Family

MLK Weekend Ramble 2015, Part 1

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Jenkinsville School and Teacherage-012

Jenkinsville School Ruins

The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend seems to be the perfect time for exploration. Leaves are gone from the trees so you can see hidden buildings better. In our area, usually the weather is cool, but mild. More importantly, some of my fellow explorers are off work and able to join me. Even before I retired, this became one of our weekends to ramble. Often it was with my brother, Houston, or fellow explorer Alan. This time, for 2015, it was both.

Alan has been trying to track down family history through his great-great-grandfather’s diary. David Wyatt Aiken was a Confederate veteran, and later served as a US Congressman. Aiken was born in Winnsboro, so we decided that would be one of our stops on this ramble. We also found several old churches and schools along the way through Newberry and Fairfield Counties – plenty to keep us and our cameras busy. (more…)

Laurens Cemetery Ramble

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Little Earle Martin

Little Earle Martin

A few weeks ago Facebook user Tim Bray posted an intriguing photo on the Abandoned, Old, and Interesting Places in South Carolina group.  The photo was of a statue on the grave of “Little Earle” Martin, located in the Laurens City Cemetery. As I read Tim’s descriptions of his visit, I realized that even though I’d grown up in Laurens County, I had never visited that cemetery. It was high time to check it out, and that opportunity finally came on Friday of this week.

All week the sky was a hazy shade of winter. Friday was the first clear day to lighten our moods in quite awhile. Makes sense that we’d go on a cemetery ramble. That wasn’t our first intent, though. Sister Glynda had just returned from Florida visiting grandkids. She had stayed at our house the night before, and I drove her home that morning. The heat had been off while she was gone, so we decided to go for a drive while the house warmed up. Laurens is only ten miles from Gray Court, so it looked like this would be the perfect time to visit. In addition to the Laurens Cemetery, we explored some family history, and even found another old school. (more…)

RandomConnections 2015 Calendar

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2015 calendar

As has become my tradition, I have made calendars as gifts for my family. This is my eighth year of doing this. The photos usually come from the previous year, but not necessarily. I keep an album of calendar potentials, and sometimes pull from those if I don’t have something seasonally appropriate.

When I started this way back in 2006, I was using Qoop to create the calendars. They have long since gone, and for the past couple of years I’ve been using Lulu.com. I like their layouts, and I get a bit more room to add captions. That just wasn’t possible with Qoop. Because Qoop didn’t allow much room for captions, it had also become my tradition to do a blog post with a description of this year’s photos. Captions or no, I decided I’d still do a post on the photos, with a behind-the-scenes story.

BTW, if you want your own calendar, they are still available. Just click the link and you can order one. (more…)

Christmas Wrap-Up 2014

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Santa Ornament

2014 has not been an easy year. We lost my mom, and Laura’s mother has had serious health issues. I’m still trying to adjust to retirement, and Laura is trying to adjust to new work challenges. Even so, we were able keep some of our holiday traditions, and it was a good thing.

A Wright Family Christmas

I’ve already written about the difficulties with our time in Florida. I had begun my time down there with the Solstice Paddle, but there were multiple other kayaking trips. Usually I managed to get out on the water at about 9:00 am. At this time, the incoming tide was ripping from south to north, with an accompanying wind. My usual route was to paddle against the current, then come back with the wind and tide.

Indian River Paddling-5 (more…)

More Thanksgiving Escapes

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Island Kayak

NOTE: After a week, Thanksgiving turkey is probably getting old and not something you want to eat. I’m about a week late with this post, and I’m hoping it’s not quite as stale.

It was a week of lots of home health care visits. The nurse who will be staying with Laura’s mom on a regular basis dropped by a couple of times over the holidays. Another nurse came by a couple of times, and there were two different physical therapists in multiple times to work with her. Laura and I were tasked with heading out to get various items necessary for all of these pursuits. Add to that the desire for a traditional Thanksgiving meal, and things could get stressful very quickly.

Even so, we managed to have a traditional Wright family turkey gathering, and I was able to spend some time with my family. I even managed a couple more escapes on my kayak. (more…)

Indian River Escape

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Indian River Grunge

Been a tough couple of weeks, and I seem to be suffering from writer’s block. I just haven’t been too inspired to research or photograph anything. Even when I have subject material, such as my long urban walk, or research on my grandfather’s churches, or a dozen other things I could be pursuing, I seem to lose interest about halfway through the post or project. So, I’m going to make a concerted effort to keep writing on a regular schedule.

And with that, we’re here in Florida for the Thanksgiving holidays. Laura’s mom was just released from three months in a skilled nursing rehab center after breaking both legs in a fall. Our job was to help her get re-established at Laura’s sister’s home and situated with home health-care, etc. I needed an occasional escape, so I brought a kayak down with me.

Escape #1 – Night Paddling

We arrived later Sunday evening than I had planned. Monday was spent running errands and getting supplies for the house. By Monday evening I was ready for an escape. I headed out for an after-dark paddling trip.

Indian River Paddling-013 (more…)

Taking a Break

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Gulf and Public Telephone

I’ve been taking time to deal with several household and family matters lately, so updates here have been sparse. Doesn’t look like that trend will change over the next week or so, so here are a couple of quick teasers.

First up, a couple of weeks ago I had to put my car into the shop. When it was ready I decided to walk to pick it up – 4.5 miles along some of Greenville’s busiest roads. It was an interesting experience. Of course I had my camera with me. I was working on a detailed blog post with descriptions of each shot, but kept getting interrupted, then lost interest. Here’s a slide show from that trip on November 5th…

Last week we paid another visit to the Pickens Flea Market. The only camera I used was my discreet GoPro. I managed to get quite a few shots. Here’s that slideshow…

Thanksgiving holidays will be tie up with travel and other family affairs, but I’m hoping to get in at least a little kayaking and photography. We’ll see.

Jupiter Inlet

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Jupiter Inlet and Lighthouse-037

Highway 1 Drawbridge over Jupiter Inlet

It’s been a stressful week.  Laura’s mom fell on Friday and broke both legs.  She had surgery on Saturday, and is looking at a long recovery time.  Laura had flown down to Florida so she could drive back with Amy and her mom and some time with us.  Her mother fell as they were getting ready to go to the airport to pick her up.  So, with Laura in Florida with no way back and not enough supplies for an extended stay, I packed more gear for her and clothes for me and drove down Sunday.

Monday was spent in the hospital. Tuesday I had a bit of a break. Amy and Laura stayed with their mom, and I headed ab hour down the road to Jupiter, where my niece, Katie, and her husband, Aaron had just moved. My sister, Glynda, had come down to help them get settled in, and it was also their son, Jack’s first birthday.

Apparently first birthday cake smashing is a thing. If you buy the first birthday cake from Publix, they throw in a “smashing cake.” Katie thought that the small one was too small and wouldn’t show up in photographs well. She bought a larger one. She had a little set in place, so we put Jack in front of the cake… (more…)

Samish Time Lapses and Family Discoveries

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Eligin Pocket Watch

August 6, 2014

It was another day on Samish Island, and we had a full day planned. Most of this involved taking care of some family business in town, but there were opportunities for shopping and photography.

One thing I wanted to do was try some time lapse photography on the island. I had done this before, but that was with limited equipment. I had an iPad, which I couldn’t leave outside for extended periods. Now, with the GoPro, I could set up a session and leave it for much longer.

My first attempt was actually yesterday evening. I set up the camera and let it run for a couple of hours over the late afternoon, evening. While the GoPro worked great and I like the overall view, the wide angle made it so that I couldn’t capture the incoming tide as I wanted.

(more…)

Morning Light in Skagit Valley

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Skagit Valley and Samish Island-7

Mount Baker

August 5, 2014

It had been a long week+ of traveling, but now we were settled in for awhile. I got a good night’s sleep, but, as usual, was awake far too early. I think it also has something to do with the longer daylight up here. I’ve never been this far north in winter, and would be curious as to how that would affect me. I’d probably still get up early.

From a photography standpoint these long days are fabulous. Long morning and evening light means you’ve got much more optimal time with the best possible light. Even with longer light, I wasn’t going to waste any of it, so I headed out early to take some photos of Skagit Valley.

First, though, I did get did get distracted by a small bunny right outside the window while I was having breakfast…

Skagit Valley and Samish Island-1
Skagit Valley and Samish Island-2

This part of the Skagit Valley is mostly reclaimed farm land. Samish Island was once a true island, but has been reconnected to the mainland by land reclamation. “The Flats” present and ever-changing landscape, depending on crops, weather, and lighting conditions. Today the weather was clear and spectacular. (more…)

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