Sign from the Past

There is nothing striking, photographically, about this shot I took recently in Martinsville, VA. However, given I often select many of my images as if I were preparing some sort of photographic essay, I tend to search for shots like this one…to tell a story without too many words. When I wander around city business centers in locations I visit, I like to look for “signs” of the past. Back in the early to mid 20th Century, it was very common for businesses to paint advertisements on the sides of city buildings…and on farm structures along highways. SEEDS seemed to be a popular item so advertised. These sights are fading sadly today, along with the vibrancy of many small town America central business districts. Nikon D300 processed in Lightroom 3.

Martinsville Hotel…it once was

Martinsville and Henry County (and much of “Southside” Virginia) was once THE “economic engine” for the Commonwealth. Textiles, furniture, tobacco and more. Nearby towns with familiar names such as Fieldale, Stanleytown, and Bassett are/were home for factories that produce/produced some of the finest goods in America. Hooker, American of Martinsville, Tultex, Dupont Chemical and other large manufacturers also called/call this area “home”…some still do, but they are far fewer compared to the past. There is no question this area of Virginia has fallen on sad economic times over the past two decades. Some around here sit and wring their hands and complain. Others, more optimistic, look for new developmental opportunities…and there have been many recent successes in that regard. As for me, I like to focus on the history of this area, using my camera, and here’s one example. This hotel is not the same as it once was, but as you stand looking at it, it’s not hard to visualize folks, wearing business suits, hats and ties busily walking in and out the door of a much more vibrant structure…in a much more vibrant city. The City of Martinsville is probably not going to return to what it once was…but it seems to be well on its way toward a very promising future…all built on a wonderful past. Nikon D300, processed in Lightroom 3.

RR Crossing, look out for cars…

Can you spell that (referring to my post title) without any “r’s”? I drove by this scene the other day, and made a mental note to come back on my way home to get a shot of it. I just liked all the signs grouped together. Panasonic Lumix LX3, processed in Lightroom 3.

Virginia and the Civil War

I’m not totally sure, but I believe there are more Civil War memorials, battlefields and other historical attractions in the Commonwealth of Virginia than anywhere else in the United States. Every time I visit the old Court House in Martinsville near where we live, I have to admire the large Confederate Memorial pillar on the front lawn, with the soldier standing watch. In this case, he’s watching some pretty nice puffy clouds, which added a lot to my photo…in my opinion that is. Nikon D300 processed in Lightroom 3.

Air Conditioning

A window fan like this was once called “air conditioning” for many apartments and large buildings. In a house I once lived in we called it a “whole house fan”. Whatever, it seemed to work pretty good, albeit we had to live with the humidity. I slowed the speed in my camera so as to be able to blur the fan’s motion. Taken in Martinsville, VA. Nikon D300, processed in Lightroom 3.

New Orleans?

Be nice if I could say I took this last weekend while visiting the city of New Orleans. Sure looks like it as far as the architectural style is concerned. But, fact is, I took it in Martinsville, VA. At least the humidity in Virginia was no doubt much lower than it would have been in Louisiana, so “pretending” I was in NOLA is the way to go. Nikon D300, processed in Lightroom 3.

Corner Effects

The contrast in textures and colors at the top corner of a brick building in Martinsville, VA were too much for me to pass up. Lesson learned is to always look around while shooting scenes, especially UP. Nikon D300, processed in Lightroom 3.


This is one of the guys who have been eating our cherry tomatoes. Last evening I caught him “at work”. No biggie, we have tons of them ripe now…way more than we can eat. Nikon D300, processed in Lightroom 3.

Weight Gain?

I need to take some pounds off, eh? Actually, this is my reflection in a curved plate glass window across the street from where I’m standing, in uptown Martinsville, VA. Was on a walk-a-bout with my new camera bag mentioned in the prior post. Update from that brief review is that carrying it across my body messenger bag style was not as comfortable as it was just hanging off my shoulder as shown here. I got some nice photos from my afternoon in the city which I’ll be posting in the coming days. Nikon D300, processed in Lightroom 3.

Think Tank Retrospective 30 Bag

Those who are familiar with my personal buying habits understand I have a bad case of “camera bag-itis” that causes me to constantly survey the market hoping one day to find that elusive “perfect” bag, for me that is. I have several nice camera bags sitting around waiting to be used, but I never seem to be able to stay with any certain one for any length of time. Backpack bags are good to go when traveling via air. Waist belt modular systems are great for when I’m on a journalistic type photo shoot. But, I’ve never tried shoulder/messenger bags…until now.

I just received a new model from Think Tank…their largest size version in the Retrospective series. The one I got is made of heavy canvas material, in what they call “pinestone” color, versus the traditional black. My wife says it does not look like a camera bag, and that’s good. Empty, it’s lighter than you’d think, and it’s very soft and conforms nicely to your body when worn fully loaded messenger style over the shoulder. Like all Think Tank products (I own several) it’s really well made, with much attention to detail and photographic purpose. Like having a way to “silence” the velcro closure patches on the main compartment cover flap, when you open it in a place where you need to be less intrusive. It’s also very roomy inside with lots of included dividers. I easily fit my Nikon D300 with battery grip in the center compartment with 70-300mm lens attached, and with my 18-200mm lens and 50mm lens on one side adjacent to the camera, and with my 14-24mm wide angle lens on the other, next to my SB600 flash. There are two external LARGE pockets on the front of the bag that remain basically empty for me now, but I like that because that gives me a place to stuff things while walking around, and I always seem to have “things” to stuff. The shoulder strap is very wide as you can see in the photo, plus has a nice non-slip section applied to the shoulder pad. My other camera bags when loaded with the same gear seem, well, heavier than they do in this new bag. Maybe it’s the way the bag hangs naturally over my shoulder, conforming to my butt and hips as I walk around. What’s really cool about this bag for me is the manner in which I can quickly get in and out of the bag while it’s being worn. There are no zippers to open to get into the main compartment, all being secured by the large cover flap with velcro closures. Think Tank included a rain cover too, plus a zippered full length separate compartment inside for pens, small flashlight, batteries, cables, notebooks, etc.

So, maybe this will be “my normal daily use bag” for a long time. Still, I may not yet be totally cured of my bag-itis, but it’s far less serious today than it was last month. I highly recommend this bag. Check out Think Tank for detailed specifications. I got mine at Adorama Camera, delivered within three business days.