The Secret At The Top of The Staircase

The last remnants of snow seep into the forest floor revealing the old staircase. The vines and litter that coat them make for a slippery climb to the top. Taking care to be aware of my foot placement I started to ascend. My heart began to race about one third of the way up. I began to sense a trap. What would it be? Poison darts or would the huge log ahead of me dislodge itself and come rolling towards me? Or maybe the steps would just fall away and drop me into a snake pit. Nervously I take another step. There’s a creaking noise from somewhere near the top and I freeze. The tension in my legs tells me that I’ve instinctively prepared myself to spring out of the way. I began to suspect that the the trap must be that the trees will all come tumbling down and crush me. I look more closely at the next few stairs and make certain that there’s no trip wires or secret switches. Slowly but surely I take the next step and the one after that. I’m well past the point of no return as I make my way over the logs. I paused for a moment and adjusted my fedora before taking the last step and learning the secret that waits at the top. Do you want to know what I found? Can you guess the secret truth that was revealed to me? Well then, I’ll share it with you now. What I learned was… that I’ve seen way too many Indiana Jones movies and there’s nothing at the top of this staircase but creaky trees. Adventure is a state of mind that keeps us young. Thank you for joining me for this one!

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “What’s Up There?” and is available for purchase by using the Contact Form on my website. (Note, I do not share or sell contact information. EVER)

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The Providers

The cold December air bites my face as I approach the tree growing in the middle of Muddelty Creek. I’m not sure if it’s technically a delta but I’ve always thought of it that way. It’s almost impossible to see all of the little fingers of water that stretch out in this spot where the ducks and geese rule. I’ve come here on this wintery day to check out the scenery and seek new images and new thoughts to feed my passions. My ever active imagination wonders and in my mind’s eye I can see pre-columbian hunters riding a canoe silently through the water. With them an elder sits in silence occupying the center of the vessel. As they patrol the waters edge they stop occasionally and he mumbles a few words of prayer and gathers medicine growing in mud. A few twigs of willow here and some dried berries there. From the muddy banks they gather a few roots from the arrowleaf plant. These “duck potatoes” will help sustain them during the winter. As they paddle in a little farther they check the fish traps set out the on the prior evening. The traps are empty. They are moving towards the next set of traps when a large ripple breaks the surface of the water. The hunter in the front of the canoe takes notice and cautiously rises to his feet as the man in back of the craft attempts to bring them to halt. With a subtle thrust he sends his Atlatl dart into a spot just beyond the swirl. The stone bladed spear finds its mark and the swirl of water morphs into slashing. The huge alligator gar fish is pinned to the muddy bed of the creek by the shaft of the spear. The large fish barely fits in the little dugout canoe with the three men. The elder grins as heart swells with pride. His grandsons have learned their lessons well and fed the family with their skills.

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “The Loner” and is available for purchase by using the Contact Form on mywebsite. (Note, I do not share or sale contact information. EVER)

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Panning For Appalachian Gold (And why I named it so )

The soft rain falls steadily from from the darkened sky. Late fall and early winter in the Appalachian Mountains of my West Virginia home is usually marked by gray skies. Most of fall leaves are now on the ground but a few cling to the branches above. As the world around me swims in cold mists of the season a single leaf drops from the ridge line above and comes to rest in a pool of water near my home. As it floats in the pool against the dark background the mists collect on it’s surface. The leaf is from a Yellow Poplar and so is the seed that floats on the right side of feature image. I was struck by simple beauty of the scene that God created before my very eyes and preserved it forever in my lens.

I have given tonight’s feature image the title “Panning For Appalachian Gold” not just because of the yellow color of the leaf but because of the economic importance of the lumber. Yellow Poplar is a fast growing tree and is used to make plywood for building materials. The logs are peeled in layers on a giant lathe and the resulting sheets are cut to standard sizes. Knots are cut out of sheets and plugs are planted firmly in their place by a hydraulic press. The sheet are then stacked so that the grain of the wood is transverse with the adjoining layer making it very strong. When people think of West Virginia they normally associate our state with the coal industry but the timber industry is also one of our biggest resources. It’s gold that actually grows out of the ground.

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Panning For Appalachian Gold” and is available for purchase by using the Contact Form on mywebsite.(Note, I do not share or sale contact information.EVER)

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Solitude And Focus

There are times when a person just needs a little solitude. When the world around you is full of flashing signs and blaring music and distractions of every kind. We all have those moments when the mental clutter just needs to be pushed back and space needs to be given for focusing on one thing at a time. We need to just let our minds drift for a little while like a bird on the lake. He’s not trapped in the water. He can leave at time of his choosing. He can paddle around and go to any part of the water or land that he wants. He’s not overtaken by winds or currents but instead he rides them. He works in harmony with creation and achieves what is needed. And he rests when it’s time. He is at peace with his environment as God intended. Solitude isn’t really about being antisocial or introverted. It’s about focus. It’s intended to be a limited time for mental and emotional recharge. We exercise our bodies to grow stronger and have more endurance but any successful athletes will tell you that it’s during the resting cycle that the strength manifests. Our minds and spirits are the same way. We need a resting state to fully benefit from the stimulation we experience in daily life.

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Quiet Contemplation” 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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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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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.

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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)

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Time Spent On The River Is Not Wasted

As look upstream at the New River the water looks very cold. The green of spring and summer is nothing more than a fond memory in a collection happy summers. The pop of Fall Colors has faded to a reddish brown. I have listened to and read multiple stories of fishing at Fayette Station. Some tell me that they have caught the biggest fish ever in the frigid waters while others say the fish were small but plentiful. After all the fish fish tales I have come to the inevitable conclusion that the real catch was time with loved ones. Parents and children, children and grandparents and all the best friends gather in this spot to try for the one that got away. I suppose that wiley rascal is still out there hiding in some deep eddy of new river taunting fishermen by tugging on lines and stealing bait. That’s it’s purpose in life. To entice us out away from the electronic devices or whatever is on T.V. to cast a line in the water and spend time with someone 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. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Upstream” 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

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Some cropping may be necessary for certain sizes.

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