Sunday, January 31, 2016

winter and my photo exhibit both take shape

post #269
       I have a bit of catching up to do, so here are three winter photos, a short winter video,  and a preview of my exhibit, which we set up this afternoon -- which is why this blog is being posted later than usual this Sunday.  Because of the big snow we had a week ago, many things are delayed, including the publicity posters and postcards for my exhibit.  And school in this county was out all last week. Everyone is hopeful things will be back to normal tomorrow.
       OK, first I'll show some snow, which was the lovely kind but just way more than we usually get. We think we had 15 inches in our area. Counties south of us had a lot more.


I can't resist a snow person photo, of Natalie trying to make dry snow work.  Sorry it is not a better photo!!

    That same day we did some shuttling with a four wheeler, a truck, a tractor and a friend's car to shape up my driveway in order to be able to get out if needed.  Part of that included my getting to ride in the Rhino (a two seater 4 wheeler) while we backed down a long stretch of the driveway.  I looked behind me while holding out my cell phone as we sped along -- the loud noise of its motor is, well, loud! I really enjoyed the ride, and I hope readers here do as well. I thank Tim and Jason for all their good neighbor efforts and help!!

Jason and the Rhino

IMG_2629 from Ann W. Olson on Vimeo.

     Then, this afternoon, my exhibit at the Rowan County Arts Center started to take shape. I have four photos here of the decision work in progress -- how to group my 35 photos, where to put the groups, etc.  My friend Taral Thompson took on the task with her generosity of spirit and her expertise, and was helped by Wayland Coffey, an intern at the Arts Center, who will have hung all the photos by the time I write this at 8 p.m.! I am so grateful for the way artists help each other and for Taral's help today in particular.

    I will have more photos from this event next week. In the meantime, here is a copy of the poster which the Arts Center has designed and had printed. I just now received this copy in my email. Good job, Wayland! 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

wood cook stove revisited, celebrating with an alternative to piles of snow

post #268
        I am in eastern Kentucky, where I live, and there is A LOT OF SNOW. I have been spending time sweeping steps, figuring out how to get my car able to get out the quarter mile driveway, and all such things. But I have also had occasion to use our wood cook stove, and I can't do better than this post from 2 years ago that I am revisiting today.  The best news is that our electricity has not faltered, but if it does, I am ready with plenty of wood, a space blanket to shut off the two rooms upstairs, and great neighbors.  
        I continue to get many inquiries about our wood cook stove, so here are some photos.

from January 27, 2013
post #122
      In honor of chilly and icy weather, I decided to share photos of a wonderful member of our household staff -- the wood cook stove that was in the house when we bought the place forty years ago.  I have been known to take the stove for granted, but it's usually of great interest when someone visits our home for the first time.  We have it connected via a stove pipe to its chimney in the winter.  In the summer, however, we take out the stove pipe and push the stove up against the wall behind it as a way to provide additional space for summer comings and goings.  We don't rely on it for cooking, but we can boil water on it, cook potatoes or cornbread in the oven, or keep a pot of soup warm all afternoon -- if it is cold enough outside to make it worthwhile to build a fire.
      In the following photos, our kitchen area is close behind me.
the stove in use today, water boiling and a pan of water providing steam into the dry heated air

firebox on the left, oven in the middle, and, formerly, a water tank on the right, which, unfortunately, rusted out even before our time and doesn't seem easily replaceable

oven door  --  the gauge isn't actually all that accurate

The wood goes on this side, so my husband cuts it to fit the size of the opening.

To see what is behind the white door on the left, see the next photo.

wood burning in the top, ashes falling to the bottom, drawer comes out for periodic emptying

close-up from the last photo

wood in, lid still open

Here's a fire from last week, wood burning hot.  Often a slower fire can last the night.

yes, indeed
         I am grateful that Sandy's grandfather sold this stove, asking $15, to earlier owners of this house. It is a treasure, and handy as well!!  Stay warm, everyone, and be safe.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

"What Catches My Eye" exhibit

post #267
            Well, I am biting the bullet, so to speak, and doing a photo exhibit all of February. Making a public display. Sharing what I see with whomever braves the weather and has time to stop by.  No snow photos, but a little bit of ice (one of the photos from last week's blog post).  My biggest sized images, a few from digital, a few from when I was using slides. In advance I thank my neighbors for letting me hang them on a wall, and I thank my artist friends, like Taral, Jennifer, Wayland and Ash, who these next two weeks will help me pull it all together.          
         There will be a poster, a postcard and some local news information. However, I am writing about this today because my blog has always been about photography and Appalachia, and showing one's art in a local public forum is about both those things.
         LOCATION: Rowan County Arts Center (which used to be the old Courthouse) on Main Street in Morehead, Kentucky
         DATES: February 1, 2016, through leap year, until March 4, 2016
         RECEPTION: Friday, February 26, 5 - 7, probably with some words spoken by the photographer...and questions, by anyone who comes, answered or at least discussed.
         HOURS OPEN: 10 - 4, Monday through Friday, and by appointment on the weekends.

        In the meantime, here are a few more photos from last weekend's adventure in southern Kentucky -- besides the pond images I shared last week. Enjoy!

porch decor

VIEWS FROM THE HOUSE, with signs of recent weirdly warm weather:

VIEWS FROM WITHIN THE WOODS, on the way to the pond, travel by the "mule".

This is really how it looked.


Pretty good sample of photos for the middle of January! Thank you, Peg, for your hospitality and your great talent driving that mule. (Sorry not to have made a good photo of it.)  Next time....

Sunday, January 10, 2016

a whole post about a single pond

post #266
      Greetings from southeastern Kentucky, in McCreary County, where I am visiting my friend, Peg, for a few days. She lives surrounded by forest and by her farm, which is also the location of her B & B, Farm House Inn.  Friday she drove me around in her "Mule", a very handy mode of transportation on forest trails. It can hold at least three people or instead one person and several big dogs.... 

       I had intended today to show a variety of photos from my stay, like I have done after other visits here, but this time we came across some unexpected misty magic! I am not sure photos can capture the wonder of it, but it is worth a try. Video might have been better suited for sharing what we were seeing, but I wasn't equipped to do that. So here is our first view of the pond, unexpectedly covered with mist:

        We were not there long, and the mist kept shifting the whole time, revealing sections of ice and levels of mist. All this was happening around 5 p.m. after a relatively warm day. Peg doesn't think the pond was "turning over", a term I had to look up, yet she had never before happened to see her beloved pond acting like this. I will post the following photos in mostly chronological order, and I tried out two in black and white to catch the ice patterns. As usual, I don't even know how to do some of the fancy stuff, and I don't usually do anything anyway for the blog photos I show.

      Once we decided our time had run out and we had to return to the house, I made one last photo farther along the pond's edge, with its different feel of the place.

       I was moved by seeing this pond, and, as usual, I feel even more connected to what I am seeing if I use my camera.  The photos feel imperfect for the occasion, but I share them in any case to honor our being at that place at that time. The wild things we don't always get to experiece are so very much needed in our world and always have been.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

still more note cards, chapter 4: some favorites!

post #265
       It may be a New Year, but I have not yet finished sharing some of my cards. I have been saving a few more favorites for this post, chapter 4, as a way to celebrate bringing good things forward into a new year. I am not necessarily a fan of clean slates and resolutions.
      Many of the images are chosen for their titles.  When I showed the first one to a friend and neighbor -- in the country sense -- he said "Oh, groundhogs boiling coffee." What? Where did that come from?? I loved the expression, and I trusted that he wasn't making it up on the spot, though he could have. Even so, I did ask around to find out if others knew that expession as well. Many did! I felt enriched by learning such an evocative phrase through one of my photos.

        This next image happens every spring. These steps are located halfway between my home and "town" so I never forget them. I even remember the house that used to sit on the top of the hill and watched it be left alone and then taken down a few years later.
       I talked over possible titles with my friend George Ella, and she came up with "legacy," one word that describes so much. Yes!
      The power of the words is somewhat different for the following photo of some other friends and neighbors. The title "stripping tobacco" can't really describe the poignancy of what is happening. This job was something they had been doing together every December for ages; this year (2010) was the last year. The end. No more tobacco. I have always been grateful to them for letting me know their plan -- and grateful the counter didn't collapse when I stood on it to take the photo!

Hard to explain, but this next image is one I imagine I love for personal reasons. It is our creek, it is spring, I got the greens and the water to look like they really do look, and it doesn't look like this every day. But I was there for this day. I call it, simply, our creek in spring, or sometimes just spring creek.  Since I handwrite my titles on each card, I don't always have to say the same thing. I can therefore forget and redo or simply revise as I go along, an advantage of the extra work hand writing the titles takes.  

field, fog, and fence
      These two mourning doves never fail to fascinate, even though I made this photo with a slide early in my career when I was the photo-illustrator for George Ella's Counting on the Woods (DK Ink, 1998).  For the card's title, I use the words from the page they are on in the book: two birds, daybreak's words. I took it out my bedroom window, on a cloudy day (of which there were many during that long, cool spring). Doves, bless their hearts, actually LIKE to hang out together; I needed birds that would do that. Again, thank you, George Ella.

       There is not time to show all my cards, but I can't neglect to show the next two, both requiring the cooperation of animals. In one, showing off helped, and, in the other, take a look at the ears.  The showing off image is one of my most well known. It also sells well as a card.
Big Wheel
ear-winking mule
      For those of you who like the photos from other places, my most popular one is this street scene in Chipping Campden, in the Cotswolds of England. I have used many variations in the title, since I am never sure how much information to give without detracting from the image itself. If anyone wants to give title making a try, please feel free to let me know one for this image. Click on Comment, and sign in as Anonymous. That usually works. Thanks! (Now that I think of it, maybe simply "hanging in England" will work?)


        As soon as possible, I will add some samples of my cards with their colored paper choice.  I meant to do it weeks ago, though I have not yet done so. But for now I need to take a break from this fun time I give myself every week and do some actual real-life stuff. "Busy Day."