Brightening news feeds one leaf at a time

The project was on day nine as of Sunday.
The project was on day nine as of Sunday.(Heidi Oberstadt | Heidi Oberstadt Facebook)
Published: Oct. 4, 2020 at 6:07 PM CDT
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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - As fall illuminates around Central Wisconsin, Heidi Oberstadt, a photographer, wanted to capture it.

Heidi Oberstadt describes herself as an optimist. In times where things can seem dark, she looks to brighten people’s days with a simple photo.

“It just dawned on me as I was crunching these beautiful leaves—like ‘girl, pick up these beautiful leaves and capture them,’” Oberstadt said.

As the leaves fall off trees, Oberstadt picks them up, and snaps a photo. As a runner, she sees plenty.

“Sometimes I’ll run, and I’ll be like 10 feet passed a beautiful leaf. And I’ll be like, ' what a second, I saw one,'” Oberstadt says of how she chooses them

The Facebook group “Wisconsin Autumn Leaves Project” she created is on day nine. Each photo, posted daily, brings a little bit of joy to people’s newsfeed.

“I like knowing that for just a fleeting moment, as people are scrolling through their feed, that they can stop and say ‘oh, that’s beautiful. Nature is awesome.’ And just have a moment of peace in the chaos,” Oberstadt said of the impact her photos have on people.

Each photo is as simple as possible, with only one flash and natural light used to illuminate the lead.

“I really just have a couple minutes—between work and my son and my husband and all the other duties that we all have,” she explained.

That sometimes leads to some interaction with the model, especially her favorites.

"When I’m working with them, some times they’ll look so different to me and when I go and take a photo, I’m like ‘that’s not your best side. Can you go and perk it up a little for me,’ Oberstadt said with a laugh.

And followers even give names in the comments. But it’s positivity, she’s trying to give to others.

“I think it’s amazing that nature works in this way. And it’s such a special time here in central Wisconsin,” Oberstadt said.

She also had the Tulip project in the spring, a similar concept with tulips which lasted 100 days. With fall a short season, Oberstadt knows this may not last as long as she would like. But she would like to do another project this winter, she just doesn’t know what yet.

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