Friday, 17 November 2017 08:58

I'll Fly Away

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Not so long ago I was visiting the Southern Appalachian Highlands Learning Center at Purchase Knob, one of my favorite places in the Smokies. It was almost too foggy to consider the sun rising above the distant ridges, but what easily caught my attention was one of the deteriorating birdhouses anchoring the endpost in the fence at the edge of the cleared yard, looking into the thickly growing grasses and wildflowers on the hillside beyond. "Poignant" was the word that came to my mind, which expressed itself in a small portion of the fence with its birdhouse and the thick grasses laced heavily with the foggy morning. A focal length of 75mm, very short telephoto, gave me the angle-of-view I wanted. An aperture of f/22 provided depth-of-field and a shutter speed of 1/13th second at ISO 100 gave me an overall slightly-darker-than-medium exposure. Sometimes being in the right place means forgetting why you came to that place in the first place.

Read 440 times Last modified on Sunday, 10 December 2017 07:47


  • Comment Link Donald McGowan Thursday, 23 November 2017 09:37 posted by Donald McGowan

    Good morning Everyone.It is, to be sure, a day for Thankfulness, and I know that Bonnie and I are very thankful for all of our friends and family. Our EarthSong family - all of you and many others - are a never-ending source of inspiration, caring, and love from which we draw strength and sustenance every day, and which we hope we offer in return, indeed, regardless of our affiliations and beliefs. In our community we are whole.
    Hi Judy. I know that when I see your name on a comment, something has touched you deeply, and for this Image to do that, I am grateful. We often talk about "contrast" as a principle of composition that draws one's eye toward "lightness", and it seems to me that although the contrast you describe may not be as stark as the contrast we often discuss, it is, nonetheless, very present here and accomplishes exactly what you indicate. Thank you for drawing our attention to it. I hope you have many opportunities to play in the fog in the coming year.
    Hey Ray. Thank you for all of your perceptive comments. They fit so well with Judy's observations as to give us a very clear sense of the dynamics of this image. I love your thought on the grasses somehow mimicking the flight of birds as well, as one's own musings, as they take wing away from where we are. Here is my thought of the cropping question: I recall that tilting the camera upward, or shortening the focal length to widen the angle of view, even slightly introduced an element of sky that I found overly distracting. It made me feel as if my eyes were leaving the scene too quickly without the opportunity to reflect on the birdhouse and its environs. Your thought is well-taken and sometime when we are together in the fog we'll have to experiment with the range of possibilities to see how we feel about various options. Thanks for your kind words. May you always walk in Beauty.
    Hey Donald. What a delightful alternative you propose! For it is absolutely possible that the elements of this image suggest both going away and returning: a circularity that gives true completion It's always good to have you with us and to receive your thoughtful insights.
    Hi Nancy T. Of course our story would not be finally complete without the thoughts you bring to our table. I can't recall if you have ever been with us to Purchase Knob, but we'll definitely have to plan an excursion there the very next time you are here. It is a garden that should not be a secret to you. Bonnie and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, filled with joyfulness and love.
    I never cease to be amazed by the wonderful thoughts, observations, and feelings you all offer as we reflect on my wanderings through the world. You make me grateful for every moment. Happy Thanksgiving to all of us. Be well.

  • Comment Link Nancy Tripp Sunday, 19 November 2017 14:58 posted by Nancy Tripp

    LOVE IT!!! This should be a wall-size print! What a find! It looks like a secret garden and a very special moment in time. I think if you had clapped your hands, hundreds of butterflies would have taken flight, or the whole scene would be gone because it was just a dream.

  • Comment Link Donald Newsom Sunday, 19 November 2017 11:49 posted by Donald Newsom

    Is it, "I'll Fly Away," or, "Welcome Home," or perhaps both? The image speaks of moving toward the brightness, but it also gives us a brief refuge along the way. Thank you, Don.

  • Comment Link Ray Foote Sunday, 19 November 2017 09:16 posted by Ray Foote

    Don, moody indeed. This one invites some reflection! I agree with Judy Cummings' comment above about eye movement, and the natural pause at the old birdhouse. The grasses almost appear to be dancing or ascending which ties in nicely with the thought of birds and ones thoughts flying away. In addition to the lighting gradient, your image contains a delightful color gradient bottom to top as well. In terms of composition, I wonder whether a bit more of the ethereal, bright area would have helped the eye move on out of the frame to the upper right? In asking that, perhaps I am really just continuing my own struggle not to crop too tightly, something I do far too often. While such cropping may focus attention (good), I know I too often constrain the viewer's experience or sense of release (bad!). Thank you for yet another wonderful image, and I hope you have a good, beauty-filled week. Ray

  • Comment Link Judy Cummings Sunday, 19 November 2017 09:05 posted by Judy Cummings

    I love this one, Don. Images like this one encourage me to get out in the fog, rather than staying inside where it is warm and dry. I think the diagonal of light from the dark lower left corner to the brighter top right corner helps my eye stop and inspect the birdhouse and fence before moving on to the ethereal mist in the field beyond. A nice way to begin my Sunday morning. Thanks!

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