The last days of color, and a retouch

It’s Saturday morning, and the wet, miserable rain is pouring down around the Capital District.

I know only one thing about this moment.

Get out there with the cameras and capture those soggy leaves as they fall around the area.

So I took a quick road trip down to Greene County, and decided to follow the back roads from Catskill on the way to Schoharie.  Just a few photos here and there, to recenter myself and to reconnect with my inner soul.

And as I stopped to take pictures of the foliage along the backroads…

You know, photos like this one …

Allen Teator Road in Durham, N.Y. Nikon Df camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.
Allen Teator Road in Durham, N.Y. Nikon Df camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.

I felt a sense inside me … that tiny hint of aloneness that arises around this time of year, when the first cold raindroplets turn into snowflakes.  That moment when I realize that those who brought joy to my life are gone, like the leaves that once offered brilliant yellows and reds and purples upon the branches, and are now a soggy brown-orange upon the ground.

It’s humbling and it’s chilling.

More photos.  Must continue to drive.

I stopped along the Catskill Creek, ate at a nearby diner, then went back to take pictures of the Creek.  And almost at once, someone driving by pulled over to talk to me.

“Hey bud, are you okay, did your car break down?”

“Oh no,” I replied, “Thank you, but I’m just taking pictures of the Catskill Creek.”

“Okay,” the man said.  “I just saw that your car had the hazard lights flashing over there, and I wanted to make sure you were fine.”

Nice people in Greene County.

Still, I had to lean over a safety rail to get this picture at the best possible angle.

Trails of Catskill Creek. Nikon Df camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.
Trails of Catskill Creek. Nikon Df camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Kept on driving.  Made it to Schoharie County.  And although I thought about visiting the Vroman’s Nose trail, I wanted to save my legs for one more hike through the Boreas Ponds, either this autumn or next year.  I realize that I’m a bit late in the game to be an Adirondack 46er, but I might try one hike some day in my life.  Maybe for 2017.  We shall see.

I did find this nice, quiet, tranquil creek along the road that leads to the Vroman’s Nose trail, though… and yeah I climbed down to the creekbed to get a better shot.

Schoharie Creek. Nikon Df camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.
Schoharie Creek. Nikon Df camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.

What am I capturing in these photos, I thought to myself.  Leaves and water and roadways.  Pathways.  Journeys.  In my case, a journey that has not reached its completion.  Or maybe a journey for whom I must walk alone.

I’m going through many things right now; physical and emotional struggles that are more powerful than anything I’ve ever previously experienced.  Somehow I can battle it with faith and determination and hope and commitment.

And last night, I revisited a previously failed project.

Last August, I took a picture of a horned dorset sheep – and should I say this horned dorset sheep had a set of huge horns on his dorset.  I tried to scan the film and clean up the image to create a lenticular print.  But when I finished the project, I could see that there were some very bad spots and stains and dust strands on the film, and they showed up on the final project like zits on prom night.

So last night, while my television blasted Game 6 of the National League Championship Series (I don’t have an allegiance to any major league baseball team, but it will be nice to see either Cleveland or Chicago end a generations-long World Series Championship drought), I put the filmstrip of the horned dorset sheep back in my scanner and tried to re-assemble the picture again.

And this time, I did a more diligent search to remove the dust and the scratches in the final product.

Here’s my finished product.

//giphy.com/embed/3o7TKFm2SIMnRDtTag

via GIPHY

Much better than before.  This photo looks more realistic than the previous shot.  Maybe later this year, I’ll send a test image to my lenticular printer and see what comes out.

Yeah.  Maybe this journey still has some miles ahead of it.

And maybe along those miles, there’s still some excitement ahead.

I can certainly hope for same.

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