As I drive along winding roads in SW Virginia I often pass by interesting old homes which are now vacant. Some are in bad shape, others not so bad. The photos I made of one such house below fall into the “not so bad” category. In fact, it was interesting and inviting in a way: for example,as I wandered about the outside I expected some person to pop their head out the door and ask what it was I was doing there. The lacy curtains on the front door were sort of spooky, given that squinting eyes might be lingering inside in the shadows looking at this stranger standing on the porch. The wooden scroll work along the porch ceiling was also interesting, complete with peeling paint. Once again, my travels brought me to interesting photo opportunities. Thank you Lord!
Category Archives: America’s Past
A military veteran myself, I decided to spend that day in 2014 in a favorite small town of mine located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The town was renamed in 1884 from Taylorsville to Stuart in honor of Confederate Major General J.E.B. Stuart, who was born 20 miles west of town in Ararat, Virginia. Small in size, but large in character in relation to a vibrant and bustling central business district. Several seasonal “festivals” are held here annually and are attended by thousands from all over the region. Yes, I like Stuart and am glad I chose it on Veterans Day this year in which to make some photos to commemorate that day … for me.
I like to make photos of churches in rural, countryside areas. In this case it involved the Grace Mountainside Church in Robbinsville, NC in the Smoky Mountains. While I was interested in the building itself, it was really the stained glass window on the entryway red door that caught my photo eye. This is a relatively old church, which has been renovated with new siding. I also liked the contrast of the colorful vegetation in front, with the plain siding of the church.
On our recent train ride aboard the Great Smoky Mountain RR (see prior posts earlier this and last week) one of the main historical attractions along the ride (per our staff host who rode with us in the car, giving us drinks and when necessary giving us some local lore) was what is referred to as “The Civil War House.” On the outward leg of the trip, I missed seeing it since I was on the side of the passenger car opposite to the house. However, on the way back I decided there was no way I was going to miss seeing it a second time. So, I positioned myself by the open space in the connecting area between cars, where I could look out at the passing views with no window involved. I was not alone. Soon I was joined by another passionate photographer and his wife, both very nice folks. We shared the limited space with me looking forward to provide ample warning to the approaching attraction. His wife remembered our host saying that the house was located at mile-marker 70 “something” so when we passed MM 80, counting down I started to pay very close attention. Then in a flash, I saw the house coming into view as we sped along. We both made room for the other and started clicking away. I’m not sure what he got, but I was pretty happy with one of my images. The scene reminded me of how much American Civil War history there is still around today in Virginia and North Carolina. In this case, I’d never have had the opportunity to see it had it not been for riding on the train. Lucky me!
It’s simple. I love old trains. While we were in the Smoky Mountain region of Western North Carolina recently, we rode the Great Smoky Mountain RR into the Nantahala National Forest. I’ll have a photo story about that later, but after we rode the train I found some old railroad cars from time’s past, and I was very happy to capture with my camera what I saw. The “open” passenger cars shown below carried many thousands of sight-seeing visitors for many years. These old cars are obviously now fully retired, but remain vibrant in color.
The images below show details of other train cars which, to me, were very interesting. I sought to compose each photo in the most interesting manner possible.
Danville Virginia has been a main stop on railroad networks since the American Civil War. Over the years, passengers and freight numbers rose and fell, but still the location remained vibrant. Today, trains still pass by (and stop) at the Danville Train Depot several times a day. The depot’s historic architecture calls out for people like me with cameras in hand to come visit. I especially enjoy the main waiting room, with it’s large wooden benches and atmosphere. When I enter I can imagine myself with ticket in hand waiting for a train. I hope you’ll enjoy some of the photos I made there recently. I felt black and white would best convey the feelings I had at the time.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
It’s a very photogenic spot, with many close up photo opportunities as can be seen below.
The City of Martinsville, Virginia is a part of Henry County. The old county courthouse in the city center was once a hub for activity. Today, it still is but for different reasons. Several years ago the county built a modern administrative complex some distance away, but planners and historians elected not to abandon the historic courthouse and elected to renovate it to serve other purposes to include being home to a popular visitors center. Recently I made some photographs of the newly renovated structure to shown what can be done when people care about their history.