Our neighbors recently had us over for an evening of card games. When the late evening sun poured through their west window, my attention turned from cards to capturing this beautiful still-life portrait.
My wife and I had heard of Blackwater Falls State Park near Davis, West Virginia. But we had never been there. When our neighbors told us that the leaves were at peak color, we did a day trip to check it out. We weren’t disappointed.
It had rained the previous day, so some of the trees had dropped a few leaves. Still, the Blackwater River valley was gorgeous from every angle. This was the view from our lunch table outside the lodge. The scalloped designs and curves of the pair of love seats and the end table in front of us created an intriguing foreground for the lovely leaves beyond.
When I saw this scene one morning a few days ago, I had to stop and take a photo. I loved how the sun backlit the burgundy leaves and highlighted the farm implements seemingly placed haphazardly around the farmyard.
By now, the winds and rains of late have stripped the color from the tree until next year.
Most folks go there to either buy or sell. I go for peace and joy.
The Farmers Produce Auction west of Mt. Hope, Ohio is heaven on earth for me. Given the size of the crowds and the non-stop activity, I have a feeling I’m not alone in that sentiment.
This little spot of paradise, located dead-center in the prettiest township in Ohio, bustles with business. That’s especially true in fall, the summit of the harvest season.
That it is so raucous this time of year should come as no surprise. The skid loaders, the bins, the baskets, the boxes, the trucks, the wagons, the carts, the pallets overflow with all of Creation’s botanical creativity.
Though they may not look like it, the auction grounds and buildings are the Garden of Eden April to November. Fall is its horn of plenty.
Growers of all delicious fruits and vegetables and eye candy fall flowers gather their goods and come to the auction. As diverse as the produce varieties, attendees represent a microcosm of society. Men, women, children, black, brown, white, young, old and in between, workers, buyers, sellers and admirers harmoniously intermingle.
Once the auctioneers’ voices begin to resound, all eyes and ears swivel to attention. Buyers from small urban markets, major grocery stores, and mom and pop stands along country roads stay glued to the rhythmical cadence of the hucksters.
They want to make sure they’re going to get the best produce for the best possible price. They know what their customers want and what they’ll pay for quality fresh food and flowers. It’s entrepreneurship at its finest.
Finer still is the paint pallet of colors of the gourds, squash, pumpkins, mums, watermelon, tomatoes, plums, apples and cucumbers. Together they create a biological masterpiece.
Click on the photos to enlarge them.
Ready to roll.
Mums the word.
Colors and textures.
I wander through the grounds absorbing this end of the rainbow experience. The raw aromas of the fruits and veggies mingle with those of the resting horses and the scrumptious offerings of the beckoning lunch stand.
As if this ever-changing live landscape painting weren’t enough, the singsong crackle of the auctioneers’ voices over the loudspeakers lead the melody of the moment. The hum of the electric loaders, the dozens of sidebar conversations, and the hailing of one person to another across the way sing in harmony.
I glide through as those around me keep to their appointed tasks of loading and unloading, of buying and selling. I am unhindered as I zigzag my way up and down the aisles careful not to interfere or offend.
When I stop and admire the artistry in the earthiness of the individual brush strokes of this organic collage, I come alive. I am at peace. I find joy in the natural patterns of the speckled, striped, plump, oblong, elongated brightness nestled in this temporary harvest home.
The scene could be a Monet or a Rockwell with one exception. It’s real, and it’s all around me, intoxicating all who partake.
Once the bidding ends, a patented rush begins in two directions. One is to quickly but carefully load the delivery trucks to ensure freshness to the awaiting customers miles away. The other is to the food stand, where the chefs are generous with their portions and their geniality.
From still life to landscape to abstract renderings, this produce market offers much more than edibles. In the course of the procurement, peace and joy surreptitiously enrich the colorful treats.
The gray, rainy day drove our little group into the local history museum. We enjoyed our 90-minute tour but were ready for a tasty lunch from one of the excellent restaurants in historic Fernandina Beach, Florida. We exited the museum and discovered the rain had stopped, at least for the moment. As I turned the corner of the old brick building to head to the car, these bright berries quickly caught my eye.
I loved the way the glistening raindrops, ready to drip, made the berries shine. Their fire engine red brightened the dull day.
My wife and I and some friends of ours from Ohio were visiting Ft. Clinch in Ft. Clinch State Park in Fernandina, FL during a “Living History Day.” A volunteer in era-appropriate Civil War attire was eloquently sharing about the old fort’s infirmary when this oil lamp caught my attention. The morning sunlight warmly played upon the lamp and the table on which it sat. The white-washed brick wall, with some original mortar showing through, served as an appropriate backdrop. The setting made for an impromptu capture without me being too rude to our guide.
My wife and I were walking along the sidewalks in picturesque Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada last week when I spotted this beautiful day lily. I had to take a picture of the fiery colors of the flower, bursting like a star against the sea. I thought the contrast of the warm colors of the flower and its long, lush leaves and stem stunning.
It wasn’t until I downloaded the photo to my computer that I noticed the iridescent green fly, which is officially called a Long-legged Fly. It’s emerald glossiness perfectly complemented the leafy background of the photo. Despite all the beauty we saw all through the historic town, and at Niagara Falls, too, I chose this still life as my Photo of the Week. I hope you like the photo as well.
When I saw these brilliant red raspberries and luscious blueberries at a local farmer’s market, I had to photograph them. I loved not only their vibrant, complimentary colors, but their marvelous, revealing textures, too. The uniformly colored pint baskets, a different hue for each fruit, intrigued me. The baskets served as mini-frames for both kinds of berries.
The fact that both fruits are in season in northeast Ohio now, helped determine that “Red and Blue” would be my Photo of the Week.