My Labor Day Walk at Paintsville Lake

I finally hauled myself out of bed early this morning for a short walk at Paintsville Lake.  It was quiet and beautiful, with the early  morning light, calm water, woods, and fog.  Beauty, like Art, like Literature, like God, is a mystery, and one that we should strive, not necessarily to understand, but simply to appreciate and experience.  And, of course, if we have a camera handy. . .

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The Dam

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The Copse in the Fog

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The Dam Control

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The Cone

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The Shore

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The Floating Leaf

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The Path


Late October


It’s late October and the glory of fall colors has past.  I’m frankly tired of the over-saturated pictures that have flooded my Facebook page anyhow.  Hey, pretty much everyone with a digital camera has done it at one time or another, including me, so I’m not casting stones here.  But as the colors fade, my thoughts tend to turn more to local history.


This airstrip is built in Blockhouse Bottom, the spot of the original blockhouse in this part of the world.  It was to this blockhouse that Jenny Wiley fled after being captured by natives in 1789.  A raft had to be constructed and taken across the Levisa Fork of the River to get her and bring her back to the blockhouse, just before her captors appeared.  It was here that the Auxier family settled.  And it was here that three year old Elijah Auxier disappeared into the forest in 1796 and never returned.


Beside the airstrip is a small pond, surrounded by cattails.late-october-4


Nice farmland near the river.


The Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River in Johnson County

Morning in October

I love October.  The cool mornings make coffee extra good.  Spiders apparently agree.  When I pulled a bag of coffee from the special dark cubbyhole in my kitchen yesterday, I felt a tickling in my hand.  It was a big spider.  I took him outside (after I stopped screaming), to join his mates, like those that made these webs.


Another good thing about October mornings – fog!  I went to one of my favorite places today, near Printer here in Floyd County.


For some reason, autumn always kindles my interest in building a model railroad layout.  I had not felt the urge yet this year.  That may have changed this morning.


I had forgotten that the Red White and Blue Festival was this weekend in Martin.  It wrapped up yesterday, but there were still reminders.october-16-13october-16-15october-16-16

After I took that overlook shot of Martin above, I turned around and was reminded of one of the most important rules in photography.  When you have finished taking the picture, turn around!


Assignment 1: Color

About five years ago I bought a book called The Practice of Contemplative Photography: Seeing the World with Fresh Eyes by Andy Karr and Michael Wood.  It really is about a different approach to photography, where subject takes a back seat to “flashes of perception” that are to be pursued with the purpose of creating a photograph that carries through that initial perception.  Part of the point is to find interest and beauty in new places.  I’ve gone back and forth over the years on whether this produces profound pictures or is just BS.  There is certainly much about the approach that I like, but many of the pictures I’ve seen, outside the book, look like poor imitations of the photos in it – hardly representing “seeing with fresh eyes.”  But then I remind myself that many of the pictures on Flickr and on websites featuring this approach (called “Miksang,” Tibetan for “good eye”) come from students of this way of photographing.  So of course these are not always perfect examples.  And I’m sure my pictures won’t be either.  But I’ve come back to the book (which is beautifully written, by the way) enough times to believe that there really is something to this approach as a fresh way of seeing, not just for photography, but in life in general.

I’ve been struggling with my photography for the last few months, having previously taken so many pictures near where I live.  I guess I’m just tired of my old approaches and everything I take seems a rehash of a prior picture.  So I went out this morning and worked on the book’s first assignment – Color.  The assignment requires one to disregard nature, parks, and pretty much anything else that we normally think of as “pretty.”  The point, at least at this early stage, is to make the student look for good pictures in places most of don’t usually look – to find the hidden beauty in this world that is actually right in front of us.  It is pretty much impossible to completely avoid “nature” in this part of the world, but I ignored more than usual at least.  Anyhow, here are some pictures from this morning, focusing on color.


And here, I think, are my best pictures from this outing.