“The Blue Ridge in Summer”

I was going through some of my photographs recently of The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia that I made during a Mid-June trip. I found these two images of a very beautiful, humid, and stormy summer day in the mountains!

The clouds were dark and heavy as was the air all around. The kind of  air with humidity that gives layers of haze in the distance, and feels thick to breathe.

The forests were full of trees and were a lush green from previous rains, giving beautiful contrasts of colors in both greens and blues!

I’m looking forward to heading back to the Blue Ridge Mountains, and Shenandoah National Park sometime this spring or summer. There’s always an ever changing landscape there just waiting for me around the bend!

"Storm on Blue" Gorgeous clouds in the Blue Ridge Mountains during a summer storm.
“Storm on Blue”
Gorgeous clouds in the Blue Ridge Mountains during a summer storm.

“Best of 2014”

Well, another year is nearly over and a new adventure about to begin! As is customary as the year comes to a close, I usually bring out ten of my best images of 2014, or actually my favorite images from the year. These are not in any particular order, but as you look through them you might see a familiar theme within almost all of the images! That theme involves water.

This first image is one taken in early autumn at Miner’s Falls in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I had tried to time my fall foliage trips to coincide with peak color. Well that didn’t always go as planned. Fall was a bit difficult to chase this year LOL!

"Miner's Falls in October"
“Miner’s Falls in October”

In this next image you’ll notice a very turbulent looking Lake Michigan. What a beautiful day that was! Forty-Fifty mile an hour winds with wild and dramatic clouds swirling by!

"As the World Turns"
“As the World Turns”

During the spring I had the opportunity to go to one of my favorite locations in Pennsylvania, The Laurel Highlands. These next two images are from there. First is an area called Meadow Run. A beautiful fast running stream, that at times looks more like a river, and also like rapids.

"Meadow Run" 2
“Meadow Run” 2

This next image is of Cucumber Falls also in the same area of PA. I really love these falls. I’ve seen them many times, during drought, moderate rain, and during periods of good rain. I think this was during a good time with a strong flow of water. Cucumber Falls is a popular place to go, but if you get there when no one else is there, it’s pure Magic!

"Dreamy Cucumber Falls"
“Dreamy Cucumber Falls”

In keeping with this theme of water, and of my search for fall color during this autumn, I made it up to Tahquamenon Falls in Paradise Michigan in the Upper Peninsula. I was rewarded with some pretty good color at the time. It wasn’t at peak, but it was beautiful!

"Tahquamenon Falls Autumn"
“Tahquamenon Falls Autumn”

As you’ll see here, these are really not in chronological order at all. Below you’ll find beautiful Miner’s Castle, located in Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore. It might look like it was photographed at some point during the winter, but this was actually in late May. The Great Lakes, especially Lake Superior were still having quite a bit of ice coverage even in late spring!

"Miner's Castle on Ice"
“Miner’s Castle on Ice”

While in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in early summer I had the chance to not only photograph the mountains and valleys, but also the wildflowers. This one here made a big impression on me, and as it turns out is one of the endangered wildflowers around the Blue Ridge Parkway area of Virginia.

"Gray's Lily"
“Gray’s Lily”

A beautiful day in the Blue Ridge Mountains, which you might say is not unusual, but on this particular trip it happened to be. I didn’t find very cooperative weather for most of the two times I was there this year. I really enjoyed the beautiful weather when I had it though!

"Blue Ridge by Daylight"
“Blue Ridge by Daylight”

As many of you know, I usually go up to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula pretty often. If you haven’t been there, you must cross the Mackinac Bridge to get from the lower part of MI. to the UP. This beautiful bridge is a five mile long suspension bridge which crosses over the straits of Mackinac. I often photograph the bridge in the daylight, but not often at night. This image was one of many night images taken on this particular trip.

"Mackinac Reflections"
“Mackinac Reflections”

Here you’ll find a study in minimalism. A wonderful sunrise over Lake Huron. The hues were gorgeous, the color lasted for quite a long time, and gave me a time to not only spend time photographing it, but just enjoying the peaceful moment.

"Soothing"
“Soothing”

On that note I would like to thank you all for stopping by not only for this post, but for others all through these past years!

I wish everyone much peace, blessings, and many happy moments not only behind the camera, but in all aspects of your lives!

Here we come 2015! Get Ready……..

“Dogwood Curtain” 2

“Dogwood Curtain” 2

-Dogwood Curtain-  mono 2

A day of pink
Of blossoms fair.

Wind blows gently
Petals flare.

Distant thoughts
My soul to share.

Far off bench
Anyone there?

A day in spring
The world is new.

Among the blossoms
I’ll be with you.

~~ Rachel Cohen~~

“Flowers and Stone”

Flowers and stone
Spring dreams

Tumbled boulders
Timeless past

Season’s renewal
Wildflowers sprout

Perhaps unnoticed
Perchance to be seen

I have noticed
I have climbed

Life ever changing
Reaching new heights

Flowers and stone
Of God’s Gifts
We do delight

by Rachel Cohen

“We Smile”

As you’ll see in a minute I am again referencing a song from way back in the early 1970’s sung by The Carpenters.
As soon as I saw this rainbow image while getting ready to process it in Lightroom, the words “We smile” came to my mind. When that happened, well the song “We’ve Only Just Begun”popped into my head. From there all the thoughts of new beginnings and the beauty of new beginnings came out.

Spring is a season of re-birth, new growth, and new beginnings. A time to embrace life, enjoy nature, nurture nature, and more importantly nurture ourselves both in body and spirit.

Here in the Blue Ridge Mountains spring is a wonderful time of year, and being able to see a rainbow after a big spring storm gives the sense of newness, fresh start, and pure beauty.

Read the lyrics to the song below the image. If you remember them from the 1970’s then feel free to rejoice!! 🙂 If they’re new to you, then think about them, and enjoy them with the beauty of this image!! 🙂

~~ We Smile~~

-We Smile-

“We’ve Only Just Begun” by The Carpenters

We’ve only just begun to live
White lace and promises
A kiss for luck and we’re on our way
We’ve only begun

Before the risin’ sun, we fly
So many roads to choose
We’ll start out walkin’ and learn to run
And yes, we’ve just begun

Sharing horizons that are new to us
Watching the signs along the way
Talkin’ it over, just the two of us
Workin’ together day to day, together

And when the evening comes, “we smile”
So much of life ahead
We’ll find a place where there’s room to grow
And yes, we’ve just begun

Sharing horizons that are new to us
Watching the signs along the way
Talkin’ it over, just the two of us
Workin’ together day to day, together, together

And when the evening comes, we smile
So much of life ahead
We’ll find a place where there’s room to grow
And yes, we’ve just begun

“The Last Goodbye”

On a recent visit to Shenandoah National Park, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I had really wanted the ability to get a sunset before leaving the area. The weather hadn’t been cooperating for most of the time I was there. I had one day of lovely weather, but was busy and couldn’t be in the mountains. After that it rained cats and dogs for a few days, and In addition to that, the mountains were socked in with a thick heavy fog.
On my last day there, I decided to head up into the mountains one more time, even though it was raining in Winchester and Front Royal, plus the mountains were still having quite a bit of fog.
I drove quite a ways in and amazingly started to see some clearing happening. I even got to see a rainbow, which made me pretty happy, which I’ll explain in a minute.
During the time of sunset, I captured many images, but this one has to be the most colorful of the group! Not the best, but the most brilliant.
I call it “The Last Goodbye” for two reasons. One is that it was my last day there, and had to head out of town early the next morning.
The other reason was a much more import one. My whole reason for being in the area to begin with.
My father had passed away, just a few days before this was taken. He suffered a series of massive heart attacks. While I was in the area I got some time to myself and spent it in the Blue Ridge.
On my last night there I went up into the mountains to what was his favorite spot, so that I could say a quiet goodbye, and hopefully catch a sunset. What I got was more than I had hoped for.
I was blessed with clearing skies, a rainbow, and a vibrant sunset.
That was my very Last Goodbye to a wonderful man who during his lifetime had taught me the love and respect of nature, and the the pure joy of photographing that beauty!!

Blue Ridge Sunset
Blue Ridge Sunset

“Lower Dark Hollow”

Last summer, the summer of 2012, in what I call the “year of the Drought”. Many of the places I visited related to water, were so different than they were in years before!
This image is from Dark Hollow Falls in Shenandoah National Park. I started at the top of the trail of course, and expected to be met with the sound of rushing water as I went further down and the trail came closer to the falls. What I encountered instead was more like a slow pour, lightly and gently coming down the mountain and over the rocks.
I had hoped to take many images of the upper part of the falls, and the whole falls from the bottom. Well that’s not quite what happened.
First as I mentioned there was very little water compared to usual, and second, there were at least 40 people gathered around the lower falls to capture whatever was there. It was a mad house LOL!
So here is what will remain in my mind forever the lower part of Dark Hollow Falls with very little water, in the “Year of the Drought”!

Dark Hollow Falls
Dark Hollow Falls