Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Ohio River’

The Sand Rover, May 2014, Falls of the Ohio

 

A gorgeous morning at the Falls of the Ohio and the urge to explore is strong.  Our current spring pattern is holding.  We will have a few days of steady rain resulting in localized flooding which is then followed by the river rising as all that water seeks the lowest level and here we are after all at the bottom of the Ohio River Valley!  The latest reports on the potential effects of climate change for our area have been predicting this.  In the years to come, we can expect more fierce storms with heavier than usual rainfall causing periodic flooding.  Actually, that’s just one prediction among many.  There is also the specter of hotter summers and invasive, non-native species among other scenarios.  We will each do what we feel compelled to do to cope with it all.  For now the sky is mostly clear and the river has retreated and it’s time to break out the old sand rover and see what there is to see and find what there is to find on the banks of the Ohio River.

Sand Rover, Falls of the Ohio, May 2014

We don’t need to travel very far to stumble upon unusual objects and startling sights.  The flotsam and jetsam that can’t evade the stronger currents and navigate that hard left turn westward towards the Mississippi River get deposited in the park.  Something flesh-colored has been spotted lying on the surface of the sand and our intrepid driver moves in closer for a better look.

Headless Barbie knock off doll, May 2014

Upon inspection it turns out to be a headless, knock-off copy of a Barbie-style doll.  It’s made from cheap, hollow plastic instead of the more rubberized material that the better Barbies are made from. Thus far, this has been a good year for finding dolls at the Falls of the Ohio.  I seem to find one or two new ones each time I come out here.  Of the common objects that I routinely find…all these dolls still strike me as being especially odd and sad.  Taking a picture, it’s back aboard the sand rover and on to our next stop.

Detail of Sand Rover driver, May 2014

We don’t need to travel very far for our next discovery.  With the sun up, there is a strong glare emanating from something shiny half buried in the sand.  Pulling up to the object, our driver is  startled and bemused to find a glass jar of spaghetti sauce!

Partially buried jar of spaghetti sauce, Falls of the Ohio, May 2014

Would you believe me if I told you this is not the first jar of pasta sauce found out here?  Because it is relatively easy to prepare…I’m assuming that spaghetti is among the more popular dishes among folks who like to recreate around the river?  Over the years, I have also found jars of pickles, condiments, soup, and one very large, memorable jar of bologna.

sand rover, May 2014, Falls of the Ohio

The sand rover crosses over the sand easily, but it’s a different story near the edge of the river where sticky, thick mud cakes the ground.  As the sun dries the water out of the fine silty mud, deep cracks appear and widen with the heat.

Sand Rover and mud, May 2014, Falls of the Ohio

The driver decides that caution is the proper way to navigate around this mud.  This surface can be deceptive and it’s easy to step ankle to shin deep in this sticky quagmire.  You could lose a shoe in this stuff and I’m speaking from experience!  Once your shoes are coated with this mud…it’s hard to get them clean again.  You can tell where I live by my front porch…it’s the house with the muddy shoes lined up in a row.

Sand Rover at the Falls of the Ohio, May 2014

Carefully maneuvering around the pitfalls, the sand rover is once again safely on the shifting, but surprisingly secure sand.  There are other river treasures within view worthy of investigation.

baseball losing its cover, May 2014

A water destroyed baseball lies nearby.  This is more of an old-style ball because its core is still made with string wrapped tightly around a hard rubber core.  The covers, however, are not leather and so this isn’t an official baseball of any sort.  Just a little further down the beach is another toy that was immersed in the former liquid sand and now lies trapped in a fine granular matrix.

toy truck half buried in sand, Falls of the Ohio, May 2014

Once upon a time, this may have been a remotely controlled vehicle?  The style of this truck looks like military vehicles I have seen.  Having explored the sand, it’s time to cruise by the driftwood.

sand rover, Falls of the Ohio, May 2014

Having initially spotted something lying on the driftwood, the driver decided that he would check out the mystery object more thoroughly upon his trip home.  The closer the driver approached the stranger the object became.  In fact, he felt it was looking right back at him.  Parking the sand rover nearby, the driver climbed upon the driftwood to get a better look and this is what he found.

partial, artificial deer head, May 2014

It was heavily weathered, but there was enough present to suggest that this was the hard foam head of a deer.  The driver thought that this was perhaps part of a taxidermy trophy or maybe the head of a figurative archery target?  The object’s single dark eye was piercing and made the driver uncomfortable.  Satisfied for now, the driver climbed back aboard the sand rover and headed towards home.

head of the sand rover driver, May 2014

Well, there you have it, another interesting day at the river.  The driver was glad he came since each excursion promised new sights and mysteries to solve.  Already the next trip was being anticipated and all that was now required was for nature to cooperate.  It’s still spring and we shall see how it goes at the Falls of the Ohio this year.

Arching willow at the Falls of the Ohio, May 2014

Read Full Post »

Black Vultures on the Fossil Beds, Falls of the Ohio, Sept. 2013

The resident flock of Black Vultures were taking advantage of the fossil beds now exposed on the Kentucky side  of the Falls of the Ohio.  The wier dams were temporarily closed and with it the flow of water.  With the river level reduced much of the sculpted limestone normally underwater is briefly seen again.  Fishermen have been accessing new fishing spots along the freshly revealed fossil beds which turns out to be a boon for the vultures.  Not only do they get to feast on fish left by the anglers, but they also enjoy any other trash including left over fishing bait.  Early autumn is a transitional season among the park’s bird life as residents gear up for over-wintering or prepare for the southerly migration.  Birds from the northern latitudes particularly Canada and the Arctic Circle pass through our area on their epic journeys to Central and South America.

Canada Geese feeding on grass, Falls of the Ohio, Sept. 2013

The vultures will fly away, but many of our Canada Geese will brave it out.  We seem to have at least two distinct flocks of Canada Geese sharing the area around the fossil beds.  It’s amazing how intolerant each group is of the other.  There is competition for the best food sites and each group frequently bump into one another with much squabbling.  That’s what makes the next image interesting to me.

Domestic goose mixed with the Canada Geese, Falls, Sept. 2013

Canada Geese can have limits on how much mingling occurs between their own species, but in this case, are willing to accept a true outsider.  This domestic goose seemed integrated into its adoptive flock.  It swam with its wild cousins and accompanied them to a favorite feeding location and was never bothered by the other geese.  Recently, I came across a young Cooper’s Hawk and I was surprised when it did not immediately fly away after I bumbled across it.  There was a good reason why it didn’t leave.

Young Cooper's Hawk, Falls of the Ohio, Sept. 2013

The hawk sized me up and then jumped down off the log it was standing on to retrieve something it had dropped.

Young Cooper's Hawk with prey, Falls of the Ohio, Sept. 2013

The hawk had what appeared to be a freshly killed Mourning Dove.  After securing its prey with its talons, the hawk seemingly jumped into the sky and  vanished within moments.  I thought I saw it disappearing into the tree tops of a stand of willow trees within walking distance.  I did investigate the area, but never saw the bird again.  I love it when I get to observe behaviors.  Life has a job to do and can’t wait around posing for pictures.  Here’s a different kind of behavior being demonstrated by an American Robin.

American Robin bathing at the Falls of the Ohio, Summer 2013

I love this image which I captured earlier in the summer.  This American Robin is focused on taking a bath.  Its head is under the shallow water and droplets and beads of water are splashed over its body.  Our resident American Robin population is doing well and seem to be increasing at the Falls of the Ohio.  Some of the robins will hang out over our gray winter, while others will seek warmer climes.  My last adventure to the Falls resulted in images of a bird that I had never recorded previously in the park.

Gross Blue Bill at the Falls of the Ohio, Falls of the Ohio, Sept. 2013

Gross Blue Beak and flowering plants, Falls of the Ohio, Sept. 2013

The Gross Blue Beak is strictly passing through and in fact, this is the first recorded instance of this bird appearing in the park.  Good thing I have all this photographic proof that the bird was here because the resident birders are a skeptical lot.  Reputations and lifetime bird lists are at stake and there is a great burden of proof to produce irrefutable documentation.  This bird has traveled thousands of miles from the edge of the Arctic Circle in Canada and is bound for the Argentine coast.

Gross Blue Beak with corroded aerosol can, Falls of the Ohio, Sept. 2013

portrait of a Gross Blue Beak at the Falls of the Ohio, Sept. 2013

The Gross Blue Beak receives its name not because it has disgusting habits that require an out-sized bill.  Rather the “Gross” idea comes from the German word for “large” .  The Ohio River Valley was settled by many immigrant groups and the Germans were among the most prominent.  This bird’s beak is a heavy-duty tool it uses to crack open nuts, crush mollusks (particularly snails), and jack hammer soft decaying logs in pursuit of beetle grubs.  All three of these food sources are found at the Falls of the Ohio.

Gross Blue Beak at the Falls of the Ohio, Sept. 2013

I was able to get quite close to the Gross Blue Beak to snap off these images.  I’ve noticed before that many northern migrants of various species will allow me to approach more closely than the local birds that are around people more.  Perhaps that’s the key?  For the moment, the region around the Arctic Circle has seen less of our influence than other places in North America.  To close, I have one other bird image, but it is noteworthy because of the people in the far distance.  Recently, I received a question about the back wall that is a part of the system in place to produce a stable pool of river water for commercial barge traffic.  I’ve heard that the Ohio River carries more tonnage of goods along it’s 800 plus miles than the Rhine River does in Europe.  The back wall of this dam is quite high up and the actual river level is perhaps a meter or so below the top of the wall.  Beyond the Great Blue Herons, the small band of hikers provides some sense of scale on how the river would be over their heads!  When you are walking the now exposed fossil beds…it’s a sobering thought!

Great Blue Herons and hikers on the fossil beds, Falls of the Ohio, Sept. 2013

Read Full Post »

Tree in the western section of the Falls of the Ohio State Park, Aug. 2013

Resolved to stay away from my old atelier under the willow trees for a while, I decided to explore the western section of the Falls of the Ohio State Park.  It was just the most beautiful day and residents of our area have remarked on how unusually nice it’s been of late.  The air today has wonderful clarity and although it’s summer and the sun is shining…we are many degrees below our usual temps.  I feel the western part of the Falls of the Ohio begins once you cross the creek at the end of the Woodland Loop Trail.  This is an area that receives fewer visitors and I’m happy just to wander with nothing on my mind.  As I walk the narrow strip of land that is the riverbank, on my left are sounds from the river and on my right are various bird songs originating under the tree canopy.  I see the formerly high river has deposited driftwood here in new configurations along with the usual plastic junk.  My eyes are open and ready for anything.  I doesn’t take very long before I make the first of several discoveries new to me in and around a patch of Wild Potato-Vines.

Goldstein's False Mum among Wild Potato Vine flowers, Falls of the Ohio, Aug. 2013

Close up of Goldstein's False Mum, Aug. 2013

This is Goldstein’s False Mum which is named after the resident naturalist at the Falls of the Ohio State Park.  This is another in a series of very odd flowers while being organic by definition  have little in common with the other plants that grow along side of them.  In general, plastic-like blooms and foliage characterize these botanical rarities.  None of these plants (which form a new order of their own called Artificialia ) are capable of photosynthesis despite the appearance of green leaves.  Goldstein’s False Mum is a summer plant that produces a hard, yellow, frilly blossom that appears on the terminal end of a woody stem.  It prefers sandy, disturbed soils or decaying wood and is usually seen in the company of traditional flowering plants.  It produces no scent and no insects were observed being attentive to the false mum.  Now the Wild Potato-Vine is also an interesting plant.  It is a member of the Morning Glory family and its bloom is primarily white with a purplish maroon throat.  I have seen large bumble bees pollinating this flower.  What sets this plant apart is under the ground.  The Wild Potato-Vine produces a large tuber that had food value for the indigenous people.  Here is a another specimen of Goldstein’s False Mum growing out of a soft, decaying log also in the presence of Wild Potato-Vines.

Goldstein's False Mum and Wild Potato-Vine flowers, Falls of the Ohio, Aug. 2013

Not too far away and also in association with the Wild Potato-Vines is another type of plastic-like plant and here is its portrait.

Wild Potato-Vine blossom with Saprophytic Zinnia, Falls of the Ohio, Aug. 2013

The Saprophytic Zinnia, Falls of the Ohio, Aug. 2013

The Log Weed is a saprophytic plant.  Lacking chlorophyll it relies on decaying matter for its sustenance.  The Log Weed is characterized by a corolla of hard plastic-like petals and never has what we would describe as leaves coming off its woody stem.  No one is quite sure how it propagates? Its blossoms appear in mid summer and seem to hang around forever.

Trumpet Creeper, Falls of the Ohio, Aug. 2013

These are tubular flowers from the Trumpet Creeper vine which is a native and natural sight at the Falls of the Ohio.  This is a climbing, spreading vine and wood ants seem to love them.  If you look closely at the above photo…you can see several ants crawling on the Trumpet Creeper’s attractive blooms.  I was admiring this vine when I noticed that there was something not quite right about it and this is what I discovered.

Unknown fruit on Trumpet Creeper, Aug. 2013

Notice the yellow orb to the upper right of the Trumpet Creeper blossoms? Thus far, the yellow fruit with its accompanying leaf remain unclassified.  It is, however, grafted to the woody stem of the vine.  Amazingly, it even has a false stem to deceive.  Could it be parasitic?  One hypothesis why this plant with the odd fruit appears with Trumpet Creeper might be the protection it receives from the vine’s wood ants?  The fruit and leaf are also very polymer-like and may indeed be plastic.  More and more we are learning how ubiquitous plastic is in the environment.  I heard a report about the Great Lakes the other day saying that there is a considerable amount of micro plastic in these large bodies of fresh water.  Upon examination, much of this plastic takes the form of tiny balls that are blended into deodorants and toothpaste to make the product flow more evenly.  These beads are so small that they pass through the finest screens at the waste water treatment plants and into the lakes.  I think Nature is metabolizing this plastic and recombining the hydrocarbons in novel ways, but that is just my theory.

Cottonwood tree fort, Falls of the Ohio, Aug. 2013

I paid my favorite cottonwood tree a visit and it’s been a while since I took shelter under its large, exposed roots.  People, especially the locals, like hanging out here and I witnessed much less trash since my last visit which is a good thing.  One big “improvement” has been made with the addition of a red, upholstered couch and I took a moment to rest here before moving on.

red couch under the cottonwood tree, Aug. 2013

The couch is very comfortable and I’m amazed that people actually dragged this piece of furniture down here.  Eventually, it will be reclaimed by the river.  Here’s another view from under the tree.

space under the cottonwood tree, Aug. 2013

For those who prefer their comforts a bit more on the rustic side…there is another bench for seating and it’s made from a slab of wood balanced on short logs.

under the cottonwood tree, Aug. 2013

I rested, had a snack and drank some water before moving on.  I’ve designated my intended destination as “Loosestrife Land” for the abundance of these non-native flowers that have taken over moist areas in the western section of the park.  I’m going there seeking something else which will be the subject of my next post.  I’ll catch up with you soon but for now…so long and happy trails to you.

Purple Loosestrife flowers in bloom, Falls of the Ohio, Aug. 2013

Read Full Post »

the riverbank, cracks in clay, July 2013

I never told you how this story played out and so now is as good a time as any.  A few weeks back, I had posted on how some unknown visitor(s?) had been altering my outdoor studio at the Falls of the Ohio State Park.  For a least two years previously, I had been storing my river found art materials at this site.  People who stumbled upon this spot often mark their presence by changing how I left it in some way.  Folks might rifle through the junk or take or destroy the Styrofoam figures I might leave behind.  I don’t mind this…in fact, I encourage the interaction.  On site, it’s easy to make the connection that all these poor materials I use came from the river.  I still think of my outdoor studio as a shared laboratory for this exercise in creativity.  It’s an acknowledgement that all this junk is out there and that something else positive might come from it.  For several weekends, my latest visitor has been building a wooden driftwood structure over my spot to the point where it usurps my ability to continue working there.  So, I made a few changes that I thought would benefit both of us.  I modified the structure so that I could stand within my site.  I also opened up the space more which I thought also encouraged additions.  I was curious to see how my visitor would react and here are the pictures.

destroyed driftwood structure, July 2013

destroyed driftwood structure, July 2013

destroyed driftwood structure, July 2013

It appears that my “improvements” weren’t appreciated because I arrived one day to find it all laying on the ground.  All the nylon line and strong knots that were holding things together were cut with a knife.  Stuff was scattered and the big polystyrene figure I had left there was destroyed again.  Here’s how I discovered my Styrofoam man.

fallen figure, July 2013

He had been sitting in a fork of a nearby tree.  I think my visitor picked him up and threw him across the site…again!  At this point, I’m feeling pretty bummed out.  I left this figure as I found it.  My visitor also left me some additional trash behind as is his custom and I gathered it together again to create this “portrait”.

trash at my site, July 2013

I thought the “Big Red” with the “Big Blue” was an interesting touch.  In our area, those are the home colors of rival universities.  Another giant Styrofoam cup joined the group and I have my suspicions that the cigar packaging is from the same individual as well?  I think this is what saddens me the most that all this convenient store trash would be walked to this site and simply thrown on the ground.  As much trash that appears here from upriver, I’m shocked by how much park garbage originates from the nearby towns.  And yes, there are trash cans available everywhere.  I sat by my site for a while and pondered the situation.  I wondered why with all the space and driftwood available in the park that this spot became so important to my visitor?  Feeling like this individual more than likely doesn’t play well with others…I decided to walk away from this site for a few weeks or months before returning.  So far, I haven’t been back to my old spot under the willows.

two fishermen, July 2013

The day felt shot, but I didn’t want to leave things that way and so I went for an extra long walk.  After all, I have the rest of the park to potentially explore.! Along the way, I spotted these two guys attempting to fish by the wall of the dam.  They didn’t appear to be having any luck and so I left them with these fishy images by the side of a trail they would pass by.

coal fish, July 2013

coal fish, July 2013

coal fish, July 2013

I used river smoothed coal I gathered on site and improvised these three fish on the sand.  Peppering the silica granules black is coal dust.  The white dots are pulverized mussel shells.

three coal fish on the sand, Falls of the Ohio, July 2013

Thus far, it has been an atypical and sometimes unsettling summer at the Falls of the Ohio.  All the early season rains and subsequent high water have disrupted the usually hot, humid, and lazy routine found here during this time of year.  In an odd way, it doesn’t feel like summer has truly arrived for us yet.  We have a few more months for this to happen before the leaves start turning colors.  To close, here is one more coal-fish image in a slightly larger context.  Have a great weekend!

coal fish in context at the Falls of the Ohio, July 2013

Read Full Post »

Falls black styrofigure, July 2013

With the sun spotlighting this little patch of sand…my newest Styro-figure proudly stood upright.  He’s the first persona created in the reconfigured studio.  I found a rare piece of “black Styrofoam” on today’s walk.  It’s part of what passes for car bumpers these days.  This material has a rubberized compound mixed throughout the foam which makes it harder to cut or pierce.

Leaving home, July 2013

After making new friends it’s time to venture out into the world.  The leafy green complete with bird song is complimented by the creaky willows that sway with the occasional breeze.  There is another sound, however, that your feet are hearing and you walk in the direction of its source.

Black Styro-figure by the river, July 2013

The mighty Ohio River has been running muddy for more that a week now.  Although it’s hot and humid today, thus far, this summer has been wetter and cooler than average.  As a result of all the rain, the river has been higher than usual.  What I like about the Falls of the Ohio is that in such a relatively intimate space the park can take on all kinds of different looks depending on the weather and season.  Small waves break upon the heightened shoreline and there is a family nearby fishing and playing by the river.

Family fishing for catfish, Falls of the Ohio, July 2013

Seeing that they were having some luck catching fish, I gestured if it was all right to take their pictures.  The family didn’t speak English and I’m guessing that they are recent immigrants from Southeast Asia?  Regardless, both adults and children were having a ball in the river.  I wondered if they came from someplace like this since they seemed so comfortable and natural by the water? After receiving the okay signal I recorded these images of people interacting with the river.

little boy, Falls of the Ohio, July 2013

This little guy was cute and really determined that I should take his picture in what I’m assuming is a martial arts pose?  I obliged him several times and this was my personal favorite snapshot of the group.  Looking through my riverblog…I’m struck by how often children appear and interact with my artistic process.  First, my own two sons would accompany me and now it’s the kids in the park on any given day.

Man with Flathead Catfish, Falls of the Ohio, July 2013

Flathead catfish, Falls of the Ohio, July 2013

I watched this fish being landed and it’s a decent sized Flathead catfish, (Pylodictus olivaris).  This fish probably weighed in the ten to twelve pound range, but this catfish can get as large as a hundred pounds.  It is a fish of big rivers.  A very simple rig was used to catch this fish.  Four slipshot lead weights were clamped onto the line about eight inches away from the hook.  A single nightcrawler worm was used for bait which was cast about 25 yards from the riverbank.  The fishermen would wade in about knee-high to waist deep to increase casting length.  I was amazed that with the current and all the potential underwater obstructions that their lines didn’t get snagged more often than they did.

Catfish stringer, Falls of the Ohio, July 2013

This was the stringer of catfish they were working on.  In addition to the Flatheads…another big river fish the Blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) was also being caught.

catfish stringer, Falls of the Ohio, July 2013

The Blue catfish is a slatey-gray color and has a forked tail.  The two fish on the lower right in the above image are blues.  The flatheads are more of a mottled olive color and have very different fins.  Both are omnivorous and will eat most anything that they can catch.

Man and catfish, Falls of the Ohio, July 2013

All the fish on the stringer will be used to feed this family.  It is still not recommended that people eat the larger fish (especially bottom dwelling species) from the Ohio River. The river is much cleaner than it used to be, however, toxins do build up in the fat tissues of the fish that live the longest and grow to be big.  Every once in a while, making a meal of some of the smaller fish should be okay.  Because I was needed elsewhere today…I let my day at the river draw to an end.  Good thing too…because if you stand too long in the same spot at the water’s edge…you chance sinking down too far!  See you soon.

Styro-figure in black, waist deep in wet sand, July 2013

Read Full Post »

soft drink waste, Falls of the Ohio, July 2013

When last we visited the Falls of the Ohio the river was rising.  Several days of intense rainfall throughout the Ohio Valley are now flowing by and coloring the water a muddy ocher. My outdoor site where I make my polystyrene figures and store materials is being usurped by twin forces.  It’s difficult gauging the intentions of this visitor or visitors, however, I also continue finding their waste soft drink cups and bottles.  What’s with the blue drinks?  I guess the color blue is also your symbol for cool refreshment.  If I am to continuing working here, I will need to change the driftwood structure erected over my site.  I was  secretly hoping that the river would solve this dilemma for me.  If the water rose high enough, it would move the largest beached logs which would effect everything near them.  That didn’t happen.  The river fell short of my spot and a visible line demarcating brown wet wood from bleached, silver-gray wood marks the high waterline.

My site with evolving structure, Falls of the Ohio, July 2013

The structure the visitors are building is enclosing the space.  As it is, it’s difficult now to stand on the center sand, especially since a growing pit is developing.  My collected river materials continue to be strewn about.  I initially liked that someone else was seeing the potential of this site and adding their distinctiveness to the mix.  Now I’m seeing less intent here and and I’m going to make the next move and see what happens?  First, I will need to find and repair the large Styro-figure I left here sitting on the roof.  He’s a participant/witness to all the proceeding events.

My mustachioed Styro-friend, Falls of the Ohio, July 2013

Again he looks like he was cast aside.  I find everything except his mouth and replace it with some other river plastic I picked up.  I reattach his arms and legs and he’s as good as new again.  Well almost, the excitement with the visitors and the unpredictable nature of the river have dinged his persona.  He never said much before and he says even less now.  How unfortunate.  I park him in a nearby try to keep him safe.

Figure in a tree, July 2013

I’ve seen this before and call it “Styro-shock” or “polystyrene demensia”.  Imagine willing your body into a stasis where you have no awareness at all and you will begin to know what it means to be Styrofoam.  He might come out of it on his own…who knows?  I turned my attention back to the wooden structure to see what I could do to affect the space in a positive way.  I’m not interested in getting into some escalating contest of wills with someone.  While I figured out what to do…my silent friend continued to sit tight.

Changing the wooden structure, July 2013

I stripped off the wood to expose the frame.  Next, I flipped a few of the cross braces over which opened the center of the space back up.  I created a small doorway by cutting away some excess wood with my saw on my Swiss Army knife.  That has come in handy more than once.

remodeled driftwood structure on site, July 2013

Using the wood already collected, I made a small lean-to for a shelter and a wall of upright sticks to enclose the space on one end and create more visual interest.  The maple tree on site separates one area from another.  There’s plenty more that can be done, but I decide to stop here and see if anything happens while I’m away.  The site now does a better job of corralling any wayward Styrofoam and has further called attention to the studio site as a performance space.  As the day progressed which was sunny and cooler than usual…the sun shone just right to highlight the interior of my studio under the willows and filled it with energy.

remodeled studio with sun shining in. July 2013

It was a long and busy day by the muddy river.  I have lots of other interesting pictures to show you, but they are worthy of separate posts which will happen soon.  For now, I’ll end with a backward glance of my studio under the willows as I walked towards home.

View departing the willow studio, July 2013

Read Full Post »

washed up plastic tricycle, Falls of the Ohio, May 2013

I was at the Falls of the Ohio last week when I spotted this plastic toy tricycle just sitting by itself near the river’s edge.  Although I didn’t see anyone around, I just assumed its owner must be nearby.  I took this picture and walked away.  After a time spent looking for driftwood and anything else, I was heading back to my studio under the trees when I was approached by this character I’ve come to know as the ” Off Road Triker”.  He was quickly peddling that tricycle I had seen earlier.

Off Road Triker, May 2013

With his trademark orange goggles, the Triker likes to explore the world from the seat of his three-wheeler.  I recognized him as the  subject of a few human interest stories in the newspaper, but this was a first spotting him on the shores of the Ohio River.  I have heard that he used to own a car, but now he just peddles everywhere he wants to go.  As a side benefit, he’s in the best shape of his life.  His legs alone must be as hard as wood.  The Triker’s ride came to a smooth stop in the sand in front of where I was standing.

the head of the Triker, goggles off, May 2013

Removing his goggles from his eyes the Triker greeted me pleasantly on a picture perfect day.  We introduced ourselves and talked about our observations and connections to this landscape.  The Triker remarked that he had seen a lot of rubbish along the water’s edge and I nodded in agreement.  He wondered why nobody did anything about this, but I had to tell him that the Falls does see several clean-up attempts a year, but with each new flood or high water the new “largess” in the river just washes up again.  It’s like rolling that proverbial rock up the hill only to have it roll back again and again.

Off Road Triker in motion, May 2013

The Triker said that there was a place where several old automotive tires were laying half buried in the sand and that I should check it out.  He put his goggles back on and I walked beside him as he peddled to the spot.  I didn’t tell him this, but I was already familiar with these tires and have photographed this feature many times.  I found the Triker to be amusing and so I just played along to get a sense of who he is and what he might do next.  The reason all these tires are in this particular location is that once upon a time a river clean-up had occurred and these loose tires were gathered here for future disposal.  Ironically, the future never came which left these tires mired in the present.  Now these tires are so full of mud, sand, and water that it would take a herculean effort to dig some of them out of the riverbank.

The Triker begins his run, May 2013

The Triker thought these tires would make an appropriate obstacle course to maneuver through and he asked me to photograph him while he made his run.    Everything started off well enough, but that was not to last.

The Triker runs the obstacle course, May 2013

The Triker swings wide, May 2013

The Trike over corrects, May 2013

The Triker clips the tire, May 2013

It’s at this point that the Triker hits a snag or rather a tire.  The slalom at the course’s start went fine, but midway through the Triker swung wide and he had to over correct to get around the next obstacle.  Here are some different close up views of the action.

View of Triker hitting the tire, May 2013

The Triker up on two wheels, May 2013

The Triker nearly falls off, May 2013

As you can see…hitting the tire caused the tricycle to go up on two wheels.  The speed and forward momentum nearly caused the Triker to completely lose his balance!

The Triker recovers his balance, May 2013

Fortunately as an experienced rider…the Triker held it together and was able to regain his composure and balance to complete this impromptu course.  He pulled off to the side near some willow trees and exhaled deeply.

The Triker recovers his breath, May 2013

“That was a close one my friend.  I thought for a micro second I was going to eat sand and rubber in a hard way!”  I praised him for his skill on the tricycle and told him I would post the images on the internet which seemed to please the Triker.  Recovering his breath, the Triker said he enjoyed his visit to the Falls of the Ohio, but it was now time to return to the city.  With his goggles back on, my last view of the Triker was of his back as he peddled his wobbly ride with a newly bent axle towards the skyline of the nearby city.

The Off Road Triker departs, May 2013

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: