One October Morning

Fall has arrived in Wisconsin in all its glory! I love fall and all the gorgeous colors that surround you everywhere that you go. This is my favorite season and my favorite time of year to spend time outside. One of my biggest complaints, however, is how quickly the colors fade and drop away. It seems like every year this length of time gets shorter and I’ve lost my chance to photograph the trees before I barely had time to even think about it. This year I was determined not to miss my opportunity. I have been getting very frustrated with how busy life has suddenly become, leaving me very little time to go on photo hunts – something I used to love to do before having kids. So I woke up yesterday and decided this was the day. No matter what, I was taking those pictures because many of the trees I drive by every day are already past their prime. I was not going to miss another year.

So after we dropped Caden off at preschool, Shepard and I started driving all over the place trying to find the perfect places to photograph. I started with this dam area because I knew it was at least going to be pretty, even if the trees weren’t the colors I was hoping for.

I’ve been very frustrated with myself and my photography skills the last few months. Yesterday was no exception because landscapes are clearly not my forte. I’ve almost given up taking them all together because they never seem to show the immensity of what I’m looking at in person. I hate to say this, but the joy and challenge I used to find in photography no longer fulfills me the way it used to. There was a period in my life where I genuinely thought I would be a photographer. I was creative and loved capturing the world through my lens. Now it seems like my camera is an afterthought, something I only bring out of duty for special occasions to capture the memory, whether I get any good pictures or not. I hate this new attitude, but I can’t seem to shake it.

I’ve decided that to try and get out of this creative slump I’m going to make myself take at least one picture a day. Even if it’s a completely non-remarkable event, I am going to take ONE picture each and every day to remind myself what I used to love about it. That’s how I started yesterday, taking this picture of Shepard eating his breakfast. Nothing special, but it preserves the memory of what our mornings at home look like every day. I’m hoping with this super easy self assignment I might start having a little more fun with my camera instead of just forcing myself to take it out when I have to.

Okay, back to our photo hunt pictures. I hate to admit this, but after almost four years of owning a DSLR, I still don’t know how to use anything other than auto and the preset modes. I keep telling myself that I’m going to learn how to manually use my camera, taking much better pictures, but every time I try it seems so difficult that I quickly give up. It can’t be that hard, right? Tons of people do it. I don’t know, I just think working in photoshop afterward is a lot more fun than wasting time trying to take the perfect picture the first time around. But clearly that’s not how photography is supposed to work. I have a lot to learn, but I don’t have much confidence in my abilities.

After the dam we headed to a gigantic cemetery that I was sure must have a few colorful trees. Fortunately, my assumption was right this time and I was able to get a few shots of the color I was looking for. Maybe it seems weird, but I love taking photos in cemeteries. In one of my advanced photography classes in college I did my final project on unique headstones and the things that people left at them. There’s a cemetery in Madison that has the craziest things left by loved ones. The most memorable thing I ever saw was a used toothbrush. Kind of disturbing, but I’ll never forget it.

 I love the color in this one. It truly looks like an October morning.

This tree was just so stunning!

I always love the way veterans’ graves are adorned with flags and metals.

This is going off subject a bit, but I’ve noticed a lot lately how often I tell someone I’m frustrated with myself because… It seems that’s my overwhelming emotion as of late. And I’d like to change it. I’m allowed to be frustrated with myself, but I should keep in mind the things I’m good at too. I think it’s good for everyone to remind themselves of their strengths so they don’t feel like they’re drowning in their faults.

So here’s a quick list of what I’m proud of myself for today. Today I’m going to start my day on a positive note instead of feeling like I’m not good at anything.
  1. I am making much healthier eating decisions. Whether I lose a lot of weight or not with Weight Watchers, I can be proud of myself for changing a lot of my habits and beginning to focus on ways to improve my health rather than continuing to self destruct. 
  2. I am very good at finding thoughtful presents for people. I always appreciate a gift that someone puts thought into and I hope that the recipients of the gifts I give realize I’m never just buying something because I have to. I’m always thinking about future birthdays and Christmas, planning what I think people would like best. I think that’s something to take pride in.
  3. I am devoted to becoming a better wife and mom. I often feel like I’m lacking in both of these things, but I never give up. I read a lot of books on these subjects, slowly but surely molding myself into the person I’d like to be. I’m far from perfect, but I’m trying to be better.

Well, that’s it for now. Let me just encourage  all of you to take a moment today to do something you enjoy, or something you used to love and have let slide. It will make you much happier! 

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