|ISO 400, f/20, 1/2 second, -1 EV, 19mm|
I have always come to tears when I hear this speech by Jim Valvano. If you don't know Jim Valvano, he was a NCAA Champion basketball coach at North Carolina State University and then a color commentator for ESPN before losing his life to cancer. He was always laughing and joking and enjoying life and didn't let something like cancer change that about him. He gave this speech shortly before he died.
The last few months have propelled me into trying to approach life more this way. Don't get me wrong, I can't come close to understanding what Jimmy V went through with cancer but his words and attitude can carry over to any troubles or hurdles you have to go through. I have learned to appreciate everything that is important to me a bit more.
I have learned that I have a tremendous family and some fantastic friends.
I have also learned to appreciate my surroundings a bit more. The beauty of the fall in the Smoky Mountains. The calming roar of a river or a waterfall. The glory of a sunrise or sunset. I appreciate it all a little more now.
The title of today's post is a perfect example. I WAS HERE!
I went on a small hike yesterday. My first hike of the new year. It wasn't an extremely strenuous one but it was invigorating.
I drove to Bald River Falls and hiked the Bald River Gorge trail above the falls and down behind it. I have been there several times but yesterday was like I had never been there before. The water was raging. It was overcast, and even sprinkled some rain on me which felt good on a warm 65 degree January day, perfect for photographing moving water.
I stopped about a 1/2 mile into the gorge at The Suislides. A multi-tiered waterfall that is just awesome. I have been to photograph this waterfall 2 or 3 times and always tried to get my usual composition slightly downstream with a smaller cascade up close and large in the frame with the bigger falls in the background. I have never been very happy with the results though.
Yesterday, while I was walking around, I noticed this neatly shaped rock in font of and to the left of the main waterfall and really liked the way it almost took the same shape as the waterfall behind it. When I got close to it, I found that someone had carved into the rock "I Was Here". Not only did this make the foreground rock a little more interesting, it kind of put an exclamation point on my new attitude towards nature and life in general. And I got a shot from the Suislides that I really liked.
I WAS HERE! I experienced this and it was awesome!