May 27, 2009

The Evergreen State

In about 14 hours I'll be on the plane to "The Evergreen State", aka Washington. More specifically I'm headed to Olympic National Park for almost a week and then to North Cascades National Park to do some camping, hiking, and backpacking with my brother and sister. We've never been all the way to the Pacific Coast so the first day we are going to head to the portion of Olympic thats on the beach an touch the frigid waters of the Pacific. Olympic is unique in that besides the coastal portion of the park it also boasts glacier capped mountains and a rainforest portion. We plan to wrap up the trip in North Cascades with a two night backpacking trip on the Thunder Ridge trail. It's going to take some serious engineering to get 3 people, 3 full packs, food, camera gear and day packs into a rental Chevy Aveo! Check back to the blog while I'm out for a few posts by Mr. Hajnos and then lots of photos when we return home. Woohoo here we come Washington!

Pittsburgh Steelers visit Barack Obama at the White House

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Thursday, May 21st. The Pittsburgh Steelers players and coaches teamed up with Barack Obama in assembling 3,000 USO care packages that will be sent to the troops overseas. I was thrilled to be a part of this project. Talk about tight deadlines, I found out I had press credentials about 20 hours before I was suppose to be at the White House.

Waking up at 5:30AM, I began driving (in the dark) to Washington DC. Arriving around 11:30, I ifound myself in a sea of media from ESPN, NFL Network, and more that a dozen news stations.
I tried to hold my own space as Barack Obama joined us on the back lawn of the White House. Fighting off other photogs, I managed to snap several pictures of Obama and Heinz Ward working side by side.

Other players who were there include Big Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu, Jeff Reed, and Superbowl MVP Santonio Holmes.

After the hour long event, the media was released into the city of Washington DC. I had met up with my uncle to do some sight seeing, which can be viewed via FlyingRooster flickr. You'll find photographs of the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Roosevelt Memorial, and the White House.

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May 26, 2009

The Drums Are Like The Lettuce

Next Friday, the Nth Gallery in downtown Boone will be hosting The Drums Are Like The Lettuce, The NonPortrait Show by Jonathan Ryan. (Jonathan was previously on the FlyingRooster blog doing a little painting for the show) All the info is on the flyer above, as well as on the Facebook event page. The gallery will display over 100 paintings, be sure to go by, let a little art fill your head and support a very talented artist!

May 25, 2009

Paleface in Boone

I was first introduced to Paleface and Mo in Bristol at the Rhythm and Roots festival about a year and a half ago. When Adam and I went back to the festival this year we spent a little time shooting a few promo shots with Paleface while they had some off stage downtime. With Paleface's new album "The Show Is On The Road" released, the press has picked up for the duo. With some of the articles, photos from the photoshoot we had with Paleface this past fall in downtown Concord have been published. The two links below will take you to stories from The Epoch times and The Charlotte Observer.

The Epoch Times
The Charlotte Observer

Paleface will be having a show here in Boone on June 4th at the Dragonfly. I hate I will be out of town for this show! Check out their Myspace Page for more info and to hear a little music. Don't miss the show!

May 24, 2009

Setting Sun

To keep our outdoor activity week going, my roomates and I headed out to the parkway to throw a little disc and catch the sunset, but not before stopping at Woodlands BBQ for dinner. When we sat down our server let us know that the daily special was a chicken plate with all you can eat pit cooked chicken for $5.25. We all went for it with the house sauce, a sweet and spicy mix. Woodlands serves some of the best BBQ and chicken I've ever had, if you're ever in the Blowing rock area check them out.
Out on the parkway we decided to hike the popular Rough Ridge trail (milepost 302.8), one we hadn't visited together since 3 years ago. The parkway is still fairly vacant this early in the summer which is a great time to hit the more popular hikes. The sunset was nice from the top of the ridge, although we weren't really facing west. I really like the perspective of the photo of Will I caught when I turned around to put the camera back in the pelican case. Now off to try and find a good spot to catch the sunrise.

May 22, 2009


Yesterday around noon Will and I loaded up the boats and headed for the Watauga River to do some paddling. Neither of us are by any means expert kayakers but we enjoy heading down some fun class II or maybe even class III- rapids. We put the boats in at the Watauga River Rd bridge just past downtown Valle Crucis, near the Dutch Creek Trails horse farm. We rode for nearly 4 hours with no complications, enjoying the amazing mountain scenery and the perfect weather, such as the photo with Will and the cows.
Then we went under the 321 bridge and neared the Snake Pit swimming hole. We could see some rapids ahead but they didn't look all that big...until we got really close. I tried to stop myself against a small rock long enough to zip my life vest all the way up and put on my helmet. While I wrestled with the life vest zipper before I knew it I was heading into the rapid, backwards. Awesome. I got myself turned around pretty quickly after the first small drop and then SPLASh! I got tossed over a bigger drop, flipping my boat over and forcing me to bail out. Then I proceeded to be thrown around by the violent water, around boulders and logs until I finally popped up at the bottom. Whew!!! I looked upstream to see my boat wedged between two rocks being pounded by water. Some other students who were out enjoying the sun on the rocks unwedged it and sent it downstream for me to catch.
When I got back in my boat after a little while to finish the run of river we passed a guy fishing, who soon explained that we I had gone down a class IV rapid known as "The Clog" Read the description in the link. Great. He told me that he has run the gorge section of the Watauga River as well as the Green Gorge, and he doesn't like to run that rapid. Well glad to say I survived unharmed and will be out to do some kayaking again soon, just this time smaller rapids, with my helmet on and hopefully facing downstream.

May 21, 2009

Lost Cove Waterfalls

LinkThese are from the same day as above out at the Lost Cove area of Pisgah National Forest. The top photo is an unnamed waterfall off of FS road 981. This was still early in the morning and standing in the brisk water trying to get my shotty little tripod to stay standing was a bit painful, but worthwhile. In the middle is Huntfish Falls. To get to Huntfish Falls take the 0.7 mile downhill trail 263 from FS road 464. This area is fairly crowded, especially on the weekends with campers and day-hikers, understandably so. The last shot is of a creek that flows down into the Huntfish Falls waterhole. I didn't really take any shots at North Harper Falls because we didn't go all the way to the bottom this time. Hopefully I'll be back that way soon, but earlier next time...

May 19, 2009

Lost Cove

Tate and I decided to explore part of the Lost Cove area of Pisgah National Forest today. Much to Tate's dismay I woke him up at 5am so we could get there in time for a few waterfall shots before the sun got up too high (will post those tomorrow, too tired to be happy with the editing of them now haha). First we spent a little time at Huntfish Falls until the sun quickly got above the ridge and I couldn't shoot any more waterfall shots for the day. We'll have to get up and leave a little earlier next time I guess.
After Huntfish we headed over to a part of the area I've never been to before today, North Harper Falls and the Little Lost Cove Cliffs. The trail begins at FS road 58 heading directly downhill along some slippery wet rocks, until you reach the magnificent N. Harper Falls (trail 266). We didn't climb all the way down the waterfall as you can't really climb directly down the rocks, you have to take the trail around. We instead got onto trail 239, which seemed to be an old logging road. This 1.3 miles of trail had some really nice forest that was fairly free of Rhododendron and had some large Oak and Maple trees. We headed up the Little Lost Cove trail 271A which leads up to an old apple orchard on top of the knoll. We were somewhat disappointed at the view from up top, but maybe we didn't search around enough off the main trail. We wrapped up the hike with a brief walk back up FS road 464 to FS 58, then lunch and a campfire on the creek. (All trail directions/numbers are based on US Forest Service Wilson Creek Area Trail Map)
The top photo is of the trees in the early morning golden light at Huntfish Falls. The bottom photo is of Tate crossing over a little bridge on Trail 239. It was the only bridge we saw on any of the trails all day, and looked like a hiker had spent a little time piecing together the branches it was made of. Check back tomorrow for waterfall photos and more info about the Lost Cove area.

May 18, 2009


Well the blog posts have been lacking lately I know, its been a busy week and a half with graduation (more on that later this week) and camping out with a few friends. I'm also working on a story for High Country Magazine's June issue. I spent the afternoon paddling across part of Watauga Lake in my kayak. Watauga Lake is man-made, constructed by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the 1940's. The Watauga Dam generates hydropower, using water from the Watauga and Elk rivers. With all of the recent rainfall, the lake is at its highest level since 2006. It is rather humbling to be floating around in a 5 ft river kayak on a 6,430 acre, 265 ft deep lake.

May 07, 2009

Z.S. Thomas

For the past few days I've been working away on some commissioned work for a nice fella named Seth Thomas. Seth is a fellow graduating senior up here at Appalachian State in Boone, N.C. For his senior project as a design major, Seth designed a guitar in CAD and then constructed it. The guitar is absolutely beautiful, as I hope the photos do it justice. Seth is now going to pursue guitar making as a career, starting a company called Z.S. Thomas, hand-crafted electric guitars. Check out his website link here and be fortunate enough to own one of his finely made guitars.

May 04, 2009

Tweeeet Tweet!

One of the ways I know summer is finally here is when I hear that whistle whine from over the mountain. The whistle I'm talking about is from the old Engine #12 of Tweetsie Railroad between Boone and Blowing Rock. The steam engine was originally run on the East Tennesee and Western North Carolina Railroad, running from Johnson, Tn to Boone, NC. It began operation in 1866, hauling iron ore as well as passengers. In 1940 a large flood wiped out much of the ET & WNC railroad tracks, and considering money was still owed on the railroad they were never replaced. The engine #12 that was in operation at the time was built in 1917, by Baldwin Locomotive Works. It is the last of the 15 coal-fired steam engines that were run on the ET & WNC railroad. It was sold to a group of collectors, then to Gene Autry. Later real estate developer Grover Robbins bought the engine and built Tweetsie Railroad amusement park. Tweetsie gets its name from the high pitched shrill the engine's whistle gives. To learn more about the park and the Tweetsie history, visit the Tweetsie Railroad website. The photos were taken as my first assignment ever for The Appalachian newspaper. It is probably my favorite story I had the chance to shoot.

May 01, 2009

MerleFest 09 (Part 2)

We also had the opportunity to take a few quick shots of The Greencards between their two Saturday sets. The progressive bluegrass trio is composed of Englishman Eamon McLoughlin, and Australians Kym Warner and Carol Young. They originally began playing together in Austin, Texas and have since relocated to Nashville, Tn. Adam and I first saw the Greencards in concert nearly four years ago (at one of the best shows I've ever seen) when they opened for Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan in Greensboro NC. To learn more about them or pick up an album of their fine pickin', visit the Greencards' Website. To see the rest of the photos from the shoot, see the Greencards set on our Flickr page.