Helton Creek Falls

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Just north of Walasi-Yi at the bottom of Blood Mountain, flows Helton Creek. Following a gravel road filled with ruts and rivulets leads to Helton Creek Falls. I’ve been to the falls on a handful of occasions, but only in mid summer. During the warm season, the creek is well behaved and though great to visit, the falls themselves are not awe inspiring. However, during my visit in December, the rain was relentless for several days before the sun came out.

With the sun cooperating, Josh and I drove over the blood to see the the water and hike a little on the Appalachian Trail. As you can see, the upper falls were spectacular. The water flew over the top and thundered into the pool at the bottom. Josh pointed out the sun caught in the mist and we both started shooting.

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Just as wonderful were the lower falls. While the upper falls are vertical, the lower falls have a shallower slope. However, they were just as amazing as they roared by. We had better access to the lower falls and I could feel the strength of the water as it flowed by.

I’m glad we had the day together.Getting out with our cameras is always something that we both enjoy. Downtown, in the mountains, or in the forest, we always manage to have a great time.

High Fashion

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This weekend’s adventures included a visit to the Cincinnati Museum of Art where the museum is winding down an exhibition entitled High Fashion.

Upon arrival, it didn’t take long for me to realize that I was one of only a handful of men enjoying the display of fashions ranging from the early 1900s to the 60s. But that is fine by me because the collection was stunning. The exhibition included dresses, shoes, hats, and other accessories on loan from the Brooklyn Museum’s costume collection.

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The shoe collection dating from victorian era and the roaring twenties was particularly fascinanting.

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Towards the end of the Exhibition, was this stunning red ball gown. Compared to the less luminous dresses that surrounded it, this dress stood out for its  bold red and lines. I was struck by the wonderful curves. This dress was made for a woman with classic curves, not a thin waif.

Combined with viewing an exhibition entitled After the Moment: Reflections on Robert Mapplethorpe at the Contemporary Arts Center and an amazing late lunch of Jerk Chicken at Island Frydays, and you could say that I had a great day.

As a side note, I made sure to ask the docent if photos were allowed. She laughed, stating that the museum originally banned photography, but they got so tired of telling visitors not to take photos, that they changed their policy and allowed cameras sans flash. Good enough for me!

Have a great week, folks.

Jason Morgan

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Jason Morgan is a local painter who is know for his portraits and hyper realistic still life paintings. His work has been showing at the Art Museum in Springfield, OH since mid summer and I saw him soon after the exhibition opened (You can see his work in the background of the photo). Over the weekend, I had some spare time and decided to take an hour and see if there was anything new at the museum. I was surprised to see Jason painting in the middle of the exhibit while answering questions from the gallery visitors. I’d say that was pretty good planning (pure luck) on my part.

As a non-painter, I was really interested to hear about the process of painting as well as what inspires him.the entire experience left me better educated as well as in a position to better understand his work. My hat is off to the folks on the museum staff that arranged for Jason to paint live and answer questions.

If you are in the central Ohio area, give the museum a visit. I think you’ll agree it’s time well spent. You can find out more about the museum here.

 

We Had a Ball

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Last year was the first in a number of years, that I was not able to shoot the New Year’s Eve Grand Ball, held in South Charleston, OH. The ball raises money to preserve the local opera house as well as a number of other local landmarks. You can imagine how excited I became when I found that I could make it to the ball this year.

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This is a stunning event. Live music, gorgeous dresses and uniforms, wonderful ball room, and more. For a photographer, the event is also a real challenge. The lighting is dim and the dancing means plenty of motion. Bring your fastest gear because you will need it. I struggle with the low light. Most of the night, I shot with an 85mm prime set around f1.7, ISO 1600 and speeds in the 1/30 – 1/80th of a second. Unfortunately, my camera body can’t create usable images at higher ISOs.

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Want to see the rest of the pictures from the ball?
I thought you might, so I created a Flickr album. You can find it here.

Walasi-Yi

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In northern Georgia, at the top of Blood Mountain is one of the most wonderful views you will see in the area. The mountain is crowned by Walasi-Yi (pronounced Wa La See Yee and means The Big Frog), a small interpretive center and hiking supply store. It’s the only location along the application that passes under a roof. The area is also known as Neels gap (originally named Frog Town) and is just thirty miles or so from the beginning of the trail.

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Located in front of the store, is a massive oak with dozens of boots hanging from its branches. When I look at them, I wonder about the stories they could tell of the many thousands of miles they have seen along the trail. Some look almost new while others are patched with duct tape and are barely holding together.

If you’ve ever hiked the AT, let us know in the comments.