Monthly Archives: December 2012

Axe in the Log

Cabin in the fog with American flag

Cabin in the fog with American Flag

Before I had an aircraft to explore and photograph the country, I would strap camera and lens to the gas tank of my Enduro-style motorcycle.

During the summer along the river in the Tennessee River Gorge, it is almost a daily experience that it will be foggy in the morning. This cabin was located at the base of Raccoon Mountain along Cummings Highway. The shot was made using transparency film with my Hasselblad camera. I have always been tormented by the camera’s square format as whether to crop the shot vertically or horizontally because “square” seldom works for me. However in this case, I just left it alone because any way I tried to crop it caused me emotional pain.

From a distance the old cabin seemed deserted. Then as I approached through the fog, an old man appeared on the porch. He seemed very humble and honored that I would photograph his cabin and agreed to pose by the fence. With the flag stuck in the tree and the ax stuck in the old fallen tree trunk beside where he split his fire wood, it was as if he had set the scene and was waiting for me to show up and make the shot. The chewed up area on the log to the right of the ax made it evident he had busted many ricks of wood.

It wasn’t until years later when the photo was published in the newspaper because it won a photo contest did I learn that it was a lot more than just another “thousand-word” photo. When the old man’s relatives saw the paper, they started calling me from all over the country to order prints. From them, I got several history lessons and discovered that there were nine children raised in that old cabin and that the gnarly old knobs on the tree were caused by one of the kids hacking at it with a hatchet when the tree was small.