Shooting Ducks

Yesterday as local temperatures soared into the mid 60s, I went to a lake with nearby nature preserve situated in the midst of Greensboro, NC…with about a thousand others looking for the same relief from cabin fever. My targets were the ducks which have wintered over…not to harm them in any way as my post title may indicate, but to see what sort of pictures I might make. Took many…most not good. These three were the best of the lot, and I’m not that satisfied with them either. Why? Because I was shooting at too low a speed, thus not being able to freeze the action when I wanted to, like the middle one above. Still, I felt the blur conveyed motion, so decided to keep it. I gave myself a “C’ for the day. I plan to return soon to improve my work. Like  a golf swing, there are many things going on in your head when you swing the club…no different with a camera as you are planning your shot. Having lots of people taking pictures from the same vantage I was did not help my concentration…I wanted to get my shot  off and leave for places less crowded. Anyway, it was a very pleasant day.

Spider and the Fly

 

A few posts back I had a photo of Stoneleigh Mansion in Bassett, Virginia…originally built in 1929 and now vacant …as it has been for years. Ghostly place to say the least. In that regard, this is what a visitor is greeted with at the front door. This decorative wire artwork is acting like a screen door…without the screen. The massive wooden door itself is pretty impressive, but when you add the “spider and the fly” it’s a unique welcome.

Smith River

 

There are trout waiting here, for some wintertime fisherman…which I am not. This photo was taken just below the Philpott Lake Dam, and when the Army Corps of Engineers releases water from time to time, where I was standing would be under water. This stretch of the river is a favorite place of mine to wander, and I never have trouble finding something interesting to photograph.

Simple Composition

What made this photo much more interesting to me when I saw it, inside the front foyer of the old Henry County Courthouse, was the way the light came through a patterned window, and reflected its shadow on the smooth wall, with wooden staircase in the foreground. I knew the minute I walked in the building that I needed to capture this scene quick, before the window pattern shadow went away…and sure enough…it did…but not until I got it. This is a simple photo, but I really like it for that reason. 50mm f1.4 lens, no flash, hand held.

Found this “photo prize”

 

Being the curious sort, and while driving around searching for photo opportunities near Bassett, Virginia, I spotted a sign that read “Stoneleigh”. What’s that, I wondered. Driving down a long narrow road, I saw on a hill a large mansion, which from my position looked occupied, and certainly no place for a stranger like me. But the closer I got, I saw no sign of anyone living there; so I said, what the heck, and drove up to a large, open paved area in front, where my jaw dropped open. A hour later, I departed, with lots of neat photos of this architecturally unique mansion, sitting on 52 acres of land, originally built in 1929 by the man who started Stanley Furniture Company. Long story why, but it was recently auctioned off for about $1.5 million. Not much money considering its size and history. Messing around in Photoshop, I came up with this image which I think conveys the “feeling” I had when first looking at it. And yes, I’ll be posting some close up images from Stoneleigh later on. Stay tuned.

 

Courthouse with history

 

The original Henry County Virginia courthouse was constructed in 1824, and remained the seat of county government until the mid-1990s when a more modern and larger facility was constructed. Today, the old courthouse has been completely renovated and transformed partially into a “heritage center and museum.” I visited there last week and was impressed with what was on display. I learned a lot about local history I did not know before.