Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas 2013

Best wishes for a joyful Christmas Season
and a safe and happy New Year!

We will be taking a short break until after the Holidays. Please join us on January 2, 2014 to start our fifth year online. Thanks for reading Photography In Place.

Monday, December 23, 2013

A brief report

Tufted Titmouse - Greene County, Virginia 

Most mornings after filling the bird feeders, I put the tea kettle on and stand at the sink for a while to see what's going on outside the kitchen window. No doubt there are more useful, productive ways to spend my time, but then I would miss the mockingbird who comes to cast a proprietary eye on the feeders, like an absentee restaurant owner who shows up now and then to see that things are right, and take credit for it. Mockingbirds don't sing at this time of the year, but their presence is felt.

There are not as many Cardinals around this winter as usual but the titmice and house wrens are taking up the slack. That's the way things go sometimes; one species thrives and another declines. Years ago we had flocks of purple finches at the feeders but now we seldom see one. I hope the Cardinal population rebounds this spring. I miss them.

The squirrels had a successful mating season and are a constant nuisance at the feeders, gorging themselves on millet and scaring the birds away. Overpopulation has led to brawls over food and territory and whatever else squirrels fight about.  A couple of weeks ago one of the squirrels turned up at the feeder with a nasty, gash in his right foreleg, and a day or two later I noticed a squirrel with one eye gouged out.

Nature is not kind to injured animals and I wondered if these two squirrels would die. The words of Ebenezer Scrooge crossed my mind: " . . .they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population" Christmas was a few days away.

But yesterday old Stumpy was raiding the feeder, one useless front paw dangling. He looked healthy and was amazingly agile on three legs. And then to my surprise, One-Eye showed up as well, his eye clean but sunken and lifeless. I don't much think he can see anything out of the damaged eye, but seems to be getting along quite well. The pluck and determination to live displayed by these two small creatures banished my inner Scrooge and I was happy to see them back.

Our cats spend many an unproductive hour watching the comings and goings on the deck. Their interest is instinctual and unsentimental; their eyes unclouded by thought. Some mornings I try to clear my mind and see the world outside the kitchen window as a cat might see it but soon the cats are ready for breakfast and want my attention. I turn away from the window, line up the bowls and open a can of cat food. That makes me feel useful and productive again.

After breakfast the cats find a window and settle in to watch. They consider it time well spent.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Remembering Autumn

Greene County, Virginia 

Tomorrow is the first day of winter here in the northern hemisphere even though the last traces of fall disappeared several weeks ago. Enjoy the first weekend of the new season, and thanks for reading Photography In Place.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Monday, December 9, 2013

Winter storms

Greene County, Virginia 

According to the calendar the solstice is two weeks away, but winter is no respecter of calendars and blew in here unannounced the week before Thanksgiving. Within two days, frigid temperatures, heavy rain and wind had knocked the last of the autumn color out of the trees leaving the woods bare and gray.

Yesterday sleet and freezing rain fell most of the day. The weatherman on TV says winter storm Dion is responsible. Winter storms didn't used to have names, but we like something to blame for our difficulties, and having a name makes it easier. Now we have Boreas and Cleon and Dion to talk about; in the past all we had was "bad weather."

The man on TV said that winter storm Dion visited 46 states. Imagine that. Can the same Dion that dumped snow in the Rockies be sleeting in my backyard here in Virginia?

It makes sense to me that hurricanes have names. We watch them being born off the coast of Africa. We plot their course across the ocean. Hurricanes have a recognizable shape on the weather map; they have an eye. Hurricanes make a bold frontal assault on some unlucky coastal city and then sweep along northward on their way to die in the north Atlantic. That such a phenomenon should have a name is fitting.

Winter storms that dawdle about in 46 of the 50 states and look like a mildew stain on the weather map don't deserve to have a name. They're nothing but bad weather.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Ocracoke Light Station

Ocracoke, North Carolina

The last of the sun's rays are warming the top of the lighthouse on a cool evening last month, We spent the night in Ocracoke before catching the boat to Portsmouth Village the next morning. The lighthouse was built in 1823 and is the oldest operating light station in North Carolina.

Have a great weekend and thanks for reading Photography In Place.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Portsmouth Village

Jody Styron and Tom Bragg house - circa 1927

The house in the picture above was built as a hunting and fishing club, and is still under a private lease.

These are the last of the pictures from Portsmouth Village. There are still a half-dozen or so buildings that either I did not get to, or that the photographs I did take were unsatisfactory for one reason or another. Perhaps I will have the opportunity to visit Portsmouth Island again next year.

All of the pictures of Portsmouth Village that have appeared on Photography In Place were taken on Saturday, November 9, 2013

Harry and Lida Dixon house

Monday, December 2, 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013

Portsmouth Island

Cape Lookout National Seashore, North Carolina 

There are more pictures from my trip to Portsmouth Village earlier this month, and I will be posting the last of them next week. Hope you had an enjoyable Thanksgiving and thanks for reading Photography In Place.

Visit Photography In Place Print Gallery to purchase a framed print of this picture. Un-framed prints and note cards are also available.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Greene County, Virginia 

Wishing everyone a peaceful and enjoyable Thanksgiving.

From the Photography In Place archive, here are a couple of Thanksgiving stories from past years:

A brief fable about the importance of being thankful.

A turkey hunt in the mountains of southwest Virginia nearly 40 years ago.

Remembering my dad on Thanksgiving morning.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Portsmouth Village

George and Patsy Dixon House - circa 1875

Portsmouth Island lies about five and one-half miles south of Ocracoke, North Carolina. The village is located on the northern tip of the island and is accessible only by boat. There is a private ferry that will take you to Portsmouth from Ocracoke. Only two other people rode the ferry with us and they turned back at the onslaught of mosquitoes that greeted us at the island, leaving us with the village all to ourselves. Alone with a couple of hundred million mosquitoes, but it was a lovely November morning in a unspoiled and historic area..

Tom Gilgo House

Monday, November 18, 2013

Portsmouth Village

Flue cover inside Gilgo House

In 1753 the village of Portsmouth was established on the northern end of the Core Banks of North Carolina's Outer Banks. Ocracoke Inlet was one of the most important shipping lanes for ships arriving on the coast, but the shoal waters required that deeply laden ships be unloaded into smaller shallow draft vessels to pass through the inlet. Portsmouth Village was a lightering port handling cargo passing through the inlet. In 1846, a hurricane deepened the inlet at Hatteras and shipping shifted to the north. Portsmouth Village, once the largest town on the Outer Banks, began to decline.

After the last resident left in 1971, the village became part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore. Today more than a dozen structures still stand in Portsmouth Village.

Lionel and Emma Gilgo house - circa 1926

Washington Roberts house - circa 1840

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Third Sunday - November 2013

Portsmouth Island, North Carolina 

Portsmouth Methodist Church - 1915

Build in 1915 to replace an older church that was severely damaged by a hurricane in 1913, Portsmouth Methodist Church served the inhabitants of remote Portsmouth Island as a spiritual and community center.

In 1944 a hurricane left the building leaning slightly to the right but the building still stands today in the uninhabited Portsmouth Village. The last resident left the island in 1971.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Yellow wood

Greene County, Virginia 

Yesterday morning the temperature here was 21 degrees (F). There was frost on the kitchen window and the water in the birdbath was frozen solid.

A few patches of autumn color remain, but most of the trees are bare and the brown leaves clinging to the oak tree in our front yard shiver in the cold. I am not quite ready for winter but the sudden cold sends me to the closet for a sweater and I am reminded of the pleasures of the winter season. The juncos will be here soon.

Whatever the season where you are, have a good weekend and thanks for reading Photography In Place.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Autumn Ferns

Greene County, Virginia

A couple of weeks ago I was in the woods looking at the autumn colors. In the trees the leaves were turning and the woods were beautiful. On the forest floor, weed and bush glowed in the late afternoon sunlight.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Friday, November 8, 2013


Greene County, Virginia 

It's Friday once again and winter is almost upon us. We are looking forward to a few sunny days this weekend with mild temperatures. There is still plenty of autumn color about but the leaves are falling, and soon the woods will be bare.

Hope you have a nice weekend, and thanks for reading Photography In Place.

Please visit Photography In Place Print Gallery to purchase a print of "Sycamores."

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Morning, with swan

Greene County, Virginia 

Earlier this week the lake was enveloped in fog. Fog usually presents some interesting photographic opportunities, so I grabbed the camera and set out. I worked for a while in the fog, and just as the air began to clear, I spotted this mute swan swimming in my direction.

Monday, November 4, 2013


Orange County, Virginia 

Announcing Photography In Place Print Gallery

From time to time I get requests for prints of photographs that appear on Photography In Place. In the past, I have either made the prints myself or had them done by a lab, but the logistics of getting the print made, packaging and shipping, and receiving payment was difficult and time consuming. 

In order to be able to offer prints to readers, I have partnered with Fine Art America to handle the printing and shipping of selected photographs as well as to provide matting, framing and other services. Payment is by credit card or PayPal. To examine or purchase a print, go to the Photography In Place Print Gallery website. 

If the picture that accompanies a post is also available in the Print Gallery, there will be a "Print Available" graphic and a link to the website. Over time, I will be adding more prints to the website. 


 Please visit Photography In Place Print Gallery website to purchase a print of "Homestead"

Friday, November 1, 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Branson Cove Marina - Hague, Virginia 

Our final river trip of the season in September took us to the mouth of the Potomac River. On our way back up the river we put in at Coles Point, docked the boat and took a walk around Coles Point which juts out into the Potomac on the eastern edge of the state. It is a quiet place, well off the beaten track, a place shaped by the river.

 Jordan's Store

Monday, October 28, 2013

B&B Oyster Co.

Coles Point, Virginia 

This week a few more pictures from my Potomac River trip back in September. Coles Point is a small community on the Virginia side of the river in Westmoreland County. There is a small harbor called Branson Cove where we tied up and went for a walk. The B&B Oyster Company building is located right on the water, but there was no sign of activity around the place.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Third Sunday - October 2013

Orange County, Virginia 

Mt Lebanon Church of the Brethren

On a warm August afternoon I came upon this church quite unexpectedly. It is only about twenty minutes from my home but I had never been on this road before. Often when I begin photographing a church, someone will show up to find out what I am doing; a neighbor living nearby or a member of the church perhaps. This church was no exception, and an elderly man walked across the road from his house. He was not a member of the church and did not know anything of its history, but said that there had been some vandalism there recently, and he tried to keep watch. I assured him that I only wanted to get some pictures. We chatted for a few minutes and then he went back across the road. From his front yard, he kept an eye on me.