Collection of Stuff

I saw this collection of “stuff” in an antique store and thought it would make a colorful photo…which it did. I wondered who made the helicopter out of the Coke can…and why. Creative to say the least.

A Festival Singer

It’s at this time of year when we begin what I’ll call “festival time” in the U.S. as communities all over celebrate just about whatever it is they want to celebrate…you name it. Some are small with attendees in the hundreds while others are large with many thousand coming from near and far to enjoy fellowship with others, homemade local foods, kid rides and games, arts and crafts, and usually some sort of music. Where we live in SW Virginia, the latter is of a “bluegrass” variety and this photo shows one such singer who was headlined at the Town of Fieldale Virginia’s 2012 Heritage Festival I attended a week ago. Around 2000 attended on Saturday alone and for here that was a pretty good crowd.

It’s a different day to me now…

Memorial Day…it’s a “different” day to me now in some ways. I must confess when I was in Army uniform for so many years I was not always as aware as one might expect a military man to be, pertaining to the REAL meaning of Memorial Day. Sure, like my neighbors at Army installation family housing areas worldwide we dutifully hung American flags on our homes in recognition of the day, but I am somewhat sad to admit all these years later that many of us then were a bit more focused on holiday neighborhood picnics, golf outings, and “fun” activities outside so long as the weather cooperated. In other words, we did not celebrate and honor as much as we should have, all the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform throughout history…on MEMORIAL Day. Today, it’s different…for me at least.

Maybe it’s because I am older and wiser now. Maybe it’s because I no longer look to holidays such as Memorial Day as being mostly “time off” from my professional duties. Now, being mostly retired, all days are “Saturday” and I can do pretty much do what I want to do, when I want to do it…thanks to the good Lord. More importantly, when I fly our U.S. flag in our back yard on its 25 foot high aluminum pole, I think about what the flag means much more than I once did. When I read news about those deployed in combat I think much more about what they are doing, and how it all affects their family back home. And lastly, when I see a soldier in uniform I say “Thanks for your service” if the opportunity presents. This is a part of the real meaning of Memorial Day and we all ought to celebrate it that way.

Thus, Memorial Day means a lot more “out of uniform” to me today than it once did when I was “in uniform.” I suspect I am not in the minority in this regard.

A Dramatic Train Scene

What can I say other than what’s in the title…I took a rather drab image of a train switch engine in the Roanoke Yards in the center of the city, and made it look more dramatic. I was standing in a glass covered walkway over the tracks, so had to find some way to get rid of lots of window glass glare coming from inside the walkway…the dramatic touch made that happen for me.

A Missed Opportunity…A Lesson Learned

I was walking downtown Roanoke recently and on a side street I spotted this interesting store-front and thought “photo op.” Out of the corner of my eye to the right I spot a bearded guy dressed VERY casually about to pass through the scene I was composing. I made a decision to wait until he’d passed from view, because my rationale at the time was that he’d mess up the composition by being a distraction. How wrong I was. Each time I now look at this photo I think how much more interesting it would have been had I captured this interesting person passing in front of this equally interesting store-front. I can see him being on the left side of the image, about to walk out of the composition; but alas, that’s not to be. A missed opportunity but most definitely a lesson learned.

Patterns Inside…Patterns Outside

When composing a scene in my camera I always look for interesting “patterns.” When I capture some interesting “colors” as well it’s a plus. Here are two examples…the first made inside, the second outside…on a building wall. Why the bike wheels were put on this wall I haven’t a clue. Art I guess.

Waiting for a Ride

There is a category of photography titled by those who practice it…as “street photography.” Basically it involves using your camera to capture digitally or on film what you see as you walk about streets…usually in a big city somewhere…and usually involving people in some way. This type of photography is supposed to be spontaneous in terms of the photographer making quick judgements as to what might be interesting to a viewer. However, it’s also a bit intrusive and some (me) are not always comfortable when people are involved in the scene; but, there are times when I do not have a problem with that, such as in the first image posted here. The lady on the bench was simply waiting for her bus to arrive and that scene told a brief story to me. Questions arose in my mind such as “who was she, where was she going, and why was she wearing the woolen hat when it was 75 degrees outside?”

The second image stands alone and tells a story (waiting for a ride) without people being involved…and that’s what I tend to look for. So, maybe I’m not a “real” street photographer.”

The Roanoke Hotel in the Blue Ridge Mountains

This is not the first time I have posted images I made outside and inside the beautiful Hotel Roanoke, which is located directly across the street from the old Roanoke Norfolk & Western Train Station. Considering that in earlier times hundreds of train passengers arrived from places near and far, having this large, warm and inviting hotel within walking distance was most welcome. Today, the hotel is mainly home to the popular Roanoke Conference Center, and many come for a day while others come for several. You can see the hotel from a long ways off as you drive along the main highway through the city…and its unique design fits well into the Blue Ridge Mountain region. The hotel has a partnership with Virginia Tech and while I have not been there on a day when the football Hokies are playing in nearby Blacksburg, I bet the place is pretty lively before, during and after the game. Here are three images I made there recently, and each is the sort you will not see on a typical tourist postcard.

The stucco design of the hotel is beautiful.

As you come near the main entryway, there are these inviting rocking chairs sitting in a row.

And lastly, this is the scene that you will see as soon as you walk inside. That’s the registration desk at the right rear. I really liked the paintings along the ceiling.


I set out on a photo walk last week in downtown Roanoke, Virginia with no specific plan in mind, but as I walked the city streets I began to see “tables” and each had it’s own specific character. Here are three examples of those I saw…the best of the lot.

Lounge area in the Hotel Roanoke.

Metal tables in the food court inside the City Market building.

Sidewalk cafe ready for customers.