Kathy & I spent a nice quiet weekend in the Waynesville, NC area last week. It was sort of a birthday celebration but was primarily an excuse to escape the Charlotte heat and get away to the quiet and cool of the mountains. We ate at a few of our favorite restaurants and explored a bit of the area, but mostly we “chilled.”
We had a nice hike in the Smokies along a quiet mountain stream, had a picnic lunch and spent some time at a few overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but nothing especially noteworthy.
At one point while sitting at a picnic table having lunch, one of us remarked at the number of people who come roaring into the parking area, race to the bathroom and barely have time for the car to cool down before they fire it up and race on to the next destination. Once in a while someone would “picnic,” which basically involved carrying their fast food container and half emptied “Big Gulp” over to a table, gobbling down some unrecognizable carbohydrate, then do the same hop back into the car and roar off thing.
We see the same thing happen at an overlook on the Parkway. We’ll be sitting in the car enjoying the quiet and the view, and car after car will drive in, stop without even putting the car in Park, stick an arm or a camera/phone out the window then drive off. Drive-by sightseeing!
One of us mentioned that – if they ever even took the time to notice anyone was there – these people would think we were crazy for just sitting around doing “nothing.” But what they fail to realize that “nothing” is actually “something,” but that too many people don’t bother to think about the benefits of just sitting and enjoying the view!
Kathy & I like to get out of town on weekends, especially taking advantage of some long holiday weekends to stretch our meager PTO (Paid Time Off) allotment. We did just that over July 4th, visiting (most of) our friends in Belhaven and Washington, NC. The towns were dressed up in their patriotic best, and we even managed to take in a parade. I’m saving the parade photos for another post and possibly even my SoFoBoMo project, but here are a few random photos from the weekend.
With temperatures in the mid to upper 90s here in Charlotte we’ll be taking off again this weekend. The mountains are calling, as they say…. 🙂
My photo buddy Paul Lester and I got together earlier this month for an impromptu photo walk. We don’t do this often enough, but when we do it’s a real blast. There’s nothing like wandering around with a camera to exercise the creative muscles a bit.
While there are meetup groups and photowalks staged and sponsored by “celebrity” photographers, those are often large group activities. Paul & I are alike in that too many people makes it more of a cat herding competition than a photography activity. I’d say that 4-5 people would be the max for me.
Paul lives on the south end of the county and I am at the north end. We met for breakfast down his way then drove to the light rail station for a ride into town. We ended up disembarking in South End, which is a neighborhood 1-2 miles south of “Uptown” then walked the rest of the way. After a few hours of wandering we boarded the train for the ride back to our respective cars.
Paul has already posted an article about our walk on his own blog, and it’s always interesting to see what he saw and compare it to what I saw. I’m purposely leaving out photos that are from the same places as Paul’s, although I certainly have a few that look at lot like his! Instead I’m showing some photos that are things that he may have seen but that he hasn’t posted (yet!).
We don’t get to do it as often as we might like, but Kathy & I enjoy taking day trips to places that are just an hour or two from home. We visited West Jefferson, NC a few weeks ago for the first time in several years, having previously visited to photograph the town for a magazine assignment.
West Jefferson is a nice mountain town, just busy enough to not be considered “sleepy,” but not as zoo-crazy as a place like Boone or Blowing Rock. Needless to say, that was one of the things we remembered about West Jefferson, and was one of the reasons we wanted to go back.
One of the notable things about West Jefferson is all of the murals on the sides of the buildings. The scenes are varied, but generally reflect the history of the town or are some kind of artistic or humanitarian expression. There are a number of interesting shops and art galleries, and even a photography gallery.
I naturally had my camera with me, and while many of my photos would not be considered “Chamber of Commerce” shots, I had fun finding the things I like to find and capturing them with my camera.
We found it an interesting place to spend the day, and ended up coming home via the Blue Ridge Parkway which crosses nearby. It was a nice place to visit and one we hope to return to again soon.
Kathy & I made a late afternoon stop this past Saturday at the Little Glade Mill Pond along the Blue Ridge Parkway, not too far from the intersection with US21. The light was right, the colors were great and I mixed up the fuzzy and the sharp. I don’t get to pull out the 55-200 often, but it was just the ticket for this group of photos.
I’ve got a few more, so there may be a follow up post. Stay tuned!
Kathy & I took a quick jaunt over Easter to visit some of our friends in Belhaven and Washington, NC. It was a quick trip and we didn’t see everyone, but we did manage to buy some wine from our favorite Wine Guy, and I was able to take a few photos. We’re planning a return in July and will be sure to look up the rest (SN).
A couple of weeks ago I was able to take advantage of a “clearance” sale on the Fuji E-X2 and picked one up as a backup to my X-T1. I don’t do a lot of events, but when I do I know it is prudent to have a spare camera, just in case. Adorama had the E-X2 body and the wonderful 18-55 zoom lens on sale for what amounted to $200 for the body. As much as I would love to have an X-Pro 2, and as aware as I am that the X-T2 is right around the corner, I have placed a self-imposed moratorium on the upgrade cycle and am planning to stand firm for a while. But I still don’t have all the lenses, so…. 😉
So here is a little sampler of photos taken with my “backup” kit. No slouch for sure, especially with a nice lens. Looking forward to using it some more.
I mentioned in an earlier post about how I struggle between color photos and black & white photos. While the black & white versions are OK, I tend to see and feel in color so the color versions of my photos often win out over the black & white versions. Here are some sets of images from that same post, along with their counterparts. I’d love to hear some feedback on the pros and cons. I know that ultimately my photos need to reflect my voice, but I also know that I have lived a pretty sheltered existence when it comes to my experience with black & white photography.
As a rule I generally consider New Year’s “resolutions” per se to be a bunch of b.s. They mostly just give people something to talk about and to post on Facebook, and unfortunately are quickly forgotten. But I do think there is a lot of value to periodically evaluating our goals to determine if we are spending our time, money and energy toward things that truly allow us to meet those goals, or if the current of peer pressure and advertising has steered us off course. On a long journey, mid-course corrections are always necessary.
My friend John frequently talks about our “currency.” The idea is that in addition to money, and perhaps more so, we spend time and energy on everything we do. That is our currency, and we only have so much of each. Often we trade one form of currency for another, such as buying prepared food instead of cooking our own, or having someone mow our lawn or clean our house instead of doing it ourselves. I enjoy washing my car, but I seldom do it myself, because (a) that makes it rain 😉 , and (b) having a clean car isn’t that important to me so I’d rather spend my currency on things that give me more pleasure.
The best example of currency is how we trade a large amount of our time and energy to our employers in exchange for the money we need to do everything else we do. As our lives and careers progress, the relative value of all our currency changes. Early on we are anxious to accumulate as much money and as many things as we can, and are willing to trade a large amount of time and energy to obtain it. Later on we find that raising kids, buying houses and saving for college uses more of all of our resources – time, money and energy. Ultimately, we start looking forward to (hopefully) having enough money that we can find something else to do with our time so that, even if it does pay in money, it pays in something more. Like personal satisfaction or fulfillment.
So that’s a way-too-long way of saying that, while I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, I do often take the time to reflect on all aspects of my life to make sure that the way I spend my currency is allowing me to most effectively meet the goals that are most meaningful to me. And since this is a photography blog and not a philosophy blog (for now!), let’s wrap up by talking about photography.
When it comes to photography, my two primary themes are that (1) I love to photograph things to capture my view of the world, and (2) I love to share that view of the world with people to enjoy and appreciate it. Mostly I accomplish that through my blog, although I do happily accept money, and have a number of ways for people to purchase my work.
So in reflecting on where I am today and where I want to be tomorrow, I’ve some up with a list of things that I want to concentrate on this coming year. Essentially those come down to three things. First, I want to get better at taking my camera with me more. I wrote a few weeks ago how I tended to talk myself out of taking my camera with me, so that is something I had already identified and had started working on. Second, I intend to post more frequently on my blog. It may be just a picture or two with few words, but more frequent sharing often results in a more open dialog with those who take the time to read and comment. That means a lot to me and I would like to encourage more of that exchange. Third, I intend to do a better job of keeping my website up to date with my best and most recent photographs. I don’t do photography to pay the mortgage, but I do manage the business side of things in a professional way, and keeping up the website is the most public way to do that.
So there you go. Yesterday morning I had to go into town for a haircut. I decided to take my camera with me, got there about 20 minutes early and spent those minutes taking the long way from my parking spot to the barbershop. That also accomplished the goal of walking more, so I got two for the price of one on that currency!