This is a repost. Likely thanks to the Flickr app's not-so-well placed delete button, it was apparently "butt-dialed" out of existence... I need to speak to the powers that be about that.
This is Round Bald, of the Roan Highlands, from a couple of years back. This is always a favorite destination in spring with Gray's lily, Catawba rhododendron, and flame azalea lighting up the bald, but what does autumn offer? I've had other photographers to tell me "Not much." Apparently, blueberries on fire framing the surrounding mountains dressed in autumn's finest isn't worth their effort. I beg to differ, but you be the judge.
I generally spend a week in the Grandfather Mountain region in the fall. That gives access to many places that shine in that season, like Rough Ridge, Linville Gorge, and Boone Fork, of which most favor morning light. Round Bald, especially with consideration of the mountain layers beyond it, favors evening light, so it's always a part of my photography agenda.
I approach photography with a sense of wonder. Even familiar subjects like Round Bald are always fascinating with the changing seasons and light. For all that, I still have room to learn. My wife and I work closely with many foreign students at Duke University through International Students, Inc. On a recent trip to the bald, married friends from China made observations that were not lost on me.
Both Jesse and Sophia (their Anglicized names) were transfixed with the clouds rolling across the bald. Jesse made two observations, the first being that it reminded him of Chinese mythology of immortals breathing mist. Mythology stemmed from people trying to make sense of their surroundings in a time before science. Both of my friends are Christians and well-versed in science, but for them, the highlands were otherworldly... even in my familiarity with the place, I could well understand their fascination.
While shooting his own photos of the mountains disappearing into the mist, Jesse just lowered the camera and looked around as he stated that he had "never heard such quiet." Earlier in the day at a mountain stream, Sophia noted that she felt as though her nose had just taken a shower. I love that description! The conditions of Beijing made our mountains stand out to these sweet visitors, and though I've not (yet) been to Beijing, they made them stand out to me, too.
We have friends coming from England in September. I drove 700 miles through England last year during a bank holiday. That made me realize something: England comprises roughly 4/5s of the total area of North Carolina, yet with a population of 50+ million people, England has 10-times the population of North Carolina... and I believe they were all on the road while I was there last year. We're picking our friends up in Charlotte and staying together in a wonderful cabin near Newland. I can't wait for their impressions up here at Roan Highlands... the blueberries should just be turning.