Blood,Sweat And Steel

Hello Friends! Tonight’s image is titled “Curves In Repetition” and if you want to purchase a copy please see the instructions at the bottom of the page.

When I think about workers laying down the tracks the image in my mind is of burly men with sledgehammers driving the steel. I can hear the hammer ring and feel the sweat of hard labor in the afternoon sun. The air is humid and thick with the smell of the creosote on the heavy wooden crossties. A civil engineer maintains a careful eye on the transit. Being off by a few inches now would mean missing the mark later. The crew works as single unit. Each takes his turn with the hammer in sequence with perfect timing. Somewhere along the way another team welds the sections together into a perfectly seamless pair of ribbons. Everything they do comes at price of aching muscles and stiff backs. The result is a web of steel, wood and concrete that stretches through mountains and valleys and across rivers in a way that adds romantic beauty to the landscape. They are artists and their medium is blood, sweat and steel.

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Just A Little Farther

Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “A Little Farther Down The Line” and is available for purchase by using the Contact Form on my website or by messaging me Facebook. Links to each are provided below.

Just a little farther down the line, a new day dawns.

Just a little farther down the line, a new hope waits.

Just a little farther down the line a door opens.

Just a little farther down the line a friend welcomes.

Just a little farther down the line a dinner has been prepared.

Just a little farther down the line a celebration is in revelry.

Just a little farther down the line a family is reunited.

Just a little farther down the line it’s all there.

Step by step. Breath by breath. Day by day. We get there from here by not stopping, but by pressing a little farther down the line.

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.

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Crossroads And Transition

Where do you go in your dreams? Are you at home or in some distant world that is alien to your waking self? Are you ever at a crossroads? I’ve read that dreaming about a bridge is symbolic of transition. Dreams about a crossroads is symbolic of making a decision. Do we take the iron ribbon that pulls us straight forward or travel up the mountain and find our way to the bridge? What if there’s a third choice? A pathway that’s not obvious. If you look closely at the road into the mountains there’s a sign that indicates it’s the wrong way. But the railway is built for travel by train and since I’m in the Big Blue Truck that route is also an invalid choice. But, just out of frame is another bridge.

The Low Road And The High Road

The real world likes to present us with false choices. We can see where we want to be but there seems to be no way to get there. It’s in these time that we need to step back and change our perspective. It’s very likely that the third option is just outside of our field of vision.

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 “Crossroads In The Gorge” and is available for purchase by contacting me on Facebook or by using the Contact Form on my website. (Note, I do not share or sale contactinformation. EVER)

Tonight’s bonus Image is titled “The Low Road And The High Road ” and is also available for purchase.

4X6 is $5.00

5X7 is $10.00

8X10 is $15.00

Some cropping may be necessary for certain sizes.

I’m also available for portraits by appointment. Use the Contact Form or message me on Facebook for details.

The Workday Ends

The end of the day arrives at last. As the last rays of natural light floods the Kanawha valley the day shift workers climb into their vehicles and head home. Along the way dinner is being prepared and sometimes the aroma wafts onto road. Children and pets rush out to greet the homecommers. The ties and work boots are abandoned with exuberance and those comfortable pants with the elastic band are picked up along with old tee shirt that feels like a welcoming hug. The say that the clothes make the man. If that’s true then taking your work clothes off is like taking off the person who you have to be and becoming who you are again. As I look at the feature image and see the parked train and the cars headed home it’s a great metaphor for the end of the workday and a little time for real life.

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 at the bottom of the Welcome Page.

Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Paused” and is available for purchase by contacting me on Facebook or by using the Contact Form on my website.

4X6- $5.00

5X7- $10.00

8X10- $15.00

I am also available for portraits by appointment by using the Contact Form or Facebook Messenger.

Where Are The Mountains Moving To?

A light breaks through the morning mists as if it is plowing a pathway for travel. The long mournful sound of horn in combination with the thunder of wheels proceeds the screeching of the brakes as the train pulls into the tipple. I ease my big blue truck into the wide spot near the berm. A mountain is waiting to be loaded onto the train and moved to the power plants and steel mills. If the miners are the men who pull light out of the darkness then the railroad workers are the men who move mountains.

One of local engines CSX 7979 was recently spotted in California by my fellow blogger Russel Ray. Russel is real train buff who was able to track CSX 7979 back to Huntington West Virginia. I never really expected that any of our trains would be found that far West!

I suppose that it shouldn’t surprise me. Our coal goes into the grid as electricity and into the iron that becomes steel. It’s almost as if there is a little piece of our mountains in almost everything that is either made from steel or uses electricity. Look around. You probably have a piece of Appalachia in your home too.

Men, Machines And The Changes To Come

Today we have machinery that does most of the work. But there was a time when each spike was driven by hands of a worker. Each beam was placed on a platform that was also laid down by human hands. The heavy iron rails had to be moved into place and precisely positioned. The land wasn’t joined by steel as much as it was the blood, sweat and tears of men who placed it there. Today, I was reminded of one such person who’s very name brings to mind myth and legend. The real John Henry. I understand that some of my international friends may not be familiar with the story of John Henry, so here are the basics. John Henry was a railroad worker and possibly a former slave who was working on the Big Bend Tunnel in West Virginia. At the time when the industrial revolution was bringing about new technologies. Namely, the steam hammer. A machine that drives steel without rest. A machine that threatened the livelihood of every worker building the rail system. In an effort to save the jobs of himself and his coworkers John Henry challenged the steam hammer to a race and he won! The power and strength of a man who could out work a machine must have been an awesome sight. However, the story ends in tragedy. John Henry dies of exhaustion that very night. The steam hammer gets the contract to complete the railroad. Why would I write about such a sad story on my normally upbeat blog? Because, it’s happening again. Our world is changing. More and more I see and hear about automation. Robot cars are replacing Uber drivers, self checkout is replacing cashiers and software applications are set to take over other jobs. This not a race people can win by brute force. This is a thinking game. ( using the word game metaphorically). At the time of the steam hammer a man of John Henry’s strength and power could have done very well by shoveling coal that powered the machine instead of trying to out work it. He could have adapted to work with the technology and become an invaluable part of that team. As we move into the future of automaton I want to encourage you to think differently about how to adapt to the new work environments. The robot car can never be as romantic as a horse and buggy ride in the country. There will be those older folks who would rather pay someone to do their shopping for them rather than face the self check out. Jobs won’t go away completely. Instead, new niches will form and with them will be new opportunities.

I see the railway in the feature image and I see a man, a machine and the new opportunities that lay unseen just beyond the next bend in the tracks.

Dreams Of Travelling

The rhythmic thunder of the the train pulsates through my body. I’m on a journey to a new and unknown place. My ticket is stamped with the words “Somewhere Else”. Just beyond the river a tunnel under the mountain comes into view. It stands there as a gateway out of here. Wherever here is. My spirit is longing for escape from the mundane. I want to see new faces and open skies. A mist hangs across the end of tunnel like a curtain ready to be drawn back to reveal the surprise of my life. What could possibly be on the other side of that mountain? A beautiful meadow? Yes, I think so. If I can dream it that way. In my imagination I can clearly see a field full of wildflowers. I can smell the sweetness of Bergamot as the train slowly rolls through. Ruby throated hummingbirds buzz across the field feeding on the sweet nectar from the bloom. The train whistle drones out and reverberates against the mountains that surround this special place. Steam erupts from the valves as we come to a stop and the brake is set. As the chugging of the engine ceases the air if filled with the buzzing of bees as they join the hummingbirds in working the flowers. The conductor walks by and announces “rest stop”. A gazebo stands in the middle of the field and I walk over to enjoy the scene. This is the perfect spot to be lost; until I am ready to move on.