Continuing a look back at what I’ve managed to capture during the past 2 years, sunrises and sunsets. The beach scene is of Chic’s Beach, the neighborhood where I grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The rest were shot in and around Wythe County, Virginia where we live now. As with yesterday’s post, click on the thumbs in the gallery below to views full size images.
The weather has been cold and damp for the past couple of days keeping me close to home……and my meds, heating pad and Bertha, my La-Z-Boy recliner.
Today the sun rising over the mountains was a welcome sight so I took the long way home after dropping THE BOSS off at work.
You sometimes see the oddest things as the beams of sunlight cut through the mist and the trees.
Buddy didn’t know what to make of this critter! I love the way this guy’s coat gleams in the morning sun.
“What you lookin’ at?” The expression on Buddy’s face when he saw this said “What kind of dog is that?”
I need to start carrying my ladder on the roof rack of the truck. Apparently whoever owns this land thinks camels and llamas can jump like deer because that fence is at least 8 feet high! Even standing on the running board I still had to shoot through the chain link.
There are usually several horses in this field but they weren’t around this morning. Neither was that HUGE whitetail buck I’ve spotted on several occasions. That deer sure is camera shy!
The way the morning sun colors the rising fog and the trees along either side of the creek is deceptive. It’s really chilly out there, especially with the howling winds bringing the next blast of Arctic air down upon us. At least we’re not getting buried in snow the way most of the country is…..so far. Winter ain’t over yet!
As is her habit, my darling bride dragged me out of bed at zero dark thirty and made me drive her to work. It wasn’t quite as bad as usual because today’s shift was pushed back and hour.
We have been keeping an eye on this lone goose. It apparently suffered damage to it’s left wing some time back. Even though it is no longer holding that wing at an unnatural angle this bird remains on the ground when the rest of the flock takes to the air each morning. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that it isn’t left behind when the migration begins.
While I would have been very happy to remain in bed this morning that was not to be. There is, however, an upside to driving Frankie to work each morning.
As is my habit, I took the long way home and shot a few frames……..actually 35 but that’s a few for me.
Our weather guessers are calling for a drastic change later today as a cold front moves in from the west and, combined with a low pressure system to our south, brings much lower temperatures and several days of much needed rain.
While I’ll miss getting shots of the rising sun, rain and overcast skies will provide a chance for trying a few techniques I’ve recently read about at OutdoorPhotographer.com.
For now I’ll leave you with this final frame from Atkins Mill Road. Y’all have a great day.
The plan was for my brother and me to get an early start today. Our aim was to get a good spot on the firing line at the county range before it go too crowded and the temperature got too warm. The range is deep in the forest on the side of a mountain and there usually isn’t much breeze back there so it can get downright hot quickly. Trying to get a sight picture with sweat running into your eyes isn’t much fun.
That was the plan. The reality was that at 5:30, when Frankie woke me up to drive her to work, our thermometer read 42 and the fog was so thick I could barely see past the hood of the truck. The entire trip to town and back was made at an average speed of 15MPH. By 7:00 dawn had broken and the fog was slowly lifting.
My brother arrived shortly after the sun appeared around 8:30. It was still chilly so we decided to make the run to the top of Big Walker Mountain so that he could get some pictures and the sun would have a chance to clear the ridges on the eastern horizon.
At the top of the mountain we were above the fog but the sun still hadn’t cleared the ridges of the Seven Sisters and pockets of fog were still clinging to the valleys. That white line of fog in front of the distant ridge is just about over our house…….about 10 miles away from where we were standing.
It eventually warmed into the low 60s by the time we got to the range and we had a good time murdering cardboard boxes. Even though we had 2 cameras with us there are no photos. The firing line was already filling up when we got there and we didn’t want to waste time fooling around with cameras while there were people…….armed people….. waiting to take our places on the line when we finished shooting.
We had a good time, David got to see some awesome views, several deer and his first flock of wild turkeys and everybody came off the mountain with all body parts still intact. After taking David back to his motel I got to go home and take a nap while he went shopping with his girlfriend. Better him standing around holding a purse than me!
I missed the geese taking flight but still enjoyed the break of a new day.
With the official start of Autumn still over a week away, the leaves on some of the trees have already begun to change. These are on the maple outside our bedroom window.
Rainfall this year has been near normal so I’m hoping for another spectacular display of color. My camera will really be getting a workout in the weeks to come!
The trip to town this morning was another treat as the rising sun backlit the horizon and fired the clouds.
But the real treat was the stock pond down the road from where we live. I’ve been trying to capture the flocks of geese lifting off as the older geese teach this year’s goslings the intricacies of formation flying in preparation for the migration soon to begin.
The flock was still on the pond when I returned from dropping Frankie off at work so I found what I hoped would be a good vantage point and waited for the lift offs to begin.
I didn’t have long to wait but I’ll need to find a better position to capture all the action.
The flock doesn’t take off en masse. Individual groups take off, circle around to the north and wait for the rest of the groups before forming up into larger Vs.
Even with an image stabilized zoom lens the low light and number of groups taking flight made it challenging to capture more than a few.
It was at this point that I remembered the tripod in the back of the truck but I was worried that by the time I retrieved it and got it set up all the action would be over.
Now that I know which direction they take after lifting off I know where to set up to catch the larger formations forming. That old cow shed is a good reference point. Past experience tells me it can be seen from the Methodist church that sits on high ground on the other side of that hill.
I’ll be set up in the church parking lot tomorrow morning, waiting for the individual groups to arrive overhead. With any luck I’ll be able to get some shots of the big groups. The weather forecast is calling for a 50% chance of rain but I’ll be ready with an umbrella……and the tripod.
I just had to include a shot of this hay barn. As is the case with several other interesting buildings in the area, I’ve shot this one from different angles, in all sorts of weather and in color as well as black and white. There’s just something about the way the light plays on it that keeps drawing me back to it. You will see this barn again.
No, I didn’t spell that incorrectly. The title doesn’t refer to the tea. It refers to the bands of overcast moving through our area this morning, spin off from Hurricane Earl passing 300+ miles to the east!
Coming home after taking Frankie to work I was astounded by the way a tropical system moving along the coast can effect our weather this far inland. That is one big storm!
At least there were breaks in the clouds and I could shoot a few frames from high ground, this from Barrett’s Mill Road which traverses one part of the mountain right outside of town. If you look closely you can just make out the town water tower in front of the ridge line in the right hand side of this frame. If it wasn’t painted to resemble a hot air balloon it wouldn’t be visible this early in the morning.
As I turned onto Atkin’s Mill Rd., heading back towards town, the rising sun provided visible evidence of the wind sheer effect on the bands of clouds moving through.
I didn’t have any of the hallucinations of zebras or suspiciously misshapen deer I experienced on my previous early morning ride along this road. Frankie says she thinks they were caused by all the meds my doctors have me on. I think it’s something in the golden rod.
The rising sun and scudding cloud produced some spectacular scenes for the trip home.
This was especially true as I passed Frankie’s store. By this time the sun was shining high in the sky and Old Glory was dancing in the stiff breeze.
Click on the image to view full size.
If anyone out there has any influence with my wife please talk to her about getting me out of bed too early. You won’t believe what I thought I saw this morning!
This deer doesn’t look quite right either. The next time I’ll take Sam with me and ask him if he sees it too…..if I can get him out of bed.
A few shots from the trip home this morning……the long way, of course.
Sights like these sure make getting up early worthwhile!
I’ve been told the number of foggy mornings in August will tell you how many snows to expect over the coming winter.
So far this year we’re six for six.
Last year we had fog every morning in August and the winter brought us nearly 5 feet of snow.
Here’s hoping this one is a bit milder.
As the sun cleared the horizon it brought a promise that the fog would be short lived…….
……as well as a hint of the heat to come.
It also brought glimpses of the deep blue sky that comes with low humidity….
…..and as the haze lifts the mountains once again come into view, with passing cloud shadow revealing why this is called the Blue Ridge.
As the sun peeks over the eastern ridges on a foggy morning can there be any doubt about how these ancient mountains got their name?
Since first taking up photography as a serious hobby last year it has become my habit to carry my camera everywhere I go and to spend at least part of each day wandering the back roads in search of that “one great shot”. Lately the summer heat and humidity, which aggravates my bronchial asthma, has drastically reduced my daytime cruising.
To give you an idea of just how thoroughly the shutter bug has me in it’s grip, I’ve shot over 20,000 frames in the past 14 months. My wife, Frankie, has caught the bug as well so, even though I’m not shooting as much or as often, I still have plenty of images to work with until fall returns.
Frankie captured these first 2 images last week as we were driving down Pepper’s Ferry Road. Even though a broken telephoto lens means we only have an 18-55MM image stabilized lens for the time being we can still get a few great shots.
Did you spot the little fawn in the lower right corner? We have no way of knowing if the fawn has lost it’s mother but she was nowhere in sight. Spotting a fawn this small on it’s own is very rare. When I first spotted it bouncing around in the field I thought it was a dog.
Despite the weather I still manage a few frames now and then. Frankie usually works the early shift and I often drive her in when Laura needs the Jeep they share. We pass a stock pond on the way to town and some mornings I manage to catch the sunrise behind the pond just right.
Further along the road the fresh hay bales in some of the fields take on a glow of their own as the rising sun clears the ridges.
Okay, maybe it wasn’t exactly dark when I pried my eyes open to drive Frankie to work this morning but it was early. The oppressive heat and humidity of the past week have kept me in the house more than usual because it triggers my asthma. As a result I’m not out burning off energy and this has led to a return of my insomnia. If this weather pattern doesn’t change soon I may have to go back to physical therapy. I just hate paying those sadists to yell at me for over doing the exercise routines.
Trying to function after 2 or 3 hours sleep, and before the coffee kicks in, has never been my strong suit but there are rewards to being out and about at the crack of dawn.
As usual, the geese were crossing the road to “their” pond forcing me to stop and wait for them to meander across the pavement. One of these mornings I’ll be awake enough to take a long shot as they cross. There must be at least 50 birds in the flock.
Waiting for the geese produced another reward; the first Indigo Bunting I’ve seen this year! I’m really missing my long lens but it’s still in the shop for warranty repair so this was shot with the 18-55MM lens.
Muggy weather or not, I’m getting that old wander lust again but I’m trying to hold out until my lens comes back. How much longer I can resist the urge to go exploring remains to be seen. At least Godzilla has dual air conditioning units so I can always shoot from the driver’s side window. Now all I have to do is talk Frankie into letting me blow some gas money……….
I mean that both literally and figuratively. Last night my blogging home for the past 15 months went live with a much touted upgrade that has a majority of its users confused and angry, me among them.
That fiasco and a bout of insomnia soon had me busy searching for a better forum for my photography and led to the creation of this site. I have some learning to do but I’m pleased with the results thus far.
So much for the figurative dawning of a new day and on to the literal. Upon opening the door this morning on the way to drive my wife to work I was greeted by a rosy glow in the east. I carry my camera with me everywhere I go and was fortunate enough to capture a foggy Appalachian sunrise.
As the fog burns off the stock pond just down the road the fog of fatigue is settling over my mind. As my eyes are growing heavy so I’ll keep this post short. I hope you’ve enjoyed the sunrise as much as I did.