Skipping Stones

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Nothing brings to mind the carefree days of childhood than skipping stones. Before cable tv, before the internet and before Fortnight we would hike down to Collison Creek where the stream was just wide enough to make a flat stone bounce and skip along the water’s surface. It wasn’t really wide enough to go for long distance. Making it to the other side of the creek was fairly easy so we got creative. In some spots the water flows around large rocks that made perfect bumpers. The object was to play the bank shot by skipping a stone into the bumper and making it land in a certain place. Sometimes we could get one to skip on the rebound after bouncing off of the bumper stone. Other skipping stone games involved landing a stone on a sand bar and a second player would try knock it off with his stone. This one lead to another incarnation that we called “soldier’s fort”. We would wade out to the sand bar and stack rocks like cairns. Usually the stack was only 2 or 3 stones high. Then twigs were gathered from the forest floor and stuck in the sand like a palisade. The object was to crash through the wall by skipping a stone into it until you could knock down a stack of rocks. We never really kept a score. It was all about finding something to do in an age where you had to create your own fun.

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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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Memories Of The Hay Fields

When I was very young putting up hay was a way for most young men to make a little spending money. A person could drive through the country at certain times of the year and the fields were lined from one end to the other with rows and rows of square bales of hay. The farmers would be seen with huge stacks of perfectly compressed blocks of cut and dried grasses of various types towering over tractors or pickup trucks on their way to a barn. It wasn’t really uncommon to a couple of the older boys riding on top of the stack as the vehicle drifted carefully across the fields while two more boys tossed more bales up to add to the stack. The unloading process was just as laborious with the boys on top of the stack tossing the bales back down or directly into the barn for storage.

Sometime in the late 70s or early 80s I started seeing the large round bales like you see in the feature image. My grandfather began remarking on how his poor cows wouldn’t be able to have a square meal. The iconic large stack of square bales disappeared into the past. ( I’m sure that there’s still some around however I haven’t seen it for decades). The crew of three or four teenage boys was replaced by a tractor with a fork lift attachment. The round bales turned out to be a be a better deal for the farmer because of the labor costs but every time I see the round bales I get nostalgic for the view of acres and acres perfectly lined up rectangular blocks on contour with the landscape.

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Country Zen 1” and is available for purchase by usingthe Contact Form on my website. ( just click on the the bell below)

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A Matter Of Perspective

The Kanawha River is often turbulent in this spot. There’s days when it climbs up out of it’s banks and threatens to wash away everything and we would be powerless to stop it. But every other day it’s calm and peaceful. Most days it’s a great place to sit down and enjoy life. You can fish or if you’re observant you might spot a bald eagle or an Osprey in this spot. In the Spring violets dot the landscape with blues, purples, reds and yellows. The songbirds are abundant here as well. As I look towards the distant shore beyond the falls it’s hard to think about the raging waters that have been here and will come again. It would be easy to look at the little park at Kanawha Falls (or any other body of water) and live in fear of the next stormy day and the rage of nature but then we would miss the beauty on the good days. Life is all about perspectives. We can focus on the good times or the hard times. Both are going to be present. But if we are focused only on the hard times will miss out on beautiful times in between the storms.

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

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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 Long Night And Meaning Of The Lights On The Tree

Recently I made the comment that I was more excited about the 21st of December than I was for the 24th or 25th. The 21st of December is the longest night of year. And, when the dawn breaks on the 22nd the light returns to planet Earth. Most people are aware of the winter solstice and how the early church decided that it was just perfect for celebrating Jesus’s birthday.

Saint John 1:4-5

4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Simply put, the lights on a Christmas tree represent Jesus Christ as the light of the world.

The Appalachian Winter is one where we can have snow or rain or both for Christmas but the darkness of December is a constant. The steep incline of our hills and low angle of the sun makes the normally long night even longer. The darkness like sin seems to suffocate you. It brings a coldness that seeps into very core of your being. But just when you think it’s going to be dark forever the light breaks over a distant ridge and the cold night begins to retreat. The light returns and with it comes new life.

As I’ve studied the deeper meanings behind our Christmas decorations I’ve come to understand that the Christmas Tree itself is a microcosm of the Jesus experience. We can decorate the tree with all kinds of trinkets and bobbles and assign different meanings to them and make it a beautiful and artistic expression of our Christian faith but it’s when the lights are turned on that it comes to life and brings us joy.

So, that’s the meaning behind the Christmas lights. It’s the expression of new life coming into world and the exit of the long dark night.

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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Tonight’s Feature Image is untitled but is available for purchase by usingthe Contact Form on my website. ( just click the picture of the bell below)

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Blue Treasure

Tiny wings dance in the warm summer breeze as I explore the edges of my yard. She seems so carefree as she flits and flickers from place to place. The pale blue wings are are a joy to behold as the shutter snaps. It’s as if the Spring violets came to life and took to the wind. I have watched these little butterflies my whole life and never really took the time to find out the name. At first I thought that it was “Small Blue” which is a species found in the U.K. and Asia. But with a second Google search I learned that it’s a Spring Azure. Both are from the Lycaenidae family. The internet is full of scientific data on the feeding and mating habits as well as the season and range and all of the wonderfully nerdy things that make the internet interesting. But the best part of the little blue butterflies that are spotted in the warmer months is the childlike giggle that comes from deep within the soul when they’re near.

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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Recently, I’ve been made aware that many of my posts on Facebook are being buried in the feed. So, if you don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website at the bottom of theWelcome Page

Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Blue Treasure” and is available for purchase by using the Contact Form on mywebsite.(Note, I do not share or sale contact information.EVER)

4X6 is $5.00

5X7 is $10.00

8X10 is $15.00

Some cropping may be necessary for certain sizes.

Ring this bell to order prints or schedule portraits

I’m also available for portraits by appointment. Use the Contact Form or message me on Facebook for details.