Everyone probably has a favorite place to visit. One of my top local places is a scenic valley astride Virginia Route 8 headed northwest toward Floyd, Virginia in the Blue Ridge Mountains. As you drive along the highway and crest a steep hill, a panoramic view presents itself looking west towards high ridges of the mountains, with a nice farmstead sitting in the midst of a beautiful (and productive in season) apple and peach orchard. I hardly go that way in winter due to the cold weather, ice and snow but in the Spring, Summer and Fall it’s grand to photograph. This year was the first for me in Spring and the day I was there recently I was treated with the sight of blooming trees, nice sun and clouds, and lots of mountain views. The only downside to this is the fact it’s not a simple matter to pull off the road to safely make photos; having to drive up a steep dirt farm road, park, and then carefully back down onto the main highway, watching for oncoming traffic of course. It’s definitely worth the risk in exchange for some nice photographic memories.
Category Archives: Landscape
I am not what one might refer to as a “horse person” but I do enjoy making photographs of them when I find them, and can get near enough to make the images interesting. There is a large horse farm near Winston-Salem, NC which I often pass by and from time to time I’ll stop while driving past to see if there are any nice photo opportunities. I especially like the first image because it represents to me a peaceful setting with the grazing horses — a scene which one might use as the basis for a painting. I wanted to add a couple of close-ups as well so as to better tell my photo story.
I went out on a brief photo trip locally to specifically find and photograph Bradford Pear Trees, which in this area of the Piedmont Region of Virginia and North Carolina are mostly in full bloom. That period sadly is all too brief it seems to me. Many people do not like the smell of the blossoms, but to me that pungent odor signals it’s time to get the camera out. In short, I was lucky because I was able to find many trees to photograph and some were in very nice surroundings which made the images more interesting. I hope you enjoy seeing these beautiful flowering trees as much as I did in finding them.
A brief walk outside the back door to our home with my camera in hand, while I was waiting for supper to be ready, resulted in four quick images of what I saw that represented the magic of Spring — the renewal of the earth as it warms up and brings forth young plants and flowers, and a dark blue sky with a rising moon and a soaring Turkey Buzzard overhead. Making photos can definitely cheer one up!
In far eastern Siberia in Russia a natural harbor located off the northern Bering Sea lies the City of Provideniya. During the Soviet Union era, this city and the area across the bay was home to a large military base, accessible only by water and air. The deep water port was established in 1938 and is only 200 air miles from Nome, Alaska. The Soviets were concerned with the possible threat posed to their northern territory by the United States and constructed a large number of block military-style buildings, a landing strip and harbor facilities all with supporting infrastructure to house almost 50,000 people. With the demise of the Soviet Union, the base was essentially abandoned, with now only a few thousand hearty people struggling to make a living in the City of Provideniya. In 2007, my wife and I were very fortunate to visit the city and surrounding area, as part of a two-week cruise of Alaska and the Bering Sea, aboard the 100-passenger cruise ship the Spirit of Oceanus.
As we cruised into bay, we saw the city in the far distance with a Russian maritime tug boat headed in our direction with a pilot on board. As we neared the city, we noted that a large painting of our ship had been located on the side of a building, as welcome to the ONLY visiting annual cruise ship landing there at the time. We were told that the year prior to our visit in July, the bay was ice jammed making entry impossible. These visits ceased a few years after ours, as the cruise line stopped operating due to economic challenges. Thus, we were one of the last to visit this extremely remote location. Most of the remaining buildings were in disrepair and abandoned, especially in the military base portion across the bay from the city.
There were indications in the harbor where we docked signifying the seafaring history of the area, and early one morning we were hailed by a passing Russian boat loaded with fishermen off to destinations unknown. I was interested in several “unique” sights we saw such as the Bus Stop sign along a very rugged, rocky unpaved city road, a “Fine Art Studio” sign on a multistory, freshly painted building used to house residents, with numerous electrical device antennas on the roof. Also interesting was the city cemetery on the outskirts of the residential area. We were told that Stalin had forbidden the use of any sort of religious crosses on grave sites, so what you see here was typical. Many graves had discarded household items around their perimeter. Bed frames for example.
The people we saw and met were exceptionally friendly and we were treated to an hour-long cultural musical and dancing presentation with traditional Russian and native songs. In summary, we saw and photographed sights that only a few outsiders have experienced. We were indeed fortunate. I wonder what the city looks like today seven years after our visit.
I suppose when many people think of Dutch Harbor it’s because of it being famous for being the hub for King Crab fishing, as seen on the popular TV show, “Deadliest Catch.” Actually, it is located on Unalaska/Amaknak Island which are a part of the western portion of the Aleutian Island chain. For us sailing on a small cruise ship in 2007, it was the last place we stopped before heading into the center of the Bering Sea, and northward to Eastern Siberia. The Japanese bombed Dutch Harbor during World War Two and it later became a military base for U.S. forces. Today it has become the number one fishing port in the United States measured in pounds of fish processed and the total dollar value delivered.
Early morning as we approached Dutch Harbor, my spirits sunk because the location was pretty much fogged in, a common occurrence. However, the closer we came to docking, the weather improved considerably, making it possible for me to make a number of interesting photos, some of which are shown below. My favorite series of images relate to the old Russian Orthodox Church with its onion-shaped spires, the oldest such style church in North America. Near the church I wandered along a steep bright green hillside containing many Russian Orthodox grave sites with their unique crosses. The fields were full of various wild flowers, which became subjects for my camera. It was a grand day, and one we will never forget. Oh yes, our incredible “photographic weather” which followed us throughout our two-week exploration cruise was wonderful when we needed it, but as soon as we left Dutch Harbor, the fog rolled back in. The hands of God were on us travelers for sure.
Here’s a nice contrast between two images I made while on a 2007 cruise to Alaska and the Bering Sea. As we cruised along the Aleutian Island chain toward the Bering Sea, we were expecting rough waters based on what we’d seen on TV, and very wet weather. Not so this day! I liked the small duck who floated by our ship, with nice patterns on the smooth water’s surface. Plus, while I never did capture a Humpback Whale fully out of the water, I did get a very nice image of the tail portion of a large one with water splashing down. It takes a lot of practice to time your shot just right. So, when we saw evidence of whales in the area, there were lots of shutter “clicks” being heard by the many digital camera photographers on board.