Even after a spell of cold weather and a bit of wet snow, Spring is making itself known. Bradford Pear trees are flowering all over the Piedmont region of Virginia and North Carolina, and the Weeping Pussy Willow tree, which I planted two years ago, is showing why the tree has that name.
This Fall I decided to sponsor a contest to determine which photo, among several entries I expected to receive, was “Best in Show.” There was one rule to this contest. Only one candidate could submit photos, and that person had to be me. You might wonder if the contest was rigged, and it most definitely was. While I made many photos of changing colors on trees and other vegetation during October and November this year, I was not at all happy with what I accumulated. Hues were generally too flat, too few or totally missing. Like “reds.” But, being a dedicated photo enthusiast I boldly went forth week after week to try to find that “perfect composition” I could look at and say something like “wow.” Alas, it was not to be. Compared to the spectacular compositions I was fortunate to find last year, Fall 2017 was a disappointment. I had about given up, but one day I decided to give it one more shot. And, I was rewarded. This image captures for me the “look” I was seeking. The contrasting colors and lighting in the farm scene made me smile. So much so that when it was entered into my “contest” it won. I was shocked when I was notified my photo had been so selected. You just never know what will happen. Well, maybe we do know in a one-person photo contest.
Fall colors, that is. When it’s time to make photos of changing colors of fall vegetation, I’ve found that finding compositions when the light is good works best. Early morning or late afternoon sunlight. Backlit leaves look great. Here are a few examples I made recently.
I made this photo two days ago, from the overlook of Philpott Lake at the Army Corps of Engineers Visitor’s Center. It was a clear day, mid morning. I used my iPhone 7 Plus camera. The lake is a favorite of mine, and I’ve paddled canoes and kayaks along it’s 100 miles of shoreline. Colors are not as vibrant this year as I’ve seen them, but it’s not bad … at all. As you can see below.
We’ve lived in Martinsville-Henry County Virginia for over 15 years. That’s pretty special, considering our 28-year career in the Army when we moved on average every 2-3 years. I love living where we do now, retired fully and enjoying it all the best we can, considering age and health concerns. My cameras help keep me focused (no pun) on what’s around me. This photo essay is about a very nice (and relative new) attraction in Martinsville. Another reason why we love living here.
The items in the display represent many facets of the diversity of people and activities in Henry County … textiles, furniture, music, faith, farming, recreation, etc. The display shows a high level of creativity in how those items are presented. Thanks to all who designed and put together this creative artwork, and to those officials and others who made its public display possible. It’s great!
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.
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.
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.
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”
It was a nice day, sunny and cool, so I decided to take a stroll at a nearby recreational center, that has lots of fields, walking paths, a nearby river and many other attractions that for me from time to time spell “camera and exercise time.” Like I do whenever I go on a photo road trip alone in my car, I had no exact idea that day where I might go, so I just let my feet lead the way.
As I wandered in an area I’d not been before, I saw this interesting scene, and positioned myself so as to use the small drainage ditch to lead the viewers eye into the photo. Afterwards, I saw another interesting sight; a lone tree in the field, with colorful leaves barely hanging on.
Walking along, I eventually came to a familiar wooded trail that wound its way along a small river. I especially like making photos when the leaves are gone from trees.
And then I saw one tree that had lots of leaves remaining.
As I neared the end of my walk that day, I saw a familiar sight I’d photographed before (below), and the colors made me want another. It was a good day all in all.
One great aspect of living where we do in Henry County and Martinsville, Virginia is the tremendous outdoor recreational activities available. The Smith River lies at the center of that. Trout fishing, canoeing, kayaking and trail hiking along its banks are very popular with visitors and residents alike. I decided the other day to take a look at a river access point near our home, and found some nice colors awaiting. I was especially happy to see the yellow colors in the river itself, as a result of seasonal changing river vegetation I’d not seen before. So, I wandered about the bank looking for possible photo compositions.
Later, I spotted some flowers still in bloom, given the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having. And on one flower sat this lone Bumblebee, most likely feeding one last time before going to places unknown to me, perhaps Bee heaven. It made for a great photo.