Flea Markets and Falls
Glynda has been recovering from surgery, and is making great progress. For the first time in ages she had energy to get out and about and explore, so she suggested that we go to the regular Wednesday gathering at the Pickens Flea Market. It looked like it was going to be a beautiful day, so who was I to say no?
We left out early and arrived at the flea market shortly after 8:00 am. Even at that time there were already crowds gathered. We wandered among the booths and looked at the goods. Since I’d had success with my 35mm lens on yesterday’s Earth Day trek, I decided to use it here, too. I had my Panasonic as a backup.
For the most part it was the same old same old. There were the random collections of antiques, toys, bottles, etc. etc. I noticed that a lot of my shots are starting to look the same. It’s hard to find something unique.
I think I’m going to have to start looking for something other than cool imagery. I may start focusing on the people and stories behind them. In fact, I’d love to do an article on flea market life, if I could get folks to talk to me. I know some of these folks are just trying to scrape together a few dollars, but I bet there are some other interesting stories here…
…and we did find some interesting stories. Most of these were artists rather than junk dealers. These folks created something, and were there to sell their wares. Glynda met a man who build amazing bird houses out of scrap and found objects.
He described his thought process as he looks at a piece of scrap, and decides what bit of this old chair or that old board is going where.
I met musician and artist Jon Durham, who builds fascinating musical instruments out of cigar boxes. These three-stringed instruments are called “Diddley Bows“, the source of Bo Diddley’s nickname. Jon had acoustic diddley bows and some with electrical pick-ups. He had even made his own portable amps out of cigar boxes so you could buy a matched set.
Here is Jon demonstrating one of his instruments. Just disregard the giant orange bloomers over his right shoulder.
Some of the saddest stories, though, are told through the lost photographs for sale on various tables. There were postcards written to relatives, photos of long lost ancestors, and complete albums telling of lives that apparently no one remembers now.
One of the most poignant stories about such an album was told by fellow blogger Jacob K. over at The Carpetbagger blog. Jacob tells the story of an album that described the life of Pauline Smeltzer, and how he was finally able to return the album to the family.
While most of these photos and albums are lost to the families contained therein, we did encounter one vender who was making an attempt to return the albums in her possession. This husband and wife team were selling signs with cute sayings, but they had several albums out on the table. These were all from the same family, and very well laid out. There were names and addresses in the albums, and they had made various attempts to return the albums, but it seems no one wanted them. Sad.
We popped by the musician’s corner several times during the course of our visit. The first time they were just getting set up and going. A couple of other times they had different soloists performing and/or singing.
Tub bassist and flea market icon Robert Perry seemed a bit off his game, though. He was plunking along completely out of rhythm and apart from anything else anyone was singing. I’ve heard him do much, much better.
We did make some purchases. Glynda picked up an adapter for her phone, and I bought a book of historic photos of Spartanburg and some beautiful poblanos that we would later have for dinner. However, it was starting to look the same, and we were getting tired.
It was still fairly early in the morning, but it was time to move on. We had parked on the other side of Twelve Mile Creek from the market, so we decided to continue along that back road. This crossed Wolf Creek School Road/Allgood Bridge Road. In the past we would turn left, toward the old Wolf Creek School and toward Pickens. This time we turned right onto Allgood Bridge Road. The rolling farmland was spectactular. One solitary smokehouse on top of a hill caught my eye as being particularly picturesque.
Allgood Bridge Road rejoined Highway 123. Not in the mood to drive on “highway” anything, we crossed only Mile Creek Road. A bit down the road we spotted “Martin School Road”. Yeah, we bit. Any road with the word “school” or “store” or “tower” or “church” in the name catches my attention. Unfortunately, while the scenery was great, the school was long gone. The same was true for “Old Durham Store Road.”
We continued northward. Honestly, even with a GPS I had no clue where we were. We wound through very rocky mountains that seemed out of place for this area, especially south of Highway 11 and the Blue Wall. Eventually we came to Eastatoe Creek Road and turned eastward, running along the creek. We paused at one remote farmhouse in a cove for a photo.
Eventually we did wind up on Highway 11. Glynda had not been to Twin Falls, and since we were this close, we headed in that direction. Oddly enough, she wasn’t interested in stopping at Bob’s Place for lunch.
We got to the falls parking area and made the short hike up to the viewing platform. Glynda was still doing quite well and made the hike without incident. I waited until some idiots who were trying to climb the falls left, then set up with my camera with ND filter and tripod for some long exposure shots.
The 35mm lens still isn’t quote wide enough to capture the entire scene. My Lumix was able to get it.
I took one shot of Glynda to prove that she had made it that far.
We made our way back down the trail. I paused at a couple of places to take some more long exposure shots of the creek.
We continued down Eastatoe Valley Road until we once again reached Highway 11. We followed it all the way into Walhalla and stopped for lunch. From there we took a pretty much direct route back home.
It was a great outing – two days of photography in a row. I do like the results from the 35mm prime lens and will have to start using it more often.