The evening light spills ever so softly into the landscape at Cathedral Falls. The tall cascade of water flows from the mountain and over the stones. The cascade is the star of the show that draws the spectators but the dozens of tiny falls that dance and play on their way to the river are just as pleasing. I have to imagine that they are the children of the Cascade above. Born out of the sense of peace and serene beauty of Cathedral Falls she sends her offspring into the river to spread out and share the mountains with the rest of the world.
Hello Friends! Tonight’s image is the Stream Below Cathedral Falls in West Virginia. 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.
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There’s a certain feeling that you get just prior to competition. All of the training and conditioning has been done. It’s game day. You go to the field and prepare mentally. The butterflies in your stomach seem to be not just having a party, but a hard core punk rock slam dance party. You hide it well beneath your cool exterior as you check out the other competitors. The truth is that they have the same butterfly party going on their own stomachs. It’s been a long time since I have been in an athletic competition but I still have to tame those unruly and wild butterflies before every important event.
Eventually I come to the conclusion that I’ve done all that I can do until the they fire the starting gun and it’s time to run. Then all you can do is run the best race you can run. If you lose then lose with dignity and work harder before the next race. If you win then win with grace and congratulate your competitors for a race well run. Sportsmanship is an important life skill. If we can’t learn to be a gracious winner or good loser then our lives become full of turmoil when we fail. It’s a fact of life that failures will happen. When they do it’s not a tragedy, it’s an opportunity to learn and grow.
As I write this post I’m preparing for my biggest show of the year. The 38th Annual Arts And Crafts Show at The West Virginia State Fairgrounds is one of the biggest events of year. I have the same feeling that I used to get on game day. But I know I’ll do well because I have done everything that can be done to prepare.
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Deep blue fades to black as the golden sunset transitions to red. In the forest edge the Katydids give their calls. The soft breeze carries the scent of freshly brewed coffee rising out of the warm cup in my hand. The day’s work is far behind me. I wasn’t really finished with all my tasks today but that’s alright. If we can’t take a few minutes to quietly enjoy God’s beautiful creation then what’s the value of the day’s effort in the first place? Sometimes a project turns out to be a little bit more than you anticipated. I started today with an ambitious list of “future accomplishments” to achieve. However, that didn’t happen. While it’s important to have goals life is more than a list. Life is a gift. At the end of day it’s not the accomplishments that should be counted. It’s the living that counts.
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Rising up from the New River Gorge is in my opinion one of greatest feats of engineering in the modern world. The New River Gorge Bridge. To give the outside world an idea of scale there’s a four lane highway at the top. The height of the bridge allows for base jumping. And in just a few short weeks that’s what will happen here. A crowd will be gathered at the top and tourists will hike across. I have not been able to make it out for Bridge Day for several years now but I’m hoping to get a chance to photograph something special. I was there several years ago when a parachute malfunctioned and the jumper executed a successful cutaway and redeployment of her spare chute close enough to the bottom that she said she could see her own face in the water. ( and the high dive at the swimming pool gives the rest of us the willies). I think that the experience of jumping into the canyon has to be the closest thing to living flight that human could feel. I can imagine the wind pressure on my face as I descend into the river and then touching down gracefully on the flat rocks at bottom. I was able to find a short video of the human catapult launching the jumpers off of the bridge Here. (The video is not mine) The spectacle itself is a full fledged carnival. There are vendors set up offering everything from trinkets to Gourmet Foods. This happens to coincide with the peak color of Fall most years which makes it one of the most beautiful occurrences in my mountains. The competition for a premium spot to shoot from will be pretty fierce and I expect that those who are already connected have a claim staked out. But I’m crossing my fingers.
If you’re a person who likes the outdoors, festivals or extreme sports and if you think that you might want to attend then here’s a official Bridge Day Website. The Event is Saturday, October 20, 2018!
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The sound of the rippling water lapping at the shore combined with song birds brings a sense of peaceful joy. I approached the wading willows as if greeting old friends. The willows seem to dance ever so slightly in the river’s currents and it feels as though they are listening to the songs of nature themselves. In the distance the osprey soars across the sky looking for a pearch stunned by falls. Dragonflies skim the waters surface as they hunt occasionally leaving little ripples of their own and the evening sun reflected in the tiny waves produces a light show that only God himself could engineer. The breeze coming off of Kanawha Falls is cool and gently stirs in and around the small park. I take a deep breath and release the stress of the workday into the river so that it will carry away the cares of the outside world. I thank God for choosing to place this natural sanctuary here for me. I take a few minutes to tell him about my day and seek his wisdom. But most importantly I listen. I listen to voice of peace spoken by God and echoed by the moving water. The conversation isn’t long and with my peace renewed I climb back up into the big blue truck and head for home.
It’s important to take time to decompress and find peace throughout the day. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please share to your social. You can also like and follow Lloyd’s Lens Photography on Facebook
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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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Driving cautiously down the winding road to the tail waters of Gauley River I think about my Grandfather. He was one of the many men who built Summerville Dam. In the days before the dam, the raging Gauley River destroyed small towns downstream. Near my home is Brown’s Service Station. The Owner once pointed out to me a watermark on the wall of his office from one of the pre-dam floods. I’m guessing that the water had to be 12 feet high in order to make the stain. When it was finally decided that something had to be done a monumental effort was made. There’s a great Video of the men building the Summerville Dam on YouTube. I know that my grandfather was one of the heavy equipment operators but I’ve not been able to recognize him in the video.
Today, the dam not only helps us to control flooding but it’s become a wealth generator to the local economy. The campers and boaters who spend summer on the lake also spend money in town. At the time of this writing, Gauley season is fully open and whitewater enthusiasts are enjoying the rapids as the Corps Of Engineers drain the lake to winter pool levels.
Rafters taking a break on pillow rock below Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park. Image was taken at the extreme range of my 300 mm lens.
The highly oxygenated water below the dam is popular among fisherman too. On any given morning the banks full of lines cast into the eddies in hopes that a trout will come to dinner.
As I stand at the foot of dam and look up I’m in awe of the accomplishment. The tunnel on the left is large enough for a train to pass through and a highway is on top of the dam. Just on the other side of this massive earthen dam is the sunken community of Gad,West Virginia. There is of course the local story of how close Government came to naming this are Gad Dam Lake which would have been a gold mine for memes and internet trolls.
I hope you’ve enjoyed tonight’s post but nothing beats coming to West Virginia for whitewater sports or just relaxing by the water. It’s all made possible by the flood control of Summersville Dam.
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