Beauty in the decline of industry

We live in the Piedmont Region of Virginia and North Carolina. Once, this area was a major source of economic progress for the United States. Especially textiles, furniture, and tobacco. For various reasons, our politicians helped drive those industries into partial or full decline. My purpose here is not to judge all that, it’s done. However, I do want to share some photos I made recently that show the remains of some of those industries, namely textile and furniture near where we live. Martinsville VA (textiles) and Bassett VA (furniture). I find black and white presentation to show best what I want. There is a bright 9colorful) side to all this, but I’ll make you wait until my next post for that.

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I needed this …

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Looking out our kitchen window while making a cup of coffee recently, I saw that our two bird feeders were mostly empty. It’s been very cold here in SW Virginia, and I know birds need the warmth provided by food. So, I cleaned out the feeders and filled them to the top. Walking back inside to get my just-made coffee I looked out the window again and saw this bright red Cardinal, pecking away at some of the seed that had spilled on the ground while I was filling the feeders. I suspect my favorite type bird had been waiting for me to come “do my duty” while sitting above watching from overhanging trees. After I made this photo, he flew away temporarily, apparently satisfied. My mood improved significantly after seeing the Cardinal taking advantage of our feeders. They need me, and I need them.

Thinking Warm

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The day I was here last August (Lake Eklunta in Alaska) it was warm with temperatures in the 70s, people were engaging in water sports such as canoeing and kayaking, others were exploring the beautiful shoreline, and a few like me were watching it all with camera in hand. It was one of the best days I’ve experienced lately. When I remember that time, through my photos, I can’t help but “think warm” and that’s important to me today here in SW Virginia, given it was minus 4 degrees when I woke up.

People who Judge

One thing that bugs me about so-called photo critics, is when they dismiss an obviously good photo, snubbing their nose at it by declaring something like, “Anyone could have made this photo, given its location. The photographer didn’t have to work for it. It was placed right in front of them.” Here’s an example of my point.

I made this photo in Alaska last August. We were in Prince William Sound, on a high speed sightseeing boat, with people like me all lined up, essentially looking at the same thing. Yup, the composition was handed to us. We didn’t have to work for it. Does that diminish the beauty of the scene? The remoteness and expansive beauty around us? Hardly. Now, to my next photo.

I took this image on a wooded trail near the center of the city of Martinsville, VA just before Christmas. Clearly NOT a special location. I did, in fact, have to “work” for the shot, because colors varied widely by where I was standing. The manner in which the artist decided to lay out the various components of the metal painted sculpture, so colors were affected by sunlight and angle of view was unique. It made for a nice photo. But, there’s no way I can compare it equally to the one I made in Alaska. True, one was put right in front of me. The other I had to work for. But please, don’t dismiss one over the other by judging its worth using that criteria. I might add I’m also weary of photo purists who too often conclude, “The photo was obviously retouched in post processing to make it look better than it probably was.” How do they know what it looked like originally? They weren’t there, I was.

Concluding, I must explain I’m coming off a very miserable bout with the good old Common Cold with its assorted wheezing, snorting, aches and pains. I am thus in a ranting mood this Friday. I’ve had my rant, and I feel better. Now let’s all go out and about wherever we can, and make photos. Just for the fun of it. Cheers,

Being Creative

I started digital coloring (painting actually) late last year when I got an iPad Pro and Pencil. There are a number of nice Apps to use. After trying several, I settled on “Pigment.” It has lots of blank outlines that interest me. I especially like being able to paint digitally in oil, pastel, and watercolor, in order to do shading and make highlights standout. In sum, it’s fun and relaxing. It’s a long way from “kid coloring” but is also only as intricate as you might want. It’s creative. That’s what I enjoy.