Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Not All Are Equal

The Showoff, Haywood County, NC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

As with people, some leaves just stand out in a crowd! As we get into the latter stages of the Fall leaf season, the yellows and golds of early Fall are transitioning into the oranges and reds that really make the trees beautiful! If you live in the southern Appalachian mountains, now is the time to take a drive and enjoy the views. I've been blessed to be able to enjoy the colorful forests down in the Murphy and Hayesville areas for the past two days while at work. Nothing better than getting paid to enjoy the show!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Color Junkie

Fall Reflection 14, Avery County, NC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

I'm reveling in the color now because the local forests are about at peak color. I don't think this Fall has been as spectacular as some in recent years, but right now it's a pretty good show, and I'm enjoying my yearly fix. This photo was made a little over a week ago in Avery county when the color was good up there. Yesterday I was much further south in Cherokee and Macon counties, and the color is looking good there now. Enjoy it while you can because with the wind we've been getting, the show will be over soon!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Random Shots

On a quick errand to Asheville yesterday, I couldn't resist stopping for a few minutes in the Prichard Park area just to see what was going on. As some of you know, I'm a frustrated street photographer. I admire the work of others, but I'm very shy about snapping pictures of strangers on the street. Maybe one day I'll get over it. Until then, I guess I'll continue to make my timid attempts. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

An Unabashed Copy Cat

Imitation is supposedly the highest form of flattery. One thing I find fun to do is to try to emulate the style of an artist whose work I admire. I have been fascinated for quite some time by the work of New York artist Jessica Jenny. Her photos have a warmth and texture that make them look more like paintings, while still retaining the qualities of a photograph. I know basically what she's doing, but I can't quite figure out exactly how she's doing it. Trying to replicate her "look" is both fun and challenging, although sometimes a little frustrating. The photo below is probably the closest I've come to a satisfactory result. (The "Straight out of the camera" version is at the bottom.) It was fun trying, and I'm encouraged enough with this one to keep experimenting.

Fawn Lake Shoreline, DuPont State Forest, NC  -  2013
(Click on image to enlarge.)

Fawn Lake Shoreline "Straight out of the camera"

Friday, October 25, 2013

More From DSF

My only regret about visiting DuPont State Forest was that I hadn't visited before yesterday. I was really impressed with how the trails were maintained, and access to the falls was made so most people in half-way decent shape could get to them. There were great trails for hikers and mountain bikers, and now I'm looking forward to warmer weather when I can go back and explore on my bike. There is really much here for outdoors lovers of all ages and skill levels. Here's some more photos from yesterday's visit. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Covered Bridge Over Little River

Fallen Maple Leaf

Fall On Little River

Hooker Falls 2

Final Resting Place

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pilgrimage To DuPont

For several years I've been wanting to visit DuPont State Forest, south of Brevard. It seemed like every time I planned to go down there something prevented me from being able to go. Today I finally made the trip.

I had twin objectives of photographing some waterfalls, and also some Fall foliage. I knew the leaf situation would be a crap shoot with the weird Fall we're having, but I was sure I could get some good waterfall shots if I got there early enough. You have to get to the falls before the full sun starts hitting it or the highlights will blow out. No detail in the water makes for a dull photo. Since Joe Tourist doesn't like to roll out of bed before 8:00 am or so, I figured arriving at sunrise would give me time to avoid the crowds and get the right light.

Happiness is arriving at the Hooker Falls parking area and finding it completely empty! In fact, I didn't see a single soul until after 9:00 am. I had everything all to myself for the first 2 1/2 hours of my visit. I'm not anti-social, but having to remove the guy with the loud Hawaiian shirt from a waterfall photo with software can get tedious.

Hooker Falls

I made it to three different falls before the sun started getting too high. The first was Hooker Falls above. Next was Triple Falls, pictured below. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Triple Falls

The last one I got to was High Falls. This one was tough because I was almost shooting directly into the sun. This one would be better photographed in the late afternoon. At the top of the photo, you can see part of a covered bridge that crosses the river just above the falls.

High Falls

The Fall color in the DuPont area was actually a little better than where I live in Haywood County. Better, but not great. There were some pretty trees here and there, but the wind of the last couple of days is taking its toll quickly. I found some of the most colorful leaves already on the ground.

Multi-colored Maple Leaf

After rushing a bit to get to the three falls, I slowed down to my usual unhurried pace for the rest of the hike. I've learned to go slow and see what's there to see. I found the two leaves below because I was going slow enough to notice them. I didn't "pose" these two leaves, they are just as I found them.


The last shot is just to show my two daughters that the old man survived his hike unscathed. A few years ago I slipped on a wet rock face, landed on my butt, and almost slid down into the abyss. Heather grabbed my backpack and slowed me down enough for me to get stopped before I became another hiking statistic. Oh yeah, Courtney would want me to mention that she saved the tripod I jettisoned when I fell. Anyway, one mishap and they tried to get me to promise not to hike by myself after they left for college. Sorry, girls, Dad has to get out into the woods once in a while to maintain his sanity; sometimes I have to do it solo. I'll be careful.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It Keeps Getting Harder

Backlit Leaf, Jackson County, NC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enter.)

On my first trip out this week looking for Fall pictures I discovered two things. First, the woods are still very green. Secondly, as I discovered last Fall, I'm finding it harder and harder to make photos that don't feel and look like ones I've already made. I see a colorful tree, and every composition I consider makes me think, "I've already done something like that." It's frustrating and challenging at the same time. It means I'll be coming home with fewer photos, but hopefully, more interesting ones.We'll see.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Clearing the Decks

I'm going to post all the photos I have from last Saturday's Battle of Warm Springs re-enactment at one time. I usually spread this many photos out over a few days, but I'm clearing the decks for the Fall photos I hope to be making the rest of this week. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sunday Driving

High Country Color, Watauga County, NC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

I used a trip to return Courtney to Boone as an excuse to do some leaf looking yesterday. You have to drive to almost Linville before you see much Fall color, but north of there it's really pretty right now. We got off  Hwy. 221 at Grandfather Mountain, and drove the Blue Ridge Parkway to just south of Boone. As you would expect on a sunny Sunday afternoon in October, the BRP was packed with cars full of people enjoying the colorful leaves. Traffic was moving at a crawl, but I didn't mind because I was enjoying the sights too. We made a few stops for pictures, including a short hike at Beacon Rock, and what is normally a two hour trip turned into almost five. It was nice to not be in a hurry!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

One Stone, One Bird

In a recent post, I wrote that I planned to kill two birds with one stone on a trip to Hot Springs, NC on Saturday. Well, I did get some new Civil War re-enactor photos, but the Fall foliage photos I was hoping for didn't happen. The forests in the Hot Springs area were still disappointingly green. Oh well, I'll be taking my daughter back to Boone today, and I know the opportunities will be much better up that way.

The Fog Of War, Hot Springs, NC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

The Battle of Warm Springs re-encactment was held yesterday. There were not quite as many participants as last year's event, but they still put on a good show. Noticeably absent were the number of cavalry, only three this year compared to almost a dozen last year. However, there was still enough noise and smoke from the rifles and canons to keep the crowds happy. One thing that did puzzle me is the number of people who brought dogs with them to the event. Most of the dogs were absolutely terrified by the canon blasts, and were turned into whimpering, whining bundles of fear minutes after the battle started. Why do some people feel they have to bring their pets with them everywhere? As Dr. Phil would say, "What were you thinking?"

The photo above was the only one I had time to do anything with in the digital darkroom after we got home. It was a college football Saturday, after all.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Memories of Falls Past 5

Fall On Big Creek, Haywood County, NC  -  2010
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

This will be the last post for this series on Fall memories. Tomorrow begins my Fall vacation, and I will begin capturing memories from Fall 2013. I've noticed a real change in the leaves in the past week or so, and it looks like I timed my vacation time about right for Fall pictures. I'll begin tomorrow in the Hot Springs, NC area at a Civil War re-enactment, where I'll be able to kill two birds with one stone: Civil War re-enactors, and Fall foliage. My plans are fluid depending on the weather, but I am committed to visiting DuPont State Forest for the first time one day next week. I'm ready for some exploring!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Memories Of Falls Past 4

Rushing Into Fall, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC  -  2010
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

I caught a little flak for this one when I first posted it 3 years ago - taking unnecessary risks for a photo, endangering lives on the highway, etc. Actually, I'm hardly the risk taker that some make me out to be. I was on the BRP early in the morning, when there was little or no traffic. I was leaf-looking, so I was doing maybe 30 mph. (Yeah, I'm THAT guy, the one who drives slow on the parkway to enjoy the scenery. Get over it. If you're in a hurry, get back on I-40.) I was holding the camera on the steering wheel, shooting at random, un-aimed, with a slower shutter speed (1/4 sec.) to get the blur. I didn't cause any carnage, and I got one interesting photo out of about 20 shots. Yeah, I was a real daredevil that day.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Memories of Falls Past 3

Fall On The Blue Ridge Parkway, Avery County, NC  -  2010
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

On a trip to Boone to return Heather to school after Fall break, I got on the Blue Ridge Parkway for part of the trek to view some of the colorful foliage. I made this photo near the Linn Cove Viaduct. Yeah, I got the standard, postcard shot of the viaduct, but I like this view better.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Memories Of Falls Past 2

Lake Logan Boat House, Haywood County, NC  -  2008
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

While I'm waiting for this year's Fall leaf season to get up to speed, I'll continue to post some favorites from past years.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Memories Of Falls Past

Maple Leaf On Rocks, Haywood County, NC  -  2010
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

I noticed a slight yellow cast the the mountains this past weekend that tells me the Fall leaf show is about to begin in earnest. I'm more than ready!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Some Color Added

Red Bench, Black Mountain, NC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

I've got some time off coming week after next, and hopefully there will be enough fall color out there for me to enjoy. Until then I'll have to add some color of my own.

Actually, selective color B&Ws like the photo above are not hard to do with most image editing software. In fact, it's so easy that it gets done too much, and often poorly. Even when I occasionally come across a photo where I think the technique could be used in an interesting way, I hesitate to do it because it has become so cliche`. Then there are other times when I don't care about that, and I just do it anyway.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

(Trying to be) Patient

Another B&W? Yeah, I know. I intended for October's posts to be all about color, but so far we're having a late Fall leaf season, and green is still the predominant color in the local forests. A friend suggested being patient. I'm trying.

Heading Toward The Light, Boone, NC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Friday, October 11, 2013

More Library Time

The View, Boone, NC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

The view from my position slouched down in a comfortable chair with a book in the ASU library. Could someone bring me some coffee?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I Have Some Issues

Stairway Abstract, Boone, NC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

It's no secret I love libraries. Perhaps a bit too much. I still have great memories of my Mother taking me to the Wagner Library in Metairie, LA at a very young age when I first learned how to read. I can still recall the distinct smell of that library, and the way the afternoon sun shined through the high windows on trips there after school. The library at my high school was small, but was a frequent place of retreat during free time which many of my friends spent in the cafeteria listening to the jukebox. Then there was the amazing (for me) library at Louisiana Tech that took up the bottom ten floors of the 16 story Wyly Tower of Learning. It, too, became a frequent hideout during my free time hours. After graduation, I became well acquainted with all the local libraries in every town I've lived in.

When my oldest daughter began at Appalachian State in 2008, I thought a responsible parent ought to check out their library too. What a photography section! Now when I go to Boone to visit (my youngest daughter is now a student there), I always try to plan a little library time. And of course, I almost always have a camera with me, in this case, my pocketable Canon A2000. That's how I got this shot inside the library's stairwell. Taking pictures in a stairwell? In a university library? Yeah, I know, I really ought to talk to somebody about this.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A "Must" Stop When In Boone

Macado's, Boone, NC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Being from New Orleans, I sub-consciously rate the places I visit by the quality of the food available there. Boone, NC may not be thought of as a food city, but it gets high marks from me, mainly for this establishment, Macado's (pronounced Mac-a-doos) on King Street. We learned about this place when my oldest daughter began attending Appalachian State. Our friend Lisa told us it was a favorite of her's when she was a student there. So, yeah, Macado's has been around for a while. (Maybe she won't see that comment.)

Sandwiches are the main attraction here, and there are dozens to choose from. I like their Reuben, and one they call "The Bronx Bomber". I can't even remember everything that's on it, but it's fantastic. You can get chips or potato salad with your sandwich, but I always get the potato salad. It may be the best I've ever had. The clientele is mostly students, with a few locals and parents of students mixed in. It's a very young and hip atmosphere that works well in this college town. Once when ordering my Reuben, my young waiter responded with, "Reuben, dig it." And I do.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Still Waiting

It's October. The temperatures are a little milder. The daylight hours are getting shorter. So where is the color? I'm still waiting to see some.

We seem to be getting off to a slow start for Fall color in the local mountains. The forests look, well, green! Oh, there's a tree here and there with a few red or yellow leaves, but you have to look for them. The only real indicator of Fall so far are the pumpkins at the First United Methodist Church in Waynesville. You can find some Fall color there!

Three Pumpkins, Waynesville, NC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

I Know What I Said

Skateboard Culture, Waynesville, NC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

I know I said that I probably wouldn't be posting much B&W photography in October, but we're having a slow start to Fall color. Except for a tree here or there, the forests are still 95% green so far. So while we're waiting for the show to begin, here is a B&W from last Sunday.

Skateboarders definitely have their own culture. They have their own language, way of dressing, and attitude. I enjoyed watching them last Sunday afternoon because their world is very different from the world I live in, yet we live right next to each other!

Friday, October 4, 2013

My Space

My Desk, Canton, NC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Today, I thought maybe you'd like a look behind the scenes of this photo blog. This is MY space. The desk is a big, oak job bought from a government office surplus sale after WWII by my mother's father. He was a ham radio operator, and he used to keep some of his radio gear on top of it. When he died in 1963, my Dad got the desk, and he used it for personal business for years. When he died in 2004, the desk was passed down to me, and it now resides in my basement office/studio. I call it my Man Cave, and my daughters roll their eyes every time I do. I added a shelf for books, and a side table for my computer. This is where I work on my pictures, pay bills, prepare Sunday School lessons, post on my blog, read, or just waste time surfing the interwebs. I do clean it every week or so, but it still seems to end up looking like this within a few hours.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


Patriots, Canton, NC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

I still have some photos left from the Canton Labor Day parade about a month ago. I know, this is bordering on silly, but how can you not love the colors?