One of the latest rebranding projects has been to give Smile Center Campbellsville a new image. The old logo was somewhat dated, and didn't stand out or look professional enough for the very well developed dental business. Like many projects, we started out wanting to keep some of the same ideas from the old logo and move them towards a new design. The old design had a smile inside a tooth in a brushed styling. So, my first move was go forward with keeping the smile part of the design.
I kept the smile here in these two designs, very shy and blends in to some normal shapes that could be seen on an illustration of a tooth. The client was leaning more towards a more clean, simple and professional look after seeing the smile reworked. The smile was interesting and unique, but simplicity is what the ultimate goal was. After another proof we decided on the following logo.
Overall this project was a fun and very smooth rebranding project. It's always great to have flexibly with the client and them allow the designer to be creative and work towards the best mutual outcome. This is not the most creative or complex logo I have ever developed, but it was what the client wanted.
"Little dog, get over here,""Sorry you couldn't have suffered longer,""You think they're miserable, I can't even light a cigarette without them breaking in half." Just a few of the phrases in the air at the Frozen Head State Park Campground. That and "six seconds."
First off, you don't talk about Barkley. Thats the rule, so don't ask how or why I was there as a photographer. I have connections, and no you can't have them. If you are not familiar with Barkley, watch the Netflix documentary, that's the easiest way to find out more about this unique event. If not Netflix then check the Wikipedia article at least.
I want this post to reflect on some personal experiences and notes that I observed at the race and what the community around camp was like. The pieces I have written covering the event for publication talk more about the race and the dramatic finish which I will have posts about when they go live. But I want the community that is the Barkley to be highlighted and made noted.
First off, Laz is the same person as on the documentary. His wife is a super kind lady that is as invested into this event just as he is. Laz has a dog named "Little" who is protective over the yellow gate when around other dogs, it's pretty awesome. Also, the campground is nice, you should definitely go there, just not during Barkley. Spectators are somewhat shunned away from the area. If you don't have a purpose there, stay out and give the competitors space. Go to the fire tower to spectate, not the camp, please take that note.
In the down time between loop completion, camp is very quiet. If you happened to roll up to the camp you would never guess that some of the world's most elite runners were competing in an epic ultra just miles around there. When a runner rounds a corner about to check in at the gate the vibe changes very quickly. It goes from mellow camp vibes to a full on NASCAR pit stop. The seconds that a runner spends in camp can be very crucial; they can make or break the potential in finishing the next loop or making a time deadline. The longer the race goes the more intense these stops at camp get.
I caught some of the camp fun after loop one. If you notice in the photo, Henry, a runner from West Virginia (I think), has his feet over a fire to help them dry as much as they can before he begins the next loop. At one point in the race they have to fully submerge their feet into a creek to cross, enough water to make waterproof or fast drying socks or shoes inadequate. Most runners fully change gear and even packs when at camp so one set can dry out. The feeling of fresh clothes makes the next loop much more bearable.
During a stop at camp it was common to see soup broth, Little Debbie's, Honey Buns, cans of soup, pasta, and a lot of various calorie rich junk food being gulped down as quickly as possible. The runners bodies didn't care how bad the food was, they just wanted fuel. Gary Robbins, one of the superstars of this years event typically drank coffee just before taking off. The packs on their back consisted of tons of food, water, more food, a map and the pages from the books, and more food. Expect to run 20 miles and hopefully take 12 hours to do so with having to take all of your food when you left the gate. No support along the way.
When runners were not at camp, people would nap, shoot the bull, and relax around fires or go out for a short run/hike to the fire tower to maybe see the runners as they stop at the check point. No one is allowed on course, which only the runners know about. Even runners tapped out of the race are not to be on course.
There are two take homes concerning the camp environment. The first one is that being at Barkley, you are among some of the world's most elite level athletes. Professional ultra runners, world record holders, Mt. Everest summiteers, and a cumulative list of accomplishments that would humble the most elite in any field. You would never guess it without knowing the people, knowing their life at home, and knowing what they've done.
To talk to most competitors you would not know that they were an Everest summiteer, former Barkley winner, or a World Record Holder, they are quiet about that stuff. To just walk into camp you wouldn't know that these skinny, cut up, smelly, and worn out people were competing in what is arguably the worlds most difficult footrace. To stand around the fire at night and to hear the stories of weekend adventures, professional careers, and each other's future plans as if it was small talk over coffee is quite impressive. They are not there to boast; this is just a group of highly successful and accomplished professionals inside and outside the world of running. It's humbling and puts yourself into perspective to see what these people are accomplishing on an athletic front, while also obtaining massive success in a highly technical career field as well. It proves just because you are a dedicated career professional it does not mean that you can't run the Barkley. There are nearly 40 people every year that run the Barkley with full time, serious careers they go home to.
Second, this "race" isn't like most races. You are racing the clock, you want everyone to achieve as much as possible. You don't want failure. You don't want someone to quit. It happens and most do it with a smile because they know how extremely hard Barkley is. On loops 1-3 people are lighthearted with the support in comparison to loop 4-5. If you make it to loop 4 and have a chance of finishing the mood changes. It goes from everyone being supportive and encouraging to a deep sense of compassion, support and concern for those competing to finish. It's almost as if everyone there is a team member ready to drop and run to do what is needed for the remaining competitors. No one wants someone who has gotten that far to fail.
When you get to this point in the race everything becomes more fragile. The slightest mistake could mean the race is over. The concern of how the runners are at check points, how they are looking, weather, health, when they slept, what they've eaten and so much more matters on another scale now. The moments that lead up to the finish of loop 4 are nerve wracking, and exciting if they look as if they will have a strong chance to complete loop 5. When they come in from loop 5 the emotion is indescribable.
For John, who finished with 30 minutes left on the clock, family surrounding the gate, local boy who had dreamed of this, everyone was happy, and very proud. Smiles surrounded him as we all waited for Gary to come in. Time got shorter and shorter and there was no sign of him. Smiles turned to sadness as it looked as if he wouldn't complete it, but then he made it to camp with complete heartbreak. For Gary, who had a small mistake that landed him off course and 6 seconds over the 60 hour time limit didn't complete the race. The emotion was as if we had just seen a hero fall. As he laid on the pavement telling his story no one had a dry eye. Imagine a movie where the super hero dies in some heroic way. This was that times 1000, because it was real. He had it beat, but a slight mistake at the last 3% of the race cost him the ability to be a finisher. He said, " I understand," with a smile on his face when talking it out with Laz and knowing the grounds of disqualification.
It takes a strong group of people to be at this event, participate, and make this community what it is. Dedication has a different meaning with these people. Laz mentions in the documentary that you can't accomplish anything without the risk of failure. The higher the risk of failure the bigger the accomplishment. Everyone understands how big finishing Barkley is. Everyone knows what it means to finish. When you get as close as Gary does it's the most heart break the event can have. For John, finishing after a long time dream and growing up in these mountains is a beautiful story that everyone is proud of. Overall the heart of the ones invested into Barkley don't compare to that of any other group I have been around. There is a level of connection with this event that can't be recreated. It makes the Barkley what it is, which is a beautiful event that creates a family.
The Commonwealth got hit pretty hard by Winter Storm Jonas starting on Friday. Our southeast counties got a total of nearly 2' of snow accumulation by Saturday evening. That may not sound like much for some people, but for Kentuckians this was a pretty hard hit. Sunday was the first day that roads where actually somewhat safe to try and navigate around London and Laurel County. So, to try and beat cabin fever I went to the local sledding spots to grab some photos.
I enjoy shooting sledding photos because it can be very exciting. When the light hits the snow just right and when you catch the facial expressions that are of joy and panic of potentially wiping out, you've got something special.
The two locations that I went to to take pictures where Levi Jackson State Park, and bordering the Park is Crooked Creek Golf Community. Both areas have a couple well known hills that a lot of people gather at to go sledding.
Levi Jackson State Park is a fairly small park just outside of downtown London, but they offer a lot to the community and travelers. At Levi Jackson they have a large campground, multi-use trails, mini gold, small water park, picnic shelters, and host many events on the grounds throughout the year. The park also has a historical connection with part of the Boone Trace running through the park. As well as McHargue's Mill being at the entrance.
When arriving at each sledding location I found loads of people on the hills. I was having to try and not get ran over by sleds in some spots, which is all part of the fun. The way the forecast looks the snow may be around a few more days. If so, I am sure that there will be plenty more sled runs taken before we see it melt away.
To see the full sledding gallery visit this page.
The state's shut down and no supermarket within a hundred mile radius has any bread or milk.
Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to get some good pictures from around the area. Check back.
First off, if you have never made a trip to Mammoth Cave National Park (MCNP) make sure to put it on the to-do list for 2016! When you take a tour in MCNP, you are not only walking into a geological masterpiece, but you are also walking into a piece of Kentucky’s history that is, for lack of better words, awesome. This is a remarkable experience for all ages, cultures, and interests alike. Above ground, MCNP has miles of biking trails, hiking trails, access to paddling the Green River, campgrounds, and backcountry camping. It’s certainly a trophy in the National Park Service lineup, and we’re proud to have it in Kentucky.
During the winter months the park is fairly quiet. They offer fewer tours and other activities are a bit more calm as well, due to the cooler weather. During the summer months you can explore up to 12 miles of guided tours in the cave system. That’s 12 miles all underground. Seems like a lot for a cave, right? Well, Mammoth Cave has 405 miles of known and surveyed cave in all. There is no other known cave system in the world that measures up to this amount. To put it in perspective, that’s about the same as driving from Louisville to Mammoth Cave and back... twice.
With this being the National Park Service’s 100th year of operation, they have announced 16 fee-free days that they will be hosting. Martin Luther King Jr. Day happened to be one of them. Taking advantage of this, LJ and I decided to go on a couple of tours. Only one was in the “free category” which was the Mammoth Cave Passage tour. Before we hit it, we did the Domes and Dripstones tour, a two hour tour that shows some of the amazing geology of the cave.
During this tour we climbed and descended a lot of steps, 500 some all together. By going deep down into the cave, we could see and understand a lot of the details about how it was created, what minerals are in the cave, how it is layered, a little of its history, and the various types of formations. Some of those formations consist of stalactites and stalagmites, one of the more interesting cave formations that, if undisturbed, are still developing.
The second tour was a bit different. We entered what is know as the “Historic Entrance,” which is located just under the visitor center. This was the Passage tour, which was the free tour and lasted just over an hour. In this tour, we learned a bit more about the history of the cave. We got to visit the Rotunda which is one of the larger rooms in the cave, located near the entrance. When I say large, this room will make you feel tight the next time you go into parking garage. The history of the cave touched on Native American presence in the cave, the cave’s role in the War of 1812, mining operations, private ownership of the cave, slave guided tours, and more.
It’s hard to leave MCNP and not be awestruck no matter how many times you go. There is always something new to learn and something different to see that you probably didn’t catch the first time. We could go into a lot of amazing detail but I encourage you to just go and learn all you can. Also, if you get Jerry as your guide, you are in for an extra special treat.
Big South Fork NRRA is close to home, yet I have many miles to cover before I can truly "know" the area. I spent a couple days down in the area at the first of the year. The first day I met a handful of friends and we rode MTB and had a great time. They all rolled out after our ride and I stayed to camp for the night.
Going a bit back in the woods and finding a nice place to set up for the night, I built a fire (using veggie stick snacks) and cooked my dinner for the night. It was a clear night, so clear that I was upset that the trees blocked the view of a nice long shutter photo. Being a handful of miles from the closest town and not having any light pollution to distort the sky was nice. When morning came it was flurrying and a bit colder than the day before.
After I awoke I drove to a trailhead so I could hike out to an overlook for breakfast (fairly remote area, 4-5 miles back to a paved road). I get there and I go to check out the trail map to see how far out it is. As I stand there I start to hear loud breathing and heavy "puffs" of air, I got a little spooked. Definitely a mammal of some kind that didn't care for me to be around. As I walk back to my car (hand on bear spray) I decide Huddle House sounds pretty good!
Making the call to go into town was a good one. On my way in I see a fire tower not far outside the town of Onedia, TN. I make a turn and start driving towards it. It was easy to locate because it stood above the tree line and wasn't far off a paved road. When I got to the base of the tower I found a Forestry Office. I enter in and ask if I could go up there, mention that I am a photographer and would like to get some pictures (I have always wanted to go up in one). The guy smiles, says "at your own risk" and hands me a key so I can go inside it. Excited is an understatement to explain how I felt.
Climbing up it was cold. It was slightly snowing still and where this was on top of a hill and exposed it was catching a lot of wind. I am not afraid of heights, but a few of the steps had a little more flex than what I prefer. When getting inside the top it was nice because it blocked the wind. It was a bit difficult to get any good long perspective shots because of the hazy, snowy day. I was ok with that though, it just gives me a reason to go back. I spent a bit of time in there just looking around and enjoying it.
It never fails to amaze me at how the smallest things that happen unexpectedly can be some of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences. I can't wait to find another fire tower to say the least.
I am very excited to share with everyone a project for Decline MTB Magazine that I had the chance to be apart of a little while back.
Friend, former teammate and fellow mountain bike competitor Dakotah Norton has had an amazing rookie pro year. The biggest highlight was him winning Crankworks Dual Slalom in Whistler, BC. Before this race he was climbing in the ranks steadily, but after this people knew his name and really began to ask who this rookie from Michigan, living in Kentucky was and how he got so fast so quick. That's where Decline came in and wrote a story to introduce him to the cycling world and give some history on the young talent.
Below are some of the pictures of the printed magazine, photos from inside the article and photos that didn't make the cut to publication.
The definition for love is "an intense feeling of deep affection". That's one way you could explain my feelings of mountainous areas.
Traveling is a great thing, yet it can also be heartbreaking. When traveling to a destination that is beautiful or passing a breathtaking area along the way and having to ignore your surroundings kinda hurts. When traveling to a race I often pass by areas that I've always wanted to spend a few days exploring. Even at the race venue I may have to ignore it all because I have a task there and that is my bicycle. It's internally heartbreaking, so I have my own remedy for that.
Back in early October Lois Jean and I headed south a few days to stay in Great Smoky Mtns National Park. I've been in and out of the park a handful of times, hiked on parts of the AT and was around it on vacation as a kid. I never had really got to go explore a sizable portion of the park and have always wanted to. If you're not filmier with the park, it's big. Could take a few hours to drive across from some points, many large mountains and no cell service. This kind of place is where I love to be spending my days unwinding. I wanted to get dirty, go on day hikes and soak in as much as I could in the time I had.
We stayed at Cade's Cove, Smokemont and Elkmont. Areas that we seen consisted of Cade's Cove, Newfound Gap, Clingman's Dome, Andrews Bald, Abram Falls and Laurel Falls. We day hiked, drove around and slept near these areas. Of course I had my camera in hand for all of it. For me, not being able to slow down and enjoy the beauty of some places I travel to I am determined to capture what I see on my relaxing trips. Which is funny cause many don't see sleeping in the back of a car, not showering for 4-5 days, hiking everyday and making food on a camping stove relaxing. You can call me weird, but I love it.
The hikes we went on and the views we got to see where worth the effort. From the fields of Cade's Cove to the Peak of Clingman's Dome none of it was disappointing. We hiked out to Andrews bald to get the best panoramic views we had seen of the mountains. We climbed onto a rock away from the crowds at Laurel Falls to make lunch. We got to see a bear and experience much more. We smelled awful and we hated to have to come home. I can't to be back.
Peak colors just hit in southeast Kentucky! Leroy and I went out today to see what we could find! Check out some of the colors on the backroads. Hopefully more to come!
Last week I was featured in an episode of WYMT News Backroads with Allison. I got to give the news crew a taste of the local riding and scenery.