Boone’s Country Store

My wife Barbara is an avid and skilled “quilter” who has decorated our home (and others) with her beautiful work. She has formed a strong bond with others locally, who share her interest, and I have to say after spending almost 30 years in the Army, with her having to move from place to place an average of every 2-3 years, she deserves having such close friends. Her group travels in our region of Virginia and North Carolina to visit “quilt shows” and to buy what seems to me to be an endless amount of cloth material from which to make their quilts. “Fat Quarters” they call it. I’ll call it “material.” Anyway, one place they frequent from time to time is Boone’s Country Store about an hour’s drive from home. I decided I had to go see this place myself and took my camera along. Besides the large amount of sewing and quilting products in the store, they sold fresh cooked products such as bread and pies. That’s what I was interested in, plus some homemade cinnamon hard candy. Below is what I saw, in part. Note the last image being my contribution to some “country-style” photos I normally make.






In Between

One of my favorite locations to visit nearby with my camera is the old tobacco warehouse district in Danville, Virginia. There is a large project underway to renovate many of the old warehouses and administrative brick buildings into residential property, which is a good thing, but from a historical standpoint, I prefer to capture how it “once was” rather than how it “might be.” I am always on the lookout for interesting views there, and found some nice compositions recently “in between” two structures. I wonder what sort of vehicle, truck or train, once passed over the old timber roadway.



Here are two wider angle images that show the sort of buildings involved. This area was once a thriving business center that served the tobacco industry in the Virginia, North Carolina region.



Soldier’s Final Bivouac

On this 2015 Memorial Day weekend, I decided to drive a short distance yesterday from our home in SW Virginia to visit the National Veterans Cemetery in Danville Virginia. Walking around the grounds I noted the majority of grave-sites were from the Civil War era, but there were still lots of WWII, Korean War and Vietnam War headstones marking the final resting place for those veterans. I was alone there, and I think that made it more special for me, what with the silence and peaceful beauty all around. I was especially fortunate to be able to capture a pretty special view of the high flag pole with Old Glory blowing in the wind above. One day, all of us veterans of military service will join the ranks of those already resting in our final “Bivouac Above.”





To Brighten your Day

I know there are some in the good old USA who are experiencing quite a lot of rain these days just before our Memorial Day weekend … North Texas for example. So, I wanted to publish some bright colored photos of some flowers in our yard, and a single green tree out back on a clear blue sky, to help brighten your day. For those who live in calmer areas, like South Florida for instance, I submit some “photo colors” to add to what you already see daily. Point is, be thankful for what you have, regardless of the details.





Along the Smith River


The Smith River in SW Virginia is not a large body of water, but historically it’s persistent, and today is a favored spot for fresh water trout fishing, thanks to the efforts of environmental groups to keep it clean and healthy, and also due to the efforts of governmental agencies such as the Army Corps of Engineers who keep river levels reasonable, thanks to frequent water release from a large dam. When I walk along the river on a hot, humid day, the water temperatures being low, keep me cool, and the refreshing smells around me remind me of just how wonderful nature is. Appreciate what we have, that’s my motto. I even spotted Mr. Groundhog watching me as I passed by.





Folk History of the Blue Ridge


Ferrum College created the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum in the early 1970s to document, interpret, and present the folk heritage of the Blue Ridge region. Since that time, the Institute has grown steadily, expanding its work throughout Virginia and Appalachia while maintaining an emphasis upon the western portion of the state. The Institute is located near Rocky Mount, Virginia. Not only are the exhibits educational, but they provide a great place for photographers. Buildings on the grounds have all been brought to the location and assembled or renovated using vintage techniques and materials. On certain weekends during the year, volunteers wearing hand made clothing of the style once worn in the region, engage in farming, cooking and other activcities all the while making themselves available to relate to visitors about their experiences.


Below are several examples of what’s available there. Truly, this is one of my favorite locations to visit with my camera. I seem to always find some new composition I’d not seen before. That’s what makes this so much fun. For those interested from a photographic standpoint, it’s a good idea to include some nice close-up views during a photo shoot such as this. It adds to the story you’re telling visually.










A Perfect Painting

This landscape photo I made recently would make a beautiful oil painting, by someone who has those skills. Not me, that’s for sure. That’s why I use a camera. I was lucky to catch the sun at a perfect angle lighting up this nice farmstead in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.


A Train in Henry, Virginia

Henry, Virginia is really just a name and Zip Code, more than it is a small settlement, town or city. In fact, one of its few main remaining buildings is not much more than a great photo opportunity. The main draw for me are the train tracks that pass close by to that building, and the manner in which the vacant tracks pass into the distance, giving some nice perspective views. That was my mission the day I visited recently, to photograph the tracks with some interesting perspective views. As I was standing in the middle of the tracks with my camera in hand, I heard in the distance the soulful sound of an oncoming train, as it passed by distant road crossings I could not see. I was excited because this meant I’d be able to get a close up photo of the Norfolk Southern train engines as they passed by me, standing a safe distance of course. It was a very long coal train and since I was headed in the direction of the side of the tracks I was on, I decided to drive on with some nice photos. Before I left, however, I snapped an image of the town’s historic building. I have a lot of photos of that building which I’ve taken over the years. Henry, though very small, is one of my favorite locations in the Blue Ridge region.




Some Color While Walking

It’s the time of year here in SW Virginia, when I can usually find a lot of nice colors while walking my standard route in our neighborhood. Too soon, these colors will go away for another year. I’m so thankful to be able to find such beauty in nature. You can too if you’ll just look.