A Winter’s Refreshing At Cathedral Falls

As the evening sun begins to retreat behind the mountains it grants one last gaze into the cove at the foot of Gauley Mountain. The soft light spreads through the forest floor as wood and stone are bathed in the cascade of Cathedral Falls. The oxygen charged air within the natural cathedral enhances the sense of peace as I cross the wooden footbridge. Time itself seems to slow to a halt as the elements of nature coalesce into my frame. It’s been said that God first set the word of His testimony into nature. I believe that is true because as I look at the beauty He created for us to live in his love for us is written on every stone, carved into every tree, bound into every drop of water and energized by every ray of light. With my spirit renewed in this natural sanctuary it’s time to replace the cap on my lens and return to the big blue truck and head home.

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Blackwater Falls Through Old And New Eyes

The cold weather if late Fall and early Winter always draws my imagination to the Pleistocene era. I can imagine how the lone hunter must have seen his pristine world. He walks through a land untamed by clocks and unnatural restrictions. As he steps out of a thicket his eyes behold the falls for the first time. He is at one with the rhythm of nature as he approaches the edge of the water. He sees the fluid movement of the shadows as they dart around beneath the falls. His feet are in tune with the earth as he raises his Atlatl spear and slowly gets into position. As he casts his stone tipped dart towards the target his eyes never lose focus. There’s no splash as the dart penetrates the fish below the water’s surface. His skills with the weapon are so deft that the rest of the fish are undisturbed until he wades into freezing water to retrieve his meal.

Today Blackwater Falls is a popular tourist attraction in West Virginia. A paved path leads to the wooden staircase and there are platforms for taking in the view. However, it’s still easy to imagine that you’re a wild human roaming the wilderness in the distant past as you look down into the Falls.

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 “Blackwater Falls 1” 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)

4X6 is $5.00

5X7 is $10.00

8X10 is $15.00

Some cropping may be necessary for certain sizes.

Ring this bell to order prints or schedule portraits

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

Go Jump Off A Bridge (Bridge Day 2018)

Since before history mankind has dreamed of living flight. Even long before the aircraft Leonardo Da Vinci invented a parachute designed with the idea of base jumping in mind. At this point I’ll need to leave the finer points of that history to the real experts and leap straight into Bridge Day. Celebrated annually in Fayetteville West Virginia Bridge Day marks the crossing of our most challenging natural barrier. Namely, the New River Gorge. Today was the first time I attended Bridge Day in a long time and the first time ever as a photographer. I also want to give a Shout out to Adventures On The Gorge for the courtesy bus ride and free parking. As well as to “Mama Dee” (I’m hoping I got the name right) for being a very entertaining bus driver. I’m also going to keep the writing shortened to brief description tonight and let the photos do most of the talking.

Walking into the event from where the bus dropped us off.

As I look down into the New River Gorge the fog is sticking around a longer than normal today.

The objective is to hit the bullseye and not the tree. ( He made it just fine)

Looking at the event from one of the overlooks.

It’s a long way down!

The wind seemed to carry him along rather quickly but he makes the bullseye.

Back up on the bridge the crowd gathers to watch the jumping.

Second thoughts? Not on your life. He’s just testing the wind.

Catching the catapult in operation was harder than I thought. Even with countdown. Apparently, throwing your friends from the highest single arch bridge in North America is a great way to pass the time.

It’s a bit late for second thoughts now.

“CANNONBALL!!!!”

These guys are going to do a tandem jump.

I’m not sure what he was saying but it looked like a prayer to me. He stood there for several minutes with his hand stretched out over the river.

This guy was going for the high dive.

“I BELIEVE I CAN FLY!”

This guy did several flips on the way down.

A still from the GIF above.

Another one goes off the high dive.

I decided to pull back from the jumpers and give the rest of the crowd space to get in a few shots. Perhaps the next time I’ll make it down to the Landing Zone and get some shots as they come in. The dark sky and lack of rain gear was my motivation to head home and do my editing.

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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.

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

Red Skies At Night

The rains have fallen steadily all day today. The grey skies are offset only by the occasional hint of yellow and orange in the turning leaves. The drive across Sewell Mountain took a little longer than I had hoped. Unloading a truck in the rain is just an accepted part of the arts and crafts shows in Appalachia. Once the truck is unloaded the rest of the day is spent assembling the displays and trading warm greetings with the other vendors. As I place the last piece in its place I can tell that something special is taking place in the sky by the light spilling into the building. The grey is ending and the rain is nearly over. It’s time to climb back up into the big blue truck and head home to rest. I stepped out of the door and looked up. I was rewarded by the beauty of the last rays of the sun pushing back the clouds. A sense of peace washed over me. The grey has ended with a mix of the deep reds and purples. Red skies at night are the joy of artists and sailors alike.

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If you’re local to Lewisburg West Virginia or passing through and love art of handmade gifts please stop by the West Virginia State Fairgrounds and say hello! 😊

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.

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Looking Forward to Bridge Day 2018

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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