Martinsville’s Lake Lanier

After all the snow and extreme cold we’ve had over the past week, I decided yesterday I needed to get out and about, even if it was cloudy and in the mid 40s. I spend a lot of time with my cameras, driving around Martinsville, Virginia where we live, looking for interesting sights and memories to share. Why I picked going to Lake Lanier I don’t know. As the next image shows, I’m glad I did.

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I made photos of the boat house and canoes laying on shore from various angles. Had it not been cloudy as it was, I’m not sure I could have captured the soft look I did.

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And there’s the wildlife. Ducks, geese and two magnificent swans were there … the latter swimming up next to shore where I was standing. I felt like they were posing for me. Perhaps they were.

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As I was walking around the lake (about an hour’s leisurely stroll) I spotted an adjacent pond with an interesting fishing pier projecting out. Peaceful indeed.

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The lesson learned for me that day is that it’s not the weather that matters, it’s what we do with it.

First Snow

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As the sun lowered in the sky late this afternoon, after twelve hours of moderate to heavy snowfall (the first of 2017 for us here in SW Virginia) the beauty of our back yard made me smile. I made the Barn Quilt you see attached to the side of our storage shed for my wife Barb several years ago, and its color, that of the shed and the dark blue sky really made this scene memorable. I believe this will be just one of hundreds more I’ll record during this new year. Many to share here.

Thinking Different in 2017

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I listened to a talk recently that discussed how “what we think”, can define “who we are.” If for example, in 2016 we awoke every day worrying about a problem or situation in our lives we had to face that day, and let that define how the day went, we’d walk around sorta miserable all the time. If we continued that thought process day after day in 2016, by the end of the year there might be a good chance that pattern of thinking would carry over into 2017. Unless we change the way we think. Such as looking at each day as an opportunity to conquer some challenge, meet some goal, do good things for others, or being truly thankful for all the great things in our lives. If we think that way in 2017, even though in reality we still have all the same challenges we had in 2016 (maybe more), perhaps our attitude about ourselves and others in 2017 will be significantly better. I choose to think differently. Happy New Year.

Walking with Grandsons

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Few things make me happier these days, than being able to enjoy times together with family. Daughter Amy is visiting now with her two sons Stephen (right) and Daniel (left). Today, they went with me on a nice walk in the woods near our home, along the Smith River. As we walked and talked, my camera eye spotted lots of interesting colors and patterns you can see below. The trail we walked along the river reminded me of all the interesting sights these two young men will see during their walk down the path they are on, so long as they look around the next bend and experience unknown adventures. Shorty, Stephen will be in the U.S. Coast Guard, and Daniel will enter Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Exciting times for sure for these two guys, and I’m vary thankful to have spent time with them today “in the woods.”

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Ponds and Streams

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When temperatures fall, and many tree leaves are on the ground (or in the water in this case) I enjoy looking for photo compositions that confirm the season we are experiencing in definite visual ways. I suppose many like me have a magnetic attraction to “water in nature” no matter its type and form. Just go find it if that’s you.

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In the Woods

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I’ve written before and I’ll do it again, living where we do in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in SW Virginia, often provides a look back into time, at how people once lived. I was recently exploring on a road trip near our home and I found for the first time a small, log-crib building. Looking up close I wondered about the ladder on the front. Perhaps it allowed for access at the top of the crib.

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As I wandered around some more, I saw a small pond across the nearby winding road, and went to investigate. I’m sure many fish have been caught here, and I could hear in my mind the joyful sounds made by people jumping into and swimming it its cool waters during hot summer months long ago.

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My discovery brought me great happiness that day. I hope my photos have the same effect on you.

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.

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Rocks Along the Trail

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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.

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Three for Today

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.