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There’s something about autumn that makes you want to grab your camera, rush outside and start taking pictures of trees. It’s amazing how many of us ignore them the rest of the year but come October and we’re out there, snapping away at maple, oak, beech and aspen, as though we’d never seen a tree before in our lives. You can’t help it. You just have to capture those fabulous Fall colors.

And it’s not only trees. The chrysanthemums are in full bloom and pumpkins appear magically on people’s door-steps overnight; what a wonderful time of year this is for the amateur photographer!

All those pictures of the kids in their Halloween costumes……Wait! What am I saying? Halloween was the one event in our busy social calendar that I used to dread the most. Sitting up till three-o-clock in the morning, sewing feathers onto a parrot costume, only to have my youngest child proclaim “I feel like such an idiot in this!” Or the time she went through no less than three costume changes in one day; Monster in the morning, (“I can’t breath in this mask!”) Smurf in the afternoon, (“This makeup is making me itch!”) and Wicked Witch in the evening, (“My hat won’t stay on!’) for the final trick-or-treat onslaught.

It was so much easier with the grandchildren. All I had to do was take pictures. It was just retribution, I felt, watching my daughter struggling to get her boys into their Elmo and Batman outfits.

But apart from the yearly Halloween drama, there were so many other activities to enjoy and photograph. Fall wouldn’t have been complete without our annual pilgrimage to The Arboretum or a walk in the woods at the Nature Center, kicking through drifts of autumn leaves, stirring up that damp, earthy smell so reminiscent of Mother Nature’s brief respite between the heat of summer and the approach of winter. It was as though she were saying, “Make the most of it, dear. You’ll be freezing your *** off in a few more weeks.” Thank you, Mother Nature!

How I miss too, those school trips to the local pumpkin farm. There was something so heartwarming about floundering across a rutted, rock-hard and dangerously stubbled field, camera equipment slung over one shoulder, whilst carrying not only my child’s pumpkin but what seemed like the entire class’s gleanings, my resolve to survive strengthened only by thoughts of the hot apple cider and donuts that awaited us in the barn.  Alas that farm is gone now, pulled down and torn up to make way for another overblown housing development. Where will those people go, I wonder, for their pumpkin-picking field trips?

Another October ritual that our family never missed was the Columbus Day Parade, arriving early in the morning to secure an uninterrupted curb-side view of the rousing high school marching bands and Ronald McDonald. Was it because I was so much younger then that I was able to sit about on the pavement for hours in all weathers without all my joints seizing up, in order to take countless pictures of Italian restaurant floats and posturing politicians? I think I must have been far less cynical in those days, seeing things in a much rosier light. I actually enjoyed all the hoopla and flag-waving back then. There aren’t too many politicians I’d waste film on these days (were I not using a digital camera.)

Now I have new autumnal pursuits; fresh subjects to photograph. The Apple Fest is where you’ll probably find me this year, taking pictures of gap-toothed kids smiling over giant taffy apples and folks tapping their feet to the sound of the German band as it oompahs its way through a rollicking rendition of “Roll Out The Barrel,” or possibly enjoying the barbeque at The Bluegrass Festival, getting shots of rosy-cheeked youngsters shrieking delightedly as they try to find their way through the straw maze or little fingers dealing with the intricacies of making a scarecrow. I might even go to the local Revolutionary War Re-enactment. (Nothing says October like the sights and sounds of an eighteenth century battle.)  Perhaps I’ll visit the Autumn Harvest Festival where pioneer-era farming demonstrations such as cider pressing, grain threshing and blacksmithing are bound to yield a few good shots.
But first, just for old-time’s sake, I think I’ll run over and take one more photo of that spectacular tree on the next block.