Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mid-Week, Extra Post, on re-imaging Appalachia

post #32
      I am posting an extra entry this week because of an approaching May 2 deadline.  (I meant to have this discussion earlier this month, but there were all those flowers to share....)
     The Appalachian Center at the University of Kentucky is running a contest to locate a fresh take on images that describe or signal Appalachia.  No banjos or coal miners need be submitted.  And while my body of work consists of a multitude of images from this area, that doesn't mean that a single image screams Appalachia.  My mules-plowing-the-tobacco photos were taken because the occasion was unusual, not because it represents anything.   (It was, simply, exhilarating to be there with my camera!  All those greens, the rounded mule rumps, and the straight rows of dark, moist earth!)
     There is no fee to enter this contest though there are money prizes.  But each photographer is limited to THREE photos!   This is where I'd appreciate your help.
#2 - big wheel
#1 - mountaintop removal mining

I plan to submit big wheel and my mountaintop removal photo.  And one of the following -- 1, 2, 3, or 4.  Please let me know if one of the images below OR another of my images speak to you for this purpose. Thanks!

      Actually, on Tuesday my monthly writers group came up with their clear choice.  Also, so far, I haven't located the guys with the sign so I wouldn't get to use the photo unless someone can identify them by Monday.  But I love the photo.  What can I say.  I have been thinking about all this for weeks and I have no idea how anyone would make a choice for what is Appalachian and what is Anywhere.  I will be interested in the results, and I hope as many people as possible send in their treasures to UK.  We do need to get unstuck about what images come to mind when we think "Appalachia."

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Big Wet Sunday, special edition

post #31
       I have been wanting to share the photo my friend George Ella Lyon took earlier this month for her newsletter.  It features her favorite poetry book from childhood (in Harlan, Kentucky.)  I love how she reveals her emotions with this image, like she does again and again with her words.  (The title is hers as well.)
Pansies and Poems, by George Ella Lyon
     It's always wonderful to be home all of an April to watch the beauty of an Appalachian spring.  This year's has been wet and cool enough for the flowers to last longer than sometimes.   Redbuds, dogwoods, and the light greens, pale yellows and reds of new leaves on other trees have also been stretched.  The severe tornadoes haven't passed here as yet; some may show up this week.  Again today we just have heavy rains from passing thunderstorms.
              So, first a reprise and a follow-up, as promised --  this photo, I believe, is an emerging Erect Trillium, which I photographed in central Kentucky (see blog #29).  Then during my outing with the art students a week later, I saw this same species just past its prime.  The shape of the leaves doesn't look exactly alike -- is that just due to variation in the eastern part of the state?


pink lady's slipper
       Last week, during that same outing, I broke the rule about "avoid the washed-out look and do not shoot nature midday."   We were just lucky to be there -- and without rain -- so I gave it a try.  What I ended up with, almost by accident, were shadows from within an emerging lady's slipper (an orchid). Not your usual view!   Luckily four days later I was able to return to that very same spot, by myself this time, where I tried to replicate the angle of the earlier photo.  

   I am sharing this photo as is, even though the color isn't quite right.  I am sure I just got too excited about being back and seeing the change in four days.  I then simply forgot to pay enough attention to my camera!  However, I did better with the other photos I took in that orchid patch.

another hooded "about to bloom"
the original plant, this time from the side

     I realize, dear viewers, that I'm subjecting you to many more photos than I usually do.  Think of it as a kind of spring celebration!  Here are six final images I am unwilling to hold over until next weekend:
flora and flooding in Laurel Gorge
Solomon's Seal (a lily) with hanging buds -- see three of these plants in this photo
two nearby Jack in the Pulpit, at Laurel Gorge  
It was thanks to these students that I was at Laurel Gorge!  They took some fine photos themselves.
delicious lettuce my husband is growing at home
a goldfinch -- now "golder" and wetter -- in the maple
 Note:  Sometimes clicking on a photo within the blog can make it larger -- but other times that doesn't happen.  Have not yet figured out how to set it up so that any of the photos can be enlarged.  Thanks so much for visiting today's post!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Finishing last weekend's photos and some more signs of spring

post #30  
      First, I want to touch on those mountain scars I mentioned in post #29 and show what I passed while driving to and from Pine Mountain.  The cemetery with its nearby coal tipple is on a back route going north from Pine Mountain; I purposely obscured the name and dates on the coal miner's tombstone, since I am never clear if I first need to ask the family's permission to use the photo.  I am sorry the strong afternoon light makes the photos look more washed out than they should be.  I find these small family cemeteries to be one of the rich treasures of Appalachia.


I was asked not to come any closer to this major coal project, even though I tried out my innocent granny hobby photographer look for the guard on duty.  He was actually very polite and apologetic when he indicated there were just too many environmentalists....(a.k.a. troublemakers?)... and they have to be careful.  The next photo is to the right of this one.
A nearby sign tells this is the Arch Coal Blue Ridge Complex, and I think I was in Leslie County, on the drive  from Pikeville to Harlan
another coal mining view, in Perry or Leslie County     

Then, at home, signs of spring, such as this goldfinch slowly turning last week from winter gray to summer gold,

 while the blossoms on our ancient apple tree shine under the moon.  The miracle in part was that we could actually see the moon ~~  there has been so much rain! 

     Today, in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky, I saw this lovely plant, and I was told it was an erect trillium, not fully in bloom.  I read that this type of trillium is not very common in the eastern part of Kentucky.  (As always, corrections are welcome!)  It was sunny and breezy where I was, so I am pleased that even so this photo is sharp despite the wind.  
     Since it seems I often have to leave some parts unfinished in my posts, it won't surprise anyone that I look forward to sharing more about today's excursion -- next week.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

more April beauty

post #28
      Just back from two nights at the Pine Mountain Settlement School in Harlan County, driving several hours each way over some curvy roads with redbuds in bloom, dogwoods starting, and numerous scars on the mountainsides.   The city of Harlan was hit by a damaging thunderstorm Saturday afternoon, but we just had a short period of rain.  
My favorite location there, sitting on a short foot bridge -- the sound of water, so many wildflowers

Since several of you liked the photos last week from our woods, I decided for this post to share some wildflower and forest photos from "southern Kentucky."   Enjoy!

the forest canopy in that stream area
       This photo is imperfect, but I am showing it because it goes with the next image, taken 24 hours later.  I was stunned to see so much change.  And awed.  I took the second photo to make a record of the violet's growth and to show more of the location, near the stream.  These are, I believe, sweet yellow violets. 

      This location is behind the chapel at the Settlement School.  I have never seen such a variety of flowers out at the same time here.  However, it may happen every year or it could be that the damp cool weather has kept more kinds of flowers going and increased their overlap time.  Anyone have an insight on this?  
     The next two flowers I'm showing were located in this more open area. 

Bishop's cap, a.k.a. miterwort?

woodland phlox?

     This will be a blog in progress.  I've now looked up the names of these two flowers (Monday a.m.) because last night I also wanted to watch Upstairs, Downstairs on our public television station, KET!  I will post this as is for now -- corrections welcomed -- with thanks to wonders in this world, including a special April baby whenever she decides to arrive.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

spring in my Kentucky woods

post #27
        A year ago I spent an afternoon in the April woods.  I had intended simply to take a walk  -- no tripod, the time of day not being optimum for photographing.  Yet, even without the wonderful even light of early morning or at dusk, when usually the winds are minimal, I had what I call a very good day. It helped that, by chance, there wasn't a lot of wind that day AND there was a lot to see.  I got away with some fine moments.  
      I never knew about the way the wind increases along with the rising sun until I became a photographer.  Watch the wind some early morning when, of course, there isn't a storm in progress. 

bluets, a.k.a. Quaker Ladies

rattlesnake-plantain, 1 of 2 photos
the seeds, which rattle....
along the stream, mostly violets

       In this last photo I tried an experiment, focusing from above on the plane that had the three blossoms, to bring attention to them.  I am not sure it works as well as I hoped it would.  These are, I believe, sweet white violets. 

          Note: We went to these same places this afternoon, and I took photos again, but this time, unexpectedly, my card acted up and I can't access the images!!  I already intended to return there in a few days, in hopes the trout lilies will be blooming by then and maybe some early trillium, so I will try again -- after the heavy rain expected tomorrow night and Tuesday.  I love the marvel that is spring in eastern Kentucky.