Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Thematic Photographic 33 - Surprise

Rock face
Renfro Valley/Mount Vernon, KY
December 2008 [Click to enlarge]

About this photo: This week's new Thematic Photographic theme, surprise, touches on moments that seem to happen, almost magically, out of nowhere. Have you ever taken a picture of something neat, something unexpected or just something that stuck in your mind as totally worth remembering because it was so improbable? If you have, I hope you'll share it with us. Please scroll down for more details on how TP works.
The scene: It's just after 5 p.m. We've left the massive blizzard and ice storm now battering our hometown behind us and are finally enjoying the relatively warm and dry I-75 deep in the Kentucky mountains. The combination of an 8-year-old-boy and too much apple juice at lunch means another unplanned pit stop. Which is fine, because we're all exhausted, and a few minutes of walking around a parking lot will be good for me.

We take an exit carved out of rock and soon find ourselves in a shadowy spot behind an old Shell station. As Debbie heads inside with the kids, I get out of the car for a quick stretch. As usual, I find myself staring at everything. There's an old restaurant perched precariously on the edge of the hill that looms over my head. That same hill casts a deepening late afternoon shadow over the parking lot, painting everything with a curious mixture of blue-gray that on any other day would seem dull.

Despite being out of the way, this place is hopping. Pickup trucks endlessly pull up to the pumps and local folks chat with each other as they make their way to and from the cashier inside. I'm in a different world than I'm used to, and I realize I could get used to being here a little while longer.

My eye catches something on the sheer rock face at the edge of the lot. It's getting darker by the second, and I'm not sure why I keep staring at that spot. But there's something there. My brain chews on it for a while before it spits out the obvious: a face!

And no one seems to notice. Deep in the middle of seemingly nowhere, in the shadows of an old, bustling gas station, I seem to have found a piece of geological coolness. I feel like I have a big secret as I reach for my camera and fight the deepening light to capture the moment. When Debbie and the kids return, we discuss the happenstance of this experience, and we all agree it was a good thing Noah had that extra bit of juice at lunch.

Your turn: Please share a "surprise" moment or image with us. Here's how Thematic Photographic works:
  • Every Wednesday evening, at precisely 7 o'clock Eastern, I post a new Thematic Photographic entry.
  • Each entry has a unique theme. This week's is...surprise.
  • You post a similarly themed image over on your blog.
  • You paste a link to your entry in a comment here.
  • If you've already posted something that fits (on a blog, Facebook, MySpace, wherever) simply post the link to the existing entry. Old or new, all photos are welcome.
  • You may post as many photos or links as you wish. For the next week, I'll be supporting this theme with a related picture/posting each day. I encourage you to do the same. This is all about sharing, so feel free to share to your heart's content!
  • Please share this link with friends, too, and encourage them to join in. The more, the merrier.
  • And please accept my thanks for your enthusiasm. Your participation has made TP a true highlight for me each and every week.


Mojo said...

Whoa. When I saw this and realized what it was I immediately flashed on a shot I took almost 8 years ago in the mountains of North Carolina.

Spooky coincidence, but let's just say I know exactly what you mean. Except this meant stopping on the shoulder of the Blue Ridge Parkway... not always the easiest task. Fortunately, there was an overlook nearby.

Thematic Photographic 33: "Surprise" v.1.0 - Stone Faced

Unknown said...

Very cool. That must be how people end up seeing Jesus in their photos. ;-)

My is up and it's a freaky surprise!

awareness said...

That is a great photo and a wonderful surprising find has a timeless feel to it.

Here is my offering this week. It is a surprise I received just tonight! I've included a photo I took last summer of a prism...and a link to the surprise so you all can see too!

Cloudia said...

"As usual, I find myself staring at everything."

Oh yes; I'm gonna like this blog.

Anonymous said...


Robin said...

Surprises like those are some of the best ones, a reward for taking the time to look.

I too found a face in a rock once which stopped me dead in my tracks:

Old Man of the Mountain

(No, not the one in New Hampshire. I named my old man before I'd ever heard of the one which used to hang off of Cannon Mountain.)

Anonymous said...

A bit freaky, I think I would run. ;-) Mine is a bit freaky too and on now.

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me ann my camera said...

The face in the rock is amazing to study as the features gradually take on recognition. It is your photo that has prompted me to post photos of a watchful owl we have found.
Gallimaufry Gleanings

Unknown said...

At first I thought it was just water ripples, then I embiggened and saw it was rock, neat but I still did not see the face. I read your story and scrolled back up and now I see the face! cool!

The only photo surprise I can recall at the moment is when I took a photo of the ocean and looked at it later I discovered I had a dolphin in the photo! I never saw the dolphin until then.

Daryl said...

Nice .. and I see a lion with a snaggle tooth smile .. winking ... and no, all I've had so far today is just plain old chai tea ..

Anonymous said...

that's really neat. I would tell you to post it one the blog that is dedicated to seeing faces in objects, but I can't remember what it's called to be able to tell you.

My son just started a blog, so if you feel like it stop in and leave him a comment. I know it will keep him motivated to continue, and he even mentioned this in his first post. I'm interested to see what comes out of his head. It's

Lynda said...

I love this photo!

Candace said...

I didn't see the face until I read what I was supposed to read. That was a great surprise!

Mine is up

Nick said...

Thanks. Wow, has my mom already had her blog for three years? Time goes by way to fast.

Tony Gasbarro said...

Mine is a whale of a shot!

bobbie said...

I have posted a couple of pictures for the Surprise theme. They aren't the same sort of surprise as your great photo, but I think they do fit the theme.

Anonymous said...

Jabba the hut falls asleep as the night grows dark and silent.
The life of a corpulent despot is a lonely one, however one finds peace and comfort in sleep.

Darth Vader
Galaxy 90210

Anonymous said...

what about those pics of fairies that turned out to be real?

Sorry, mine's a bit more prosaic!


Pamela said...

From the movie Never Ending Story
Rockbiter: They look like big, good, strong hands. Don't they? I always thought that's what they were.

That is where my mind went as soon as I viewed your photo.

New Years 08 I photographed hummingbirds on the Oregon Coastal Mountain edge (with my little canon power shot) -- when I viewed them on my computer screen I realized one of the shots included the tonguesticking out.

I don't have an entry this week

Christine Gram said...

My post entitled "surprise" has this weeks entry... love the other submissions!

Anonymous said...

Carmi, I have a really cool shot for this theme!! Great idea.

I love it when nature shows it's many "faces" *snicker snicker.*

Congrats on the photo exhibit! :-)


theMuddledMarketPlace said...

mine here!

DNLee said...

I'm participating this week. Oh, I love rocks, too. If I hadn't become a biologist, geologist was next.

swilek said...

Carmi, I am a little late, but here is my surprise contribution:

I am enjoying reading everyone's stories!!

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