On this 2015 Memorial Day weekend, I decided to drive a short distance yesterday from our home in SW Virginia to visit the National Veterans Cemetery in Danville Virginia. Walking around the grounds I noted the majority of grave-sites were from the Civil War era, but there were still lots of WWII, Korean War and Vietnam War headstones marking the final resting place for those veterans. I was alone there, and I think that made it more special for me, what with the silence and peaceful beauty all around. I was especially fortunate to be able to capture a pretty special view of the high flag pole with Old Glory blowing in the wind above. One day, all of us veterans of military service will join the ranks of those already resting in our final “Bivouac Above.”
Category Archives: Landscape
The Smith River in SW Virginia is not a large body of water, but historically it’s persistent, and today is a favored spot for fresh water trout fishing, thanks to the efforts of environmental groups to keep it clean and healthy, and also due to the efforts of governmental agencies such as the Army Corps of Engineers who keep river levels reasonable, thanks to frequent water release from a large dam. When I walk along the river on a hot, humid day, the water temperatures being low, keep me cool, and the refreshing smells around me remind me of just how wonderful nature is. Appreciate what we have, that’s my motto. I even spotted Mr. Groundhog watching me as I passed by.
Ferrum College created the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum in the early 1970s to document, interpret, and present the folk heritage of the Blue Ridge region. Since that time, the Institute has grown steadily, expanding its work throughout Virginia and Appalachia while maintaining an emphasis upon the western portion of the state. The Institute is located near Rocky Mount, Virginia. Not only are the exhibits educational, but they provide a great place for photographers. Buildings on the grounds have all been brought to the location and assembled or renovated using vintage techniques and materials. On certain weekends during the year, volunteers wearing hand made clothing of the style once worn in the region, engage in farming, cooking and other activcities all the while making themselves available to relate to visitors about their experiences.
Below are several examples of what’s available there. Truly, this is one of my favorite locations to visit with my camera. I seem to always find some new composition I’d not seen before. That’s what makes this so much fun. For those interested from a photographic standpoint, it’s a good idea to include some nice close-up views during a photo shoot such as this. It adds to the story you’re telling visually.
Henry, Virginia is really just a name and Zip Code, more than it is a small settlement, town or city. In fact, one of its few main remaining buildings is not much more than a great photo opportunity. The main draw for me are the train tracks that pass close by to that building, and the manner in which the vacant tracks pass into the distance, giving some nice perspective views. That was my mission the day I visited recently, to photograph the tracks with some interesting perspective views. As I was standing in the middle of the tracks with my camera in hand, I heard in the distance the soulful sound of an oncoming train, as it passed by distant road crossings I could not see. I was excited because this meant I’d be able to get a close up photo of the Norfolk Southern train engines as they passed by me, standing a safe distance of course. It was a very long coal train and since I was headed in the direction of the side of the tracks I was on, I decided to drive on with some nice photos. Before I left, however, I snapped an image of the town’s historic building. I have a lot of photos of that building which I’ve taken over the years. Henry, though very small, is one of my favorite locations in the Blue Ridge region.
Driving back home from Blacksburg, VA after a visit with our grandson Michael, I decided to drive a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, to see how Spring was “springing up” above 3000 feet elevation. New leaves on trees were much less than I expected, but the grass was very green with all the recent rain we’ve been having in this part of Virginia. My focus was “cattle.” I did not have to look too hard, although the ones I saw were a bit far away. You’ll have to look closely to see the black shapes in the distance. That was OK because I wanted to show the surrounding landscape too. Enjoy what I saw.
Living in the Southeastern reaches of the United States, we are home to what was once expected to be a solution to severe erosion in the early 20th Century, brought on by farming and other man-made activities. A variety of plant, Kudzu, was imported into the US from Eastern Asia to perform that role. What happened eventually is not what was intended. The pervasive plant spreads so fast one can almost see it growing, sometimes a foot a day from “shoots” that spread and capture whatever is around. Below are photo examples of what it has done to some old farm buildings in SW Virginia. Were it summertime, the scenes would look more like a large green blogs. Our grandkids used to refer to the plant as creating “Monster Trees.”