As we say goodbye to fall, I can’t help thinking how grateful I am that we have this season. The trees come alive in fiery passion and the brilliant blue sky makes every bit more beautiful. We’re reminded to slow down and look up, and soak in every second we can in nature. And this happens every year—even though it was different with this year’s drought.

Fall is my favorite season to take photos. Pink shoelaces and camera strapped to the side, I’m ready to experience every moment. It reminds me of my nature photography-rooted start in journalism and the simple prompting to capture life.

Sometimes it’s frustrating because I know exactly how I’d like the photo to look, or what my eyes are able to see, but I can’t capture it quite right. In these moments, I have to remember to take photos with joy instead of expectation. To let it help me enjoy the journey instead of only the results. To remember the adventure, and the excitement of seeing the fall leaves. So, like the kid who cheered at Blacks Grove Park, “Let’s go find more color!”

Leaves burst in an array of colors at Blacks Grove Park in October 2021.
Rebecca Mitchell / Pioneer Journal
Leaves burst in an array of colors at Blacks Grove Park in October 2021. Rebecca Mitchell / Pioneer Journal

A tree exploding with golden leaves in Blacks Grove Park greets visitors on one of the opening trails. 
Rebecca Mitchell / Pioneer Journal
A tree exploding with golden leaves in Blacks Grove Park greets visitors on one of the opening trails. Rebecca Mitchell / Pioneer Journal

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Let’s take a few moments when we’re out for a walk to slowly take in the sights and sounds, and we’ll find a smile bursting right out of us. I love trying to remember it all, whether my camera is strapped alongside or not, because there is so much beauty right here. Maybe you can look out your window and spot a bird nestled in the snow. And if you’re hoping to take a picture of the beauty, remember how we have to pause to enjoy it and that photos take patience. You’ll get blurry wings, way too bright sunshine, colors that simply don’t live up to the real deal, birds will get spooked, dark splotches will ruin the background and they’ll be far too many ones to delete. But at least we will be enjoying this gift of creation.

Even with the cold arriving, I hope you have fun and enjoy nature!

Got a park or trail recommendation? Feel free to send them to rmitchell@wadenapj.com.

Rebecca Mitchell is a reporter with the Wadena Pioneer Journal and Perham Focus.