the most brilliant trees have already shed their leaves, so blazing reds and oranges have given away to golds and rusts. I'm glad I happened to see the leaves in their full glory then.