November 2017

November 2017 (4)

Friday, 24 November 2017 09:48

Flying Too Close To the Ground

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 We never know where our angels may come from, or when they may show up in our lives, or for how long. Sometimes they come disguised as parents. Some years ago as I wandered though the beautiful burying ground in Savannah known as Bonaventure Cemetery, I came across this lovely piece of statuary whose bowl had been filled with camellia blossoms by some photographer before me. Today she serves as a reminder of an angel I have lost. Walk in Beauty Virginia McGowan (9-30-1926~11-23-2017). We probably disagreed much more than we agreed, but love-without question-was always between us, and always will be. She taught me how to think critically.

 I wanted to eliminate all extraneous reference to the place itself, so I used a focal length of 300mm to achieve the narrow angle-of-view I wanted and to magnify the fairly diminutive statue. An aperture of f/16, focused on her chin, provided depth-of-field, and a shutter speed of 1.3 seconds, among the shading live oaks, at ISO 100 gave me a somewhat-lighter-than-medium exposure.

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.

Saturday, 11 November 2017 14:58

Liquid Light

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There are certain watery locations in Great Smoky Mountains National Park that are magical on several levels, and one of them absolutely has to be Middle Prong of Little Pigeon River in Greenbrier. I am convinced that I could never tire of seeing this stream in all of its many moods and postures. From extreme wide-angle to extremely abstract, there is something magical happening on this river every day of the year. During the recent Arrowmont class, we found this wonderful scene just above the first sets of rapids near the entrance to Greenbrier Cove. You may, of course, recognize it from other visits; but this is why we return time and again: it is always different, no matter how many times you go. On this day we were about two days after one of the highest water levels I have ever seen here, and the river was still running with quite a bit of volume and force. Picking out different abstract expressions made the time pass all too quickly. For this Image, I reached out to 300mm to get the angle-of-view I wanted. An aperture of f/10 at ISO 200 allowed for a shutter speed of 1/10th second, fast enough to stop some of the motion of the curling wavelets and create evident texture in the moving water. Going back to Greenbrier is never a chore. Beauty is everywhere you look.

Saturday, 04 November 2017 07:06

Long Ago Is Far Away

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When "Carter" Shields sat on his front porch in those years between 1910-1921 when he called this cabin home, I've often wondered if there were dogwoods then, as now, at the edge of the yard to enjoy for their blossoms in spring and their deep red foliage in autumn. I have chosen to believe that they were there and that they must have given the old Civil War veteran hours of pleasure and solace as he watched the world changing before his dimming eyes. To include as much of the foliage as I wanted without introducing a distracting amount of sky, I used a focal length of 28mm, toward the long end of wide-angle. An aperture of f/16 gave me depth-of-field, and combined with an ISO of 200 gave me a shutter speed of 0.8 second. That shutter opening time, combined with a bit of patience, allowed me to stop the very slight motion in the leaves of a gentle wafting breeze.If there is a place in the valley that is quintessential "Cades Cove", this small cabin would definitely get my vote.

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