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At (A Little Past) The Halfway Point

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

(or, it's taken me seven months to write a new blog. Phooey.)

The promise of a new year.

Yes, it was only seven months ago that the slate was wiped clean, the great big "reset" button was pushed, and Yours Truly set out (in a somewhat, kinda sorta new-ish vehicle - okay, the CR-V had far fewer miles than the ol' Civic, even if it is a 2013 model) to find what God had set out for me to capture.

Frankly, it feels like it was only three weeks ago.

It seems once you get past the age of 50, life goes by in double time. Maybe triple time.

Time stand still, indeed...

The first winter images of 2023, taken on January 10. On my way back from fun and frivolity in Gatlinburg, as rime ice covered the high elevations on the Tennessee side of Newfound Gap.

Later in the month, and more ambitious, as (finally) I had a vehicle that could plow through whatever elements were thrown at me. This time, it was the Cherohala Skyway, as I cruised (and even hiked a little) through a winter wonderland.

Oh, and of course there's the High Country. Can't leave that part out...Elk River Falls in its winter wardrobe.

And don't forget my frozen hike on Roan Mountain...

Keeping things local, a few from near home:

And then February came.

An almost totally lost month, as I either had the flu or whichever COVID variant of the month was going round. It was awful.

But a warmer winter meant an early spring, and Tennessee saw my first spring image, near Gatlinburg, on February 20, when I finally felt human enough to get out:

South Carolina was my first spring destination in March...

Peach blossoms in the upstate at Landrum, azaleas in the Low Country in Charleston, all within a day. The delicious barbecue at Bessinger's BBQ in West Ashley was as much a highlight as the scenery...

Then April and May came...first, more South Carolina, with a brief visit at Pretty Place Chapel, my first sunrise there in six years:

Room 16 at Pixie Inn in Linville was my second home for much of those months, as I visited the early blooms in Linville Gorge, as well as breaking out my new "secret weapon," an old Nikon 14mm f/2.8 prime lens, opening up wider and newer opportunities...

The colorful rhododendron came late May near Grandfather Mountain, yielding perhaps my favorite image so far this year. Once again, the 14mm lens opened up new compositional ideas:

June brought the rhododendron blooms way up high, and despite the heavy haze, it was good fun to hike up Roan Mountain, the 14mm lens once again getting heavy work as I conducted a workshop:

And here we are in July. Independence Day saw me at Highlands, up on Sunset Rock, capturing the dramatic show. First, at twilight:

And then as the fireworks show ended:

So far, so good. I've cut back on my number of trips this year (to preserve mileage on the CR-V), and yet I've still had an abundance of great scenes. As the "silly season" of summer carries on into September, I've got some ideas in mind. Maybe you'll see those in my next blog. Maybe it won't take me seven months to write it.

But it would be nice if time would slow down a bit...

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