Last week, Murphy and I set out to find some early fall color and ended up hiking in DuPont State Forrest located in Transylvania County, also know as the "Land of Waterfalls". Situated in western North Carolina, the county is less than 400 sq mi. in area, but has over 250 waterfalls. So chances are if you're on a hike, you'll find one or two. Few things in the natural world are as awe-inspiring as water falling over a ledge, and Bridal Veil Falls is definitely one to stand and marvel at.
This past year has been one of the best years of my life, but at the same time it has been one of the most challenging. I lost my job, started a new job in a new area, bought a house, moved, said goodbye to old acquaintances, and brought some new, amazing people into my world. Recently someone asked me what my hobbies are, and I explained that I don’t have hobbies, I have passions. My biggest passion, my outlet, is photography. Somewhere in the past year I let the stresses and changes in life get the best of me. My anxiety re-surfaced and I stopped taking photographs.
We all need something in life we are passionate about. Whether its a person or a thing, passions are energy for our souls and give us drive. On my recent trip to Utah I came across the most challenging hike I’ve ever completed, saw some of the most beautiful endowments nature has to offer, but most importantly: time to self reflect and re-fuel my passion. The digital era in which we live is impressive, but nature is more than that. Nature is healing…
I think trains are cool. Not in an overly enthusiastic, build model trains in my basement while wearing overalls sort of way, but rather an appreciation for the beautifully engineered works of art they are and their iconic representation of romantic travel in the early 20th century. The other week I drove past a few locomotives that have retired from the tracks, sitting in photogenic decay.
A drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway is slow paced and relaxing. Almost any overlook or trail will reveal much of the natural and beauty of the western North Carolina mountains. I decided to drive a few miles on my way back from Asheville this past fall, and what started as a few miles ended up as a few hundred miles. As the sun when down I found out exactly why they are aptly name the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Knowing very little about the history or concept of ballooning, I decided to do some research before heading out the the Carolina Balloon Festival. Turns out, it's nothing more than a basket attached to a balloon full of hot air... Not very exciting. You sit in a basket, ignite a burner above your head, fill the balloon with hot air, rise up in the sky, and float to where the wind takes you. Definitely not the most adrenaline inducing of activities, but during my research I was able to find this tale about two gentlemen who used balloons in a duel to the death!
In 1808, two Frenchmen found themselves in a love-triangle with Mademoiselle Tirevit, a celebrated opera dancer, and took to the skies above Paris for a duel. While a crowd gathered below to watch what they thought was a balloon race, the men pulled out guns, aimed them at each other and began firing. One balloon was punctured and crashed to the buildings below, killing all on board. The other man descended to the ground unharmed, and presumably gained Tirevit’s hand. (link) While I didn't see anything as bad-ass as a balloon duel, I did manage to capture an unexpectedly impressive display of balloons lit up at night.
If you were awake early enough this morning (4:15 am for me, thanks Briane), lucky enough not to be blanketed in cloud cover, and looking to the western sky, you would have seen the moon cast in a reddish hue, a.k.a. The Blood Moon. Yes, it sounds haunting and gruesome, but it's actually the Earth's shadow being cast upon the surface of the moon, or a Lunar Eclipse. The scientifically proven reason the moon appears red is because sunlight must pass through a long and dense layer of the Earth’s atmosphere, where it is scattered. Shorter wavelengths (violets and blues) are more likely to be scattered, and by the time the light has passed through the atmosphere, the longer wavelengths (oranges and reds) dominate.
Not too long ago, some cultures, like the Mayans and Chinese, believed that the moon was being swallowed by a mythical creature or animal. Some just believed it to be the sign of a terrible omen like a plague, or a famine, or the fall of Constantinople. Yet, to this day, some still believe this to be a sign the world is coming to an end, if you don't believe me just Google "Blood Moon Prophecy"... actually don't... I'd hate to know I'm partially responsible for contributing to the spread of such foolish nonsense. Any way you look at it, the result is pretty freaking cool ...I love science.
If you knew me as an adolescent, chances are pretty good you knew I liked to set things on fire. Nothing serious or harmful, just your garden variety fire crackers, bonfires, and my older sister's Barbie dolls. Basically, anything that would make me and my buddies shout "holy sh*t!" without the risk of being grounded for the summer. As I grew up I became aware that all boys share this same pyro-desire, and as an adult I have come to the realization that there is a small part inside every man that will still get excited over the notion of lighting a bottle-rocket off.
So this summer when my three close friends and I were left unsupervised, we decided to combine our childhood love affair with fire and our adult passion for photography. The results: two shirts with burn holes, a mostly drank 12 pack of craft beer, one singed hand, and a few tasty pictures. Enjoy!