words and art by w a l t e r w s m i t h

Posts tagged “Blue Ridge Parkway

A Rewind: The Blue Ridge Parkway

A Rewind: The Blue Ridge Parkway

Over the past 2 years or more I have created over 300 new works of art. It has been a very prolific time for me creatively speaking; developing various platforms for the distribution of my art, exploring new techniques, sharing ideas and meeting new people. I recently began posting older work on my Facebook home page. I realize that as time progresses, I often attract new viewers to my online platforms. My blog offers the most exposure to my work. And it continues to provide the impetus for my creative drive. I truly appreciate those who have supported me in the past along with my most recent subscribers. Taking a page from my “A Rewind” series I started on Facebook, I think it is only proper that I do the same here on my art blog. So periodically I will post an image from an earlier post.

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Moments In Time (A Yesterday Video Remix)

Sometimes moments in time are like the possession of precious jewels only remembered briefly…..

My latest video entitled “Moments In Time (A Yesterday Video Remix)” starts off with clips from previous videos and a multimedia performance before evolving into my most recent ventures of 2012; finding new forms in the mountains of Western North Carolina. My early video work began back in 1988. Of course there were no digital cameras, and we had to use those large, bulky, VHS Cameras. At the time I was fortunate to have some rather unique video editing software, and hardware courtesy of my Amiga 1000 digital suite and the third-party supplier of a video mixer called the Genlock. Now with a HD digital camera, there is much higher resolution, creating a more definitive, sharper image. I recently purchased the Avid Studio Pro video software, and hope that the quality, and versatility will yield several levels of high performance (within a modest price range).

One of the major traits in the processing of my previous video work, has been my ability to layer video sources. So I am looking forward to using this new capability (the latest digital hardware and software) to continue this process. In the end I hope to create thought-provoking video imagery that is abstract, ambient. and minimalistic.

So I hope you enjoy what I think may be a transitional video on the path to new ideas, and processes.

Moments In Time (A Yesterday Video Remix)….

http://youtu.be/6ti_CrYaRzk


Winter Fog On the Blue Ridge Parkway

On a cool, brisk Sunday afternoon the fog rose along the ridges of the Blue Ridge Mountains….

In 2012 I hope to explore in-depth various elements of video, video art, and video abstraction. There is a lot to process in the machinations of creativity, productivity and presentation. And it will certainly take a moment or two to master linking all the various social media outlets to accommodate the various video formats.

Some of the elements I will be working with are natural atmospheric landscapes, seascapes, and cityscapes. “Winter Fog On the Blue Ridge Parkway” was filmed while ascending from Asheville, NC to the higher elevations along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The mountains here are quite beautiful, even when shrouded in mist. Hope you enjoy the piece.

http://youtu.be/41mpSmc6-d8


Weekly Photo Challenge: Mountains 02

Waterrock Knob, North Carolina

Waterrock Knob is a mountain peak in the U.S. state of North Carolina.It is the highest peak in the Plott Balsams and is the 16th highest mountain in the Eastern United States. It is the 15th highest of the 40 mountains in North Carolina over 6000 feet.

The mountain is split by both Haywood and Jackson counties in the western mountains of the state. It is located in the Plott Balsams mountain chain between the Great Smoky Mountains and the Great Balsam Mountains. The mountain’s summit is located within the Blue Ridge Parkway National Park Service unit.

The mountain is a popular destination with tourists and amateur hikers as it is easily accessible from the Parkway. A visitors center is located near its summit and a hiking trail leads to its top. The hiking trail and visitors center are manned and maintained by the National Park Service, part of the United States Department of the Interior.

This photograph was taken during a hike to the summit of the mountain. I love the view here. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a wonderful drive in which to cruise by car or bike.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Mountains

Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina

Grandfather Mountain is a mountain, a non-profit attraction, and a North Carolina state park near Linville, North Carolina. At 5,946 feet (1,818 m), it is the highest peak on the eastern escarpment of the Blue Ridge Mountains, one of the major chains of the Appalachian Mountains. The Blue Ridge Parkway passes by the south side of the mountain. It is located at the meeting point of Avery, Caldwell (highest point), and Watauga (highest point) Counties.

Until 2008, Grandfather Mountain was privately owned and operated as a nature preserve and tourist attraction. It was and still is best known for its mile-high swinging bridge, the highest in America, built in 1952 by Hugh Morton. The bridge links two of the mountain’s rocky peaks, and is known as the “swinging” bridge due to its tendency to sway in high winds. Morton inherited the mountain from his grandfather and developed the tourist attractions. He died on June 1, 2006 at the age of 85. After Morton’s death, he donated all of his photographs, including many of Grandfather Mountain, Mildred the Bear, and many other aspects of life on the Mountain to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

This Photograph was taken during an earlier visit to the mountains of North Carrolina.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Water

Grandfather Mountain @ 6,200 feet

This a photograph taken during a hike across the Mile High Bridge at Grandfather Mountain. The elevation above sea level is just over 6,200 feet. What a great place to hike and explore. Just getting to GrandFather Mountain is a beautiful journey as you travel along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway.  I found it exciting during my hike, from the base of the mountain to the bridge, and then crossing the gorge below. It was amazing to find puddles of water on the mountain top.


Biking to a Place Inside and Out / 07

In addition to challenging biking opportunities there are hundreds of trail to hike as well

One of the best places to road bike is along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. The BRP stretches for hundreds of miles (approximately 470) through North Carolina and Virginia.  It is one of the most beautiful scenic rides in the country. The parkway follows the Appalachian Mountain chain. From Shenandoah National Park the parkway follows the Blue Ridge, eastern rampart of the Appalachians. It then skirts the southern end of the massive Black Mountains, named for the dark green spruce and fir that cover them. Then it weaves through the Craggies, the Pisgahs, the Balsams to end up in the Great Smokies.  I had the pleasure of staying at the famous Pisgah Inn located on the southern end of the parkway, at Mount Pisgah about 30 miles from Asheville, NC. You can marvel at the forest-clad mountain peaks, mist filled coves, and the slopes of fragrant balsams, rhododendrons, mountain laurel and flame azalea. It was a great week of biking, hiking (Graveyard fields to the Upper Falls), art galleries (Blue Spiral and galleries in the River Arts District), independent films (La Vie En Rose, the story of French singer Edith Piaf) and fine dining (organic, Thai and Indian). But I must say that for a spectacular view, and good food, the restaurant at the Pisgah Inn with its panoramic view overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains is unsurpassed. And finally, a perfect end to an evening is sitting on your private back porch watching the sun set beyond the mountains.

Stopping to take in the view from another vantage point along the Blue Ridge Parkway


Biking to a Place Inside and Out / 06

Sometimes on the bike the reality of life and the beautiful dream become one

I am very fortunate that were I live, I can immediately access miles of rural back roads to immerse myself on my road bike. I spoke earlier about the sense of transformation that is achieved while biking. Here on these winding roads and gently sloping hills, I pass by farm lands, historic areas, woods and beautiful estates.  What enhances a great ride is the right music. There is a distinct difference in the selection of music for road and mountain.  On the road there is a need to be able to hear your surroundings for safety measures. Hence, my selection is always, soft, slow dancing ambient. My favorite band for a ride is the neo-classical ambient band from Austin Texas, Stars of the Lid. In fact, this has been the most prolific band for me in the past two years. This is aural mastery of the highest order. In contrast, when mountain biking, there really is no need to be conscious of your surroundings.  Now your music can flow anyway you like. For the mountain, I prefer long flowing electronic sounds from bands like AES Dana, Bombay Dub Orchestra and Near the Parenthesis, or French Pop artists like Etienne Daho, France Gall, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Alizee to name a few. It is here on the mountain when you need that extra aural drive to push your rhythm to its fullest—to make that climb.

Music plays a significant part in creating the aural soundscape in which to find transformation in physical movement


Biking to a Place Inside and Out / 05

Biking @ 5000 ft on the Blue Ridge Parkway from the Pisgah Inn to Water Rock Knob

And to achieve a great ride you’ve got to know and trust your bike. I ride a Trek 4300 on the mountain and a Giant OCR on the road. Both bikes have served me well and have maintained their riding integrity in spite of the miles and punishment I have put them through.

When climbing the mountains of life we come face to face with many obstacles


Biking to a Place Inside and Out / 04

Road biking at high elevation on the Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

But here in the South biking takes on a whole new dimension. It explodes with energy and beauty. Both road biking and mountain biking provide a means to an enriching and trans-formative end. This post entitled “Biking to a Place Inside and Out” includes a gallery of images that records visually that magnificent end.  And it is an attempt to express the color, beauty, emotional, and physical essence of biking. It is difficult to say what I enjoy most–road or mountain biking. They both provide their own unique challenges. The mountains of Western North Carolina, and the forest areas of South Carolina harbor great recreational parks such as Tsali, DuPont State Forest, Bent Creek, and Laurel River in NC and Paris Mountain, Southside and FATS (Forks Area Trail System (named one of the top 10 machine-made trail systems in the country)) in SC. These are moderate and difficult level trails with hundreds of feet in elevation changes. They are comprised of single track, access roads, and some, like the Left and Right Loops at Tsali, a single track that the rider navigates around a large man-made lake (Fontana Lake). In a recent conversation with a fellow rider, we discussed the horrible consequence of making a riding error and going over the edge into the lake (not good). In the winter the lake is drained and in the summer it is at full capacity.  Until then, it had not occurred to me that the prospect of losing one’s bike to the lake could become a reality.  But a challenge is a challenge, and in mountain biking especially, there can be no room for fear. Both the Left and Right Loops are each approximately 12 miles in length, and any lapse in concentration could be costly. In contrast to the obvious hazards, Tsali is a very beautiful recreational park located on the borders of Swain and Graham counties with the Great Smokey Mountains as its magnificent playground.  One can only marvel at the beautiful surroundings that become infused with every fiber of your being as you push, pedal and commit yourself to go one yard farther—to make that climb. Throughout most of these parks are rivers, gorges, tree roots, rocks, creek crossings, ravines, dead drops, imposing trees everywhere, and some that provide mountains summits that climb to 5000 feet. Expect to fall, expect to get hurt. These and numerous other challenges test the will, the level of oxygen deprivation to the muscles, balance, hand/eye coordination, timely decision making, and your overall physical stamina.

The tree obstacle on the trail at Laurel River, North Carolina