Monday, January 11, 2021

Sorry about That!

Civil War Re-enactor, 1975

I promised to post a photo of our new home, a Grand Design fifth-wheel trailer. Unfortunately, packing took up so much time today that it was nearly dark by the time I got to the campground with another load of stuff to try to find a place for. I think we'll get it all in -- the camper is roomy and well-laid-out, with lots of nooks and crannys, but it may take a while.

Meanwhile, I still haven't made a photo of it. So what you're getting instead is an apology, a brief post (too busy to write more), and a different picture to look at.

This is a special photograph to me -- it's my very first award-winning photo, from way back in 1975. The subject was a Civil War re-enactor at the Chickamauga Battlefield National Military Park. The camera was a Nikkormat fitted with a 100mm f2.8 Vivitar lens, and the film was Kodachrome.

Blog Note: I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at alifeinphotography.blogspot.com. I'm trying to build up my readership, so if you're reading this on Facebook and like what I write, would you please consider sharing my posts?

(Photograph copyright David B. Jenkins 2020)

Soli Gloria Deo

To the glory of God alone


 

Friday, January 8, 2021

My Last Commercial Gig?

 Morning show personalities, WMBW Radio, Chattanooga.

This is from a 2016 photo session, but we try to maintain

the same feeling of spontaneity in each iteration.

Canon EOS 6D, 100mm f2 EF lens

(Click to enlarge)

 

Yesterday I did what may be my last commercial photography assignment. It was staff portraits for Radio Station WMBW, the local Moody Radio network affiliate. WMBW has been a client for many years. 

I say it's my last gig, but who knows for sure? I no longer solicit commercial photography, but I still enjoy doing it. So if someone asks me, I'm not going to turn down the opportunity. Granted, there aren't many 83-year-old commercial photographers around, but if I'm able to do the work, if I enjoy doing it, and there's no reason not to do it, then why shouldn't I do it?

One of my heroes is Julius Schulman, probably the greatest architectural photographer ever. He retired in his 80s, got bored after a while, and went back to work until his death at age 99, getting around with a walker and an assistant to carry his camera and tripod. 

Another of my heroes is the Biblical Caleb, the contemporary of Joshua. As the Israelites were occupying the land of Canaan, Caleb went to Joshua and said (paraphrasing) "I'm 85 years old. My eyes are still good and I'm as strong as ever. So give me this mountain and I'll drive out the Anakim (a tribe of giants)." 

I'm probably not going to find any giants to kill, but I'm looking forward to starting work on a second edition of my book Backroads and Byways of Georgia (Countryman Press, 2017). The deadline is the end of this year, and if all goes well it will be in bookstores around the middle of 2022. 

Meanwhile, the sale of our home and property is moving ahead. We have purchased our next home -- a fifth-wheel trailer -- and are busy moving our selves and our possessions into it. I'll try to have some photos to show in my next post. 

Blog Note: I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at alifeinphotography.blogspot.com. I'm trying to build up my readership, so if you're reading this on Facebook and like what I write, would you please consider sharing my posts?

(Photograph copyright David B. Jenkins 2020)

Soli Gloria Deo

To the glory of God alone


 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

McLemore Cove: One Final Note

Captain John McLemore Historical Marker

West Cove Road, McLemore Cove

Olympus OM-D E-M5, Panasonic 14-140 f3.5-5.6 lens

(Click to enlarge)

 

I received a comment from a reader who identified himself as a descendent of the man for whom the cove was named. Captain John McLemore, the son of a Scottish fur trader and a Cherokee mother, lived in the Cove in the early 1800s before moving west to Arkansas in 1817.

The photograph at the top of this post is of a marker placed by the Walker County Historical Society at the intersection of West Cove Road and Captain Tom Wood Road in honor of John McClemore. Unfortunately, no one bothers to maintain the site. It's not hard to find in winter, but more difficult in summer foliage. 

In any case, if the commenter should ever visit the Cove, he should be able, with a little poking around, to find his ancestor's marker.

Blog Note: I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at alifeinphotography.blogspot.com. I'm trying to build up my readership, so if you're reading this on Facebook and like what I write, would you please consider sharing my posts?

(Photographs copyright David B. Jenkins 2020)

Soli Gloria Deo

To the glory of God alone

 

Monday, January 4, 2021

McLemore Cove: Part 4

Daugherty Gap Road, Mountain Cove Farm

Canon EOS 5D Classic, 70-200mm f4L lens

(Click to enlarge)

 

This is the fourth and final installment of my article about McLemore Cove, originally published in Georgia Backroads Magazine. The first, second, and third parts were posted on my blog on Monday, December 28th, Wednesday, December 30th, and Friday, January 1st.

Although there have been both mining and industry in the Cove in the past, it is now almost completely given over to farming, primarily raising beef cattle. There are also a few dairy farms. The railroad tracks that once ran to the Reichold Chemical plant and the Barwick-Archer carpet mill were featured in scenes from the movie Water for Elephants but have now been abandoned 

The 1840s Daugherty Manor House, Mountain Cove Farm

Fuji X-Pro1, Fujinon XC 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OISII lens

Mountain Cove Farm, located at the south end of the Cove where it narrows to a point, is a remnant of the land bought up after the 1832 Land Lottery by William Dougherty, an attorney from Athens, Georgia.  He resold much of it, but by the 1970s, when the farm was owned by Wayne Rollins, owner of Orkin Pest Control and other companies, it still covered 10,000 acres. After Rollins's death, some the land was sold in 15- to 30-acre plots and a number of fine houses have been built.  Walker County now owns what's left of the land. The Mountain Cove Farm Manor House, built by Dougherty in the 1840s, has been leased as a restaurant by several different entities, but so far no one has been able to make a permanent go of it. One of the barns is operated by the county as a wedding venue and the former farm workers cottages have been renovated as vacation cottages. There is also an RRV campground on the property. The farm has also been home to an annual Walker County Fair. The county recently changed to a different form of government with multiple commisioners, however, so what will happen to Mountain Cove Farm remains to be seen.

Polled Herefords graze along West Cove Road

Fuji X-T20, Fujinon 1F 18-135 f3.5-5.6 lens

 

We have lived in McLemore's Cove for 33 years now, which means we're still newcomers, but the natives accept us graciously. We call our home Deer Run Farm because, of course, the deer run through it, to my wife's continuing delight. We raised beef cattle for more than 20 years, but sold our herd in 2012. We miss them, but it was time. 

Chickamauga Creek and Pigeon Mountain, Winter, 1993.

Our house is built on a ridge that runs down the center of the Cove and so oriented that we can watch the sun rise over Pigeon Mountain in the morning and watch it set over Lookout Mountain in the evening. 

There may be more beautiful places than McLemore Cove in this world, but probably not many. 

Blog Note: I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at alifeinphotography.blogspot.com. I'm trying to build up my readership, so if you're reading this on Facebook and like what I write, would you please consider sharing my posts?

(Photographs copyright David B. Jenkins 2020)

Soli Gloria Deo

To the glory of God alone

 

Friday, January 1, 2021

McLemore Cove: Part 3

 Blue and Gold

South Chickamauge Creek in McLemore Cove.

Pentax 6x7, 105mm f2.4 Takumar lens, Fujichrome 100 film

(Click to enlarge)

This is the third installment of my article about McLemore Cove, originally published in Georgia Backroads Magazine. The first and second parts were posted on my blog on Monday, December 28th and Wednesday, December 30th.

High on the western side of Pigeon Mountain is a small enclosed valley -- known in the southern Appalachians as a "pocket." Someone told us about it not long after we came to the Cove, and of course, we wanted to see it for ourselves. Driving back along the gravel road that led to the Pocket, we passed a cornfield, where an old man and his wife were picking corn. It was Fred "Coon" Hise, then in his 80s, and his wife Myrtle. We stopped and they came over to talk with us, their arms full of corn and their faces full of simple goodness. The scene was overwhelmingly reminiscent of a famous 1930s FSA photograph of an Iowa farmer and his wife holding the products of their farm. I had my camera; I could have taken the picture; but somehow, I didn't. I've missed many shots in my career as a photographer, and some I regret more than others. But this was the one I regret more than any other.  That old couple defined McLemore Cove people for me, and still does to this day. Some of their children and grandchildren are our present neighbors and are very like their ancestors. 

McLemore Cove is home to some of the sweetest people we have ever met. "Sweet" may not be the most appropriate word, but I can't think of a better one. Cove people are for the most part sweet-natured, gentle, friendly, and kind. 

Of course, like most places, the Cove has a few people that just don't fit the mold. Chief among them would be George David Queener, who did not fit anybody's mold. Larger than life, he was one of the most unforgettable characters I've ever met.

George D. and Jake

Leica M3, 50mm Summicron lens, Tri-X

George D., as he was usually known, came to the Cove in 1946, just out of the army, to work at Mountain Cove Farm. He had been a corporal, and was newly married to Mary Ellen, who was older than he, and had been, interestingly enough, a lieutenant. George's ambition was to be a cattleman, and to that end, he told Mary Ellen that he wanted to go to medical school so he could become a doctor and earn enough money to own cattle. With her characteristic common sense, she told him, "If you want to be a cattleman, go work in the cattle business." 

Eventually, they were able to acquire a piece of property and put some cattle on it. Through years of scrimping and saving, going into debt when necessary to buy more land when it became available, they in time found themselves owners of the GDQ Ranch, with more than 800 acres and 350 head of purebred Polled Hereford cattle. 

George D. and Mary Ellen. Good Neighbors, good friends.

 

George D. was considered by many to be a hard man, and perhaps he was. But he sold us our land, and he was a good neighbor to us. Mary Ellen was one of the most gracious ladies I've ever known, but George D. was inclined to get a bit obstreperous now and then. It usually ended when Mary Ellen looked at him and said, "Now, George D. . ." 

I guess he never forgot that she outranked him. 

To be continued.

Blog Note: I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at alifeinphotography.blogspot.com. I'm trying to build up my readership, so if you're reading this on Facebook and like what I write, would you please consider sharing my posts?

(Photographs copyright David B. Jenkins 2020)

Soli Gloria Deo

To the glory of God alone

 

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

McLemore Cove: Part 2

 Lookout Mountain from West Cove Road

Pentax 6x7, 105mm f2.4 Takumar lens, Fujichrome 100 film

(Click to enlarge)

This is the second installment of my article about McLemore Cove, originally published in Georgia Backroads Magazine. The first part was posted on my blog on Monday, December 28th. 

The mountains that enclose and form the Cove are Lookout, famous for "See Rock City," and Pigeon, its offshoot to the east, famous among spelunkers for some of the world's deepest caves.

If you were to view Lookout Mountain from above, you would see that it looks like an alligator with its jaws open. With the tip of its nose in Tennessee, its body sprawls southwest for 80 miles across the northwest corner of Georgia and into Alabama. The lower jaw is Pigeon Mountain, and in the alligator's mouth lies McLemore's Cove. At the south end, the "head" of the Cove, where the two mountains come together, Dougherty Gap Road winds to the top by way of four hairpin curves. It's paved now, but that was where Louise saw the deer. 

When we first came to the Cove, it was under siege from the Georgia Power Company, which wanted to dam Chickamauga Creek and bury the beauty and history of the Cove under a lake. Through the efforts of residents who banded together in the McLemore's Cove Preservation Society to fight that attempt, it has indeed been preserved.  And having been designated a National Historic District in 1994, the Cove will continue to be a treasure for years to come.

The Historic District includes all the land south of Ga. Highway 136 and between the two mountains -- some 50,141 acres, with a large number of historic buildings and sites and historic farm complexes. In practice, however, the limits aren't all that strict. In 1872, the founders of Cove Methodist Church, two miles north of 136, obviously considered themselves to be in the Cove when they named their church. 

Cove Methodist Church. Technically, not in the Cove.

But close enough. And very beautiful.

Canon EOS 6D

In September 1863, McLemore's Cove was the scene of a missed opportunity that could have changed the course of the Civil War.

Union General William Rosecrans had maneuvered his forces around Chattanooga in such a way that Confederate General Braxton Bragg had to abandon the city or risk having his supply line to Atlanta cut. Rosecrans's army was divided into three columns, with one column under General George Thomas coming into the Cove from the west, headed for LaFayette.  On September 9, Bragg devised a plan to trap Thomas's forces. He sent Generals Thomas Hindman and D.H. Hill on a forced march to bottle up the Union army in the Cove; once on the scene, however, the Confederate generals dithered instead of engaging the Yankees. Then they retreated, the Union troops doing the same. A few shots were fired, but what could have been a battle that would likely have changed the outcome of the Battle of Chickamauga a week later went down in history as only a minor skirmish. 

To be continued.

Blog Note: I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at alifeinphotography.blogspot.com. I'm trying to build up my readership, so if you're reading this on Facebook and like what I write, would you please consider sharing my posts? 

(Photographs copyright David B. Jenkins 2020)

Soli Gloria Deo

To the glory of God alone


 

Monday, December 28, 2020

McLemore Cove

Entrance to our property from Sourwood Lane.

This is where we had our first mobile home.

(Click to enlarge)

 

Originally published in Georgia Backroads Magazine, this is the story of beautiful, remote McLemore Cove in the Northwest Georgia Mountains, and how we came to live here.

Part One of Four

The deer stood in the middle of the road as my wife slowly rounded a curve and came to a stop. They gazed at each other for a few moments, then the deer turned and calmly sauntered into the woods. Louise continued down the mountain into a remote valley, thinking to herself, "What wouldn't I give to live in a place like this!" 

It was the late 1970s and Louise was a nurse working for a home health agency based in Fort Oglethorpe.  The agency’s territory covered a large section of northwest Georgia, so she had patients in the village of Cloudland, far down Lookout Mountain. One of the other nurses told her about an alternate route to avoid the heavy morning fogs (actually clouds) that often made driving on top of the mountain hazardous. That alternate route led Louise down a graveled mountain road and into the remote valley named McLemore Cove.

A city girl who was born in Queens, New York, and who grew up in Miami, Louise had for years longed to live in the country. I, on the other hand, grew up in the country and had no burning desire to return, but -- I love my wife, so what can you do?

 Andrews Lane in the heart of McLemore Cove

Olympus E-PL1, 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 Zuiko lens

 

We began to look for country property, both in Georgia and Tennessee, not really expecting that we might find something in McLemore Cove. But in 1985, a newspaper ad led us to 30 acres on a ridge with frontage on Chickamauga Creek, and on the day before Christmas, 1987, 155 years after the Cherokee Land Lottery of 1832 opened the area to legal settlement, we also became settlers in the Cove; not in a log cabin, but in a 12x40-foot mobile home.

The old Hicks farmhouse on our property.

Now, only the chimney remains.

 

The Cherokee, of course, were here long before the first white settlers, and the Cove was named after one of them, Captain John McLemore, the son of a Scottish fur trader and a Cherokee mother. A veteran of the War of 1812, he perhaps saw the handwriting on the wall and moved to Arkansas in 1817, where he became a leader among the western band of his tribe. The rest of the Cherokee were forcefully removed in the late 1830s in the infamous "Trail of Tears," one of the most shameful episodes in American history. 

A "cove," by the way, is Southern Appalachian-speak for a valley enclosed by mountains. In the west they might call it a box canyon. The best-known cove, probably, is Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. McLemore Cove is neither as large nor as well-known, but it doesn't give much away in terms of history or beauty, and as for being less famous, the residents of this particular cove would probably count that a blessing.

To be continued. 

Blog Note: I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at alifeinphotography.blogspot.com. I'm trying to build up my readership, so if you're reading this on Facebook and like what I write, would you please consider sharing my posts?

(Photographs copyright David B. Jenkins 2020)

Soli Gloria Deo

To the glory of God alone