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Autumn's Embrace --  Chris Carvalho/Lensjoy.com

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Lost Lake is a popular recreation spot on the northwest side of Mt. Hood.  Just about everyone in our area who loves the outdoors has a fond memory of going there for camping, canoeing, fishing, hiking, and picnicking.  As summer comes to an end and the days shorten I often make a final trip there to say farewell to another year of enjoying the high country before the snows arrive.  The last few years I've done this with my partner and we share special memories of this magical time.  

For a precious few days Mt. Hood is blanketed in the first snows of the season but the lower elevations are still open.  The chill in the air brings out the colors of the vine maples that add a splash of warmth to the deep greens of the pine and fir forests.  An explosion of colors wraps the land in a final embrace, saying goodbye to summer and beckoning us to the restorative time of winter.  As the best of friends who must part for a while, we feel the loss of the sustaining power our relationship brings.  But we also look forward to seeing each other again in a few months and make the best of our time apart.  

We don't have the kind of fall season that New England is famous for, but there are a few places where the colors can make a stunning display.  One has to hunt for them, but the search is half the fun.  Each year we watch the weather carefully and hope for a clear day when the leaves are glowing in the sun and the mountain stands out against a deep blue sky.  In the fall of 2007, we found that kind of day.  It was a pleasant afternoon, but windy enough that a dust cloud was blowing off Mt. Hood's west slope (barely visible above to the right of center.)  The surface of the lake shows there were breezes about, but we were in a sheltered spot and the wind was calm enough for a quarter-second exposure needed to capture everything in the scene.  Bob was relaxing on the shore in the warm sunshine, and I was wedged into a thicket of alder and vine maples wrestling with a tripod.  It was a struggle to frame the scene just right while branches scratched and poked into my back, a small price to pay for the beauty unfolding on the camera's ground glass while composing and focusing the image.  

I don't relish the coming of winter, but there are reasons to celebrate its arrival and accept that even in our modern world we are still subject to the patterns of nature.  There are apples to harvest, pies to bake, and the glorious aroma of butternut squash soup simmering on the stove.  Sometimes a picture is about the scene that's printed on the paper, but other times it's about much, much more.  This one touches me on so many levels because it brings back all the memories that only my partner and I know.  It's deeply personal, but I hope others will understand it in their own way as well.  

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Info:  Chromira digital print of Provia 100F 4x5 chrome, Fuji Crystal Archive CD paper
 

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