Saturday, October 12, 2013

When an early autumn walks the land...

   ...from a photographer's notebook

Detail from "Autumn Idyllic"    Ektachrome ©Steve Ember       

I promised, in an earlier post, to celebrate my favorite season each week with a “new” image. And that has given me a good excuse to jump back into some boxes of slides…or sleeves of negs…or digital captures not yet presented…and perhaps take you along on some choice autumn travel experiences.

First, about that title…

If you are a musical kindred spirit, I’m certain you will have recognized that line from the superb lyric Johnny Mercer wrote to the Ralph Burns composition “Early Autumn.”

I’ve written before about how the ol’ Gray Matter Gramophone that sits behind this photographer’s eyes and between his ears fires up so easily when out and about with the cameras. Yes, “Early Autumn” was playing on the GMG as I shot this image, both Marlene VerPlanck’s dreamy vocal and, of course, the classic Woody Herman instrumental. If you know the song, and those two recordings…and you certainly know me from reading these posts, you’ll understand what a perfect fit they were, here on the shore of the Brienzersee (Lake Brienz) in Switzerland’s Berner Oberland. Yes, I know the lyric is at odds with my lifelong joy in experiencing autumn, its colors, the air...but, heck, Mercer's poetry is genius, and the Ralph Burns melody ain't too shabby.

I often enjoy the sentimental journey (to evoke yet another favorite tune) of returning to a spot I may have shot many years ago, sometimes to shoot it in a different season, sometimes just to spend more time at a place that appealed.

I first enjoyed the inviting vistas of the Brienzersee, on an afternoon lake cruise on my very first visit to Switzerland in the autumn of 1988. 

On my most recent trip to Switzerland, in 2011, I was fortunate to experience a lovely stretch of superb autumn weather, and decided to include a return visit to the Jungfrau Region. Even stayed at my favorite hotel in Interlaken, which I’d discovered quite serendipitously on that first visit. Once again, the charming Hotel du Lac was my base for re-discovering some of the region’s delights.

I remembered some Kodachromes I had shot in ‘88 from the ship as we approached the dock at the village of Iseltwald. It looked to be a very inviting spot in the late afternoon sunlight…hotel with dining terrace…peaceful cove with pleasure boats…so I thought I’d target Iseltwald for an afternoon in the autumn sunshine.

This time, I decided to visit by Post Bus via the road that meanders from the Interlaken-Ost railroad station along the south shore of the lake.

After making friends with a local kitty – obligatory experience when in Swiss villages! – I made my way to the lake shore, plopped down on a bench, and soaked in the Alpine sunshine and the boats cruising the lake, before arming the cameras and getting down to “business.”

No Kodachrome in the Canon this time (those days are sadly past), but I was pleased with how the palette of my Extra-Saturated Ektachrome-100 captured both the vivid colors of the early autumn trees and the soft pastels of the afternoon autumn haze in the more distant reaches of my shots. The one up top, “Autumn Idyllic” is making its first appearance. To fit the format of the wee bloggie and allow a large enough rendition to show some detail, I cropped the image, but you may see the entire original by following this link to its presentation on Foto-Community.

“Autumn Idyllic” is a new Photo Note Card design. It is also available in archival gallery prints. If you’d like more information, please contact me at emberphoto(at)hotmail(dot)com.

And, as you view the image, please join me in delighting in the lyrical magic of Johnny Mercer, the timeless melody of Ralph Burns, and the delicious, intimate performance of song stylist Marlene VerPlanck.

Happy Early Autumn!

©2013 Steve Ember

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