Looking for something different

When I wander around the Virginia-North Carolina region in which I live, I’m drawn to the numerous small, rural towns nearby. These places contain a wealth of photo compositions, most probably unseen by those who don’t walk around like I do, looking for something different. It’s easy to make photos of popular attractions or scenic views. It’s harder to make photos of things that tend to blend in to the surrounding area. Like, why would anyone want to make a photo of this?

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Or how about these two compositions? I saw them and jumped with joy.

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To end this post, I offer the following images which prove my point. There are many, many  interesting sights out there, folks, if you’ll just take time to find and “see” them.

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Appalachian Life

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I’m fortunate to live in the foothills of the scenic Appalachian Mountains … Virginia and North Carolina variety. For this photo presentation I took two original color images I made last month and processed each to give them an “antique” look, as if I was looking at an old film photo taken long ago. As I travel about this region I always look for signs from the past. Such as the railroad line above, and even more so the cabin located on a stream bank below. That photo depicts the true character of the mountains I love to experience.

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Early Spring Colors

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Each of these images were made using my iPhone 7Plus camera. My photo life has changed significantly since I got this wonderful device, mostly because I always have a superb camera with me while walking around our SW Virginia neighborhood. This month and the last has seen much warmer than normal temperatures and that’s caused many Spring flowers to bloom quicker than I’ve seen in years. I made these photos this week and I’m glad I did. Why? Well, it’s predicted to get much colder, with freezing weather, possibly with some wet snow. Mother Nature always seems to even things out. The lesson learned is to take advantage of good weather when it comes. Happy Spring to all!

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Weeping Pussy Willow

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When I bought this Weeping Pussy Willow tree as a present for my wife on her birthday last May, it was essentially bare limbs. but with promise to leaf out nicely. When I planted it in our back yard near the house I had no idea what it might look like later, but was quickly rewarded with lots of green leaves and long thin hanging limbs which grew so fast I had to prune them often to keep them off the ground. It was in sum a nice looking tree through the summer. About two weeks ago I began to see fuzzy looking, bright white buds slowly open that give this interesting and fast growing tree its name. As this  unfolded before my eyes I deemed it appropriate to make some close up photos.

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Daffodils

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Each year in February, but never so early in the month here in SW Virginia, the bright green stems of one of my favorite flowers start pushing their way up out of winter’s ground. I’ve not seen so many in full bloom about our expansive yard, portions kept well maintained by hired hands, because my back and legs aren’t up to it any more. I’m mindful of that, but not so much when I’m walking about with camera in hand looking to see what I can find on a sunny day. My wife suggested I needed a special “Daffodil” post, so here you go.

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February Vegetation

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Flowers and other interesting looking vegetation seems to be all around me this year in SW Virginia. Warmer temperatures have helped. I found many nice photo opportunities yesterday and I’d like to share those with you.

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Landscapes in January

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In SW Virginia at this time of year, it may seem a challenge to find colorful landscape photo compositions, given the primary yellow-brown colored vegetation and often overcast skies. However, I’ll take that challenge on any day. It just makes me look harder. And, as you can see here, I did find some worthy photo opportunities. Not great, mind you, but definitely colorful.

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A Blue Ridge Discovery

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I’m thankful living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains where in an hour’s drive I can be standing where I made this photo.  If you’re wondering why they are called “Blue Ridge” mountains this image might help. It’s all about the haze on the horizon, some natural some manmade. Today, I’m just a “looker”a short walk away from my car parked off the road, with camera in hand, clicking away. But, there was a time still fresh in my memory when I’d park my car, toss a daypack on and head right down the middle of this location, following marked trails, to experience the joy of discovery. In these high mountains above 3000 feet, hidden in  hollows, there is remarkably well preserved evidence left by those hearty folk who once lived in the wilderness.

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I’d like to say I hiked to this rustic old cabin on a hillside but I didn’t. I spotted it in the woods as I was driving along a narrow mountain road. But, it fits my story, so bear with me. When I discover places like this, either on foot or via car, I always take a few minutes to wonder who lived there and when. I can easily visualize a hound dog barking at me if  I wandered too close. I can see an old woman sitting in the open front door waving at me to come share a cup of coffee, or a biscuit left over from breakfast. It’s easy to get caught up with these type thoughts. In today’s world, many of our poorest city folk live better than did those in remote Blue Ridge Mountain valleys. Every day back then must have been a struggle.  Hunting game from sunrise to sunset, miles away from home. Finding and gathering scarce wild edible plants. Carrying water from nearby streams, and chopping seemingly endless amounts of firewood. So, when I find a place like this I’m thankful for the many blessings we have today.  Still, it would have been an experience I’d love to have had, living in the wilderness back then. Actually, via books I read every day, and through the lens of my camera, I do live that way … in my mind. That’s pretty special.