Fly Away

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Fly Away”. All of the photos on my blog are my original work and are available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

I was walking around the ridge across from Yeager Airport as I often do when the sound of the Cicadas was drowned out by roar of twin engines. The ridge line is close to the runway and the planes are often very low as they take off and land. Everything from passenger jets and C-130s to little Cessnas buzz about the mountains here.

Now, I’ll need to be honest that I’m not as familiar with the makes and models of small aircraft as I would like to be. I know it’s a small one and that’s about it. But it looked to me like that pilot was truly enjoying his job. Ever since the plane flew over the soundtrack in my head has been stuck on Lenny Kravitz signing the chorus to “Fly Away”.

“Oh I want to get away.

I want to fly away

Yeah Yeah Yeah”

According to Songfacts Fly Away was kinda an afterthought. It was supposed to be on the B side of the album. That’s right. The song that won the artist a Grammy was the one they thought wasn’t good enough to feature. A fact I didn’t know until I began to read up on it for this article. In fact it’s only because a friend advised him to halt production and restructure the album that the song was featured.

I started the article with the thoughts of pure joy and freedom that escaping from gravity would bring. The icon of the aircraft fully in it’s element and silhouetted against the cloudbank spoke to my soul and the deep desire to be unfettered. This is the same feelings invoked by the song and the two just go hand in hand. But what I learned was that sometimes it’s what we thought was failed effort can turn out to be the winning move if we’re willing to take a risk.

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Looking Down To Fayette Station & A Little Boy’s Dreams Of Flight

Tonight’s post contains extra information for Facebook users who are being blocked from using the links on my blog.

The New River Gorge is one of the most beautiful places in West Virginia. Normally photos taken of this area feature the New River Gorge Bridge spanning the gorge 876 feet above the water. However, once per year the bridge is open to pedestrians and there’s a chance to get the opposite angle featuring Fayette Station. The view of the canyon is as good as it gets without a helicopter. I remember back in late 70s and early 80s there was a hang glider craze and at least one time I saw gliders on the canyon rim. I have no idea if it was a good idea due to wind but it sounded like fun. The big concern would have been winds blowing the glider into a rock. I’ve stood up on a ledge along the canyon walls and experienced the rain coming up from valley below due to those winds.

Walking the bridge and the high cliff overhangs of West Virginia always inspired the sensation of flying for me. As a child with a very active imagination I always pretended that I could build a giant paper airplane and sail it from the edge of canyon. In my little fantasy I would bank by leaning one way or the other and sail all the way to Gauley Bridge. It’s a fantasy brought back to me by standing on the edge of the New River Gorge Bridge and looking down at Fayette Station.

Hello Friends! I hope that are enjoying my blog. In the closing of my nightly post I normally include links built into the images to give those who interested in subscribing or buying a copy of the photo a way to do so. The vast majority of my readers find my through Facebook and I have enjoyed exchanging comments and the occasional email with feedback about the image or the story. All made easy by the links on my website which I keep free from ads and spam. Unfortunately in their last update Facebook gas found a way to block those links. I’ve checked the posts by other bloggers and their links are deactivated as well. This only happens when a reader gets here via Facebook. So, below each photo I’ve included a separate link that can be copied and pasted if the link in photo doesn’t work.

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The Power Of Flight

The power of flight has been part of mankind’s fascination throughout all of human history. I remember when I was very young that I would spend hours seated in the floor leafing through books about airplanes and flight in general. I was always especially drawn to the more exotic aircraft. DaVinci’s ornithopter was a particular favorite. I would study his drawings and try to memorize every line and curve of the craft. I tried to imagine how the pivot points would fit together and how the steering would function. I studied the works of those who came later and added hot air balloons and Zeppelin technology to the basic designs. Later I would Chuck Yeager’s biography about breaking the sound barrier for the first time. And there’s also the interview with a man who built an ultralight flyer that fit in a suitcase and escaped from East Berlin in it.

Today there’s the real possibility of the car in my driveway being replaced by a drone powerful enough to take me almost anywhere. (Nevermind that the Hiller Flying Platform and the Williams Wasp differed a similar technology decades ago) I’ve often commented to my wife that is such a shame that the best angles for certain photos were a hundred feet in air over the river. But the possibility of climbing aboard a quad-copter and shooting from the window is only a few steps away!

No matter what the future of flight holds in technology it will always bring romantic notions going where you want to when you want to. There will also be a crazy idea that with just a little tweaking will inspire the next generation of would be pilots who dream of having their very own wings.

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 titled “The Magic Feather” and is available for purchase by using the Contact Form on my website.

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4X6 is $5.00

5X7 is $10.00

8X10 is $15.00

Some cropping may be necessary for certain sizes.

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Stepping Out Of The Comfort Zone

It’s not easy to step out onto the edge. There’s something about that place if transition from one state of being to the next that really gets our attention. We get butterflies in our stomachs and our knees begin to tremble. We can feel our hearts pounding as adrenaline surges through our veins. That’s the feeling I would have during a repelling exercise or leaping from the tall cliffs into the water. In my young mind I knew that this is what it felt like to fly. Fear, excitement and recklessness all come together to form the experience. When I was a kid I had the opportunity to spend some one on one time with some of the Blue Angels flight team and I like the way one of the pilots described this feeling. He said that “There’s no difference between the thrill of flying and the fear of falling.” His point was that it’s in overcoming your desire to remain comfortable with your circumstances that we become more than we was yesterday.

It doesn’t have to be piloting the latest and hottest high performance jet at beyond the speed of sound. It doesn’t even have to be leaping into water or sliding down a cliff on a rope. (In fact especially not the cliff in the feature image. There’s no water under the rocks here and it’s not a legal place to repell from.) It could be as simple as deciding to strike up a conversation with that person who you’re interested in or starting a blog where you share your deepest thoughts with the world. Whatever it is know that when you overcome that shaky feeling that this is what it’s like to fly.

Soar

The shadow sweeps silently across the landscape and the forest freezes. The songbirds have stopped singing and the squirrels hug the trees tightly as they try their best to look like a piece of bark. Only the humans seem oblivious to the predator soaring in the sky above. He is a master of the sky. He flies higher and faster than anything living in the area. The wind speaks his name. It’s an ancestral call that he cannot resist. He dives from his perch in the tallest tree and skims the Treetops as he answers. His heart throbs with excitement as he reaches his speed and meets the wind. As he pulls upward into the flow his wings beat the air into submission with a wild thunder. Gravity fails to bind him as he achieves the apex and locks his wings. It’s time to soar. As he dances with the breeze something stirs deep within his core being. It is the quickening in his spirit. He is at one with the phoenix, aileron and the roc. He is king of the sky.

The Secret Of Winning

An aerial battle of titanic proportions is playing out in sky above me. There’s not a flying ace that ever lived that could out maneuver these airborne warriors. Both are masters of the sky. I gaze skyward and watch the spectacle. Just as many times before, the little raven vanquished the large buzzard. It’s a true David and Goliath story. Being the biggest and the strongest does not guarantee victory. Ever.

We all have to face a battle at some point. We’ve either given ground until there’s just no more ground to give or what we’re protecting is too valued to lose. Oftentimes the enemy we face seems too big and too strong. We have doubts about our skills and ability to overcome. The lesson I have learned from watching the experts is don’t pick a fight but if the fight picks you then give no quarter and don’t hold back. When people ask me how deal with a big problem I have the answer because a little bird told me his secret.

Ready for take off

The image above was taken at Northgate Business Park in Kanawha County West Virginia.

When I look at this image I’m taken back forty some years. Back to a time before digital photography and drones. A time when many of the conveniences we enjoy today were science fiction. We used to fly kites on a ridge like this one. We learned what was like to hold the wind in your hands. I was always convinced that one day I would build a kite large enough carry me into the clouds. I would go out on windy days with a jacket and find a nice windy spot. I would open the zipper and stick my hands in the jacket’s pockets and stretch out like a kite. I would close my eyes and turn into wind catching it my jacket. I would sway and tilt just like the kites did. As I grew older, I learned that jackets don’t make good hang gliders but I never lost that dream. Even today I will sometimes open my jacket with hands in pockets and imagine that I’m floating in the wind. Perhaps that’s one reason why I like this spot. It looks like a great runway and I just happen to be wearing my flying jacket today.