Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

Gilmore Cabin - Montpelier, Virginia 

The Gilmore cabin was built in 1870 by George Gilmore, a freed slave, on land leased from the Montpelier Estate (see this post ). The cabin was constructed from material salvaged from the remains of a nearby Confederate camp which was occupied during the winter of 1863 and 1864. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia had numerous encampments in Orange County, and in 2002 Montpelier archeologists determined that the camp located close to the Gilmore cabin was occupied by General Samuel McGowan's South Carolina Brigade.

The Montpelier Archaeology Department has mapped these camps around Montpelier and excavated several of the original hut sites. These are the only known camp sites on protected land that have survived undisturbed since the Civil War.

On August  20 and 21, 2011, General McGowan's encampment was recreated on the grounds of Montpelier near the site of the original Civil War Camps. Join me this week as I explore life in a Civil War camp in photographs.

Tomorrow: Morning in camp.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Tracks and weeds - Charlottesville, Virginia 

Our house is about 30 miles from Mineral, Virginia which was the location of the epicenter of the earthquake earlier this week. We were fortunate that there was no damage to our house or property, but we received a pretty good rattling. I have never experienced anything like it. A friend at work lives in Mineral and his house was damaged: interior walls were cracked, the contents of his cabinets were dumped out on the counter and floor, his chimney fell and one wall of his garage was displaced about 6 inches. Other houses in Mineral suffered similar damage.

We have experienced several aftershocks. A little after 1 am yesterday morning a 4.5 magnitude aftershock woke me up. I understand that aftershocks may persist for several months.

In the meantime, hurricane Irene is bearing down on us. It will be an interesting week-end.

Next week (if we are still here) Photography In Place returns to Montpelier Station to photograph a reenactment of General Samuel McGowan's South Carolinian's encampment during the winter of 1863-64. I hope you will stop by for a visit, and thanks for reading Photography In Place.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bug house -  Greene County, Virginia 

Last week my wife discovered this miniscule house on the leaf of a Hosta plant on our front deck. It is made from material very similar to a mud dauber's nest, but is much too small to accommodate a bee. It appears to be a single-family dwelling, neatly constructed and ideally situated with a large green front yard. There was no sign of the owner.

If anyone knows anything about this nest and its occupant, please leave a comment. I would be very interested to hear about it.

UPDATE: Thanks to Robert (see comments) I think we have a positive ID. This is the nest of a Potter's Wasp. This particular wasp was not a particularly skilled potter, but see this photo of a very pot-like nest from the Wikipedia article

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Freight house - Montpelier Station - Orange County, Virginia 

The rail line from Orange to Charlottesville passing through Montpelier was completed in 1880. The line was double tracked in 1916 and Montpelier Station became a busy flag stop on the Southern Railway. Two hundred yards to the north of the depot stood a freight house and livestock pen. The freight house is still standing.

The overgrown remains of the old siding can still be found behind the freight house, and at the end of the siding a coal trestle, used for loading and unloading rail cars, can still be seen among the weeds.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Montpelier Station - Orange County, Virginia 

A light rain was falling one morning a couple of weeks ago as I left the house and headed to Montpelier Station. I had not been there since the restoration was completed in 2010, but I had an idea of how I wanted to picture it, so I was equipped with black and white film and the medium format Mamiya RB67.

There was no one around when I pulled into the parking lot. I got out and walked all around the building and up and down the tracks. By then the rain was about over and the clouds were becoming more luminous, so I got the digital camera and took some practice pictures. Then it was time to get down to business. The RB67 is a brick of a camera, and I almost always use it on a tripod, but in this case I couldn't see struggling with a tripod on the wet banks and rocky road bed, so I decided use the camera handheld.

The light meter was not in the bag, so I based my exposures on the digital camera readings and hoped for the best. And after all of that, only two exposures came close to the picture that I envisioned. The  photograph  above was taken  looking north with the old freight house in the distance.

The duPont family purchased the Montpelier estate in 1901, and in 1910 William duPont financed the construction of the train station to provide both freight and passenger service to the Montpelier community. Passenger service was discontinued in the 1960s and the freight depot was closed in 1974. Today Norfolk-Southern freight trains pass by the depot, but rail service to Montpelier is a thing of the past.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Lafayette Inn - 1840 - Stanardsville, Virginia 

One evening last week I took a ten minute walk around Stanardsville and took a few pictures while waiting for a pizza to be ready. The photo above is the back of the Lafayette Inn. The front faces Main Street (US 33), but I liked this picture because of the way the late evening sun slants across the road.

One of the things I find interesting about small towns is how often the rural landscape begins just a block or two from the main street of town. I was standing behind the jail house ( see yesterday's post) when I took the picture below. This stone gatepost is one of a pair at the entrance to long driveway.

Both of these pictures, along with the pictures of the courthouse and jail in yesterday's post were taken with the Nikon P7000.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Greene County Courthouse - 1838 - Stanardsville, Virginia 

The Greene County Courthouse was built in 1838. In 1979 a ruptured gas line exploded and destroyed the adjacent County Office building and heavily damaged the Courthouse.The exterior survived the fire intact, and the interior has been fully restored. The courthouse is a nicely executed example of Roman Revival architecture.

Next door to the Courthouse is the former jail house, also built in 1838. The building currently houses the Greene County Historical Society Museum.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Summer Weeds #2 - Greene County, Virginia 

This is another picture from my walk down to the lake last week. These weed pictures may be poaching on photographer Carl Weese's territory just a bit. Over on Working Pictures Carl has been taking pictures of weeds for some time, and it is worth taking a look at his series of weed pictures


A couple of weeks ago we posted some pictures taken while the local Greene County Fair was being set up.  Dory Adams also recently posted some very nice pictures taken during a county fair in Pennsylania along with some thoughts on summer fairs. Read August is County Fair Season on Dory's blog In This Light.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Summer weeds - Greene County, Virginia 

The lake near our home is formed by an earthwork dam. There is a standpipe that drains water under the dam into a pool on the edge of a narrow band of woods. A small creek runs through the trees and into a pasture field.

Friday when I walked across the dam, the narrow meadow between the dam and the tree line was filled with colorful weeds, and so I scrambled down the steep back of the dam and spent a happy half-hour taking pictures in the weeds and ticks and chiggers. It was a wonderfully colorful display; a bright garden tended by Mother Nature with the help of hard-working bees and butterflies.

And chiggers too, looking for a free meal,  but I scrubbed when I got home and only got one bite.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Weeds by the lake - Greene County, Virginia 

Last Friday morning, the air was cool and the light unusually nice with the sun filtered through a light cover of clouds. I didn't want to miss the opportunity for some softer summer light after all the hot days and  harsh sunlight that we have had in the past few weeks, so I took the camera and walked down to the lake. The last time I walked across the dam was back in January ( see here) when the lake was frozen and covered with snow.

Now, in the final weeks of summer, I was greeted by a colorful profusion of weeds and wild flowers to photograph. Join me this week on Photography In Place for a walk down by the lake.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Backstop - Elkton, Virginia 
"Baseball is a habit. The slowly rising crescendo of each game, the rhythm of the long season--these are the essentials and they are remarkably unchanged over nearly a century and a half. Of how many American institutions can that be said?"
from Bunts, by George Will (1999)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Barn and shed - Elkton, Virginia 
"Life in the barn was very good--night and day, winter and summer, spring and fall, dull days and bright days. It was the best place to be, . . . with the garrulous geese, the changing seasons, the heat of the sun, the passage of swallows, the nearness of rats, the sameness of sheep, the love of spiders, the smell of manure, and the glory of everything."

from Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Garage in the country - Albemarle Country, Virginia 

"We come to terms as well as we can with our lifelong exposure to the world, and we use whatever devices we may need to survive. But eventually, of course, our knowledge depends upon the living relationship between what we see going on and ourselves. If exposure is essential, still more so is the reflection. Insight doesn't happen often on the click of the moment, like a lucky snapshot, but comes in its own time and more slowly and from nowhere but within."
 Eudora Welty, One Time, One PlaceThe Eye of the Story - Selected Essays and Reviews, Vintage 1990

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Trees and fog - Albemarle County, Virginia 

"So I have spent my life watching, not to see beyond the world, merely to see, great mystery, what is plainly before my eyes. I think the concept of transcendence is based on a misreading of creation. With all respect to heaven, the scene of miracle is here, among us."

From Psalm Eight , an essay by Marilynne Robinson from from book The Death of Adam - 2005

Friday, August 5, 2011

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail - Papilio Glaucus
Several weeks ago there was an article in the local paper about an up-coming butterfly count. The idea of trying to count butterflies makes my head hurt, but the North American Butterfly Association sponsors yearly butterfly counts throughout the country in order to monitor butterfly populations, provide an enjoyable activity for members and promote public interest in butterflies.

My wife offered several of her butterfly photographs to illustrate this post. She likes to tease me that I have all this expensive camera equipment just to take pictures.  These lovely butterflies were photographed with her cell-phone.

Spicebush Swallowtail - Papilio troilus

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

View from the Fairgrounds - Greene County, Virginia 

The Greene County Fairgrounds is a large empty field for most of the year. There is an exhibition hall, a fence and wooden poles with lights. Surrounded by farmland on a long straight stretch of Route 230, it looks a little lonely. There are no other houses or buildings in sight.

It is hot the first week of August and a blue summer haze shrouds the mountains to the west. Preparations for the fair are underway and soon the field will be full of tents and pens and carnival rides. Then  the crowds will come.

Preparations are underway
Next week, the rabbits and goats, the prize-winning tomatoes and jars of family recipe pickles will be gone. The carnival will pack up and move to the next town and the fairgrounds will be empty once again, the days silent and the nights lit only by the stars and moon.

Corn grows right up to the fairground's fence

Monday, August 1, 2011

Demolition Derby - Greene County Fair 

The Greene County Fair starts this week, and yesterday morning I drove over to the fairgrounds to see the preparations. A demolition derby was held on Saturday night. On Sunday morning this car was sitting by the road in front of the fairgrounds. I am not sure if it is the winner or the loser, but either way, I feel certain that its competitive days are over.

I have never attended a demolition derby myself, so I can't tell you much about it, but they are a perennial favorite at county fairs. There is an article on Wikipedia here about the history of the sport, but after looking at this mangled car, I am not sure I want to know any more.