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Dogwood what? What is she talking about? She’s presenting this as if she’s been doing a series, but I don’t remember this…

I know, I know. The last entry that I did for this photography challenge was for week 7. The prompt for week 8 tripped me up; it was ‘panoramic’, which I don’t know how to do on the fancy Nikon that I’m borrowing from my in-laws. Sure, I have a manual and could have figured it out. Sure, the whole point of this challenge is to force you to grow as a photographer and learn new things about your camera. But that week I got lazy and didn’t do it. Once I was behind, I could not summon the motivation to continue, because I felt that I was going to have to catch up first. So week after week went by, and now here I am 27 weeks later with a hair up my butt to jump in again.

I am not  going to try to catch up, because that would be setting myself up for failure. Instead, I’m going to just pick up where the challenge is at. Conveniently, week 34 starts today and the prompt is right up my alley: child portrait. Seeing as I have 3 children, there’s really no excuse for me to not get this one done.

We had a horrible storm Tuesday night. It actually woke me up because the rain was coming down so hard and so fast, that it sounded like God was aiming giant hoses at all the windows simultaneously.  The thunder shook the house with each BOOM! and the lightening filled the dark night with blinding light. So it was no surprise to discover this in our yard the next day.

Fallen pine tree

The strange thing about this tree is that we don’t actually know where it came from. We have approximately 1,000 pine trees surrounding our house, but this one was dead way before the storm. I’m pretty sure we would have noticed a super dead pine tree standing amongst all the pretty, live green ones. Plus we walked around our property and couldn’t find the stump anywhere.

We’ve decided it’s a ghost tree, because it’s the only explanation. Or, it blew in from one of the neighbors’ yards, in which case, it’s a miracle that it didn’t crash into our car or through one of our windows or through the roof or into our idiot dog who had decided that the best way to handle her fear of the storm was to go outside and bark at it.

Australian Shepherd Mix

She was pretty exhausted the next day from barking at the storm all night long.

I’m over summer and have already been dreaming of fall. So I decided to gather the troops after breakfast to gather pine cones for future fall crafting. They happily put on their rain boots and got straight to scavenging.

rain boots

I grabbed the Nikon on a whim, just in case inspiration struck.

The broken, dead tree quickly became a fortress that the girls were all too eager to climb in to.

Kid climbing tree

Kid Climbing Tree

Kid Climbing Tree

Kid climbing tree

I wasn’t planning on turning our little expedition into a full on shoot. I wasn’t even going out with the intention of capturing a shot for this challenge. But I couldn’t help but be inspired by the unexpected beauty that I found in this dead, fallen tree.

I was fascinated by the very visible saturation in the exposed inner branches.

Broken Tree

By the texture of the bark.

Tree Trunk

By the way that the smaller branches looked like dragon scales.

Pine Tree Branch

Pine Tree Branch

By the whispers of fall seen in grass cradled pine cones.

Pine Cone

By the whimsy created in the simplicity of pine cones nestled in my children’s tiny hands.

Kid holding pine cones

Baby Pine Cones

Baby holding pine cone

In how childhood was so easily capsuled with baby feet standing in a toddler pool next to a floating rain boot.

Baby feet and rain boots

In getting to witness my oldest daughter’s strength as she lifted a tree branch that was as big as her.

Little girl holding tree branch

And so, without further ado, here is my child portrait for this week’s Dogwood challenge:

Child portrait

My little adventurer, who was ever so happy to play in the wreckage of a dead, fallen tree for hours. This is where she is happiest: in the midst of exploring something new, with the freedom to make it whatever her imagination wills it to be. Her creativity is endless, her spirit so sweet, yet unyielding when faced with standing up for what is right. She reminds me so much of myself, yet is very much her own, unique person. I cannot wait to see what mountains she will scale.

I figure I’m off the hook for all the missed weeks now, since this post has somewhere around 20 pictures. Even? Good. See you next week then.

Previous Weeks:

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