It’s the time of year here in SW Virginia when mountain area markets display outside all kinds of produce and other items that tempt visitors to grab their wallets and buy. Like the five-foot high, painted metal roosters above. What I’d do with one is a good question, but it’s still interesting. And no, I didn’t buy one. Fresh-picked peaches, apples and other farm produce fill baskets outside the market. It’s one of my favorite places to visit during the spring, summer and fall seasons. The locally-made, hand-sized Fried Apple Pies sold there are a great treat.
I’m a believer in a trusted fact of photography that says being in high value photo locations, such as National Parks or popular tourist destinations, should generally provide great photo opportunities. For me recently it was a week-long trip to Alaska, when weather conditions were perfect. I’ve been posting some of the images I made up there here on my blog. However, I have to say that great photo opportunities exist just about anywhere one goes, if we take the time to look. Like this image.
Last Saturday my wife and I went on a “road trip” to the Blue Ridge Mountains near where we live in SW Virginia. It was a bit cool and windy, but the lighting and puffy clouds were just right for me. On the one hand I traveled thousands of miles to see wonderful photo ops in Alaska, while on the other I know they exist within an hour of where we live. The key is looking and finding.
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.
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.
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.
When I ride along narrow roads in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I see images that make me feel more at peace, especially when I get home and put my photographs on my computer, where I can look at what I saw, in much greater detail. Making photos is fun! And peaceful!
Here are two colorful pastoral scenes from our “Blue Ridge Country” which I made recently. Makes me want to relax!
I know I’ve been posting a lot of images from my most recent day-trip into the Blue Ridge Mountains of SW Virginia, and what you see here are the last of my favorites. I’ll turn to other subjects next, but each will still be in the same region … just not “on the mountain.” The last one is my “most” favorite.
For years, on my way “up the mountain” I have driven by this pastoral farm scene, just above 3000 feet in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I usually stop across the road next to a Farmer’s Market, and inspect “the view” of the barn, the surrounding fields, the ridge line behind, and most importantly … the sky. It’s become one of my “favorite places” to make a photo of the region. Last week with my wife Barb riding along, about a mile from the location, I said “I bet those orange flowers will be in bloom by the roadside and that should make for a nice photo.” I was right. What I had not predicted, however, was how nice the sky would look. I felt really good when I got home and downloaded my photos from our day on the mountain, and saw that once again, my favorite place did not disappoint.
While I love being able to see more of the underlying topography of the Blue Ridge Mountains during the Winter and Spring months, summertime definitely brings out the green, often lush vegetation. I really like the farms I see up there. Just beautiful.
This beautiful scene made around 5000 feet in elevation recently is what I usually hope to find during my journey in and around the mountains of SW Virginia and NW North Carolina. However, when I find these same mountains in view right after thunderstorms have passed, leaving misty valleys, I believe they look better photographically in black and white. See for yourself.