TIAA #33: “The Advent of Asher”

Tosin’s Images & Anecdotes (TIAA) is my self-assigned photography challenge of 2022. The immediate objective is to select one image from my inventory (a cityscape, landscape, portrait, oddity, etc.) each week and write something about it. This “something” could be the story behind the photo, a triggered memory in relation to the photo, or simply a reaction or reflection based on the subject matter featured. The long-term objective is to encourage myself to add more content to “La Vue Atypique”, which celebrates its first decade in publication this year.

"The Advent of Asher" / Old Rag Mountain / Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA / December 30, 2006
The Advent of Asher” / Old Rag Mountain / Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA / December 30, 2006

What can I say about the photograph above?

This week’s photo was discovered while I was delving into my archive of photos captured within the United States. I was curious about my set of images from Virginia because I did not remember exploring that particular state in the past.

When I saw the label “Old Rag Mountain”, I began to remember. I think it was the final weekend of 2006. I was living in the metro Washington, D.C. area back then. As a fun activity to commemorate the end of the year, a friend had invited me to go hiking with him and his friends in the Blue Ridge Mountains, roughly a two-hour drive west of the nation’s capital.

I couldn’t remember the last time I had been hiking so I thought I’d give it a try. Plus, I could bring whichever camera I must have been using back then to capture the natural landscape of the region. According to the photo’s file information, it was captured by my Kodak EasyShare C340 zoom digital camera.

The Kodak C340. This was my digital camera between 2004 and 2007 with an impressive resolution of FIVE megapixels.
Mock it all you want, but this was one of the latest gadgets back then for people who didn’t want to

spend thousands of dollars on a digital SLR camera.

At the time, the conception or notion of “TIA International Photography” was still three years into the future, completely unbeknownst to me.

The photo is of a friend of my friend who accompanied us on the road trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains and the hike to the top of Old Rag Mountain in Madison County, Virginia. To be clear, he was my friend’s friend — not my friend. I didn’t have an affinity towards him, and when the trip ended, we shook hands and parted ways — but not quickly enough before I noticed him aggressively rubbing the palm of his right hand on his pants immediately after shaking my hand.

Alas, this situation dragoons me to reveal one of my largest (pre-pandemic) pet peeves. I find it incredibly rude and in poor form to shake someone’s hand and immediately wipe your own hand off against your body (in the presence of the person whose hand you just shook) as though you just came in contact with something filthy or unsanitary. Even if that were the case, have the decency to wipe off your hand when the other person cannot see you actually perform the act. Alas, I haven’t had to experience this particular peeve since March 2020. (If you don’t know why, then I will venture a guess that you’re probably visiting Earth from another celestial body).

For purposes of this blog and amicable storytelling, I won’t use the friend of my friend’s real name. Instead, I’m going to call him Asher.

The closest I came to liking Asher’s company was when he inadvertently collaborated with me to be a temporary model for this week’s picture. When our group had made it to the top of Old Rag Mountain, I remember Asher taking in his surroundings. It was mid-afternoon. The sun was still high in the sky so the natural light was very harsh on the landscape. However, from where I was standing, I could see Asher’s silhouette above the various gradients of the silhouetted peaks behind him, going from prominent and dark in the foreground to steadily becoming lighter and lighter towards the horizon.

To me, this was a stunning scene, and having Asher as my impromptu human subject matter at that precise time was perfect. I asked him once or twice to hold still since he was facing me. I caught two shots. The one I’m sharing is the better of the two. Because the lighting was so harsh, I converted the image to monochrome to emphasize the contrast between light and shadow, plus accentuate Asher’s silhouette in the center.

Characters from the “Tenchi Muyo!” anime series

As for the title…it is in reference to an anime series that I enjoyed. Back in 2006, the Naruto anime series was still relatively new, and I wasn’t following the show regularly. Interestingly, the Cartoon Network had a Naruto marathon that weekend. It was called “Naruto Hondo / Naruto Year’s Eve”. Maybe that’s how my fandom started for arguably the most renowned underdog anime character the world has ever known.

However, there was another anime I loved for years before Naruto came into the picture. It was the Tenchi Muyo series. My favorite character was a mysterious, ominous, and very complicated goddess by the name of Tokimi. She was the goddess of chaos in the story. The Tenchi series had an episode called “The Advent of a Goddess” in reference to her arrival.

For this picture, I thought “The Advent of Asher” was perfect because it does look like he is arriving in what could be his own domain (if this scene was an excerpt from a sci-fi novel or fantasy saga). It’s all about the silhouettes in this photo, though. . .and this all took place before I ever considered photography as a profession. Maybe I had been on that path all along?

Alright! That’s the story. See you next time.


34 articles down for the TIAA challenge. 18 remain!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Kirk. says:

    Such a strong image! It could serve as a moment captured in a thrilller as easily as it could be a heroic character making an entrance. I see both sides. Very nice. 👍🏾

    1. Thanks, KD. I’m hoping to find some more hidden gems before the TIAA challenge is over! “Advent of Asher” is definitely a highlight.

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