I took a new wide-angle camera lens with me to the central business district in Greensboro, NC to focus on several subjects, one being the high rise buildings located there. Compared to other mid-size cities, Greensboro may not have as many tall buildings, but one thing it does have is a fun city center with lots of friendly places to eat and drink, and to share with others a nice weekend day with close-by parking and acceptable crowds. In short, I like it! Share with me some of what I saw the day I visited over the July 4th weekend.
I am very fortunate to live as close as I do to the Blue Ridge Mountain chain of peaks and valleys. It’s a scenic and historic area, full of sights that make one smile. I visit there frequently, always with my camera, and when I depart for lower elevations at home I say a word of thanks for what I have seen and experienced that day. Enjoy these scenes.
This spring we’ve had lots of rain in SW Virginia and that made the vegetation green and lush. Now that July has arrived it’s much hotter and dryer, so the green colors may turn to yellow and brown. I hope not. My camera lens loves “green.” I made these images while walking around our neighborhood. The Magnolia blossoms are about gone for the year, and I can’t stop making photos thereof. I love the “color softness” of those flowers!
I discovered this nice view while driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway, about 15 miles south of Roanoke. What made me look was the winding dirt road that led to a small house, sitting in a location that to me looked like a place I could quickly grow to love, were I to live there. It was a “path” that led my eye to a destination which I could see—the house. Other paths in life may not be so obvious, such as in the photo below.
Here, the hiking path leads into a deeply wooded area which could contain challenges and obstacles unseen. Still, we usually discount the unseen and enter down paths such as this because we have faith that we’ll be safe regardless. I like this photo composition because of what we can’t see in it. We can imagine, and that’s one thing about photography that means a lot to me.
I have been to Smart Look Recreational Area along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia many times (Milepost 154, elevation 2500 feet) and this view is one which I always am drawn to. I wanted to position myself far enough away from the historic log cabin, using a wide angle lens on my camera, so that the fence would bring the viewers eye into the composition with the mountain skyline in the background. I think the scene would make a nice painting.
I’m always looking for scenes with “leading lines” to point to the prime focus in an image, in this case the nice tree. The fence leads your eye to the tree, and when it’s all backed up by “puffy” clouds, the picture becomes even better.
And lastly, when using a wide angle camera lens, I like to get down close to something in the foreground that catches the eye, and then allows one to look further into the image. In this case the large stone which someone placed on the fence railings served my purpose. Why the stone was put there in the first place is a mystery to me and that makes it all the more interesting. So, in summery, beauty in nature is where you find it, if you’ll just look.
Living here, I visit Uptown Martinsville frequently looking for photo opportunities. I decided to focus on compositions I felt would look good in black and white. Here are several examples. Note: Most digital cameras today allow one to set the camera in “black and white mode.” I don’t do that, preferring instead to download the image first to my computer, and then use processing software (Adobe Lightroom) to convert the color image to black and white non-destructivly, so that I can keep the color version original in tact. Of course, you need post processing software, but Lightroom is just one of many, some very low cost. It’s all about being creative.
The Dan River is an integral part of history in the Piedmont Region of North Carolina and Southern Virginia. During the 19th century, the Dan was essential in the development of cities and towns as “bateau” crews and small stream launches used it for commercial river transportation. The Dan is the only place left in North Carolina where remnants of the bateau systems can still be seen today. This wall mural located on one side of the Historical Society Building in the “Leaksville” portion of Eden, North Carolina, represents the legacy of those who once traveled up and down the Dan River.
Mabry Mill is a watermill located on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd County, Virginia. It is a tourist attraction mainly for the picturesque views of the mill itself. A short trail around the mill connects historical exhibits about life in rural Virginia. The mill was built in 1910 and over the years its condition deteriorated significantly. It was restored during the early 1940s when the parkway itself was relatively new. Since then it’s been rebuilt several times, including the pond adjacent to the structure. Today, the mill is one of the most photographed and painted attractions along the 469-mile route of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Living (fortunately) less than an hour’s drive away, I can visit the mill when the mood strikes — summer, fall, winter and spring.
I’ve pretty much photographed the mill from all angles, close up and far away. I decided recently to try my hand with a new wide angle camera lens at the mill, looking for a “new” composition I’d not tried before. The first image above is what I call a “standard tourist composition.” Compare that with my second and third images below which (to me) seem much more interesting, photographically and artistically. As I’ve written before, try to be different and look for photo compositions most people overlook.