“Thunderous Wonders”/New Image Release!

Hey folks, and welcome many newcomers that just signed up this past weekend! I just wanted to take a moment to share this new image release (which you have seen if you visited my booth last weekend😁) with you…

Whew, it is getting hot here in the Northeast (and much of the country I gather) this weekend! So I thought in light of that, hopefully this wonderful waterfall can help mentally cool you down!

I photographed this scene in late May 2018 right here in Pennsylvania’s own Ricketts Glen State Park! If you’ve never been, you should😉 Boasting 22 named waterfalls, you can see 21 of them on about a 3.5-4 mile circuit hike that takes you across, down, and back up two glens and includes some of Pennsylvania’s finest natural beauty. Designated a National Natural Landmark in 1968, Ricketts Glen is well worth your visit… and waterfalls are just a part of the wonder here - many more miles of mountain trails, lakes, and Old Growth Hemlock Forest await!

I have spent many a day in Ricketts Glen in all Seasons over the past several years and I have never seen it like I did on this occasion! Adequate snow melt and the wettest Winter/Spring on record had this Park booming in high flood!!! The day itself was a dream to be a part of - clearing heavy storms, mist and fog created an ethereal forest dripping and teeming with life, oozing it in every inch. I could feel it in each breath, succumbed to the deafening gush of these “Thunderous Wonders” all around me! To say I was stoked on Nature this day is putting it mildly!😉😁

“Thunderous Wonders” - Brandon Kline

“Thunderous Wonders” - Brandon Kline

Happy Summer Solstice!/“Basking in the Glow”

         Hello friends! It’s been quite some time since my last post, since Earth Day back in April actually, wow... suffice it to say that life has been pretty crazy busy, but rest assured that I still have plenty to share and update and many things in the works!😉 

         Speaking of which, I need to get back at it, but I just wanted to take a few minutes to hopefully brighten everyone’s day and let you know in the coming weeks, there will be much happening! In the meantime, wishing everyone an awesome Summer Solstice, time to bask in the glow of the long days of plenty... 

          “I have backpacked, camped, and hiked throughout Shenandoah National Park at least a dozen times over the past 3 years.  Living in Pennsylvania, it has become my "backyard" National Park, if you will. Growing up in and around the Appalachian Mountains my entire life, I'll never forget that first experience of entering the gates of Shenandoah on Skyline Drive and how, all of a sudden, everything just looked and felt different.  I think it's a testament to just how pristine our National Parks are! And to this day, it never ceases to amaze me, that feeling I get as soon as I enter Shenandoah, that suddenly, things are just truer, just better.  It may not have the scale of some Western National Parks, but at close to 200,000 acres of mountainous forests and with forty percent of that beingfederally designated Wilderness, believe me, this place is pure Mother Nature! I learn something new, and have countless wildlife experiences every time I am here.  This image is one of many I have captured in my Shenandoah adventures, and represents just a slice of the splendor which awaits!  Photographed in early June 2014, I decided to hike down to see Lewis Falls for the first time as the sun was setting before heading to set up camp for the night.  It was breathtaking...  Thesetting sun was angled right into the hollowed out ridge line basking the falls and cliffside in its glow! Perched high on the facing overlook cliff, I set up and fired off a few exposures just before the sun was down and the light had passed. What an exhilarating moment I remember it being on that warm June evening! I sat and enjoyed twilight a bit before hiking back up the mile and a half and then off to find my camp spot by the light of my headlamp.  All the while, thinking what a day it had been.”

IMG_5687.JPEG

“Basking in the Glow” 

Happy Earth Day/“Innocence”

         I hope everyone has enjoyed a lovely Easter weekend with friends, family, loved ones and/or doing something they love! And a Happy Earth Day, and not to mention that Easter Sunday was also John Muir’s Birthday (April 21st) AND Saturday began National Parks Week which runs through Sunday April 28th, wow what a time of the season!  

         As you read this, I myself will be doing something that has become kind of a Spring rite of passage for myself to honor National Parks Week and Earth day. I will be backpacking for a couple days in Shenandoah National Park! :-)  I am giving up Easter with family and missing my beautiful girlfriend, Anna, unfortunately this year. But as life has been a whirlwind for weeks now, I felt very strongly about getting out and re-connecting with Nature for a few days. And I think timing is going to be incredible this year as weather has really been coordinating with Mother Nature to produce a gorgeous steady progression of Spring blossoms here in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic!

         I will have more on my Shenandoah adventure and what it means to me when I return. But for now, i will leave you to appreciate perhaps my favorite Spring photograph to date, “Innocence”. This is not from Shenandoah, but rather from another ritual I have every Spring which is visiting my Dad and the wonderful woods along the ridge where he lives. They are abundant with Redbuds, Dogwoods and Cherry Blossoms, making Spring bloom time prime time😁 

         The year I photographed this image, things were happening unusually early in the season, the Redbuds were popping late March into early April, about 2-4 weeks ahead of a more normal blooming period. But I happened to be there on such a perfect day. And in the glorious sunlight of mid-morning I stood staring up and around at a sea of pink and purple popping out amongst the dots of bright green and a crystal clear blue sky that I can only describe as heavenly. How innocent it all looks is what I remember thinking to myself. So fresh and pure and new. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, a true symbol of the rejuvenation of spirit this season brings!

IMG_4964.JPEG

“Innocence”   -   Brandon Kline

“May Your Spirit Be the Guide”

          It was early May in 2012 and upon my return home from a life changing backpacking adventure with my brother in South Carolina, I found myself reflecting on many things...

         As much as I was becoming obsessed with nature photography, I had never really before been out for much more than day hikes or leisurely strolls close to home. And now, I had just driven through the entirety of Shenandoah National Park twice, a bit of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and camped out for two nights backpacking on the Foothills Trail, SC - all over the course of one week!

         With one evening left before going back to work, I decided to drive out to Poe Paddy State Park about an hour from my house to see if this Dogwood (that is barely even prominent the way this evening turned out) might still be flowering.

         You see, the evening before I set out on that South Carolina adventure, I had come to this very spot. Spring blooms had come extremely early this year after a mild Winter and a warmer than average March and April. By mid-late April most areas were predominately green. The exception being higher elevation mountain settings such as this which were still in the budding and blooming stage late April/early May.

         Then out of nowhere came a freak late April snowstorm dumping roughly six inches on all that fresh green! Albeit beautiful but disconcerting with all those delicate blooms! It melted considerably fast though with warming temps the next day and the remaining blossoms had survived. Unfortunately that first evening I was here, I had lost the light to attempt a good photograph.  So it had been stirring in me, wondering if I might still have a chance of this Dogwood being in bloom a week later...

         Miraculously, it was!  A precarious hop, skip, and a jump across some rocks put me out on the Big Poe Creek in great position.  Balancing on a rock, trying not lose my gear or myself in the water, this ethereal fog began creeping in and consuming the mountains at sunset. I snapped the shutter.  And in this moment of awe at Mother Nature's unpredictable beauty, I rationalized all the events in my life over the past 9 months - that made me question so many things about happiness, passion, and how we move forward - which led me to this adventure and to this moment of clarity.  I listened to my heart and let my spirit guide me and I've been doing my best to do so ever since.

IMG_4782.JPEG

“May Your Spirit Be the Guide”   -   Brandon Kline

“Rise and Shine”

         It’s officially Springtime, belated Vernal Equinox greetings! Though for many of us there could still be some downright cold and blustery conditions for a few weeks yet, there is no denying the turn of the tides. More day than night, inevitable warmer temperatures will creep in and nature will rejuvenate itself!

         Rejuvenate has long been one of my favorite words to describe the Spring season. I feel it perfectly encompasses the excitement and energy of the growing strength of the Sun, the milder air, and the buds and blooms that will begin to abound in just a matter of time!

         It is truly delightful witnessing this re-birth and feeling the rejuvenation of spirit along with Mother Nature. As with all cycles of the Seasons, I try my best to be present in and appreciate this miraculous return of life as fleeting is the fragile beauty of these flowers and before our eyes the forests will be lush and green again. I am starting to witness very subtle signs in the region I live - birds are returning and becoming ever more vocal and tiny buds are growing on the early bloomers. Yes, a matter of time before the first flowers emerge and signal it is time to “Rise and Shine”!

IMG_4783.JPEG

“Rise and Shine” - Brandon Kline

“Warm Winter Winds”

         Although, I have to say I’m not completely done with Winter yet, the slight warm up and time change today has begun to get me a bit excited for Spring! Longer days, warmer air and fresh blooms are always  a refreshing burst after a Wintery Winter... and by that I mean that there has been adequate snow, cold, and some harsh, challenging conditions to add to the heartiness of our being! 

         I’ve been able to get out a good bit these past couple weeks and enjoy what may be Winter’s last real breath (though you never know😉)! While I compile some of my favorite moments to share with you - probably later this week - here is one from my collection that I seldom publish to enjoy in the meantime...

         Today here in central Pennsylvania had me thinking about this image. Even though it was photographed on January 31st (back in 2012 which was a Winter that wasn’t in this part of the world), I have always felt it has a very Marchish feel to it. As I just mentioned, that Winter was hardly one to fit my definition of a real Winter. I can recall this late January evening being in the low 60’s despite the heavy breezes - weather one might associate more with the clash of late Winter/early Spring in this neck of the woods. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful sunset I felt worthy of breaking out the camera for :-)  

IMG_4743.JPEG

“Warm Winter Winds”   -   Brandon Kline

“Ice, Kissed by Fire”

          Another round of snow and ice is on tap for us here in the Northeast! It has me thinking of this image from my collection, an oldie but a goodie! This goes back to 2011, February 23rd of that year to be exact, and one of my first perfect exposures after transitioning from my Olympus 35mm to my Mamiya RB67 medium-format film camera...

         I can recall several snow storms followed by ice, sleet, and freezing rain this particular Winter which left the deciduous forests of the mountains a magical icy wonderland.  When I left my house about an hour and a half before dawn that morning, it was 0 degrees.  The mile plus hike on the mountain top was invigorating to say the least!  As I got set to await the Sun's greeting, winds were whipping hard, reading well into the negatives I'm sure.  But the moment that giant fireball peaked over the horizon and lit the icy branches in front of me aglow, I felt nothing but its beautiful warmth.  The magic lasted only a few seconds, but wow am I glad I was out there for this one!

IMG_4617.JPEG

“Ice, Kissed by Fire”   -   Brandon Kline

A Winter’s Dream

From my journal - January 30th, 1:09am

Alder Brook Cottage, A Tiny House in the Woods of the Northeast Kingdom in Vermont

         These past few days have been something out of a pure Snow White Winter dream, void of time and space. I don’t think my words can or will really ever be able to comprehend its beauty. Chalk it up to being just part of Vermont’s rustic charm. 

         Anna and I arrived in Vermont Saturday evening January 26th after spending the day on the road from our Pennsylvania home with a pit-stop to deliver my artwork for a family in Massachusetts. We found Kingdom Taproom in Saint Johnsbury for dinner and local brews before getting to the Inn by the River in Hardwick, VT. A lovely little Inn in the quaintest little town, the likes I am convinced only New England can produce. On the morning of the 27th, we dined at the Village Restaurant, reveling in our Jasper Benedicts - eggs Benedict covered in one of the world’s best cheese-makers Jasper Hill cheese sauce! All the while, snow falling down on this beautiful, charming town as we watched out the window.

         After picking up our firewood and a few other things, we arrived... facing a rolling ridge dense with Spruce, Cedar, and Birch, our Tiny Home Cabin awaited as we carried our supplies across the little bridge, up the rocky snow covered steps and through the forest. The fact that it snowed that entire day and evening upon our arrival only added to the quintessential Vermontness of our adventure!

         These three days have been everything one could want Winter in Vermont to be... Snow, fresh powder sticking to the Evergreens and Hardwoods. Cold, crisp clean air. Single digits to negatives in crystal clear blue skies and a dark, rich star filled night. Sitting by the wood-stove, cozy and warm with my love. Eating world-class cheeses, drinking world-class beers. Cooking meats, grilled sandwiches, and beef stew all upon the wood fire stove. Playing Scrabble, reading and drinking coffee and tea while eating Maple cookies. Relaxing, reconnecting.

         Snow, falling down again. Sparkling diamond-dusted snowflakes adding inches to the feet already piling up upon the forest floor. Hiking, or rather trudging, through ankle-high, knee-high, waist-high snow depending how deep I might fall in with each step. I explored the forest of this ridge amongst blissful quiet, peace, and solitude. It makes one feel like a kid again, buried this deep in snow and calming silence amongst this wooded Winter Wonderland. It all seems like a dream...

         Yet, I have the accutest awareness that I am living it, living this life. This snow-draped dream, one of magic in this Kingdom of Winter. 

IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMG_4440.JPG
IMG_4588.JPEG
IMAGE.JPG

“A Thundering Silence”

         Six years ago this very day, I awoke for an hour long pre-dawn drive into the mountains in the hopes of the clearing storm creating some magic sunrise light...

         I ended up with my car stuck in the snow and with about a half-mile hoofing as fast as I could up the ridge line to where I needed to be. I can still hear the crunch of the frozen snow beneath my feet, feel the pounding of my heart and recall my excitement level ready to explode as I hurriedly set up in a thundering silence to capture the erupting glow of this moment. The stillness and deafening quiet of a Winter’s dawn after snowfall in the mountains never ceases to fill me with wonderous joy.

         The grand show lasted only a few minutes as pre-dawn’s breathtaking display gave way to more clouds and walls of gray. What I arrived just in time to witness, though, was nothing short of Nature’s magic.

         Side Note - This photograph is also January’s image in my Nature’s Grandeur 2019 Wall Calendar. I’m still taking orders for anyone still in want or need of a little monthly inspiration and organization! I also want to remind anyone who’s been kicking it around yet, that there are just a few days left to take advantage of my Holiday Savings offer! Use the link for details -

http://www.brandonklinewnp.com/holiday-savings

I hope everyone is having a brilliant start to the New Year! 

IMG_4195.JPEG

“A Thundering Silence”   -   Brandon Kline

Warm Holiday Wishes

         I’d just like to express my gratitude to all of my friends, family, and collectors out there for all of your love and support! I couldn’t do what I do without you!

          I hope your Holidays are warm and bright and wishing each and every one of you a Very Merry Christmas!!!🎄 😁

                                                  -  Brandon

IMG_4071.JPEG

2019 Nature’s Grandeur Calendar

         Looking for a little bit of Nature’s Inspiration for the upcoming year? Well, I am proud to present my first ever, self-designed Wall Calendar, which I am titling Nature’s Grandeur! I have completely designed every bit of this calendar myself and with the help of a local printing company, I can happily share it with you!

         The calendar is 8.5x11 inches, showcasing the beauty each month of the year has to offer (and with a few exceptions, photographs have been taken in the proper corresponding month, those that aren’t are very close)! I also had some fun researching significant dates and the calendar has several fun, noteworthy (in my opinion) observances to coincide with traditional federal and religious dates.  What about Moon Phases you ask?... Yep got ‘em! Add a little biographical info, Artist Statement tidbits, and a few pics of me doing what I love and that’s it in a nutshell. 

         The 2019 Nature’s Grandeur Wall Calendar is $17.50 flat rate (shipping factored into cost). Just give me a call or shoot me an email to place your order! I am accepting orders until January 11th, to coincide with my Holiday Savings Print sale! Below is the direct link for more information on the Artwork Discounts -

http://www.brandonklinewnp.com/holiday-savings

🌲🎄❄️🌨☃️🎅🎁

IMG_4061.JPG
IMG_4063.JPG
IMG_4062.JPG

Winter Solstice Tidings!

          I sure hope some of you in various parts of the country that see this are having a more Wintery Solstice Day than we are here in Pennsylvania! It is pouring rain and temps are to hit high 50’s, even low 60’s in some parts. I’d gladly trade that in for feet of snow and high teens to low 30’s for this time of year! Oh well, it is to cool back down to closer to average in another day, Christmas looks crisp, and snow is seeming a possibility towards the New Year!

         I know for a lot of folks, Winter just isn’t “your thing” and that is ok. To each their own. Let me impart this upon you though - I have come to feel as I’ve grown older, an appreciation for Winter that rivals the excitement of snow days when I was a kid. What better time of year to allow yourself to slow down, not feel guilty about being cozy on the couch in pajamas reading books and watching movies? Maybe even beside a fireplace if you’re lucky! :-) Winter is a Season for the comforts of home. And at the same time, if you’re an outdoor enthusiast like me, it is a wonderful time to get out and experience peace and solitude like no other. Not to mention keep yourself in great shape for the upcoming Spring! Tell me, how much more comforting can the warmth of home get after a day out in the Winter elements?!

         What can I say, I love the best each Season has to offer... and to me, for Winter, that is cold, snowy, harsh, yet magically beautiful conditions! Something like this, that I, with childlike anticipation, awoke to one fine Christmas Morning! :-)

Wishing you all the Happiest Holidays and a Very Merry Christmas🎄❄️🌕☃️ 

IMG_4058.JPEG

“Christmas Morning”   -   Brandon Kline

Seasons Greetings!

         I hope you all are enjoying the Holiday Season thus far! I would like to apologize as I am releasing this a week later than I had planned. However, I am going to extend the promotion for an extra week than I had planned :-)

         In the spirit of the Holidays, I am happy to announce a print discount promotion and for the first time to the public - calendars! Yes, I do realize it is December 13th and unfortunately, this year, I cannot guarantee the artwork to be under your Christmas Tree for the big morning (unless I get an immediate response/request perhaps). But, I am going to run the deal through January 11th, so you have a full month to weigh out any decisions!

         First, the 2019 Nature’s Grandeur Calendar - $17.50 (flat rate, shipping included in price) If I have your request by this time next week (Thursday December 20th), you should have your calendar in time for the New Year! They will still be available through January 11th as well.

         And second, Prints (both Artist Proof and Limited Edition apply!) -  

Sizes 8x10 and 11x14 - Buy one, get one free! 

Sizes 16x20 up to 40x50 - Buy one, get one 50% off equal or lesser size/or a free 8x10 or 11x14!

Only want or have need/room for one Image - take 30% off!

Want it matted and/or completely Custom Framed - take 30% off!

         So check out the website and/or Use these three direct links for the Photograph Gallery, Print Pricing, Information, and visuals on Framing Styles

http://www.brandonklinewnp.com/gallery/ 

http://www.brandonklinewnp.com/ordering-guide/

http://www.brandonklinewnp.com/about/ 

         Then give me a call or shoot me an email with what speaks to you. And as always, PLEASE feel free to ask any and all questions!!! I want you to understand the Quality of the Artwork, to get Exactly what you want, and to Love it!

My Very Best to You and Yours this Holiday Season, 

Brandon Kline

IMG_4041.JPEG

A nip in the air

         I hope everyone had a wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving this past week/weekend!

         For all of you Northeasterner’s such as myself, how about this crisp late Autumn chill?! It is certainly not unheard of for us, but wow, not even December yet and already some significant snow and blustery cold air! Here in Pennsylvania, we went from a very late Fall color change and leaf loss to abrupt Winter-like weather which really accelerated things quick. We no sooner began to gather our leaves when we were preparing for up to a foot of snow! It is all part of the season, though, and I welcome it.

         I am happy to have enjoyed Autumn to the best extent that I could this year. And now, with Thanksgiving come and gone and December looming, I am preparing a few surprises for this Holiday Season. So keep an eye out for an email early next week, hint hint... ;-)

         Until then, in honor of November - a month when the rapidly shortening days and nip in the air brings the leaves a tumbling down. When we gather our bounties for a great feast and joyous family gatherings.

IMG_4009.JPEG

“When Leaves Come Tumbling Down”   -   Brandon Kline

...to a New Day Dawning

         Fast forward one year from when I captured “Find Your Way” and “Let Your Light Shine”... 

         I was delving deeper into my passion for the natural world than ever before and found myself on my second backpacking adventure. My brother had taken me out for my first experience that April, and boy did I fall in love with everything about it! Itching to get out again, I planned an itinerary in the Autumn for the two of us in Shenandoah National Park. Shenandoah was my first National Park, as I had driven through it on the way to his place that April. I chose it for this backpacking excursion because I really wanted to get out on the trails and into the Wilderness of the Park.

         Looking back on those four days, it is hard to put into words the spectrum of emotions I experienced, both physically and mentally. The diversity of Autumnal beauty we were immersed in as we hiked down and up and down and up in elevation was nothing short of spectacular!

         To say our third day was grueling is putting it mildly. I had planned a hike taking us approximately 8-9 miles while gaining over 2,000 feet of elevation change. As a fairly experienced backpacker now, I have since trekked more daunting tasks. But back then,  it almost broke me. I recall at one point, as we were hiking up the last leg of decent elevation gain on the Appalachian Trail en route to Hawksbill Mt., I was (in my head) yelling at myself to “enjoy this man, you are on the AT for the first time!” My body, dehydrated (as I had sucked through my water early) and exhausted, just wanted to fall over down the cliff side. By the time we got to the spring and then chose our camping area for the night, I was nearly in tears of joy for having made it. 

         I awoke pre-dawn as planned and continued the half-mile to Hawksbill Summit to catch the sunrise. All the aches and pains and struggles were, at the moment of the Sun breaking the horizon, justified into something more grand than I could have imagined. I told my brother, who had met me up there for the moment, that if this photograph came out right I was going to title it “Appreciation”. Appreciation, for what it takes to be out here, for the trials endured and embraced to witness such beauty, for the journey we travel to a new day dawning.

(part 3 of 3) 

IMG_3983.JPEG

 “Appreciation”   -   Brandon Kline

A Light in the Dark

         I won’t lie to you. Originally I was going to make part 2 of this idea largely about the historical aspect of my experience in New England this October. But, after realizing I have way to much I’d like to share from those weeks to condense it nicely into one blog, I have decided to save that for a separate idea. And, after reading over my last post, this all plays nicely into spotlighting a seldom featured photograph from my available collection.

         I exposed “Let Your Light Shine” just about two weeks after “Find Your Way”  and wouldn’t you know it, I was beginning to see the light... getting back into nature and what I love to do proved to be precisely what my mental state of mind needed. This scene was not a far drive from my house back then, and I used to love driving over the mountain and back (still do to be honest :-)) during peak Autumn foliage as this area can certainly light it up! 

         On this particular late afternoon, I found myself enjoying this little stretch on the mountainside as a gentle rain was letting up and although the Sun was not shining upon the scene, nature itself provided all the light I could have asked for. The utter brilliance of that Sugar Maple’s inner glow standing out proud amongst a lovely pallete of Autumnal hues in “gloomy” weather struck me so completely with everything else I was working through. 

         It is the light from within that is an iridescent beacon that needs no other source to highlight it. Be yourself, “let your light shine,” and it will guide your way...

(part 2 of 3, to be continued...) 

IMG_3831.JPEG

“Let Your Light Shine”   -   Brandon Kline

The Journey...

         Greetings everyone. Let me preface this by stating that if you are receiving this email it is because you have either signed up for my mailing list via online, at an art festival, or I have obtained it through a purchase or conversation at a festival. If you would like to be removed or compartmentalized into only updates about new image releases/upcoming festivals please just let me know. It is not my intention to bombard you with unwanted mail. It is my intention to share my thoughts on the beauty of the natural world and to keep all interested folks in the loop.  :-)

         That being said, welcome, and I hope this sees everyone enjoying the bounties of Autumn! I am currently trying to settle back into daily life after a beautiful, challenging, and thought-provoking three plus weeks in New England. The experience is reminding me of the deeper meaning behind one of my favorite Autumn photographs - “Find Your Way”.

         I think we can all relate to the fact, that sometimes, and sometimes more often than not, things don’t always go the way we envision or hope that they will play out. But it is in this simple unknowingness that life is so wonderfully exciting. Isn’t it, after all, the journey and not the destination that we ultimately recall with adventurous regale?... 

         When I captured this image years ago, I was “finding my way” through a tumultuous mental time in my life. As I sit here now, despite the seeming clarity of my chosen path combined with the happiness and love surrounding me, there is a realization that striving to grow in any manner will undoubtedly see us continually “finding our way.” Isn’t it these moments though, albeit at times uncomfortable or even eerie, that shape our most defining and beautiful stories?...

 (part 1 of 3, to be continued...)

“Find Your Way”   -   Brandon Kline

“Find Your Way”   -   Brandon Kline

Time to "Rise Up"...

         A few posts ago, I had mentioned how informative and inspirational a recent Sierra Club event I had attended was.  Two weekends ago, I also attended another Sierra Club sponsored event, the Banff Mountain Film Festival.  For those of you who love outdoor adventure of any sort and have never seen any of these films on tour, I HIGHLY recommend it! They are full of humor, inspiration, courageousness, and all around awesomeness!!!  And again this coming weekend, Saturday April 29th, is a BIG one folks.  The People's Climate March!

         I am not going to get all political, at least at this moment, but if you value anything on God's Green Earth, I strongly feel this is one of the most important assemblies of our current times.  It's no secret that their are some climate change deniers and anti-environmentalists in Washington D.C. right now.  And I feel it is EXTREMELY important to get involved in this if at all humanly possible.  Aside from the main march in Washington, there are sister marches all over the country that you can attend to help make your voice heard for the Planet.  For instance, I will be attending the gathering here in State College, PA.  You can find any information you need through the Sierra Club's website, www.sierraclub.org.

         Despite many uncertainties in our country and around the world right now, I have seen and been involved in several instances over the past few months that have given me tremendous hope!  There are people, not just "highly influential," but "ordinary, everyday" people, if you will, who are out there getting involved and making a difference!  Sometimes, it can be hard to see in the beginning, but things play out for certain reasons.  And perhaps all that is happening right now is exactly what we needed to "Rise Up" for the Planet, like the Spring rises from the Earth, and make a stand for this beautiful place we call home.

                                                                                                           Brandon Kline

"Rise Up"

Hiking to "A Home Away from Home"...

         In correlation with yesterday's blog pertaining to Earth Day and National Parks Week, guess where I'll be while you're reading these posts Monday April 24th-Wednesday April 26th this week??!

         Well, if you guessed Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, you are correct!  Yep, I'll be dusting off the backpack and getting back out on the trail for a few days as I make my annual Spring migration to Shenandoah to soak in some of the best Mother Nature has to offer in honor of Earth Day!  As I write this, I am still in debate as to where exactly I'll be hiking these few days, but if I am lucky I may just catch the magnificent display of Redbuds and Dogwoods in the Park's Northern District before the blooms are over.  And who knows, I may just have to go visit my "home away from home"...

         "This backcountry locale in my "backyard" National Park, Shenandoah, has become a home away from home for me.  Since the first time I camped near this serene waterfall I have returned more than half a dozen times to date (and only planning on adding to that over the years to come).  Right here, I have enjoyed some of my most profound and intimate moments of experiencing immaculate Mother Nature.  And the fact that it lies within a section of Shenandoah's Federally designated Wilderness, makes it even more special.  Hiking 3.5 miles in darkness the night before, I awoke on my first morning here and rolled out of my hammock, slid down the carved out hollow right next to me and photographed this magical moment at dawn.  The most amazing black bear encounter of my life has taken place right here, as a young juvenile played and foraged for nuts in late Autumn not more than 20 yards from me for a good 10 minutes or so!  I have been here in early Spring to celebrate Earth Day and seen these Falls booming at 2-3 times the volume you see here.  At the perfect time in October, this forest is ablaze with Maples, Hickories and Oaks.  And, every time, whether it be amidst the intoxicating smell of fresh Spring rain, or Autumn leaves in the cool air, and the deafening sound of the falls as I hear nothing but them aside from an occasional owl hooting, I can lean back and lose myself in dreams under the stars and the moonlight... This place soothes my soul, this is living folks, this is real magic!"

                                                                                                        Brandon Kline

         

"A Home Away from Home"

The Sweet Songs of Spring...

         Perhaps when you look at this image, despite the pretty flowering trees dispersed throughout, it just seems like a big mess.  That's ok, sometimes I feel that way too.  In fact, I debated a lot over making this photograph part of my collection.  After several views though and transporting myself back to this moment in a place I treasure every Spring, it hit me.  The very reason I composed the scene the way I did was to encompass everything I could in the frame about this place that is special to me this time of year.  

         Picture yourself sitting peacefully in this tangled mess of forest bursting with new life, it is a beautiful Spring morning with the perfect mixture of a warm sun and a cool breeze.  Vibrant green surrounds you, such as the leaves of this young Sugar Maple hanging right in front of you, destined to be a majestic Autumn dazzler someday.  As you look all around, purple and pink dots of the Redbuds are everywhere, entrancing you with happiness.  And front and center, growing just enough year after year to work it's way into this clear open view, is the White Flowering Dogwood, brilliant as can be.  Unable to resist smiling with the joy of this re-birth of the forest, you just sit there and take it all in, the air filled with the sweetest scents of lilac and fresh flowers wafting in the breeze and the morning chorus of the birds rejoicing these sweet songs of Spring!

                                                                                                                   Brandon Kline

"Sweet Songs of Spring"