January’s Crossings 2

Old man winter howls in rage. His icy breath blasts across the three rivers bringing the deep chill that always comes in the last half of January and early portions of February. As I walk up the track towards the perfect spot to get my shot I’m assailed with tiny bits of ice. Somewhere off to my left I can here the panicked call of a female cardinal. She can’t seem to find her mate and she’s very worried. Instinctively I glanced down towards the direction she’s calling just in time to see something bright red drop from a twig in the underbrush. My heart sinks because the river is up and the male has fallen close to the edge. But I can’t see where he landed. The female is really freaking out now and I began to look for a way down. It’s a myth that if you touch a bird that it’s mate will reject it. There was one other time about fifteen years ago when I scooped up a stunned make cardinal out of the street and sat it gently in a safer place. As soon as I stepped away his mate flew too his side until he felt like flying home. I saw them together many times afterwards. I began to head in the direction of the place where this one fell but after just a few steps he burst forth into the sky like a rocket and rejoined his forever beloved. When he appeared the female’s calls seemed to change from panic to cheering. As they sheltered together under the overhang of a roof it occurred to me that sometimes all you need to be strong is someone who believes in you. Once assured that all was well with the cardinals I returned to shot. The old trestle bridge stood there unshaken by old man winter’s morning tantrum. Perhaps it too merely needs someone to believe in its strength in order to stand against the storm.

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The New Day

The cab of the big blue truck is full of the aroma of fresh brewed coffee as I break through morning mists at the foot of the mountain. As I pass through the little town of Gauley Bridge the sun is just peeking over the mountains. As the light brings life back to the valley the old railroad bridge really catches my eye. The truck comes to rest near the tracks and I get into position for tonight’s feature image.

While taking in the view from the tracks I began to think about how each morning is a fresh start. We have only the arch of the shadows in which to dream and build on those dreams. When the shadows overtake the streets and pathways the opportunity is lost once more in the mountain mists. And, while some of those opportunities pass with shadows others will rise up with the sun on the next morning. The archs only travel in one direction. If we try to pull them back we miss the next cycle. Nobody would stand out on the edge of the their world facing the West waiting for the Sun to come back? However, if we go to the place where the Sun rises we can catch the new day and take advantage of the renewal that comes with it.

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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Visit My Website

Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “The New Day” 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)

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.

Anything Is Possible

My West Virginia Mountains are home to some of our nation’s most creative problem solvers. The 3 rivers area of Gauley Bridge is no exception. In 1954 there were two problems. One, an old Greyhound bus that was no longer able to do bus stuff and a rock in the middle of the river with no fishing camp. Enter problem solver Walter “Bruiser” Cole. I have to admit that I never met this person and I have never been to his unique fishing camp which still looked like a Greyhound bus when I was a kid. I have never been able to figure out how he got it out onto the river either. But it’s been an icon of Gauley Bridge my whole life. I do remember talk in the 70s about the State trying to take his little camp away from him in a clean up effort. They called it junk! Such a unique and artful form of recycling and the State wanted it to go away.

In 2016 there was the worst flooding our area had seen in my lifetime. The News reporters call it the one thousand year flood. With all the damage to our entire state I thought for sure that it was the end of the bus on the the rock. But, on my next trip into town there was the little camp right there on the rock just like always. It kinda became a symbol of hope for me. If that camp could withstand the fury of both the State and nature in such an unlikely location then anything is possible as long as you’re anchored in the rock.

Today, the little camp has a new red,white and blue paint job and an extra room built on. From the front it doesn’t look as much like a Greyhound bus as it once did but the bus is still parked in the middle of the river.

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The Magic In The Mountains

As the morning sun breaks over the distant ridge I can hear the voices coming from the rushing water in the valley below. The mists slowly rise up the mountain reminding me of something that might be seen in Tolkien’s world of Middle Earth. One by one the large rubber rafts come bouncing over the rapids . They’ve traveled from all over the world to experience the thrill of the Gauley River. The Corps Of Engineers and draining the lake for the oncoming winter. I believe that there’s magic in our mountains. All of the fun and joy of summer on Summerville Lake is stored up in the lake itself and released in the fall as whitewater. The fun then moves up paddles and is absorbed into the hands. Eventually this magical essence of fun travels through the heart and comes out as excitement and laughter. The magic is amplified by the canyon walls until it spills over high cliffs and I smile as it touches me. Switching to my long lens I capture a few frames of the rafts passing by and enjoy the last of my coffee. The big blue truck is waiting to take me to the next leg of my journey so I pack my gear and slip behind the wheel. Just before pulling out I roll the window down and allow the magic to fill the cab. Call it “one for the road”.

A Mountain View

I never get tired of the rugged beauty of my home deep inside the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. The dense forest seems to swallow most of the small communities. It is easy stand on one of many overlooks and imagine that the world hasn’t changed in three hundred years. On the morning that I took the feature image with my Canon T5 the mists were hovering around the the sandstone tower. I look at the large tree growing on top of the ancient and weathered rock and I know that it’s probably sixty feet tall or taller. ( about 18 meters). It’s smaller than the ones growing around the base. It’s hard to believe that I’m in a public park about five minutes from the main road. I have my camera case setting next to me on one of the wooden benches. I was here to try and get some cool pictures of the Civil War reenactment group. (In an upcoming post) I was rewarded for being there early by finding out that an international whitewater rafting event was occurring in the valley below. It was a real challenge for me and my 300 mm lens but I did manage to pull off a shots of rafts as they exited the rapids. (also in an upcoming post). The warm morning air and humidity allowed my ever present coffee to fill the air with a rich aroma. I could waste a whole day in this spot just absorbing the peace and quiet. Once my coffee tumbler was empty I stepped back to the big blue truck in the parking lot and placed in its holder. I was about to travel back in time and find the encampments of the Blue and the Grey as they prepare for the yearly clash in an effort to define the future of a nation.

Taking In The View From Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park.

As I stand on the overlook at Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park the storm clouds begin to thicken and turn dark. In spite of the history made here this is a beautiful place where you can enjoy a sense of peace. (I am hoping to get some good photos of the reenactment of the Battle this year. There will be more about the Battle at that time). Behind me a family is playing on the swings but the wind blowing in my ears drowns out the rhythmic squeaking of the playground.

In just a few short weeks they will start draining the lake for winter. That signals the beginning of the rafting season. The Gauley River below will be full of brightly colored kayaks and rafts navigating the Class IV rapids. Mother Nature’s rollercoaster! I have been told bottom of the trail that goes down to the river. In a few places you’ll find virgin timber. I remember seeing the massive stump of an American Chestnut in one of those spots. It was at least ten feet thick when it was alive. Today I just needed to absorb the view and let the wind blow in my face. As I breathe in the peace and tranquility of the mountains the storm clouds offer me the courtesy of a warning shot. The first few large drops of rain land at my feet and I know that it’s time to aim my big blue truck for home.

A Place Of Adventure

I have to admit that I have never been in a kayak before. I’ve always had small rowboats. Still, there’s a strong sense of freedom that comes from gliding over the water and going someplace that you’ve never been. I guess that it’s the perception of a broken barrier. We seem to crave a life without any restrictions. Thanks to Hollywood our perspective of what constitutes an adventure is colored by images of Indiana Jones trudging through the jungle or people in some life and death struggle with the elements. But adventure can be as simple as deciding to do something new. It doesn’t even have to be a thousand miles away from home. In fact there’s a lot to be said for having a warm bed and WiFi when the sun goes down. But I digress. My Appalachian Mountains are full of rivers and streams with all kinds of little coves and hidden beauty to explore. I have been told by a friend that while exploring a local river he found a hidden cash of prehistoric stone points. (I’m sworn to secrecy as to the exact spot on which river). Even the little creek that runs through my yard has yielded a few fossils. But the best reward we get from our rivers is the tranquility that comes from peacefully floating around and going wherever your heart takes you.