Autumn Blue by Todd Henson

Autumn Blue: An early October view from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Shenandoah National Park

Standing atop the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in autumn, facing west, I look out over the Shenandoah Valley and the long Massanutten Mountain which stretches down its center. Even further out are the Appalachian Mountains.

I breath in. The air is crisp this time of year, and has that fresh smell you’ll find atop forested mountains.

It’s a quiet moment on a calm, cloudy morning.

Life is good.

Down in the Valley by Todd Henson

Down in the Valley, a view of a farm amongst the foliage.

Shenandoah National Park is a beautiful place, bounding parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains and crossed its entire length from north to south by Skyline Drive. Within the park you’ll find wildlife of all sorts, lovely streams and waterfalls, and many mountains to climb whose peaks provide fantastic views of the surrounding landscape.

But another pull of the park is the perspective it gives on the communities below. With a telephoto lens you can zoom in on smaller details in the larger landscape, perhaps finding a red barn at the end of an open field surrounded by trees awash in the colors of autumn. What sort of farm is this? The field is full of large rocks, not likely suitable for planting crops. There’s a stone wall around the property. Perhaps they raise animals. Cows, goats or sheep.

And what of the buildings on either side? Are they part of the same property or nearby neighbors? What else might be there, hidden by the trees? Surely a road. Perhaps other smaller buildings.

It’s fun to speculate sometimes, building stories from the scenes we find. And that’s also what we hope some photographs might do, tell stories. Though what those stories might be may vary from one viewer to the next.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Waterfall in Autumn by Todd Henson

Part of the FDR Memorial showing a waterfall and quotation in autumn.

The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C. is a large memorial with a lot to see. It has waterfalls and sculptures and is full of quotations from FDR. The memorial is spread out with different sections separated from others by various features. I think it’s really well done. I enjoy walking through it looking for new angles to photograph.

The photo above shows one small part of the memorial, with a waterfall and pool, a tree whose leaves are changing colors, and a quotation from January 9, 1940 from FDR’s second term. The quotation reads:

We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization.
— Franklin Delano Roosevelt, January 9, 1940

I performed a lot of dodging and burning on this image trying to bring out the beauty of the location, enhancing the colors in the leaves and drawing attention to the waterfall and the quotation.

If you’re ever in the D.C. area, stop by and visit the memorial yourself. It’s well worth the visit.

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