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)

4X6 is $5.00

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8X10 is $15.00

Some cropping may be necessary for certain sizes.

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

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.

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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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

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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)

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.

A Perfect Day In The Gorge

Have you ever been asked about what your perfect for looks like? Some people describe the perfect day as winning the lottery and having the check delivered by their favorite celebrity. Who of course arrives on the back of a magical unicorn that you get to keep. While that’s an “interesting” vision and would make for an awesome day it’s not quite for me. I was never really awestruck by fame and rumor has it that unicorns are high maintenance. Lottery winnings might be nice though. But my perfect day would have to involve the freedom to roam the hills of Appalachia. I think I would like nothing more than to pick a trail along the river and slowly amble my way downstream while exploring all the little nooks and crannies that are seldom seen. I have even fantasized about packing up a fleet of canoes documenting all the rivers and streams in West Virginia. Perhaps even find some pre-columbian ruins and photograph mysterious petroglyphs before the elements obscure them forever. Or perhaps find a rare flower that has never been seen before. These were the dreams of my childhood. Not that fame and fortune were a bad thing but it was a lifestyle of simplicity and the wonder of discovery that I found attractive. And, while I may never really be the first person to stumble upon a grand discovery there is the very real possibility of seeing something that’s new to me. And that’s still awesome.

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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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

Visit My Website

Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “A Perfect November Day In The Gorge ” and is available for purchase 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.

The Little Dragons

I have to admit that I never met a lizard that I didn’t like. Of course that might all change if I ever run into a Gila monster or a Komodo Dragon. Here in the Appalachian Mountains they don’t get much larger than this little guy in tonight’s feature image. The Five Lined Skink. The largest one I’ve seen was one about six inches long but in the eyes of a little kid with a vivid imagination it was a living dinosaur! I was never able to catch one but I always wanted to make a pet out of one so I could teach him to play Godzilla with my toy soldiers. In those days home movies were still shot on film but I had visions of setting up the scene shooting my own monster movie. It was during this endeavor that I learned about the trick tail. I was hunting for a big one that I had seen out by the barn. I was cautiously lifting up old wood an pieces of bark with a stick in case of a snake when I found him. My hands moved like lightning and I caught him! However the lizard had a surprise in store for me and the blue tail broke off in my hand. I looked down and saw the empty tail wiggling in my hand and started crying because I had broken my lizard. My kind and loving grandfather explained that it lets go of its tail on purpose and that the tail grows back. (Of course as a child I thought it grow back instantly like magic). At one point there was one with a forked tail living close to the house. It’s tail had not completely detached and the new one grew in next to the old one.

As an adult I smile and even speak to the little lizards on my property. I try to save some space for them on and around my property and in return they help keep the insect population in check. It seems that I got my pet lizards by simply leaving them alone and letting them do their thing.

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. You’re also invited 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 the Welcome Page.

Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Guardian On The Bridge” because he lived on the wooden foot bridge of my former home. Prints are available for purchase by contacting me on Facebook or by using the Contact Form on my website.

4X6- $5.00

5X7- $10.00

8X10 – $15.00

Some cropping may be necessary for certain sizes. I am available for portrait sessions by appointment. Just use Facebook or Contact Form to inquire about the rates.

First Date

As the evening sun hangs it’s sleepy head the well worn tracks light up and draw the soul into the West. He stops at home just long enough to shower and change clothes and pull that special envelope out from inside the stereo speakers. He doesn’t really own any fancy attire. A pair of pants that aren’t ripped or faded. One of two button up shirts and the boots that he only wears on Sunday morning to Church. The socks don’t really matter as long as they’re clean. The clock on the wall says that it’s fifteen minutes after six but it’s always about three minutes slow. He checks his pockets one last time before grabbing the keys off the chest of drawers and heading out of the door in a rush. The rusted old truck grinds and sputters. Laying his head on the steering wheel in frustration he mutters “Please Lord. Not tonight” and he turns the key again. The engine has three hundred thousand miles on it, but it roars to life. He drives parallel to the tracks and heads into the city. The parking lot is crowded but he finds a spot out on the edge and pulls in. A cinder block serves as a parking break. He pauses for moment at the door and checks to make sure that he has the envelop full of cash and that he didn’t get any dirt on his clothes while “setting the brake”. As soon as he steps inside the restaurant he spots her in the corner pretending to read the menu as she waits nervously hoping that he shows up. She’s in that little black dress. She spent hours making sure that she looked her best but all he notices is that special sparkle in her perfect eyes that lets him know how she feels. The envelope holds every penny that he could save up for two weeks but it’s money well spent. Their first date is going to be perfect.

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. Please also consider following Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook. If you don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on the bottom of Welcome Page.

Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Heading West” and is available for purchase by contacting me on Facebook or by using the Contact Form on my website.

4X6- $5.00

5X7 – $10.00

8X10- $15.00

(Some cropping may be necessary )

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.

4X6- $5.00

5X7- $10.00

8X10- $15.00

( may require some cropping )

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.

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. Please also consider following Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook. If you don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on the bottom of my Welcome Page.😊