Red Feather Images: Blog http://redfeatherimages.com/blog en-us (C) Red Feather Images brinnj@gmail.com (Red Feather Images) Wed, 07 Jun 2017 12:18:00 GMT Wed, 07 Jun 2017 12:18:00 GMT http://redfeatherimages.com/img/s/v-5/u477870058-o987256402-50.jpg Red Feather Images: Blog http://redfeatherimages.com/blog 116 120 Western Skies http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2017/5/western-skies Being here in Colorado isn't too bad he thought, although like parts of his home state, it's getting a bit crowded.  The nearby town is filling up with shoe-box apartments and breweries are exporting beer out-of-state so that folks can pee scarce Rocky Mountain water where it won't do any good.  No matter though; somebody's making money.  Town folks drag their tin boxes on wheels past his place every Friday, on their way to a campground where they can park within a few feet of other tin boxes - for relaxation.  Then they pull those boxes back to town Sunday afternoon so they can help make traffic snarls on Monday.  "Odd damn species, we humans", he said to himself.

Sometimes when he began to feel crowded the song "Western Skies" rumbled through his head, and he felt a wistful longing. It was written by a cowboy, Chris Ledoux, from Kaycee, Wyoming, a man who was the real deal, not a plastic-hatted, costumed Nashville star playing a Japanese guitar.  The song never failed to cast a dream-like spell over him.  The space!  No crowds!  Nobody sharing their car radio with the world!  He gave up television seven years ago, never to miss it and its demeaning commercials. So, a little less of civilization seemed appealing at times. The prairie life might not be too bad he would think - until his septuagenarian reality rose up before him.  "Oh well", as a friend would say.  Forget that!  Too old for such a move.  He still loved "Western Skies" though:

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The Nashville friends think I'm strange to make my home out on the range

Think it's nothin' but a God forsaken land
Why don't you bring your guitar and family, move on down to Tennessee
Well, I just smile because they don't understand
But if they ever saw a sunrise on a mountain mornin' 
Watched those cotton candy clouds roll by
They'd know why I live beneath these western skies

I got peace of mind and elbow room I love the smell of sage in bloom
Catch a rainbow on my fishin' line
We got county fairs and rodeos, ain't a better place for my kids to grow

Just turn 'em loose in the western summer time
And if you ever held your woman on a summer's evening
While the prairie moon was blazin' in her eyes
You'd know why I live beneath these western skies

You ain't lived until you've watched those northern lights
Set around the campfire and hear the coyotes call at night
Makes you feel alright

So guess I'll stay right where I'm at, wear my boots and my cowboy hat
But I'll come and see ya once in a while
I'll bring my guitar and sing my songs, sorry if I don't stay too long
I love Tennessee but ya know it's just not my style
I gotta be where I can see those rocky mountains
Ride my horse and watch an eagle fly
I gotta live my life and write my songs beneath these western skies

When I die you can bury me beneath these western skies, yippee

Songwriter: CHRIS LEDOUX

© THE BICYCLE MUSIC COMPANY

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The lyrics were reality for Ledoux the cowboy; for Ledoux' fan they were a colorful fantasy, the myth of the West as someone called it.

So, when things felt a bit close he'd get his little canine partner in the Jeep and they'd ride for awhile - maybe over to the Cherokee Park Road to the Sand Creek Road and then head on up past Chimney Rock on the Wyoming border, all on pock-marked dirt roads.  And after some dust and some bumps, some aspen groves, lots of sage brush, and miles of fence wire, there before them lay the great spaces!  Openness - and nobody within hollering distance.  Gentle rolling countryside and distant mountains offering a sense of mystery about what is beyond!  Ranchers and a few part-time city refugees scattered themselves across this vastness without serious disturbance of the land.  A trait of folks living in this country is a feeling of claustrophobia if they can't see seven miles in every direction.  Driving along slowly, he related to that feeling. 

Open Space, North of CO/WY BorderOpen Space, North of CO/WY Border

 

With the Snowy Range and Medicine Bow Peak on the horizon and miles between, he stopped and killed the Jeep's engine so he could listen to and feel the wind and smell the sage.  As vast as the ocean and as quiet as a hardwood forest!  He wondered if people might have to be a little bit crazy to live out here.  Maybe!  But they don't shoot each other as quickly as their more crowded urban brethren.  Humans are usually pretty close to each other when they pull the trigger, so open prairie crazy might be different from close-in urban crazy in a nice sort of way.  Maybe just different!

After a long reflective pause while drinking his fill of these western skies and all beneath them, he at last cranked the Jeep and followed the winding road past the ranch houses, past the community mail boxes and on out to the highway.  Like Odysseus bound to the ship's mast, he slipped away from the sirens' call of the prairie and headed back to home and reality.  It was a good trip!  His friend was sleeping.

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brinnj@gmail.com (Red Feather Images) http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2017/5/western-skies Mon, 29 May 2017 07:52:35 GMT
The Wood Splitter http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2017/5/the-wood-splitter He breathed deeply and swung. Clank! Another deep breath and a swing. Another clank! Eight more times, and he paused. “Damn!” he would say, catching his breath and wondering if the middle of his eighth decade might be catching up with him. Maybe, but determination kept that other reality in check.

He had cut this tree the previous fall after it fell victim to a beetle attack, and sawed it into segments that would fit into his wood stove. The segments sat in his yard through the winter, drying bit by bit. There were lots of limbs, seen and unseen, with this one. Most began their growth near the tree's heart, and as the growth rings expanded outward, they grew over the limbs, leaving the limbs' cores in the trunk. And it was those wretched internal limb remnants, knots in sawn lumber, that resisted his best efforts to split the wood.

The Force was with this piece!  A few more ten-swing efforts with his wedge bouncing from rather than splitting the segment and he set his maul aside in frustration. And a few more expletives assuaged his lack of success. Tomorrow perhaps! Overhead, dark clouds were swiftly moving eastward from over the edge of the timber and provided a convenient diversion from that recalcitrant chunk of pine.  Aah, he thought, maybe the mountains and clouds might offer some scenic respite from his wood-splitting chores.

So he set out across the yard, through the three-wire fence and down the meadow, tracking alongside an ancient granite rock formation until he came to a time-molded, lichen-covered seat complete with a comfortable back. He sat, peering between a couple of trees, and there before him in the distance were the Mummy Mountains where Mother was playing some physics games.  Moist air, cold air, updrafts, color shifts, powerful winds!  Yes, there were probably equations to explain it all, but simple wonder was good enough for his fatigued frame at the moment. So he just sat - with his deepest thoughts on the critters that managed to survive in the hostile environment of the snow-covered, wind-tortured mountains – while the visual turbulence played out like a raucous musical score. Then, with approaching darkness and sensing his place in the grandeur, he rose and headed to the house.

Storm Clouds Forming Over Mummy Mountains, Red Feather Lakes, COStorm Clouds Forming Over Mummy Mountains, Red Feather Lakes, CO

 

 

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brinnj@gmail.com (Red Feather Images) http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2017/5/the-wood-splitter Mon, 15 May 2017 02:34:29 GMT
Easter - An Atonement http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2017/4/easter---an-atonement The following is a story, sans images, written in third person but based on real experiences. I hope it challenges readers to seek their own atonement (at-one-ment) with Nature and for others to relish that which they may already have.


Easter - An Atonement

Easter, 2017.  Another Sunday, the one day out of seven when the affairs of humans seem to run a bit less frenetically.  The man was sipping his early morning coffee, gazing through the window and across the meadow in search of movement, whether wind-blown clouds, ponderosa limbs waving in the breeze, or his feathered or furry kin searching for a meal.  The meadow is a visual adventure, serene and healing; its mood ever changing.  It is a peaceful foreground for distant hills and still-further mountains.  The grasses, crocuses and irises of late spring, the yellow carpet of summer, the brown autumn cover and perhaps a few winter and early spring blizzards mark its seasons. The man’s wife had often sat in the same special spot during her recovery, later attributing her well-being to that deeply experiential, meditative solitude.  For him, this morning had no intent beyond his gazing - until the nudge.

The raccoon-like eyes of his little schnauzer partner were at his knee, speaking the language they shared.  “I want to go out”, she was saying, a request of two possible interpretations.  Checking for intent, he let her go out on the deck.  Had she run into the yard, she would have had a call of Nature.  Not this time!  She remained, looking out through the deck railing across the meadow, ears perked.  Hike time!  So the man quickly donned his cap and coat, picked up his hiking poles, and together, off they went.

Their hike began at the base of a rough granite dome, one in a series stretching westward into the Laramie Range.  It’s a huge pile of billion-plus year old stone that long ago intruded in molten form into an over-lying layer of another geologic matrix that now lies in the plains of eastern Colorado or maybe as silt in the Gulf of Mexico.  The man had once climbed nearly to the highest point on this dome, halting his effort with a sense of unease.  But there he saw Long’s Peak southward and the plains of Wyoming to the north.  Fifty or sixty miles perhaps?  It was the lower levels of that dome that man and schnauzer decided to hike this Easter, a jaunt not taken since the preceding autumn.

For the man, the hike was a visual experience, for his partner, an olfactory one.  She galloped and trotted, nose to the ground, but within a visual perimeter of him.  If a scent momentarily drew her from his sight, a familiar whistle brought her back.  They were partners, each immersed in their respective sensual experiences.

Recent high winds had left their mark of downed trees, some already dead when toppled, some alive but shallow-rooted and wind-susceptible.  All were as much in the cycle of life as their erect relatives.

The ubiquitous rocks were sufficient stimulus for a lifetime of wonderment.  The man paused frequently - and wondered.  There was a delicately-curved depression in one boulder, occasionally containing water and probably a safe “watering hole” for forest beings.  Another huge boulder sat balanced atop a far smaller one.  The scratches, fissures and breaks that in past millennia would have fitted together like pieces of a jig-saw puzzle were all around him.  “How?”, he frequently asked in amazement.  The question was a recurring one; it happened every time he came here.  His companion continued her sniffing.

They came upon a glade, a beautiful, quiet spot.  No people, no noise, all calmness.  Overhead, clouds were swept along by winds in another layer of atmosphere.  With the sun warming his back, the man was overcome by emotion.  Not tearful, but close, very close.  The atonement!  Or as Joseph Campbell deconstructed the word, at-one-ment.  Here in a tiny sliver of time on a speck of galactic dust in an immeasurable expanse of time and space, a conscious being contemplated his place.  Still bursting with emotion, he was comforted.

Moving reluctantly beyond the glade, the man and his companion came to a precipice that they dared not descend.  Below was another grassy sunlit space, and through an opening in the trees on the far side he could see snow-capped peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park.  How to get down?  He nearly retreated before seeing wisdom in the fine gravel - deer tracks - that pointed to a path.  They took it, as did those who had been there long before his kind, and gradually came to the clearing.  Following the slope that would eventually point homeward, he saw pasque flowers in every sunlit nook.  They came to a huge yellow-belly ponderosa, an ancient and elegant forest creature, its bark smoothed and colored by age.  His companion slipped on loose bark as she crossed a downed tree, quickly recovering with some rapid back leg movement. They crossed a decades-old barbed wire fence, anchored to a tree at one end and to pitch-pine posts on the other.  Finally reaching the base of the dome but still far from their entry point, they walked through a past-its-prime aspen grove and past a collapsed cabin that once rested on a foundation of individual stones. He recalled the wild rhubarb that grew nearby.  Staying on animal trails, they moved along.  As they rounded the last point of trees they were finally on the meadow again where this story began.  At the top of the rise was the window, a dark eye peering across the landscape, where he had sat earlier and where his wife had healed.  Slowed and fatigued, they walked and paused their way up the hill toward the window.  A pair of black Abert's squirrels welcomed them, noisily scurrying up the hillside as the man and his companion approached.  Home at last from their safari for their senses and emotions and dehydrated, they imbibed much-needed water.  The schnauzer then slept, and the man gazed out over the meadow again, atoned.  Maybe his companion was too.

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brinnj@gmail.com (Red Feather Images) http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2017/4/easter---an-atonement Mon, 17 Apr 2017 01:37:42 GMT
The Decisive Moment http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2017/4/the-decisive-moment The title of this entry comes from the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, a pioneer of street photography and an early user of 35mm format cameras.  "The Decisive Moment" descriptor was derived from his ability to capture expressions, emotions and actions at precisely the opportune instant, not an easy task with a 1930s vintage 35mm Leica that lacked metering, autofocusing and automatic film advancing.  Given those conditions, he had to read a scene and anticipate the shot.  Photographers still do that today, but with digital cameras that can record five, ten, or more frames per second, focused and properly metered.

One of Cartier-Bresson's images, that of a man leaping across a puddle, came to mind recently as we were parked near a Starbuck's during a downpour, and customers were braving the rain the get their caffeine.  Most were not prepared for the wet gauntlet.  From my vantage point it was easy enough to anticipate people's movements and capture their actions, so the following images (except one) parody all of us dashing about in the rain.

 

Hardly footwear for heavy rain:

Slightly better shoes, faster runner:

Boots, yes, but not the right ones:

Finally, the exception.  The tiny umbrella and big hair!  I think the "do" was a French twist that goes back a few decades. There were more images in this sequence, but the parasol and the "do" were the story.  

Sometimes, we humans are fun to watch, as Cartier-Bresson must have noted.

 

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brinnj@gmail.com (Red Feather Images) http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2017/4/the-decisive-moment Thu, 06 Apr 2017 20:37:12 GMT
Harbingers of Spring http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2017/3/harbingers-of-spring The birthing of spring at 7800 feet above sea level is a slow process despite the unusually warm temperatures of February this year.  Heavy wet snows aren't unusual in March and April, nor are they dreaded, and the paucity of this winter's snow makes the spring snows even more welcome - and needed.  Nevertheless, the change is coming.  The bluebirds have arrived and are checking out their box while darting from perch to perch looking for insects in the dry ground cover.  The bull elk are still wearing their antlers but probably not much longer.  

One of the most visible signs of early spring is the willows as color creeps into their stems, shown below in heavy growth along the North Fork of the Poudre River. As an aside, the North Fork originates in the mountains west of this location, and, joined by several small tributaries, it meanders down past an ancient volcanic ring dyke and through two reservoirs to join the Poudre which, in turn, is part of the Platte-Missouri River System.  Here it is flowing through the Carpenter Ranch and providing water to the willow growth.  At higher elevations, the willows are a delicacy for moose.

Other signs of high country spring are not so obvious although perhaps just as colorful.  As one YouTube photographer advocates, when you can't readily find something to photograph, get your macro lens and look more closely, maybe even crawl around.  Crawling wasn't necessary for this image of aspen tree buds that are now opening, but getting in close was.  Superficially, the buds are little fuzzy things, but inside that micro-mop there are colors, and almost complimentary ones at that.  Color, just on a different scale!

The pasque flowers (crocus) will soon break through the ground cover along with tiny yellow flowers and white ones.  The irises come in early June and then the meadow will be alive with color.  Springtime in slow motion!!

 

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brinnj@gmail.com (Red Feather Images) http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2017/3/harbingers-of-spring Tue, 21 Mar 2017 23:29:45 GMT
Autumn in River Park North http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/11/autumn-in-river-park-north River Park North is a part of the Greenville, NC city park system which, as the name implies, is located north of town alongside the Tar River. It has ponds, marshes, woodland trails, and tupelo-cypress swamps and it is seldom without anglers along the pond banks or people simply enjoying the out-of-doors.  The entire park was recently flooded by the Tar's water after the recent hurricane dropped near-record rainfall in the area.  But based on anglers' successes and the numbers of cormorants, the ponds now appear to be recovering from the flooding.  Overall, the park offers more in the way of Nature studies and recreation than it does scenery; however, the few dead and fall-colored cypress trees as well as even fewer maples offer some interesting photographic opportunities, especially during a late afternoon visit.  I ventured forth into the park today with camera equipment and a chattering, adventuresome grandson to see what opportunities awaited.  I was not disappointed.  More of these scenes are under Projects > River Park North in the home page menu.

 

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brinnj@gmail.com (Red Feather Images) http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/11/autumn-in-river-park-north Sun, 27 Nov 2016 02:19:28 GMT
The Antique Camera http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/11/the-antique-camera The local camera store, ASAP, has a couple of old cameras on display as "decorations", one of which intrigued me for weeks.  I finally asked to borrow it for an evening, and our son being an employee, they consented.  The camera is a Rolleicord, shown below, a name that was unfamiliar to me.  I since learned that the Rolleicord was a "cousin" to the famous professional level Rolleiflex and was marketed to amateur photographers.  The flex versions of the Rollei were extremely well built and were equipped with excellent Zeiss or Schneider lenses. This Rolleicord has Schneider lenses.

Part of my interest stemmed from having owned a Kodak Duaflex camera of similar design in my adolescence.  Another was that a great friend, Thomas Wiborg, a Norwegian student at the University of Wyoming while I was in graduate school at UW, shot a similar camera, maybe a Yashica (Thomas can add a correction below if necessary).  And Thomas got beautiful images with that camera.

The design is a twin lens reflex because of its having two lenses of equal focal length.  The photographer viewed the subject through the top lens via a mirror that projected to the top of the camera body.  The shutter mechanism is contained in the lower lens.  Images were recorded on 120 roll film in a square format, nowadays referred to as medium format.  In use, the camera would be held at the upper abdominal level and was much less obvious than a camera that had to be used at eye level such as a press camera or most of our present digital cameras.

All of this leads me to the name Vivian Maier.  Ms. Maier, a quiet woman and Rolleiflex owner, was a nanny who traveled when she was wasn't working, and shot street scenes.  Her many negatives weren't discovered until after her death, but they are now famous as well as compelling.  Her work is often listed among the masters of twentieth century black and white photography, and in my opinion, she was the best of the street scene genre.  You might enjoy reviewing her work via a simple web search for her name.  Among them are a few self-portraits that she shot as reflections in store windows - holding her Rolleiflex as described above.

An Ancient RolleiAn Ancient Rollei

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brinnj@gmail.com (Red Feather Images) http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/11/the-antique-camera Thu, 10 Nov 2016 02:09:13 GMT
A November Rose http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/11/a-november-rose There is a small rose bush in our back yard that was selected for us a few years ago by our son Aaron.  This little beauty has been blooming on that bush for several days, and realizing that it will quickly fade I thought it might be appropriate to stop time as one does with any photograph and share its ephemeral pulchritude with more than the few of us who pass by it daily.  But even more importantly, I'm dedicating it to my brother Nate, whose medical adventures have now exceeded his allotted limits, and to my daughter-in-law Kelly, Aaron's wife, who managed to walk away from an upside down car yesterday.   I only wish that Nate and Kelly could relish its delicate fragrance.  Thanks Aaron.

A November RoseA November Rose

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brinnj@gmail.com (Red Feather Images) http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/11/a-november-rose Sun, 06 Nov 2016 01:45:25 GMT
My Grandfather's Gift http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/10/my-grandfathers-gift Yesterday I ventured into the self-inflicted crime scene that is our garage and emerged with this antique of sorts.  For the uninitiated, it's an early Abu Garcia Mitchell spinning reel that was given to me by my grandfather, Nathan Relfe, about sixty years ago.  Why so many names for the reel?  Its history spans three countries: Sweden where the Abu brand originated, Mitchell, a variation of Michel, the deceased brother of the French factory owner where the reel was developed and manufactured, and Garcia, the American importer.  Those in the know might think it's a Mitchell 300; however, this reel was manufactured before the "300" designation was added, so this one is simply a Mitchell and is indeed an antique. It became the world's best known spinning reel.

How did I come by it?  My grandfather was teaching me the art and craft of bass fishing in an era when anglers were using fly rods and bait casting rods.  He became aware of the new spinning reels and offered to buy one for me if I was interested.  I agreed and he ordered one through the Hertford Hardware Store for $14.75.  We put it on a seven foot Harnell rod, and I had what was probably the first spinning outfit in Hertford.  Many pleasurable hours of spin casting ensued!

This reel has traversed the country a few times, been banged around in various vehicles and on rocks, and has the scars and a slightly bent handle to show for its long life.  I cleaned it less-than-thoroughly upon retrieving it from its storage cavern, and I made no attempt to "photoshop" its nicks and dings.

This treasure's design is elegantly simple and simply elegant, and it works as smoothly now as it did sixty years ago.  Even the drag mechanism is still smooth.  The internal workings are accessible by removing three screws and lifting the side plate, and lubricant can be applied by removing one screw at the back end.  

If I were to resume the art of fishing, I would use this very reel without hesitation.  Otherwise, I'll figure a way to enshrine it in memory of the dear man who gave it to me six decades ago.

Abu Garcia Mitchell Spinning ReelAbu Garcia Mitchell Spinning Reel

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brinnj@gmail.com (Red Feather Images) http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/10/my-grandfathers-gift Fri, 28 Oct 2016 00:31:56 GMT
A September Sunrise http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/9/a-september-sunrise I've backed away from looking for or shooting landscapes recently; other subjects have drawn my interests.  However, Wednesday morning, September 14 around 0625 was different.  The sunrise was gorgeous and I shot it - mainly for my own viewing rather than posting.  However, three persons independently made unsolicited exclamations about that scene, so I changed my mind.

I would add that while the colors were beautiful, the low fog was rapidly shifting, creating a dynamic and dramatic scene.  A hilltop could be an island in the fog one moment and connected to a larger mountain the next.  A photograph freezes 1/125 of a second or less out of the larger span of time, so, while the sunrise colors were spectacular in that tiny frozen slice, the overall "picture" was a bigger and better event, one worthy of simply gazing at the transcendence.

September Sunrise, Red Feather Lakes, COSeptember Sunrise, Red Feather Lakes, CO

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brinnj@gmail.com (Red Feather Images) http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/9/a-september-sunrise Wed, 21 Sep 2016 19:57:06 GMT
The Supreme Moment http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/8/the-supreme-moment To say that our grandson, Sawyer, loves soccer is a big understatement.  His school attire consists of indoor soccer shoes, high socks and shirts emblazoned with names like Neymar or Messi.  Unlike many youngsters his age, his X-box and iPad run soccer simulations rather than blasters.  He attends practices, camps, professional games and watches matches on TV.  At times, his leisure books are soccer equipment catalogues.  Don't get the wrong idea about him though; at age nine, his math homework has him working with Fibonacci numbers which he understands - better than I.

So, here in the Olympic season, I will use Sawyer's dedication to illustrate a point.  I captured several dozen images of him in a recent scrimmage game, and when I asked him to identify his favorite, he chose this one.  A great choice as you will see.

Here, as the goalie, he's moving to block a kick.  The ball is blurred and partially hidden for us, the viewers, but Sawyer has a laser focus on it as is evident in his expression.  His coaches, viewers on the sidelines, team mates and opponents were focused with anticipation on Sawyer.  Note number 21's anxious stance.  All of the accumulated data from coaching, practicing, conditioning, observing and love of the game were aligned on his synapses, and with it he reacted and moved with precision.  Did he block the kick?  I won't say.  This post is not about whether Sawyer blocked the kick; that's irrelevant.  The post is about his total effort, the effort that the olympians and others make in their/our sacrifices to achieve.  His cousins, Connor and Collin, put forth this effort to beat the swimmer's clock.  It was a great moment to watch.  It was Sawyer's moment.  The supreme moment of the athlete, no matter the age or the game.  It was fantastic!

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brinnj@gmail.com (Red Feather Images) http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/8/the-supreme-moment Mon, 15 Aug 2016 21:31:08 GMT
O'Kelly's Chapel http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/8/okelly-s-chapel On the west side of North Carolina 751 and across from the end of O'Kelly Chapel Road in Chatham County sits O'Kelly's Chapel.  Many is the time I have ridden past that little church, thinking each time no I don't need to shoot an old building; more talented people are already doing that work.  But something pulled at me every time I saw it.  At this point I have to bring in the name of another artist, Joe Lipka, a Cary, NC, resident, who was kind enough to share the toning method I used on these images and whose work was recently displayed at the Page Walker Art and History Center in Cary.  His images featured an old Victorian home during its renovation (http://www.joelipkaphoto.com/acrobat_portfolios/Victorian%20Lady%2010.pdf), and they caused me to think about this church. So I returned one more time!

O'Kelly's Chapel is a one-room building constructed around 1900 in a somewhat Gothic Revival style, but she has a much longer history.  It's in the National Register of Historic Places, but unfortunately it is now in poor condition.  James O'Kelly, for whom the church was named, was a Methodist minister who wrote an anti-slavery tract in 1789; he was one of the first ministers to do so. O'Kelly and several other preachers left Methodism in a disagreement over the authority of the bishop and formed an offshoot sect which went through several regroupings and name changes over the ensuing decades, ultimately becoming the Church of Christ in the mid-20th century.  The Chapel sits on property purchased by O'Kelly in 1803, but my cursory search found nothing about the original building.

So here she sits in a lovely oak grove, her paint peeling and her best days long passed.

O'Kelly's Chapel,Chatham County, NCO'Kelly's Chapel, Chatham County, NC

The foundation consists of rocks, yes, rocks, stacked rocks at that.  Imagine getting that past modern code-meisters.  The sills must have been cypress or some other type of termite-resistant wood because it's all exposed but still solid. Cold air and critters had easy access to the building's underbelly.  And vines somehow find nutrients in the chimney's bricks and the weatherboarding.

O'Kelly's Chapel, Chatham County, NCO'Kelly's Chapel,Chatham County, NC

The windows are fascinating, whether one is looking in from the outside or vice versa. One would think that the sign inside this window might have been part of a celebration sometime ago.

O'Kelly's Chapel, Chatham County, NCO'Kelly's Chapel, Chatham County, NC

The electrical supply must have been meager as suggested by the size of the conduit and the defunct meter box, but as you will see, the demand would not have been great.

 

O'Kelly's Chapel, Chatham County, NCO'Kelly's Chapel, Chatham County, NC

To my surprise the relatively new door knob wasn't locked.  Taking advantage of the opening, I entered to find the scene a bit disarrayed and accompanied by a moldy odor.  Note the two keyboard instruments.  The walls and ceilings were probably covered in the past, but I'm guessing.  There is no baptismal font.

 

O'Kelly's Chapel, Chatham County, NCO'Kelly's Chapel,C hatham County, NC

Here's the reason for a low electrical demand.  A wood or coal stove would have sent its smoke through the now-closed hole and out into the chimney shown above.  I didn't look for floor marks to determine how far from the wall a stove might have been positioned.

I mentioned the windows earlier.  The glass has a snow-flake type texture and the sashes were counter-balanced by window weights hidden inside the frames.  We had similar weights in the house where we grew up, and the rope running from the top of the sash over a pulley to the weight would sometimes break.  Clunk!  The frame had to be disassembled in order to fix the problem.  Two tufts of rope can be seen atop this sash.

O'Kelly's Chapel, Chatham County, NCO'Kelly's Chapel, Chatham County, NC

I'll finish with one last peep so you might see the detail in the window pane along with the rotting putty and peeling paint.  Given her run-down condition, I suspect she's terminal.  Her location provides only limited access for visitors and restoration would be costly.  That's sad, given the fact that someone thought enough of her to list her in the National Register of Historic Places.  But she probably had a lively history with lots of singing, rejoicing, greetings and maybe even celebratory dinners under the trees.  We don't do that any more!

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brinnj@gmail.com (Red Feather Images) http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/8/okelly-s-chapel Tue, 02 Aug 2016 04:21:50 GMT
Laura's Lotus http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/7/lauras-lotus From yesterday's bud this beautiful lotus flower appeared sometime early today.  I named the image for our gracious hostess in whose garden it was captured.

Laura's LilyLaura's Lily

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brinnj@gmail.com (Red Feather Images) http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/7/lauras-lotus Thu, 14 Jul 2016 16:27:27 GMT
The Garden Gate http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/7/the-garden-gate The weathered and aging gate, at the end of a pine needle-covered path lying amidst colorful shrubs, stands between a manicured and serene garden and the "unkempt" world of Nature, between human-made order and natural order, one no less beautiful than the other. The gate is a section in a fence running along a gradual slope that adds stress to its joints.  It lacks the gnarly character of the nearby bench shown in a previous post, but then it doesn't sit in open sunlight and is constructed from more age-resistant cedar.  Nevertheless, the cracks are evident and the hinges creak with any movement.  A different sort of character from the bench!  Somehow there's a metaphor in here, but i'll leave it to you, the reader, to find yours.

Garden Gate, Cary, NCGarden Gate, Cary, NC

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brinnj@gmail.com (Red Feather Images) http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/7/the-garden-gate Mon, 04 Jul 2016 21:53:22 GMT
If I Were a Poet http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/6/if-i-were-a-poet I might compose something more eloquent about this old garden bench, but I'm not a poet.  Nevertheless, my ineptitude with metaphorical phrases doesn't preclude appreciation of its character.  Here it sits, the handiwork of a past craftsman, inclined among the colors of a garden. The patina of its youth is long gone, and man's oils and solvents have evaporated, enabling Nature's work to go on unimpeded.  Its once-smooth and grained surface is now roughened and cracked and home to lichens that take nourishment from the more natural substrate while young green plants climb through its openings. The joints are losing their resolve and will someday be too weak for the bench to continue its "work" whereupon it will be destroyed and maybe replaced by something with less character.  And like the fallen and unnoticed trees in a forest, the bench will become a part of the natural order.  In the interim, it invites enjoyment for what is.

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brinnj@gmail.com (Red Feather Images) http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/6/if-i-were-a-poet Sun, 05 Jun 2016 20:20:15 GMT
From the Deck http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/6/from-the-deck September rainfall.  It was actually shot from the den window - which is a few feet from the deck.

Autumn RainAutumn Rain

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brinnj@gmail.com (Red Feather Images) http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/6/from-the-deck Thu, 02 Jun 2016 15:38:49 GMT
Someone Special http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/5/someone-special Indeed she is!  Here she was trying to count goldfish in a pond, hence the more serious look.  But she lights up easily with huge smiles.

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brinnj@gmail.com (Red Feather Images) http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/5/someone-special Fri, 27 May 2016 19:37:04 GMT
A Lovely, Foggy Morning http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/5/a-lovely-foggy-morning The arrival of Spring has been fraught with setbacks here in northern Colorado.  Heavy wet snows necessitating the use of a big snow blower or contracting someone to plow the driveway.  Cold rains, occasionally peppered with thunder claps.  And fog!  Two days of it now! 

But the bluebirds are lining their box and the hummingbirds are arriving.  Yellow-Rumped warblers streamed through yesterday.  The local moose is sprouting his antlers for the fall season and looking quite disheveled while losing his winter coat.  A few elk have ambled across the meadow and the mule deer are ever-present.

Back to the fog though, I love to see it early in the morning as was the case today.  I put the camera gear in the car along with our little schnauzer Miss Maggie, my constant companion, and drove slowly up toward the lakes.  I had to wait for the sun to drive some of the fog off the water's surface in order to shoot, and such a wait is not without anticipation because the resulting fog patterns are totally unpredictable.  But the results are always surprising as well as serene, so much so that I'll return to the same places to shoot in the next fog!

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brinnj@gmail.com (Red Feather Images) http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/5/a-lovely-foggy-morning Mon, 16 May 2016 00:36:16 GMT
Another Shot From the Deck http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/5/another-shot-from-the-deck I won't post every image taken from the deck; however, this scene of backlit Aspen branches, a harbinger of Spring, caught our eyes a couple of weeks ago, and it seemed worthy of sharing.  Please note that the driveway has been plowed clear of snow since the picture was taken, so the arrival of high country Spring is not a burst of color and singing birds as one might see at lower elevations.  Perhaps by June?

 

Aspen Buds, Red Feather Lakes, COAspen Buds, Red Feather Lakes, CO

 

 

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brinnj@gmail.com (Red Feather Images) http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/5/another-shot-from-the-deck Tue, 03 May 2016 02:47:16 GMT
A Photographic Metaphor http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/2/a-photographic-metaphor These images were in my head for weeks.  I knew what I wanted to show and what to say, but there was a reluctance to walk out onto the car-packed overpass with expensive camera gear and not knowing if someone might decide to relieve me of it.  Anyway, I mustered the gumption to do it today - twice!  The first image was captured during a morning hour while the second was soon after sunset.  I shot them with a slow shutter speed to emphasize movement.

Compositionally they both have converging straight lines and a curved line, all of it being symmetrical.  And there is a functional contrast.  The straight highway, which is I-40 at Southpoint, has lots of people zipping to and from somewhere in their goddam contraptions as Edward Abbey called them.  Maybe they're going to and from the big filing cabinets in Raleigh or Cary or who knows where.  On the other hand, the distant arch is part of a bridge in the American Tobacco Trail.  The ATT is over twenty miles long through Durham and Chatham Counties, built mostly on defunct rail beds that once connected Durham's tobacco industry with points south, and serves a great many walkers, joggers and bikers.

It seems that these scenes are a metaphor for life in the Triangle.  Rush, rush, rush!  An interstate is built which attracts more "development" which puts more contraptions on the interstate.  At least three large tracts of land within five miles of where these images were captured have been purged of trees in preparation for consumption centers.  I-40, probably not unlike other urban interstate highways, becomes a slow-moving parking lot in the morning rush hours and during the evening exodus.  Probably helps to sell lots of Enalapril.

The ATT on the other hand is a great health resource for the people of the Triangle, at least for those who have access to it and want to use it and despite having "tobacco" in its name.  Hikers, joggers and bikers in the latest helmets and sweat soaking attire are on it for most of every day.  I like to sit on the benches and watch; it's better than the airport.

Here's the morning shot. The left lanes of the road are inbound toward Raleigh and Cary or points further east.

And here is the evening image with the ATT bridge being lighted.  Difficult to say which side has more contraptions, but it's too many either way.

I think that I prefer my horizon to be finger-pointing distances away with the fewest possible signs of human occupation between it and me.  Nothing spiritual about contraptions!

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brinnj@gmail.com (Red Feather Images) ATT American Tobacco Trail Interstate http://RedFeatherImages.com/blog/2016/2/a-photographic-metaphor Sat, 06 Feb 2016 04:23:15 GMT