Establishing Shot

Going back to Photography 101, day 2 wanted us to venture beyond our own homes:

Today, capture an establishing shot of a street scene in your neighborhood — or someplace new.

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My street is a very quiet one. The neighborhood itself is nestled between two major streets, but we’re lucky – we live right in the middle. The school Squirms will go to is literally at the edge of our across-the-street neighbor’s backyard. There’s a park with playground equipment and basketball courts just down the street – though we’ve only been there once, back when I was trying to learn how to ride a bike (another story for another day). But, it is there, and I’m sure we’ll visit often once Squirms can appreciate the playground.

But, it’s also your standard suburban neighborhood: It’s a pain if you need to walk anywhere, a good half mile to either or those two major streets, about a mile to any sort of a store – but it’s very, very quiet. At night, you can just about hear every word people say outdoors at our neighbor’s houses. Throwing our your recyclables after dark makes you worry you’re going to wake someone up (probably just me).

It’s also a neighborhood that’s been there for awhile. Lots are small but you can’t reach out and touch your neighbors. Our house can only fit one car in the driveway, because families only had one car back then. Some folks have screen porches on the side. Some turned them into extra rooms. One crazy person added an entire additoinal story and put a giant fountain out front. There’s also lots of mature hardwood trees to keep things pretty shady, a blessing in the summer, a curse when it’s snowed or icy.  We don’t have a formal community board so no crazy rules like no parking your pickup truck in the front lawn or having to have identical mailboxes. (One house has a front yard full over overgrown bushes and trees, with two giant statues in the backyard. Almost-taller-than-the-house giant. The poor neighbors.) There’s four major entrances to it and there’s no gate, so you don’t have to wait in line behind everyone else trying to get in (and, really, those gates for non-exlusive develpoments like ours are a complete waste).

Back when we were looking for a house, we made sure to walk the neighborhood of anywhere we seroiusly considered buying in. This neighborhood met all of our expectations.

And, now that we’ve been here awhile, we see things we didn’t think to look for then – the people who live here. Our one neighbor, out in the pouring rain, helped Matt to use his ladder to clean out our gutters a few days after we moved in. The one across the street, he questioned the painters he saw going into our house while he knew we were out of the country (they’re family friends, so we had given them a key). Another told us that someone down the block does cat sitting on the side as soon as we mentioned we own cats. We’ve had many driveway conversations with multiple folks on our block.

I love our neighborhood. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Okay, maybe a summer in Southwestern France, but I’d still come back home to here.

I Took a Walk

…around the neighborhood yesterday evening, while Squirms was still in a decent mood, not having decided it was now her dinnertime and Matt was just hanging out, waiting for our dinner of braised beef to be done. I just did a quick loop walk, about a mile and  a half long though it took me about 40 minutes between the chilly temperatures and lack of need to get back quickly. I put on a knitting podcast I hadn’t listened to in a good four years (Stash and Burn) and went on my way. I started taking photos of cool trees so my casual walk quickly turned into a photo walk.

It was great to get some me time where I was also out and enjoying the outdoors. And I never got more than a 1/2 mile or so from our house – one of the benefits of living in such a large sub-division.

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An evergreen bush, with something bright red and glowing inside, though I didn’t actually notice until I reviewed my photos, so I have no idea what it was.

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Someone else did their lawn, leaves-wise this weekend, though there was already a new covering of leaves.

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One of the many hardwood trees. Our neighborhood actually gave each (original) homeowner three hardwood tree saplings along with their house. The original owner of our house must have taken some from others, as we have a good half-dozen trees in our backyard.

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This poor bush was either succumbing to the coming cold or some sort of blight.

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This looked sort of like a hibiscus but had much more delicate flowers. Wish I’d taken a better photo.

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A great big, yellow-leafed tree.

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Our neighbor’s giant, purple-flowered tree. This basically coats their law when it dies as winter starts.

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Yellow flowers, holding their own as fall roars in.

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And, because I’m five, my favorite sign in our neighborhood.