A Day Hike In Fall ( with a nutty encounter)

One by one colors fall from the sky. There’s a rainbow in the wind. The forest takes on a different scent and the sounds change as well. For a moment I paused to take in the change and feel the bite of the oncoming cold weather. There’s a loud thump behind me. Cautiously I turned to face whatever beast stalks me. Emptiness. Only the falling leaves and the bare trunks of the trees. Perhaps it was just a branch that had pruned itself in the breeze. A few more steps down the pathway and this time I definitely hear the dry leaves crunch behind me and move to one side. I stepped behind a large yellow poplar as the crunch moves closer. I peek out from my hiding place and then I see the noisiest creature in the woods. A grey squirrel comes bouncing towards me. How a one pound bushy tailed tree rat manages make more noise than a Sasquatch in a dance off is beyond me. But they do. When I step back out the squirrel realizes that his prankster antics are over and in one last leap he disappeared up his own tree. Amused by the fluffy little rascal as he moved from branch to branch I smile and thank God for the beautiful fall day and the warm thermos of coffee back at my big blue truck. It time to leave the squirrel to finish stashing away his winter supplies.

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.

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Tonight’s Feature Image is from Beartown State Park in West Virginia. Titled “Spilled Colors”

The 38th Annual Arts And Crafts Show Hosted by Edgewood Presbyterian Church Wrap Up.

First and foremost I want to publicly thank everyone who worked so hard to put this show together. It’s folks like you who make it easier to connect the public with artists and crafters. This was the second time I have been a participant and I’ve been blessed by all the good friends that I’ve made at the shows.

To my readers… I would absolutely love to take you on a photo tour of the show. However, the other artists and independent businesses work very hard to create unique products and services sold at these shows.

Photography inside these events is strictly prohibited to prevent their designs from being duplicated.

When you pour your heart and soul into the creation process it’s devastating to have someone come in and take away your uniqueness without compensation. We all have a limited amount of life’s energy in this world. When an artist creates he/she imparts a portion of the spirit into the piece. Therefore, unjust duplication of the work is a theft of the soul. This is the reason why I only have pictures of my own booth. And why I have done my best to protect the work of my fellow artists and crafters.

The day begins with an early morning drive through rain and fog. The big blue truck was loaded the previous day with prints and products to be sold and displayed. I have podcasts and music loaded into my Amazon Kindle to keep me company during the trek across Sewell Mountain.

The straight stretches on our roads are a bit of a rare thing. Above is a section of route 60 heading into Lavista West Virginia. The stretch here has always felt picturesque to me.

Above is a section of Route 60 on Sewell Mountain is a little more typical for our roads. Not far from this spot is the place where in 1988 I spent several hours stranded in two feet of snow with a dead car battery. There was no mobile phones in those days and the signal from my citizens band radio was too weak to be of any help. I was eventually rescued by another driver with a set of jumper cables. Today’s trip however was without any trouble at all and it’s an absolutely beautiful drive during the peak color of Fall. (In just a few short weeks)

About two hours after I left l finally arrived at the fairgrounds. The amount of straps might seem to be a bit excessive at first but trip to get here is like a rollercoaster. Loading and unloading the big blue truck in the rain is just a fact of life. You may be looking at the jumbled parts and wondering what the heck all that junk is. Well, the 4Γ—4 beam is the heavy base for my display. It has holes drilled into it that the EMT conduit slips into and it provides a counterbalance for the wire frame. The wire frame provides a place where I can hang the pictures for the public to see as they walk through.

Setting up is the hardest part of doing a show. But once you get the hang of it the work goes quickly.

Magnets and Keyfobs are always a good supplement to wall hangings. It gives me a low cost option for those who fall in love with an image but don’t have the wall space or the budget for larger prints.

My wife’s books nearly sold out! From left to right they are… Her nonfiction book about her 12 year long but victorious battle with depression, her Christian Western romance trilogy that follows the main character from age 18 to age 90, and the daily devotional book that we wrote together. (The devotional features my photos as well). If you like to read please visit Angela Dempsey books on Amazon.

Above are some more of the magnets.

The largest draw into my booth was the Wading Willows. I sold out of the smaller prints of this one.

Another big hit for this particular show was theMt. Olivet United Methodist Church on Droop Mountain. Built in 1880 the log cabin style church served as a gathering place for 137 years. Sadly, the river of time dictates that nothing is permanent on this earth and in October of 2017 the logs had finally sucome to rot and termites. The building was removed by the Barnwood Builders TV show. I have heard varying reports about the outcome of the building but I understand that the congregation now has a new building on the same lot.

Overall, the show was a wonderful experience. I have made new friends including a very special woodworker in his 90s. His work was absolutely exquisite and his daughter “Mary” was one of the sweetest people we’ve ever met at one of the shows. I truly enjoyed meeting people in crowd and sharing the stories behind each photo.

If you have these shows where you live then please consider coming out to one and buy from a person who truly cares about the product they make by hand. If you’re local to West Virginia these shows pop up all over in the Spring and Fall which are perfect for buying holiday gifts for your loved ones.

I have a few smaller shows that I might try to get into and as I do I’ll try to share the experience as a bonus post.

For now the show is over and it’s time to load up the big blue truck and head home. The quiet road is covered with the velvet darkness and soft purple glow of fading day calls me home.

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. You’re also invited to follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook.

The Hunter (part 2)

Hello Friends, before I continue my prehistoric fiction story inspired by the rocks at Beartown State Park in West Virginia I wanted to invite you to make sure that you read Part one first. The Hunter (part 1)

The hair on the back of the hunter’s neck stood up . He strained his eyes trying to penetrate the shadows as he prayed for strength. The thumping of his his heart was so loud it was drowning out the growling and hissing from the back of the cave. His voice cracked as his prayers grow more audible. He moved slowly as he leaned to the right and groped the dark cavern floor for the shaft of his spear. He could not break the lock that the beast had with his eyes. Instinct told him that if he looked away that the creature would pounce. He kept his movements subtle and deliberate. Finally he felt the bite of the spears stone tip against the palm of his hand. He drew the shaft forward projecting that razor sharp obsidian blade towards the danger. With his main tool now in place he braced the butt of shaft with his foot and waited for the terror in the shadows to make its move. His eyes widened as a shrieking howl burst forth. The noise sounded almost like the screaming of a woman. The eyes moved lower as something slinked his direction and paused. Another scream shattered the cavern air and the hunter tightened his grip on the spear. As the firelight fell on his opponent his worst fears were confirmed. The jet black cave lion drew it’s hind legs in tight and sprang forward. The hunter gasped as the cat became airborne and for a split second it seemed to hover in mid air. The hunter felt the full impact of the cat’s weight as it fell motionless across his body. His spear had found it’s mark at the last second. The cat was nearly as large as he was. His muscles strained as he pushed the animal off of himself. He he quickly scanned the cave to make sure that there was no mate to avenge the first cat. Satisfied that he was once again alone he picked up his discarded flute and renewed his song of thankfulness to the creator.

Friends, I hope that you have enjoyed the photo and the story. If you’re new to my blog let me take a moment and let you know that prints of any of my photos are for sale. You can message me for details about how to purchase either with the message button on Facebook or you can use the Contact Form on my website. Simply enjoying my daily posts is free and always will be. 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

The Hunter (part one)

The crisp breeze gently shakes the trees. Brightly coloured leaves rain softly from the canopy. The rustic boardwalk welcomed me foreword and with the first step the outside world disappeared. The rock cap ferns form a thick mat in the leaf litter atop each crag. The rocks at Beartown State Park form a Labyrinth with tunnels and canyons that wind their way through the forest. I imagine that Millenia ago this was a large cave system. Perhaps some prehistoric hunters took shelter here while tracking a primeval beast. In my mind’s eye I can see him unroll a bundle pelts with all of his treasures tucked away safely inside. Wrapped up in the leather pouch at center is the dried meats and wild roots that sustained him on this journey. His fire kit is bound in a separate pouch. Not just any dry sticks will start the fire. The twigs were selected with great care. This was magic and must be treated with the utmost respect. With ritual precision he places a stick in the notch and begins to sing the fire song and spin the evening fire. Soon the smell of smoke rises up from the joining of the wood. He knows not to quit yet and keeps his efforts in time with the fire song. Once the last verse has ended he shakes free the ember from notch and places on a dry mushroom. He remembered the words of his father when the magic was passed down to him. “The fire is a living thing and like all living things it must breath”. The hunter kindles the ember by passing on the breath of life. Again his father’s wisdom speaks to his memories, “living things must be fed slowly so that they do not choke “. The hunter starts to feed the fire fluffed leaves and then small twigs. He progresses from step to step when the fire was strong enough he began to cook his meal. He doesn’t require much. Just a thin stew from his provisions. After the meal he thanked the creator by playing his flute. He had a lot to be thankful for. Good shelter, a warm meal and a rich heritage to keep him strong. As he played something stirs in the back of the cave. Something that is not happy about the noisy music in the cave. The hunter whirls around and comes to one knee. Deep within the shadows of cave the greenishglow of eyes in the firefight glare back at him.

To be continued…

The Hunter (part 2)

Hello Friends and hope that you’re enjoying tonight’s fiction. If you enjoyed this post please like and share my work on your social media and follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook. Each post features a photo taken by me along with original writing. Sometimes fact and sometimes fiction but always inspired by the feature image. On my homepage at www.lloydslensphotographyllc.com you’ll find a subscription link at the bottom of page if you sign up for email alerts you’ll never miss a post.

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.

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. You can also follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook. Leaving a positive review also helps me to grow my audience. πŸ€—

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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Change Is In The Air

It’s hard to believe that in just a few short weeks summer will be over. The pop of color from the wildflowers will be replaced by the reds and yellows of the fall leaves. The soft feeling of the the cool green grass on bare feet will give way to the dry crunch of fallen leaves beneath my favorite pair of boots.

I spent a few minutes outside of my office at my day job and there was a familiar crisp scent in the air. The wind blew a little cooler and I knew that this was the prelude to the change of seasons. The Appalachian Mountains in fall are one of the most beautiful sights your eyes can behold. The vast forests give us a grand finale with a symphony of color just before the trees take their winter slumber. The days are still warm enough to enjoy without the jungle like humidity. For a brief time the trilling song of the tree frogs will change over to the chirps of katydid. The bucks will begin to rub away the velvet from their antlers and establish their territory with epic wrestling matches. The bears are now fat and looking for a nice quiet den to sleep in. Country gardens are in harvest and those who still live off of the land are busy with canning. The wonderful aromas of stews, jellies and jams are coming from every hill and holler in the backcountry. So breathe in the last few moments of summer and get ready for the grand finale of Fall.