Our daughter Amy teaches 3rd Grade students in North Carolina. She’s also been trained in various aspects of “physical fitness”, and plans to obtain her professional certification in that regard. Being retired military, I understand what fitness is all about. When Amy’s son Stephen decided he wanted to enlist in the U.S. Coast Guard, Amy took it on her own to help get him ready for the rigors of Boot Camp. Her youngest son, Daniel shown below to the left is a natural athlete himself, so he’s sort of along for the ride, and when called upon may serve as a “demonstrator.” He did just that showing Amy how to walk the parallel bars at an Army Corps of Engineers built and managed “Fitness Trail” near where I live. While Stephen and Amy “sweated it up” jogging in-between fitness stations, Daniel and I walked ahead to recon the difficulties that they’d see, and Daniel noting how he’d done a lot of these rigorous exercises when he was playing high school football in Texas before they moved to North Carolina. Like my title says, “fitness is good.”
As my wife and I were driving home from Durham, NC back to Ridgeway, VA yesterday, I remembered a place where I’d stopped before, just to see what photo opportunity might present itself that day. I only had my iPhone 6S with me, but the camera it has is very nice. So here’s what I saw, after a short walk into the woods: a nice old dam, with water flowing across the top, and interesting rocks and water reflections to boot.
There’s a short hiking trail near our home in SW Virginia, that runs along a portion of the Smith River Dam, managed by the Army Corps of Engineers. The trail is just one of the many recreational benefits of living so close. My aging legs and loss of some flexibility makes me move much more carefully and slower than I once did, but no matter, I still like to walk these type trails, Leki Hiking pole in hand. What’s most interesting to me, other than the river, are the rock outcrops that are exposed along the landward side of the trail, with the river flowing just below on the opposite side. Here are several examples of what I saw the day I was there.
This morning in SW Virginia was clear and cold (low 40s but enough to make me wish I’d brought along my gloves) and it was a good time for me to go on a local road trip with my camera to see what I could see. The barn above is a favorite of mine, and while the fall colors are not that great here, the scene was still inviting to my eye.
Later I found one back-lit tree that was still very colorful so I walked through the woods to get under it at just the right sun angle.
Last was a location I keep going back to: Philpott Lake, as viewed from the Army Corps of Engineers Visitor’s Center Overlook. My intent here was to capture the last of the Fall leaves before they drop, as dropping they certainly are. The water surface and the clear blue sky added to the photo. So,these are my “three for today”
There is no doubt that, for me and my cameras, the 2016 Fall Season was the most scenic and spectacular I’ve ever experienced. For the first time, I was able to visit the mountains of Western North Carolina during a time when colors were at their peak. My experience over many years there and along the Blue Ridge Mountains of South Western Virginia proved that if one missed “peak” by just a few days, winds and rain could make most of the most vibrant colors fade, as leaves fell to the ground. This year I was just lucky, because my visit to Western North Carolina was timed not for the leaves, but for other reasons. Whatever, it worked out extremely well. Adding to this special time was the opportunity to share my experiences with two grandsons, recently moved to the mountains from the flat, drab and often dusty landscape of North Texas. So, as we now close in to the end of the year, with leaves mostly on the ground, and with colder weather at hand, I share this photo, which as the title says, is one of my favorites.
It was a nice day, sunny and cool, so I decided to take a stroll at a nearby recreational center, that has lots of fields, walking paths, a nearby river and many other attractions that for me from time to time spell “camera and exercise time.” Like I do whenever I go on a photo road trip alone in my car, I had no exact idea that day where I might go, so I just let my feet lead the way.
As I wandered in an area I’d not been before, I saw this interesting scene, and positioned myself so as to use the small drainage ditch to lead the viewers eye into the photo. Afterwards, I saw another interesting sight; a lone tree in the field, with colorful leaves barely hanging on.
Walking along, I eventually came to a familiar wooded trail that wound its way along a small river. I especially like making photos when the leaves are gone from trees.
And then I saw one tree that had lots of leaves remaining.
As I neared the end of my walk that day, I saw a familiar sight I’d photographed before (below), and the colors made me want another. It was a good day all in all.
So, this post will be the last of some very special Fall 2016 photos I made while moving about Western North Carolina. There are many others on my computer, waiting, but it’s time for me to move on to other subjects, reluctant as I am to do so. Being above 6000 feet elevation, on a clear day, with perfect colors is what made it. For once everything “photographic” came together for me this Fall. Thanks to the Good Lord for guiding me along.
One great aspect of living where we do in Henry County and Martinsville, Virginia is the tremendous outdoor recreational activities available. The Smith River lies at the center of that. Trout fishing, canoeing, kayaking and trail hiking along its banks are very popular with visitors and residents alike. I decided the other day to take a look at a river access point near our home, and found some nice colors awaiting. I was especially happy to see the yellow colors in the river itself, as a result of seasonal changing river vegetation I’d not seen before. So, I wandered about the bank looking for possible photo compositions.
Later, I spotted some flowers still in bloom, given the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having. And on one flower sat this lone Bumblebee, most likely feeding one last time before going to places unknown to me, perhaps Bee heaven. It made for a great photo.