December 2016

December 2016 (4)

Friday, 23 December 2016 13:40

The Light that Fades

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I would like to acknowledge the end of the fifth year of An Image for the Asking by sharing one of my favorite places nearby. The old Luck General Store in Madison County, North Carolina, is an icon of its kind, a reminder of a life at once simpler and now fading away. I love to look at it and imagine its owner, Pink Plemmons, hard at work doing all of the things incumbent upon the proprietor of a rural, mountain store in the first half of the Twentieth Century. It was surely the center of the community and the stories it could tell would fill volumes. I thought that the fading of the day's light and the onset of the twilight's artificial one would be a great time for one of the stories to be told. Thank you for five wonderful years of pleasure that you all - and places like this - have given me. A focal length of 90mm, short telephoto, gave me the angle-of-view I wanted, as well as a bit of magnification. An aperture of f/8 provided sufficient depth-of-field; and a shutter speed of 30 seconds at ISO 100 gave me an overall fairly darker-than-medium exposure without introducing an overabundance of digital noise. I am reminded of a selection from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet, entitled On Freedom, and I highly recommend it.

Friday, 16 December 2016 10:41

Porcupines in Space

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Imagine thick layers of salt covered over with earthen sediments, and all of this beneath the waters of an ancient inland sea. Now imagine an entire area - even larger than this one - being uplifted to create the great space we know as the Colorado Plateau. In time the overlying sedimentary layers erode away; and there is created the opportunity for contact between the ground and surface waters above and the salt layers below. As the salt dissolves, the remaining  rocky sediment layers above collapse and erode away leaving you with the magic of Castle Valley, Utah. High above the area of collapse, a high-angle fault line remains to add to the wonder, and there you have the Porcupine Rim. From the north - that is to say, the open - end of the valley, just up (south) from the cut of the great Colorado River, the rim can be brightly seen as it greets the light of a new day. The geology of southeastern Utah is as endlessly fascinating as the stars of the sky. A focal length of 60mm, the upper end of the normal range, gave me the angle-of-view I wanted. An aperture of f/20 provided depth-of-field; and a shutter speed of 1/5th second at ISO 100 gave me an overall medium exposure. You might think of Castle Valley as a land from down under.

Friday, 09 December 2016 14:54

Just Chama

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When I stand at the overlook where Georgia O'Keeffe must have often stood, or sat at her easel and brushes, looking out over her beloved Chama Valley and the river that gives it life, I am reminded of just how fragile the world of living things can be. The old cottonwoods that line the banks, seemingly moreso on the eastern side than the western, live in a narrowly defined space between the nourishing water and the surrounding desert; yet within that thin margin they survive and even thrive, and give us in every season a beauty so profound as to bring a catch to one's breath and a glint of moisture to one's watching eyes. Is not beauty, by itself, a sufficient reason to preserve? A focal length of 150mm gave me the angle-of-view I wanted - short, but approaching moderate, telephoto. An aperture of f/20 provided depth-of-field, and a shutter speed of 1/13th second at ISO 100 gave me an overall medium exposure. As Mr Keats opined, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty." Sort of mathematical, don't you think?

Saturday, 03 December 2016 10:45

There's a Crack in Everything

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In the moments that enfolded the horrific events that have taken place in Sevier County and Great Smoky Mountains National Park over the past week, my mind would reach out to the special places I have loved for so many years, wondering, hoping some of them had been spared. Early rumor had it that the "Bud" Ogle cabin on Cherokee Orchard Road had been destroyed; then a day later came an official announcement that this wonderful old structure had been spared and I lifted a loud "Thank you" to the Great Spirit in all things for preserving this humble place of beauty. This past spring I had spent some time at Bud Ogle's and had come away with this view of the old barn from within the main room of the house. A focal length of 17mm gave me the angle of view I wanted. An aperture of f/20 allowed for depth-of-field, and a shutter speed of 1.3 seconds at ISO 200 allowed for a proper exposure of the barn outside and a dimmed, but visible, presentation of the interior of the cabin's wall. The crack in everything is how the light gets in. If you have not already done so, please consider donating to one of the efforts being mounted to help try to recover what has been lost in the Park and at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts and other places in the county.

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