Thursday, May 27, 2010


After a week of touring around South Carolina, it was good to be back on the home turf again. This week the blog concerns things with wings and for the most part I shot them over one of the nicest weekends we've had for awhile.

I had barely finished my breakfast on Saturday morning when my friend Ed's wife called to let me know that for the first time ever they had a mating pair of Common Egrets on their pond. So, I grabbed the camera equipment, jumped into the van and drove over to Ed's to see if I could get a shot of the Egrets.

Although this shot gives the impression that I was close to the birds, I was actually fifty yards away. I cropped the original shot to get this close-up view. The next two photographs of the pair are shown full frame.

It was a shot similar to this that I cropped to get the close-up shown above.

Watching the Egrets fly across Ed's pond to one of the two little islands in the middle.

Male Canadian Goose watches over his nest on one of the islands.

While sitting at my computer early Sunday morning, I heard several different planes flying overhead and, as is my habit, I went out to see what kind of planes they were. After about the fourth airplane, including the Long EZ that you'll see later, I said to my wife "I think they are all heading for Indiana County". Sure enough, they were headed to what is known as Jimmy's Canteen, a Fly-In All-You-Can-Eat Brunch held at the Indiana County Airport. If you are a regular visitor to the blog, you know that Jimmy Stewart was born and raised in Indiana and the county has honored him by naming the airport after him.

So, once again, I grabbed the camera equipment, jumped into the van and headed out on the half-hour drive to the airport to shoot this next series of photographs. Please check out the link for information on the upcoming Jimmy Stewart Airport Festival to be held June 12-13, 2010 and the next Jimmy's Canteen which will be held on Father's Day, June 20th, 2010. The festival is free and the brunch is only $5.

Like a moth drawn to a flame, one of the first airplanes that I took a picture of Sunday morning was this Romanian built IAR-823. This is one of only 77 built and probably was used as a trainer by the Romanian Air Force.

Dashboard of the IAR-823

I don't know how I do it but every time I shoot an Erocoupe it always turns out to be one of these pretty 1946 models.

One of the really neat things about these fly-ins is that there is a mixture of old and new technology. The old being the Erocoupe, the new being these beautifully turned-out Van's RVs. All of the Van's are classified experimental and usually built by the pilots themselves.

Four Van's RV's fly in a staggered formation as they approach the Jimmy Stewart Airport for one fly-by before landing.

Van's RV.

Considering the amount of traffic that was coming into the airport in a short amount of time, the ground crew did "a hell of a job" of getting the planes lined up on the ramp so that no one was made to wait out in the sun.

This is a KitFox experimental 2-seater.

1976 Piper PA-32R

A Long EZ out of eastern Pennsylvania heads up the taxiway.

1949 Ryan Nav-4

1968 Cessna 182L

I wish I have taken this photograph a lot earlier in the afternoon than I did. The ramp would have been full of airplanes then.

Looking over the wings of two of the Ryan RVs parked on the ramp I watched as the Romanian IAR-823 took off for its flight home.

Citabria 2-seater

1957 Piper Tri Pacer

1946 Piper, JC3-65

1974 Nanchang CJ-6A

2008 Hiperbipe SNS-7

Our last picture on this week's blog shows a female robin sitting on what I believe is her third try at raising a family this year. After a heat spell that lasted several weeks early in the spring, the weather changed drastically after the robin laid her eggs and we believe that the rain and cold temperatures were not conducive to parenthood. Just last week we had snow flurries in the area. As of this afternoon (Wednesday, 26 May2010) I can verify that there is at least two baby birds in the nest and one egg that hasn't hatched.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Spring Vacation 2010 Part 4

Saturday, 8 May 2010 -- Here we are at the end of our somewhat convoluted picture show of our trip to Pickens, South Carolina. As you may remember, our first post in this series covered Sunday, 9 May 2010. We spent Saturday out touring the area looking for a restaurant that we never found and wound up enjoying the day communing with nature and listening to some down-home picking.

Better known as Biker Bob's Bar, Bob's Place sits on the side of a mountain just below the top, in the middle of know-where, between two roads, Cleo Chapman Road and Hwy 178.

Bob's Place, in business for over 50 years.

Inside the bar is filled with mementos going back some 50 years to when Bob bought the place.

Hundreds of signed greenbacks hang from the bar's ceiling from front to back, like bats in a belfry.

Hillbilly poetry.

Bob also has bands on the weekends and the stage is just outside, across the street from the bar.

Almost every crossroads out in this part of South Carolina has a gas station on it. But what makes the stations different is that most have a small sit-down kitchen where you can get a good home-cooked breakfast or any meal, for that matter. And all have a personality of their own. It's not like going to Sheetz around here. The one shown in these two photographs, not only had a delicious breakfast but also had a great gift shop and an art gallery!

Tucked into the back corner of the gas station was this cool art gallery. You can see the convenience store reflecting in the convex mirror.

The stations are a good outlet for local hand-crafted items that are far above most of the junk that you find in gift shops along the road.

The rest of our Saturday afternoon was spent in Table Rock State Park itself.

About as close and clear a view of Table Rock as you'll see. They say it's only a three hour hike up to the top of the rock, but I'm thinking more like three days, at best.

Table Rock and the Stool -- According to Cherokee Indian legend, the Great Spirit used the stool when he sat down to eat at the table.

The Table Rock Lodge, located just down the road from the overlook above, was our destination for the day. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1938, the building underwent some extensive renovation in 2003. Saturday it was the host of a Bluegrass jam session.

Gas to Pickens $90. Admittance to Table Rock State Park, $2 per head.
Sitting in these chairs, listening to roots music, playing checkers with the wife, and looking out the window at Table Rock - Priceless.

Different Strokes.
They call themselves a "high energy bluegrass band". Take it from me, they don't lie. This group played on the lower level of the lodge while the jam session was going on on the main level. If more performers show up, there are also sessions held outside.

Mandolin player.

About once a month they hold a bluegrass jam session at the Table Rock Lodge. As you can see in this photograph of the happenings on the main floor, the events are well attended. For a small donation, you can even get lunch!

Fiddle Player.

Let the Nightingale Sing!

This close-up view of Table Rock was taken from the back porch of Table Rock Lodge as I went between the two levels.

While folks were getting lunch , this gentleman took time to mentor a budding banjo picker.

Practicing chords.

One parting shot of my good buddy, Willie.