December 10th, 2016
In Fall of 2015 I was looking forward to collecting beautifully colored Autumn leaves. It never happened, because of the auto accident I had in late October. It basically rendered me immobile well into Spring 2016.
This past Fall, I was more determined than ever to gather lovely leaves. I started in late September and was able to find great leaves through mid November! In my area of Michigan (metro Detroit) the leaves turned colors very gradually this year. So I was even able to locate certain kinds of trees & anticipate when their leaves would be at their prettiest before I gathered them up.
I wanted to get as many colors and shapes of leaves as I possibly could. Many of the most beautiful leaves I collected were from maple trees. Norway, Silver, Red, Sugar, Autumn Blaze, and Japanese maple leaves found their way into my collection. I also gathered leaves from sweet gum, ash, beech, sassafras, magnolia, elm, hawthorn, oak, and birch trees. And there were mystery leaves also. I wasn\'t sure what kind of tree they were from! All together, I must have collected well over 1,000 leaves!
At first I kept my leaves in plastic bags in the refrigerator. Gradually, I started putting them between the pages of dictionaries, catalogues, and telephone directories. Actually, no large book was totally safe, especially older ones without color plates.
Then came photography day. In years past, I photographed them by the garage in my back yard so that I could shoot them in natural sunlight. It wasn\'t easy. No matter how nice a day I picked to photo them, The gentlest of breezes would shift and blow some of them off my tray. I tried some gluing and taping, but I soon learned that leaves do not cooperate with these materials!
This year I hit upon the idea of going to my mother\'s house and working on her screened in porch. She also had storm panels that could be moved into place and skylights for natural lighting.
I spent over 3 hours "wrangling" my leaves and shooting photos of them. I added two things besides leaves to some of the photos; "helicopter" seeds from a small Norway maple in my back yard, and tiny blue berries attached to thick red stems. The berries came from the ivy that grows on the sides of my house.
All in all, it was a lot of work. There were times that my back got quite aggravated. But it was worth it in the end. I now have plenty of beautiful leaf photos to create designs with, for years to come.
PS. When I was finished photographing my leaves, it was kind of hard for me to part ways with them. One thing that helped was that I was able to save my prettiest leaves to give to a little girl who lives across the street from my Mom. I\'m sure she had a lot of fun playing with them. Perhaps her mother even helped her to iron some of them between sheets of waxed paper, like we used to do when I was small.
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