At this time of year, when the colors finish changing and all the leaves fall to the ground and turn that dismal brown that hurts the eyes and wounds the heart, it gets particularly hard for me to find inspiration. I have a grand dislike for cold weather. I am bored with barren trees, and it is a complete rarity in this area to have a snow day worthy of trying to get some shots. And I lose my inspiration.
Many people turn to indoor photography but my home is most definitely not amenable to that sort of thing. My home is old, falling down, built in a time when it was a dream come true for my mother but kind of a big ol' nightmare for me. So what to do?
Sometimes I dig through the hundreds of thousands (you think I'm kidding, don't you?) of images I have stored from the past say 15 years on external media, and try to "re-see" all of them with my new older eyes. And sometimes that yields some awesome results. And sometimes I come away with nothing.
Luckily, however, this week in North Texas, not every tree has lost it's leaves and I happened to think of a local "treasure" with a bad rep, but with some interesting geography.
Cougar Mound, as we've always called it, or "Cougar Mountain" has always had a rather sordid history in the local gossip mill. Back in the 1980's when I was a high schooler, it was a make out point. At some point after that, it was rumored that the "huge" gay community of Bowie (no, as far as I know there's not a huge gay community here but feel free to correct me if you have concrete evidence) went up there to have privacy and that there was so much fear over the AIDS epidemic etc that some of the townspeople were going up there and nailing baggies filled with condoms to trees in hopes that they could provide safer sex for those who were determined to do "that".
All those rumors aside, Cougar Mound has it's charms. It has a road cut through it. A "Scenic Overlook" which overlooks nothing. On either side of said road, but mostly the side between the road and HWY 287, there are very many GIANT rocks. Rocks that are 20 or 30 feet tall. More like 20 or 2 or 3 tens stacked up but they're just very interesting. And at this time of year, very mossy.
I took only my 50mm prime because I was trying to challenge myself, so the pics won't be as fantabulously wonderful as they might have been otherwise. LOL. I am sooo kidding.
I found a clothesline of changing colored leaves. Or least that's how it appears to me.
I found a view, of sorts, from the summit.
And I found the moon amongst the clouds on the way back to my car.
Most of us photographers, amateur, pro and in between, tend to think we have to leave home and go on a trip away from what we see every day to find something to photograph. But that's not really true. There is something around every corner, down every street, beyond the next bend in the road that may be just what you are looking for.
We can't all be the Trey Ractliff's of the world, getting paid to travel the globe and take pics of amazing things that most of us will never see. What we can be is ourselves. We can shut our eyes for a few moments. Clear our minds. Open our eyes once more, grab our camera and step outside our front door.
If you still can't find anything and want to bang your head on a wall, join a photo challenge. There are always a million of those around. Numbers, Letters, Colors, Textures.
Keep looking...keep shooting and if all else fails, dig out the external HD and find something old to make new again.