Floyd Virginia – Part 1

Floyd County Virginia, and the town that holds that name, provide for me an opportunity to see how rural America once was, and to explore various sights and sounds that are unique. In short, I love it. Over the next few posts I’ll share what I saw recently. For those living reasonably nearby in Virginia or North Carolina, the drive itself (along VA Route 8, or the Blue Ridge Parkway) is a worthwhile trip. Photo opportunities abound. Especially in Spring when Apple trees are in bloom. If that’s not possible, I’m here to show you what’s there.

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The Floyd County Court House sits at the center of the town. History is alive there in many ways. It’s a very popular place to visit because of that, and on many weekends the town center is full of happy visitors, enjoying where they are.

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A dusting of snow had fallen the day prior to my visit, and when I saw this “Christmas Season” composition outside the town’s historic hardware store, I immediately focused and clicked the shutter on the camera I was carrying (iPhone 7 Plus).

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The building at the right (upstairs) has a really nice coffee shop. There were many folks going up and down the stairs, but I waited until none were seen. (I prefer photos without people in many cases. This was one.)

Below are just two of the interesting shops that are located in the town. The name “Republic of Floyd” derives from a group of artisans and small business people who have called Floyd their home. The shop sells perhaps one of the largest variety of craft beers I’ve seen.

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Backyard Barns

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We live in a moderately “rural” part of SW Virginia, very near my second most favorite state, North Carolina, and one common sight I see all over both states down here are backyard storage buildings, I’m calling them “barns.” People do a lot of yard and garden work and for that a suitable place to store tools and such is required. Here are two just up the street from our house. I really like the red one best. Just because. Here’s a close up.

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A Favorite View

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There’s a spot along Virginia Route 8 between Stuart and Floyd that I have traveled for many years, on my way to seek out photo opportunities. The best time to go is whenever I feel like it.  Except when there’s snow or freezing weather about. The road travels down a gentle slope passing by Apple trees which are part of a small farmer’s orchard. During the spring when Apple trees are in bloom, and with puffy clouds over the Blue Ridge  in the background, it’s a wonderful scene. I had a nice clear day yesterday on my way to Floyd, and was thus able to capture once again a favorite view.

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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,