The Star-Herald

Autumn leaves

To the editor:

In my mind’s eye, I begin to frame the photograph. A sturdy maple tree, resplendent in the vibrant fall colors, will be in the forefront of the photograph. With the color of Mother Nature’s wild paintbrush so evident, I realize black-and-white film will not do.

The part of the tree exposed to the waning late-afternoon sun exhibits a warmth of colors, with many of the leaves translucent in the brilliant sunshine. A soft breeze blows the many pungent scents of the tree my way.

The part of the tree out of the direct sunlight shows many of the same colors, but somewhat muted by the growing shadows. The dark trunk and limbs stand out against this myriad of colors, creating a stark contrast.

The old public library will serve as a backdrop, its old, faded bricks a contrast to the brilliant hues of the maple tree, but the reflection from the building’s windows showing the autumn colors of the maple and other foliage.

Trying to find as many vantage points as possible to capture the essence of the perfect photo, I stroll around and around the maple, taking imaginary photographs and looking for that perfect angle. The rustle of the dead leaves beneath my feet reminds me of my childhood days, and I revive scenes of rolling gleefully in piles of raked-up leaves. As I stir up the drab, brown ones from the bottom, some wet from trapped moisture, odors also take me to those carefree days of youth. I am hit with many smells, smells that are a mixture of odors: pungent, earthy, and a slight tinge of decay. Not an unpleasant scent of decay, but the sweet smell of the promise of the continuance of life.

As I take photograph after photograph, searching for that one picture that will capture the essence of everything I’ve described, I realize I’ve exposed the entire roll of film — a good sign. Maybe only one will capture the essence of the afternoon, a frozen moment in time with a gentle touch of warmth.

As I walk away, a feeling of accomplishment comes over me. I look over my shoulder for one last look at the library, a building where I spent much of my youth, full of many memories — memories of reading and learning about photography. I realized it made a perfect backdrop for my photographs.

Pat Nelson
Fort Fairfield

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