Dec 172014
 

Every so often on my daily rambles, I encounter shapes in nature — usually leaves — that evoke some other image, such as an animal or human figure.  This happened many months ago, when I photographed a dark image that I titled, at my wife Valerie’s recommendation, “Strange Leaf”.  And today, as the seasons have swung back around into the months of shriveled, brown leaves, it has happened again.  Today I offer two such images, which I am calling “Leaf Puppets”.  The first is a pair of dried wisteria leaves evocative of human figures, both suspended by their stems along the road bank.  The second is a nearby sweetgum leaf, conjuring in my mind an image of a swan in flight.  If you do not imagine the same, that is OK, too.  The folds of the leaves and the patterns of light and dark, focus and blur, are inviting by themselves.

 

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Dec 162014
 

This time of year, the green leaves stand out along Piney Woods Church Road, when most every plant has withered to some shade of buff brown.  In this case, the plant is likely Japanese honeysuckle — a truly nasty invasive that is slowly choking my (former) flower garden and shrubs.  Still, I find this single leaf, illuminated by afternoon sunlight, entrancing.  I nearly overlooked it completely — I took just two photos of it, one of which was out of focus.  I had every intention of choosing to highlight something else from my walk.  But reviewing the images at home now, this is the one that most captivates me from my daily journey.

 

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Dec 152014
 

I was feeling a bit down and disconnected as I took my afternoon journey down Piney Woods Church Road.  My mood seeped nto this image and its title, I think.  There is a touch of melancholy to this image of a half-eaten pecan nut (left behind by a gray squirrel, no doubt), resting on a fencepost at the edge of a roadside horse pasture.  An old mule barn provides a blurry blue-gray geometric form in the background.

 

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Dec 142014
 

On my early afternoon walk down Piney Woods Church Road today, my attention was drawn to a fascinating relationship between a shrub of some kind and an adjacent muscadine.  A woody tendril of the vine cradled a single leaf from the shrub, holding it in place.  How did this happen?  Did the tendrils turn first, to wrap around some long-gone form, and then the leaf just happened to be blown into a vine’s embrace?  Or did the tendrils somehow develop around the leaf, pinning it motionless?  Equally mysterious is how I managed to walk past it for weeks, or even months, never noticing it before today.

 

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Dec 132014
 

I supposed my eyes were trained to seek out patches of green and red in juxtaposition along Piney Woods Church Road, after I stopped to photograph a brilliant red ribbon and bit of artificial pine that festooned a roadside mailbox.  I actually took a number of photographs of that ribbon, covered in several places with newly-fallen brown leaves.  Still, I find this later, and much more natural, bit of red and green far more enticing:  a single dark green blade of grass stands next to a tiny sweetgum sapling with bright red leaves.  The image forms a natural holiday tableau, equally fitting for Christmas or the Winter Solstice.

 

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Dec 122014
 

A lone brown and shriveled leaf of a sweetgum stands proudly against a backdrop of trees and sky on a late autumn early afternoon somewhere along Piney Woods Church Road.

 

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Dec 112014
 

Whenever I am in need of new inspiration, I seek out the muscadine vines along Piney Woods Church Road.  The leaves and tendrils offer endless possibilities.  Here are two images from this afternoon’s walk.

 

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Dec 112014
 

On my afternoon ramble down Piney Woods Church Road today, I paused to photograph the very last leaf on a roadside pin cherry.  After taking several shots of it, I reached up and touched it gently with my fingertips.  It fell away from the branch tip, onto the waiting road edge.

 

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Dec 102014
 

The wood oats have ripened now along Piney Woods Church Road.  As the autumn and winter advance, seeds will slowly detach from the seed heads and disperse to the surrounding woods and fields.

 

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Dec 092014
 

On this gray and grim afternoon, with dark clouds filling most of the sky but no rain falling, I went out in search of new wonders along Piney Woods Church Road.  I found myself entranced by the bare branches of an aged, weather-beaten tulip poplar standing by itself in a pasture.  I took several photographs looking up into the limbs.  At one point as I stood snapping a series of photographs, a large bird, perhaps a black vulture but possibly a bald eagle, crossed my field of view.  The bird, high above the poplar, turns a photograph that would otherwise be a portrait of a weathered pasture tree into a conversation between tree and bird, high above.

 

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