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Monday, October 31, 2016

Where It All Began: LIMEKILN CREEK by Robert Glenn Ketchum

Where It All Began:  Limekiln Creek by Robert Glenn Ketchum

In 1967, I discovered Limekiln Creek on the Big Sur Coast in California. Among those redwoods, I had an epiphany as a young artist. As a photographer, most of the skills I would use, I would learn there. Many years later in a mature career, I helped the American Land Conservancy acquire this property for the California State Park system. This is the story of a very personal place.






Monday, October 31, 2016
Where It All Began:  Limekiln Creek, #44
Where It All Began - Limekiln Creek, #44:  This is a preface to this blog and the last post. In discovering AND then returning to Limekiln, I was inspired to change the direction of my work, and to greatly improve the quality of my photography - these decisions affected my life. Simultaneously I also had other important influences. My parents began leasing a house in Sun Valley (ID), from which some of my earliest published images were created ( SEE MY BLOG about the Decker Flats Climbing & Frisbee Club ). Then in transit to Sun Valley for a visit, as with Limekiln, I randomly discovered an amazing place in the desert that became to body of work, STONED IMMACULATE, a new blog that will begin next week in this spot. The above image is Paul Caponigro's "Apple, New York" 1964, or so it was titled when first published in Aperture magazine. At UCLA, a Robert Heinecken assignment had each of us choose a photographer "outside" of "our genre" and prepare a report/lecture with slides for a class presentation. Although I was "leaning" toward an interest in landscape, I still thought it less exciting than my experimental, hand-colored work, and Caponigro's work, which lacked the drama of Ansel Adams, seemed especially "quiet." I chose him because I viewed him boring and thought I would make that my lecture point, BUT the more I studied his images, the more I grew to understand what he saw. Then there was the final image, the endpiece of the publication. When presenting to the class, I said this was a great final image because it suggested he was doing "newer, more experimental work," and Heinecken asked, "How's that?" I responded that most his other images were landscapes, but this one of the night sky seemed more adventurous. Uniformly the class mumbled oddly, and then my friend, Bob Jenkins, spoke up and said, "What are you smoking, man? THAT is an apple." Having NOT read the image title, I missed that detail, but once he said it, I could see it. In fact, I could still see BOTH. This duality of being a "straight" photograph AND ALSO of "another world entirely" would become a subtext of my work for the rest of my life. In telling that story to workshop students once, I did not notice that Caponigro had come into the back of the classroom. After speaking, I took questions, and the last hand up was his. When he rose, I knew him, so I introduced him to the class. Paul said he was glad to hear that story and know the image affected me in that way, AND then he said I should tell Heinecken that "it WAS the night sky." He has since changed the title of this image to "Galaxy Apple."
photograph(s) © copyright, JOHN PAUL CAPONIGRO, 2016, @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, October 24, 2016


Where It All Began:  Limekiln Creek, #43
Where It All Began - Limekiln Creek, #43:  In 2006, my career-long trail of "colorful leaves" led to this. Many factors were involved. The wet darkroom had all but disappeared, and most photographers, especially those my age, chose to embrace the new digital darkroom simply to make their pictures "better." Then, the Amon Carter Museum (TX) organized a 45-year retrospective exhibit of my work that was as complete a display of my career as I might have ever hoped for. Lastly, the embroidery guild I was working with in China felt that OUR success led other guilds to copy us and work with photographs, so they wanted to move in a new direction, one that would be more difficult to imitate. This confluence of events caused me to decide not just to explore the new digital world, BUT TO JUMP IN! As the Chinese, I also wanted to break away, in this case, from the "traditions" of myself. I, and they, had always honored my "full-frame," uncropped, unmanipulated image, a signature of all my work. The Chinese actually prefer a design with taller, narrower panels, in groups of 6, not 3 & 4 dictated by my photographs rendered in embroidery. For me, the starting point of this new visual journey - this EVOLUTION - was an early-80's 4x5 transparency of fall leaves against a wet brick wall in New England. I cropped a tall, thin rectangle out of it that was particularly rhythmic and colorful - and then I began to explore. The first panel on the left is the original, UN-altered color image. A goal of my design was to give the embroiderers a chance to show off colors that we had not found "in nature" (my other work) but they could certainly create in their dyes - and Adobe was happy to help me. For the second panel, I simply flipped the first and began to color and manipulate digitally. I sought to change every panel significantly, and yet have them "flow" together. Entitled, "CHOOSE JOY", these panels are 6-FEET! tall and about 30" wide, so on the wall this is 6' x 12'-14' feet wide depending on the installation. The EVOLUTION series is now 24-panels long. If you are interested to see the rest, go here, click on PHOTOGRAPHS, click on NEW DIGITAL.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, October 17, 2016


Where It All Began:  Limekiln Creek, #42
Where It All Began - Limekiln Creek, #42:  Neither of my photography teachers at UCLA, Edmund Teske, nor Robert Heinecken, taught much technique. They were more interested in making us think conceptually about photography and our photographs. Nonetheless, both instructors saw my landscape imagery and suggested I work with larger cameras, and make sharper and more detailed prints. Because I had started shooting with color film, Heinecken encouraged me to write a letter to Eliot Porter, which Porter answered. I was further encouraged by his remarks and his own amazing print work to become more technically accomplished. Toward that end, after graduating UCLA, B.A. cum laude in design/photography, I moved to Santa Barbara to attend Brooks Institute a 2-year technical and commercial school of photography. I wanted to use a view camera, make better exposures, make superior prints, and print in color. Brooks at that time was VERY disciplined, and the first year presented all those technical courses. Just as that year finished for me at Brooks, California Institute of the Arts opened their doors AND their graduate program to which I immediately applied. This image is one of the prints in the portfolio I submitted for consideration. There were also some text pages written in calligraphy. I received my MFA in photography/art from CalArts and went on to teach there for several semesters. In retrospect, it is amazing to me to see this "trail of colorful leaves and branches" that I have been building throughout my career. My last post of this blog is next week. It is some of my NEWEST work, and yet not! It IS more "colorful leaves" as the digital darkroom now allows us to render them. Stay tuned!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, October 10, 2016


Where It All Began:  Limekiln Creek, #41
Where It All Began - Limekiln Creek, #41:  This was another in my series of small, badly printed, hand-colored landscapes, published previously at the beginning of this blog (post #5). Heinecken also felt this image "questioned" the notion of spatial references and "confused the expected relationships." I was merely painting a random spectral rainbow into the the highlights, but those highlights are actually in both the foreground and the background. Coloring them has created a flattening of how we read the depth in the forest. In the ORDER FROM CHAOS series that would eventually evolve from this work, I would enhancing this flattening effect by the use of the large format cameras capacity to render an astounding amount of detail that confuses spatial relations and fills every corner of the frame. More interestingly, in my most recent work, I have begun to use the perfection of the digital darkroom to color leaves, and the EVOLUTION series even uses a leaf configuration that is similar in form to this twisting thread of color. I guess I could say these ideas have now come full-circle in my life.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, October 3, 2016


Where It All Began:  Limekiln Creek, #40
Where It All Began - Limekiln Creek, #40:  These early hand-colored images of mine are surprisingly prescient of directions in which my work would move for the rest of my ENTIRE LIFE. When I showed this and those posted previously (posts #5, #7, #9, #11, and #19) to my instructor at UCLA, Robert Heinecken, he mused he was not overly fond of the landscape as subject but perhaps I might want to work with a larger camera format were I to continue addressing it. I did learn to use larger formats. In this image, in particular, and a few of the others, he also said he thought I had "something interesting going on in the branches." He thought the way I had colored light patterns confused the spatial rendering of the forest and made the subject less about "place" and more about the "framed image," taking the narrative away from the constructs of landscape photography as being practiced at the time (Ansel Adams, Eliot Porter). Without a doubt, using a 4x5 camera, color film, and no manipulation or painted color, the portfolio, ORDER FROM CHAOS, published 12yrs. later, definitely does that.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, September 26, 2016


Where It All Began:  Limekiln Creek, #39
Where It All Began - Limekiln Creek, #39:  Most of the work I had been turning in for critique in Robert Heinecken's photography classes at UCLA involved a lot of experimentation, which reflected the exploring he was encouraging us to do. When not a student on campus, I spent a good deal of time taking pictures of rock bands on the The Sunset Strip. I also spent weekends camping in the desert and on the Big Sur coast, often at Limekiln. As my personal work evolved, the darkroom experimentation fused with the 60's swirling around me, and Limekiln, in particular, jumpstarted my as-yet-unawakened relationship with the natural world. Before "selfies," this was called a self-portrait (Yes, before KIM this actually occurred). In fact, the title of this image is "Self-portrait in 4F Camouflage." What is interesting in retrospect is that you can see all of the elements of my changing life in this: I am experimenting with darkroom techniques; I am infusing my rockstar-like selfie with 60's psychedlia and political meaning; and, apparently in this pic I am "emerging" from nature.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, September 19, 2016
Where It All Began:  Limekiln Creek, #38
Where It All Began - Limekiln Creek, #38:  As this blog nears the end, I wanted to note one other habit that I formed during my years of camping and hiking in Big Sur, and Limekiln Creek in particular. To those of us that were first there in the 60's, some had "hidden" campsites, the "dock" had been constructed at the waterfall, and there was a mysterious couch WAY up past the kilns, sitting on the beach of a big pool, BUT for the most part we were respectful and tried to minimize our impact and presence. As Big Sur grew in hipness and more people began coming, the sheer growing numbers brought more obvious use and wear-and-tear on the trails, but MOST ANNOYING were those that just came out to party, trash the place, and leave. On virtually every visit, my friends and I would find sites like this AND WE WOULD CLEAN THEM UP AND CARRY THIS STUFF OUT! That practice was reinforced by my friends in Decker Flats Climbing and Frisbee Club at alpine campsites, as you will see if you follow my blog.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, September 12, 2016


Where It All Began:  Limekiln Creek, #37
Where It All Began - Limekiln Creek, #37:  Although I was advised NOT to, by both my teachers and my peers, I decided I wanted to work in BOTH black & white AND in color. I also wanted to work with different camera formats, specifically a 4x5 view camera, and a 35mm. Because I was beginning to cross-country ski in Sun Valley, I knew I was experiencing the conditions of winter in a far different way than Ansel Adams carefully considered views of iconic places, and ONLY the 35mm camera was functional in the environments into which my friends and I pushed ourselves. I also saw winter as a black & white subject. Limekiln, however, especially these last 3 images I posted, suggested my work might move in another very different direction. I was developing a visual fascination for the randomness of the forest, and seeing it as an abstraction. The images I was drawn to were not so much about the trees, or the place, but more about how the lines, colors, and textures filled the rectangular space of the viewfinder. Because detail enhanced texture, I wanted to use the large format camera to capture as much information as possible. Color was also part of this visual rhythm, and so I began to more intensively explore Ektachrome 4x5 transparency film, which of all the various films I had tried while "learning" in these woods, seemed to me to offer the most beautiful palette of colors.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, September 5, 2016


Where It All Began:  Limekiln Creek, #36
Where It All Began - Limekiln Creek, #36:  Camping / photographing in Limekiln, and taking pictures during my Christmas vacations with my family in the Wood River Valley surrounding Ketchum and Sun Valley, Idaho, (read my blog) I was constantly experimenting with cameras and print-making technology while forming my personal vision of the landscape. I shot in 3 different camera formats:  4x5 view, 120mm (medium format), and 35mm, and I used both black & white and color film. In fact, within film, I shot almost everything manufactured "just to see what it looked like". Plus X, Pan X, Tri X, Kodachrome, Agfachrome, Anscochrome, and Ektachrome ...does anyone even know what these are anymore? I also explored print materials favoring Dupont Velour and Agfa for my black & white papers, and in color, TOTALLY disliking the pallid, flat colors of color negative material. Because I shot transparency film, I preferred color positive paper and helped to pioneer Cibachrome - more about that later. With so many options, wedding specific technology to a specific vision of a given subject became part of my POV. Because of the locations to which I attempted to drag all my equipment, I was increasingly drawn to the intricate detail that could be rendered by the larger cameras, and the much wilder, less photographed world that could be accessed with the smaller equipment.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, August 29, 2016
Where It All Began:  Limekiln Creek, #35
Where It All Began - Limekiln Creek, #35:  This first of my three "significant" images, in retrospect, is a clear precursor to my future published portfolio, "Order from Chaos," (as is post #33 of this blog). What these two images "see" is a result of framing and understanding the dimensional space, or lack thereof, within that framed POV. In both cases, I am dealing with the busy complex forest and what appears initially to be a flat plane of entwined trunks and branches. But actually, it is not a flat plane, but one with a great amount of depth defined by LAYERS OF TEXTURES that recede to an infinity point. As I fine-tuned this compositional approach to the complexity of the forest and moved to the 4x5 view camera to create the 18 images in the "Order from Chaos" portfolio, my layers only grew MORE complex and hallucinatory, and the detail of the textures was further enhanced by the large film format.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, August 22, 2016

Where It All Began:  Limekiln Creek, #34
Where It All Began - Limekiln Creek, #34:  My journeys into Limekiln during my 4 years of college were formative to say the least. They inspired a commitment within me to work with the subject of the landscape on behalf of the environment. I also started shooting in color and communicating with Eliot Porter, color photography's answer to Ansel Adams. I experimented with various camera formats, and most importantly, I was trying to find my personal POV. Although I greatly admired how Eliot used color, which is why I wrote to him, I found his images "mixed." Some were nice, but just descriptive, and others were much stronger and usually more abstract. His close-up abstractions seemed obvious to me, but those where he positioned himself with a wider view that still remained abstract, REALLY knocked me out. I have always felt the best of this work was published in "The Place No One Knew: Glen Canyon on the Colorado". As my recent posts suggest, during my "Limekiln" years, I struggled to find my personal POV and my vision was constantly torn between close observation and taking a step back to sense the greater place. As this blog closes, the last 3 images I will present finally "arrive." In them, I feel my framing of the view finally captures some sense of the place that includes both the clearly visible AND and the more ephemeral undercurrents of the "magical universe."
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, August 15, 2016

Where It All Began:  Limekiln Creek, #33
Where It All Began - Limekiln Creek, #33:  I think, subconsciously, from that very first transcendent moment sitting by myself next to a shimmering pool, a began to have a sense of this place whether I knew it or not. Over the years, and after many visits, when you look back at the images of this blog you can see the push-pull of my attempts to deal with the chaos of this landscape and its limited space. I am drawn to close observation by unusual discoveries such as subtle light or odd colored leaves, but when I step back, things get much busier and I begin to "mix" them together in the field of view. A few of these images posted I view as simply descriptive, but when you scroll the collective posts, again and again you see compositions involving complex, disorganized layers that within the frame of my camera, find a visual rhythm. The early hand-colored images were my attempt to express my newfound wonder of the natural world in an altered state when I did NOT have the camera skills to do so. As the years progressed, my personal vision and technical skills matured to the point I felt the images were more amazing WITHOUT the manipulation BECAUSE they began to have both a sense of place, and they touch on the underlying hallucinatory dimensions of "reality" that I will delve into more deeply in the published portfolios of "Order From Chaos."
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, August 8, 2016

Where It All Began:  Limekiln Creek, #32
Where It All Began - Limekiln Creek, #32:  Certainly the late light had its own beauty, but the more I studied this place the more the light was just part of the larger spectacle - glowing pools; logs turning into rocks; strange reflections bouncing off water and up into trees, causing the forest to dance with the passing of ripples; florescent yellow banana slugs emerging from green moss gardens - there was no end to the wonder and amusement. I said in a previous post I felt there was no viewpoint in Limekiln. Instead what I found was MY POINT-OF-VIEW. Even though different cameras have different framing varying from rectangular to square, I realized that FRAMING IN-CAMERA, NO CROPPING, WAS MY POINT OF VIEW, not the subject I was photographing, but the thing on my ground glass. In my 45-year career, I have seldom shot in any other way than full-frame, in-camera. And, working with a view camera where the image on the ground glass is upside-down and backwards, the "subject" in front of my lens became a Jackson Pollock-like rectangle comprised of landscape, BUT NO POV. The best of that work would mature through the late 1970's and early 80's becoming my first published color portfolio, "ORDER FROM CHAOS."
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, August 1, 2016

Where It All Began:  Limekiln Creek, #31
Where It All Began - Limekiln Creek, #31:  After an "invigorating" swim-and-sun around the pools at the base of this big waterfall, the waning afternoon would inevitably cast the canyon back into deep, cool shade, so everyone would put their clothes back on and retreat into the forest and places they were camped. Although I enjoyed the spectacle of the falls as well as the rugged coastal shore, it was in the late light and quietude of the forest that the "magic" of Limekiln played out for me. Over several years and dozens of visits, I returned to wander in this narrow, chaotic watershed constantly trying to find a photographic sense of the place that equalled my actual experience. As an amateur photographer attempting to improve, I also dragged every camera I owned from 4x5 to 35mm along with me, and experimented with 3 or 4 new films when they were introduced. However, the more pictures I took, the more I began to see there was no "point-of-view" as there were no viewpoints. Nor were there really any encompassing vistas. These intimate redwood canyons were about strange moments - beautiful, fleeting light; the change in the gurgle of the stream as you turned a corner; AND especially the way the lime "blended" so many things, cementing stones, logs, and other debris together to form numerous pools. As the lime bottom of the pools was white and the water very clear, when the sun struck certain spots at certain angles, the results were often hard to believe. This is NOT an illuminated pool or fish pond! This is a perfectly angled ray from the 4 pm sun that has filtered through the tree branches and turned this pool and falls luminous, glowing in the darkening forest, and casting a pale blue light up onto the surrounding rocks and foliage. Or, at least that is what I saw!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, July 25, 2016

Where It All Began:  Limekiln Creek, #30
Where It All Began - Limekiln Creek, #30:  Bear with me and this shot one more time. As you can see this is a closer detail and it reveals two things - the face of the falls is covered with moss which, in turn, is constantly inundated by lime-rich water. In time, the moss calcifies, becoming white and hard and looking a bit like dripping candle wax or a stalactite. New, green moss grows on top. Watching the flow of water work through the moss could occupy an entire day. However, for the more adventurous the other unique aspect of this falls revealed here is the "secret" pool. Look at the right side of the falls where there appears to be a separate stream of water. If you follow it down you see that it disappears behind the sunny rock outcrop. There is a deep, small pool there that the water flows into AND the pool is 40ft of sheer, wet rock ABOVE the main pool. Sitting in there on a hot day was amazing, BUT GETTING INTO THE POOL took an act of faith. In the upper right corner of this image you can see the trunks of two trees that are growing right out of the rock wall. There is a rope around the base of the larger tree and it hangs down all the way to the lower pool, hidden in a crack in the rocks. If you know it is there and fish it out, you use it to "walk up" the rock face opposite the level of the small pool. Now, holding the rope tightly, your feet flat on the rock face and your body, hanging out nearly parallel to the water below in the lower pool, you RUN across the rock face toward the pool. At the last minute, near the end of the rope's reach, you release and plunge into the small pool. Now, getting down from this position is a WHOLE other story, especially if you have been UP THERE for TOO long.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, July 18, 2016
Where It All Began:  Limekiln Creek, #29
Where It All Began - Limekiln Creek, #29:  The beach and the forest could be completely enshrouded by coastal fog, but here at this pool and waterfall our position was far enough inland that it could be sunny and 85. Of many incidences that occurred in this spot during my numerous visits over the years, two stand out: the first involved a hot day in 1967 when one of my best friends, Robert Fishman, and I arrived at the pool to find many beautiful, naked girls bathing and several more basking as their luxuriously-robed, long-haired male "friend" watched over his harem. He, and they, greeted us warmly and invited us to join them all. Soon after introductions, our new friend took a bota-bag (usually used to hold wine) from around his shoulder and some spearmint gum from his pocket. He folded the gum stick down the middle and poured a powder from the bota-bag into the "V," handing a stick to each of us. When Robert asked what it was, one of the girls volunteered it WAS "excellent." And when he asked just how much he was being given, the head of the harem replied, "Just the right amount." This group knew what they were talking about. Get on the bus! Or in this case, get naked and jump in the pool!!!!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, July 11, 2016

Where It All Began:  Limekiln Creek, #28
Where It All Began - Limekiln Creek, #28:  Upon drawing closer, the branches and vines above you clear, and this comes into view. The canyon narrows further, leaving about 50ft of slippery boulder scrambling that will take you to the edge of a pool (dark rim) - AND what a pool it is! It is HUGE! It is loud. It is a stunning pale blue in color, AND it has a "limed-in" bottom that can be seen through the crystal clear water so that swimmers can avoid kicking tree snags and rocks and getting hurt. To the left (out of sight) is the "sunning platform" I mentioned previously. To give you a sense of scale here, the platform was large, 10 people seated, and the boulder slope it was built upon seated many more, so the expanse of the terrain above this POV is much larger than it may appear. The abrupt cliff on this creek created a powerful falls, especially in the winter, which built a big pool AND left a treeless hole open to the sky that took direct sunlight between 11am and 2pm. If you knew about this, THE PARTY WAS ON!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, July 4, 2016

Where It All Began:  Limekiln Creek, #27
Where It All Began - Limekiln Creek, #27:  Along the Big Sur coast there are a number of narrow canyons leading from the summits down to the ocean and they are often filled with redwoods and streams. It is a VERY vertical descent from the meadows above to the rocky beaches and in some places, it is an outright plunge. Both Salmon Creek and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park have notable large waterfalls that cascaded hundreds of feet - and as it turns out, so does Limekiln. Working my way up this side canyon, I am pressing against the rock wall on the right trying not to touch poison oak which is everywhere. The source of the increasingly louder water noise I was hearing is just visible through tree branches and it is not JUST a waterfall and some pools. This is one of the biggest waterfalls on the entire coast (and the favorite naked bathing place of numerous Big Sur hippies and acid trippers.)
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, June 27, 2016

Where It All Began:  Limekiln Creek, #26
Where It All Began - Limekiln Creek, #26:  After a few more log crossings, there is a bend in the creek and you enter a new part of the "trail" that has high steep rock walls on both sides and little room to navigate. In this shot I have come in from the left side of the frame and you can see the wider part of the Limekiln canyon (down canyon) in the distance. From this POV you can also see how abruptly the canyon wall now rises on the right. Standing here and taking it all in, I began to realize the sound of the creeks next to me and below me in the other canyon were changed subtly as I rounded the bend and entered the narrows. What I was now hearing was also a water noise which is why I probably did not notice at first, but as I listened more closely the new sound was more robust, louder in a different way, and clearly it seemed to increase in volume with every forward step I made picking my way along the edge of the rock walls.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, June 20, 2016

Where It All Began:  Limekiln Creek, #25
Where It All Began - Limekiln Creek, #25:  Over the years I would learn this more discreet canyon was almost always dark and only for a few hours a day got any scattered sun. The creek filled the canyon floor leaving virtually no evidence of a trail there, and the angular rocks in the creek were always slippery and dangerous. To explore this canyon, the "trail" was served by fallen logs and debris jams. Look carefully at this picture, and if you have been following this blog, you will immediately recognize "my" path has been one that connected multiple logs (far left). Although there was little evidence of foot traffic, I was headed to a very popular destination, a large, sunny pool with A LOT of sun exposure in the afternoon. In fact, this spot was SO popular with hard-core Big Sur forest trolls, that because it was quite rocky surrounding the pool, they constructed a large wood platform so people could lay down in the sun and dry off after swimming.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, June 13, 2016

Where It All Began:  Limekiln Creek, #24
Where It All Began - Limekiln Creek, #24:  There was one other very interesting part of the Limekiln Creek system that is revealed by this image. The main trail that follows the larger, broader creek and eventually leads hikers to THE limekilns bears to the left. Yet here we see a juncture with another stream coming in from the right. Back in the day, many mistakenly thought this was an irrelevant sidestream as there were no obvious trails on the right-hand shore, and the narrow, debris-filled canyon that the water is coming from did not look very inviting, so they would continue along the obvious path. Today there are signs and a bridge at this point, but in the 60's, you had to know that if you could find a rock crossing and get to the other side, in a matter of a few hundred feet and the navigation over some fallen trunks, you were in an entirely different canyon and about to discover a spectacular feature of this forest.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, June 6, 2016

Where It All Began:  Limekiln Creek, #23
Where It All Began:  Limekiln Creek, #23:  After a hard day of partying, watching fog-cloud waves surge against the coastal hills, too much sun, and way too many libations, it would always come time to return to the forest for the evening and the shelter of the big trees in the canyon. Easier said than done! Getting up out of the canyon as it neared headwaters was a steep and often quite tricky scramble. Experience taught my friends and I a few “secret paths.” This is one! See it? Limekiln creek is down and to the left. The sunny meadow is to the right toward the end of the sunlit fallen trunk. There is poison oak everywhere!! The burned log rises from the valley floor and is a breathtaking crawl up to the fallen tree. Then a “modest” bridge-walk along the horizontal trunk over some serious exposure, and voila, your in high grass, wildflowers, and sunshine. Hours later you are @#*!!-up and headed back DOWN. Good luck with that (LOL – or not !).
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, May 30, 2016

Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #22
Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #22:  Out of curiosity and over many visits, my friends and I explored all the canyons/streams as they narrowed and climbed ever higher into the Nacimiento meadows of the Big Sur coastal range. Often in the summer, a dense, wet fog would hug the coast and enshroud the canyon and trees making them drip like it was raining. If this lasted most of the day, we abandoned the forest by hiking up through it to the headwaters in the meadows above. At the elevation of the meadows you were above the fog line, often in blazing sunshine. If you study this image, you can see the tip-tops of big redwoods that are emerging from that dark narrow crack of a canyon. That canyon is Limekiln, and REALLY steep, narrow, and rugged at this point. The meadows are also VERY STEEP, but really sunny and a great place to eat, libate, get naked, and party - do pay attention to the poison oak, however.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, May 23, 2016

Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #21
Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #21:  Many times during big winter storms, if #Highway#1 through #BigSur remained drivable, my friends and I would visit #Limekiln, camping in our vans on highway turnouts rather than back in the cold, wet forest. On one such trip, as you can see, a massive #Pacific storm sent huge surf slamming into the headlands of the coast. The rock at Limekiln beach cove was unaccessible in these conditions, BUT THE LEDGE on the cliff face above the breaking waves was exciting to say the least - 300ft up and we were still getting splashed! Two important lessons were learned because of these, and similar conditions. During a lesser storm and swell, a girlfriend and I summited the rock in front of the cove. We knew we would be cut off by incoming waves, but planned to sit through a few "big" ones, and then climb down and retreat between sets (groups of waves). The first wave to arrive was scary, and then the set grew. Short of hysterical we crouched below the crown of the rock and held on. No wave broke over us, but we were covered by backsplash 4 TIMES before the set broke and we escaped to the safety of the beach. And the ledge,..? Toward the end of a big storm, we arrived to camp, and immediately sought out the ledge while the surf was still big. Upon scaling the cliff and turning the corner onto the face above the Pacific, we discovered the ledge was gone. It broke away and dropped into the pounding surf. Glad we did not get there at the beginning of the storm!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, May 16, 2016

Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #20
Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #20:  This is Robert Tchirkow catching rainbows from atop the big rock in #Limekiln beach cove. When the tide is out, the rock can be reached at low water IN BETWEEN waves. Once on it, you are above the wave and MOST of the splash. It was a great spot to watch the sun go down and enjoy libations before returning to the forest to start dinner. As you can see from the previous post, there are times during high tides and big swells where the rock is CLEARLY inaccessible and NOT looking very user friendly. This was especially true of winter when big storms generated huge swells. My POV in this shot is from 3/4 of the way up the rock wall that leads to "our" sunset-viewing ledge over the Pacific.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Monday, May 9, 2016

Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #19
Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #19:  The mouth of #LimekilnCreek is a rocky, boulder strewn beach in a small cove beneath steep #BigSur cliffs. Although the state park now has some excellent camp sites near the beach, in the 60's and 70's, most people camped in the forest and visited the beach to see the sunset as the cove faced due west, and the end of the day was the last chance to enjoy the warming rays of the sun. As terrible as this picture is, it does show two things about the Limekiln beach cove important to my story: there is a large rock to the right that was actually accessible at lower tides; and, to the left there is a cliff face. Over time spent exploring, my friends and I discovered that you could climb up through the rocks on the cliff and edge your way around them to the outside wall. About 300ft above the water, we found an inverted ledge that we could sit in comfortably and all the while we would be completely invisible to everyone else. That became our favored viewpoint, taking in the sunset, looking directly out at the #Pacific, and watching the waves break and splash up through our dangling legs.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #18
Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #18:  Although summer days could be quite hot, it was almost always cool under the redwoods and back in the canyons. With deep shade and the rushing water generating its own breeze, the late afternoons grew cold but produced some striking visual contrasts when an occasional ray of light would find its way through the overhead branches to reach the forest floor. In the years before #Limekiln would become a state park, it would be owned by different people, some friendly to camping, some not. For many years, there were no official camp sites at the mouth of the canyon, and some people camped up in the canyons, which is NOT permitted today. On many of my early visits we camped deep in the canyons, but the cooling afternoon and the oncoming night always demanded a walk down to the beach to see the sunset and take in the last warming rays of the sun.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #17
Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #17:  In any given season, the forests, streams, and pools of #Limekiln are also the repository of strange and wonderous "found" objects. This leaf was glowing so brightly as the sunlight shown off it, that I saw it from many feet away and thought it was a metallic object. When I got closer to observe what it really was, I noticed the leaf was also lying in a bed of golden sand that had settled into a depression on a sunken log. While that may not seem strange at first, consider that in all my visits to this area, and having clammered up every canyon and side-canyon into their headwaters, I NEVER saw an accumulation of golden sand ANYWHERE else. I never saw golden sand in ANY quantity elsewhere! How did this get here? What is the "ghost" leaf in the lower right corner? AND, why are the highlights in the creek flowing by in the upper right sparkling with prismatic colors?
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #16
Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #16:  For all the technical complexities of working in the deep shadows, working in the bright highlights had its own weird quirks. Some of the pools not only made beautiful melodious water noises, but they also had accompanying light shows. As the angle of the sun would move across the canyon, different pools would catch direct rays which then reflected back off of the water's rippling surface, and UP ONTO overhead logs and nearby rock walls, transposing the sounds (ripples) into light ever-changing patterns. In this image I found myself realizing how rare it was to ever find delicate vegetation this close to the moving water and have it dead-still enough to make a longer exposure. Well, there WAS other stuff going on here as well - just stare at this, you'll get it!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #15
Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #15:  What you've been viewing in this blog is a mix of work done over MANY years. I'm sure it is apparent that the first images were technically bad photographs, however I played with them in the darkroom to express a state of mind at the time. The more descriptive images in color are, for the most part, the most recent. And they show the skills and technology of a mature career: a medium format camera on a tripod with excellent exposure across the spectrum in both the highlights, and the shadows. However, the last post and this one represent something else. Eliot Porter worked in color, and as you see, I was shooting in B&W. So, #Limekiln was also transitional for me because, influenced by Porter, I began to shoot color as well. Strangely though, the combination of available color film at the time, coupled with the INCREDIBLY DEEP SHADE of the canyon that required long exposures, caused the film's color response to behave in unexpected ways. Many of these shots seem as though I might have manipulated them through some darkroom technique, yet I did not. The remaining images in this blog will be OBVIOUSLY hand-colored, older work, or it will be a series a "straight" color images that evolved along with my skills, my personal vision, and my UNDERSTANDING OF PLACE! However strange they may appear, what you see is what the film recorded, not something I added later, and if they appear a bit "odd" at times to you, they do to me as well.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #14
Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #14:  To return to my ideas about "blending," on this first visit I thought a lot of things were "blending" because of my personal condition, not theirs. However, as I would learn on subsequent #Limekiln adventures, part of the magic of this creek and canyon is an ACTUAL BLENDING of elements, and I am NOT just speaking about entwined vegetation. With the steep canyon sides, and the creek regularly reaching a raging flood stage during the hard rains of the winter season, trees are undermined and collapse into and across the creek every year. This amazing amount of debris, as you saw in the last post, becomes part of the trail "system,", yet other parts that fall INTO the creek have something else unusual happen. Leaning upon rocks and nurturing mosses and vines, these debris branches and fallen trees often become dam-like, blocking up the stream and forcing it to flow over, and through them. As the water does this, it cultures moss growth, and then passes soluble LIME into both the moss and the wood. The wood becomes calcified and stone-like; the moss, when dry, feels like coarse rock. Over time, logs and rocks visually "merge" and are, in fact, "cemented" together by the leeching lime. THIS blending is not due to an altered state, but it is sure confusing when you are in one!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #13
Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #13:  The narrow, upper reaches of the canyons offered little room for streamside trails. The water in the creek was often deep and fast, and the rocks were jagged and slippery. The initial logic of using the stream to progress further became dangerous, and people that could not "see" the better path either turned back, or often got injured, fell in, or both. Here is a tricky little section, do you "see" the path? Just past the trunk of the fallen redwood lies some very treacherous rock-hoping, and a right-side wall of poison oak. THE PATH is marked by the spot of sunlight, and the hippie hieroglyphics etched into the redwood trunk - THE PATH IS THE REDWOOD TRUNK.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #12
Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #12:  Before my epiphany by the pools, I had wandered a considerable distance into the depth of the canyon, and the trail had become less-than-obvious, to say the least. Interestingly, once you tuned-in to the forest, you began to "see" the trail, and it was VERY different from what is there today. At the moment of this picture, I'm just off-trail slightly in a place where the canyon is quite narrow. It was in these reaches of the canyon where things got "interesting"; many fallen trees, in, and across the creek; a great confusion of vegetation; amazing pools large enough to bath in; and an EDM mixture of sound and sunlight. Along with learning to "see" the trail, it also became a skill to pass along it without undue brushing of the vegetation as it was laced with poison oak. Over time, and many visits, STRICT procedures were adopted for dealing with hiking boots and clothes so as not to contaminate your sleeping bag and tent. AND because I would return with a tripod in my future visits I would advise all photographers working in California to be conscientious about where you place those tripod legs, and how you handle them after a day in the brush.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #11
Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #11:  Sitting next to some gurgling pools in a spot of sunlight, my internal interview continued. The next question was, "Given your current level of photographic skill (virtually none), exactly HOW will you accomplish photographing the landscape and using it in a 'meaningful way'?" The answer to the first part of that seemed easy, I would start taking pictures of the landscape as soon as this weird conversation ended. I also volunteered that I would learn to "see" my subject by actually knowing something about it, and NOT just making a series of pretty pictures in the "right" spot. The second part of the question, however - what to do with those pictures in a meaningful way - was going to require some further thought. For the moment, it was enough to just get back up on my feet, and to begin fumbling with my camera. The sirens in the creek pools were calling to me, and the forest lay before me, asking the final question: "Now what are you going to do?"
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #10
Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #10:  As my mental blender mixed these ingredients randomly around in my mind, my knowledge and belief in the words of Rachel Carson and Aldo Leopold  introduced themselves to what Eliot Porter had done in the Glen Canyon. THEN my inner-interviewer took over. The first question was, "Do you really want to chase rock stars the rest of your life, and live on tour buses and in hotel rooms?" Next question: "Want to do something else with your camera, if you could use it in a truly MEANINGFUL way?" At this particular moment in my life, "meaningful way" seemed much more attractive than tour buses and hotel rooms. So, much like getting married, I mumbled aloud, "I do." The surrounding forest served as witness to this ceremony, and apparently my audible "vow" was magic, and the floodgates of possibility opened. The "interview" continued: "If you believe Carson and Leopold are correct, could you make photographs like Eliot that would in some way address such issues in the future and affect change?" Based on my complete inability to photographically address the landscape in front of me at the moment, that question seemed like a long shot, BUT I did love Porter's sense of abstraction and especially his eye for color, so I answered, "Yes!"
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #9
Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #9:  Drinking in this amazing niche, I finally found myself deep enough into the canyon that I felt completely alone. The creek and pools were singing to me and I settled into a place next to one of the babbles in a spot of sunlight. This is where the wild mind in the forest did some more blending. For several years, I had been shooting rock stars in #Hollywood clubs, @UCLA campus concerts, and park love-ins, while studying with two photography instructors at UCLA I am sure some considered "nutty professors." For a present, a family friend gave me "Wildness Is The Preservation Of The World", an Eliot Porter book, and from the first page I knew I had never seen any color photography like that. I had also read, believed, and was moved to be concerned by Rachel Carson's, "Silent Spring" (playing out in a BIG way today), and Aldo Leopold's "Sand County Almanac". Then, someone else gave me Eliot's "The Place No One Knew" about Glen Canyon on the Colorado. A stunning "picture" book from a brilliant landscape photographer at his peak, and then he wrote a contentious essay that criticized the building of the dam and the flooding of the canyon... BRILLIANT!!! Put those 4 influences in a blender and hit the button!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #8
Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #8:  Over many visits I learned that one of the unique aspects of #Limekiln is this kind of “blending” that occurs. At the moment, I was experiencing the biological blending in forest niches. The trail I was following wound between clusters of redwoods, and more open canopies of deciduous trees. Where there was increased sunlight, there were ferns, lilies, dense scrub, and inevitably poison oak; where there was less sunlight there were carpets of redwood needles, and often “meadows” of clover. One thing grew into another, and often vines and branches were entwined in the canopy, and distant views. With the scattered light and shadows, this landscape had many layers that "blurred" together, confusing the view and any sense of real distance. Do you see the LARGE redwood hiding in plain sight? Someone had bedding and gear in the burned-out hollow at the base! Strange days have found me...
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #7
Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #7:  Occasionally I attempted to make multi-second exposures by bracing on trees, but with light breezes, and my heavy breathing, pretty much everything was "moving around" in some fashion. At one point I was pressed against a LARGE redwood that actually swayed, driven by some sea breeze up above that never reached the forest floor. The path I was following narrowed but remained visible, and I continued wandering onward/inward from one group of pools and falls to another as the canyon steepened and narrowed. The deeper into the canyon I walked, the more I sensed an interconnectedness of everything around me. Some of that was the biological adaptation to light, space, and water. Some of that was the presence the lime in the water. Some of that was wild mind in the forest. 
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #6
Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #6:  After the fallen redwood bridge, a clearer path led to the first divide of the creeks. Being a bit apprehensive as I really had NO IDEA where I was, or where these forest trails led, and with hopefully no offense to #RobertFrost, I took the path MORE traveled. I wasn't sure what to do with my camera. It had been around my neck for days now, so it seemed to come along on its own. Quickly I lost all sounds from the camping area, replaced by splashes and strange gurgling echoes from the pools and falls. Over time, and many visits, I would come to recognize these sounds as a kind of creek “music” unique to this forest, and these streams, and I could tell different pool “areas” even in the dark, simply by the sound of their symphony. 
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #5
Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #5:  Walking away from the camps, the valley floor narrowed and closed, and a steep notch concentrated the creek in a series of falls and pools, however it also cut me off from approaching the deeper canyons. There were no established trails here, yet in looking around I realized the “path” led up through the roots, and onto the trunk of a fallen redwood that bridged the stream. This was just the beginning. This trail became far more “organic” as the day wore on. I didn't know it at the time, however when I stood before the forest that morning, I was gazing into my future, BOTH artistically and intellectually. My career as a photographer would fine-tune itself in these woods. My life as a conservation advocate was born here. Limekiln offered up some of the MOST difficult photographic challenges, and complex personal introspections, that I would ever confront. To start with though: no tripod; crazy-extreme highlight/shade relations; shadows dark enough to need multi-second exposures; constant breezes; slippery (!) rocks; AND POISON OAK. Hey! I was a #RobertHeinecken student! I didn’t know anything about the #zonesystem, yet I knew how to HAVE FUN with the image-making process!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #4
Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #4:  After 3-days of the MontereyPopFestival (@MontereyPopFest), I was tired of bongos and body-paint, so when the “drumming” began around the early morning camp the next day, I decided to take a walk in the woods BY MYSELF. In the morning light that filtered down through the giant trees, the camp area seemed like a glowing cathedral with cosmic beams shooting through the windows. I was very excited to begin exploring the forest and the deeper canyons, and to have some time to quietly reflect on the last few days. My photography to this point had been about rock stars, and I paid little attention to the landscape, so I had NO IDEA how to technically respond to the environment in which I found myself. I had never used a tripod, and this forest was so VERY dark in the shade, and you couldn't handhold a camera well. The brilliant highlights went in the opposite direction -- blindingly bright -- they made the forest a great confusion of sunlight spots and shadows.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #3
Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #3:  Through the course of the evening there was quite a buzz in discussions around the camps about the unique place in which we found ourselves. I learned that #Limekiln Creek had three forks, all of which flowed down into the canyon from springs in the #NacimientoMeadows above us. Up there, seasonal fields of wildflowers and grasses crowned out the tops of the coastal range and led into the backcountry of the #BigSur Wilderness. Our canyon was a mere slot cut by the water that propagated #redwoods in the shade of it’s crevices. The stream was also VERY RICH in lime! So rich, in fact, in the 1800’s the lime was mined, and drying kilns were built up one of the river forks in the deep forest. Then, all the redwoods were cut down to feed the kiln fires. When the mining stopped, it was all abandoned. The kilns were still back in the forest somewhere, and the redwoods began to re-grow. SO, as big as these trees around us were, they were “only” 2nd growth redwoods. They were still amazing!!!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #2
Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #2:  You had to really look carefully to find the small dirt road that peeled down into #Limekiln canyon off of #USHighway1. There was a broad rocky beach to the left at the bottom of the road, but following it to the right took you alongside the creek through a brief habitat of scrub and deciduous trees, and then it bent to the right again and plunged into the deep shade of a #redwood forest grove. The forest floor opened up beneath the big trees and we could discern numerous cars and camps in amongst the spaces between the gigantic trunks. Perhaps 40 or 50 other people were there and the evening had begun so many people were socializing, partying, and preparing food. Others wandered down to the beach to see the sunset. It looked good, so we found a place and settled in.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #1
Where It All Began:   Limekiln Creek, #1:  The guest bathroom at my home is wallpapered in magazine pages that bear meaning (and fun) for my children and myself. This image recalls that the Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest) in 1967 marked a watershed moment for rock music. The 3-days of music reverie including huge performances by American bands (Janis Joplin (@JanisJoplin), The Jimi Hendrix Experience (@JimiHendrix) - who lit his guitar on fire, Jefferson Airplane, Simon & Garfunkel), and some of the first performances of British groups (The Who (@TheWho) - who destroyed ALL of their instruments and amplifiers). For me, however, it is what happened after the concert that made 1967 a transformative year in my life. On the drive south from #Monterey along the spectacular #BigSur coast, friends and I decided to stop and camp on a piece of private property (to which we had been invited) that apparently involved a small redwood canyon and stream that was supposed to be especially beautiful. It was called Limekiln Creek.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd, #LittleBearProd, ALC (@american_land), Monterey Pop Festival (@MontereyPopFest)
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