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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Autumn Love In The Dreamworld

He woke up at the foot of the mountain near the river. As the mists cleared from in front of his eyes he knew that he was once more drawn into the dreamworld. He could hear her name in the wind as it laid the leaves down across the bridge like breadcrumbs. Instinctively he follows the trail onto the wooden deck. Each leaf was imprinted with a symbol that represented a quality of his true love. Beauty, loyalty, passion, intelligence, creativity and joy and more. As walked further across the bridge collecting the leaves the symbols kept adding new traits to the list. As he reached the center he looked up from the last leaf. She looked back at him with her own basket of leaves in her arms. The mountain mists rolled between them as the real world pulled them from the bridge. Each awoke in their own bed with memory of the other’s perfect eyes looking into their own.
Later that same morning as he was driving to his new job he came to the crossing. His foggy memory of previous night’s dream was still fresh in his mind but he couldn’t recall the details. The fog obscured all but the bridge’s threshold as he stopped his truck in the middle of the quiet country road and stepped out. Just as he was beginning to recognize the structure a single leaf drops from the forest and disappears into the fog. Curious about what was happening he starts walking across. Before he takes his second step she emerges holding the single leaf. It was only when their eyes met that they recalled the dream.

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 the Welcome Page.

Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “A Dream At Fayette Station” 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 contact information. EVER.)

4X6 is $5.00

5X7 is $10.00

8X10 is $15.00

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

Community Efforts

There’s a reason why the Glade Creek Grist Mill at Babcock State is one of the most photographed spots in West Virginia. No matter what time of year it is the old Mill never fails to please. I was to meet a very special client here a few days ago for portraits and I knew that I had to make the effort to be there early and capture a few shots for my blog. We’re very close to the Peak Color weeks of Fall. The landscape of Appalachia swims in warm colors. The rustic construction of the mill fits perfectly into the mountains. The texture of the cut stone and rough oak beams and planks are artfully assembled using techniques that are centuries old. Every stone tells a story about how gentle taps with a hammer and chisel free the blocks from the stone quarry. How they are shaped by the same hands who lovingly tap away. I was blessed to have met a man at art show a couple of weeks ago who told me about how his father cut some of the oak that was used to make the chute that carries the water which turns the wheel to grind the flour. As I look at the mill and imagine how in the days before store bought bread how many hands were needed to feed a community. Hands that worked the stone. Hands that cut the lumber. Hands that built the wheel. Hands that put it all together. Hands that grew the grain. Hands that milled the flour and hands that baked the bread. It’s very fitting that these same hands would come together to break that bread on special occasions. Even in the old days nobody had all the skills needed to thrive on their own. Places like the mill were community effort and a community is an extension of family.

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 would also like to invite you to Follow 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 my Welcome Page on my website.

Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Glade Creek Grist Mill in Fall 1”. The feature image is available for purchase by contacting me on Facebook or by using the Contact Form on my website.

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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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I haven’t chosen a title for tonight’s feature image but if you’re interested in purchasing a print please send me a PM on Facebook or use the Contact Form on my website with the size you want and the title of tonight’s post “Anything Is Possible”.

Some Memories Of My Grandfather & A Special Sight On My Daily Commute

Out of all the jobs I’ve worked I think “Rancher’s Assistant” was my favorite. My Grandfather McClung made it seem easy. As a pre teen my responsibility was to count the cattle a couple of times a day and check the fencing for any slack in the barbed wire. Even though I haven’t been involved with cattle for many years I still have an urge to take a head count anytime I see cows.

I miss the long walks out to repair a hole in the fence line. It was the conversations and time with my Grandfather that made it special to share work. And then there was O’l Count. My grandfather’s cattle dog. When it was time to rotate the pastures (moving the cattle from one paddock to the next) we would open up a gate and tell O’l Count to bring the cattle. Without fail he would gather the herd and drive them through.

Occasionally a mother cow or the bull would resist but the dog was way to quick and agile for what seemed like a slow motion attack. He would dodge to the side and circle back around to nip at their heels. Most of the time this wasn’t a requirement. We always fed the cows something special when we moved them and when they saw the gate open they would come running like pets.

The cattle my Grandfather raised didn’t look like the one in the feature image. They looked like the one below. They were Hereford cattle.

I believe that it’s a Lakenvelder bull in the feature image. The Lakenvelder is a dairy cow and it seem that the milk would be perfect for dipping Oreo cookies. 😉

Needless to say that when I pass by this herd on my way to my day job I have a nostalgic reaction to seeing them even though they’re not the breed I’m used to. Believe or not this breed is an endangered species. According to Wikipedia there are less than 300 of these cows in the United States and less than 1000 worldwide. Which of course makes it an extra special sight in the Appalachian Mountains.

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What Was The Question?

Tonight’s image is an old mile marker that’s found along an abandoned road near the Meadow River in West Virginia. Apparently it marks mile number 42.

Fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Universe have already begun to snicker. For the rest of the world here’s why. In the book and subsequent movies a large supercomputer named Deep Thought was built to answer the ultimate question of “What is the meaning of life, God, the universe and everything?” After billions of years Deep Thought came up with the answer 42. The irony was that the people who built the computer were long dead and by the time the answer came nobody could remember the question or why it was asked. Now, to be honest I have never read the book and was only present while the movie was playing. As such, I’m only familiar with the trivia. But when I heard the story I began to appreciate implication.

We as humans seem to be hardwired to want to skip learning experience and go straight to mastery of just about everything. We want the “cheat codes”. So much so that we often put more efforts into gaining the cheat than we do experiencing the win. In the Hitchhiker’s Guide the scientists and priests who spent all that time looking for the meaning of life did so at the expense of living life to its fullest. This is the folly of trying to win at all costs. It’s the struggle that makes the victory sweet. If you skip the struggle then the victory is hollow and you never really get to experience it fully. What’s more is that you tend to be so focused on the goal that the importance of the original purpose is lost.

Maybe I’m making that very mistake myself in trying to make my point. Let me close by simply saying that life is an adventure. One that you’ll miss if you try to skip ahead.

Oh and the answer to the question asked by Douglas Adams? Well, I have an opinion of course. The meaning of life, God, the universe and everything is that we were created by God to know the love of our creator. That’s it. It’s that simple. No need for advanced AI or billions of years waiting for an answer that’s as vague as the question. Just talk to him and listen for answers.

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To Share The Same Sky

The September sky was crystal blue and the time of the Equinox signaled an end to Summer’s warm carefree days. The sun hangs low on the horizon. She meets him by the boat launch as her father and brother packs the camp. The last weekend is nearly over. This is last hour of their summer romance. Here on the edge of the fading lake they embrace beneath the sun and moon. Like the celestial bodies above they can only share the same sky for a short season. The lake boy looks deep into her eyes which are the same color blue as the sky. She noticed how the summer sun has left it’s golden tone on his skin. They continue stare silently into each other. Memorizing every line of the other’s face. Every freckle on his face and every colorful fleck in her eyes. The summer was a time when two worlds met and joined as one. But like the sun and moon the forces of nature will only allow the sharing of the sky for so long. As the embrace for summer’s last kiss, he reaches into the pocket of his shorts and pulls out a small box. “Close your eyes” he whispers. She’s a little bit nervous about what comes next but she trusts him and does as he asks. He places a golden chain around her neck. Suspended from it was a locket. It was small but elegant. Inside was the picture of the two of them on the local fishing pier. Her brother had taken the snapshot when they wasn’t looking. “Don’t let me be forgotten” he whispered once more as he clasped the necklace about her neck. A single tear rolls down her cheek and she thanked him for the gift. By now her family waits patiently in the packed car. “I’ll be waiting here for you next summer” she replied with her voice cracking. “True love is faithful no matter how long and cold the nights to come will be.” She added. With no way to delay their parting any longer the young lake boy stepped aboard his day cruiser and drifting off of the shore. He watched with anguish as she got in the car and went home for the school year. Throughout the coming months they would call, text and even attend prom together. The following summer they met again in the same spot by the boat launch. And never parted ways again.

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