Cloudland Cabin Cam, November 25th - calm before the storm


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Journal updated November 24th - if I only had five years to live

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Print Of The Week special (above)

11/01/15 Foggy and cool this morning, still and quiet. THE LOST HIKERS were found early this morning near the Faddis Cabin and were OK. There is still quite a bit of green in the landscape, which means more fall color to come this week. Mornings like this bring out even more color when you are looking at things close to you. Distant vistas kind of just blur into the sky.

Two projects for the day are to remove the heavy bench seats from the workshop van (with a total weight of about 400 pounds, I have to get a strong back to do this for me!); and to dive head-first into the new slide show production. I have somewhat of a skeleton created, but many hours and days of work ahead before it will be worthy of showing to anyone. The show this coming Tuesday night in Fayetteville will be the last showing of the ARKANSAS NIGHTSCAPES program from last year, with the new RARE LIGHT show being displayed for the first time on Saturday in Mountain Home. I can't wait to see BOTH!

Wildlife note. Late last night while my lovely bride was out on the back deck scanning the darkness with a pair of binocs in search of lights from the lost hikers, she discovered a pair of flying squirrels that were playing in a nearby tree. Flying squirrels typically come out and night, which is one reason we seldom see them. These little guys were neither shy nor conerned about Pam being nearby. They are actually quite common in Arkansas - in fact if you ever find an acorn with the center dug out of it, that was probably done by a flying squirrel. They like to play in our book warehouse too, fortunately they don't like to eat books!

11/03//15 I was a little surprised to get rained on when I stepped outside just before first light this morning. Not sure if it was real rain or just water being squeezed out of the thick fog that enveloped us. Kind 'a cool, and breezy, and it felt GREAT!

No time to wander though, our first program of the season is tonight and Fayetteville and of course I'm way behind. I've been working like crazy on the new RARE LIGHT slide show, but tonight we are going to show the ARKANSAS NIGHTSCAPES show instead of the new one. It will be great to see it one last time. The new RARE LIGHT program will premiere on Saturday at the public library in Mountain Home.

Always takes me longer to get everything organized for the first program of the season, including making sure we have enough Black Mat Prints for display and sale (at the cheapest price of the year!). We have to be rolling by noon, and won't get back home until nearly midnight - the first of many 18+-hour days on the road - but we LOVE IT!

I traded in my aging jeep this past summer and the new multi-purpose van has been pulling triple-time duty ever since (camper, heavy-duty pallet hauler inside and out, and workshop crew vehicle). It has passed all tests so far - today will be the final test. Our other van had gotten beat up pretty good during program seasons because the roads out here are so rough, and it was never designed to haul all the cases of heavy books and program equipment. The new van is just an empty shell, and if I can organize the inside correctly it should be the perfect platform for our "bookmobile" program vehicle this year. We've got 18 programs in the next coupe of months, so it will get a great workout! Rough miles ahead - and too tall to fit in the carport:


EVENING UPDATE. We just got back from the show in Fayetteville - it was a packed house and it felt so much like HOME being back in the land of my birth! A special THANKS to everyone who attended - and I wanted to let you know that I found my laser pointer - it was in my pocket right where I left it!

11/06/15 There is a nice article about my lovely bride and her art in today's paper (YIPPIE COYOTE!) - NOTHING DULL ABOUT PASTELS. by Becca Martin-Brown. Pam has more artistic talent in her little pinky than I have everywhere. I'm a big fan! I'm hopeful we will see a lot more of her work in the years to come. Here is Pam's "plein air" pastel they published in the paper, of the West Fork of the San Juan River in Colorado:


I'm ALMOST done with the new slide show. Another few hours of work and it will be ready for the premiere tomorrow at the public library in Mountain Home. This one will be quite different from last year's slide program, but I'm hopeful it will bring smiles to all who attend.

We had a terrific visit and program in Fayetteville Tuesday night - the room was packed with Master Gardeners and other wonderful people from the area. My presentation was not very good - kind of rusty after a ten-month layoff from giving programs - but the audience made the night a very special one for me personally, and I really appreciated the warm welcome and support, and all the work the Washington County Extension folks did to make it all happen. We'll return to Fayetteville with the new program on November 29th.

Yesterday while driving home from a visit to the dentist in Harrison, the FALL COLORS along the way were quite spectacular - the best I've seen here this year. My trip was sandwiched in between two strong rain storms, which no doubt helped enrich the color and saturate the landscape - that's the best time to see color, when the air and everything else are WET! I didn't have a

We had some wonderful, soaking rains yesterday - in fact some pretty heavy downpours last night. This much-needed moisture certainly helped out, but I don't know if it was enough to get waterfalls up and running well or not. I'm going to be locked in the print room working on the new slide show all day, and tomorrow will be on the road, so I won't get a chance to go see anything until Sunday. We have three programs and our first open house of the season next week, so I probably won't get into the woods then either, but I hope lots of you are able to get out and enjoy the late fall season here in Arkansas - 'tis the beginning of the best hiking of the entire year...

11/07/15 I've been up for a while, it's 6am and I already need a NAP! Today is the debut of our new slide program A RARE QUALITY OF LIGHT, and I finally got it completed late last night - YIPPIE! Then I laid awake much of the night trying to figure out what to say during my presentation in Mountain Home today. Most folks worry about speaking in front of groups, and/or if they will have enough to say. I'd be thrilled to stand in front of a thousand folks and talk for hours, days, even weeks about this program - every single image has a story or two. But my problem is that I'll only have about 20-30 minutes to speak, and oh my gosh how can I leave anything OUT? Sorry Mountain Home folks - you will be the guinea pigs and I'm hoping everything works out.

Kind of funny, but while this is certainly the best photo book I've ever done (took me 40 years to do the work so I HOPE it is the best!), we have no idea if the public will accept and like the book/program or not (seems some folks don't like me working in state other than Arkansas). I have traveled and photographed in other states quite extensively in the past 40 years, and this book/program is filled with images that have never been published (since all but one of my previous picture books have been about Arkansas). There ARE lots of Arkansas images in the book, but some of my most favorite photos of all time were taken elsewhere. The show includes the very first photo of mine that was ever published - 40 years ago this week (shown below) - and the most recent one to be published, in the September issue of Backpacker magazine.


The music in the show speaks volumes about my life's work, and some of it is kind of different. The program begins with a Paul Simon song that was the anthem/inspiration for a lot of my early work, and even was responsible for the type of film I used and brand of cameras I dreamt about and eventually could afford to purchase and work with. There is some weird Iceland music, but it PERFECTLY matches the photos from the chapter on Iceland. There's a Civil War tune - it is really a salute to veterans of all wars. And there's a short clip from the newest work by Miranda Lambert - only 30 seconds, but I wish I could have done the entire song - her voice is just so incredible. The flute music in the Utah section is haunting and beautiful, just like Utah itself. Other signature songs include a single from John Denver that perhaps influenced more of my work and life than any other. And the program ends with one of my most favorite songs of all time - a song about Arkansas that has never even been released, yet I bet you know it.

It's going to be a long day, but I hope at the end of it there are a couple hundred folks who have gone home with smiles on their faces, a tune in the heart, and their spirits lifted! Oh yes, and I hope they all have at LEAST one new picture book with them...

Next week we have programs in Dover, Conway, and Hot Springs Village, plus our first Gallery Open House on Saturday. Hope everyone has a GRAND WEEKEND - get out and enjoy the great outdoors!

11/11/15 HURRAY FOR VETERANS - and ESPECIALLY to your families for giving up so much that we can be free!

We've had programs in Mountain Home, Dover, and Conway this past four days, getting home after midnight last night (LOTS of big bucks on the roads - guess they know it is deer season and travel by night!). My lovely bride left way before daylight this morning to participate in a pastel workshop in Missouri. She is the chairperson for the major pastel competition and show in this region going on right now, so has been going back and forth from the Arts Center of the Ozarks in Springdale this week. The reception and award ceremony will be this Sunday at 1pm in Springdale - some really terrific art on display and it is open to the public! Somehow Pam will leave the workshop and catch up with me on the way to Hot Springs Village for our slide show there Friday morning. THEN we have our first Holiday Open House of the year on Saturday from 10am-3pm.

I'll be locked away in the print room from now until early Friday, scrambling to print and stretch dozens of canvas prints for the Open House. I'm hoping for some much-needed help to arrive tomorrow to do much of the heavy lifting! Pam's mom had an accident recently and has had surgery to repair, so we were not counting on all her great homemade COOKIES for this one - BUT I heard yesterday that she HAS been baking all week - one handed (broke her other hand in the accident). So there will be some cookies for the open house! Now if I can just get some canvas printed.

Note that we'll have all our books, calendars, and Black Mat Prints ON SALE Saturday, as well as all the canvas prints being priced at a 50% discount. 10am-3pm. Hope to see ya up here!

SLIDE SHOW IN HARRISON ADDED - Friday, December 18th, 7pm at the Lyric Theater on the square.

11/14//15 Just a quickie update this morning. We were up at 3am yesterday to head to the program in Hot Springs Village - BEAUTIFUL drive through the Arkansas River valley as always before sunrise. There was a packed house of wonderful folks for the show, and we really appreciated seeing everyone! Then it was a long drive back up into the Ozarks for some legal stuff in Harrison, arriving back home after dark. I worked in the gallery until midnight scrambling to get enough canvas prints done to have for display for our open house today. There are a few new prints, although most have been shown before. There are more than 50 gallery-wrapped canvas prints - up to eight feet wide. Plus a selection of Black Mat Prints, and also our Print-On-Demand service (you can get ANY Tim Ernst photo printed as you wait). And of course we'll have all our picture books, guidebook, and calendars ON SALE at program prices! We are open today from 10am-3pm...

SLIDE SHOWS NEXT WEEK in Ft. Smith on Monday, North Little Rock on Thursday, and Springdale on Saturday. Hope to see ya somewhere!

11/15/15 9am at the rain just began - sounds like a nice, slow-soaking rainfall that is supposed to get heavy later tonight. Most of the color has now dropped off the trees, and the late-fall landscape has morphed from yellow-orange to the gray-brown of the new season. I rather like this time of year - in fact I LOVE it! Hiking is a delight, and it is so easy to just get out and wander through the forest. I plan to do just that first chance I get.

We had a great Holiday Open House here yesterday with more than 125 wonderful folks who braved the sunny weather to come out to see us - THANKS for helping gobble up grannies homemade cookies! The first couple of hours were really crazy, then the tap was turned off and we only saw two people all afternoon - which gave me more time to have a few cookies myself! Our next open house will be in two weeks, then we'll have two in December.

We are headed to Springdale today for the opening reception of the fall show for the Ozark Pastel Society that my lovely bride is in charge of (at the Arts Center of the Ozarks). For those who might be attending, there will be more HOMEMADE COOKIES!

ONLINE GALLERIES OF TIM'S PHOTOS - ***new*** - you can now order small prints, NOTE CARDS, mouse pads, coffee and drink mugs, even iphone and ipad CASES - from any photo in these online galleries - click on an individual thumbnail for order options (available in these online galleries only)

11/17/15 I saw it coming. Heavy rain, HIGH winds, and thick clouds all night and all day, but just before sunset a crack appeared on the western horizon - the sun was about to dip into that split in the clouds and I figured the world would LIGHT UP - and oh my did it ever! The entire landscape was flooded with INCREDIBLE light - not sure what the color was, only that there was a LOT of COLOR! Odd color. Different color.

We are pretty much surrounded by trees out here at Cloudland, and while we could see the sky and clouds and COLOR everywhere, I couldn't really photograph it from here - the trees are just too thick here - I need openness for such beauty! So my lovely bride and I were forced to just stand there and gawk at the amazing sight.

And then a RAINBOW appeared - and it was one of the oddest rainbows I'd ever seen - it was almost straight UP on both sides, hardly any arch at all! The colors of the rainbow grew intense, and even more intense as the sky behind it grew dark orange and red - it was really, REALLY weird! Perhaps the most incredible rainbow of my life - it was EPIC! and I couldn't take a photo of it. Some things in life are for pure enjoyment. It was a Cloudland Moment for sure.

FYI, I've seen a couple of photos posted online of this rainbow (no doubt there were thousands taken - I'm sure it was seen from a lot of people), yet none of them approach what it looked like in real life. Sometimes it is tough - even darn near impossible to get a picture like the real thing. (In fact, it almost never happens, if ever. Photos are ALWAYS a distortion of reality - film or digital!)

11/20/15 I've been out wandering in the nighttime forest tonight under a big and bright almost 3/4 moon. Plenty of light to see all around. Then a cloud passed in front of the moon and the forest went DARK. About the same time the winds began to howl and the temp dropped. It took me a few steps to begin to adjust to the darkness and I ran into a tree or two - pretty typical for me! I love the forest at night, even when the winter breezes blow.

We had an angel visit our program in North Little Rock last night. My lovely bride has been planning a special pie recipe for Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday, and she had been on the lookout for fresh pecans, but we were unable to find any along our routes this week. During the program at Windsong Church this young lady stopped by with a gift for Pam, and son of a gun, it was - you guess it - FRESH PECANS - an entire bag of them! Unfortunately the bag got broken into during the drive home late last night and some of the nuts disappeared. There were enough for a test pie tonight though - THANKS to the Pecan Angel! We have no idea how she knew, but I guess that's what angels do...

It was great to see and talk with so many wonderful folks at both our shows in Ft. Smith and North Little Rock this week, and look forward to seeing more of you in Springdale Saturday. Our next Holiday Open House will be on November 28th, and then our Fayetteville show in Sunday the 29th. And then December will be upon us with the second half of our program and open house schedule. Hope to see ya down the road...

11/24/15 The wind is really rockin' and rollin' tonight! And it is SO BRIGHT outside with the almost-full moon lighting up the wilderness - I can almost see the limbs flying at me! Amazing to have so much wind with nothing on the weather radar for hundreds of miles in any direction.

While out hiking with the pups this morning I heard something thundering in the forest coming at me at full speed. The pups were about 30 feet ahead of me. All of a sudden a GIANT doe deer appeared off to my left and flew across the trail in between me and the pups - I bet she only took three leaps to travel 50 feet! I've seen a lot of deer up close, and I believe she was the largest whitetail doe I'd ever seen - she was more like a monster buck without antlers. Sometimes the old guys stop growing antlers in their later years, but she didn't seem to be an old man, just a very large lady. You could feel the earth shake each time she landed.

We had a wonderful crowd at the Shiloh Museum in Springdale last Saturday. It's funny how the audience at each different place we give programs have different personalities, and they are usually the same from year to year. A couple of items from this show to report to those who attended. Well actually just one - my lovely bride didn't wait until Sunday to bake me that special pie - she made it as soon as we got home after the program, and I ate almost the entire pie that night! (using the fresh pecans from the Pecan Angel)

Someone asked during the show where I would go if I was given only five more years to live. My answer was honest and true and didn't require any thought - I said I would so sit next to my lovely bride and simply be with her - NO OTHER PLACE on the planet I would want to be. Sometimes we do that anyway, even though we hope to have many more years to live - we will often not go someplace, and just sit and be with each other. Always makes me a happy camper.

We had thanksgiving dinner at Pam's parent's on Sunday, and for once in my life I can say I did not overeat. Well, I didn't overeat on the main course. I did have THREE pieces of PIE though! (Pam's pecan delight and a chocolate cream pie made by Amber) I helped our daughter make her first batch of smashed 'taters. She is starting to get more comfortable in the kitchen, and we are hoping that leads to future invites to dinner at her house in the years to come!

I spent most of today in the print room trying to get things organized for our Holiday Open House this coming Saturday. Then the intercom crackled to life with COME QUICK - I NEED YOU! Pam was out on the back and frantically explained that she had heard a dog calling out for help below the cabin near the top of the big bluffline (not one of ours - they were all three inside the cabin). A few moments later it sounded like the dog had fallen over the edge and was in trouble, but now there was no sound. I took off down the hillside and had a look around the top of the big bluffline - there was no sign nor sign of the dog. Then I made my way down through the bluff and soon was standing at the bottom of a 100-sandstone bluff and began my search. The first 100 yards or so out to and around a bend in the bluff was through a jumble of jagged boulders and sharp rocks that had fallen from the bluff face above. I picked my way through carefully, looking for any sign, but nothing.

As I rounded the curve in the bluffline the terrain became more gentle - just a few boulders and mostly forest floor with giant trees towering above. I searched and search and searched but never found any sign of the poor puppy. The spot in the bluff where Pam thought she heard the dog turned out to be the least sheer of it all - more broken up by ledges and shorter drop-offs. I climbed giant boulders so that I could see onto all of those ledges, but still no sign. I called out and whistled, and listened, and strained my eyes to find any sign of movement or hair.

My heart was thumping and my mind racing - it was no different than if I had been looking for a human - I value puppies just as much I think. In the end I convinced myself that if the dog had indeed slipped over the edge that he could have survived, jumping from ledge to ledge until he landed on the bench below the bluff, then continue don his merry way out into the rest of the forest. Dogs are strong and resourceful, but sometimes the wilderness will claim them. I once rescued a pair of beagle pups that had fallen over the edge of the big bluff across the way - that actually happened twice back in the early years of Cloudland. I rescued one of the first set of pups, while the second one took her last breaths in my arms. Beagle Point was named after her, and her grave is at the base of the bluff.

The wind continues to howl late tonight, tossing trees and deck furniture - one of something just slammed into the side of the cabin. We are expecting a lot of rain in the next week - which will add to the water levels from the rains last week - YIPPIE COYOTE - more WATERFALLS for all! Our canvas prints gallery will be open this coming Saturday from 10am-3pm, and will feature not only all the canvas on sale for half price and program prices on all our picture and guidebooks, but we'll also the Print On Demand service for Black Mat Prints - we'll print ANY photo while you wait at the special sale price! No need for black friday or cyber monday or whatever.

And then on Sunday the 29th we'll have our big slide show at the Fayetteville Library at 2pm. Come by early (starting at 1pm) and fill out your Christmas list with autographed picture books - all on sale! We'll have about 50 Black Mat Prints available too.

Finally on Monday we might have some sort of super-duper online special that won't be offered anywhere else - I have no idea what that might be, but I'll post the deal here and on Facebook Sunday night or Monday morning (we've never done this before).

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