Choices & Free Will

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Choices” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The network of steel ribbons lays out before me with all of its switches and crossovers. Just beyond the tracks route 60 runs in parallel with it’s two simple lanes. The warm humid air after the storm carries the scent of creosote from crossties. And just beyond all of the intersections is the local foundry.

As I look out over the scene I’m struck by the thought of how both pathways lead to the same destination but only one allows for free will.

The railway with all its complex switches requires someone externally to help the trains switch tracks. ( perhaps more modern trains allow the engineer more control but in general the switches are external. ) In contrast, the highway traveler has more control over his/her route. Even though they have to follow certain rules and regulations about how the vehicle is operated they can change routes on a whim. The highway traveler can even perform a U turn and return home.

The concept of free will is an important part of human nature. Free will is often referred to as the first gift from God. No sooner did God breathe life into Adam that he was given a mind of his own complete with his own desires. Some people would say that it was free will that got Adam into trouble but it was free will that made him special in creation. Not even the angels were given the ability to choose.

There’s definitely a lot of choices to make on this earth. Even if a person takes the more controlled path like the train tracks it was still a choice that they made.

One last observation before I close. The area here in the feature image is a place where the trains are often parked for the night. This is the place where people can choose to leave the train tracks and get onto the highway. Or (if this were not a freight train) they can leave the highway and board the trains. Which makes me think that there’s always going to be an opportunity to change the pathway and change your life.

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The Traveler’s Nap

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Rest Stop” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the page.

A traveler wonders from the road and comes to rest by the little waterfall on the edge of an unexplored forest. He removed the pack that he’s carried for miles and takes a seat at the base of the falls. As he listens to the songbirds and the water his mind and body agree that it’s time to get some rest. He’ll just lower the brim of his hat a little and block out the sun for a few minutes. Well, that was his idea anyway. But before long the music of the birds and the water fade away into the distance and he sleeps. A few of smaller creatures are curious enough to nervously approach the sleeping traveler. A squirrel sneaks down the trunk of the tree and deftly hangs upside down from the hat. The lines in his face look like tree bark but he’s not made of wood. And the squirrel leaves. A songbird lands on his chest and softly tugs at his beard. But he’s not made of straw or twigs so he nests somewhere else. A salamander creeps up to the traveler’s outstretched leg and wiggles up under his pant leg. But it’s not made of moss. “Too dry.” He says as he crawls back out to continue his search. A toad takes one vigorous hop and lands abruptly on the toe of the traveler’s boot. He puffs out his chest and croaks. The boot is soft from the miles walked but it’s not a toadstool and he leaps away. Suddenly a chipmunk darts out from a nearby hollow log. Without even slowing down he runs up the sleeve of the sleeping traveler’s jacket and exits the other sleeve. The chipmunk halts on the man’s folded hands and huffs. “Not a very good tunnel. It comes out in the same place it starts.” And the chipmunk scurries off. The traveler yawned and stretched. He raises to feet and brushes the litter from his clothes. He looks around before gathering his pack and sighs. “I was really hoping to see some wildlife on this trip” he thinks as he steps back onto the road.

The moral of the story is Don’t allow the journey you’re on tire you to the point where you miss the adventure.

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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Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me onFacebook or use the Contact Form on my website

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Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer.

Thank you again for your support of my page! 😊

Soar

Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Over The Edge”. If you would like to purchase a copy please use the contact instructions at the bottom of the page.

When I was a kid in the 1970s hang gliding was a pretty popular activity for anyone who had a mountain to launch from. I would stand on the edge of a cliff with my jacket held open so that I could feel the pull of the breeze. The sensation would always give me butterflies in my stomach. At some point I began to wonder if those butterflies came from breeze or the fact that was close to the edge. Not that I was ever really all that close. But I thought that I was. I would envision myself strapped to what was basically a giant kite gracefully floating on the wind as I soared down to the river. I would scour the library for books on flying and learned that as the warmer air radiated up from the canyon that it could take me higher and that it was possible to go even farther it you could surf the wind. There was even an unfulfilled plan to scavenge lumber and the black plastic sheets used in gardens to build a glider. Those plans were foiled when I couldn’t find enough straight nails to complete the build. I was about eight years old and the hardware store was too far away for my bicycle to get me there and back before my parents got home and so the glider remained as sketch on my school homework paper.

Today I still stand on the edge of the canyon and imagine that I’m soaring through the New River Gorge with the wind in my face. We have better options than a giant kite too. Power parachutes and GPS navigation via a pocket sized computer with hundreds (if not thousands) of times the computing power that NASA used to go to moon. And, the invention of the wingsuit proved that maybe an eight year old boy standing on the edge of a cliff with his jacket open wasn’t so far off base after all.

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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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.

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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Spring Dreams

Tonight’s image is Titled “Spring Dreams”. If you would like to order a copy of this or any other image on my blog please see the instructions at the bottom of the page.

Today I noticed that the moon was still fairly high in the sky at around 11:00 AM. I felt a little thrilled to see it against the crystal blue of daytime because I knew that this means that winter is winding down. Yes we’ve got several weeks of cold air that hurts your face and by the weekend we’ll have temperatures well below freezing but change is on the way. The rest of day I dreamed about balmy breezes, green leaves and open toe shoes. It’s only a matter of time before the low hanging grey clouds transform into high wispy curls and swirls that dance above the mountains. The ice in the rivers and streams will give way to kayaks the leisurely paddle around the old bridge and tiny minnows who dart around in the creeks. A friend who lives in South Carolina told me that he’s already hearing the frogs singing in the evening! So as I brace for the oncoming polar blast that will have started by the time some of you read this I do so with anticipation for oncoming thaw that’s just a few short weeks beyond it.

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January’s Crossings 2

Old man winter howls in rage. His icy breath blasts across the three rivers bringing the deep chill that always comes in the last half of January and early portions of February. As I walk up the track towards the perfect spot to get my shot I’m assailed with tiny bits of ice. Somewhere off to my left I can here the panicked call of a female cardinal. She can’t seem to find her mate and she’s very worried. Instinctively I glanced down towards the direction she’s calling just in time to see something bright red drop from a twig in the underbrush. My heart sinks because the river is up and the male has fallen close to the edge. But I can’t see where he landed. The female is really freaking out now and I began to look for a way down. It’s a myth that if you touch a bird that it’s mate will reject it. There was one other time about fifteen years ago when I scooped up a stunned make cardinal out of the street and sat it gently in a safer place. As soon as I stepped away his mate flew too his side until he felt like flying home. I saw them together many times afterwards. I began to head in the direction of the place where this one fell but after just a few steps he burst forth into the sky like a rocket and rejoined his forever beloved. When he appeared the female’s calls seemed to change from panic to cheering. As they sheltered together under the overhang of a roof it occurred to me that sometimes all you need to be strong is someone who believes in you. Once assured that all was well with the cardinals I returned to shot. The old trestle bridge stood there unshaken by old man winter’s morning tantrum. Perhaps it too merely needs someone to believe in its strength in order to stand against the storm.

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January’s Crossings 1

The winter winds whip across the three rivers as the steam rises up from my morning coffee. The wintery scene makes me feel like I’ve woken up inside if a snow globe. If not for the fact that I’m on my way to my day job I’d engage the four wheel drive and just idle my big blue truck through the Appalachian Mountains looking for magical places to just sit and watch the snow. The mists and snow seem to merge together as I begin to set up the shot making it look as if the other end of bridge disappears somewhere beyond the known world. For a moment I’m tempted to call off from the day job and allow my inner child to explore the frozen wilderness.

I know that if I travel beyond the bridge and up Gauley Mountain there will be frozen waterfalls with long icicles hanging from the painted sandstone cliffs. There will be little alcoves formed by snow covered bent trees that bright red cardinals play in. Across the forest floor squirrels bounce from tree trunk to tree trunk trying to remember where they stashed their acorns. It was just about that time that the real world recalled me from my daydreaming and I eased my big blue truck back onto the main road.

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

Ring this bell for 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 “January’s Crossings 1and is available forpurchase by using the Contact Form onmy website. ( just click on the the bell below)

(Note, I do not share or sell contact information. 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.