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Of Seasons and Circles

Autumn Color with Maple trees in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

While we love photographing landscapes and nature in general,  our first photographic love has always been flowers and gardens and colorful trees. Being southerners (Texas and Louisiana natives), we really love spring and fall which helps us to tolerate summer and winter (don’t laugh if you come from further north – winter feels cold when it comes in short bursts after days mostly in the 70’s and 80’s – we are suffering here). Having lived awhile in Massachusetts, we do appreciate our mild winters, but we have very few photo ops in winter – not many snow scenes in our photo database, since we are too old and inexperienced to risk driving on ice in winter trips. So we travel mostly in spring and fall (with some summer trips to colder climes) and, along with Texas wildflowers and gardens, we search out gardens, flowers, and autumn color wherever we may find them.

The seasons and the circle of birth, death, and new life are a frequent subject for musings and meditations as well as photography. The following is a sonnet I wrote several years ago on one of our October photo outings, as we discussed our growing awareness of aging bodies and a resulting focus on the preciousness of every moment we are fortunate to be here amid all this beauty.


(Poem by Janice Braud)

October’s end was drawn in crimson sky

And rainbow leaves deep-carpeting the earth.

You took my hand, said who knows how or why

Beginnings end and endings come to birth.

Perhaps there is no difference at all

Between the brilliant crocus beds of spring

And sodden heaps of once-bright leaves in fall,

A circle shaped beyond our answering.

The north wind snuffed all life from embered coals.

I begged you hold me tight against the chill

And tell me tales of love in aging souls.

Prove love to be life’s most important skill,

For love remains the best unraveling

Of life’s eternal journey back to spring.

Azalea Overlook Garden at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia. Callaway Gardens, which is especially famous for its azaleas, boasts 13,000 acres of gardens and Georgia countryside, plus a conservation nature preserve and extensive education programs.
Arkansas Scenic Byway 7 in early November.
Garden Scene at Keukenhof Gardens in South Holland in The Netherlands.

Autumn color along scenic highway US 287 through rural ranching country in the hills and mountains of central Wyoming.

Aspen Trees in autumn on Keebler Pass Road near Crested Butte, Colorado.

Raindrops and flowers – refreshing the earth

Posted by Janice and Nolan on in Flowers and Gardens, Nature, Poetry, Travel and Nature Photography


Rain drops on Calla Lily in the gardens at Savegre Mountain Lodge in the Tamalanca Mountains in Costa Rica.

(poem by Janice Braud)

The wild, impulsive rain had come and gone.

The earth lay quivering in rosy light

heart throbbing still to greet the early dawn

remembering fond kisses in the night.


Raindrops on Lily, Lilium “Stargazer”, along the beach road at Campbell River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Camellia flower with single raindrop, like a tear, at Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Raindrops on Red Tulip in Butchart Gardens, British Columbia, Canada.
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Driving the Columbia Icefields Parkway

Posted by Janice and Nolan on in Landscapes, Nature, Poetry, Travel and Nature Photography, vacation photography

The Icefields Parkway is a magnificent scenic drive through the Columbia Icefields in Alberta, Canada. The Athabasca Glacier is the most visited glacier on the North American Continent.

Sno-Coach tour bus on Athabasca Glacier on the Icefields Parkway in Alberta, Canada.

Fog on Patricia Lake, in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada.

If I stand very still, I can hear the glacier groaning

as a thousand feet of ice grinds its way forward inch by inch

— or so I imagine. Imagining comes easy, standing here

in this white wonderland of wind and ice and melting snow

that is Athabasca Glacier in summertime.

At Patricia Lake, fog filters the early morning light, mist rising

to greet the sunrise, making my earmuffs welcome

in the cold frost of breaking day. Pyramid Mountain unwraps

its shadows in the yellow afterglow of a climbing sun.

On the Icefields’ Parkway in Canada, every day feels like

a fairy tale, a make-believe kingdom of emerald green

and turquoise lakes, shining with glacial silt, reflecting

chains of glaciers and snow-covered mountain peaks.

Grizzlies and Black Bears search the woods for berries

and bigger prey, while Big Horn Sheep and roaming Elk

create tourist traffic jams and Clark’s Nutcracker

begs the bystanders for handouts.

It is Mother Nature’s Disney World, one spectacular show

following another like a magnificent fantasy,

but here there is no make-believe — All of it is real.

(Poem by Janice Braud)


Pyramid Mountain reflecting the light of a rising sun.


Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep walking beside busy Canada Highway 1 in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Which way to go? Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep appears to be reading highway directions sign in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada.

Looking for handouts, Clark’s Nutcracker loves tourists at Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada.

Lake Louise, one of Canada’s most famous lakes, with Victoria Glacier in the distance.

Our grandson, Christopher, traveling with camera, captures the view of Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.

Our grandson, Christopher, enjoying the view of Mount Chephren and the emerald waters of Waterfowl Lake on the Icefields Parkway in Alberta, Canada.
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Standing Stones and Irish Mystery

Posted by Janice and Nolan on in Landscapes, Nature, Poetry, Travel and Nature Photography

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A Natural High

Posted by Janice and Nolan on in Flowers and Gardens, Nature, Poetry, Travel and Nature Photography

Charming Beauty Tulip - Keukenhof Gardens in Holland

I have no need for alcohol or ecstasy

Or any other chemical to make me high.

I have my camera.

When I look through the lens

At the wonder of creation, at the

Lines and shapes and colors of nature’s palette,

Time slips away from me

And there is only this magnificent Now.

Through the lens, I am the flower that I see,

Rooted in the earth, a Daylily greeting the day

With raindrops glistening like tiny mirrors,

Reflecting the yellow gift of morning.

I am the fingers of sunlight and speckled shade

Giving texture to a Charming Beauty Tulip

In a whipped cream garden where beauty explodes

In rainbow bursts of brilliant orange, scarlet red, and purple hues.

I am the boundless streams of life that come together here,

When I look through my lens, no longer pieces apart,

But one world, one life, all there ever was and ever will be,

Here now, in this one flower, opening, exulting

In the sweet morning air.

(Poem by Janice Braud)

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Texas Wildflowers and a Labrador Puppy

Posted by Janice and Nolan on in Landscapes, Nature, Travel and Nature Photography, vacation photography


Six months old and loving every smell, every taste, every minute of life, Zoe is delighted to pose among the Texas Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrush at Old Baylor College park in Independence, Texas. Zoe, a White Labrador puppy, took her family, including “grandparents” toting cameras, out for a stroll to celebrate the coming of Spring in typical Texas fashion, by plopping down in a field of Texas wildflowers and waiting for the click of the camera. Lots of fun and a wonderful reminder that, for all the grandeur of mountains and grand vistas, sometimes beauty is small and right in front of us.

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She Loves Alaska!

Posted by Janice and Nolan on in Travel and Nature Photography

My mother loves Alaska. Her name is Mattie and she is 92 years old (or will be in July) – and she is leaving next week for her 10th (I think – losing count here) trip to Alaska. She has relatives, nieces and nephews, there, which makes the trip affordable for someone living on Social Security and her savings earned from cleaning homes over the years. Alaska, with its wild and wonderful beauty, is her favorite place to visit, but when she was younger and my father was alive, she made it to all fifty states. With a small motor home, they managed to see the country “on the cheap” but with great joy. Coming from poverty and a tenant farmer’s life, she has delighted in the chance to see and appreciate the beauty so many take for granted. She is not a photographer, but she has been an inspiration to my own photography as she painted wonderful mental pictures in her stories of this land, from Hawaii to Alaska and every state in between. I can’t wait to hear her latest saga when she returns. Happy Travels! From Janice

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