October 23, 2011

Autumn Walk Challenge~Austin, Macro Style

Carolyn at This Grandmother's Garden has invited us to join her in walking with our cameras in hand through the alluring landscape of autumn.  Central Texas experiences a second growing season during the fall and wildflowers are usually abundant.  The seasonal changes are especially subtle this fall with the exceptional drought we're experiencing.


This is what the greenbelt behind my home usually looks like in October.  I should show you a photograph of what it looks like right now for comparison but honestly, it's just too depressing.  Suffice to say, it's not pretty, lush or yellow.

On October 5th of last year I took a walk to show you Autumn, Austin style.  This year, I'll take you on the same walk, Macro style.  There are far fewer images this year but even in the midst of the worst drought on record, nature's resiliency and determination stand out and demand my attention.


We'll start with these sweet flowers.   Usually they blanket the areas along the roadways and green spaces all over the city.  You have to look hard to find them this year but there are some here and there.  The inch of rain a couple of weeks ago must have been enough to wake them and encourage their blooms. 

Note* Thanks to Tina of My Gardener Says I believe these flowers might be Goldeneye.  She recently posted about them and I'm thrilled!  I've always wondered what they were and am happy after all these years to have them identified.


I really held no hope of fall wildflowers this year so the sight of this plant along the trail brought exuberant joy and willed me further into the greenbelt encouraged to see what I might discover.


It was soon evident that there really wasn't a whole lot to see at ground level so I looked up...


The dove were fat and happy perched on the lines above the trail.  The quality of autumn light captivates my imagination and fascinates me.  These shots were taken within a minute of each other but from different vantage points.  I couldn't decide which to share with you.  I like them both for different reasons and since there aren't that many photos to share, I'll share both.  Which do you like best?


The prairie flameleaf sumac begins to turn to the muted hues of autumn.  This native, small tree colonizes a portion of the green space behind our house and will be one of the few sources of fall color this autumn.  In a week or so clusters of red berries will form much to the delight of the birds.  According to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center the berries make a tart, tasty, high-Vitamin C tea when soaked in water.

Carolyn asked us to share our favorite photograph taken during our fall walks.  As I shot the leaves above, I thought for sure the sumac would be my favorite.  But once I uploaded the images to the computer and saw them on a bigger screen it was the next photo that tells the story of my autumn walk...


The sculptural elements of the bare stems bathed in late day autumn light once again reminds me that there is a stark, naked beauty to be found in the midst of a record breaking drought.  Although the lush fall landscape I'm used to isn't a reality this year, the light is still magical.  And that magical light is enough to draw me back to the trail over and over again this fall.

24 comments:

  1. Autumn light really is magical isn't it. I love that last image too, but I hope that next year you have that lovely cloud of yellow to gaze out over, it is beautiful. As to the bird photos, tricky! I love the way that in the first the birds are so perfectly aligned they could almost be made of wood, but the colours in the second are wonderful. Nope, can't choose!

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  2. hello Cat, I too love the stark beauty of the last photo, I think the light in autumn and spring even winter is much nicer than the colour draining light of summer, autumn light often has a warmth too it, I hope you get some real rain soon, I had hoped to join Carolyn but October has just been one long gale and not walking or photo weather, the little yellow flower is beautiful, Frances
    ps I like the secong bird photo it has contrast and the birds show movement the first photo looks (to me) like wooden birds lined up at a shooting gallery!

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  3. Sometimes it is the little things that make our hearts jump for joy. A few small flowers surviving your drought is something to celebrate! Love the photos of the dove perched on the wire. I think the second one is my favorite, but they are both good!

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  4. The last image is gorgeous! No matter what the situation is, you always managed to bring out the beauty in your surroundings.

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  5. Isn't it true that beauty can be found every where? You are so right about the light... it adds the magic that makes our world beautiful. Seeing it through your lens is always stunning. Don't forget to add your thumbnail to the Autumn Walk Challenge.

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  6. Great photos, as usual.
    This fall, it is a bit harder to find those wild blooming things around here.
    Hopefully next year will be a different story.

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  7. Cat how wonderful to find the positive images amongst the drought. I love that beautiful wildflower and the sumac but the way you captured the light on the bare stems is magical!!

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  8. I love that last image. Looks almost ghostly. And the birds on the lines! Adorable! So sorry your landscape is still so sad and brown.

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  9. What beautiful photographs. It isn't the usual lovely fall resurgence that we experience, but there are plants out there that are magnificent. Enjoy as best you can.

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  10. I think you have captured the mood and beauty of autumn perfectly. I find the light magical as well. It seems to highlight things in a very special way.

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  11. Your images are stunning, Cat. Autumn looks great in your neck of the woods. I think even the Doves agree.

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  12. I knew when I saw your title that I would love your post! And of course I absolutely love the Sumac shot. It's such an incredible native plant. Happy Autumn!

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  13. Autumn is my most favourite time of year..the magical colours and the light is just stunning. I think I prefer the top of the two photos..I'm not sure why i think to me it feels more like autumn but they are both lovely.

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  14. Exquisite, that first shot of the yellow flower...

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  15. Hi Cat, You have managed wonderfully to find beauty even after last summer's drought. I like the second bird image probably because it is so engrained in me to read left to right. The last shot quivers in the sunlight and is especially nice.

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  16. Wow...the open space last October was beautiful with all the yellow blooms.
    I love the birds on the wire photos!
    Also, the betony that you gave me from your garden looks so pretty, right now. Would you like a rose of sharon? It is a pretty good size.

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  17. Want to send that to the GGW Fill the Frame contest? (You still have about 6 hours, but that probably means you are asleep ;~)

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  18. Beautiful photos! Nature is resilient and can teach us something about perseverance! I hope more rain will be coming your way and soon the drought will be a memory. I like the second bird photo. Somehow the wires heading upward from left to right appeals more to me. You are a great photographer!

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  19. What lovely photos! So glad I visited your blog.

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  20. Szkoda, że żółte kwiaty nie są równie piękne w tym roku, jak w poprzednim :-(. Gołębie na obu zdjęciach ładnie wyglądają. Ostatnie zdjęcie - cudne. Pozdrawiam

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  21. Giga, translated: It is a pity that the yellow flowers are not as beautiful this year, as in the previous :-(. Pigeons on both pictures look nice. The last picture - wonderful. Yours

    Thank you Giga, for taking the time to translate and comment. One of the many wondrous and joyful experiences of blogging is the ability to visit blogs all over the world! I look forward to stopping by yours too.

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  22. your macros are beautiful! even after this wretched summer, you can still find spots of pure beauty to share!

    thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment today! i really appreciate it! :)

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  23. Dear Cat, You are such a good poet with your camera! Stunning light and compositions. Mother nature has given us too much rain this summer and fall . . . I so wish I could have sent buckets to you. Beautiful post! Thank you for your kind words over at FHF. ;>)

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Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you."
~A.A. Milne

Thanks for taking the time to visit!