Mockingbird on porch

Mockingbird on porch

This mockingbird picture was made through a window, one of those low-e panes of glass that has a soft tint to it.  Saul Leiter (examples here) was a fan of shooting through glass and have always liked the effect, though I can understand other opinions.  You have to play with the contrast a bit to pull it off, this one also is blended about 30% with a black and white version that desaturated it some and maintained a lifelike coloring somewhat.

If reincarnation actually happens, as I doubt it does, I once thought I\’d like to come back as a Mockingbird.  Up early and singing away. Ruler of the neighborhood and all that.  But I don’t think I’d like to be that aggravated all the time, these birds always seem to be upset.

Lots of flood warnings today, I might take an excursion for photos.

 

Sometimes it is fun to spend economically.
Of course, economic spending is not intended
to save money, but is a practice of ethics.

Shopgirl: A Novella
by Steve Martin

 

 

 

Roots, Carter Caves 2013

Roots, Carter Caves 2013

Carter Caves State Resort Park
outside of Olive Hill, Kentucky

Who would have thought that Steve Martin could write a novella that takes you deep inside the mind and psyche of the characters.  Don’t expect so much a plot as a sketch or character study in Shopgirl.  A really nice read so far.

If he thinks he would harm Mirabelle, he would
back away. But he does not yet understand when
and how people are hurt. He doesn’t understand
the subtleties of slights and pains, that it is not
the big events that hurt the most but rather the smallest
questionable shift in tone at the end of a spoken word
that can plow most deeply into the heart.

Steve Martin’s Shopgirl

 

End of the season wildflowers

End of the season wildflowers

along the Barrier Free Trail
Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area
Ironton, Ohio

Well I’m ending up the wildflower season at nearly the place where I started the year out back in April with this Squirrel Corn photo.  The Barrier Free Trail is a nice calming place to visit with benches spaced fairly close together, making a great picnic spot.  Won’t be long before I’ll be able to photograph snow there, I suppose.   I’m planning for shots from local bicycle journeys through the winter, so maybe I can post more regularly than I have for the past few months.

My current book is The Virginian by Owen Wister.  I first thought this was a 1950ish novel but come to find out, it is the granddaddy of all western novels having been published in 1902.  The writing style is, at times, eloquent and I stop to study just what he means.  But I’ve enjoyed it so far, going about 1/3rd of the way into it right now.   The 1962 to 1971 television show of the same name was based off the novel.

 

 

 

Fly on the Crape Myrtle

Fly on the Crape Myrtle

All over our area stood dead Crape Myrtle bushes, someone even said so on television.  Such a difficult winter.  We just had to wait a bit longer.  Two of the bushes traveled back from Virginia with me a very long time ago- I had found them on clearance during a mountain trout fishing trip when we visited a local grocery for supplies.  Not long ago, the fellow up the road had taken his down to the ground, dug up the roots, and planted grass.  We were about to do the same but finally a bud appeared.  Then another and another.  It may be June before it is fully leafed out and I doubt we will see flowers this year.
I like the simplicity of this shot, I got luck with the focus with this one.  It’s interesting to follow the razor thin band of focus across the brown smooth bark.

“You get old and you realize there are no answers, just stories.”

― Garrison Keillor,
Pontoon: A Novel of Lake Wobegon

Spider on ferns

Spider on ferns

Carter Caves State Resort Park
Carter County, Kentucky

Joe Browning says that photography includes a big dose of dumb luck and I believe it.  After going for most of a week with little luck with pictures, I decided to drive to the state park to see what was left of the wildflowers.  After stooping down to shoot some fern abstracts, I scared up this spider for a photograph.  I think I got just 4 very fast frames before he disappeared and only 2 of them have any degree of focus to them.

There are still quite a few wildflowers out there though not a large variety.  The park was busy with many families with kids in the creeks, as well as two buggies of Amish families taking a slow Sunday stroll.  The Amish families seem to be new to that area, we first noticed them last year in a large van that had brought them for apparently a vacation.  This year they seem to be living close by.

I haven’t been able to identify the spider yet, but I’m looking.

 “Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves,
or we know where we can find information upon it.”

 Samuel Johnson, The Life of Samuel Johnson
Including a Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, Vol 2

Tree Swallow at Shawnee

Tree Swallow at Shawnee

Shawnee State Park
outside of Portsmouth, Ohio

The Tree Swallow must be one of the easiest birds to photograph, if approach slowly they quite often will strike a nice pose for you.  This one was photographed near a nice nature trail at the park this past weekend.

 

Carter Caves Wildflowers

Carter Caves Wildflowers

Carter Caves State Park
Carter County, Kentucky

I thought I would say a few words about the writer  Breece Pancake today,  I just happened to find out that this is the 35th anniversary of his death, which sadly was self-imposed.

Pancake was born in South Charleston, West Virginia and grew up in Milton, just up the road from here.  I had never heard of Pancake until I happened to notice a book of short stories on my Kindle recently.  Evidently I had somehow “discovered” him at some point in the past and had bought the book where it resided in the cloud for future reading until just a few weeks ago.

Pancake, who used the name “Breece D’J Pancake” attended Marshall University in Huntington WV and after graduation he enrolled as a graduate student in the creative writing program at the University of Virginia.  Pancake really never had a career, during his life he had 6 published short stores, several of them in Atlantic Monthly.  His only book was published posthumously and is made up of these stories plus several others.  He was just on the edge of success when it all ended.

With such a brief career, you would think his life and his writing would both have faded away long ago.   But that is far from the truth, just do a Google search for Breece Pancake and you’ll find pages and pages of articles written.  It becomes quickly obvious that he is a writer that other writers admire.

With Pancake, he is a writer’s writer because of  the “voice” that he gives the characters.  The vivid way he describes both what they see and what they feel.   These are certainly not feel-good stories, at several points I found myself thinking that I can’t believe he is writing about these things.  He definitely does not try to “pretty-up” the scenes.   But it is truthful writing and to the point, like Hemingway.  The stories are troubling though.

 

 

Sharp Lobed Hepatica at Carter Caves

Sharp Lobed Hepatica at Carter Caves

Carter Caves State Resort Park
Carter County, Kentucky

This week I’ve made stops at our local parks, Greenbo Lake and Carter Caves, and find the wildflowers are pretty far behind schedule when compared to previous years.  In 2012, I had posted several wildflower photos taken even in March of that year, including a nice Large Flowered Bellwort.

I’m fairly certain today’s picture is the Sharp Lobed Hepatica, which is always one of the earliest and hardy flowers in our area.  There’s a lot of variations in color and number of petals of the flower and this was obvious today because I have some other shots of a white variety.

The Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife website states it was once the prime ingredient in the 1800’s remedy called” Dr Roder’s Liverwort and Tar Sirrup”.  You can read more about this nice early Kentucky wildflower at the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife website.

 

Leaf at Shawnee

Leaf at Shawnee

Last weekend, I was able to take a short hike at Shawnee State Park, just outside of Portsmouth.  The woods are gray and drab right now but the curves and ridges of the steep hills were very interesting to see.

 

 

walking at Carter Caves

walking at Carter Caves

Carter Caves State Resort Park
Carter County, Kentucky

We had a nice break in the weather and was able to take a walk at Carter Caves.  The park had an empty feeling to it, one of loneliness or solitude…depending upon one’s mood.  I once worked for the park system and greatly enjoyed winter days such as this one.  We had the lower trail to ourselves but on making the climb beside the cliffs, the sounds of a toddler became more and more present until we finally caught up enough to see a young family with a small child in tow, watching me photograph leaves and things that I found on the ground.  Later on we arrived at the spot where they were standing and found this nice pine cone left for us on the mound of dirt.

 There is no such thing as coincidence

 Gibbs Rule #39

 

Bold Jumping Spider on a Shovel Handle

Bold Jumping Spider on a Shovel Handle

I was at my father\’s home today to mow the grass and noticed this small black spider on a shovel handle that I was moving.  I switched to the macro lens and had some help from Dad with holding the handle as the spider was a pretty shy fellow, you can see he had already caught his dinner for the evening.  According to online sources, this is the Bold Jumping Spider, sometimes called the Bold Jumper or Daring Jumper and is the largest jumping spider found in our state at about 1/2 inch long.  According to the University of Kentucky, he will bite if he has to but isn\’t dangerous unless you happen to be very allergic (which I guess you wouldn\’t know until it was too late).  The chelicerae (the appendage in the front) is reported to be metallic green and appears greenish-blue in other photos however it rendered blue in my RAW conversions so I\’m not sure if this is a natural variation or a product of slight color shift from the necessary color balance correction inherent to the digital capture.  I was able to get just this one good shot out of about a dozen frames before he found a hiding place in the small hole drilled in the handle so it will hang on a nail.

Look closely into his eyes (the biggest ones) and you can see a reflection of me taking his photograph.

 

 

Leaf in the storm

Leaf in the storm

We had an unexpected and sudden fierce storm that lasted just long enough to blow leaves (and a few branches) from all the neighboring trees.  I\’m tagging all the leaf photos to make a collection, I seem to have a pattern going there over the years.  Here is the link. (should grow over time as I restore the lost website).

It was another work-on-the-house day plus a visit to the bike shops in Huntington for tubes and such.  No riding today, I\’ve had flat tires on both bikes.   Don\’t think I\’ve ever had spokes come loose or repeated flats that happen before you even get the bike loaded.   I said awhile back that maybe we are destined to recycle all our old hobbies again and again until we die, but perhaps our ability to participate, train, and pick the right gear degrades over time.  I better not resume fly fishing, hard telling what would happen then.

 “You must be like me;
you must suffer in rhythm.”

Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea

 

 

at Jackson Lake (Ohio)

at Jackson Lake (Ohio)

Jackson Lake
Jackson, Ohio

A few weeks ago, we took a drive and ended up with a picnic on the shores of Jackson Lake.  I remember doing a similar Sunday picnic some 45 years ago.  This one is an I-Phone Hipstamatic shot made with the Loftus lens (for the vignette blur) and the W40 film (for the border, the interior black border is the image and the white border is the web-site template presentation), then converted to black and white in Photoshop.