Ghost of Tybee Island

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Winter is coming……sigh.

I feel like that mighty oak that stubbornly refuses to drop its leaves, desperately hanging on to autumn, somehow thinking that if he never drops his leaves, winter won’t exist.

Every year I refuse to admit winter is coming.  I don’t put my outdoor grill up.  I don’t put the garden hose up until it is solidly frozen.  I don’t clean the filter in the furnace.  I keep my short pants and short sleeve shirts where they are readily available. My wife mistakes this as procrastination or worse yet, laziness.  She is probably right, however since I am writing this, I will use my own self-awareness evaluation.

I look out the window and I see the leaves in my yard covering the grass…sigh.  The only tree in my yard that is hanging on to its leaves is a small sapling that has grown to adolescence in my gutter.  You can see the above analysis from my wife as to why it is still there.

Sometimes I battle winter by thinking about the beach, which is why I am using this picture.  I took this timed-exposure of myself dancing on the beach at Tybee Island this summer.  It was our last night on the beach and I wanted to get a shot of the lighthouse at night.  Big Surf Daddy (as some may recall, my beach alter ego) took over.

Big Surf buries himself deep within during the winter months.  Madam Zelda would not be able to channel him to the surface even with the most cooperative séancers at her disposal.  He has never experienced darkness at 5:00 PM or snow on Halloween.  He has no idea what flannel sheets feel like, or what a comforter is.  He thinks snow cream is some sort of cocaine smoothie.

This is a  picture of  Big Surf’s last night of consciousness on Tybee Island.

I am sure he is already sending threatening texts to Punxsutawney Phil about his forecast.

If you like this photo, you can see more of my pictures here.

 

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Tree in Fog

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It was a dark night, such as the one pictured above.   Three irresponsible college males with a less-than-thought-out notion, conceived about ten minutes previous to the odyssey, set out on their trek.

Their destination was Amburgey Rock, a ledge atop Clack Mountain outside of Morehead, KY.   Their goal was to take night photos of the town of Morehead.

As you may have guessed, I was one of these adventurous lads.   The other photographer was a friend of mine.   We both worked in the Morehead State University Public Relations Department as student photographers.   We were freshmen at the time and living in Alumni Tower.

All well-planned expeditions seem to have a capable driver or guide…we had neither.   Our “capable” driver was  a friend, worldly and well-traveled, who was bored one mid-week evening.   To us,  a capable driver meant someone with a working automobile.   Our driver’s price…a night out of his dorm room.   He assured us his VW Bug would be able to traverse the terrain of the rain-soaked off-roads of Rowan County.

The next hurdle was to actually get some photography equipment.

Naturally, we assumed the university would have no problem with us borrowing $2,000 worth of their best equipment to take out into the wilds. We were so confident, we didn’t even ask.  So at about ten o’clock in the black of night, we were off…

Our trip was uneventful until we encountered a rather large mud hole about a half-mile from Amburgey Rock.   Our driver navigated this with some difficulty.   But with the will of Washington and his men forging the Delaware, we made it across.  Our driver assured us that this would not be a problem on our way out, since he already figured out the best way to get through this potential snare.

After about an hour on the ledge, taking what we thought would be Pulitzer-winning shots and reveling in the thrill of the hunt, we decided to return to the reality of our college lives and 8:00 AM classes.   We loaded up our, excuse me, the university’s equipment, thankful that we didn’t drop any of it off the one hundred-foot cliff, and headed back to Morehead.

We shortly encountered the large mud hole again.   There was no trepidation since our driver knew how to steer his car around the large muddy obstacle.

There was trepidation, however, when he thought the best away around this was to speed through the center and part it like the Red Sea.

After about an hour of pushing and pulling, we were able to free the car from the quagmire.   Unfortunately, the only way we could free it was to push the Bug back out of the mud hole where we would have to re-navigate it.   We scavenged the area and found some boards and rocks.   We placed them in the mud so he would have a dry path to drive across.

This brilliant plan was predicated on only one thing, the driver had to actually drive across the makeshift bridge we built…he missed.

After another hour of pulling and pushing on a car that was buried deeper in the mud than the previous hour, we decided it was useless.   We grabbed our, er the university’s equipment, and headed out on foot.   We felt that the car was as secure as Excalibur stuck in the stone.  It was after midnight and we had a five or six-mile hike ahead of us.

As we entered Morehead from Clearfield, a city policeman stopped us.    I’m sure we looked a little suspicious at 2:00 AM, covered in mud and carrying bags of camera equipment, walking along the road.   He inquired as to our situation and we were happy to regale him with our saga.

Finally, he said ,”College boys, huh?”.   Then he drove off into the night without offering us a ride for the final two miles of our journey.

I don’t recall being in attendance for the 8:00 AM roll call.

I took this picture of one of the trees in the Old Mill Park in West Liberty one foggy night.   It gives an eerie effect.

Night photography is very cool but takes a little more effort.   You need a tripod, a flashlight to see the settings and a camera with the ability to shoot long exposures, and as always… a capable driver.

If you like this photo, you can see more of my pictures here.

Morgan County Office Building

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This building is very familiar to most folks who grew up in Morgan County, Kentucky and have lived there anytime from the 1930’s til now.

Currently this building houses offices of the Morgan County government. Many of us Morgan Countians know this building has the “old” Morgan County High School. This school building was opened in 1937. It was built as part of the Works Progress Administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s tenure in the White House. His wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, actually came to West Liberty to dedicate the new school.

This school building stopped being used as a high school in 1974, my junior year. We moved to the “new” high school in August of 1974. I was part of the first graduating class of the “new” high school. Now those of you who are good at cipherin’ numbers should be able to calculate that the “new” high school has now been in use longer than the “old” high school. I think it’s time some of us should probably drop the “new” in our description of the current high school.

As was usually the case in years past in small towns in Kentucky and probably America, the school buildings that were built in this era of history housed more than the high school grades of the school system. This was the case at Morgan County.

I started in this building in the fifth grade. It was close enough that I could walk to school with my brother and some friends. This daily ritual changed over the years. My brother, who was four years older, graduated when I entered high school and for some reason my friends wanted to get to school on time so they stopped waiting on me. Evidently my punctuality gene stopped working at about fifteen years of age. I think I was late every day of high school. My leisurely walks to school turned into all-out sprints.

I “stayed back” in the eighth grade with two of my friends. Now for those of you who do not live in eastern Kentucky, this was a fairly common occurrence among boys who thought they had prominent athletic careers ahead of them. Staying back or repeating an early grade would give the young athlete another year to mature and thus be able to dominate those of the proper-aged-in-the-appropriate-grade athlete. It seems this premise only works if the said repeatee would actually grow to be larger than those he was supposed to dominate. In my case that, unfortunately, was not the case.

When I told my wife, who is a product of the parochial schools, that I “stayed back”, she thought a repeat of the eighth grade meant something else entirely so she started speaking slower to me. I knew I had to tell her why I added another year to my education experience so she would not question my intellectual capabilities. However, I was in a quandary. If I told her that I stayed back for an enhanced athletic superiority, she would think it foolish since I obviously had not had much of a career. So I told her the other reason, “that it was to make me more mature as a person.”

“Well”, she replied, “that did not work either.”

If you like this photo, you can see more of my photos here.

Taking Liberty Road Curve

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I saw the speedometer needle shimmy past the 100 mile per hour indicator. The landscape was blurring past like some angry impressionistic painting. I was so excited.

I was about eight or nine years old and was riding in a tan Pontiac GTO going up “new” Index Hill. That was not very difficult for the muscle cars of the sixties. Many of these cars were gone by the time I was old enough to drive and I remembered them fondly as they circled and peeled out of the Freezer Fresh drive-in. I circled in a 1965 two-toned (aqua/bondo) Corvair. I could not peel out.

This was the first time I had ever gone over 100 miles per hour in a car.

When the driver let my brother and me out of the car at our house, I told the driver in pre-adolescent lingo how impressed I was with his fine automobile and his daring driving skills. I also told him what every teenager would love to hear after cradling someone’s precious children in a land rocket speeding merrily along the road, “I’m going to tell my mother about this ride.”

Now the driver was not to keen about this certain revelation and informed me that my mom would probably not be too interested in the details of this little afternoon drive. He must have made an impression on me because, to this day, I have never told her.

I took this picture one late summer evening on Liberty Road, outside of West Liberty, KY. I wanted to get a sunset photo as it set over a field of wild flowers. The sky was not cooperating so I sat there for a few minutes and watched a few cars taking this curve.

I got my tripod out and climbed on top of my Ford Escape. I always like slow timed exposure photos and started photographing cars as they took this curve. I like the above shot. It shows the stream of the headlights along with the subtle reflection on the guard rails and road. I also got a little of the color of the sky.

As I look at this photo, I think of all those teen-age drivers that had the thrill of driving those muscle cars and how fast they took this curve. I wonder if they ever told their moms.

If you like this photograph, you can see more here.

Rome at Night

My wife and I went to Italy in the late summer of 2010 to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.  We tried to plan a trip for our 10th, 15th, and 20th anniversaries but something was always coming up and preventing us  from doing so (those darn kids  we have to take care of).  I’m sorry, did that thought slip out?

Rome was our first stop in Italy.  We landed in Rome at about 9:00 AM after a sleep deprived flight from Detroit to Amsterdam to Rome.

Our first clue as to the fast-paced life in Rome would be the taxi ride from the airport to our hotel.

We “spun the chamber” at the taxi stand and hopped in our ride, seemingly an  innocuous event.  The cab was small and did not look like it had enough horse power to match my first car, a 1965 Corvair that would shake and shimmy at 50 mph.  Looks can be quite deceptive.

After informing our driver of our destination, he welcomed us on our first visit to Italy. I did not know we were preparing to embark on a taxi ride that would make the New York and Chicago cab drivers look like they trained behind the reins of an Amish wagon.  While my wife and I were still in a sleepless haze, he shot out of the taxi stand with a sly grin. I felt like Slim Pickens riding the bomb in Dr. Strangelove minus his level of excitement.  We weren’t sleepy anymore.

Can you be terrified and at the same time be impressed?   Those thoughts don’t seem to go together, but oddly enough that’s what I was thinking as exhaustion turned to shock.   We watched our driver perform levels of multitasking heretofore I thought were not humanly possible.   He was talking to someone on bluetooth in Italian, while he was typing on a keyboard in the seat beside him and following the progress of his fingers on a monitor mounted on his dashboard, at the same time turning to pleasantly converse with us in English, all the while driving 70 miles per hour (sorry, 112 km per hour).   He was speeding through traffic along roads that had four lanes painted, however, there were six lanes of cars.  The one task he did not perform was to look in his rear view mirror as he navigated this roving chaos.  My wife and I quit talking after five minutes.  Instead we just looked at each other as if to memorize the face of the one we loved so we could be sure to recognize each other in the afterlife.

Rome is an incredibly wonderful city to visit.   Like that cab ride, I was ever amazed at how fast and furious the city moved.   I wanted to get a photo that showed the movement of Rome.   This photo was taken during our night walk across the city.   I did not have a tripod so I had to hand-hold this shot.   We stood at this intersection and watched the traffic for a few minutes while I contemplated  how I wanted to compose the shot in the camera.  I was pleased with the result since I had to hold the camera and shoot at 1/25th of a second.  It captured the movement of the traffic while keeping the buildings in focus.

We stayed in Italy long enough to make us long to return.

If you like this photo, you can see more here.