Friday, November 27, 2020

Hitting the Backroads

Not wanting to travel too far from home during these crazy times, other than our quick trip to Minnesota before COVID numbers started flaring up again, I have entertained myself the past several months by expanding my photograph collection of plants and other nature related subjects. I started in early spring, as spring woodland wildflowers began to bloom. I already have hundreds of photos of the same plants, but there’s something soothing about hiking in the woods and connecting with nature, even when crouching on fallen leaves to get the best angle, then having to stand back up again. My daughter and pooches accompanied me on many of these spring hikes, which made for a fun family outing.

As spring turned into summer, I switched to photographing prairie plants. I have hundreds of pictures of many of these plants as well, but still, I kept snapping pictures. I have a backyard prairie, so photo subjects were very handy. I’d snap pictures, view them on my laptop, and retake, if necessary, to get better shots. Soon, I was taking pictures of bees, butterflies, and whatever flying wildlife would sit still for a few seconds to have their pictures taken.

As the season progressed, I’d carry my camera with me to take pictures on the way home from work in areas I’d spied particular plants blooming. Sometimes I’d spend a half hour or so on a weekend, driving to a local spot to capture pictures I hadn’t during the week. Soon my photo collection grew even more, and I could see an improvement. Even though I’ve been taking pictures since I was ten years old, there’s always room to learn and grow. 

Many may think taking so many pictures is a waste of time, but it’s good entertainment for me, and since I use them for work,  and to help promote the books I write about nature, the photos come in handy for promotional purposes, and maybe even a future book cover. Besides, when I get back to organizing my pictures, I’ll be deleting photos taken several years ago that don’t cut muster.

As the growing season came to an end, and the leaves had mostly dropped, I branched out and started paying more attention to some of my favorite backroad landmarks. I don’t have to go out of my way to photograph these spots, since they are on some of my favorite backroads I take to and from work many days. I’ve taken pictures of historic barns, bridges, and even concrete fence posts along my favorite backroad that runs along a portion of the Hennepin Canal.


My older daughter will be getting her senior pictures taken in three days, and my eyes have seen local spots through the lens, so now I have some areas in mind I think will make amazing backgrounds. We’ve postponed getting pictures taken until after her braces come off in two days, so we’ve missed some of the beautiful plant life that makes great outdoor backgrounds. The two areas I have in mind still have some color and texture that should work well. Hopefully the photographer (not me!) and subject (my stubborn daughter!) agree with my ideas, but even if they don’t, my eyes have been opened this past spring and summer to the beauty that surrounds us each and every day in our area. Even though I love to travel out of state and out of the country, there’s something to be said about appreciating our local backroad scenery.

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