Autumnal photo walk and its surprises

With its changing colours and soft light, autumn is such a special season and so many photographers speak about how eager they are not to miss out on taking some autumnal photos. That made me realize that I wouldn’t want to miss out on taking them either and asked my dear husband to go on a photo walk with me. I even had an idea in my mind where I’d like to go as a few months ago I noticed that in a near town a new educational trail “Living memories of Lužany landscape” was opened and it seemed a good destination for a Sunday morning walk.

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The trail is nine kilometres long and with my photo activities it took us about three hours to get from the start to the finish. We didn’t like the whole trail but there are some nice places along it and certainly some photo opportunities. I took quite a few documentary captures but today I would like to share rather the atmosphere of the walk than the statues and buildings we saw.

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I was taken by surprise when in one of the villages along the way I was asked indirectly to take a photo of a villager. You know, I’m not much into taking photos of people, let alone strangers, I feel way too self-conscious for that role. But circumstances sometimes make decisions for you so imagine that on Sunday morning you arrive at a small village square and meet two old men chatting there. Out of politeness you greet them and they greet you too. Then they start talking among each other but looking at you. It was something like:

A (smiling at me and addressing the other man): “Come, the lady will take our photo…”
B (retreating quickly out of the man’s reach and my view): “No way! I don’t want to be captured!”
A (addressing the other man and smiling at him and gesticulating towards near bench): “Come on, sit with me, we could even be in a newspaper…”
B (retreating further): “You don’t know her, you don’t know who she is. She wouldn’t give you that photo either!”

Explaining where we are from and where we went didn’t help to soften him. I had to smile, you know, it was all quite funny. As if two voices were debating in one head…

I wasn’t sure what to do. I felt like I should take a photo of the man who asked for it, though indirectly, it seemed polite and he was already sitting on the bench and waiting. I told him that I would capture him if he really wanted and he did so may I introduce you to that friendly man who isn’t smiling in the photo but was smiling at us?

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I may not bring him a print but at least I showed him the picture on the back of my camera and then we said goodbye. When I saw that photo on my laptop, it felt like it should rather be something like fifty years older so I tried some adjustments and came up with the following version which I like more than the coloured one:

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I also took a photo of my husband who was kind enough to pose for me by a small chapel we were passing by:

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In Lužany where the trail starts, there is a castle and I noticed a beautiful autumnal decoration with chrysanthemums on the stairs of a neighbouring house. I played a bit with the photo I had taken and created somewhat moody picture:

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There were many dry leaves scattered on the path we were following and the contrast between them and their colourful siblings sometimes looked really striking. That made me take the following photo and you know what? When I saw it today, I thought what a great message it carries. You don’t need to be perfect to shine!!

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The image I want to wrap this post up with today is based on one of the photos I took during that walk. I was quite disappointed with the photo but tried to express the feelings I felt when taking it by the way of its processing. I might have gone overboard with the processing but I really like the resulting image and that experimenting felt great.

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It’s good to try and think out of the box sometimes, isn’t it?

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30 Comments

  1. Oh, such a perfect place for a long walk and to take photos, I would love to have this area close by. I am so proud of you for taking the gentleman's photo, a step out of your comfort zone, for sure! And very nice to see your husband, too, a very handsome guy!

    1. Susan, thank you so much, taking the photo of the gentleman was a step out of my comfort zone for sure. We thought the trail might be a bit shorter and rather avoid roads but overall it was a nice experience and I was glad we got to know more of the surroundings of where we live. I’m pleased you like the photo of my husband and he himself in it. I’ve told him… and he seemed pleased. He doesn’t like to be captured and I was so glad he was willing to pose for me.

  2. Sometimes I love to experiment as well and even like the result! The sepia image of the old man is much more fitting than the colored one, I agree with you. I agree with Susan about your husband, he's very handsome.
    You live in a lovely are. That last photo – I would have taken that as well.

    1. Carola, thank you. In my experience, experimenting may be both exhilarating and depressing and what matters most is that sometimes it provides unexpected interesting results which make the depressing part worthy of going through. I’m pleased you like the sepia image of the old gentleman, I felt it suited him. And I’ve told my husband that you and Susan liked him in the photo and he smiled. I’m sure he was pleased which I’m glad for as he is such a modest guy.

    1. Red, thank you so much for your kind words. It seems to me that I stick to so many clichés and looking for as well as discovering new attitudes and angles makes me feel like moving forward along my personal path. I’m pleased you find my effort inspiring.

  3. Hi Petra, I love your opening photograph–just lovely and warm colors. And ironically, I feel differently than the others about the wonderful old farmer….I love seeing him in color….I guess because the colors are so warm and he looks so present. (The conversation also made the moment come alive, so the sepia tones made him just disappear in my view.) Speaking of present, your husband's eyes are completely present, which is a keepsake for you both. His blue jacket and the red of the barn behind him…it's just beautiful use of color. And he is so handsome! Isn't it great that we all love art so differently? My husband was a professional black and white large format photographer in the day, doing silver and platinum printing in a darkroom behind the house, so I usually tend towards the B&W! (You should have seen the size of those Hallelblads and Dierdorfs he used to haul around!) That was an entirely different time for sure. Now most of the cameras are digital. Wonderful images.

    1. Susie, thank you for the praise and for sharing your view. I love how you explain why you prefer the coloured photo of the old man to the sepia version and understand it. It makes sense perfectly that the meeting and dialogue lead to capturing that real person and then shifting the atmosphere of the photo into the past makes the person somehow disappear. I saw it differently, as if in two parts. The first part representing the meeting, the real person and the capture and then the second part taking into account just the photo and what it evoked… and the second part impressed me more than the first one. I took a few photos of my husband at that chapel and found this one to be a winner because I loved the expression and pose he has in it. I like your remark about the “present eyes”!

  4. Oh, I smiled the whole time I read about your adventure with the fellow on the bench! What an amazing opportunity and I'm happy you grabbed it! I adore the old-time edit – it's perfect. Thank you for the stroll … it was beautiful and I love that last image – your processing is perfect.

  5. Petra, your photos are so gorgeous and captivating, and I love what you did with the black and white one! I love to take long walks in nature and your photos have made me smile. Thank you! 🙂

  6. I love this post, Petra. You really captured the feel of autumn in that first photo. Then you followed it up with the next couple of images with the more brilliant color. The story of the two men was charming, and I'm so glad you took the picture of the man who first asked you to. I'm sorry his friend never relented. I enjoyed reading the exchange between you and Susie. She expressed better than I could why I liked the color image of the man; but you expressed very well why you liked the "aged" version. Both are very nice. I liked the life application you came up with for the shiny green leaf. And your last image is truly lovely. I'm curious to see the original, unedited version, though…for comparison. 🙂

    1. Linda, thank you so much, I’m pleased you like the post. I think that the two images of the gentleman are a nice example of the difference of what we see and look for when watching the world around us. Our “keywords” may vary considerably… I’ll see what I can do about sharing the unedited version of the last image, the comparison is interesting.

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