Stike’s Holler

While visiting my younger sister and brother-in-law’s cabin in Ashe County, I was introduced to this picturesque little hollow, or holler as pronounced by folks in the Appalachian Mountains, along Buffalo Creek on Hwy 88.  The holler was north of West Jefferson, and right below Warrensville.  Later in October, I passed by to scout the sun position to determine the best time of day to photograph.

Stike's Holler Composition 1
Stike’s Holler Composition 1

Luckily, there was an older gentleman carrying items in and out of the lower right shed.  I walked across the bridge over Buffalo Creek up the hill to introduce myself and asked permission to take pictures on his property.  He said yes, and introduced himself as Fred Stike.

Stike's Holler Barn Composition 1
Stike’s Holler Barn Composition 1

I mentioned there were local artists which made paintings of his property.  Fred acknowledged his property’s appreciation in the local art community and went on to explain he was born in the lower house and now lived solely on the property by himself.  He noted local folk referred to his home as Stike’s Holler, and his sister had previously lived in the house further up on the right, but had moved to a home nearby on Buffalo Creek.

Sinking Shed in Stike's Holler Composition 1
Sinking Shed in Stike’s Holler Composition 1

Later in the week, I returned in the morning with my camera, but Fred was either not up or not at home.  I wish I had an opportunity to take his portrait.  The hill leading up to the barn on the top left and sinking shed on the top right was a bit steeper than it appeared at the base.  The stream in the center of the property had a slow trickle of water.  I found it fascinating how the structures were built into the hillside.

Sinking Shed in Stike's Holler Composition 2
Sinking Shed in Stike’s Holler Composition 2

While photographing the barn and sinking shed at the top of the hill, I could feel the ground was quite soft.  Perhaps the rocky soil has over time allowed dirt to wash through causing the shed’s foundation to sink on the uphill side.  I took a moment to image what this small mountain farm was like when Fred was a young boy.

Old House in Stike's Holler
Old House in Stike’s Holler
Stike's Holler Composition 2
Stike’s Holler Composition 2

I plan to drop some of these photos off the next time I visit Ashe Country and perhaps capture an outdoor portrait of Fred. Thank you for stopping by and Happy Thanksgiving to all especially all my good friends on WordPress! For the best viewing experience, click on an image to experience a high resolution version.

Cheers!

C. S.

Fall Beauty on the Back Roads of Watauga County

With its high-country artsy shops, dining, and vacation attractions, Boone, NC is the well know seat of Watauga County.  It’s also the home of Appalachian State University.  During my 2021 fall foliage expedition, I was committed to exploring the lesser-known county back roads.

My first stop was this lovely red barn as I started my drive along Meat Camp Rd up to Elks Knob State Park.  From the Elk Knob a parking lot, a 2 mile hike to the 5520 ft. summit offered gorgeous views of the surrounding landscapes.  Grandfather Mountain is in the center left on the horizon line.

Red Barn on Cobb Creek 1
Red Barn on Cobb Creek 1
Elk Knob Southwesterly Landscape 1
Elk Knob Southwesterly Landscape 1

Later I explored Howard’s Creek Rd, over to Hwy 421, and then on to the far western parts of the county near the board with Tennessee.  While exploring, you drive along in anticipation of your next photographic find!

Old Barn on Howard's Creek Rd
Old Barn on Howard’s Creek Rd
Old Barn in George Gap Composition 3Old Barn in George Gap Composition 3
Old Barn in George Gap Composition 3
Old Barn in Georges Gap Composition 1
Old Barn in Georges Gap Composition 1

For the color images in this post, I used Alien Skin’s Exposure 6 to create a blend of slide film emulations. I started with a base emulation of Kodachrome 25 and then blended an emulation of vintage 70’s era Kodachrome. I’m quite fond of the result which slightly narrows yellow tonality range in favor of a bit more orange. It also restrains overly saturated greens. A great look for fall colors!

Abandoned Building on Bulldog Rd
Abandoned Building on Bulldog Rd
Abandoned Building on Bulldog Rd Detail
Abandoned Building on Bulldog Rd Detail

Thank you for visiting! For the best viewing experience, click on an image to view a high resolution version.

Cheers,

C. S.

Blue Ridge Parkway, Fall Beauty, pt3

Six additional compositions from my 2021 fall foliage expedition on the Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina. The first two compositions from Hawksbill Mountain represent my return to this location in the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area. My previous visit was sometime in the mid 70s as a young teenager with my late father and Boy Scout troop.

Hawksbill Mountain Sunset 2
Hawksbill Mountain Sunset 2

At the start of the summit trail, I met and hiked to the top with another photographer Anthony Heflin from Kentucky. We hung out, talked photography shop, and shot the sunset and twilight from Hawksbill together. Wow, what a wonderful experience. As I later discovered, Anthony is an amazing photographer!! You must visit his portfolio site.

Hawksbill Twilight 1
Hawksbill Twilight 1

The reaming compositions are from various locations on the Parkway closer to Grandfather Mountain.

Grandfather Mountain Landscape 1
Grandfather Mountain Landscape 1
Price Lake Fall Morning Landscape 1
Price Lake Fall Morning Landscape 1
Linn Cove Viaduct and Grandfather Mountain 1
Linn Cove Viaduct and Grandfather Mountain 1
Price Lake Fall Late Afternoon Landscape 1
Price Lake Fall Late Afternoon Landscape 1

Thank you stopping by today. See more fall color from my Blue Ridge Parkway gallery site. I dedicate this post to the veterans world wide who serve to keep their country safe! Happy Veterans Day!

Cheers,

C. S.

Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Beauty, pt2

I took the week of October 11th off to explore Ashe and Watauga Counties in North Carolina, including sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is the second in a series of posts from my 2021 fall color expedition. The first image vantage point of the Linn Cove Viaduct is one of the most photographed spots on the parkway. I was fortunate to have the help of these cyclists to get a unique shot.

Cyclist on the Linn Cove Viaduct
Cyclists on the Linn Cove Viaduct

Fortunately it was a weekday on the parkway, otherwise, it would have been way too crowded this time of year.

Approaching Grandfather Mt on Blue Ridge Parkway 1
Approaching Grandfather Mt on Blue Ridge Parkway 1

The Rough Ridge Overlook is little further away from the Linn Cove Viaduct and Grandfather Mountain. Its only a moderate 15 minute hike from the parkway and offers a spectacular view of both features. Other photographers and I were treated to amazing waves of clouds pushing through at sunset.

Rough Ridge Cloud Silhouette Color
Rough Ridge Cloud Silhouette Color
Rough Ridge Sunset 2
Rough Ridge Sunset 2

Thank you for taking time to visit, more fall color to come. For the best viewing experience, click on an image to see a high resolution version.

Cheers,

C. S.

Phipps Barn Complex in Ashe County

Exploring backcountry roads in Ashe County last month, I got quite excited as this large, beautiful old barn complex appeared on Silas Creek Rd came into view.

Phipps Farm Composition 2
Phipps Farm Composition 2
Phipps Farm Composition 4
Phipps Farm Composition 4
Phipps Farm Composition 3
Phipps Farm Composition 3
Phipps Farm Composition 1
Phipps Farm Composition 1

Near the mountain town of Lansing, this sprawling barn complex sits just across the street from the Phipps Country Store, a Friday night gathering spot for local musicians.  I hope to visit this old barn again in the coming weeks to capture its beauty with fall color. For the best viewing experience, click on an image to see a high resolution version.

Cheers,

C. S.

Hilton Head Island, pt 3

More beach and landscapes from Hilton Head Island. This series is the first deep dive into my new Nikon z7ii and Nikkor Z 28 – 70mm f2.8 lens. Thus far I have been impressed by the extended dynamic range, low noise and detail as compared to my D720. With the extra resolution, I’m retraining myself to not crop in as close. Not only does it provide more composition opportunities in post, but this also allows squeezing out a little more depth of field when desired.

Bass Beach Dune Fence Composition 1
Bass Beach Dune Fence Composition 1
Palmatto Composition 1
Palmatto Composition 1
Shipyard Dr Pond Composition 2
Shipyard Dr Pond Composition 2
Palmetto Tree and Beach Composition 2
Palmetto Tree and Beach Composition 2
Live Oak, Reconstruction Fern, and Spanish Moss Sculpture 1
Live Oak, Reconstruction Fern, and Spanish Moss Sculpture 1

If you’re viewing on a monitor, you can really appreciate the output of the Z7ii by clicking on an image to see a high resolution version. Thank you for taking time to visit, and please stay safe. The end of the pandemic is in sight!

Cheers,

C. S.

Monochrome Monday: Hilton Head Island

Last week my wife and I joined some friends for several days on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. This was my first visit to the island. I expected a commercially overdeveloped landscape, like many other popular beach destinations in North & South Carolina. To my surprise, local ordinances have subdued commercialization and preserved much of the island’s natural beauty.

Palmetto Tree and Beach Composition 1
Palmetto Tree and Beach Composition 1

When visiting a new location, I always take an interest in understanding the local history, culture and biodiversity. As my youngest son attends the University of South Carolina, I knew the SC was known as the Palmetto State. Before my trip, I would have identified the two trees below as two separate species. They are actually both Palmettos (Sabal Palm) trees. Palmettos loose their weaved “boot” barking once they mature.

Two Palmettos Composition
Two Palmettos Composition
Calibogue Sound Fog Composition 2
Calibogue Sound Fog Composition 2

The numerous stately live oaks, imbued with Spanish moss and reconstruction ferns, contribute to the island’s natural charm. The weather was overcast most of the week, but I’ve found such weather quite an opportunity for photography.

Live Oak and Spanish Moss Composition 1
Live Oak and Spanish Moss Composition 1
Calibogue Sound Fog Composition 3
Calibogue Sound Fog Composition 3
Live Oak and Reconstruction Fern Detail 1
Live Oak and Reconstruction Fern Detail 1

Thank you for visiting and please stay safe! For the best viewing experience, click on an image to view a high resolution version.

Cheers,

C. S.

Craggy Gardens Tree, Root, and Rock Compositions

From my Blue Ridge Parkway expedition this past October, this wonderful spot along the Craggy Pinnacle Trail offered many intriguing tree, root, and rock compositions. A quick point on inquiry, has anyone noticed WP adds about +5 red tint to color photos?

Craggy Pinnacle Trail Tree, Root, Rock Composition 1
Craggy Pinnacle Trail Tree, Root, Rock Composition 2
Craggy Pinnacle Trail Tree, Root, Rock Composition 2
Craggy Pinnacle Trail Tree, Root, Rock Composition 3
Craggy Pinnacle Trail Tree, Root, Rock Composition 3
Craggy Pinnacle Trail Tree, Root, Rock Composition 4
Craggy Pinnacle Trail Tree, Root, Rock Composition 4

For the best viewing experience, click on an image to see a high resolution version from my portfolio site.

Cheers,

C. S.