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"Double Gabled House"

One of my favorite photography past times are road trips, for the sole purpose to photograph interesting, unique, beautiful sights along the way.  These road trips (aka Photo Safaris) are normally in the Southeast: North or South Carolina and Virginia. Most of the photos in my website, http://www.erniekale.com, galleries are from these trips.  My friend and photography partner, Lew Brown, is usually along.  He and I will drive at least 500 miles on one of these outings and have driven just short of 1000 miles in a 4-1/2 day trip.  We typically begin with sunrise shots and end up eating dinner around 10:00PM after shots of the sunset.  Each of us will have 700 to 2000 images depending on the number of days.  Our photo opportunities run the gambit from old home sites, abandon cars and equipment to landscapes, seascapes and urbanscapes.  A few of the images are included in this blog to illustrate the range.  Along the way we talk to local residents of the area and often we actually meet the owners to obtain, first of all, permission to take the picture and secondly the history and local color of the scene.  I cannot tell the stories and history in my photography website galleries but I hear each story as I view the images.  I wish the viewers of the galleries could hear the history as it was told to us, it adds such richness to the image.  Often it is difficult to determine which is more important to the senses, the image or the accompanying stories and colorful history.  I view my galleries often, as the individual images bring my memory to life as I remember the telling of the history and the feeling of being there with all of my senses alive, the sights around the actual image, the feel of the air, the smells, the sounds.  Most of all it brings back the memories of sharing the moment with my photography friends.  Not just the moment the image was snapped, but the memory of the time together, our conversations as we meandered through the back country of the Carolinas and Virginia.

Winter Migration, Low Country, SC

Edenton, NC "From the Porch"

"What's in Store", St Helena Island, SC

One of my favorite stories and image comes from a five day trip in early December, 2011.  Our intent was to travel the back roads from Chapel Hill, NC to Manteo and then on to the Outer Banks (OBX).  One of our major stops was to be Lake Mattamuskeet in eastern North Carolina.  The closest town to the Lake with a motel was Engelhart, NC.  Our interests in the Lake included Tundra Swan, sunrises and sunsets over the Lake.  We never saw Swans in the numbers we were looking for.  The sunrises and sunsets were OK but the town and surrounding farmlands proved to be quite the find.  Engelhart’s reason for being has diminished over the years but I would guess from our observations, shrimping and farming are two of the major income producers.  Several of my favorite shrimp boat images come from here. Oh! but my favorite is the “Doubled Gabled House”, both the image and the story.  As the story was told to us, the house was built just outside of Engelhart and if we followed a certain road out of town we could not miss the double gables.  A gentleman built the house for a favorite female friend in the late 1800’s.  As the story goes, she actually never moved into the house and to this day no one has ever lived in the house.  The house sites in a large cultivated field with the field surrounding the house on all sides.  We had to walk through the field to get to the house for our photographs.  The house will remain since the house is proof positive that there is a homestead there.  If the house were removed the land could be declared as wetlands and taken out of cultivation.

As seen in the image the house is in total disrepair, the roof has mostly caved in, the window glass is missing and for the most part the shudders have been torn away by the winds.  Parts of the shudders do remain on the front windows.  I believe the house was originally white with red trim.  In the gallery, “Abstracts/Surreals”, I have included a shot of the front porch that shows some remains of the red trim.  Knowing the story, the house has a rich beauty to me, I will be saddened to hear the house no longer exist.  I am mesmerized by the image.

Lake Mattamaskeet Sunset

Chapel of Ease, St Helena, SC

Ashe County, NC  Barn

I would hope that as you view the galleries and the individual images you will feel a sense of what I felt when I took them.  My desire is that one of my images will bring alive your senses and maybe a pleasant memory of past times and put a smile on your face.

Some of my favorites scenes are landscapes, both mountain and coastal.  In many of the landscapes, I include something man has left behind.  I refer to these as man’s footprints he has left on the environment as he passes through.  I enjoy recording these footprints which are quickly disappearing from our landscape.  The footprints in the photos at one time were a vibrant part of the times, today they may be a shell of what they once were but, in their own way, beautiful and tomorrow they may be gone.  Each image is a snapshot in time of the history of that particular landscape.  As I travel, I am always looking for these images, these “voices of the past”.  It helps me view the present in a much different way.  I hope it does the same for you.

“Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time…”    Beth Smith

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