August Color along Otter Creek

The corn field along Otter Creek hides its best color underneath the stalks.

Blue Morning Glory
Blue seems to be the rarest color of all…

Pink Morning Glory
The pink is especially vibrant next to the red clay soil.

Otter Creek Red Wildflower
These red wildflowers grow from beneath the water’s surface where the creek is most swift.

Otter Creek Red Flowers

Otter Creek Meadow
This large meadow along the creek seems quite urban after a recent mowing.

Otter Creek Cabin and cattails
A small pond just above the creek reflects a cabin on a high bluff…

Apple Caterpillar
This lone apple on a small tree has a caterpillar guest…

Otter Creel Log Cabin
A new log cabin next to Otter Creek blends in with its surroundings…

Acer Maple at Otter Creek
This Acer Maple tree shows signs of an early autumn along the creek…

Early Autumn Color Along the Blue Ridge

After an unusually cool summer, with many mornings reaching the upper 40’s, the trees and shrubs on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge are already beginning to display those colors that make this area so popular with tourist in the fall. We’re still two months away from the peak of color along the Blue Ridge Parkway around Grandfather mountain, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at the woods today.

Dogwoods of Summer
Dogwood and other waxy leafed trees are getting a head start on Fall.

Blackberry Leaves
The Blackberries that gave us their fruit for all those cobblers and homemade ice cream now show us the reds and oranges that signal the end of summer.

Tulip Poplar Leaves
The Tulip Poplars are turning yellow already, and fluttering in the breeze of late summer storms.

Waxy Red Leaves

Red Leaves at Sunrise

Morning Sunbeams in North Carolina
The days are getting shorter, and the forest is reacting to the change.

Red Rocks and Red Leaves
Where everything was green a week ago, now color is appearing everywhere you look.

Corn Fields of Montford Cove

Just south of Interstate 40, and ten miles north of picturesque Lake Lure, is a fertile bottomland valley known as Montford Cove. The “Cove” refers to Cove Creek that flows south towards the Broad River east of Lake Lure. Corn and soybeans are the major crops, and Black Angus cattle graze in the expansive pastures.

Montford Cove Corn Fields

From mid August until September, the corn will be ready to harvest.

Long Mountain at Montford Cove
Pinnacle Peak and Long Mountain dominate the southeast horizon.

Montford Cove Hybrid Corn
Most of the corn here is a special hybrid that produces more ears per acre. Because of the heavy August rains this year, it should be a good crop.

Deep in a Carolina Mountain Wood

Sometimes, especially after an early morning rain, I like to go deep into the woods along a small creek and make new discoveries. In this part of the mountains, the forest floor seldom sees direct sunlight, and the trees and shrubs reach up to gather what small amount of light gets through.

Branch in Carolina Forest

Even in late morning, everything is still wet, and the smell of decaying leaves fills the heavy air.

Golden Lab in Carolina Woods
Hunter, the old Golden Lab, always looks forward to these forays into the virgin woods. There are no trails, and moving through the low hanging limbs and vines can be quite a challenge.

Carolina  Rock Spring
Small rock springs are scattered along the steep gully walls.

Carolina Hardwoods Branch

At the bottom, a meandering branch makes its way eventually to Otter Pond, much further down the mountain.

Carolina Woods Funghi

In the dark wetness, funghi burst forth like coral on a reef.

Carolina Forest Mushroom
You almost feel as though Clown Fish should be darting around these unusual creations.

Turkey Tail Mushrooms in Summer
Turkey Mushrooms are very opportunistic when they find a decaying tree trunk along the branch.

Carolina Turkey Tail Log
Another variety of mushroom clings to a dead tree, with drops of rain trapped inside their spore filled folds.

Wild Aster Blooms
Emerging from the forest just above Otter Pond, Wild Asters greet me with the advancing Sun. The aroma turns to pine and the dogs head for the pond, looking for water birds.

The Rolling Pastures of the Rutherford Foothills

Rutherford Foothills Pastures

About ten miles east of the Blue Ridge Escarpment along Lake Lure, you’ll find the most pastoral setting imaginable. Wide expanses of green rolling hills carry the eye to the distant horizon. This is the western edge of the Piedmont Plateau.

Rutherford County Pastures

Dairy cows stay cool around a pasture pond, with Tryon Mountain barely visible to the south.

Rutherford Honeysuckle Mountain

Late summer Honeysuckle winds around a Trumpet Vine as the Sun begins to set. This area between Rutherfordton and Lake Lure has remained relatively unchanged for decades. Why does it remind me of Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony?

American Landscape Paintings of the 19th Century

Carolina Vann:

I have totally reworked an earlier post about American paintings of the 19th Century. Check it out. Click on “View Original” at the bottom of this post to see the updated version. Vann

Originally posted on Living in The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina- A Blog:


I have always admired the American landscape painters of the 19th century, and I wanted to share a few of my favorites that have inspired me in my photography. Because there was no color photography when these paintings were made, the artists had to balance the light and color that would showcase the scene in the best possible way. That’s what I try to do with my work. The artists included Thomas Cole, Thomas Moran, and Paul Hansen. This style of painting became part of America’s first art movement, known as the “Hudson River School”, because most of the earliest scenes featured the Catskill Mountains along the Hudson River. Later artists used the mountains of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and the Carolinas for their inspiration.


Currently, many of these paintings are being exhibited at The Columbia Museum of Art in South Carolina. I plan to drive there this week. What an…

View original 350 more words

Images of Summer in Otter Creek Valley

Sometimes I like to share images that don’t fit into a specific subject area. Here are some photos that I have made recently around the valley. Hot weather has never arrived, and a 55 degree reading this morning felt more like autumn than late July.

Lavender Wildflower

Otter Creek SUnrise
Sunrise along Otter Creek

Hemlock House Summer Deck View
The early morning view from my deck.

Hemlock House with Pines
My house among the Hemlocks and Pines.

Black Cat On Tile Porch
Bentley keeping cool on the porch.

Brushy Top Log Home at Sunrise
A new log home on Brushy Top Mountain across from the house.

Hastas in Bloom
Hastas in my garden.

Rose Pinks beside Otter Pond
Rose Pinks beside Otter Pond.

Otter Pond with Water vines in Summer
Summer water vines rise to the surface of Otter Pond.

Fog no Dick's Mountain in Summer
Dick’s Mountain with an early morning fog.

Vann on his Deck
Yours truly on my deck.

Summer Sunset Over Bear Gap
Sunset on July 28th from my deck.

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