Race Against The Storm

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Thunder On The Gauley River ” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Late Spring and early Summer is storm season in my Appalachian Mountains. The heavy dark clouds rake across the ridges and the sky takes on that ominous hue. I have been watching the tulip poplar all day. Just before a storm they turn the underside of their leaves outwards and begin to shake and sway. Once as a child I heard my paternal grandmother make reference to the poplars doing a rain dance. “Thems trees are gonna make thunder”. She said in her old time mountain dialect. She was from Jodi which is the little village on the right side of the river in tonight’s feature image. But I digress.

I knew that the view from the Gauley River always offered a spectacular image during inclement weather. Having just come from the west I estimated that had just enough time to jog out to the middle of the bridge before my gear and I was soaked. By the time I got to just the right spot the sky was really getting dark. Small birds were darting around in a flurry taking advantage of the disoriented insects that were caught in the breeze. Just a few minutes later the flight of the birds was replaced by the leaves that were blown down from the mountain. I had to work quickly if I wanted to be dry when I made it back to my big blue truck. I was able to get a few exposures before the sound of approaching rain began to echo up from down river. It was time to move and move fast. I could hear the stormfront gaining on me as I stretched out my stride in order to pick up speed. I dared not look back while I fumbled with the fob and repeatedly pressed the unlock button. As the door slammed shut the large globular drops impacted the windshield. I raced back onto the highway and straitened a few curves in an effort to beat the storm to my home. I managed to get there just as the storm caught up with me. In it’s final act of wrath the storm managed to keep me in the truck for a few minutes but as it was drawing it’s second breath I slipped out of the garage. In my final act of defiance I closed the door to the house. I suppose that this time my race against the storm ended in a draw.

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Take Time To Grow

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Hickory Seedling 43019″and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

It’s not how you start out but where you end up that’s important. Growing as hard as it can this little hickory tree is barely a foot tall. But if it lives long enough it could end up being one hundred and twenty feet tall. But that’s not going to happen overnight. It’s likely to take hundreds of years of hot summers and icy winters. It will have to survive multiple windstorms and seasons of drought before it can be a giant.

In our age of technological wizardry when you can fix a hot meal and download your favorite feature length film in less than five minutes we have come to expect instant success. We want the “cheat codes” of life. But then what? You can’t cheat life without cheating yourself out of the reasons why winning is awesome. A one hundred and twenty feet tall tree that has never weathered the storms will be doomed to crashing down in the first gust of wind. Like our own bodies, a tree has to develop its strength and flexibility by being exposed to the harsh conditions. It takes time to develop that kind of strength. It’s a battle that often leaves scars inside the wood. Not every tree reaches its full height. In fact, the average hickory tree is only sixtyfive feet tall. About half of its potential. And still we sit beneath it’s branches in awe of its size not considering that at one point in its life it was just another plant growing in a ditch. Most of us would have mistaken it for a weed.

A hickory seedling looks like just another weed

We shouldn’t measure our lives by where we are now. We need to consider that reaching our potential means weathering many storms and taking the time to develop those strong roots that hold us fast.

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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If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Click here to visithttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer.

Thank you again for your support of my page!❤

The Spring’s Flame & The Return Of The Hummingbirds

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “The Flame Of Spring” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The rain fades away under the cover of darkness. As the new dawn drives away the mists the honeysuckle burns brightly in defiance of the cold rain. The orange flowers open slowly at first, just a few at a time in the early stage. However, the rest all seem to open at once overnight. It’s as if the dawn sun has set the bushes ablaze. It’s normally about this time of year that I begin to hear the buzzing of tiny wings all throughout the different types of honeysuckle on my land. The bees have been working the wildflowers for a few weeks now but another set of wings will soon be joining the rest.

Small and agile, a living dart zips in and around the sweet smelling blooms testing each one to see if it contains the ambrosia detected. His energy is sustained by the nectar found within the base of the flowers. He has flown thousands of miles to get here in time for the bloom. The Ruby Throated Hummingbird as arrived at long last.

I have yet to actually spot one this year but I am expecting them soon. I have plenty of photos of the hummingbird’s favorite foods but catching a good photo of one has been as challenging as catching up with the eagles on the Kanawha River. Maybe even more so because they never really seem to rest for more than a few seconds. However because they do favor my honeysuckle bush and azaleas I have set a goal for myself to get a good shot of one eventually.

They say that the brightest flame burns quickly and that’s certainly true for my orange honeysuckle. The bush is at full bloom now and I’ve gotten several photos of this year’s flowers but I am still waiting for hummingbirds to make their appearances.

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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Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer.

Thank you again for your support of my page! ❤

Catch The Moment

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Mountain Purity” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Soft clouds skim the mountains and the scent of the pending rain fills the air. The birds have settled down in the thick underbrush to take cover from the change in weather. During a lull in the wind I ventured out with my camera to see what I might find before the rain begins. The first thing I spotted was my Azalea that was planted by the previous owner. The delicate white flowers bruise very easily and if I’m going to get a shot before they are battered by the storm and turn brown now is the time.

As I’m admiring the bloom from different angles I can’t help think about how pure they look. The white flowers on the field of white felt very fresh and clean. I spent all winter hoping for a chance to capture something with this same feeling of purity but the mild winter here means mostly rain and mud. But the Azalea more than made up for the lost opportunity.

With the rain scent in the air and the white flowers I was feeling very renewed. Soon I heard the lonely cry of a Mourning Dove and I knew that my opportunity for photographing the unspoiled flowers wouldn’t last much longer. Before I knew it I was feeling the sprinkles of the rain hitting the back of my neck. The flowers will be here for a few more days but they will be bruised and my best opportunity has come to a close.

I put my lens cap back on and hovered over the camera body to keep it dry as I stepped back into the house. The lesson that I learned from this experience was to appreciate the moments as they come. The flowers are mine and they bloom every year but I’m not always able to catch them before the hard rains come and the moment is lost. My generation came up with Carpe Diem, Seize The Day and the phrase is now well known. But what is unsaid is that a day is made up of a collection of moments. If we could really seize the moment as it comes then the day will be ours.

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

If you would like to Follow me on Facebook the web address is

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If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Click the web to go tohttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer.

Thank you again for your support of my page! 😊

Dogwood, A True Mountain Beauty

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Dogwood in Spring 2019” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

I think that nothing says Appalachian Spring quite like a dogwood tree in full bloom. It’s something that I look forward to so much that I start watching the buds (called “biscuits”) in mid February.

Close up of the Dogwood “biscuits” on February 16th.

I’d be lax in my duties as a representative of Appalachia if I neglected to mention the legend of the Dogwood and it’s relationship with Christian culture in Appalachia.

The legend isn’t biblical and most likely originated in the Eastern United States however it is used to tell the story of the crucifixion of Christ and because the tree is in bloom close to passion week it works well.

Although twisted and knotted dogwood is strong wood and it is dense. It’s wood can have reddish hue which makes for a beautiful walking stick.

A natural purple dye can be made from the bark and wood shavings.

A European cousin to the Dogwood is the cornelian cherry which has a somewhat tart but edible berry that’s much larger than the American dogwood.

Sadly, the beautiful bloom lasts for only a few weeks and even then it’s often beaten and bruised by hard rain in late April and Early May. Some years it’s lost to a killing frost. But while we have it the Dogwood bloom is one of the most wonderful things in the Appalachian Mountains.

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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https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

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Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form.
https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer.

Thank you again for your support of my page! 😊

Forage Friday 5… Dandelion

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Sun Seed” and the image at the bottom is titled “Make a wish and blow” both are available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the page.

If you’re in the Eastern part of North America then I’m willing to bet that the first flower the you ever picked for your mom was either a daisy or a dandelion. While much maligned by those who want a yard that looks like a putting green the humble dandelion is a wild edible plant that just keeps giving.

Living in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia means that I grew up listening to my grandparents generation singing the praises of the dandelion. Every Spring the rural yards were dotted with happy yellow flowers. I remember hearing one of the other kids comment that it looked like pieces of sun fell off and took root.

Even though the local reputation for dandelion was a positive one we didn’t consume it in our house. It wasn’t until went on a wilderness survival camp in Civil Air Patrol that I tried it for the first time by nibbling on the leaves and flowers. The leaves are a little bitter. The flowers had a dry texture that didn’t really appeal to my tastes at that time. I was aware of dandelion as a wild edible plant but that first experience with the flower kept me focused on the leaves.

It wasn’t until I got really bad sick with pancreatitis and liver problems that I tried anything more than a few nibbles of the leaves or stem. I had read in a few manuals that dandelion was good for the liver. I began to keep dandelion tea on hand. I can’t credit it with curing me completely because I also took the medicine that my doctor prescribed. But do think it helped me and every so often I enjoy a cup or two for maintenance. ( I am not trained herbalist or medical professional of any kind. If you’re sick please seek a professional for advice. I’m only telling you about my own experiences with dandelion)

The roots of the dandelion are said to make an excellent coffee substitute when roasted. While it might look like coffee and even taste like coffee it has no caffeine. That makes it an unsuccessful substitute for coffee in my opinion. But it’s fine as its own thing.

Speaking of that tap root, it’s very long. A dandelion root can get as long as eighteen inches. And it’s great at breaking through compressed soil and pulling up nutrients that locked up deep underground. Left alone, the dandelion can help revitalize overworked land.

And as we all know it’s plentiful! It’s odd to me that in some parts of society humans spray poison in the yard to prevent the dandelion from growing for free but go to store and buy salad that’s shipped in from far away. The dandelion tea that I mentioned earlier had to purchased because it was the dead of winter and there was no wild ones to be found. For organic dandelion at a specialty store the price was $6.00 per box. Something to think about before spraying the lawn with Roundup.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the Dandelion Festival in White Sulphur Springs next month. It’s a pretty big celebration in honor of the happy yellow flowers who pop up in Spring. The festival features one of Appalachia’s most unique products; dandelion wine. I’m not really a wine connoisseur so I can’t really judge the quality of the wine however it does have a great reputation as both a wine and a tonic. The festival itself consists of parades, music and handcrafted items of all kinds.

Last but not least, Dandelions are a source of wishes. Think real hard about your wish and blow on the seed head. The seeds will carry your wishes to heaven.

Make a wish and blow!

⚠️Please remember that my blog is about the photos and that Forage Friday is only intended to entertain you and not to make you an expert forager.⚠️

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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If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

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Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me

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I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer.

Thank you again for your support of my page! 😊

Among The Bracken

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. Tonight’s feature image is titled “Baby Bracken Fern” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Just below the blanket of last season’s leaves the infrared light of the sum warms the sleepers. They’ve spent the winter curled up into little balls dreaming of the day when they will push back the blanket and reach out for the light. Their line is one of the oldest in the forest. They’ve completed this spring ritual since the day of their creation. They even remember the thunder of the dinosaurs feet. Although they can sprout from spores the braken commonly sprouts from underground runners. The unfurling of the fronds can take on the appearance of ballet when viewed through the magic of time lapse photography. The term “fiddleheads” can refer to any emerging fronds but is most associated with the ostrich fern and it’s edible form. The dense coating of fur on the bracken and the hazard of possibly causing cancer makes the bracken unappealing as an edible. But as part of the landscape it adds just the right amount of a primeval feel to inspire visions of mist covered landscape from long ago. Perhaps even an alien world covered by a dense jungle.

As l look around at the fiddleheads in various stages of unfurling I have to imagine that the first one to finish makes a “Ta-Da!” sound as it does.

I wasn’t able to find the ostrich ferns that I was looking for but I was able to get out and enjoy the fresh air and spend some time in one of my natural sanctuary spots. I took a few minutes to breathe the fresh air and listen to the birds for a while. Finding that moment of peace was the real prize on this trip.

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

If you would like to Follow me on Facebook the web address is

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If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Click the web to go tohttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me onFacebook or use the contact form

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer.

Thank you again for your support of my page! 😊