At this time of year I am reminded of my childhood whenever I smell the sweet aroma of flowering Honeysuckle vines. We kids used to stand beside these vines for a long time while we pulled out the center stem to suck off the wonderful taste of the “honey” inside. We could totally strip a large patch of vines in less than an hour. If you have never done this yourself it’s hard to explain the joy we felt. Unfortunately, in the process of working our way through the tangled vines to get at the best flowers, we sometimes exposed ourselves to poison ivy. But, that’s another story.
There is a house near our home which I pass by during my exercise walks, outside of which the owner has placed several old “treasures” on display for people like me to see…and unknown to them in my case to photograph. The old child’s snow sled, an acorn-shaped bird house, and a wooden bench with nearby table comprise the display. It sits in front of a green-mold colored wooden fence, which could use a good power wash. But, if that were done it would ruin the mood set by the display…one which signifies “old” but still valued items the owner has an attachment toward…for why else would they be set outside for all to see. This is not at all unusual in small-town neighborhoods across America. Unfortunately, some home owners have much “looser” rules pertaining to what sorts of treasures are set outside their home for display…old furniture, appliances, cars, etc. Items most of use would call junk. But in the example shown here…all is well.
Few places are as scenic at this time of year than the Blue Ridge Mountain region of Virginia and North Carolina. Even in the foothills of the high elevation ridge-lines and valleys of the Blue Ridge is this true. An example is this photo I made recently. It’s simple in composition and to me the thing I like best besides the bright green vegetation and the hazy blue sky is the lone tree sitting at dead center. I know not why that single tree remains in an area that probably once was home to many others, but I’m glad it’s still there because it certainly made for a more beautiful photograph. Sometimes “simple” is best in photography.
This is a much-photographed (now vacant) large home in Martinsville, Virginia. I have made many photos from various angles and never tire of doing so. Here are my latest close-up examples of the white brick patterns. The home is often referred to as the “wedding cake” home given the layers at the top.
When Mister O’Dell opened up his “trading post” I suspect he did so using an old building that once had been a service (gas) station, given it’s design and location along a small highway in SW Virginia. I see that a lot around here…old gas stations having been converted to some other use…mostly short-lived…as is the case with O’Dells. I wondered exactly what it was that he “traded” and given what I saw laying about he got the worst of the deals he made. Another thing that caught my eye was the “friendly, welcoming” appearance of the place…noting the number of signs I saw. No matter, it made for a nice stop on one of my photo trips.
As I travel around seeking to find photo-worthy (now that’s an interesting word, eh?) opportunities for my camera lens, I will start making photos in one location, only to find something different nearby which I had not earlier seen. That’s the case here with these two images. I had targeted an old house which had an interesting architectural style, when I noticed that behind the home there was an old storage shed that was, well, full of clutter. In fact, the shed was literally falling down…thus creating more clutter. People were still living in the home and I did not know if they were there as I was wandering around their property. Thankfully, they were not. There was such a contrast between the relatively nice looking home and the items in the back yard, that I wondered why they kept it that way. Maybe they figured no one would see the clutter…but I did, and I think it made for some interesting photography.
I believe it’s important in photography to seek to capture different contrasts in many of your images. Here are two examples. First, the rusty fire extinguisher apparatus with contrasting green vines growing around, and the second with cut logs contrasted behind yellow and green vegetation. Your eye has to see this first, and that’s the key to success…if such is your objective.
Positioning yourself with camera in hand, such that objects are reflected off water surfaces makes for an interesting photograph…even when simple subjects are concerned. These two photos were made along a canal path near an old cotton mill in North Carolina. The canal once brought water for use in the factory. Today, it serves as the central aspect along a nice walking path. I like the one with the bridge in the background best.
I found an old building that had once been a gas station and is now vacant. However, there is still evidence that it was operating not too long ago…whether at a profit or not I do not know. The building itself was nothing special in terms of photographic impact, but there were a couple of items still hanging on the brick wall that caught my eye. Two of them are documented here. I take no responsibility for advertising smoking…I just liked the guy’s rugged face on the faded sign.
The best time to make images of plants and flowers is right after it’s been raining, and the sun pops out from behind dark clouds. The sunlight and drops of water on leaves and flower petals makes for a special photo. In this case I captured two scenes, the first of our now-blooming Rhododendron bush next to the house, and the second of a small Lilly of the Valley plant which is just starting to spread. Next time it rains give this technique a shot…it may be worth your while.