Panning For Appalachian Gold (And why I named it so )

The soft rain falls steadily from from the darkened sky. Late fall and early winter in the Appalachian Mountains of my West Virginia home is usually marked by gray skies. Most of fall leaves are now on the ground but a few cling to the branches above. As the world around me swims in cold mists of the season a single leaf drops from the ridge line above and comes to rest in a pool of water near my home. As it floats in the pool against the dark background the mists collect on it’s surface. The leaf is from a Yellow Poplar and so is the seed that floats on the right side of feature image. I was struck by simple beauty of the scene that God created before my very eyes and preserved it forever in my lens.

I have given tonight’s feature image the title “Panning For Appalachian Gold” not just because of the yellow color of the leaf but because of the economic importance of the lumber. Yellow Poplar is a fast growing tree and is used to make plywood for building materials. The logs are peeled in layers on a giant lathe and the resulting sheets are cut to standard sizes. Knots are cut out of sheets and plugs are planted firmly in their place by a hydraulic press. The sheet are then stacked so that the grain of the wood is transverse with the adjoining layer making it very strong. When people think of West Virginia they normally associate our state with the coal industry but the timber industry is also one of our biggest resources. It’s gold that actually grows out of the ground.

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

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Childhood Memories Of A Winter Morning

The hoary frost clings to the bare branches and the world starts to look like white velvet. The cool weather brings the smell of wood smoke to the valley. I can really relate to the philosophy of the bears as old man winter approaches. The urge to pull the thick quilted blankets over my head and not come out until Easter is very tempting. But then there’s the traditional cold weather hardy breakfasts that draws us back to humanity. Some of my favorite winter memories include waking up to the smell of warm maple syrup and the sounds of bacon in a hot skillet. Today we can call up any entertainment we want to with the aid of technology but in my earliest memories there was only three channels and cartoons were only available on weekends. After breakfast we would pile up on the couch with that heavy quilt and favorite pillow and spend the whole day watching T.V. Even without the T.V. I enjoyed just curling up in my blanket and watching the fire burn.

As the dark days of winter grow shorter over the next month it’s a good time to recharge your biological batteries. The light will be returning soon and soon afterwards there will be a world reborn to explore.

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Winter Reflections On The Kanawha River” and is available for purchase by using the Contact Form on my website.(Note, I do not share or sale contact information.EVER)

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The Old Barn On Muddlety Creek, November 2018

I had a few minutes to spare on my last trip to town a few days ago and decided to pay a visit to one of my favorite subjects. Namely, the old barn on Muddelty Creek. The past few years has not been kind to this majestic old barn. More of the roof has been stripped away by the wind. The framework is sagging more than the last time I was there as well. I have learned a little more about the history of the barn and how it came to be left derelict and neglected. It was and still is tied up in legal issues. As I stand on the quiet country road doing my work with the lens the damp air grows more chilled and a light snow starts to fall. I can’t help but to imagine the old barn in happier times. Children would have been playing games in and around the barn as livestock grazes in the background. A young boy and his sister poke their heads out from the loft door and look for shapes in the clouds. A young mother watches with safety concerns from a kitchen window as her husband reassures her that the kids will be just fine. He pauses for moment and suggests that perhaps he should go and look for the farriers rasp that he lost in the barn last week. She knows that she saw that rasp hanging next to the horse’s stall. Right where it’s always been since the day they were married. Soon after he enters the barn the children exit and go off to play a different game.

I’m roused from my daydreaming by a large snowflake that lands right in my ear. I’ll take a few more shots from a couple of different angles and wish the old barn well as I climb in the big blue truck and run my errands. What the future holds for the old barn is unclear but for as long as it offers it’s beauty and inspiration I’ll continue to come to this spot for a daydream and photos.

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

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The Passing Seasons

I am amazed at the velocity of time. The scene in tonight’s feature image is only one week ago. While I have not been to same spot twice in the past week I can tell by trees and leaves in my yard that the fall colors are almost gone. As I look up to the tops of the mountains I can see the bare branches. It’s as if the older trees are stretching their arms with a sleepy yawn and preparing for the winter’s hibernation. The reds and oranges and yellow are fading to browns and tans. I can see the squirrels in the tops as they run from branch to branch patrolling their borders. A young friend commented today that she wished this day would end as she took on one difficult task after another. I heard the voice of every elder in my life coming out of my throat as I replied to her by advising her not to wish time away.

The special moments of life are fleeting indeed. And entire season (natural season, not calendar season) has, passed before my eyes in just a few days. Like drops of water they add up and before you know it there’s a sea of moments that are forever gone.

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. 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 “Wolf Creek In Fall 2018” and is available for purchase by contacting me on Facebook or by using theContact Form on my website. (Note, I do not share or sale contactinformation. EVER)

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October Winds

The fall colors began with just a few leaves a couple of weeks ago. Now the color spreads like a fire across the mountains. As the cool green yields to the blaze of reds and oranges highlighted by yellows geese are crossing the sky in their familiar chevron formation. The October winds carry the leaves and deposit them on the sidewalks and driveways turning the landscape into an abstract painting. Somewhere in the countryside a father has just put his rake into the garage and while his back was turned his children are preparing for the ritual jump into the pile. He smiles as he hears the whispers and giggles. They’re the reason why he takes the time to use the rake instead of just grinding them up with the lawnmower. He steps fully inside and watches them through the kitchen window as the leaves are cast back into the sky. The slight chill in the air fortells that all too soon the colors of Fall will give way to the blank canvas of Winter.

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. Please also consider following 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.

Tonight’s Feature Image is titled Slow Flames and is available for purchase by contacting me with the message button on Facebook or the Contact Form on my website.

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Overcoming Produces Beauty

I’ve said it before about how much I love twisted and crooked, gnarly trees. The curls sweeps of the wood speak of challenges that were overcome to survive. I’m not sure what caused the arabesque in the trunk of this one but the moment I saw the double curve I fell in love with the tree. No doubt that it had to have carried the weight of at least one or maybe two larger trees as it grew. I also have no doubt that it’s unique shape prevented it from being harvested at some point in its history.

Sometimes God allows us to go through struggles that we don’t understand. We might wonder how much longer a situation will last. We might think that the burden we carry will pull us down. But if we just keep going and we don’t give up we can make it. Sure, there’s going to be scars and we may not stand as tall as some of our contemporaries. But, that doesn’t make us any less beautiful. It makes us overcomers and it makes us unique.

As I looked around at the surrounding forest there were hundreds of trees that were straight and tall. Some of trunks were so thick that you and your best friend couldn’t reach all the way around them by joining hands. But they all faded into the background. The only one that stood out and begged to be photographed was the one who was unique. One day this tree will fall just like the rest of them. As a woodworker I can imagine some bent wood furniture being made from crooked trunk. If it ever happens it will be a centerpiece in someone’s home where the others couldn’t compete with the graceful curves produced by overcoming the struggle. Don’t ever give up. Bend and adapt to overcome and you’ll grow into something special.

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September 22nd 2018. The First Day Of Fall

As I stepped out of the house today the signs of Fall were everywhere. The Box Elder tree in the yard is really dropping it’s leaves. The air is cooler and less humid than yesterday. Soon the green leaves will turn golden yellow, red and orange. Early Fall is a great time to be outdoors. The oppressive heat of mid to late summer gives way to the cool dry winds from the North. This the time of year that we would start putting up firewood for the winter. The smell of the fresh cut oak mixed with coffee from a thermos during a work break will forever be one of my most cherished memories. I can remember sitting on the tailgate of a pickup truck and watching the squirrels play as I ate my lunch. The mottled light pours in from the broken forest canopy and in the distance the sound of footfalls in the dry leaves let’s me know that I’m not alone. I hop off the tailgate and peek through the bushes to see a buck looking back at me. His antlers are still in velvet. His nostrils flare as he tries to catch my scent. I make one move forward and he snorts fiercely then disappears into the shadows of the closest thicket.

Another thing that I look forward to in fall is homemade stew. Often the firewood collected in fall would soon be put to good use just a few short weeks later. We heated the house with a Fisher wood burning stove. A large stock pot and a low flame kept the stew simmering for hours. The smell of cooked tomatoes and carrots and a beef roast filled the house. The stew was always thick and rich. We would come in from the crisp air and the aroma alone was enough to renew my vigor after a hard day’s work.

Fall has so much to look forward to that instead of mourning the loss of Summer I want to welcome Fall with open arms and my favorite denim jacket. I look forward to being able to share with you the bright colors of Fall and some the activities in my mountains as we move ever forward in the river of time.

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