Fall 2022 – Supporting Our Trails

I am a lifelong environmentalist.  For almost two years now, I’ve been registered with the National Park Service as a trail steward in Doughton Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I’m supporting our trails.  I’m responsible for keeping tabs on the Cedar Ridge Trail, observing and reporting whenever any major trail work needs to be done.  The NC Mountains-to-Sea Trail, or MST, also follows the Blue Ridge Parkway through Doughton Park before it turns to descend the escarpment into Stone Mountain State Park.

So I also spend a lot of time hiking on the MST, unable to help myself, staying in “observe and report” mode as I also explore opportunities for beautiful photography and timelapse captures.  I’m working on an essay describing my adventures finding and protecting several Carolina Lilies along the MST in the park (stay tuned!).  This adventure was the catalyst for me getting to know the leaders of the Friends of the MST a little bit better.

 

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The MST is a state treasure, running 1175 miles from Clingmans Dome to the Outer Banks.  On the sections I’ve hiked, I have to say that is an excellent trail.  In order for the MST to stay excellent, it needs a lot of maintenance: volunteer hours and donations of dollars.

In addition to volunteering, I’m raising funds for the Friends of the MST by selling special edition signed and numbered prints of several recent photographs I’ve captured along the MST, either in Doughton Park or Stone Mountain Park.

Fundraiser Details

One of the things I like most about these signed matted prints is that, if you want to frame it, it is a standard sized mat, which means it will be easier to find a frame you like that fits the decor of the space where you choose to hang it.

There are twenty-five prints total: four sets of five numbered prints, and five individually numbered prints.  The prints I’ve created are mounted, matted, and protected in a cellophane sleeve, as shown here:

One of the signed matted prints for sale.

Profits beyond cost for the matted prints will be donated to the Friends of the MST.  If I sell all the prints, the total donation will be $1,375.00.  If I can raise this total by the end of November 2022, I will personally round it up to an even $1500.00!

If you’d like to purchase one or more prints, they can be shipped anywhere in the United States, or picked up in person at my studio office in Sparta, NC.  I’ve got an online order form you can fill out, which will allow me to send you a PayPal invoice, which can be paid with a credit or debit card.  

Beware: Prints are available on a first come, first served basis!!!

Below you’ll find a description of each photo print available.

MST – Doughton Park (series of 5)

Print size is 8 x 12 inches, gray matte size is 12 x 16 inches

$100

The MST is just out of the frame, to the right of this big rock.  This is one of the most iconic spots in Doughton Park.  I love the way the light hits the grass.

Fall Colors Over Stone Mountain (series of 5)

Print size is 8 x 12 inches, gray matte size is 12 x 16 inches

$100

This is a great view of Stone Mountain from the Blue Ridge Parkway, near one of the overlooks.  You can’t see it, but the MST goes down through that valley.

MST – Doughton Tree Rock (series of 5)

Print size is 8 x 12 inches, gray matte size is 12 x 16 inches

$100

This is one of my favorite trees in Doughton Park.  Where I was standing to take this shot, the MST runs directly behind me.  I’ve always enjoyed capturing natural shadows on different surfaces.  It’s like a sun signature, perhaps?

MST – Bluffs Cloud Mirror (series of 5)

Print size is 8 x 12 inches, gray matte size is 12 x 16 inches

$100

This is one of my favorite photos in my collection.  Seriously.  I came up on this familiar spot after a particular rain with lingering puddles, and got lucky enough to capture this shot.  This is the Bluffs.  One of my sanctuaries.  Clearly shown is the trail marker for the MST.

Stone Mountain (1/1)

Print size is 9 x 12 inches, light gray matte size is 16 x 20 inches

$150

This is one of the better shots of Stone Mountain I’ve ever captured from below grade.  If you didn’t know, Stone Mountain is a monadnock, which is “an isolated hill or ridge or erosion-resistant rock rising above a peneplain.”  It’s one big solid rock.  I love how the black and white shows off its beautiful texture.

MST – Storm Clouds Over Doughton (1/1)

Print size is 9 x 12 inches, light gray matte size is 16 x 20 inches

$150

This is a shot straight down the MST, headed southbound, or eastbound, toward the ocean.  One of the best things about Doughton Park (and all of the escarpment) is the constantly dynamic skies.  Never the same skies twice.  Every second should be savored.  This is also what makes Doughton such a great spot for timelapse captures.

Unknown Creek Reflection (1/1)

Print size is 9 x 12 inches, light gray matte size is 16 x 20 inches

$150

I’ve always been interested in capturing reflections.  Sometimes it’s best to slow down, be still, and look down!

MST – Foggy Morning Spider (1/1)

Print size is 9 x 12 inches, light gray matte size is 16 x 20 inches

$150

The open corridor of the MST is a haven for spiders.  With all the fog we get up here, this is a very common scene.  The early bird gets the morning dew (or fog) on the webs, with perfect angles of light!

MST – Wildcat Sunrise (1/1)

Print size is 9 x 12 inches, light gray matte size is 16 x 20 inches

$150

Basically every time I go to Doughton, I visit Wildcat Rock.  Since I was a small child.  So, I’ve been coming to this spot for over forty years.  This is a sacred space.  The MST runs along the pasture on the left, which is where the Storm Clouds shot mentioned above was captured.

The Order Form

I’ve made the order form using Google Forms.  It contains all the photos, so you can see which ones you are ordering.

Once you’ve filled out the form, I’ll reserve your print(s) in my inventory and send you an invoice.  Once the invoice is paid, I’ll ship out the print(s) to you (or hold them for you at my office).

Beerlander 2021 04 – The Ravens Commute At Sunrise

Here’s the latest episode of my podcast in the 2021 season.  It’s an essay I wrote, titled The Ravens Commute At Sunrise.

Just over 1500 words, The Ravens Commute At Sunrise briefly explores our relationship with a majestic bird, and our attitudes about anthropomorphism, anthropocentrism, and human supremacism.

You can find me on Google Podcasts and Spotify.

You can listen to the episode using this embedded player. Continue reading Beerlander 2021 04 – The Ravens Commute At Sunrise

Beerlander 2021 02 – Turtles, Towers, Time, And Temporary Towns

Turtles, Towers, Time, And Temporary Towns is the third episode in the inaugural season of my podcast, The Beerlander.  You can find me on Google Podcasts and Spotify.

You can listen to the episode using this embedded player.

Please consider becoming a supporter of my show.  Thank you.

Below you will find contents (and linked resources) that I mention in this episode. Continue reading Beerlander 2021 02 – Turtles, Towers, Time, And Temporary Towns

Beerlander 2021 01 – Steal This Episode!

Steal This Episode! (Just Skip The Ads) is the second episode in the inaugural season of my podcast, The Beerlander.  You can find me on Google Podcasts and Spotify.

You can listen to the episode using this embedded player.

Below you will find contents (and linked resources) that I mention in this episode. Continue reading Beerlander 2021 01 – Steal This Episode!

Costa Rica: Three Days Of Chirripó

Day 0 – Dec 28, 2018

We’ve been at the house near Dominical for several days now, almost a week.  It’s a nice change of pace to head to San Isidro de El General, where we are to rendezvous with Walter, our guide who will lead us to the trailhead and ensure that we’re properly registered for the trek.  The drive to San Isidro is rather calming. In the vehicle with me are my father, my brother-in-law, and my nephew, who is currently nine years old. We speculate that upon completion of our trek, he will be in the running for being the youngest person to summit Cerro Chirripó this year.  Just in the nick of time, since our calendar year is almost over.

Not surprisingly, it’s rather easy to find our meeting place—Panaderia y Cafeteria Mi K-fe—however, there is some consternation over where to park the vehicle.  We end up being able to park next to the cafe, and we head in to get some lunch. I order a cafe con leche and huevos rancheros. The waitress brings a cart to the table and makes my coffee on the spot.

Cafe con leche
Huevos Rancheros

My father has been communicating with Walter, and he joins us soon after we arrive at the cafe.  Walter is quite amicable, and I find out later he is 72 years old, even though he only looks about 55 years old.  He tells me more about Mi K-fe: it’s a local chain with ten or so locations, essentially a franchise, and if I understand correctly, the one in which we sit is the original.  We finish lunch, and the first stop is to fuel up at a gas station in San Isidro since our vehicle is almost empty. We get a brief experience of rush hour in a Costa Rican city (the second largest in San José Province) before we continue up the road to San Gerardo de Rivas in the Talamanca Mountains. Continue reading Costa Rica: Three Days Of Chirripó

Timespace: Early December Snow

Early December snow fell on Alleghany County, North Carolina.  We got about six or eight inches, with deeper drifts in the usual spots.  Of course, as a photographer, as the flakes start to fall, and it becomes apparent that we’re going to get some serious accumulation that will stick around for a while, I start thinking about the best spots to shoot, and how to get there before they’re disturbed, especially by other humans.

And I start checking the weather forecast to figure out when and where the light and snowscapes are going to be best, thanks to clouds, wind, and all those intricately interwoven variables we just can’t know.

December 9th, 02017

My father and I started on the Blue Ridge Parkway at the gate near Mahogany Rock Road, at the base of Bullhead Mountain.  Technically, I can easily hike here from the house, but I wanted to save some time and get to some good spots while the conditions were good — and potentially before anyone else got there.

Continue reading Timespace: Early December Snow

Creative Concepts: Ecological Experiential Documentation

As I continue to travel the world—and spend more time exploring my own big backyard right here in North Carolina—I’ve come to realize that I can apply my academic training, professional experience, intelligence, and creative abilities in a combined effort over the next few decades to produce what I think and believe will be experiential documents worth consuming as materials for lifelong learning and understanding.  I am conceptualizing an ongoing series of experiential documentation, taking appropriate form over time as ebooks, print books, magazines, interactive apps, websites, and perhaps even videos.

This concept first came to me when I was looking at a map of the United States and thinking about the difference between national parks and national monuments.  Based on my personal experience onsite at various national monuments, coupled with my research and perusal of the maps of these monuments and the surrounding areas, I realized that I would love to commit to exploring and documenting a sense of place in each of these areas—demonstrating their importance as sacred spaces for maintaining the natural order of our relationship with the environment and all other species with which we share it.

So, to put a stake in the ground, I created a map of all the US National Monuments.  (Yes, there is at least one that does not appear in the image.)

Map of United States National Monuments
Map of United States National Monuments

Inspired by my recent trip to Helsinki, which included a stay at the hostel on Suomenlinna, I decided to add UNESCO World Heritage sites to the map.  I figured it would be interesting to see how many UNESCO sites in North America are within reasonable proximity to US National Monuments, thus allowing me to combine several locations into exploratory experiential documentation journeys of 1-3 months in duration.

Continue reading Creative Concepts: Ecological Experiential Documentation

Side Trip to Helsinki: Sea Fortresses and Jazz Composers

During the entire month of August 2017, I traveled to Norway from the United States.  Based on the fact that it is so easy to find cheap flights between European destinations, coupled with the relatively low cost of staying in hostels (not to mention the option of Couchsurfing for free), as well as the fact that I’d never been to Finland, I decided to take a side trip to Helsinki at the beginning of my travels.

Tuesday

I left the United States on the evening of July 31, connecting through Munich to Oslo on August 1, ultimately landing in Helsinki late that night.  I was so tired that I didn’t realize I left my copy of The Snow Leopard (by Peter Matthiessen) in the seat back pocket on the plane until I got to the airport hotel.  I was quite disappointed, as I was thoroughly enjoying the book, and had made several notes in the portion I had read so far.  Matthiessen recounted an experience from the Himalayas that was strikingly similar to a recent stargazing experience I’d had while camping atop Mount Mitchell in North Carolina.

Erlandson Photography: Landscapes &emdash;
Erlandson Photography: Landscapes

Continue reading Side Trip to Helsinki: Sea Fortresses and Jazz Composers

Life Work Balance – Foggy Hike On Stone Mountain

This afternoon, I had a chance to take a break and enjoy a fast-paced solo hike on one of my favorite loops through Stone Mountain State Park.  I’m making an effort to increase and maintain a focus on life work balance, especially since I continue to find that launching a tech startup has the potential to be all-consuming of my ever increasing waking hours.

This loop is a hike I’ve been doing since I was a kid, and many aspects of the trail have changed a bit over the three – almost four – decades, including the installation of several long sets of staircases.  These staircases help people stay on the trail on some of the steeper sections of Stone Mountain, which can be pretty difficult to ascend due to the slick granite of the monadnock. Continue reading Life Work Balance – Foggy Hike On Stone Mountain