Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Everyone has a Dream

Twice in one day! I didn't know I could blog twice in one day! It's been years since... never mind.

I did get out to shoot some different pictures on Sunday so I thought I'd share some of them here. We'll get to the meaning behind the title of this Blog in a minute, but first this story...

Frantic Biker

If you ever see a motorcyclist by the side of the road tearing his clothes off, and you're not a biker, you wouldn't understand. However if you ride you would get it instantly. I was riding back from the Whitewater Preserve on Saturday, took a detour down a nice dirt road and came out on Highway 35 just below Carnarvon. I felt a sharp pain, but just a little one on my back below my left shoulder blade. Sort of like a sharp itch. I was a couple of minutes from home so I figured I'd wait it out.

Just as I turned off on Red Umbrella Road, another one. This one was more intense: no mistaking it this time — I had a wasp in my jacket. I IMMEDIATELY parked, jumped off the bike and started to take off my jacket, but my gloves were in the way so they had to go first. Then the jacket, then it stung me again! I couldn't get my shirt off with the helmet on, so that took a minute which felt more like an hour, then I ripped the shirt off and saw a telltale black and yellow mote fly away out the corner of my eye.

I've been stung while riding a few times before. Once multiple times on my abdomen — I undressed in a church parking lot in the Elk National Forest in Pennsylvania that time and reduced the little bugger to a smear of yellow paste under foot. He might have stung me, but he was dead, dead, dead. Another was a single bee sting just below my collarbone (I actually dropped the bike that time, but that's another story) and once above my eyebrow when one got in my helmet.

For motorcyclists, there's an old saw: "if you've never dropped your bike, you will". Change that to "if you've never been stung while riding, you will be". You won't be a real biker until that happens.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

So after getting dressed again, the pain being tolerable and reducing to a simple annoying itch (which persists even now, 3 days later. I can't reach the spot to scratch, so you'll find me rubbing up against doorframes and trees like a mangy bear), I decided to drop in on my neighbour, Vic. He comes walking by from time to time, and often stops in for a chat and a coffee. He lives a little ways down Pleasant Point Road, which is a dirt road just off Red Umbrella, and although I've been past his place, I never seemed to be there when he was, and wasn't sure which was his property. A couple of days ago I verified his "911" number (they've replaced all the lot numbers with a real address), and I knew he was there so I had told him I would drop in.

Dream Home

Vic is a former pharmaceutical executive, retired, and he bought his property with just a couple of rundown structures on it 20 years ago. He has spent that time building a dream estate, which you can't really tell from the road. When I grow up, I want a place like Vic's. It'll never happen — short of a lottery win — and for another reason: this man does magic with wood, and can turn his vision into reality. I got the $5 tour (I would have said 5¢ tour, but not in this place!). VIC DESIGNED AND BUILT THIS HOUSE HIMSELF (well he used trades, but it's entirely his concept and most of the woodwork is his).

I told Vic that I would take some pictures of his place. He graciously agreed to let me. He wasn't home on Monday evening, so I only got some outdoor late day shots, but I'll be coming back to do more. Especially interior shots looking out at a spectacular sunset from his outstanding open living room. Watch this space. If he lets me, I might even do a Blurb book for him.

Here are a couple of images for now: there are more on Smugmug. Outstanding.



View of the house from the lakeside. I was about halfway between the dock and the house for this shot. It's a multi-image HDR, gently treated just to bring out the texture of the wood and the dappling of the setting sun. The living room I mentioned is the cathedral-ceiling'ed area to the left, there's more house hidden behind the trees! Click on the picture. It's worth looking at full-screen size.




This is the "gazebo" he built at the water's edge. You have to go inside it to see the flawless design and construction, the warmth of the golden pine and oak he used, the massive posts and beams. Again this is an HDR shot, somewhat 'spicified' using Topaz Adjust 4 to bring out the textures. Again, click on it to appreciate the detail of the image.



To the right of the gazebo, facing the lake, is this spot. If you look further to the right, there's a hemlock grove populated by hundred year old trees. The pine tree on the left in this image leans out over the water and Vic tells me it is about 200 years old and is called "Lone Pine". This point of land was named after this massive tree a hundred years ago.

And as you may have guessed, this is yet another HDR treated shot, with a whole bunch more technical work, like a gradient map across the bottom and some levels work to bring out the texture in the pine tree. I wanted to show the detail of the forest floor as well as the sunset colours. Perhaps I got a wee tad carried away, but I like it!

More to come of this outstanding estate. I wish one day I could have one like it! {sigh}.

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