Rustic is Good

dscf5195

I made this photo a few days ago, and it represents a specific photo subject I enjoy very much: rustic building windows and doors. It’s the wooden texture, reflections in the old glass, peeling paint, and thoughts about what sort of things lie behind, that get to me … every time. While I was making this photo, an old man came driving onto the property I was on, illegally I might add because there were “No Trespassing” signs in view. However, a metal farm gate was open, and I’d been to this old house several times before. I figured better to ask forgiveness rather than permission. Anyway, the man was a farm hand, carrying items out from behind the house. I explained what I was doing and he welcomed me to stay as long as I liked. Maybe it was my rural SW Virginia accent that did the trick, or the US Coast Guard hat I was wearing. We chatted a bit about the old home, which he said was built in the 1870s, and had been enlarged over the years. He said folks had lived there well into the 20th Century. It was indeed rustic. The foothills of the Blue Ridge where we live sure do have character. Like this rustic old house, and the nice old man I ran into that day.

Leaves and Such

Where we live in SW Virginia, many colorful fall leaves remain on a few trees, and there are lots of still colorful leaves laying about on the ground and streets in our neighborhood. On my walk today, I set forth looking for such compositions. Here is what I saw.

p1050255

p1050257

p1050258

p1050256

This last one I really liked. Big, bold and with a nice shape. Photography is fun, eh?

p1050259

Fitness is Good

img_0647

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.”

dscf5187

dscf5193

dscf5194

A Stop to Look

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.

img_0634

img_0635

img_0636

Rocks Along the Trail

dscf5175

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.

dscf5173

dscf5172

dscf5174

Three for Today

dscf5185

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.

dscf5165

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.

dscf5157

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”

A Favorite Mountain View … for me

p1050177

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.

A Walk in the Woods and Fields of Henry County, VA

dscf5149

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.

dscf5136

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.

dscf5138

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.

dscf5145

dscf5146

And then I saw one tree that had lots of leaves remaining.

dscf5143

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.

dscf5144

High Up in North Carolina

dscf5086

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.

fullsizeoutput_13fd

dscf5100

p1050175

dscf5108

Smith River Colors … and a Bee

img_0598

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.

img_0600

img_0599

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.

img_0594