Badlands Nation Park, and why I'll probably never be an astrophotographer

We visited the Badlands National Park recently.  The entire purpose was to try my hand at astrophotography. It was a bit windy the night we went out, but I was still able to capture a few shots. None of them are worth showing the public though; they all turned out a wee bit blurry because I used way too long of a shutter speed. At least I know what I did wrong. 

Badlands Selfie | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

Besides the shutter speed, I learned a few things about astrophotography...

  • It is way harder than it looks
  • With my camera I need to be in place, and focused in, before the sun goes down
  • I am a great big chicken when I am standing out in the middle of no where, in the pitch black. 
Badlands by Day | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

I seriously would have had a Blair Witch Project experience if my family had not been out in the pitch-black-you-can't-see-beyond-a-foot-in-the-darkness-of-night with me.  I can totally relate to those poor kids...


Joshua Leonard:
I heard two noises coming from two separate areas of space over there. One of them could have been a deer, but the other one sounded like a cackling.

Heather Donahue:
No way!

Joshua Leonard:
Yeah, it was like a serious cackling.

~Blair Witch Project


Badlands by Dusk | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

I think I will stick to the daylight for now, and something I happen to enjoy, panoramas. 

Things you will need for beginning astrophotography....

  • A tripod
  • A remote trigger.... I have an app that will do this for me, or you can use your timer. Which is what I ended up doing because I forgot about my handy app. 
  • I used a wide-angle lens, because I was wanting a landscape shot.
  • An editing program, because no matter how great of a shot you make, astrophotography almost always needs a boost from editing. 

This is a great site if you want to explore astrophotography further.


You can see more of our visit to Badlands Nation Park at my new Instagram gallery called @wanderingroad

I join the following link up parties each week, when I actually blog: LINK-UP  COMMUNITY

Life Thru the Lens 7:52... Warm Up with a Valentine Still Life

The Good...

-> In still life photography, especially flat lays, the best practice is to keep building. 

Natural edit with no filters....

Shades of Winter | Warm Up | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Life-n-Reflection
Shades of Winter | Warm Up | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Life-n-Reflection
Shades of Winter | Warm Up | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Life-n-Reflection

The Random...

-> Whitespace, the space that has nothing in the shot, is good in flat lays. 

Kim Klassen Trace filter (with adjustments), with a little candle glow help from Grater Than Gatsby, Three Nails Collection...

Shades of Winter | Warm Up | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Life-n-Reflection
Shades of Winter | Warm Up | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Life-n-Reflection

The Fun...

-> I take a little help and buy my goodies for my still life shots. They are usually decorated much prettier than I could decorate them. 

Shades of Winter | Warm Up | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Life-n-Reflection

ARE YOU JOINING OUR SHADES OF WINTER CHALLENGE??? HOW ARE YOU WARMING UP??


I join the following link up parties each week: LINK-UP  COMMUNITY


Shades of Winter Challenge | Lisa Kerner - Simply Living Photography

WHAT DOES YOUR LIFE THRU THE LENS LOOK LIKE...

1. Share your Life Thru the Lens.

2. Link back to this page, so others can find our community.

3.  Visit at least one person and create a community with them through encouraging comments.

The RULES:

~All forms of photography accepted… keep it family friendly please.

~Anyone with any photography skill can participate… we are all learning and growing.

~Any camera you take pictures with is acceptable… the best camera is the one in your hand.

Life Thru the Lens 4:52 ... Being True to Yourself

Last week I chatted about using comparison as a tool rather than an obstacle that paralyzes you. In that post, I shared that I love the Kinfolk look and even tried my hand at reproducing the look. I really detested what I created. Matter of fact, it took a ton of courage for me to post those images because I knew they were not stellar. So, I thought it would be fun to show you the image with my editing style. 

Because I edited this image in "my style" it was so much more fun to create. It's obvious I went a little artsy with this composition and used a little photo manipulation to bring out some fun aspects of the shot. The process was a joy, and that is what art should bring to your life; Joy, not the heartache comparison and intimidation. 

So... how'd I do it???

Step One...

I edited my image in Lightroom, with basic edits: contrast, highlights, whites and blacks, opened up the shadows, and bumped the saturation a bit. By the way this image is a panoramic composed of 5 shots total. 

Step One Photo Manipulation | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

Step Two....

I brought the image into Photoshop and clean it up a bit. 

  • I cloned out the tree branches and the road in the bottom right of the photo.
  • Then I created a duplicate copy of the image and flipped it horizontally, and painted off everything but the lower right hand corner. 
Step Two Photo Manipulation | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography
Step Two Photo Manipulation | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

Step Three...

  • I added a Greater Than Gatsby (GTG) filter, from the Three Nails Collection, called Cosmic Love. I always tweak these filters to my liking, adjusting the opacity, turning off different layers, or even changing the overall color of a gradient. 
  • Some may ask why use a filter if I know what I am are doing in Photoshop? I say, why not! I do know how to create these filters, but why not support other great artists by using their products. Also, it makes my editing process so much quicker.
  • The key here is not to rely on Filters and Presets to accomplish the "look" you are working towards. I do think it is vitally important to learn both Lightroom, and Photoshop, that way you can tweak Actions and Presets to your taste. 
Step Three Photo Manipulation | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

Step Four...

  • This is where the fun comes in. I added a sunflare just over the peak of the mountain. 
  • Tip 1... When creating a realistic look in photoshop it is key to really study the photo for light, light castings, and tones. I put this sunflare right where the sun was in the shot, so it works naturally. However, if I would have place it above the mountain, but the sun was to my back, then the eye would naturally feel something is off in the shot. 
  • Tip 2... Do not drop an effect, like a sunflare, into a composition and expect it to work without further editing. I tweaked this flare by skewing it and adjusting the overall dimensions. I also blended it, and  brushed off areas to make it more realistic. I then duplicated it and extended the rays of the sun.
Step Four | Photo Manipulation | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography
Step Four Photo Manipulation | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography
  • Tip 3... If you'll look above to the capture of my layers panel in Photoshop, you'll notice I grouped the sunflare together once I was done creating it. I do this to any part of an image I want to keep together. It makes future alignments, and adjustments, much easier. Select each Layer, right click and choose Group From Layers, then follow the dialogue box. 
Hello Sun | ©2017 Lisa Kerner - Simply Living Photography | All Rights Reserved
Step Five Photo Manipulation | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

Step Five...

To me this is the most vital step in a composition, and is often why a piece you are viewing doesn't quite feel cohesive. I always do some sort of adjustment to my entire piece to bringing unity to the piece, usually in the form of GTG Filter, but not always. Sometimes, I'll put a texture over it, or I'll make a levels or curves adjustment. This time I did choose Lemonhead from the Innocence II collection in GTG.

 

WHAT ARE YOU CREATING IN YOUR LIFE???

I have an announcement about creating, will you step over here to see it!


I join the following link up parties each week: LINK-UP  COMMUNITY


WHAT DOES YOUR LIFE THRU THE LENS LOOK LIKE...

LIFE THRU THE LENS LINKUP | LISA KERNER | SIMPLY LIVING PHOTOGRAPHY

1. Share your Life Thru the Lens.

2. Link back to this page, so others can find our community.

3.  Visit at least one person and create a community with them through encouraging comments.

The RULES:

~All forms of photography accepted… keep it family friendly please.

~Anyone with any photography skill can participate… we are all learning and growing.

~Any camera you take pictures with is acceptable… the best camera is the one in your hand.

Life Thru the Lens 3:52... The Joy of Comparison

"When we lose ourselves in the comparison game we cannot see how much we have accomplished."

The Good...

But, what if we could use comparison as a tool? What if we could push past the comparison thief and use comparison as a means to push our art further, to challenge our skills? 

Because, I do not believe comparison in of itself is bad. It's when we become entangled in the comparison game, and we cannot use it as a means to push us farther in our creative lives, that it becomes a problem. 

The Random...

If you are on social media that showcases photographic images, then you know the "Kinfolk" look. {That's right. Go on and click that link, and just gaze at the beauty, but come right back here.} It's matted, rich, and contrasty images leave me with my mouth gaping at the lushness of it all. And then, my mind starts whirling with thoughts like, "I could never...." or, "my work doesn't even..."

The Fun...

I edited the following two photos with the Kinfolk look in mind, because I love it, and because I have caught myself (more than once) being a little envious of those who can create this look. 

The Joy of Comparison | Life Thru the Lens | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography
The Joy of Comparison | Life Thru the Lens | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

You know what it taught me? 

  1. That editing in the Kinfolk style is harder than it looks. 
  2. That I do not like that look for my photography.

I am in the AWAKA 2017 class; did I tell you that? Of course I did, last week. Can you tell how excited I am about the class!? {Insert huge, giddy smile.} It is easy to be intimidated in that class. The coaches in my class are at a level of digital art that is mind-boggling, and some of the class members are producing quite exceptional art.

But, if I do not push past that intimidation, I will stagnate in my art. And, if I cannot use comparison as a tool, then I will not be challenged in my creation process.  If instead, I choose to stop intimidation and comparison from paralyze me, then I can allow the intricate, creative parts of who I am to produce the art that breeds stability in my soul. 

 

"DOWN BY THE RIVER BED"

 ©2017LisaKerner-SLP-DonwbytheRiverBed

©2017LisaKerner-SLP-DonwbytheRiverBed

"HOME"

 ©2017LisaKerner-SLP-Home

©2017LisaKerner-SLP-Home

"EFFLORESCENCE" 

 ©2017LisaKerner-SLP-Efflorescence

©2017LisaKerner-SLP-Efflorescence

HOW CAN YOU USE COMPARISON AS A TOOL IN YOUR LIFE? 


I join the following link up parties each week: LINK-UP  COMMUNITY


WHAT DOES YOUR LIFE THRU THE LENS LOOK LIKE...

Life Thru the Lens Link-Up | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

1. Share your Life Thru the Lens.

2. Link back to this page, so others can find our community.

3.  Visit at least one person and create a community with them through encouraging comments.

The RULES:

~All forms of photography accepted… keep it family friendly please.

~Anyone with any photography skill can participate… we are all learning and growing.

~Any camera you take pictures with is acceptable… the best camera is the one in your hand.

Life Thru the Lens 50-52.... A Sneak Peek of Yellowstone National Park

The good...

I have a ton pf photos to edit of our recent trip to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National park. It was an epic trip that left me with a list of photographic opportunities I want to pursue in the near future. A trip back is a definite must. 

For now, I'll leave you with a sneak peek of three panoramas that I took with my iPhone. I have several others that I took with my DSLR that I will share at a later date. Yellowstone and Grand Teton is a must for panorama photography. You'll really cannot capture the topography of the landscape without using panorama. 

Yellowstone in Panorama | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Life Thru the Lens Link Up

The fun; Tips and Tricks for Panorama Photography....

~If you plan to print your panoramas think about the length. Generally, you do not want to stretch them out too long, or have them too narrow. I have found that a 3:1 ratio is a great size to print. 

~If you are sticking your panoramaS together from individual shots you'll want to shoot in portrait aspect so that your short side will not be too thin. 

~If you do not have a panorama track for your tripod, don't worry you can still shoot them by hand. I plant my right foot and pivot from left to right (in a semi-circle) never moving my right foot. It takeS a little practice but the results are fairly spot on. 

~When shooting individual pictures for your panorama always shoot with an overlap of 15% to 25%. I have found when sticking photos together that 25% tends to work out a bit better for me. 

~Before you begin to shooting, pivot while tracking with your eye to notice where you might have to adjust up or down for the curvature of the Earth. This is very similar to following the line on your phone when shooting in panorama mode. 

~I always shoot more than once just to make sure I have what I need. So, I shoot my shots left to right, overlapping each shot, and then begin again. You can always delete your photos later, but it's hard to stick them together in Lightroom or Photoshop if you do not have enough information. 

~I like to stick mine together in Lightroom using the panorama feature because I can then adjust any aspect issues in Lightroom in the Transform Panel if I have any curvature issues in my final photo. 

Yellowstone in Panorama | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Life Thru the Lens Link Up
Yellowstone in Panorama | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Life Thru the Lens Link Up

The random... 

This move has taken so much longer than normal. Part of it is because I know there is no rush; this is our forever home. Part of it is because we had to downsize some more, which fills my heart right up. And, part of it is that we had a couple new areas that we had to build out, like my photography space. I am dying to get my area up and running. 

So, with Christmas upon us, and finishing up household projects I have decided to take the next couple of weeks off of Life Thru the Lens. I'll be back on Jan 9th. 

Thank you so much for being a part of this community. I really love visiting your spaces, and lives, and communicating with you through comments!!! Over the next couple of weeks I will get all caught up with each and everyone of you, I've missed you all. I am sorry I have not been able to visit your blogs over the last few weeks but I look forward to reading them over my break. Thank you so much for sticking with me during this transition. 

SEE YOU JAN. 9TH... HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!


WHAT DOES YOUR LIFE THRU THE LENS LOOK LIKE?

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Life Thru the Lens Link Up | Lisa Kerner | Simple Living Photography

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The Beauty of Art and Breaking the Rules

To me the beauty of art is that, as the artist, you can take any creative measures you want. Sure there are rules in art, but when it comes to creativity, rules are always meant to be broken. Every new area of art is an example of this thought process. Realism, to Impressionist, to Post-Impressionist, you can clearly see the rules breaking for the creation of art. 

The same holds true for photography. There are rules when taking photos, rules when editing photos, but ultimately it is all up to the vision of the artist on what rules to follow, or to break. I break rules all the time, and I LOVE it. It is in the rule breaking that I find myself to be the most creative. 

“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.” ~Ansel Adams

There are those that see the above shot as cheating with editing. Some people have said that editing a photo at all is cheating. All photos over the lifespan of photography have been edited, and manipulated. The darkroom was the place to manipulate photos through the exposure of light to the image before digital photography took over the world. And now, digital processing is the new rule breaking generation to create an entirely new era of photographic art. 

The number one rule of rule breaking... do not lie about it! Own it. Be proud of it, but do not try to pass off edited photos as "what the eye sees" photos. Technology has made people incredibly smart and they know a scam when they see one. All of these photos are mine, and are heavily edited because I LOVE the editing process, the creative freedom in shaping beauty. 

"It's not what you see, but what I want you to see." ~Ansel Adams

WHAT RULES ARE YOU BREAKING TO CREATE BEAUTY??


WHAT DOES YOUR LIFE THRU THE LENS LOOK LIKE?

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Life Thru the Lens 46/52... Macro Photography

A commenter recently said that, "Macro photography takes time and practices, especially to get the bokeh background." You know what? They were right.

MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY: noun

photography producing photographs of small items larger than life size. 

Dreamy Bokeh| Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | ©2016 All Rights Reserved

Macro photography can be intimidating but it doesn't have to be. I first began macro photography when I had 55-200mm lens mounted on my camera and thought, "Hmmmm, I wonder what that flower will look like if I take a picture of it up close?" I figured out my distance for focus by stepping forward and backwards, and then snapped the shutter. It was all an experiment. 

Fall Close Up | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | ©2016 All Rights Reserve

Tips for taking a macro photo without a dedicated macro lens....

~The longer the zoom the better. This will help with that bokeh background. You will want to shot fully zoomed out.

To capture a bokeh background you want to create space between the camera and the object, and the object and the background. The further away the object is from the background the more bokeh you will achieve. 

~A lower f-stop helps. This too will help create a nice bokeh affect, but it can be the most frustrating thing to wrap your brain around. 

In basic terms, setting your f-stop to a wider value (a lower number i.e. f1.4, f2.5, f3.5) creates a shallow depth of field which focuses the attention on your subject. 

 Click through to read more... Photography 101: Understanding Photography Basics- Aperture & Depth of Field

Click through to read more... Photography 101: Understanding Photography Basics- Aperture & Depth of Field

~ A tripod is not necessarily a must.

I vary rarely use a tripod when I am taking nature photos. Gasp, I know, I know, I should be using one, but let's be honest it's not convenient. So instead, I ALWAYS rapid fire shots. Holding my camera steady, elbows against my ribs, I take a deep breath, hold it, and fire away. At a minimum I take three shots, but usually five to six. More than likely, one out of the six will be tack sharp in focus.

Dangling Fall | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | ©2016 All Rights Reserve

~Wind is not your friend, or even a slight breeze.

When you live in a windy place, like I do, macro photography is much harder. Even the slightest breeze can make your shot blurry.  I always try to shoot macro nature shots on a still day, and if I have a slight breeze I up how many pictures I take of an object. 

~ Finally, practice makes perfect. 

I have a dedicated macro lens now, but it took time to find it's sweet spot. I still find myself practicing to figure it out completely. To me photography is always about practice, every day I am practicing when I pick up my camera and shoot, that's half the fun of photography.

HOW ARE YOU FINDING THE FUN IN PRACTICING?  ARE YOU WORKING ON ANY NEW TECHNIQUES IN PHOTOGRAPHY??


WHAT DOES YOUR LIFE THRU THE LENS LOOK LIKE?

New to Life Thur the Lens??? START HERE!

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Life Thru the Lens 45/52... A Little Fall Still Life Photography

The good, the random, and the fun....

November is upon us, how did that happen? 

I have been foraging in the garden over the last few months and working on some still life photography. Although it is fun to have neat props, I also enjoy the challenge of finding objects in nature to use in my still life photography. 

Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Fall Still Life Photography

Prop tips...

~ Think outside of the box. I actually use the spoons above for decoration in my home. They used to be tied together with a length of string. I just snipped it and then had several different props to use. Look around your house for props, you'll be amazed what you find. 

~ When you find props in nature do not trow them away when you are done with them. Dry them and save them for a later use. 

~ Think layers with your props. Layers bring depth to your shots, and texture as well. 

Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Fall Still Life Photography

Background tips...

~ My favorite background right now is a set of wooden slats I found at a hobby and craft store. I have thought about nailing them all together, but I like to arrange the colors of each slat according to what I am shooting. 

~ I am on the search for a neat piece of slate to use for a backdrop. Slate is really useful for food shots, just make sure when you purchase a piece it if food grade. You know, so that you can eat the yummies you are taking pictures of later. 

~ I recently had a discussion, in a still life photography group I belong to, about using old cookie sheets for backdrops. I am also on the lookout for those as well. I want ones that are nicely patinated from years of use. 

~My favorite backdrops for front on shots are white and black painters canvas boards. I found a pack of two, for 14 dollars, at a hobby store. I use clamps to hold them tightly together when I need a larger span for the background, or when I want to create a corner to shoot in. 

~ I also use foam boards, and then usually drape them with different scarves (that I picked up cheaply) and cut in half. They tend to be the perfect length without a ton of left over fabric to worry about. Plus, they are light and I usually do not need a clamp them to hold them in place. 

~ Cheesecloth is often a go-too background cloth for me. If you have a hardware store near you, check it out. Usually you can find cheesecloth for super cheap there. A hardware store is also a great place to look for tile pieces, that are on sale, that can be used for backdrops as well. 

Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Fall Still Life Photography
Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Fall Still Life Photography
Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Fall Still Life Photography

DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR STILL LIFE PHOTOGRAPHY, or PROP IDEAS... SHARE AWAY IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!!


WHAT DOES YOUR LIFE THRU THE LENS LOOK LIKE?

Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Life Thru the Lens Weekly Link Up

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Life Thru the Lens 42/52... Colors of Autumn: How I Isolate Color

The Random...

It is not always easy to capture the color of the season. I live in an area where our fall is not the cascading colors of orange, red, indigo and yellow streaming over the landscape. My landscape is mainly evergreen, with a smattering of mostly golden yellow aspen trees throughout. To find another color of fall is a treasure hunt of the eyes.

I have found the best way to capture the color of fall here is to isolate it. Instead of lavish lush landscape photos I have focused on close-up shots of splashes of colors. 

Lisa Kerner | Life Thru the Lens | Colors of Autumn | How to Isolate Fall Colors

The Good...

To isolate a color you do not have to rely on macro photography, but you do have to get personal. Do not be afraid to tuck your camera in nice and tight for your shot, but be sure to stay within your sweet spot for you lens.

Tip... if you have nature photos that are not tack sharp most of the time it is because you moved in beyond the plane of focus. I play this one by ear, and push back in tiny increments until I can visually see that I am tack sharp. Practice makes perfect on this process; purposefully step in too close to your subject and then back off to see just how close you can get to a subject. (Yes, there are focal distance rules, but I find most people learn best by doing and seeing.)

Lisa Kerner | Life Thru the Lens | Colors of Autumn | How to Isolate Fall Colors

To isolate the color further I often look for contrasting backgrounds from the color I am isolating. 

Tip... This is where bokeh comes into play. Most people think of bokeh as those pictures that have the shimmers of round spots in the background of a shot. However, the definition of bokeh is: the visual quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photographic image, especially as rendered by a particular lens.  The key to bokeh is space. Space between the subject and the background, or space between you and the subject if you have a larger zoom lens. (By larger, I mean 200mm or more) To create bokeh with a zoom lens: I zoom all the way out, 200mm or more. Then, I manually set my focus point on my subject. I tuck in as close as I can get with my zoom fully extended, make sure my subject in focus, and shoot. 

Lisa Kerner | Life Thru the Lens | Colors of Autumn | How to Isolate Fall Colors

And then, there is the Rule of Thirds. The rule of thirds is meant to be broken, I break it all the time, however it works rather well in isolating fall colors. It works because when your subject lies within the a third of your shot, then the viewers eye will naturally be drawn to the subject, and consequently the isolated color of the subject will register with the brain quicker.

Tip... You do not always have to shoot with the Rule of Thirds in mind. I often shoot a little bit wider around my subject and then recompose it in editing, with the crop tool. 

Lisa Kerner | Life Thru the Lens | Colors of Autumn | How to Isolate Fall Colors

How to isolate the color of fall, quick review...

~Look for pops of color within the over all landscape, then shoot close. 

~Look for pops of color with a background that is a contrasting color, and create bokeh.

~Look for pops of color that fall within the Rule of Thirds in your shots. 

Lisa Kerner | Life Thru the Lens | Colors of Autumn | How to Isolate Fall Colors

The Fun...

~ Do not forget to hashtag your photos on Instagram and each Friday I will feature some of our favorites at Lisa.Kerner  

#ColorsofAutumn_Indigo

#ColorsofAutumn_Crimson

~ Do not forget about the giveaway, you only have a couple more weeks to enter... hop on over to Kristy's site at Life-n-Reflection to enter for a chance to win, to be announced October 31st. 

HOW ARE YOU CAPTURING THE COLOR IN THE SEASON YOU ARE IN??


AUTUMN COLORS PHOTOGRAPHY CHALLENGE

Hosted by LIFE THRU THE LENS and LIFE-N-REFLECTION

The RULES:

Colors of Autumn Challenge

~All forms of photography accepted… keep it family friendly please.

~Anyone with any photography skill can participate… we are all learning and growing.

~Any camera you take pictures with is acceptable… the best camera is the one in your hand.

~ Not everyone around the globe is experiencing fall, my challenge to you is to find the colors of the Autumn Colors Photography Challenge in the season you are in. 

~The link-up will open MON-FRI 8:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.