As I was driving along a rural highway close to home, I happened to glance behind a popular local food market I pass frequently and saw a small church I’d never spotted before. I stopped and found this nice photo opportunity.
What made it special to me was the brightly painted mailbox out front. I’m not sure if church services are still held inside, but the building itself is reasonably well maintained to make that possible. This proves my belief that we photographers always need to keep an open eye to our surroundings, there is much to be discovered.
I tend to look for “history” around me as I seek photo compositions. Recently I saw what used to be a small plant nursery where one could purchase plants and associated items. Small business at work. It’s closed for good now. Hard to compete with larger businesses in rural America these days. I applied a special Fijufilm simulation treatment in Luminar 3 which I thought gave the series an “older” look seen during the days of the iconic film.
I photographed these farm animals at various locations in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Farming in this region has been in decline for decades, but a few hearty families carry on.
I feel fortunate when I find old rusty metal objects of various sorts. Some are older than others but all are interesting to me when color and texture is considered.
This photo is one of my favorites. I’ve been there many times, alone and with others. It’s located near 3000 feet elevation along the Blue Ridgeway Parkway. Perhaps one reason why I enjoy going there are thoughts I have about what it would have been like to have lived as a young adventurous barefooted boy in the adjacent farm house of which these outbuildings are a part.
Close enough to sit on the small dock on a hot summer’s day, feet dangling in the cool water, cane-pole fishing for an elusive bass or catfish, and still hear my mother’s voice calling for me to come home … time to eat. Maybe her reward would be a string of fish already caught. I could swim in this pond as well, carefully watching for various critters hiding in the grass. Snakes maybe.
Not shown in the photo are nearby open fields, providing unlimited opportunities for me to explore. I would have been told my limits, however. A well known terrain feature is Buffalo Mountain, which can be seen for mlles. I might have been told to always keep “the Buffalo” in sight. In the winter my wandering would be less. And, I would be told to stay away from the frozen pond. It gets very cold at 3000 feet, but in this part of Virginia it can also warm well above freezing in winter, making for thin ice.
In my mind I sense itches caused by chiggers and mosquito bites. I hear frogs croaking and crickets clicking, bees buzzing and various song birds calling. I visualize Turkey Buzzards, Eagles and Hawks gliding along in circles high above, surrounded by puffy clouds and blue sky. Soft breezes with the scent of fresh cut hay tease my nose. Sneezes would be common as a result.
As a summer’s day ended, and I lay on a quilt pallet my mom would have placed for me on our screened-in porch so I could be cool, compared to my usual bedroom in an attic space, I’d pray for the next day to be as exciting as the one just ended.
Being a somewhat “older” enthusiast photographer, with experience in magazine publishing, I learned that many articles I wrote and edited benefitted more with black and white images versus color. I’ve been having fun going back into my archives and converting images to B&W. I found a free Lightroom Preset that helps.
There is an Episcopal Church in Eden, NC near where we live that was built in 1926, with the help of members of the congregation who tirelessly gathered thousands of rocks from nearby farmers field’s to serve as the foundation for exterior and interior walls. That’s amazing dedication toward a spiritual purpose.
The architectural style brings back memories of my travels during several visits to the United Kingdom during the 1980’s. I’ve said it before, there is no doubt I’d have been a happy resident living there permanently, had my life turned out that way. The Eden Rock Church so close to home makes me realize that even more.
I have developed a habit over the years to view things around me, no matter the subject, and wondering whether or not what I see would make an interesting photo. That’s easy when I’m in a prime location with spectacular views all around me. It’s more challenging elsewhere. It’s in those locations where my habit has been the most beneficial. Here are a few examples.
The “little” thing here is the missing window pane. I didn’t see that until after I downloaded the image. My initial interest was the age and style of the building. The missing glass was my reward for “looking.”
The building facade of stone is what I liked about this image. One does not see this sort of early 20th Century architecture that often. The stained glass church window below, surrounded by the detailed brickwork, is what caught my eye.
I could have photoshopped this photo to “light the lamp.” That would have been fun to do, but not for publication. When I made this image I thought about returning at night to see it lit for real. But, I figured it was fine as is.
This home was once a nice dwelling. Today it’s abandoned and slowly falling apart. I enjoy making photos of old structures like this, and often wonder about past occupants. The textures close-up are interesting and make nice photo compositions.