Wednesday, February 6, 2013

MISTY RIVER

"GARY!  GARY!"
"Wa - What?  Who's there?"


"THE PORTAL IS OPEN FOR YOU.  IT'S YOUR TIME.  COME TO THE LIGHT"
"Who - who's there?  What is this?  What's a portal?"
"JUST STEP OUT OF THE BOAT AND INTO THE WATER. SOMEONE WILL COME AND GET YOU."
"But, I'm not ready yet.  I've got stuff to do.  I have dogs at home.  Where would they be without me?  I have this great job to hold down too and the critters on the lakes depend on me to watch out for them.  Who'd do that if I disappear?"
"ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS WALK TOWARD THE LIGHT AND ENTER THE PORTAL.  CROSS THE BRIDGE, GET ON THE ELEVATOR AND YOU WILL FINALLY BE HOME."
"Does that elevator go up or down?"
"ELEVATOR DIRECTION IS NEGOTIABLE BUT, USUALLY IT GOES DOWN.  WE'RE VERY DEMOCRATIC HERE.  QUICKLY NOW - THE SUN IS RISING AND THE PORTAL WILL CLOSE SHORTLY AND YOUR CHANCE WILL BE LOST. 
"Democratic?  No, no - I'll pass, thanks.  I want nothing to do with Democrats.  I'm staying here."

"VERY WELL.  IT'S TOO LATE.  YOU MISSED OUT ON ETERNAL LIFE TOTALLY FREE OF CHARGE TO YOU.  EVERYTHING WOULD HAVE BEEN FREE, NO WORK REQUIRED.  TOO BAD.  NEXT TIME - YOU'RE ELEVATOR WILL GO UP AND THEN YOU'LL SEE.  THERE'LL BE NO ONE UP THERE TO MAKE YOUR DECISIONS FOR YOU.  YOU'LL BE ON YOUR OWN. YOU'LL BE LOST AND EXPECTED TO FIND YOUR WAY WITHOUT HELP.  THE PORTAL IS NOW CLOSED."
Wow - ducked the bullet on that one.  Did that really happen or was I day dreaming?  I got to get to bed earlier.
Today's weather was scheduled to be super!  I left home way before daylight and headed toward Beech Creek and John Sevier Reservoir.  The fog was heavy near the water and I knew that when it lifted, the light of day would be perfect for photography.  Beech creek was fogged in but, there were wide open clear spaces here and there.
There were no boat trailers in the parking lot yet so I knew I was the only person on the water.  I started out on my normal routine, heading upstream at eight miles per hour following along the right hand shoreline.
I really felt the light would be super for photography and I wanted to take some really neat, quality shots.  Its been a long time since the opportunity for quality outdoor pictures has presented itself.  Winter is a gray time without much color.  The light is either bright or it's dull.  Colors are difficult to capture.  The fog was on the water today and I wanted to do my best to capture the river at one of it's most beautiful times - shrouded in fog and mist.   On a sunny day, when fog and mist evaporate from the water's surface - the resultant light of morning is usually soft and warm.  It doesn't last long and advantage must be taken before the moments are lost.   I hope you find something pretty in the shots that follow.
The sun is trying to filter through the heavy fog and mist and reflects off the dense screen of moisture that envelopes everything on and near the water of the river.  Vision is halted at an imaginary wall spanning the width of the water.
What lies on the other side?  Is there another side?  Rays of sunlight penetrate the darkness but the thick, dark permeable wall persists, giving way here and there to allow quick glimpses of waterscape, proving there is another side.

Now - where the heck is that bridge?

I turned around and looked behind me and the fog was closing back in on the river.  The way ahead looked like it was clearing and it was beautiful.
It was weird to see the fog actually following along "behind" me.  The entire experience was beautiful.

The sun was making a supreme effort to punch through to the water.  It would briefly clear a wide viewing area only to be overcome by the dense, gray fog and mist.  Short moments filled with beautiful land and waterscapes would tempt the camera lens only to quickly disappear.  This was the time between early and mid morning when the night holds on tenaciously, reluctantly giving way to the brightness of day time.  


The world becomes gradually brighter and brighter.  The sun always prevails in the end.


The river is a mix of mist, fog and sunlight all at the same time.  Look to the right and see fog.  Look straight upstream and the left shoreline is covered in a blanket of gray and the right side is brilliantly lighted by sun.
Things are in motion.  The sun is an instigator for all creatures who live on the water.  Some run for the shelter of their dens, while others listen to their internal clocks and follow the unspoken commands to seek food and sustenance.   Their ghostly forms can be seen moving here and there among the branches, logs, in the air and on the flowing water.

A wispy shadow flashes past on rapidly beating wings - the wing beats plainly heard.
There are others taking advantage of the fog's concealment allowing them to move about with impunity from natural dangers.





The sun rises higher and higher opening a window to beauty.  This is a spectacular morning I'll not soon forget.




The warmth of the sun feels great on my face.  The early morning mist is losing it's hold on the water, giving way to soft brightness.  The key word here is soft.  Wow - what a morning!


The sky was bluer than blue.  This is what I mean by great light after fog.  That sky is the perfect back drop for photographing eagles.
Or for photographing crows.
OK - It's good for photographing vultures too.

I had reached the point on the river where I needed to turn around and return to the John Sevier Dam.  I followed the opposite shore back downstream.  A little tributary named Big Creek cuts off the main river to the right.  I needed to check up there for anglers and I would be there withing fifteen minutes.  I've only been up that waterway twice and that was last year.
Big Creek is three times wider than normal.  Actually, this whole river is still flooded and heavy inflows are still coming down the Holston.  I'm curious how long it will take for the water levels to normalize.
I've been out here since before sunup and I haven't seen anything objectionable to the eye yet.  With the sun comes the chirping of birds.  I tried my best to capture more than a few nature singers but, I was only able to put the following little guys in the camera.  It's tough shooting small birds out of this boat because the engine is so very clanky loud.  I can't get near them.  Oh well - here's a couple of the little singers I was able to photograph.


There is one more player.  He kept to the shadows and I did the best I could.  Need a canoe - need a canoe - need a canoe!
The vultures were having a picnic in a farmer's field.  These birds are an absolute necessity in the wilds for obvious reasons.  Shorelines would be a haven for disease due to a proliferation of carouses that accumulate at the waterline.  Thanks to vultures - the shorelines are void of the dead and rotting.  Hats off to the vulture!!

I cruised up Big Creek until a fallen tree blocked my passage.  A turnaround was in order and back downstream I went to the main river.  Downstream I floated toward the dam for my final run on the lake that would end up back at the boat ramp at Beech Creek.



Look at the colors in these shots.  That's warm light.  Deep blue sky's are indicative of warm light.  What a morning!  I need something to photograph against that super blue sky.  Ask and ye shall receive.



Canada Geese are a common resident but, when in formation, flying high, they instill an emotion that is difficult to explain.  I guess the word pride comes to mind.  No - it's a display put on by natures children on the earth's stage for "me" to enjoy this fine, fine morning.


I cruised on down the river taking notice of the gorgeous shoreline.  It's all about light quality.


I checked out the beaver lodge and noticed the wood surrounding the right side of it rubbed smooth and the mud bank was smooth.  They are in the lodge and safe.  The water is cold enough that they probably are subsisting on forage they have laid away for the winter.  The beavers may not be out until the weather offers repetitive warm days.  But, where are the otters?  I have my suspicions.  They should have been out on the lake today.  I've covered a lot of water and I've seen none.  The answer to that question is a sad one.  I don't like to think of it.
   How would you like to live in this place?  Well - let me rephrase that question.  How would I like to live in this pace?  I'd love it! Adore it!
Of course, a few minor renovations would be necessary.
It reminds me of the gingerbread house I read about when I was a kid.  Hell - I'm still a kid.




I continued down stream and found two more fishing boats who came in behind me.  Those were the last.  I was headed back to the ramp.  But, before pulling the boat out of the water, I wanted to go on up Beech Creek for a short way.  The creek was deep with the flood waters and would be safe to run the boat on.



Good heavens - this is beautiful water.  I've not seen this quality of a water experience since Clarks Fork Of the Yellowstone River in Montana many years ago.  This water "demands" the presence of a canoe.  



This river and stream has it all.  What more could one expect to find in a wilderness experience - and it isn't the wilderness at all.  I've said it before and will so again.   Tennessee has a multitude of diverse wildlife that survives on the fringe of human madness and we had best protect that precious resource.  




These are Mutt Ducks.  They are misfits and inbred s through no fault of their own.  Yes - it's the human element that enters into the picture.  They have no heritage or history.  There is no proud linage with royalty in their blood lines.  They are castaways.  But, they know how to have fun.  I've watched them chase each other in flight and I've seen them play chase on the surface of the water.  They play and re-create just like any other pure bred species.  They harm nothing.  They're just there.  I like em.  Yet, I've heard "humans" say they ought to be shot because they taint the pure breeds of game birds.  There's that word again.  Human.


This has been a lengthy blog entry, I know.  The day was especially satisfying to me and I wanted to try to project the feelings and visions I experienced throughout the morning to you.  I hope you enjoyed the entry.
I am dying to get the canoe into the water and I'm off the next two days.  Of course, the weather forecast is rain tomorrow and the next day.  We'll see what happens.  Hope you liked the post.  Wildlife is precious.  Please try to appreciate and protect it.

Below are a few shots I hope you enjoy:  Thanks for looking in.