One entrance to Allegheny Cemetery is just up the street from where Beth and Jesse live in Pittsburgh. The cemetery has 300 acres surrounded by city, with about a third of it still undeveloped and the rest rolling hills scattered with crypts, tombstones and memorials. And wild life. We encountered geese, deer, and squirrels as we wandered on a recent visit.
A sunny fall day, just before our first frosts in the middle of October, and there was activity everywhere I looked. The little white or yellow or gold butterflies (or perhaps moths) were too restless to record, but some of the other insects dallied long enough to have their portrait taken. So three photos of bugs, three of seedheads, and one broader view of billowing plants and clouds.
It was a foggy morning for the Day Away at Pathways Retreat a week ago. I headed out to the labyrinth in the walnut grove and on the way saw a small spider web in a dried plant, very visible thanks to the fog drops that filled it. I recorded it from several angles and then, as I stepped back, saw a second, sparser web outlined in drops, suspended more or less vertically beside it. And it was only when I zoomed in with the computer back home that I saw a whole constellation of silk strands and scattered drops above the first web -- and the spider at its base.
Elsewhere small yellow leaves covered the ground, falling on the dewy green leaves of a sapling and serving as bright backdrop for a large drop on the tip of a blade of grass. By the time I returned to the retreat house, the sun was starting to break through, lighting a drop on another stem as I passed.
Our leaves are just starting to change color here in northern Indiana, but some are falling. On a recent wet morning, I enjoyed finding nature-arranged leafscapes.
I go for long stretches of time barely noticing the purple coneflowers in the prairie plantings on campus, mildly enjoying the color but feeling rather ho-hum-ish about them. Then one morning I"ll start noticing the variations in color and pattern as they go from small green bud to pink bloom to fiery conehead. And I end up with dozens of photos, making it hard to decide what to share.
These photos are from earlier in the summer. There are still a few blooms to be found on campus, but most of these coneflowers are now spiky black seedheads and the plantings are full of feasting finches.
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"