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It always seems that the changing of the seasons from summer to fall comes first in the mountains. The hot summer days are suddenly gone and we rejoice in the coolness of the air. Suddenly, seemingly overnight, the sunshine of summer is not warm enough to warm the fall days. The air seems more clear, and the smells of nature seem more pungent. Our senses seem sharper in the coolness of fall.
Every season has strong and weak points. When the seasons change, we seem to forget the strong points of the fleeting season and only see the strong points of the new coming season. We must be bored with the old season. It must be the newness and expectations in front of us that challenge us.
On a recent adventure into the mountains near Blowing Rock and Boone, I felt I was driving from my summer Salisbury home into the fall season. There I found a few maple and beech trees turning yellows and reds, showing their seasonal colors. Many wildflowers were getting their final blooms in before the cold weather steals the blooms away.
In the mountains, the cold water in the streams hurries somewhere down stream. To the slow shutter speed in the camera, the swift-moving water is recorded like white cotton moving over the rocks. Brightly painted barns appear from nowhere in the valleys, popping up as you round a curve. In Blowing Rock, a white swan sits peacefully on a small pond surrounded by rhythmic concentric circles rippling in the water.
Photographer Ansel Adams once said the “landscapes are always changing and becoming something else. The light, the weather always changes things. The temperature, weather, time of day, quality of the air, can show in the photo — it’s like a movie screen and never still but moving.” This well describes what you see when you go for a drive in the mountains.
Driving in the mountains is an exploration for me. As I drive the curvy small roads on a search for pleasing photos, the photos become the end product of that exploration. I question myself if the photos are the goal of my artistic expression, or are they just the product of my exploration?
The exploration helps me understand this world and creation that we live in. Ansel Adams also said, “The rocks and sky are what most people stand on in the creation. Feeling for the land comes from his soul.”

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