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Author Archives: Michael Morgan

Pickin’ Up Dirt Thing

I spent most of my professional life working around “dirt” in some fashion, having spent almost 30 years as an Army Engineer at home and abroad. Thus when our two girls were young they listened to me talk about what I was doing, and sometimes saw first hand what that was. One of them coined the term “pickin’up dirt thing” to refer to any sort of heavy construction equipment they saw. Recently, we hired a local construction guy to come demolish our in-ground swimming pool, and to then dump loads of fill dirt into the resulting hole. Yesterday, looking out the window at the Case front-loader sitting out back waiting to complete the job, I laughed to myself when I said, “There sits a pickin’ up dirt thing.” Then, I was inspired to make some close up, and somewhat unique black and white photos of it, just to be a bit creative. So here you go!

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Take a Pick

I have sort of gotten into the habit of posting (on Fridays) a mix of photos with no common theme, except that I like them. I make many photos during the week mainly because I usually have at least one camera handy (like my iPhone 5S) and I like to keep my eyes moving around for interesting subjects and compositions. So here we go for today.

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Years ago I picked up the term “God Beams” from one of the professional photographers I follow. That’s what I saw on an early morning walk in our neighborhood, with the sun rays poking down from the opening in the clouds. After I got some distance from home I started looking at the sky and regretted I had not carried one of my cameras along. Then I remembered my iPhone 5S, which has an excellent camera. Lots could be written as a caption to this photo.

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This image is of grass and other debris sitting in the middle of a fairly large shallow puddle on the street at the end of a cul-d-sac where I was walking after a rain storm. Normally the grass in the pavement is dry brown and not so nice looking. But the sun beam striking the grass after the rain and the reflections off the water made for a nice image.

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As I was backing out of the driveway in my car recently, I looked to my left by the driveway door and spotted several very nice looking butterflies feeding on these flowers. Having one of my cameras on the seat beside me, it was a simple task to hop out and get close to make these two colorful photos.

So, there you go. Take a pick which one (or more) you like best. Photography is fun, but you need to get outside the house to make it really get interesting. Cheers!

 
 

The Little Post Office

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This is one of my favorite photo locations in Martinsville, Virginia. The “Little Post Office” is on the U.S.Register of Historic Places and is well maintained today. It was built in 1893, and is a small one-story, gable front brick building with a frame rear extension. The exterior and one-room interior of the building are detailed in the Queen Anne style. It was used as a contract post office by star route mail delivery supervisor from 1893 to 1917.

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It’s a very photogenic spot, with many close up photo opportunities as can be seen below.

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Posted by on September 17, 2014 in America's Past, Architecture, Close Up, Landscape

 

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Contrasts in Nature

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These two photos definitely contrast with each other. One bright and cheerful, the other not so much. Sometimes it’s nice to look for such images. Getting “close up” was important to me.

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Close Up, Flowers

 

Weedy Colors

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This time of year on the East Coast of the U.S. may be a good time to look for some “weedy colors” as you wander about. I’ve found that this type of vegetation can offer more interesting composition than what I’ll call “brand-name” flowers see in gardens and elsewhere. The image above is a good example, as are those below. Enjoy your camera!

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Posted by on September 12, 2014 in Flowers

 

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A Cloudy, Rainy Day

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Martinsville, Virginia near where we live sits in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are certain locations in the city where I often go to view the surrounding low hills and far away higher ridges. It was a rainy and cloudy day when I decided to go take a look, seeking to capture some of the soft views I hoped to see, in black and white compositions. The view above looks down on a main highway through a portion of the outskirts of the city center. I include that to give you an idea of the relative elevation I was standing when I made the other photos elsewhere.

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These two images are what I was looking for. I wish there had been some more fog in the valleys and along the ridges, but these two will do.

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And, while I was standing up high, I looked even higher and saw this communication tower, which in high contrast black and white looks pretty neat in my opinion.

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2014 in Black and White, Landscape

 

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Monday Mix

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Just a hint of Fall colors here in SW Virginia, with our Dogwood Trees turning slightly, backed by still bright green Tulip Poplars, which by the way have devilish leaves to clean up after they hit the ground later in the season. Thankfully, we have a yard man and crew to deal with it all. Such goes with my age and relative health–help from yard man and crew that is.

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I’m not sure what the proper name of these flowers is, but we call them “Chickens.” I just transplanted this bunch to this location and they seem to be doing fine. The bushy flowers turn pink in the Fall, then the whole plant dries up waiting for Spring.

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We’ve been having late season thunderstorms here in SW Virginia, and yesterday afternoon we lost electric power for several hours. Short outage thankfully. But, it was still dark in the house given the gully-washer rains outside with dark clouds. Thus, out came the emergency lantern, which serves well on the kitchen table. Not wanting to sit in the scary dark by herself, our cat Boots jumped on the table (pulled herself up actually using a chair for assistance) to get “into the light.” Cats are indeed cool.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2014 in Animals, Flowers

 

The American Chestnut Tree

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A neighbor of ours has two rare trees in his yard. American Chestnut. They are relatively small compared to the number of Pine, Oak and Tulip Poplar trees which dominate our neighborhood. These two trees have been pruned to maintain their health, and they survive, to annually drop their nuts to the ground, encased in prickly husks, where they rest until the squirrels get at them. Or me. I wish there were more trees like these Chestnuts here in Virginia, and perhaps one day there will be, given the amount of efforts underway to help sustain their revival. For your education, there’s a bit of history about the Chestnut Tree in Virginia after the two photos below that show the prickly shells with nut inside.

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“The American Chestnut was once a common dominant tree in the deciduous forests of eastern North America and Virginia. In some parts of the Appalachians it was estimated to comprise 25% of the timber volume. The chestnut tree was relatively fast-growing and had a strong sprouting ability. The chestnut blight, caused by a fungus was first reported in New York in 1904. Within 50 years it had spread throughout the natural range of chestnut and virtually all Chestnut Trees were killed by the blight.”

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2014 in Flowers

 

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Turkey Buzzards Overhead

They glide through the wind on wings wide and strong, looking much, much better above than they do when on the ground, feasting on road kill or whatever. The part of SW Virginia where we live is a stopping point for the annual migration of these large birds so I have lots of opportunities to make some photos, given my bent neck looking up holds out.

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Posted by on September 3, 2014 in Animals

 

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A Bright Moment in Time

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I’ve written before several times that it’s a good idea to keep your eyes open for possibly interesting photo subjects. One evening while waiting for supper, and as the sun was setting behind our home, my eye caught a small bit of orange coloring out back in one of our Dogwood trees. Looking closer I noted that the setting sun was creating an interesting effect on a small portion of the tree; just that part that had begun to change from Summer green to Fall colors. Grabbing my camera, which had a telephoto lens mounted, I walked out to see what I could see. The above image was the result. It turned out pretty special in my opinion. So, I say again, “Keep your eyes open and a camera close at hand.”

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2014 in Close Up, Flowers

 
 
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