Early morning in the Blue Ridge. A blue morning in the Blue Ridge, not blue in mood but certainly blue in color.
The mountains take on many moods and colors throughout the seasons. Many mornings have a blue cast like this one but a bright rising or setting sun can provide a bright orange glow.
I love morning in the moutains. They offer a beauty and serenity like nowhere else. Although I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world and visit every continent on this earth, coming home to the Blue Ridge is always welcome and adds truth to that old cliche that there’s no place like home.
The moon sets in early morning over U.S. 221 just south of Willis, Virginia.
The Blue Ridge offers spectacular views of moon risings and settings. Most of my photos show the moon over mountains or fields but this shot with a road and other signs of civilization caught my eye in the rear view mirror as I drove from our farm to the studio in the wee hours of the morning.
The sun offers a different kind of beauty with sharper colors and brilliant reds. The moon, however, is more serene, especially as it makes its exit at the start of the day.
Sometimes, nature’s beauty overcomes the clumsy hand of mankind.
I took this photo more than 40 years ago, while still a student at Floyd County High School, using the school’s 4×5 Crown Graphic. The 4×5 transparency still produces beautiful, large prints and I’ve probably sold more copies of this photo than of any image taken in a long career in photography.
Yet the photo also captures a time long gone. I found this area behind Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway while hiking along one of the streams that feeds the mill trace. The fall colors and mist from the water provided a beautiful Autumn setting. After returning to Floyd County earlier this year, I hiked along the trail to find the spot but had trouble locating it. The stream, once wide and flowing, has all but dried up and the trees on the hillside are gone, replaced by vacation homes that now line the Parkway like vultures, waiting to devour a dying countryside.
I tried to take a photo of what the land had become but could not. I’d rather remember it as it was, not what it has become.
Buffalo Mountain defines Floyd County, Virginia.
The mountain, along with Mabry Mill along the Blue Ridge Parkway, is photographed from all angles, including this view from The Saddle Overlook at Rockey Knob.
Floyd County High School’s athletic teams are called the Buffalos.
Writers use the mountain as inspiration, poets as a muse and pilots from Oceana Naval Air Station use it to practice mountain flying techniques. The mountain dominates the landscape of the county. For many, it is the county.
(Colors in photo enhanced in Photoshop)
It’s raining outside and the whole mood is cold and damp.
So why not a little color from the summer at Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Now. Don’t you feel better? We do.
Of course all these colors are gone now, replaced by bare limbs and brown grass. Until next year.
One shot left on the compact flash card in my Nikon D1H as I walked back to the parking garage outside the race track in Charles Town, West Virginia.
That’s when the stairs and shadows caught my eye. It was a grab shot but the best ones often are.
Charles Town offers many photographic opportunities that extend beyond the town’s race tracks and slot machines.
Downtown is an eclectic collection of old and new. You often find street musicians playing while tourists comb the antique shops.
And Charles Town likes to remember the locals who have gone on and done good, like John Servis, owner of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones.
But gambling, whether it be betting on horses and plunking tokens into the slot machines, is Charles Town’s big business and spurred a revival that brought the town back from hard times. Some may argue the morality of gambling but it’s big business in West Virginia and, without gambling, that parking garage wouldn’t have been there and I wouldn’t have shot the photo.
Not quite light. Not quite dark. That nether time of the day when darkness is about to assume control.
Time to reflect on the day almost over and bask in the beauty that surrounds you.
On some days, I slip the Jeep into four-wheel-drive and head for the top of the highest mountain I can find, arriving in time to capture that special time of day.