Saturday, 06 April 2019 21:44

This Ancient Land

A slender red maple (Acer rubrum) sapling struggles for a place among already-mature eastern yellow poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera). Both are common to the eastern cove hardwood forests of the Smokies. Bonnie and I criss-crossed the Park yesterday in search of spring, and we found it nearly everywhere we looked already well-underway.

A focal length of 300mm, moderate telephoto-land, gave me the narrow angle-of-view I wanted to isolate portions of the maple and the tuliptrees. An aperture of f/22 provided depth-of-field, which, because of where I drew actual focus, and combined with the focal length, was not deep enough to carry all the way through to the background. These, combined with a shutter speed of 1.0 second at ISO 100, gave me an overall somewhat lighter-than-medium exposure.

The vernal splendor of the Great Smoky Mountains is the delightful outcome of the great diversity of the cove hardwood forests and other forest types. We are blessed by their presence and scope; we are their stewards; their gift to us in return is the beauty and serenity of a world simultaneously ancient and original.


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  • Comment Link Donald McGowan Thursday, 11 April 2019 20:17 posted by Donald McGowan

    Good evening Everyone. Thank you all very much for joining me for this conversation and for the interesting and insightful thoughts and feelings you have expressed in response to this Image. It certainly will not win great praise from the wide-angle folks; but what is a generalist to do in the big woods with trunks and branches in every direction but to "see" in a more conscribed way.
    Hi Lynne. It's great to have you join us. I really appreciate your kind and thoughtful comment; and coming from a student of the artform, I am very touched by your comparison. I had to chuckle as I thought about it, for I could just see someone handling the trunk of a very mature yellow poplar as part of an Ikebana arrangement. The relativity of it seemed quite amusing. Hope you and John are having a wonderful time in OBX.
    Hi Marcia. Thank you for being with us and for taking the time to share your thoughts and feelings. The diagonal of the fragile maple sapling seemed to shout its presence from among the vertical poplars, but it took some thought before I could see how the fit together. Glad you responded to it so positively.
    Hey Lynne. To be honest, we weren't quite sure where we were going to be over the course of the day. When we have a more settled plan we'll let you know; we would love to see you, as well. You have found some special places; and we'd love to share some of our finds with you. I can hardly believe how quickly the season is advancing.
    Hey Joel. It's great to hear from you! Thank you for your kind words and beautiful description. You have set out a wonderful contrast for us to consider, just another of so many we know to exist in the wonder of the natural world. Lacy and spring also seem to go together in ca most natural way. Hope you are having a beautiful spring. We're looking forward to seeing you before long.
    Hey Kev. Thanks for being with us. If both of my St. Louis friends respond to the same Image, I must be doing something right, and maybe that's it: I've been around Bonnie Cooper so long she's rubbing off on me, as they say. Thanks for pointing out the patterning that working here. If you walk around with the elements of design in your head, you are bound to find somewhere to plug them in eventually. Glad to hear that Boot Camp is progressing well. I'll look forward to hearing about the changes ahead.
    Hey Nancy T. It's great to hear from you; and I like everything about your excellent and thoughtful description of this Image, especially the delicate and lacy aspects. The contrasts you point are spot on: lines and textures, brightness and smallness, large and tiny shapes. Wonderful way of seeing how the "fits" come together. Be well.
    Howdy Michael. It's always good to have you join us. I hope you are having a beautiful spring. I'm thinking about you and a Cape Cod coastline. Your description is exactly what I felt as I stood among all of that forest complexity - a deep simplicity. Thank you, my friend. Walk in Beauty.
    What a wonderful collection of ideas for us all to consider. You have taken a field of complexity and helped us to see it in a straightforward had uncomplicated way. It is, indeed, a whisper of spring.

  • Comment Link Mike Di Stefano Monday, 08 April 2019 20:49 posted by Mike Di Stefano

    Howdy Don, love the simplicity of this image, fine detail, and memorizing quality.

  • Comment Link Nancy Tripp Sunday, 07 April 2019 19:29 posted by Nancy Tripp

    Wow! It looks like a whisper of spring, very delicate with tiny flowers and tiny branches fading to white. A great find and capture. There are so many lines they are creating texture and the brightness of the background makes the flowers more prominent. I also like how you captured the contrast of the dark, large trees, and the tiny flowering branches. I like that it is vertical in fact I like everything about this one. Thanks for sharing.

  • Comment Link Kevin Desrosiers Sunday, 07 April 2019 15:38 posted by Kevin Desrosiers

    Once again, Bonnie esque, but as you said, that is a good thing. We all learn from each other. I like the subtleness of the colors. Also had fun seeing the patterns in the branches. Answering your question from last week's post, boot camp is going well, but there will be a change on the horizon.

  • Comment Link Joel Price Sunday, 07 April 2019 13:49 posted by Joel Price

    Lovely. You've caught the delicate laciness of spring, so fragile yet so strong.

  • Comment Link Lynn Harrison Sunday, 07 April 2019 10:11 posted by Lynn Harrison

    You should have let me know you were around. I would have loved to see Bonnie and you. I have a couple of places unknown to most, that has some Larkspur (white, variegated and purple) in bloom as well as some other wonderful wildflowers showing their colors. I have even found Green Violets.

  • Comment Link Marcia Perry Sunday, 07 April 2019 09:39 posted by Marcia Perry

    This strong vertical, with subtle color, and a few diagonals is a beautiful image of early spring. Thank you for seeing this and capturing it so thoughtfully.

  • Comment Link Lynne Diamond-Nigh Sunday, 07 April 2019 08:12 posted by Lynne Diamond-Nigh

    Beautiful image, Don, so Ikebana-like.

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