Bilt for Simmer

Decided it was time to put some “good” into my day and couldn’t think of a more appropriate day than today, Good Friday.  News and I have a history of not exactly getting along and as of late, that relationship has reached some dangerous levels.  A bit of simmer seemed like a good prescription to get the karma back in balance.  It has been a bit of struggle over the last couple of months trying to get the body back together – In physical therapy for debilitating levels of plantar fasciitis and visits to the chiro to repair a badly whacked back, both of which required workouts that I swear were more painful that the injuries themselves without the added training runs wedged between repairs.

Flowers from Biltmore visit in July 2014

Admittedly, these challenges pale to the trials and tribulations that I know some of my readers are currently dealing with – selfishly mine were just starting to get the best of me even without the talking heads spreading exaggerated doom and gloom.  Made a deal with myself to spend some time to just relax.  Best way to do that was to turn off the news channels, put the feet up and enjoy some ultra running podcasts and let the stress melt off.  The body was distrusting at first expecting to be called to duty at any point, eventually dispensing with the twitching and settling in so could focus on learning from some of the best ultra-runners in the sport.

Flowers from Biltmore visit in July 2014

Unless you are Linda hit the jump to enjoy a quick break from the norm here – Linda, you can simply skip to the next post ha.

Truly inspirational especially when you learn that the absolute machines in your sport are still humans underneath their hardened shells.  About fell out of my chair when all four athletes on the panel admitted they show up at the starting line trying to suppress thoughts of whether they trained enough for the day’s race – I have something in common with elites ha.

Flowers from Biltmore visit in July 2014

Thoroughly enjoyed catching up on that podcast and managed to fill up a page of takeaways – time well spent.  Here are two quotes that I especially liked and you might find interesting as well:

  • The art of medicine is gaining the patient’s trust long enough for nature to take its course
  • Life is about falling down, getting back up and talking about it


The first one was a direct hit with our current situation and I actually ended up tweaking the last one a bit and placing it in front of my monitor – “Life is about meeting new adversities, falling down, picking yourself off the ground, learning from the experience and then sharing it on your blog

Flowers from Biltmore visit in July 2014

I thought about those takeaways during today’s training run – analyzing, dissecting, rationalizing, interpreting, deriving, internalizing and then embracing them a few seconds before realizing I had just made it through 6 miles full of gnarly hills and 13 mph winds.  I was officially back to the distance I was at before I blew my back.  4 solid weeks of hard work and I had officially made it back up the line goes, time to learn from it and, sure enough blog about it – check and check hehehe.

Flowers from Biltmore visit in July 2014

Which brings us to the images you have been looking at while enduring my ramblings.  I was looking through the queue of processed images to find an appropriate series for the post and stumbled on a set of old flower images taken back in July 2014.  Linda and I were visiting the Biltmore Estates in Asheville, North Carolina. For those not familiar with this estate, George Washington Vanderbilt II built this mansion and grounds for his bride from 1889 to 1895.  An impressive home funded by the family business in steamboats and railroads.  Absolutely beautiful, however, the fact I was taking pictures of flowers means the birding was sub-par.

Flowers from Biltmore visit in July 2014

Before we go any further, I am not a plant photographer.  In fact, this is a danger zone for me as landscape shots are Linda’s domain.  Not to mention that her macro glass is more appropriate than the glass I was carrying to the field that day.  The Beast was perfect for what I had intended to photograph that day (for a future post, but as a hint, they were high above, many with wings, however none alive).

Flowers from Biltmore visit in July 2014

What big glass does do well is throw backgrounds out of focus which can be very beneficial when trying to take pictures in the middle of the day in elaborate flower gardens.  Spent a lot of time trying to find some nice blooms that were somewhat isolated providing an opportunity to crop down to a set of wall panels.  I started working on these panels with a target of putting them on borderless canvas blocks.  Based on previous attempts learned you had to push the vibrancy to compensate for the dulling that resulted from the canvas medium.  Also wanted the flowers to pop from the background so spent a lot of time darkening and dropping out the background where I could.

Flowers from Biltmore visit in July 2014

At some point I lost interest in the borderless canvas option as I was seeing it all over the place –  a large number of them processed for paper and thus ended up being muddied up.  My apologies to Linda as I was ultimately making these as a gift to her, but these ended up being sidelined – probably for the best as she has high standards in her domain and these still had a long way to go before I was willing to show her.

Flowers from Biltmore visit in July 2014

Since then, I’ve become very intrigued with the metal medium.  Ron had one of my Hummingbird pictures printed in this format and it looks absolutely stunning (ironically, that picture was also taken at Biltmore – link here).   I’ve had plans to go back to this set of flowers and reprocess them for metal plates – they hold the colors a lot better and do not required as much amping – definitely need to be a lot cleaner though, as the Hummer shot is extremely crisp.

Flowers from Biltmore visit in July 2014

Meanwhile,  I hated to see the work I did do on these pictures go to waste.  Not a finished product by any means, however, thought it would be a nice addition to the blog in honor of the coming of spring and this weekend’s Easter celebration.

Best wishes to everyone and may your spring be filled with beautiful flowers and the sweet sounds of songbirds.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s