January’s Crossings 1

The winter winds whip across the three rivers as the steam rises up from my morning coffee. The wintery scene makes me feel like I’ve woken up inside if a snow globe. If not for the fact that I’m on my way to my day job I’d engage the four wheel drive and just idle my big blue truck through the Appalachian Mountains looking for magical places to just sit and watch the snow. The mists and snow seem to merge together as I begin to set up the shot making it look as if the other end of bridge disappears somewhere beyond the known world. For a moment I’m tempted to call off from the day job and allow my inner child to explore the frozen wilderness.

I know that if I travel beyond the bridge and up Gauley Mountain there will be frozen waterfalls with long icicles hanging from the painted sandstone cliffs. There will be little alcoves formed by snow covered bent trees that bright red cardinals play in. Across the forest floor squirrels bounce from tree trunk to tree trunk trying to remember where they stashed their acorns. It was just about that time that the real world recalled me from my daydreaming and I eased my big blue truck back onto the main road.

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The Explorer

I remember watching Mutual Of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom every weekend when I was a young boy. I wanted to be a famous explorer and wildlife biologist like Marlin Perkins Marty Stouffer or Jacques Cousteau. I would sit and watch them on t.v. for hours upon hours. I also had a healthy appetite for the world of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek and Johnny Quest. All of this came together in my young mind to form the view that the world was created just for the specific purpose of being explored and documented. All I needed was a ship, some technical gadgets and a crew of science guys. And oh yes, A few bodyguards. Johnny Quest was constantly getting into a tight spot and bad guys seem to target young explorers for some unknown reason. But I digress.

I suppose that the entertainment of my youth is where my desire to follow a stream like the one in the feature image until I just can’t go any farther. An exploration of anything is more than just reaching the goal. It’s taking the time to experience the quest. One of the most memorable moments of Wild Kingdom was when Perkins rode a monitor lizard through the water. Perkins wasn’t really a young man at the time but he often did things like that. Looking back I see that there must be two kinds of explorers. The goal oriented explorer who just wants to find the finish line and the experience oriented explorer who needs to be truly absorbed into the journey. I tend to gravitate towards the later. I find myself staring downstream from this spot wanting to pack as much gear as I can possibly carry and turn over every rock in the creek just to see what’s down there. So what if there’s no giant lizards to ride like Perkins did or cold war intrigues like Johnny Quest but there’s adventure none the less and the world was created just to be explored.

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Winter Reflections

For me, there’s nothing quite as calming as simply looking out over smooth water. Even if it’s from the cab of my big blue truck with heater running full blast. All the little nit picky stuff just seems to float away with gentle movements of the river as I become lost in a world of reflections. It’s not as easy to spot in the feature image but there’s a log out in the middle of Kanawha River at Glen Ferris West Virginia that I’ve dubbed “The River Monster Of Glen Ferris” after the Loch Ness Monster. Mostly because of the graceful arch of the branch that breaks the surface. As gaze at the lines and textures of bushes and trees there is a rhythmic noise in the distance followed by the long drone of the air horn. The single light that rounds the bend belies the train as it makes it’s way up river to places I can only view as part of a larger landscape. The winter setting brings on the early stages of wanderlust as the train passes. My mind’s eye fills in the blanks with spectacular scenes of high canyons and cascading water surrounded God’s handiwork. There’s huge majestic virgin timber and painted sandstone cliffs beyond the little fishing camps that dot the banks of New River. I have been through parts of the canyon in a boat that takes you from Hawk’s Nest Dam to the New River Gorge Bridge but I always felt like I was just passing through the Gorge instead of exploring it. In some ways I’m envious of my ancestors who could load up a boat and take their time as they paddled along the banks. I imagine a young Daniel Boone or Rene La Salle as he and his party surveyed the wilderness making sketches and taking notes in the margins.

The train’s air horn wakes me up from my daydream and recalls me to the modern world. The clock on the dashboard of the big blue truck says 8:05. The time for mentally exploring lands unknown has come to end once more. I take a moment and raise my lens to capture the moment preserve my imaginary journey for another day.

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Winter Reflections” and is available for purchase by usingthe Contact Form on my website. ( just click on the the bell below)

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The Secret At The Top of The Staircase

The last remnants of snow seep into the forest floor revealing the old staircase. The vines and litter that coat them make for a slippery climb to the top. Taking care to be aware of my foot placement I started to ascend. My heart began to race about one third of the way up. I began to sense a trap. What would it be? Poison darts or would the huge log ahead of me dislodge itself and come rolling towards me? Or maybe the steps would just fall away and drop me into a snake pit. Nervously I take another step. There’s a creaking noise from somewhere near the top and I freeze. The tension in my legs tells me that I’ve instinctively prepared myself to spring out of the way. I began to suspect that the the trap must be that the trees will all come tumbling down and crush me. I look more closely at the next few stairs and make certain that there’s no trip wires or secret switches. Slowly but surely I take the next step and the one after that. I’m well past the point of no return as I make my way over the logs. I paused for a moment and adjusted my fedora before taking the last step and learning the secret that waits at the top. Do you want to know what I found? Can you guess the secret truth that was revealed to me? Well then, I’ll share it with you now. What I learned was… that I’ve seen way too many Indiana Jones movies and there’s nothing at the top of this staircase but creaky trees. Adventure is a state of mind that keeps us young. Thank you for joining me for this one!

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To Go A Wandering

We’ll go a wandering, that’s what we’ll do.

We’ll find a path that’s straight, beneath a sky that’s blue.

We’ll take our time, we’ll do it right.

We’ll wander all day and into the night.

We’ll pass beyond the hills and into the dale. We’ll find everyday treasures and tales to tell.

We’ll have stars for diamonds and the moon for a pearl.

And the dawn will bring gold at the new day’s unfurl.

We’ll wander and wander and continue to roam, till path that we wander brings us home.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

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A Perfect Day In The Gorge

Have you ever been asked about what your perfect for looks like? Some people describe the perfect day as winning the lottery and having the check delivered by their favorite celebrity. Who of course arrives on the back of a magical unicorn that you get to keep. While that’s an “interesting” vision and would make for an awesome day it’s not quite for me. I was never really awestruck by fame and rumor has it that unicorns are high maintenance. Lottery winnings might be nice though. But my perfect day would have to involve the freedom to roam the hills of Appalachia. I think I would like nothing more than to pick a trail along the river and slowly amble my way downstream while exploring all the little nooks and crannies that are seldom seen. I have even fantasized about packing up a fleet of canoes documenting all the rivers and streams in West Virginia. Perhaps even find some pre-columbian ruins and photograph mysterious petroglyphs before the elements obscure them forever. Or perhaps find a rare flower that has never been seen before. These were the dreams of my childhood. Not that fame and fortune were a bad thing but it was a lifestyle of simplicity and the wonder of discovery that I found attractive. And, while I may never really be the first person to stumble upon a grand discovery there is the very real possibility of seeing something that’s new to me. And that’s still awesome.

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “A Perfect November Day In The Gorge ” and is available for purchase by using the Contact Form on my website. (Note, I do not share or sale contactinformation. EVER)

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Challenges

Tonight as I tried to decide what image I wanted to post I kept coming back to the series that I call “The Water Walkers”. They make it look so easy. I’ve never been able to stand up straight on a skateboard and I’m pretty sure that a paddle board would fly right out from under me as well. But as I look at the people riding them out in front of Kanawha Falls I have to admit that it seems like fun. As humans we seem to be driven to challenge ourselves. There’s a certain thrill to overcoming an obstacle and we have that sense of accomplishment. The challenge doesn’t have to be physical. It can be anything you choose. If you’re a foodie it might be the moment that you perfect that special dish. Whatever the challenge the important thing is that you keep rising to challenge until you overcome.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. You’re also invited to follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook. If you don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website at the bottom of my Welcome Page.

Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Water Walker 2”. While this image isn’t for sale I do want to remind you that I am available for portrait sessions by appointment. To inquire a portrait session either message me on Facebook or use the Contact Form on my website.