Favorites Change

I travel much the same routes during my photo trips through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina. On my way I pass views I’ve photographed before, usually during different seasons of the year. For the first time I drove by one of my favorite “barn scenes” when beautiful orange Lilies were in bloom. Now, I have that composition in my archives of photos. And, I’d like to share with you.




It is HOT but colorful

Here in SW Virginia, it has been above ninety degrees each day for the past two weeks. However, the Robins sitting in the shade of trees don’t seem to mind, nor do the beautiful flowers in our yard, made colorful by late afternoon thunderstorms.




First Day of Summer

On behalf of this first day of Summer of 2015 (although the above 90 temperatures we’ve been having make that day seem very late in coming) I’d like to post two images of a summertime nature. Stay cool wherever you are.



Keeping it Simple


Cameras today are very impressive, each in their own way; all having tremendous capabilities from traditional stand alone models, to those on mobile phone devices. Obviously, without the camera, nothing one “sees” can be recorded. There is much to be learned about this “seeing” business. The image above is about as simple a image one might find. It’s colorful, it’s interesting in a way, it’s historical, and above all it’s simple. The key point is, however, I saw it and I bet few others did from this same perspective. It’s nice to be able to recognize a nice photo composition such as this while you’re wandering around with camera in hand.

Digital images are easy to record on large capacity memory cards today, being very reasonable in cost. It’s not at all like the film days when we were limited to a small number of shots. Back then we were a bit more selective in how we used the limited 24 or 36 exposures we had on a roll of film. Today, with even a small capacity memory card installed, some may try to capture everything they see. For instance, while traveling through popular vacation destinations, not wanting to miss anything, their thoughts may be, “I’ll just click away and sort it all out when I get back home.” What they wind up with could be a mix of common images, few if any being really that interesting. And then they’ll take (say) those fifty photos made while standing in the same spot at the main overlook of the Grand Canyon, and share them all on social media for all their friends to see and admire. I’ll call that “photo overload.”

Now, there’s certainly nothing wrong with making several photos of the same thing. But if we’re going to do that, can we compose each image in the lens a bit differently from the others? And then, when we get ready to share our work, might we select the “best” compositions and publish only those for others to admire? Don’t stand in the same spot when you make those images. Perhaps make one image a wide angle view, and another a close up from a new location. Moving your feet from time to time can have nice results when photography is involved.

So, I say “be different” with each image you make. Move around getting contrasting views of the same scene or object. Limit what you share online to those images you select as being your best. And lastly, keep it simple. Over time if you’ll do this, I think you’ll start to develop a “photographic eye” causing you to see things around you that most others might miss entirely. This is what interesting photography is all about.

Summertime Tree and Plants

Start off with this interesting tree. It’s very old Catawba Tree, given its shape and condition of the large, twisty trunk. Nice tree, still hanging on regardless of age. Like some of us humans … that’s a joke son.


Next up is a Yucca Plant, flowering at this time of year. Beware of the sharp spines of the plant, sometimes referred to as a “Bayonet Plant.”


Last photo is my favorite. Contrasting colors. Love the yellow flowers, whatever variety they are.


Down South

There are some photos which (for those having lived in the southern regions of the United States) might be recognized as being taken “down south.” My first photo involves a question. Why do old bank buildings look basically the same down south? Sadly, they no longer have the purpose they once did.


If you’re familiar with the Piedmont Regions of Virginia and North Carolina, you will recognize tobacco plants growing, soon to take over fields like this one. This crop is far less prevalent than it once was. That’s a good thing for many, not so much for others who make their living on the farm. Some of you may have labored picking tobacco leafs, which I understand was very hot and dirty work.


And then there are the numerous ponds and small marshy areas in the south. In their own way they are very beautiful with their vibrant colors at this time of year.



And lastly, it’s not hard to find old log-crib type farm structures down south, if you look for them. When I make photos of them, I like to look for a different view. Like this one.


Sew Good

For a good portion of the fifty-plus years I have been married, I’ve watched my wife perform magic with thread, needles, and her skilled hands. She’s like many other ladies in that regard who sew and make wonderful items, and in the case of this brief photo story … quilts … colorful quilts. I’d like to introduce you to a quilting and sewing shop in Stuart, Virginia. Stuart is one of my favorite locations to visit, being that it is located about thirty or so minutes from home. When I go there, my camera is always in hand.


Stuart is home annually to the very popular “Strawberry Festival” and hosts other gatherings of this nature, attracting thousands from across the region. The town is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains and takes its name from the famous Confederate Civil War hero, Major General J.E.B Stuart. Sitting in the middle of the town on Main Street is “Quilted Colors.”



When you enter the shop you are immediately made aware that “colors” is what this place is all about. Susan Branham manages the shop, in addition to teaching music to middle and high school students in Henry County. Susan taught all three of our grandchildren, so I’ve seen the excellence of her abilities in that regard. I was not always aware, however, of her interest in sewing and quilting. But, through my wife, I gained a new appreciation of the breath of her skills.



Susan is offering her shop space to other quilters in the area, to display their personal quilting projects. Many visitors to the area will thus have an opportunity to see some “mighty fine work” (as is said hereabouts). For instance:










I couldn’t end this story without showing at least one photo of some “tools of the trade.” And in summary, Quilted Colors is a special place to visit, and of course to enjoy being a part of the Piedmont Region of Virginia’s quilting family. Happy sewing ladies!


Interesting Architecture

One advantage of living and traveling around mid to small size cities is being able to find and photograph interesting structures. The first one here I liked mainly because it has a contrast between old (the building) and new (the cars parked in front). I also liked the cobble-stone street in front. The second photo reminded me of times when we were traveling about Europe, especially England. The influence of architecture from there is prevalent all across the United States.



Crossing the Dan

Danville, Virginia has a vibrant railroad past, and it still has a passenger Amtrak line and busy Norfolk Southern freight line which pass through; Amtrak being a nice way to travel to New York City to the north, or New Orleans to the south. The first image below is the concrete arch railroad bridge crossing the Dan River. There are several auto and truck traffic bridges across the river at Danville as well.



The bridge which has always attracted my attention, however, is the original, steel-truss, Civil War era railroad bridge, that has been converted into a walking, biking and jogging path, for thousands of people annually. The details of the old bridge have always been of interest to this (not so old really) Army Engineer, and I suspect there are many just like me with the same opinion. Enjoy seeing what I saw.