Thursday, January 31, 2013

Maplewood Cemetery #4

Gordonsville, Virginia 

"Fred" was a dachshund; the "late and sometimes lamented companion" of writer E.B.White.
"One day last fall I wandered down through the orchard and into the woods to pay a call at Fred's grave. The trees were bare; wild apples hung shamelessly from the grapevine that long ago took over the tree. The old dump, which is no longer used and which goes out of sight during the leafy months, lay exposed and candidrusted pots and tin cans and sundries. The briers had lost some of their effectiveness, the air was good, and the little dingle, usually so mean and inconsiderable, seemed to have acquired stature. Fred's headstone, ordinarily in collapse, was bolt upright, and I wondered whether he had quieted down at last. I felt uneasy suddenly, as the quick do sometimes in the presence of the dead, and my uneasiness went to my bladder. Instead of laying a wreath, I watered an alder and came away.

"This grave is the only grave I visit with any regularityin fact, it is the only grave I visit at all. I have relatives lying in cemeteries her and there around the country, but I do not feel any urge to return to them, and it strikes me as odd that I should return to the place where an old dog lies in a shabby bit of woodland next to a private dump. Besides being an easy trip (one for which I need make no preparation) it is a natural journeyI really go down there to see what's doing. (Fred himself used to scout the place every day when he was alive.) I do not experience grief when I am down there, not do I pay tribute to the dead. I feel a sort of overall sadness that has nothing to do with the grave or its occupant. Often I feel extremely well in that rough cemetery, and sometimes flush a partridge. But I feel sadness in All Last Things, too, which is probably a purely selfish, or turned in, emotionsorrow not at my dog's death but at my own, which hasn't even occurred yet but which saddens me just to think about in such pleasant surroundings." E.B.White

E.B. White - from "Bedfellows" in Essays of E.B. White - HarperPerennial, 1999

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Maplewood Cemetery #2

Sheltering trees - Gordonsville, Virginia 

Gordonsville was an important rail center at the time of the Civil War with the Virginia Central and the Orange and Alexandria Railroad meeting to form a vital transportation hub. In March of 1862, the Exchange Hotel was taken over by the military to become the Gordonsville Receiving Hospital. Nearly 70,000 soldiers from both sides were treated there, and 700 soldiers were buried on the grounds of the hospital.

Later the dead were moved to unmarked graves at  Maplewood Cemetery which was established around 1880. Today an empty field surrounded by trees holds the remains of these men, and their memory is honored by a single stone marker, and the trees that shelter the edge of this sacred ground. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Maplewood Cemetery #1

Gordonsville, Virginia 

On a cool Saturday afternoon a couple of weeks ago, my wife and I drove over to Gordonsville to visit the Maplewood Cemetery, which lies just on the outskirts of town. As a historian and genealogist, my wife has a keen interest in cemeteries as a repository for historical information. My interest is primarily in the visual aspect of the cemetery and while she records the headstones for her research, I have some time to photograph the grounds.

This week we will be visiting this old cemetery which was established in 1880 and is rich in both historical and visual interest.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Saturday morning

Early in the morning I went out to fill the bird feeders. After a bitter cold night the birds will need to eat. As I brought out the seed, a nuthatch landed very close to me. I stood still and watched. The nuthatch is usually so pert and debonaire, but up close, this one looked bedraggled and cold, and seemed strangely oblivious to my presence.

I worried about that nuthatch the rest of the morning, looking for him at the kitchen window once in a while. I did see a nuthatch at the feeder, but from a distance couldn't tell if it was the same one. To tell one nuthatch from another is easy only for a nuthatch in love.

Later I walked out in the snow with the camera, half expecting to find a small frozen body on the ground. On a  freezing cold January night, the line between survival and death becomes very thin for so small a creature. There was no sign of the nuthatch, and after my fingers got too cold to work the camera, I came inside to stand in front of the fire and stare out the window as the snow began to fall once again from the gray winter sky.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Winter vacancy

Greene County, Virginia 

The purple martins are in South America. They fly down there every year, leaving their northern condos vacant and lonely. Do they have nice condos down south like the one in this picture, or must they rough it in old woodpecker holes? I don't know but I envy them a bit. It was bitter cold here when I got up this morning.  At least they're warm.

I'll be glad when they come back.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Seasons Past #3

Last year I replaced my five year old Pentax K10D with the new Pentax K5. There were several reasons for the upgrade: the K10D was (in digital camera terms) aging, the K5 offered many technological advances over the five year old K10D, and the K5 was reputed to have class leading high ISO performance. The K5 has certainly lived up to my expectations.

Live-view was a feature that I did not expect to have much use for. I prefer an optical viewfinder and the viewfinder on the K5 is excellent, but there is one situation where I find live-view extremely helpful. With the camera on a tripod, particularly with close-up work, live-view eliminates the awkward contortions and tripod bumping required to get the eye to the viewfinder. And better yet, the image on the screen can be enlarged so that it becomes easy to accurately place the focus exactly where you wish.

I am not saying that the shots in this "Seasons Past" series could not have been made using the optical viewfinder, but live-view certainly made it much easier. Live-view is a feature that I never expected to use when I bought the K5 and though ninety-five percent of my pictures are still made through the optical viewfinder, live-view is a feature that I would not want to be without.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Third Sunday - January 2013

 All Saints Episcopal Chapel - Albemarle County, Virginia 

This small wooden chapel with stone chimney is in the small rural community of Stoney Point. All Saints is a "mission" church that was completed in 1929. The cornerstone was laid in 1926 as a memorial to a three year old girl who was killed by a falling stone.

The building is in a peaceful setting surrounded by trees.

The back of the building is adorned only by the shadows of the oak trees that stand over the chapel.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Foggy morning

Greene Mountain Lake, Virginia 

This Sunday we will be looking at an interesting and unusual church building in Albemarle County, Virginia. All Saint's Episcopal Chapel will be the subject of our monthly Third Sunday feature for January.

Hope you enjoy your weekend and thanks for reading Photography In Place. See you next week.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Geese and fog

Greene Mountain Lake, Virginia 

Last Saturday morning brought heavy fog to the lake. As I walked down to the water, I heard the geese but I could not see them.  I sat down and waited and soon they began to materialize out of the fog, and for a while the world was reduced to geese and fog.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Taking flight

Greene Mountain Lake, Virginia 

Sunday morning as I sat on the bank of the lake waiting for the Mute Swans to swim by (see yesterday's post), a lone Canada goose flew in. He landed on the water near by, but I could just catch glimpses of him through the tangle of bushes on the bank. He spent the next ten minutes in a loud conversation with some geese on the main part of the lake who were invisible in the fog and then he flew off to join them. He passed me, going very fast and skimming the surface of the water.

I heard him land among the other geese and they greeted him with raucous honking and wing flapping. They sounded happy to see him . . . I think.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mute swan

Greene Mountain Lake, Virginia 

Yesterday morning found me sitting on the foggy bank of the lake near my home. I was hoping to catch the pair of Mute Swans (Cygnus olor) that live here on their way out to breakfast. After about a thirty minute wait, I catch sight of them coming my way. The larger of the pair led the way, and about one hundred yards behind followed his mate. The swan swam by without a sound and in a minute his tiny wake lapped the shore at my feet.

An ancient belief held that the Mute Swan sings only once in its life; a beautiful swan song, just before dying.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A winter walk in the Dismal Swamp #5

Great Dismal Swamp - Suffolk, Virginia 

Today is the last of our series of photographs from last month's winter visit to the Dismal Swamp. I might mention that the Virginia/North Carolina state line runs through the Dismal Swamp about 2 miles or so south of Lake Drummond. All of the pictures this week were taken in Virginia. I hope to be back in eastern North Carolina this spring, map and camera in hand.

Have a great weekend, hope to see you back here next week, and thanks for reading Photography In Place.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A winter walk in the Dismal Swamp #4

Great Dismal Swamp, Suffolk, Virginia 

After heavy rains a couple of days before we arrived in the Dismal Swamp, the water was high in many areas and several times we had to put a log across a flooded path in order to continue. I was carrying the telephoto lens in my coat pocket "just in case" and while jumping across a puddle, the lens fell out and landed half in and half out of the water. I plucked it out of the water and dried it off as quickly as I could. Fortunately no water got in the contacts on the rear of the lens, but there was water inside the front element. I was afraid that this lens was doomed, but I after I got home, I put the lens in a zip-lock bag with a couple of cups of rice and after a few days, the lens was perfectly dry and functional. Lesson learned.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A winter walk in Dismal Swamp #2

Lake Drummond  - Great Dismal Swamp

Friday morning was overcast and cool as we headed north from the Outer Banks. Our destination was Lake Drummond, a 3100 acre natural lake located in the heart of the Dismal Swamp. In the spring we had approached the lake by boat from the feeder ditch that connects the lake to the Dismal Swamp Canal, but a problem with the boat forced us to turn back before we reached the lake (see here). This trip we decided to approach the lake from the west by way of a one land dirt road that runs some 5 miles through the swamp and ends on the shore of the lake.

Unfortunately, we learned that launching boats is prohibited at this time of the year (although one can still access the lake by boat from the west side) so the boat stayed in the back of the truck.

It was a quiet and lonely spot. I walked around and took some pictures, we ate our lunch, and then we left to explore the swamp on foot. The water was perfectly still.

Monday, January 7, 2013

A winter walk in Dismal Swamp #1

 Washington Ditch - Great Dismal Swamp, Suffolk, Virginia 

Thursday after Christmas found me headed for North Carolina for a couple of days to explore the Great Dismal Swamp and surrounding area. Our intention was to put the boat in Lake Drummond and explore by boat, but those plans were stymied. More about that tomorrow.

There is no shortage of trails through the swamps and even though we did not get the boat in the water we spent an enjoyable day hiking. With some sun breaking through the overcast from time to time and temperatures around fifty degrees, it was a pleasant day to be in the woods. And we had the place all to ourselves.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Snow on the Blue Ridge

Greene County, Virginia 

The Blue Ridge mountains are lovely in the winter, particularly with a bit of snow and the early morning light raking across the mountain top. This picture was taken two days after Christmas.

Hope you will join us next week for a winter visit to the Great Dismal Swamp. Have a great weekend and thanks for reading Photography In Place.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Local Goodness

Albemarle County, Virginia 

Here we are at the start of another year.

Photography In Place is beginning its fourth year, and I hope that you will visit often. This year I plan to continue to explore and photograph close to home as well as do a little traveling, mostly to coastal North Carolina. I just returned from another trip to the Great Dismal Swamp and will be posting pictures from there next week.

As in the past, a new photo is posted each morning at 7:00 am Monday through Friday with occasional weekend posts. Our Third Sunday series will continue with a picture of an architecturally interesting church building on the third Sunday of each month.

Thanks for reading Photography In Place, and best wishes for the New Year.