Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween in northeastern Kentucky

post #59
      Here's today's plan.  I am sharing some photos, from last Sunday, of friends /  neighbors who have an annual tradition of Halloween fun with extended family, mostly for the kids.  However, as shown here, the adults are really into it as well.  I had heard it was going to happen BUT I did not think I would be taking any photos.  I just happened to be walking along a back road with some friends when the hay ride showed up, and I just happened to have my camera because it was such a beautiful fall day.  As I have often said, a lot of what makes good photography is just being there!

As we walked along, this truck, trailer and back-up vehicle appeared!
first view after they passed us -- my hurried, lucky shot....
on they go, not stopping for me or for anyone!
Making friends laugh can sure make a better photo.  I am not showing my first try of these three...and didn't take a third because I had what I wanted, and we had places to go...
Others on the road also hoofing along....
We saw the whole crew also on their return
so I FINALLY got to take a side shot, while they stopped -- briefly --
and another one.  THANK YOU ALL.
       Happy Halloween to all as well and I hope everyone can be safe and with friends and family.  Also let's give thanks for the gift of creativity, if not for the the winter storm up east which sounds so difficult, like a case of nature being more scary than any Halloween could be.  
       During November I want to focus more, in words, about being a photographer.  I wrote an essay, with sections, about the photography work I did for the book Counting on the Woods, by George Ella Lyon, in 1997 (DK Ink).  I will be posting that essay in short parts over the next few weeks along with some of the photos.  The book is available through many library systems, if anyone is curious to locate it.  Making that book was my training and my real beginning as a photographer, but mostly it was a privilege to work from George Ella's  seventy-six words.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Last week, with fall leaves and full light

post #58
     This past week has been wonderful.  I had other photos from other years ready to share, but today I have decided to post new photos instead .  The first two images are along the road mid week, coming back from town.
Harris hills

turkeys visiting with Annie and Clarence
    Then here is the report on our black walnut tree -- this single walnut was left on the tree the morning of October 18.  It fell by the end of the day.  Our first true frost was still three days away.  

    And now the driveway report from that day.  Since I had taken this photo in 2010 and it looked similar this year, I actually didn't retake the photo....

     Such magically full days can happen for a photographer.  As I walked in our woods later that afternoon, this what my mind's eye saw.  I suspect that the golden light was due to the yellow beech leaves throughout.

hickory? beech? black gum?

writing on the beech trunk, over the years

In making this photo, around 6 p.m., I tried to express the feeling of being surrounded by this color, this season, these trees, this wonder.  I do love the Kentucky woods.  With me in spirit then were three people I care about who have just lost someone close to them this week. So I dedicate this photo to you all.  Also, Happy Birthday, Joyce!  And happy one year anniversary, dear weekly blog of mine.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Appalachian autumn

post #57
      It's true, the leaves do change colors here in eastern Kentucky.  Though 2011 is drier and less showy than other years, our fall is still beautiful.  Today a fire warning exists due to windy gusts, dry woods, and warm temperatures! 
      Last week I was unable to get outside because of an ongoing renovation project at the house.  So today I am sharing some images from this year and past years purely to brag on our region's natural glory at this time of year.

Maple and Vine
   I took this photo ten years ago or so, with film and a tripod, and I've used it as one of the cards I sell.  The title helps!  Our quarter mile driveway provides access to a lot of photos, including ones of the driveway itself.  Here are three of those:

1996, after the big 1995 wind, with tripod, a scan from a print

      Last week I did get to my neighbor's house to take a photo of her view -- they have been following the changes in the one lone red tree, on the left.
      I ended up with a photo of her cat, Tom, as well.  A photographer's roving eye is actually a helpful tool.... I got this moving cat's eyes and whiskers in sharp enough focus to be able to share the photo on this blog.  A subject's sharp eyes always make a better picture.... However, I have to confess that it was nothing but good fortune that his white coat is right on.  I only took one quick shot since raindrops were starting to fall.

cat walk
     One more photo today, and then some more next week's "fall-owing" post.  

      Happy leaves to everyone!

2011, nearby

Sunday, October 9, 2011

back to tobacco, this time in Vietnam

post #56
       Before I got sidetracked two weeks ago by sorghum making, I had intended to finish up my tobacco series on this blog by showing photos I took during that 2004 trip to Vietnam.  I wrote about those two weeks, in post #25, and included several images.  But now I want to share the day our bus passed through a village in Vietnam which had tobacco drying in each front yard and under each porch overhang.  I made my only photo request of the trip (which was not designed for either photographers or for tobacco farmers) by asking if the bus could, please, please, stop there on our way back from the day's historic site.  Actually my request sounded more like begging.  I explained that I just couldn't face my community at home if I didn't take any photos of the totally amazing sight of seeing tobacco growing alongside rice!  
      We did stop later, I (and others) did get off the bus, and our guide was able to explain to the family why I wanted to take the photos.  Of course the explaining part was, to me, a gift.  I am always more comfortable being able to express appreciation  and to do the small talk thing.

        Facts: the time of year, October, the location, the middle of the country, where there are several growing seasons.  Of note: many Vietnamese homes and stores are open in the front, and there is a lot of visiting back and forth.  I still wonder how they take to the American way of closed-off living.
     The next photo shows what really got my attention -- rice, tobacco (more than one crop a year, I presume), and corn growing side by side!

     Two last photos, non-tobacco but Vietnam, are again with the help of being with someone who could translate my interest for me.  I usually send a photo to whomever I take one of, but on this trip it was hard to do that every time. I do apologize for the imperfections of these slides (which I have scanned and made digital) but I didn't always have much time to work or much choice about the light.  Otherwise, it was a wonderful trip.  I am so grateful to have been able to go there.
two sisters -- one of my favorite moments from the trip

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sorghum molasses, the sticky part

post #55
       Yes, I have been looking forward to sharing the photos from last Sunday's "cook down" which was done at the old home place.  And good fortune provided morning fog!  Therefore, instead of sun creating shadows and too much contrast, for several hours there was interesting light.
      Today's post is mostly just photos with captions, because I've tried to fit in the entire "rest of the story."  I didn't get to use all the images I have, but surely a dozen of them give the flavor of things, so to speak.

overview: stalks from the trailer to the boil table by way of being "squeezed"
hound help!
squeezing the juice from the sorghum stalks  -- David, the mill's owner, has altered his 100 year old sorghum mill this year to slow down the force of the tractor which is now being used instead of horses or mules.
filtering the juice before it passes into the black hose and down the hill to be boiled
the beginning of a day of keeping the fire going and the juice moving
later in the day, thicker sorghum, closer to being skimmed enough to fill a jar
keeping the fire box filled and burning, all day

sun's coming out, it is hot, sorghum winding down

tools for skimming and for bringing the molasses through the sections, ready for the jars
one last filter, then into the jar while still hot so the canning top will seal

      My thanks to everyone for tolerating my camera while you worked!!  These photos are more of a record of how things are done than they are art, but it is hard to do even this much without the generosity of the people being photographed.  If there are inaccuracies in my descriptions, I hope someone will let me know.  I enjoyed being with you all very much.  And the fog sure helped the photos, and my stamina, believe me.