October 7th 2009 – I am so behind, Ryan’s fiance I mention below is now his wife!
This is the week I definitely felt like I was starting to get the hang of night shots.
This was also the week I saw my first cicada killer wasp. They look like wasps but are MUCH larger and can pick up whole cicadas and fly off with them.
The one I saw was in my front yard. It was in the grass struggling. It had a large cicada in its grasp. It looked as if they were enjoying it missionary style. The killer wasp eventually crawled its way to the side of the house and then up the wall about 6 feet. Then it jumped, dropped a few feet before managing to get enough lift with its wings to take off and fly away. Impressive determination.
Can you imagine how big the wasp would have to be to take down the human shaped cicada creature I created? EEK!
DAY 871 08.22.09 – There are a few trees I interacted with today. First, it was the Sycamore at the corner of the Cherokee parking lot of Lexington. I was there for a Parkour meet-up and I was showing them how to run up the trunk and grab a branch. Did it twice. Then we ran into the park. I hit my head on a branch on the way. Got a bump. Then we climbed all over the fallen Beech tree I had done my last Yancey shoot on. Found another small Poplar tree that grows next to one of the fallen Beech branches and used it to climb down to the ground.
DAY 872 08.23.09 – Sweet tree climb today. Went to brunch with Drew, Cheyne, Ryan Boatright, Ryan’s fiance Caroline, and this guy Jonathan. After Ryan and Caroline came over to me and Drew’s place, I followed them to Jonathan’s place. At brunch he offered up his trees for me to climb. So I went and we walked into the back yard and there were just these HUGE oaks.
One in particular, this Pin Oak, was almost 4 feet in diameter. The branches were so big and high I just laughed at the prospect of climbing them. Then I saw something that caught my attention… a lower branch whose end was in reach. I followed it up and it curved steeply and connected way up the trunk. This was it! A way in. I tested the hanging limb, it was bendy but held so up I went. Ryan took a video
and a picture and I got to the trunk and crossed to the other side, pulled myself up one more limb and crawled out to take a seat. In three steps I was about 35 feet up.
They were below and I told them I was done.
I could have risked going high but I didn’t want to take for ever and don’t like taking ridiculous risks with an audience. I took my own few pictures then made my way back down.
It was a great climb in a beautifully massive tree. What a pleasant surprise.
(Later I found a dead cicada on the back of my truck. You know you love these)
DAY 873 08.24.09 – An Oak in Iroquios Park by an overlook area I had never been to before. Natalie and I walked through the woods with the intention of getting lost but finding my way to the overlook area I am familiar with. But a nice change of scenery with a great little Oak to climb.
(Natalie took a picture of me doing a back flip in front of the Oak tree using that special function on my camera)
DAY 874 08.25.09 – Oak by Wallgreens and KFC on Baxter with Mark Lewis. Poking twigs, nice night view and some sweet shots of Mark in the tree below me.
DAY 875 08.26.09 – Small tree full of birds and bird shit just behind the Center for the Arts downtown. Mark and I did a nice 5 minute presentation at 21C Hotel for the Ignite502 event about Louisville Parkour.
Some friends showed and a few tracuers. We left after the presentations and ran down to the Belvedere to jam. It was a good night, tree just okay.
DAY 876 08.27.09 – I biked to Cherokee Park to climb. I went around the Loop and felt really good because I was pumping it up the hills with no problem and retaining plenty of energy at the top to keep going. I have really gotten to be a stronger biker. Then I spotted a tree, locked up my bike and decided to keep my iPod and headphones playing. This would be a first and I am open to new experiences. When I finally figured out a way to get a grip and grab the lowest branch that was pretty high up my iPod fell out of my pocket. So I dropped, clipped it to my belt loop and went up again. I climbed to the top and was taking pictures, jamming to Le Tigre when a branch broke under my leaning back. I caught my self and was fine but it scared me. I was distracted by the music blaring into my ears and taking up so much of my thoughts. I took the earbuds out and all the sounds came flooding in, the sights became more real and I was more in the moment. My body relaxed and took in the experience more completely. Lesson learned. So I climbed back down, biked home and walked inside to realize I had lost my flash drive. It was in the same pocket as my iPod when it fell. So I drove all the way back to the tree, parked, and was able to quickly find the drive in the ivy. Thank god. This flash drive has fallen from two different tree climbs and I’ve had to go back and find it. Can’t figure out if it’s lucky or unlucky.
DAY 877 08.28.09 – I went to UofL to do Parkour with Mark at 1:30pm. I parked my bike at the tennis courts then started to warm up on the playground equipment. Once a large group of middle school aged children left I walked over to a nice Maple tree and climbed up an overhanging limb. As I worked my way towards the trunk a man came and sat down on a pinic bench below me. I went out another limb and untangled a rope that had looped over and as such was unreachable from the ground. I remedied that problem. Then I went back to the trunk, down a branch and out and up another very massive branch that reaches well above the rest of the tree since the trunk withers and decays to broken nubs. At the top I called Mark to discover his whereabouts, then when hearing of his near proximity I climbed back down, out the low limb and down the overhanging limb.
DAY 878 08.29.09 – Waited till dark then walked to Wild ‘n Woolly Video to drop off a DVD for Drew. Then I kept walking all the way to Cherokee Triangle looking for a tree. I ended up climbing a Sycamore along the grassy mall. There were three guys in the gazebo holding an interview. I climbed to the top and sat and took pictures.
Then I got consumed in my thoughts. I climbed down and walked back down Bardstown Road and saw many zombies and people in pink shirts. I also ran into Daniel Driver. Strange night.
DAY 879 08.30.09 – Went to Kings Island today with Charlotte. I dropped her off at her mom’s at the end of the day and then drove to Ballard High School to climb a tree. I chose the maple in the middle of the grass area by the bus loop. I have climbed this tree before and it was easy. There was some new damage I had not seen which provided an opening at the top, but I still couldn’t see much. There were a bunch of birds on the cell tower but I had no success scaring them so they’d fly away so I could get a sweet picture. Oh well.
DAY 880 08.31.09 – I am getting drawn to trees that I have climbed. Not sure if it’s out of sentimentality or a lack of desire to search for a new tree. I went to Joe Creason park and climbed the cedar I have many times before. I took a few pictures at the top and was unsatisfied with my decision to reclimb this tree yet again. So I climbed down and went walking. I found this massive Osage Orange tree with a split trunk. Upon closer inspection I discovered this tree had extensive damage all over. I went up getting a few thorn pokes and scratches.
One went on my head and I think it got embedded undermy skin. I got as high as I could then transferred to a Hackberry tree. I went to the top of that and felt a huge sense of accomplishment. Overcoming the thorny beast to rise above it.
Very nice. Then, instead of going back to the Osage, I just shimmied down the Hackberry trunk. Good climb.