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Striped Sunset
Striped Sunset

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Free Study 2011-01 (Advanced Editing VII)
Camera: Nikon D40
Lens: Nikon AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED VR
Location: Centertown TN
Date: Jan 22, 2011
Aperture: f/11
ISO: 200
Shutter: 1/80
Galleries: Sky, Emotive
Date Uploaded: Jan 25, 2011

I had taken advantage of having the men folk out of the house. I had gone to the grocery store, I had cleaned, I did a little sewing and I sat, alone and listened to the silence. Then I wondered, "Why am I sitting in this house? I should be outside!" You see, like most Southerners winter is not my favorite season, but over the years I have learned to embrace it. After all, you can't have the day without the night, you can't have the good without the bad and like it or not, in order to appreciate the spring summer and fall you must have winter. Of course, we Southerners are blessed, usually, with mild winters, but this year for us anyway, winter has been a monster. Extremely cold, with five to six inches of snow that stubbornly refused to melt away.

But this day was more of a normal Southern winter. Which was why I was alone in the house as my husband and boys had decided that today was the perfect day to cut wood. And it was. It was bright and sunny. It was cold, but not unbearably cold and after weeks and weeks of snow and grey skies they were happy to be outside. I had opted out as I had chores of my own that needed tending to. After those had been marked off my list I found I had time to myself. A precious commodity as any woman with a family well knows.

I needed to take a long walk. A walk by myself. A walk where I didn't have to talk unless I wanted to. A walk that would allow my thoughts to ramble. So I leashed the dogs and we headed to the open fields. As I walked I enjoyed the crisp clean air. I thought of how miserable this walk would be at this particular time of day in the summer. The air would have to be cut with a knife, the dogs tongues would be dragging the ground and bugs. There would be bugs everywhere. But as it was, the only really unpleasant thing I had to deal with was muddy hiking boots.

The particular field we were walking in is a field that I come to often to photograph a tree. Most people look at me with puzzlement on their faces when I tell them that love to photograph a particualr tree. But for me it is an amazing work of art. I can sit anywhere in this field and just look at that tree. I can do it for hours. But it had never dawned upon me to walk to the tree. I had always enjoyed it from afar but this day, this sunny typical Southern winter day, I decided I would introduce myself to that tree.

The dogs and I walked along the edge of the hay field. They always enjoy a walk. I talked with them. You know you can tell a dog a secret and know that they will never, ever tell anyone? I watched the tree, taking it in from all the different angles and it was as amazingly beautiful from one corner of the field to another. As I got closer I was excited to see that the fence was not going to cut me off at a distance; I was going to be able to go to the tree. The sky had changed to a steal grey and the closer I got the more respect I gained for the beauty of the tree. It was old and dead, the bark was twisted, limbs were falling, it was a host for poison oak, it was alone, it was still and yet it was beautiful. I stood below, starring up with wonder, looking at the detail, the hole where the sky pierced through a branch, the distinct shape of grey on grey, the shear, raw roughness of all. The dogs became restless and we walked away and I was ever looking over my shoulder as the tree watched over us and I took comfort in the fact that I had made a connection. Not necessarily with the tree but a connection within myself to something more powerful than myself. A connection that no matter how I try I will never be able to explain it. A connection that I will be able to call upon to help me thru the unusually cold Southern winters of my life. A connection that will go unnamed but that is still there and is mine.

As I reached the road I turned and gazed upon the tree for the last time that day, knowing that I would return tomorrow. Such beauty to behold. And I didn't have to travel across the country to see it. I just had to open my eyes and notice it.

slightly adjusted saturation and temp
slightly adjusted exposure

Place: 170 out of 307
Avg (all users): 5.5839
Avg (commenters): 7.5000
Avg (participants): 5.5049
Avg (non-participants): 5.7609
Views since voting: 589
Views during voting: 212
Votes: 149
Comments: 2
Favorites: 0

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 Comments Made During the Challenge
02/02/2011 10:43:07 AM
Really outstanding! Well done.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/01/2011 04:10:54 PM
Tranquil and calming - 7
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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