This stately building of which I have several close-up compositions, is an example of how decades ago, designers and builders used lots of intricate brick work (especially on columns) and scroll-work at the top, to make their masterpiece look timeless. This building is the old Rockingham County North Carolina County Court House. It’s now a historical center, with a much more modern, but unfortunately less majestic replacement being opened in 2011.
Category Archives: Architecture
There’s a special (for me) location along rural Route 8 in SW Virginia that I often drive by on my way into the mountains, that always makes me want to stop. The problem usually is that the farm house across the highway is apparently home today to a truck driver, because he usually parks his rig in front of the main object of my photo interest: I.M Akers General Merchandise Store. A relic from the Blue Ridge past. From the covered area in front of the store where hand cranked gasoline pumps perhaps stood, to the public drinking fountain by the main entrance, and lastly to the old homestead “out back” where I assume Mr. Akers and family once lived, working daily to manage and run the store; the only such place around for miles as far as I could tell, it’s all about history, and I like that a lot. Here’s a collection of photos I made recently when the semi-truck was NOT parked out front, thus affording me a great photo opportunity. Thank you Truck Driver whomever you are!
2014 is not over yet, but that time is getting close. In between days of clouds, rain, and recently some sun here in SW Virginia, I was able to get out and find some nice images to mark the close of what has been a very successful year for me photographically. I thank the good lord for that, and also the genius designers and manufacturers in Japan who put together the best camera I have ever owned. Fuji X100T. Definitely not a camera for a casual shooter, but if you really are passionate about making photos, and want to have fun doing it like in the “old days of film cameras with separate dials”, then this camera might be perfect.
I’ve posted photo stories before about the wonderful neighbors we have where we live in SW Virginia. I’d like to continue this now by highlighting the family who lives across the street from us. This year, they decided to do some “extra” Christmas decorations about their home and adjoining yard. When I saw what was going on as the decorations were being put up, I immediately saw a great photo story just waiting for me. So, here is that story.
This is Daniel, Sarah and daughter Sophie. Daniel serves in Law Enforcement as a uniformed officer, while Sarah works at the local hospital as a Registered Nurse. Both have helped me on many occasions in numerous ways, and have always been extremely kind and generous. They are, in short, a perfect family to live near, as are others in our neighborhood. When Dan decides to “do something” he goes into the project with an extreme amount of energy and creativity, never letting anything stand in his way. Like, for example, when he decided this year to get a BIG Christmas Tree.
He found this very beautiful natural Blue Ice Cypress Tree, which he planned to locate in the high-ceiling family room of their home. Its original twelve-foot height had to be shortened at the base by a foot, because when he first drug it into the house, its top scraped across the ceiling. Once inside, and with step ladder close at hand, he decorated it and then stood by with pride looking at what he’d accomplished. I wish more people would use “natural” Christmas trees but alas times have changed. The sweet smell and touch of the tree made me harken back to when I was a young boy helping my family decorate our tree; much, much smaller I might add.
Now, let’s get to the heart of this photo story, the decorations. Unlike the popular seasonal movie, “Christmas Vacation” with a home almost completely covered with lights, Dan took care not to overdo it. Beautiful describes the results as captured by my camera lens.
Looking about the yard in front of their home, I saw several inflatable decorations which I felt added greatly to the festive scene, and together certainly serve as a prime “drive-by” attraction for those cruising through the neighborhood seeking Christmas cheer. One by one, here they are.
By the time I’d completed my photo session, the skies had darkened completely, and what I saw through my camera lens made me wish I could start all over. But, there are only so many ways to compose camera scenes, and I did not want to overdo my efforts. Keep it simple is my standard motto. But, what Dan and Sarah have created about their home this Christmas is far from being simple. It’s not easy to place all those lights, position and secure all those inflatable decorations, and to do everything in such a way that it looks (in a word) perfect. If you think young Sophie was not involved in this process, I can assure you she was. Nothing excites a child more than seeing “Christmas” all about them. Merry Christmas to all!
In the United States decades ago when travelers drove their private vehicles on vacations or otherwise, there were no “Interstate Highways” such as we have today with main exits having any number of chain motels to serve as a place to rest for the night in relative comfort. Back then there were what I’ll call Motor Hotels that provided a place to stop that was more like one’s home than a temporary place to stop for the night. I found one such place near our home in SW Virginia. It had a separate “office, while across the adjacent street there was a long, single story building with individual “apartments” complete with separate garages in which to park the family car for the night. I’ll call this place “The Red Motor Hotel.”
I have not been inside the United Methodist Church, on a narrow road south of Stuart, Virginia, near the North Carolina border, but I have made photos of it, twice. In both instances I was not expecting to see it as I drove by, because it’s set a ways off the main road. I believe I was led to this church for a reason, not so much to become a church member, because it’s too far from home for that. Instead, I believe I was given an opportunity to see and photograph it because when I’m there wandering around composing with my camera, I’m at peace, thankful for all that the good Lord has given me.
When we were living in Europe, I learned that there is a difference between a graveyard and a cemetery. The former is located next to a church, while the latter is located elsewhere. This is obviously a graveyard. Looking at the headstone, I noted that “William D. Mays” was 86 years old when he died in 1891. Thus, the church and graveyard have a long history. I like this composition because of the way it places the headstones in the foreground.
Another view from farther back. And lastly, another composition even farther away, and framed in the shade of a large tree, still with fall leaves.
I never tire of visiting this church with my camera, and yes I know some may be asking why I don’t go there on a Sunday, no matter the drive from home, to worship with others drawn to this great looking rural, Blue Ridge Mountain church.
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!