Tag Archives: Travel

Time and Commitment

Sunset at Cowee Mountains Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway MP 430
Sunset at Cowee Mountains Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway MP 430

I’ve written lately about how I feel like I am in a bit of a slump, photographically.  Many readers have made comments along the lines of “gee, I’d love to have a slump like that.”  But I’ve recently come to realize what I mean by what I’ve written.  What I’ve pretty much decided is that doing the kind of photography I like to do requires an investment of time, energy and dedication that, for a number of reasons, I just haven’t been committing to this year.  And this applies not just to the shooting, but to the processing and printing parts of the process as well.

As much as I’d like to think I can, I can’t just show up at a place and take meaningful photographs.  I can take photographs for sure, and many of them may be good technically.  But to create photographs with meaning requires more time.  I need to get to a place, get my mind and my heart tuned in to what is happening, and sometimes just sit for a while until I start hearing the voices.  “Being open to the gifts” is what my friend Les Saucier likes to say.  I can’t just pull the magic out of my camera bag, toss it out there and expect to take meaningful photographs.

Sunset at Caney Fork Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway MP 428
Sunset at Caney Fork Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway MP 428

Mostly what this requires is an investment of time.  Time partly to allow things to happen, but also time to get to a place in plenty of time for whatever is happening.  Sunsets are a good example.  I can’t just show up at a spot 10 minutes before sunset, pull out the camera and start taking amazing photos.  Sometimes the best photos come well before the actual setting of the sun, sometimes as much as an hour before, such as when the sun is moving behind a low-lying layer of clouds and casting sunbeams, or highlighting ridgelines as they recede into the distance.  Often by the time the sun sets all the magic is gone.  Occasionally, the magic is just beginning at sunset, as the real color begins to appear after the sun has gone below the horizon.  But I need time to “tune in,” to see what is happening, and to figure out what to shoot and how to shoot it.

Fall color along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waterrock Knob
Fall color along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waterrock Knob

The other way that my photography requires an investment of time is in having plenty of time to enjoy myself.  Kathy & I enjoy good meals at nice restaurants, both at home and when we travel.  That generally doesn’t involve sitting at an overlook with cold chicken and potato salad.  Sometimes it does, but not usually.  So in order to do a little bit of both, it’s often necessary to have more than just 24 hours in a place in order to really do it justice and to find that balance between sunset on the Parkway and dinner in Waynesville (or wherever).  One of the ways that this year has differed from previous years is that we have been taking more 2-day weekends and fewer 3 or 4-day weekends.  This results in less time in a specific place, and I find that this takes time away from everything.  I don’t like to feel like the clock is ticking while I am photographing.  And the smaller window of opportunity that is dictated by a shorter weekend makes that clock tick like a parade of Harleys going by!  With less time, success is more dependent on luck than creativity, and I don’t work so well when I am depending on luck.

Fall color along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Lone Bald Overlook, MP 432
Fall color along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Lone Bald Overlook, MP 432

So what does this all mean?  Well, it means several things.  First and foremost, I think it means that I need to do a better job of managing my time so that I have the freedom and flexibility I need to do the kind of photographic work I find most inspiring while also finding time to do the other things I love.  Photography and fine dining aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive.  Some times of the year they are, so I’ll need to work that out.  Sometimes it will mean a nice but late dinner, and sometimes it will mean cold chicken on the Parkway.  The other thing it means is possibly traveling less frequently but for longer periods of time.  And perhaps staying longer in one place instead of trying to see multiple locations and moving around constantly.  I generally shy away from what I refer to as the photographic “death march” and don’t do a lot of good photography while I’m driving down the road.  Give me a place to sit and chill for a while and I’m more likely to get inspired.

I’ve done some good work this past year and hope to do some more before it’s done.  This year has been a little weird for a lot of reasons, and I’m looking forward to settling back into my usual routine next year.  We’ll see where that leads, but I’m hoping it will lead to more fulfilling photography for me, and less of my whining about it to Kathy!

Sunset at Cowee Mountains Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway MP 430
Sunset at Cowee Mountains Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway MP 430

The Sidewalk Juggler

"The Sidewalk Juggler" performs at the Mountain Glory Festival in Marion, North Carolina
“The Sidewalk Juggler” performs at the Mountain Glory Festival in Marion, North Carolina

Kathy & I visited Marion, NC this past Saturday during their annual Mountain Glory Festival. This particular festival weekend is the only Saturday that  Bruce’s Fabulous Foods, one of our favorite eateries, is open.  The are typically a Monday-Friday lunch-only restaurant.  We get there as often as we can, but their schedule and ours don’t often overlap.

"The Sidewalk Juggler" performs at the Mountain Glory Festival in Marion, North Carolina
“The Sidewalk Juggler” performs at the Mountain Glory Festival in Marion, North Carolina

After our yummy lunch, we spent some time walking Main Street and checking out the vendors and performers.  We came across this guy, The Sidewalk Juggler, also known as Kyle Brown, who is a professional juggler.  This guy is good!

"The Sidewalk Juggler" performs at the Mountain Glory Festival in Marion, North Carolina
“The Sidewalk Juggler” performs at the Mountain Glory Festival in Marion, North Carolina

I think the thing that impressed me the most was the effortlessness with which he performed his act, smiling and joking with his audience all the time.  It’s clear that this is someone who truly loves his job.  This is evident not just from the constant smile on his face, but also because only love for your profession would inspire someone to work the number of hours that he obviously had to work in order to learn to do what he does.

"The Sidewalk Juggler" performs at the Mountain Glory Festival in Marion, North Carolina
“The Sidewalk Juggler” performs at the Mountain Glory Festival in Marion, North Carolina

This is hard work, and about as tough as it can get, I think.  Completely dependent on the generosity of others through their tips, his performance truly makes or breaks his livelihood. But talk about a portable skill!  This guy can work anyplace where there are people!  As I understand it from his Facebook page, his territory is ‘Western North Carolina.’  Check out his page and his YouTube videos.

"The Sidewalk Juggler" performs at the Mountain Glory Festival in Marion, North Carolina
“The Sidewalk Juggler” performs at the Mountain Glory Festival in Marion, North Carolina

My photos hardly do him justice, but I managed to capture a few frames that show the passion and concentration that this guy obviously has for his work.  I didn’t really appreciate it while I was taking the photos, but later on I thought about it and realized what a dedicated effort someone like this guy has to put into his profession.

"The Sidewalk Juggler" performs at the Mountain Glory Festival in Marion, North Carolina
“The Sidewalk Juggler” performs at the Mountain Glory Festival in Marion, North Carolina

Hall’s Harbour, Nova Scotia

Low Tide at Hall's Harbour, Nova Scotia
Low Tide at Hall’s Harbour, Nova Scotia

Home of the largest tidal change of anyplace on the planet, the Bay of Fundy was probably the Number One Must-See location for all of us on our recent visit to Nova Scotia.

High Tide, Hall's Harbour, Nova Scotia
High Tide, Hall’s Harbour, Nova Scotia

There are many places to experience the tidal change, depending on what you want to see. Most people want to see the highest vertical change, there are places where the horizontal change is very large, and there are a few places where you can experience a tidal “bore,” where a river actually reverses direction as the tide comes in and heads into a narrow inlet such as the mouth of a river.

Waiting for The Tide, Hall's Harbour, Nova Scotia
Waiting for The Tide, Hall’s Harbour, Nova Scotia

The so-called tidal bore can be pretty exciting in the right place at the right times, but generally requires the right astronomical conditions, such as a full moon, to really experience anything more than a ripple.

Low Tide at Hall's Harbour, Nova Scotia
Low Tide at Hall’s Harbour, Nova Scotia

We experience pretty large horizontal tidal changes along the east coast at places like Hilton Head, where the beach “disappears” at high tide but is enormously wide at low tide.  Been there, done that!  We decided that the way we wanted to see the tidal change was to experience the vertical change, since this is what the Bay of Fundy is really known for.  In my opinion the tidal bore is more of a tourist thing.  Others will undoubtedly have their own opinion, and that’s dandy.

Tide coming in, boats starting to float.  Hall's Harbour, Nova Scotia
Tide coming in, boats starting to float. Hall’s Harbour, Nova Scotia

The highest tides on planet Earth occur at a place called Burncoat Head.  The water level at high tide can be as much as 52 feet higher than at low tide.  We stopped there and spent some time, but we were enroute that day and got there at just about high tide.  As a result, there wasn’t a lot to see and we didn’t have time to wait for the tide to recede.  Even with the amount of change, it can sometimes take a couple of hours to really notice the difference.  So we moved on, and the next day visited our planned destination to watch the tides, Hall’s Harbour.

Tide coming in, boats starting to float.  Hall's Harbour, Nova Scotia
Tide coming in, boats starting to float. Hall’s Harbour, Nova Scotia

About an hour’s drive from our lodging in Wolfville, we arrived at Hall’s Harbour around mid-morning – the time on my first photo says 10:27.  That was right around low tide, so we had a chance to “walk on the ocean floor” as they say, for an hour or more, looking at the fishing boats that literally sit on the ground while the tide is out.  Very fascinating!  Hall’s Harbour is an actual fishing village, with a small restaurant that serves lobster.  LOTS of lobster!  They had lobster dinner, lobster salad and lobster sandwiches, and a great place to sit and enjoy the day.  Our day was picture perfect, as far as weather goes.  We talked to a couple who had been there the day before who said that it was so foggy that they couldn’t see a thing.  So we were just a bit lucky!

High Tide, Hall's Harbour, Nova Scotia
High Tide, Hall’s Harbour, Nova Scotia

Within a few hours, all of the places we had been walking were covered by about 40 feet of water!  It was quite an amazing experience, and a wonderful way to spend the day.

High Tide, Hall's Harbour, Nova Scotia
High Tide, Hall’s Harbour, Nova Scotia

 

 

 

More From The Beach

Sunset on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunset on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

It’s hard to believe it was just a month ago that we spent the Labor Day weekend at the beach in Hilton Head.  I wish I was still there.

Kathy spent a nice quiet weekend at home this weekend, so I had a chance to process a few more of my selects from our weekend.

Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

I upgraded part of my computer setup this past week.  My aging iMac was starting to show it’s impending obsolescence, and I had a newer MacBook Pro sitting here being used for little more than running our banking program and the occasional web surfing session.  So I picked up a new monitor, keyboard and mouse and decided to give the laptop a try.  I’m not seeing quite the performance improvement I was hoping for, but it is noticeably faster in most things.

Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

The biggest improvement is with the monitor!  While the screen on the iMac was quite nice when it was new, there has been a pretty big leap in monitor quality over the past few years, as evidenced by the improvement in the new one, a 24″ ASUS ProArt PA249.  Pretty nice stuff, no yellow bars like I was seeing on the old monitor.  And no more high-gloss mirror-like Apple screen.  Yay! 🙂

Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

As soon as I save a few more pennies I’m planning to build a new machine, so the purchase of a few peripherals gets me an interim performance bump until I can go the rest of the way.  I was just about there until a fire at one of the factories that makes memory added about $300 to the price of the items on my NewEgg wish list.  Hopefully in another month or two those prices will recover and I’ll be ready to forge ahead, just in time to outfit the office in our new place.  We hope to be in by the end of November.  Hopefully November 2013.  It’s been a long process!

Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

I’m still working on Nova Scotia photos too, so there will be more of those coming as well.

Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunset on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunset on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

 

Signs and Such

This Guy Needs More Bumper Stickers, Baddeck, Nova Scotia
This Guy Needs More Bumper Stickers, Baddeck, Nova Scotia

I like to photograph interesting signs and weird stuff.  Here are a few more from Nova Scotia.

I would change "golfing" to photographing, but that's just me.
I would change “golfing” to photographing, but that’s just me.
Facilities. Burncoat Head Park on the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia
Facilities. Burncoat Head Park on the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia
Hall's Harbour, Nova Scotia
Hall’s Harbour, Nova Scotia
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Make An Offer - Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Make An Offer – Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Closed 7:30-ish, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Closed 7:30-ish, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
$10 Charge, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
$10 Charge, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Retired trawler "Cape Sable" on display at the Fisheries Museum
Retired trawler “Cape Sable” on display at the Fisheries Museum
Knock, Knock....  Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia
Knock, Knock…. Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia
Canada...BEER.  Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia
Canada…BEER. Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia
Dr. Weirdbeard, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia
Dr. Weirdbeard, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia
Not one, but TWO, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia
Not one, but TWO, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia
Ice Cream, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia
Ice Cream, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia
Savour The Sea From A Distance, Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia
Savour The Sea From A Distance, Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia
Pedestrians, Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia
Pedestrians, Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia
Seafoam Lavender Farm in Seafoam, Nova Scotia
Seafoam Lavender Farm in Seafoam, Nova Scotia
Bagpiper, Pictou, Nova Scotia
Bagpiper, Pictou, Nova Scotia

People At Work

Moving a very heavy mill stone made somewhat easier with the use of a crane.  Balmoral Grist Mill Museum in Balmoral Mills, Nova Scotia
Moving a very heavy mill stone made somewhat easier with the use of a crane. Balmoral Grist Mill Museum in Balmoral Mills, Nova Scotia

More photos from Nova Scotia….

I sort of half inadvertently developed a series of photographs of people working.  Some more interesting than others, but all with a story or two to tell.

Moving a very heavy mill stone made somewhat easier with the use of a crane.  Balmoral Grist Mill Museum in Balmoral Mills, Nova Scotia
Moving a very heavy mill stone made somewhat easier with the use of a crane. Balmoral Grist Mill Museum in Balmoral Mills, Nova Scotia
Worker repairing a scallop drag, or net, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Worker repairing a scallop drag, or net, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Pouring samples for a tasting. The Glenora Inn and Distillery, Glenville, Nova Scotia
Cassie & Maggie, Celtic duo performing in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Cassie & Maggie, Celtic duo performing in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Retired Captain Hanlon aboard the retired trawler "Cape Sable" on display at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Retired Captain Hanlon aboard the retired trawler “Cape Sable” on display at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Horse-drawn carriage tours were a popular form of sightseeing in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Horse-drawn carriage tours were a popular form of sightseeing in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Captain John Bryson from our sailing cruise aboard the Amoeba on Bras d'Or Lake, Baddeck, Nova Scotia
Captain John Bryson from our sailing cruise aboard the Amoeba on Bras d’Or Lake, Baddeck, Nova Scotia
In this family, everyone does their part.  Neil's Harbour, Nova Scotia
In this family, everyone does their part. Neil’s Harbour, Nova Scotia
Fresh prosciotto at Luckett Vineyard near Grand Pre Nova Scotia
Fresh prosciotto at Luckett Vineyard near Grand Pre Nova Scotia
Our captain watches for whales and other boats, aboard our whale watching cruise with Pirate's Cove Whale Cruises
Our captain watches for whales and other boats, aboard our whale watching cruise with Pirate’s Cove Whale Cruises
Tour guide at the Glenora Inn and Distillery, Glenville, Nova Scotia
Tour guide at the Glenora Inn and Distillery, Glenville, Nova Scotia

 

Shadows, Textures and Details

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

I’ve been running through my Nova Scotia photos looking for themes.  One of the things I typically look for when wandering through a town are little details.  These are a few that I took while we were in Lunenburg.  Most of them were taken on the way to or from breakfast or dinner.  See, photography and dining don’t have to be mutually exclusive! 🙂

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Weekend At The Beach

Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

When Kathy & I want to really get away and relax, our favorite destination is the beach.  And when we want to go to the beach, our favorite beach is Hilton Head Island, SC.  We spent Labor Day Weekend there.  With our house project rapidly nearing completion, and all the stuff that goes along with that, we knew that this would probably be the Last Hurrah for us for this year.  I’ve used up just about all of my vacation time, and we’ve used up just about all of our vacation money, and what little we have left will probably be earmarked for furniture and stuff.  It’s amazing how a new house tends to make all of your furniture obsolete!

Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

I’ve taken some of my favorite photographs at Hilton Head, but after a while it gets a little tough to do something new.  So I mostly stick to the tried and true and hope for some inspiration along the way.  I typically like to shoot when the tide is out, as I can frequently find some sand textures and pools that add some interest.  This time, it seemed that sunrise and sunset generally coincided with high tide, so I was left with fewer options.  That, combined with an overriding need for sleep kept me in the bed for all mornings but one.  And I did manage to get out one evening, which was a nice departure, as we usually head out for dinner just about the time the light is getting nice.  So, with one sunrise and one sunset to work with, I don’t think I got anything I’ll be hanging on the wall, but it felt good to get out when I did.

Sunset on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunset on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

I’m still putting the old 5D through its paces, and am convinced that it is working just fine.  I just wanted to be as sure as I could be before I put it back in the pack in a backup role.  The biggest surprise for me was how quickly I got dust on the sensor!  With the automagical dust removal system of the newer Mark III I never have to worry about dust.  But the combination of small apertures and no sensor cleaning means I’ll need to pay a little more attention.

Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

I’m still working on Nova Scotia photos, too.  So I’ll have a few things to post about coming up, even though my adventures may be on hiatus for a little while!

Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

September Wallpaper

Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia
Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia

Tired of Nova Scotia photos yet?  Good,  ’cause I’m not!

Another photo from our July adventure, the light is what I think makes this photo. The boarded up windows on one side and the hint of color in the other window hint at possibly a difficult past with some hope for  the future.

We saw a lot of buildings with this shake siding, much of it in need of a coat of paint. Probably very durable against the elements despite occasional deferred maintenance.

I hope everyone has an excellent September.

Good As New

Shelton Vineyards, Dobson, North Carolina
Shelton Vineyards, Dobson, North Carolina

I got my camera back from the shop last week and had a chance to test it out over the weekend.  Kathy & I visited Shelton Vineyards with some of our nature photography buddies.  As far as I can tell it looks like the machine is functioning properly.  The operator felt a little rusty but I got the hang of it pretty quickly.

More photos than words today, so enjoy!

Shelton Vineyards, Dobson, North Carolina
Shelton Vineyards, Dobson, North Carolina
Shelton Vineyards, Dobson, North Carolina
Shelton Vineyards, Dobson, North Carolina
Shelton Vineyards, Dobson, North Carolina
Shelton Vineyards, Dobson, North Carolina