I’m always on the lookout for nice looking buildings of every kind. Well maintained and often restored old homes, churches and government-type facilities seem to always be interesting, especially in small towns in rural America. Here are a few examples of what I saw recently.
Category Archives: Landscape
The weather was cloudy and a bit foggy when we arrived in Bryson City, NC early in the AM to board the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad for a five-hour round trip into the Nantahala National Forest. My wife Barb and I, her brother Jerry and wife Mary Ann, along with 300 other passengers, lined up by the waiting 12-car train idling nearby.
We were greeted by a very friendly and extremely knowledgeable staff which made our trip most enjoyable, learning about the history of the region along our way. Once seated, I immediately noticed the historic atmosphere of the passenger car in which we were seated. It’s too bad we can’t routinely travel in such a manner today.
Views out of the seat windows were spectacular, as was the included lunch meal we had pre-ordered. The next photo is my sister-in-law Mary Ann enjoying the views and the second is my wife Barb enjoying her BBQ lunch while we rolled along.
Having been a passenger on trains several times in my life I knew that if I went to the open area in between cars where they connected, I could lean out the window (safely obviously) to make some interesting photos of the train and the surrounding beauty of the region.
The day after we’d completed our train ride, we drove elsewhere in the region to explore, and on the way back to our motel, we happened upon the train on it’s twice-daily journey, but this time we were across a fast-flowing river we’d been so close to the day prior. We stopped the car, and I got out to capture the following images. The last photo of the caboose at the end of the train is a fitting end to this brief story. It was, in short, a wonderful time together!
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.
My wife and I just returned from a great visit to Western North Carolina’s Smoky Mountain region with its beautiful fall colors. One thing that many “learning” photographers focus on is the weather. They seek sunny, relative warm and totally clear (no clouds) conditions. Their frequent chant before departing on a photo trip is “No rain, no rain.” In fact, what’s most important is their ability to take advantage of what the good Lord puts before them. For example, cloudy and misty conditions mixed with peeps of blue sky and bright sun can create almost perfect photo conditions; that is, if you’ll only recognize that as such. This situation is what greeted us and I was thrilled with what resulted. Colors become more vibrant and contrasty when there is partial sunshine and wet leaves. So, don’t worry about the weather when you get out with your camera. Just take advantage of what you have.
Often I find that two views of the same basic composition help tell a nice story. In this case, the first image below by itself makes for a nice landscape composition with a smooth lake and afternoon reflections on the water. However, when I zoomed in on that image during post processing, I spotted the two-person row boat out looking for relaxation and a fish or two. To make this work, one needs a fairly good lens. I used a 14mm Panasonic Lumix Summilux that produces relatively sharp images when zoomed in (cropped).
Since I was a young boy growing up in a lower middle class neighborhood in Little Rock Arkansas I have been attracted to the “edges of water.” Rivers, lakes, ponds, streams and the ocean. Makes no difference what the circumstances were at the time, if there was any water in nature about, I wanted to be near it. For a few years we lived very close to the Atlantic Ocean in North Carolina. Sitting on the porch of our home there, I gazed daily at the beach front less than 500 yards away. Still, that was often not close enough for me, so I walked and ran along the sandy inter-tidal zone, enjoying myself tremendously. Why? Because I was at the water’s edge. After we moved much farther inland to SW Virginia, I was fortunate to once again have ample opportunities to seek out and find beautiful shorelines such as the one pictured above. Thus, when I go out with my camera I will find myself being drawn to sights like the ones below. At the waters edge.
Age and accompanying health issues have given me a “new normal” when it comes to going into “the woods” A few years ago it was normal for me to pick a general destination, put on my sturdy hiking boots, load a back pack including at least one camera, and then hike long, winding trails in the Blue Ridge Mountain area of SW Virginia. Circumstances have changed for me today but my desire to get into that environment has not diminished at all. Now I typically drive to various locations near our home, park, and then walk shorter distances with my camera in hand to find photo compositions as they are placed before me by the good Lord — who always makes sure I have opportunities that He leaves up to me to take advantage of, which I always do. Some digital images I capture never get past the screen of my laptop during post processing. Others, like the one above and below, wind up here on my photo blog for you to enjoy. Nature’s beauty awaits if you will just get out and experience it.
It was a beautiful sunny day this Saturday past when I went to Fairy Stone State Park near our home in SW Virginia. It’s a very popular place because of its beautiful lake and surrounding hiking trails. Only non-motor powered water craft such as canoes and kayaks are allowed on the fishing and recreational lake, so it’s usually a relatively quiet location. That is when the swimming area is closed for the season as it was the day I was there. In the summer when it’s fully opened, the noise of joyful kids and others swimming and running about the sandy, man-made beach overwhelms your senses.
As I approached the long boat dock with canoes lined up, I glanced out on the lake to see how many were out there exploring with happy paddlers on board. But, looking about I saw no one on the water; just these canoes lined up.
But when I looked behind on the dock area I saw definite evidence that there were indeed canoeists out there, shoeless and probably a bit wet.
Looking at the lake in front of me again, I saw no canoes on the water. But, that did not mean that they were not out there somewhere, probably in some remote cove looking for whatever nature had to offer them this day. I’ve paddled just about every foot of Fairy Stone Lake during the time we’ve lived here. It’s a wonderful place and the peace in spirit that results from just being there is something I will forever cherish.
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.