Photo Essay

Same Time, Same Place, Next Year

Swauger Creek, 2010

The first time I laid eyes on Swauger Creek canyon, nestled in the High Sierra, was October 1994. It was autumn as I had never seen it. That day there were remnants of an early snow, the light diffusing shades of gold and yellow. The vista was cradled between the canyon hills which dropped into a forty acre meadow surrounded by aspens. A for sale sign hung on a fence at the road.

Anyone who's ever driven along Highway 395 and the Eastern Sierra this time of year knows its awesome beauty. Still, this pocket of radiant yellow stopped me cold. I just stood and watched and listened as the crystal wind drove the leaves to applaud, even as they fell to the ground, a migration of sorts. Everything was the color of farewell and, at the same time, hello.

We ended up with that property, built an off-the-grid cabin, and while we don't live there full-time, we never miss coming in the fall. This is our great, good place. I have come up the road, rounded the granite outcropping to see that meadow hundreds of times, and I am captivated by it still.

In 2003 I picked up my first digital camera. Around that same time, the local newspaper began a fall colors photo contest, and boy, did I think I could bag that, what with the gold mine I had to work with at Swauger Creek!

Well, I never did win, and eventually the newspaper quit having the contest altogether.

The other day, I came across my Swauger Creek fall collection and thought one of the shots from each of the last eight years might make an interesting photo essay.

All the photos were taken right here on our forty acres.

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—The JPG team

9 responses

  • Claire Crocker

    Claire Crocker gave props (2 Nov 2011):

    Fantastic series of fall photos! So vivid... a lovely area!

  • Carol Arntsen Masiak

    Carol Arntsen Masiak said (2 Nov 2011):

    wonderful series - my vote

  • John Tanner

    John Tanner gave props (3 Nov 2011):

    you bet !!! wonderful story and beautiful pictures,very well done !!

  • Deborah Downes

    Deborah Downes gave props (4 Nov 2011):

    As one who loves fall and longs for roots this essay grabs me on several levels. Outstanding work, Pamela. For sure my vote.

  • Melissa Olsen

    Melissa Olsen   said (5 Nov 2011):

    My vote coming your way!

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (11 Nov 2011):

    Oh YEAH! Rad!

  • Carol Holmes

    Carol Holmes gave props (25 Nov 2011):

    *V* Beautiful series...going to Tweet this ;)

  • Michaela K.

    Michaela K. gave props (15 Feb 2012):

    wonderful,my vote!

  • Davide Simone

    Davide Simone said (29 Jul 2014):


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