October 14, 2014

October Ritual

"October is my favorite color!"

Have you heard that expression? It's true for me. October is my favorite color and my favorite month.

October is also the time of year that we head to Lithia Park in Ashland to photograph the leaves, check in on the Wood Ducks and stay at our favorite B&B.

We got there a little early this year and beat most of the color, though Lithia Park never disappoints. Even without being surrounded by brilliant trees dressed in yellows, oranges and reds, it is still an incredibly peaceful place to sit with a good book (or a good man).

I found a bench facing the upper pond. Now and then a small gust of wind would blow a little shower of leaves through the air and onto the surface of the water. At least 50 gold fish were swimming close by, darting away from me only when we were disturbed by ducks or turtles.

It was the perfect spot for soul searching. Peacefulness surrounded the space, enough so that an older person, in purple, found a protected bench and snuck a little nap in.  Even the ducks whispered as they passed.

I will be returning this week (depending on rain) or next with women from my book club. We are planning a picnic and discussion of our latest book. It seems to me that to sit on a colorful quilt, chatting away with such wise and loving women while nibbling on breads and cheese and fruit is always, always, a joy. But to enjoy such an event in Lithia Park will certainly grace the occasion, making it even more special.

When I am old I will wear purple and nap on park benches.
We did find some color in a tree, here and there, and captured all we could.

The sun played peek-a-boo from behind clouds all day, making it difficult to get any of the color back-lit, but my husband and I are planning another trip later in the month.

The lower end of the park was closed off to traffic when we first arrived. A concert was in progress and beautiful music floated up to us for several hours. Nice being accompanied with such wonderful energy. Music, trees, water, wind, mountains in the background....does it get any better?

Our annual drive up the canyon, counting the pairs of wood ducks and competing for the best photo of the weekend is always a special time.  Of course, I will never have the best photo but it's fun trying and the smack talk that comes with the competition is some of our all-time best bantering.  I do excel at banter and smack!

I love it when trees get in close and pose for me! 

"Now lean in so I can capture both of you!"
The sun broke out just as we were leaving the park.
Cameras loaded in back seat, tripod in the trunk, we jumped out and clicked a couple of more shots.

Our Motto: Dinner can wait! Photo Op First!

Only two pairs of Wood Ducks had arrived. They wandered all over the pond, chasing the gold fish and diving for other treats. The reflection of one of the bright orange trees made a perfect backdrop for that one-in-a-million duck pic. Do you think any of these guys would swim through it. That would be a "NO!"

One of the elegantly feathered male ducks would head directly to the tinted surface and six inches from the golden backdrop he would swerve left or right, followed by that peculiar wood duck laugh. Don't tell me it isn't a laugh...frustrated photographers know these things.

Surely, as anyone would have wagered, the white duck (not a spot of color in any of her thousand feathers) was in and out of the orange spot.

I believe she was smiling too! She seemed to be the queen of the pack. What does one call a bunch of ducks? Not a herd, not a pack...oh, yeah, a flock! And flocked they were!

All-in-all, it was a good day!
Recommendations for shooting in Lithia Park:
If shooting without a tripod, remember to skip the large blended Dutch Bros Kicker coffee on the drive up!
Watch for deer poop!
Put the camera down now and then and just enjoy!
Don't eat the gold fish!
Don't disturb any nappers, especially the ones in purple; it's their right as senior citizens to nap wherever inspired!


  1. Beautiful Photos. Lithia Park is one of my favorites!

  2. Thank you! I can't imagine an Autumn without a visit to Lithia Park.


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