North Mountain Arts Festival

I wanted to let everyone know that I will be at the North Mountain Arts Festival on Saturday, June 5, 9:30am – 4pm, with some of the first prints from my trip to North Dakota and Washington State. In its fourth year, this festival has become one of the premiere arts events in the Panhandle Region, featuring juried artists and artisans, live music, food, and fun. The Festival is located in Hedgesville, WV at 201 North Mary Street (just north of Route 9 on Route 901)

I’ve returned from my travels and what a trip it was, “riding the rails” from Martinsburg to Chicago, and then on to Rugby, North Dakota for six days of photographing forgotten places. Then another 30 hours on the train to Seattle for a wonderful visit with family and some touring on the Olympic Peninsula.

Abandoned Truck and House, Pierce County, North Dakota

In North Dakota I was with a group of photographers participating in a shooting workshop with Tillman Crane. We had digital shooters like myself and Tillman and a couple of the others were working with large format view cameras up to 8×10. We had a lot of fun and the locations were fascinating. We explored old abandoned houses and wondered what happened to cause these places to be abandoned. Falling down barns, old rusting vehicles and farm machinery provided a wealth of weathered textures. The weather for the week was mostly overcast and on several days we were photographing in light rain and sometimes not so light winds. The last day we were treated to some snow and sleet!

The overcast skys provided a soft light, which was great for the interiors that were lit only from the daylight filtering through the windows (or sometimes through the roof!) Much of the time there was enough texture in the clouds so that even the exterior shots had interesting sky detail.

Aside from the abandoned places, I fell in love with the landscape. North Dakota is flat, but it is in no way featureless. The land has a slight roll to it that gives the landscape a wonderful texture. Most of the trees were planted by early settlers as a way to control snow drifts around their houses and barns. Trees were planted in straight lines to block the snow and wind and it was said that for a farmer to be successful he had to plant 200 trees. The landscape in this area would be a large project in itself. Maybe next time.

Drift Log, Rialto Beach, Washington

The visit to Seattle was divided between visting family and touring some places I had never been before. The Olympic Peninsula, which includes Olympic National Park, provided everything from snow-capped mountains and Pacific Beaches to one of the few temperate rain forests in the world.

The most fascinating thing we found was at Rialto Beach where the sea shore was littered with hundreds of large “drift logs”, which had washed down from the rivers to the sea and then deposited up on the beach. These weathered logs and tree stumps provided some wonderful abstract patterns and textures.

If you are in the area, please drop by my booth at the North Mountain Arts Festival this Saturday and say ‘hello’ and check out my first prints from the trip.

~ by Rsmith on May 30, 2010.

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