Located in Water Works Park, this serene little grove makes me wish for the days when my children were little and could be entertained by a rake and a pile of leaves. Okay, not so much the rake but I remember the look of anticipation as they would take a few steps back, then bound forward and throw themselves into the colorful array. Then the ensuing smiles and laughter as their faces emerged, hats or hair covered in bits and pieces of fall.
As I finish this up, I giggle a little. I told Jake recently that I was tired of the same old pictures that we get from school and that this year, I’m going to take his pictures. I think I just decided where and I might just take a rake.
With all the ugliness in the world…for today, I choose to see only the beauty in it. Today I refuse to listen to the news and the gossip and instead breathe in the cool fall air and let it awaken a happy heart. Instead of the barrage of sad tales and despair I only want to hear music that lifts the spirit and encourages the soul. No angry thoughts of those who have wronged or hurt me, only prayers for a humble spirit and right attitude. No lingering over regret and self pity for my many mistakes and wrongdoings. No anxiety for what may lie ahead, only trust that God is in control. Today, I choose kindness, faith, love and healing…and coffee, lots of coffee.
For many it’s a headache, making their morning commute a white-knuckle-pray-everyone-remembers-to-turn-on-their-headlights (not their brights)! I personally do not enjoy driving in fog either but I do love the ethereal effect that it has on my surroundings. Admittedly, it also has a lazy effect. Looking out my window at this scene this morning, I wanted nothing more than to bury myself back under the covers and drift back off to blissful sleep.
It also reminded me that I’ve been wanting to capture a picture of the fog for this blog and while the desire was not strong enough to get me out of my pajamas and into the outdoors, it was enough to get me out of bed long enough to go grab my camera and practice a few different techniques I had read about. I had heard that setting the white balance to “cloudy” can sometimes eliminate the blue tinge that accompanies some shots like this one. I loved that it worked! See for yourself…Here is the shot using “Daylight” white balance.
And here it is using “Cloudy”.
I woke up this morning in a bit of funk. It was one of those days when I didn’t really feel a particular motivation to do anything. I didn’t want to go out…I didn’t want to stay home…I didn’t really know where I was going to go if I did go out…so why go out at all? Ever have one of those days?
After wandering aimlessly around the house, I eventually got caught up in and old movie, “Heaven Can Wait.” I haven’t seen it since I was a kid and it brought back bittersweet memories of summer evenings spent with my grandma. We’d pop popcorn in the frying pan, then I would take up residents on the couch and my grandma would rock in her recliner, usually with a dog on her lap, and we’d distract ourselves from the summer heat by watching old black and white movies.
Now, sad, and unmotivated, I decided it might do me some good to get out. Apparently caught up in the whole nostalgia moment I went to the state capital building, a place I use to look forward visiting during school field trips. Eventually, hoping for a perfect view of downtown, I aimed for what I remembered to be a grassy hill that would be a great overlook. I was pleasantly surprised when I found that hill had now been turned into a memorial. If you get a chance, go see it. Not only is the view amazing but there is a touching story written on the little wall that surrounds the piece about a slave who paid for his own freedom. In fact, there are several memorials there that are worth your time to go see if you’re looking for a little historical culture.
I still have not managed to shake this odd mood I’m in but with open window weather, I have high hopes for a good nights sleep. Bonne nuit mes amis…and pleasant dreams.
It’s no secret that I love downtown Des Moines. I don’t know exactly when it began but I do know that I have not always appreciated it as I do now. Like many things, I believe that photography is why I look at the buildings, streets and alley ways with a different perspective and respect.
I love the mix of the older architecture alongside the new. I love that I can walk the length of it in an afternoon, though I seldom do because I usually find myself turning into alleys or side streets and discovering unique and surprising scenes and places. I love that it’s not just a city of brick and stone but there are parks and peaceful patios. The roof of the library is covered with grass! People smile and say hello or nod as you pass by. There’s a history but also a vibrancy that keeps it young.
I remember friends from Chicago halfheartedly teasing me about coming from the middle of a corn field. In truth, that might be the best part of this city. It’s a combination of progressive innovation mixed with a healthy dose of down home humility.
Just on the outside of downtown Des Moines, there’s a winding road that takes you through open fields and groves of trees, past several small ponds and in some places skirts along the Des Moines River. It’s a little oasis right in the middle of everything.
Whenever I’m needing a change of pace for my drive to or from work, this is a favorite alternative. It slows me down and for a few moments I can forget about the hustle and bustle and just breathe. It’s also a favorite place of mine to bring my camera. Here I feel like I can take my time and just let the scenes appear. The different landscapes are perfect for learning how to photography light in it’s varying phases.
I happened upon this moment on my way into work one morning. Truth be told, I really wasn’t paying attention to anything around me (except the road, of course). I had a heavy heart and lot on my mind when I came around the curve that opens up to this little pond. Praying for some peace in a particular area of my life, this was like a blessing straight from heaven. It was a perfect reminder that while things may feel like they are crashing all around you there is still peace to be found. All you have to do is look up.
Little leaf, all alone.
You’re color bold against the stone.
I’ve no idea how it came to be,
That you should land right in front of me.
I almost passed without a care,
Thinking people might wonder if I stop and stare.
But something in your brazen stance,
Draws me in for another glance.
I can see your spots and ugly stains,
Your bruises and your dried up veins.
But these only add to the beauty there,
With each new glance I’m less aware.
Of the blemishes that mare your face,
Instead I see a lovely grace.
If you look past the flaws and the barren ground,
Peace and splendor and can still be found.