The joy of hindsight

Petit Jean Mountain sunset

Looking west from a Petit Jean Mountain overlook late in the afternoon in October of 2008. A few minutes before the view was too bright, a few minutes later, it was too dark. The picture was squirreled away in my archives. A question from my wife stirred up a photo search and this is one of my unintended discoveries as I looked. Shot October 2008.

lightning strike

Click on the lightning to see how the story started.

A question from my wife regarding the identity of a tree in our neighbor’s yard sent me on a trip through the archives. After identifying the tree as one of the “hicker nut,” (hickory to the uninitiated), persuasion, I began a search of my archives to find a particular picture of the tree. I found the picture I wanted: the tree in its bright yellow fall plumage. As a bonus, I also found a picture of a lightning strike with the tree in the foreground — and a number of other shots I previously overlooked — some of which I decided were ready to be shown.

So this week, we are wandering through the archives. See the first three pictures in the search on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com. You will see the yellow tree, the lightning strike and a companion picture to the one above — and below.

Looking north from Petit Jean state part overlook

Looking north from the lodge observation area at Petit Jean State Park, near Morrilton, Arkansas. The sun is beginning to set. I shot the picture you see at the top of the page from an observation area near the bluffs you see above. I shot both pictures in October of 2008.

Around 30 minutes or so northeast of Petit Jean Mountain is Scotland, Arkansas. There is an old home place there, right on the main drag, sporting an old barn and a house with a dug well in a well shed. When I was in that neighborhood in 2008, I found a unique home place in the boondocks nearby and featured it that week, to the expense of the place in town. Now I am righting that wrong. The well shed is below. See the house in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

Dug well shed and, Scotland Arkansas

This dug well and shed are part of an old home place right on Arkansas Highway 95 in Scotland, Arkansas. It is not necessary to leave your vehicle to see it. The family barn is in the background. Shot October 2008.

 A bit closer to home, just south of Scott, Arkansas on Arkansas Highway 161 is a favorite target of area photographers: A pecan tree tunnel. I like the fall shots best when most of the leaves have dropped and you see the character of the trees. But then, that’s just me.

Pecan tunnel south of Scott Arkansas

Pecan tree tunnel south of Scott, Arkansas on Arkansas Highway 161. November 2009.

 This is not the first time I’ve shot these trees, but this is the first time for this particular picture. See the previous visit, “A tunnel of trees.” The shots are from about the same place as this one in the evening and the next morning.

sailor in tug boat crew chilling in New Orleans

This sailor is pulling crew duty as he watches the proceedings of the 2005 New Orleans French Quarter Fest to his immediate front.

 And finally, way further down south, a crew member of the St. James, a tug boat docked at a jetty on the Mississippi River in New Orleans eyeballed me just as I made this shot. I nodded to him and he nodded approval to me. Just to his front is Waldenberg Park where a big part of the 2005 French Quarter Fest activities are taking place.

Saracen Landing

Click the picture for our Weekly Grist gallery

See our Weekly Grist gallery for more archive pictures

See some flowers, the old house next to the well shed, an old structure that I can’t figure out — old school or old church — which is it? A common place sight that made an uncommon reflection, and a couple of other late evening sunset shots.

Click, go and enjoy.

Thanks for joining me in a trip through the archives.

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

The show goes on. What are you missing?

Ozark mountains near Winslow Arkansas

East of Winslow and West of Combs, Arkansas, in the big middle of the Ozarks we see a pristine winter vista unavailable in warmer months. The well-worn gravel road which meanders past this was, except for yours truly, unpopulated by vehicles. The absent drivers, unfortunately don't know what they missed. The view is south and the setting winter sun is to the right. Soon it will be dark.

In winter months when trees are “nekkid,” Mother Nature reveals some stunning views she conceals during warmer months. Much of what you see is nature’s wild side, camouflaged when the weather is hot and sticky. We started this story on what you might be missing on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com. To see two other winter pictures with other prosaic meanderings, click here, a very cool thing to do.

Back in February 2009, we found a similar set of circumstances in the woods of central Arkansas, near the Ouachita River. You can compare seasonal visions of the outdoors to the movements of a Dvorak symphony, or a Bach concerto. Each has its individual signature. Each stands on its own as a vital part of a greater creation. Each has its audience rewards. Missing a season is tantamount to arriving late at the concert or leaving early, both of which deprive one of the full experience.

Ozark mountain bluff

A bit further east, a rocky Ozark mountain bluff says, " ... look at me." Not a bad idea now. In four months, this will not be visible. The brownish spots are leaves shed from the mountain's population of oak trees. The bluff and the road are separated by a deep depression in mother earth, not visible when trees are fully clothed. I looked over the edge and decided to back up.

The mountains are sparsely populated by people with an independent streak. They simply will not or cannot abide city life. Thank goodness. If these stalwarts abandoned the sticks, we would run out of barns to photograph in a few years.

Ozark mountain barn

Now being used as a barn, I suspect this structure began its life as a home. Times got better, and the protagonists constructed new quarters. Sooner or later, the original domicile was recycled to "adaptive re-use" as a storage facility, or for all intents and purposes, a barn.

On this trip, after these shots, the short winter days ushered in darkness at an exponential rate. I rolled back to the cabin satisfied that I had seen things observed only by a fortunate few. Not a bad feeling.

Sometimes, the photos on the blog loose a bit when uploading. Click here to see high resolution versions of all of this week’s pictures including the Corndancer shots which are just fine on that site, but heck, I included them as well. Also I gave the gallery a 2009 name, but that’s my first mistake this year (heh-heh).

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind