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Monday, December 22, 2008

Ridge Frosting

After a cold and rainy night, the ridge woke frosted.

Pocket camera used here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cold and foggy travels in Loudoun

Socked in with fog, Loudoun county was chilly Saturday morning. This photo was taken at Glenowen Farm, one of my favorite places to shoot. The cows and geese added to the silent beauty of the morning.

Taken at the same farm, these intersecting pastures poke through the horizon like massive beach balls.

A one in a million shot. Taken near Blackburn cabin where I saw ten thousand leaves fall as the tree tops rustled.

A serene Loudoun setting.

Most of my friends know that I love the simplicity of overgrown fields, especially when wet and striped with fall colors.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Raven Rocks hike

November first was warmer than seventy degrees, a perfect day for a hike on the Blue Ridge. Both Virginia and West Virginia can be seen in this photo, taken at Raven Rocks. Colorful hard woods cascade down to green farm land.

Coming home on Route 601 toward Route 7, a stunning sunset provides a finishing touch to the day.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Singing in the trees

My good friend Timothy Wyant invited me to shoot photos of his chorus group the local Christmas tree farm. Huh? Timothy is the type of guy who like to mix things up a bit. When he called, he said he wanted quirky shots of his group mingling with the trees on the slopes of the Blue Ridge? How could I refuse an offer like that. After taking several "normal" shots, I had them line up like trees which provided a uniquely quirky photo. Mission accomplished I'd say.

This is one of the "normal shots" with acres of Christmas trees cascading down the ridge behind them. Their voices filled the air on this perfect day. The group headed over to the Bluemont Fair following the shoot to give a performance. You can learn more about the Chorus of the Old Dominion by visiting this link: Click here to learn more about The Snickers Gap Tree Farm.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Skyline Drive Camping In October

Last weekend neighbor Dave and I camped on top of Skyline Drive. The weather was cool and fall colors are starting to appear. We stayed at Loft Mountain where all 220 campsites were occupied. It is amazing how peaceful a mountaintop can be with so many campers.

The Appalachian Trail wraps around the campsite offering easy access to stunning views. This photo was taken in the morning where the low sunlight created scenes that were alive with color.

These helpful trail markers were found at various intersections. We don't see these on trail sections in Loudoun County. They tend to be wooden signs in our area.

We did not see bears during our trip, but their presence was evident. At some point during our stay we noticed a large apple tree bordering our campsite. The base of the tree was dotted with biological remnants (a nice way of saying poo) of deer and bear. "...protect your property?" I had no idea bears were thieves, food I can understand.

After years of attempting to get closeup photos of deer, my goal was met this weekend. Dave and I were hiking along the trail and two bucks casually approached us on their morning stroll. The smaller of the two walked within two feet of us, as if we were not there. The second, larger buck (seen here) milled within ten feet of us for about five minutes. I assume they had no fear because hunting is not permitted in this location. Here in Loudoun, getting within fifty yards is rare.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Barn and Moon in Early Fall

As early fall prepares to descend on Loudoun County, the air becomes crisper and evenings grow cool. Fall skies are often filled with pinks and magenta's as the sun rises and sets. This recently snapped scene is located next to the Mountain View Elementary school on Alder School Road.

Update Jan 2011 - This is now the site of Woodgrove High School. The school is situated on the right hand side, and the football field on the left.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Loudoun's Breaux

Breaux Vinyards is a must see for those in range of northern Virginia. This beautiful location features gentle rolling hills lined with graped fences. The stucco and tile roof building is flanked by an emerald green ridge. Spacious seating areas provide the feeling of a European contryside. Surprisingly, all of their many wines are produced using only grapes grown by them.

If the surroundings are not enough to bring you out to Breaux, the seemingly unlimited knowldege of this wine guru will. While serving sample glasses from their selection, this gentleman provided in depth knowledge of thier processes and other those of other wineries. He also made note of local wine making players, history and regional information. The best ten dollars I've spent lately, the wine is excellent. Directions to Breaux are here:

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Loudoun County Fair 2008

The well attended Loudoun County Fair ended on Saturday after an incredibly hot week. The layout pretty much followed the previous year but fun was had by all. Where else in Loudoun can you eat fried cheesecake and mingle with livestock?

This goat has blazing blue eyes that were overshadowed only by his unique voice. He had a unique mix of snorts and vocal utterances that gave him human-like appeal. I give him first place for coolness.

This was my first rodeo and I must say that it exceeded my expectations. Sure it looks dangerous on TV, but seeing it in person puts it into perspective. The bulls aren't small, trained or cute. Intermission featured young children riding sheep, what a hoot!

Many of the same rides were featured this year. Organizers, I think we need to mix it up a bit.

This tiny woman wrangled a sheep into submission and had it sheered in about 90 seconds. Most of the wool came off in one piece. The newly shaved sheep appeared about half it's size when done.

I always get a kick out of the posters children make for thier show animals (I've featured several over the years). They demonstrate the pride taken in raising their livestock. A select few are rewarded with county ribbons.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Evolving Winchester

A recent trip to Winchester revealed a town in the midst of change. Winchester typifies an American rural community complete with an abundance of strip malls, a brick-lined historic district and an younger college crowd. This town is not only expanding in all directions, but an upscale presence has been sneaking in recently. Pictured here is the courthouse, showing a slightly different time than the church behind it.

The Handley Library stands out as incredible moment to architecture, especially for this area. Completed in 1913, it was commissioned to architects J. Stewart Barney and Henry Otis Chapman from New York. More information can be found here:

Just an incredible building! I need to make the trip back soon as it as closed on the day I visited.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Photo published on Loudoun Yellow Pages cover

The new Loudoun and Faquier Yellow Pages book from Verizon features one of my photos. This late afternoon shot was taken atop one of the silos located on Franklin Farm. The northerly facing view shows the town of Purcellville (Virginia) in the upper right corner. The original photo was taken in October of 2007, here is the related blog post:

Incredibly, the photo includes my name and the website for this blog. I must say I'm pleased that 195,273 of these are printed. Does anyone use these anymore?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Round Hill Hometown Festival

Round Hill held it's annual Hometown Festival yesterday on what was the perfect day. This well attended event brought the town together for a day of fun, music and food.

The park filled with neighbors and friends who listened to the Loudoun Valley High band start the day off.

The pie eating contest is a town favorite. The event, held later in the day, allows various age groups to compete by attempting to devour the 2500 calorie chocolate cream pie. This little guy looks all to ready.

Mary Ruth waves to the crowd from her antique shop as they make their way towards town. It looks like the town is saving on gas with pedal power.

Everyone enjoyed the day, including this small dog. Can you say Mogwai? :)

A future gang of Fire Department candidates.

I've witnessed many pie eating techniques over the years while shooting this event. The "evil eye" is one of my favorites. After coaching our newly elected major (not shown here) on best approaches for this event, he executed magnificently. However, he left the table in mid-eat. Folks, we need to break this one in.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Funky Shepherdstown

Shepherdstown West Virginia is an eclectic mix of old town history, appreciation for the arts and a college town. The 55 mile per hour road leading into town runs over tight hills and curves, barely supporting the maximum driving limit. The red brick downtown area is reminiscent of New England architecture with heavy mid-Atlantic underpinnings. The main drive through town is dotted with funky boutique shops, restaurants and college coffee houses. This is definitely a great place to spend a Saturday afternoon. Word of caution, some parking areas require residential permits. There are often no signs stating as such.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Rust Sanctuary

The Rust Sanctuary, located in Leesburg, is a 68 acre ecological park with hiking trails and a manor house. The property was donated to the Audubon Society in 2000 by William F. Rust. There are scheduled nature tours provided on the property where more than 100 species of birds nest throughout the year. Directions and details are here.

Touring the manor house requires reservations. I learned this while taking a peek inside and being told (in less than friendly terms) that I'm not allowed in. Gee I'm such a nice guy too :)

Surrounding the manor house is an impressive array of plants and trees. This expansive Tulip Tree was in full spring bloom. It's large branches hung precariously over a stone wall, as if trying to keep everything close.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring breaks on Assateague Island

Last week I explored Assateague Island, a part of the eastern shore. The southern portion of the island belongs to Virginia, the balance is Maryland. This uninhabited section of the island is home to an incredible array of wildlife, including the famous wild ponies (above). Chincoteague Island is located just to the west and is connected to Assateague (and the mainland) via a series of bridges.

The island features asphalt trails that lead visitors through various parts of the island. As my blog readers know, I rarely follow designated trails and this trip was no exception. This photo was taken miles north of the public beach parking area. A hefty hike along a service road, over a mostly dry marsh and finally through 50 yards of dead thickets and briers lead me to this spot. There's nothing quite like an uninhabited beach. There was an incredible display of large, unbroken shells on the beach like I've never seen.

The photo below was posted for the person who left a comment wanting to see the shells. Included are pics of a seahorse and shark eggs, also found on the beach.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Goose Creek Bridge

The Goose Creek Bridge, pictured here, first came to my attention in the movie; Crazy Like A Fox. A previous post of mine describes why I feel that this film is so meaningful to those living in Loudoun County. A friend suggested that he came across the bridge . I knew I had to find it for myself. Located on Route 50 between Upperville and Middleburg, this historic bridge still stands as a reminder of days gone by. I have not come across any bridge quite like this one, it truly stands out.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Hanging Ice

I stumbled across an interesting find yesterday; ice hanging in the balance minus the water that formed it. It appears as though Round Hill experienced minor flooding when it was cold enough for the water's surface to freeze. I assume that the excess water drained quickly, leaving behind a sheet of ice hovering about three feet above the creek.

The entire scene was a fascinating landscape of shapes and angles. It was worth getting muddy on the way to work for this shoot.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Skateboarding a crime?

The Blue Ridge leader reported the following today:

"Several skateboarders were skating in the 700 block of E. Main Street. Parents were notified".

Since when is it a crime to skate? As an old school boarder myself, I was shocked to read this. I'd rather see our youth participating in a sport than being bored and looking for trouble. I think the town of Purcellville needs to lighten up.

March 14 update: The Blue Ridge Leader reports this: "Parents were notified that youths were skate boarding at Blue Ridge Middle School." Folks, we obviously have an epidemic on our hands. Has Homeland Security been called?

July 28: There is an effort underway to build a skate plaza / park here, called the Purcellville Skate Project. Visit this site to learn more and get involved:

Monday, January 14, 2008

Route 7 sunset

Sunset as seen from the Blue Ridge can be breath taking. This photo was taking from Route 7 as it passes into Clarke County going west. The winter sky is lit up with natural light of the season as the day draws to near end.

I stopped near this location recently to shoot fog rolling over the ridge, it was raining. My truck was parked next to the highway with the flashers on. I was touched that two people stopped within five minutes time to offer help, they thought I was broken down. What a great community this is.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Barn and pond

This photo was taken in the recent Franklin Farm series. The tranquil setting features one of the many barns and ponds located on the property. This particular setting sits between several rolling hills. It would not be difficult to sit here for hours watching the day go by.