This stately building of which I have several close-up compositions, is an example of how decades ago, designers and builders used lots of intricate brick work (especially on columns) and scroll-work at the top, to make their masterpiece look timeless. This building is the old Rockingham County North Carolina County Court House. It’s now a historical center, with a much more modern, but unfortunately less majestic replacement being opened in 2011.
There were times when I was hiking miles and miles of Blue Ridge Mountain trails when, after carefully watching my step along rocky outcrops, with tree roots waiting to grab my foot to put me down, when I’d look up and say to myself, “Wow, that’s a surprise!” Today, I no long hike those trails as age and health issues have made me mostly use my car more than my feet to get me places, but I still find surprises along my way. The above photo is one such find. Had leaves been on the trees, I’d probably not have seen this old cabin in the woods as I drove slowly past, on a very steep and winding downhill narrow road in the Blue Ridge Mountains. But I did see it. Problem was, I was moving about 15 MPH on a road where stopping was not a very safe option, given the possibility of following traffic. However, I tend to drive “out the back window” as I learned while driving the fast Autobahns in Germany, always shifting my view from front to back in the mirror to see if any cars were closing in. Thus, I was confident there was nothing behind me, so I stopped, backed up, opened the driver’s side window and made this photo. As soon as I did, I noted another car winding a curve behind me headed my way. I had ample time to start moving along safely and smiled at what I’d done. Sometimes, I guess you have to take a risk to find a surprise. If you never look, you’ll never find.
There’s a special (for me) location along rural Route 8 in SW Virginia that I often drive by on my way into the mountains, that always makes me want to stop. The problem usually is that the farm house across the highway is apparently home today to a truck driver, because he usually parks his rig in front of the main object of my photo interest: I.M Akers General Merchandise Store. A relic from the Blue Ridge past. From the covered area in front of the store where hand cranked gasoline pumps perhaps stood, to the public drinking fountain by the main entrance, and lastly to the old homestead “out back” where I assume Mr. Akers and family once lived, working daily to manage and run the store; the only such place around for miles as far as I could tell, it’s all about history, and I like that a lot. Here’s a collection of photos I made recently when the semi-truck was NOT parked out front, thus affording me a great photo opportunity. Thank you Truck Driver whomever you are!
As I proceeded on a recent photo trip in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, about 40-50 miles from home, I decided to focus photographically on “lone trees” that were located in scenic positions. It was a windy and cold day, but the sky was clear and blue. In all, a very nice time. Lone trees follow.