Visiting the Booker T. Washington National Monument in Southwest Virginia is always a great photo opportunity, except on those days when it seems like every elementary school kid within a 50-mile radius is there on a field trip. It was pretty much me alone the day I was there recently, and that’s what I like 🙂 One feels transported back in time while there.
As the many shades of green in spring take over from the yellows and browns of winter, many places such as the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia are waiting for those with cameras and those without, to appreciate better the beauty that’s all around us. Here are two examples of what saw recently in that regard.
There are three “special” flowers growing in our yard, at least they are special to me. The first is Bleeding Heart. It’s color and shape are wonderful, but the blooms don’t past long. The plant is very hardy, and the extreme winter weather we had this year did not bother the dormant plant. The second, and also hardy special flower, is the small, bell-shaped Lily of the Valley. These grow in bunches and ours were transplanted from the front to the back yard last fall. Luckily, they survived the move very well. Lastly, it’s Azalea time and the bumblebees are here having a ball with the flowers. Blooms come and go, so I keep my camera handy.
Making photos is not always about sunsets and landscapes. How about just “letters” of the alphabet? Examples below. Use your imagination and creative eye when you click the shutter. By the way, the term “Crooked Road” on the first image (a Tee-shirt) relates to a Blue Ridge road that goes through the center of the Bluegrass music heritage area of the region. Lots of signs, tee-shirts, hats and such seen all about the area.
One of my favorite places to visit, in one of my favorite small towns in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Best time to go there is on a Saturday in the Spring, Fall or Summer, albeit there are going to be lots of visitors when local musicians are playing folk and Blue Grass music. The ice cream is really good, as is the candy and other goodies sold in the store.
Sometimes what you may be looking for may ultimately not be that far away. Like this photo for example. I had pulled my car off the road to make some photos recently and noted that I’d have to walk a bit to get to my destination, which was not a problem. But as I stepped out of the vehicle and looked down, this single, simple and beautiful white wild flower was right at my feet. I figured I’d not do much better than that image at that location so decided eventually to move on. Was it luck I spotted that flower? Maybe, however I like to think I was meant to find it. I recall a time several years ago when I went back to the small Missouri town where my grandparents are buried, and decided to visit their graves to pay my respects. I had no idea where their graves were located in the mid-size cemetery but figured I’d just walk around until I found their names on the grave stones. After an hour or so walking past grave after grave, I had not been successful in my search. I decided to walk back to my truck which I had originally parked just off the narrow road through the cemetery, get a bottle of water and then resume my search. I opened the door to my truck, got a bottle of water, closed the door and then turned around to walk back up the road. As I looked down adjacent to my truck, I spotted less than ten feet away the graves of both my grandparents. What made me stop my truck there to begin my search? Like with the flower I found recently on a photo road trip, I think I was destined to park there. God moves in mysterious ways some say, I for one!
Everyone probably has a favorite place to visit. One of my top local places is a scenic valley astride Virginia Route 8 headed northwest toward Floyd, Virginia in the Blue Ridge Mountains. As you drive along the highway and crest a steep hill, a panoramic view presents itself looking west towards high ridges of the mountains, with a nice farmstead sitting in the midst of a beautiful (and productive in season) apple and peach orchard. I hardly go that way in winter due to the cold weather, ice and snow but in the Spring, Summer and Fall it’s grand to photograph. This year was the first for me in Spring and the day I was there recently I was treated with the sight of blooming trees, nice sun and clouds, and lots of mountain views. The only downside to this is the fact it’s not a simple matter to pull off the road to safely make photos; having to drive up a steep dirt farm road, park, and then carefully back down onto the main highway, watching for oncoming traffic of course. It’s definitely worth the risk in exchange for some nice photographic memories.
As we near the Easter holiday, I wanted to post these photos of an old church I found yesterday in Floyd, Virginia, in the midst of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s adjacent to the main highway into this small, scenic and historic town, and I have passed it many times before now without noticing. This time I saw it on the way into town, and on the way back out I pulled off the road and made my photos. The lesson learned for me is that no matter how many times you think you are paying attention to what’s around you, the more you are often surprised by what you fail to see. From the condition of the church, it’s obvious to me that it’s been unused for many years, but when it was a regular place of worship for many local residents I am sure it was a much more vibrant building.