Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wilderness Can Be So Messy

Falls At Little Bear Trap Branch, 
Middle Prong Wilderness Area, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

As I was adjusting my tripod prior to making this photo of the falls, I was wishing that all those fallen trees weren't there cluttering up my composition. Let's face it, it's a messy looking fall. It is the natural course of events for trees to die or get blown over by storms, and then come crashing down. If their final resting place is a waterfall, leaves, branches, and other debris eventually get trapped against the trunks, and we end up with the mess we see here. And if the waterfall is in an area designated as "wilderness", that's just how it's going to remain - "natural".

Although I think the beauty of this fall could be enhanced with a little clean up, that's not going to happen in a wilderness area. Occasionally, hiking clubs or conservation groups are allowed to do some trail maintenance in a wilderness area, but only with the use of un-powered hand tools. So bringing in some chain saws to make John's photo look better is out of the question. Eventually, those trees will decompose and wash away, but I only had a three-day weekend, and waiting for that to happen was not an option. My photo of this fall will have to remain au naturel.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Try It, You Might Like It!

Pickin', But Not Grinnin', Waynesville, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

As in most any endeavor, in photography you find what kinds of photos you like to make by trying some of everything. Most people start out with people pictures, photos of friends and family. Then, on vacation trips or family outings, they may begin to experiment with landscapes or architectural studies of the places they visit. Photography can be easily combined with almost any activity, and fresh opportunities to experiment can offer themselves with each one.

Music is a big deal here in the mountains where I live. Opportunities to photograph musicians are a regular occurrence, and I've found by taking advantage of those opportunities that this is one type of photography that I really enjoy. As with any activity where your subject is in motion, photographing musicians can result in more misses than hits, but I enjoy that challenge of getting that one really good shot. I made several exposures of this banjo player from the band Cutthroat Shamrock at a block party in Waynesville Saturday evening. This is the only one that I thought was fairly decent. There's a satisfaction that I get when I succeed in getting at least one photo that really pleases me. It's an enjoyment that I never would have known unless I had tried experimenting with something new. What kind of photography have you not tried yet? Get out there and experiment!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I meant for that to happen.

Yellow Tulip, Canton, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

My two dogs are the champs at doing something clumsy or awkward, and then looking like they intended to do it that away. It's all in their ability to never show surprise or embarrassment when they mess up. Also, dogs can't lie.

Unlike dogs, humans have to lie, or at least bend the truth a little, to make an accident that turns out well look like an intentional act. I guess we've all done it, but I'll fess up on this one.

Although I really like the way this close-up of my wife's yellow tulip came out, I can't claim it as an intended result. This photo almost looks like a painting. In fact, I think it looks like something Georgia O'Keefe might have done. As I said, I could claim that I intended this outcome, but it was all an accident. It was windy the day I made this photo, and I was trying to time clicking the shutter during lulls in the breeze. I didn't do a very good job. The softness betrays that the flower was still slightly moving when I made the exposure. This is not the result I was attempting to get, but I like how it turned out anyway. It's like the old saying, "Even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then!"

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I can still make the ladies sigh.

'30s Roadster, Newport, TN  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

While in Newport, TN recently, I missed the street I wanted to turn on, so I pulled into a McDonald's to make a u-turn in their parking lot. That's when I saw this beautiful 1930s roadster. "I've got to get a picture of this baby", I exclaimed, and I immediately heard the sighs from my wife and daughter. (I didn't check to see, but I was sure I was getting "the look" from both of them too.) You would have thought I was announcing a two hour detour! I parked the car, made a few quick shots, and we were gone. The entire episode took maybe 90 seconds. Sometimes you've got to give up a little popularity to get the picture.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Few Left

Large Flowered Trillium, Asheville, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

You can still spot a trillium here and there, although peak for this flower is long gone. This is one I found last month, back lit by the morning sun.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Also Disappearing . . .

Dogwood Over Creek, Asheville, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Yesterday I wrote about how the trilliums are disappearing now. The dogwood blossoms will also be gone soon, so enjoy them while you can!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Not For Long

Southern Nodding Trillium, Asheville, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

The time to see trilliums is fast drawing to a close in the western North Carolina mountains. For now, they are still plentiful in some areas, but the show will be over soon. Take advantage of the wonderful spring weather we've been having, and catch a view of these beauties before they're gone!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Not Always Green

Emerging Ferns, Asheville, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Spring means green. Usually. For the past several weeks we've been watching the green work its way up the mountains as the trees leaf out at increasingly higher elevations day by day. As May begins, only the peaks are still bare of leaves. They'll soon be covered too.

These fern sprouts are green too, but I decided to emphasize their shapes and texture by converting my portrait of them to a black and white. Spring doesn't always have to be green, ya know!

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Peaceful Setting

Dogwood And Bridge, Asheville, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Last Saturday, my dance card for yard work and other chores was quite full, so I had to be creative to squeeze in a little photo time. The first thing on my agenda was trip to the Sherwin-Williams commercial store in Asheville for some house cleaning chemical. The store opened at 8 am, and since it was fairly close to the UNCA botanical gardens, I decided to combine a trip.

Leaving early, and fueled by coffee and a Hardee's bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit, I arrived at UNCA just after sunrise. At that hour, I had the place virtually to myself. I saw 3-4 early morning walkers and joggers, but not the crowds of families with young children that are usually there later in the day. It was very peaceful, the quiet disturbed only by the sound of chirping birds. (OK, there was the noise of the occasional truck on nearby I-240, but work with me here - I'm trying to set a mood.) I found myself looking more, shooting less, and mainly just enjoying the solitude.

I did make a few photos of some wild flowers and some dogwood trees, but mostly I just walked around. The photo above summed up that morning for me - peaceful. It was just the kind of hour or so I needed before I got started on a Saturday of cutting grass and house maintenance.