As we near the Easter holiday, I wanted to post these photos of an old church I found yesterday in Floyd, Virginia, in the midst of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s adjacent to the main highway into this small, scenic and historic town, and I have passed it many times before now without noticing. This time I saw it on the way into town, and on the way back out I pulled off the road and made my photos. The lesson learned for me is that no matter how many times you think you are paying attention to what’s around you, the more you are often surprised by what you fail to see. From the condition of the church, it’s obvious to me that it’s been unused for many years, but when it was a regular place of worship for many local residents I am sure it was a much more vibrant building.
Category Archives: Architecture
Old farm structures such as this are like a magnet to me when I have my camera. I’d photographed this old storage barn before, but when I saw it recently I noticed that the metal roofed shed on one side had fallen down, on top of what I was really wanting to make an image of — an old horse-drawn farm wagon. But, I still got a photo which as it turned out, was not that bad.
One type of home I love to photograph are those with a Victorian style design architecture, popular in the late 19th and early 20th Century. The name “Victorian” refers to the reign of Britain’s Queen Victoria (1837–1901), called the Victorian era, during which period the styles known as Victorian were used in construction. Not only did the design include all sorts of colorful windows, peaked roofing, and intricate trim designs and scrollwork. but entrances to the home and yard often included cast iron fencing with its own unique design, crouching concrete lions, and large bells. In those times people spent a lot of time on their front porches watching sidewalk passers-by, and inviting friends to enter their front fence gate and come sit for a spell. I bet many a young boy’s pants were ripped when trying to climb over those type metal fences rather than using the gate! Today, one hardly ever sees anyone sitting on their front porch, assuming their home even has one that is functional in that regard. Many young people today probably would as, “What’s a sidewalk?”
One of the most important aspects of making photos I’ve learned is to put yourself in a position such that the composition resulting becomes the most interesting. This can be especially true when using a telephoto lens. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. The first photo of the church spire is fine by itself, but when I looked at the result on my camera’s LCD, I decided it was sort of “ho-hum.” So, I moved (zoomed out) about 20 feet to my rear, so that the top portion of the spire could be included in my composition along with the flowering Bradford Pear tree in the foreground. You decide for yourself, but in my opinion the latter image is much more interesting.
Reidsville, NC was once home to the American Tobacco Company, which made the iconic cigarette “Lucky Strike.” The plant is closed now, but the town has not declined as have many other similar-sized manufacturing towns in North Carolina. In fact, the main street of Reidsville hardly had an open parking spot the day I visited recently to make some “street Life” photos as I wandered around town. Below is a varied mix of scenes I saw that day for your enjoyment, so you may see what I saw. I note that there is a main line train track running through the center of the town, and while I was there two long trains passed by. A busy place in many ways.
There is a 1920s era song titled “Painting the Clouds with Sunshine” which, since I had just recently listened to it on my iPhone, served as my inspiration to title this post. I was planning to publish these two images I made recently in Danville, Virginia’s historic Tobacco District, and was thinking of how to introduce it all on my photoblog. It came to me in a flash. One or more artists had indeed painted the upper walls on this old brick building with “sunshine” and that resulted in many smiles from passers-by I am sure. I am always glad to see business owners and local governments strive to improve the appearance of their central business districts, which in some cases may have declined over the years. This colorful work of art really did the job in that regard!
We live just two miles from NASCAR’s iconic race track, Martinsville Speedway — it’s oldest track, with two races annually, spring and fall. In two weeks the stands you see below will be packed with screaming fans, pulling for their favorite driver. Living as close to the track as we do, I often stop by to make some photos when the mood hits, as it did recently. My intent was to show the “stands” with the nice patterns they make to the camera eye, especially from underneath the great steel metalwork. I also got a candid shot of a track worker, painting along the wall, making the place look perfect, before crashing cars shortly ruin it all. But, that’s just racing!
Seen below are “lights” which illuminate the way into many homes and business today, just as they have done for centuries. When I see one I like I typically look for others. This day I found two which I felt had some photographic interest. Composition is important for these type images. Get close and make sure your camera is focused and exposed correctly. But, most important is to make the photo tell a story by itself if at all possible.
The great thing about digital photography today is that it’s easy to convert a color image into B&W. Not like the film days when you needed a different film. Also, its nice to be able to add a special treatment during post processing such as I did with the church, making the original appear much softer. Regardless of all this, one has to begin with a good image Well composed, with some interest involved. I find that structures like these work best for me.