2016 Year in Review Part 1

At least a little visual of it, anyway. This only scratches the surface of the surface of all that happened last year. I enjoy seeing photographer’s “best of *insert previous year*” photos. I decided to include some of my best and favorite shots of the year, as well as a few other random shots of life.


This month began on the beach and ended Continue reading “2016 Year in Review Part 1”

For the Beauty of the Earth


For the beauty of the earth
for the glory of the skies,


for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies;


Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.


For the beauty of each hour
of the day and of the night,


hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon, and stars of light;


Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.


For thyself, best Gift Divine,
to the world so freely given,


for that great, great love of thine,
peace on earth, and joy in heaven:


Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.


Super Moon

About that full moon the other night, I hear it was super! We didn’t get to see it Sunday night or Monday morning due to it being very overcast. I thought maybe I could at least see it set Monday morning but lo, and behold, it was so overcast at 6:00 AM, you couldn’t see even a trace of the moon.

I learned something new about full moons and calendars this week. I’m designing a church calendar again and noticed, once more, that there are discrepancies between calendars and even online full moon charts. Here’s why: technically, this super moon was full at 8:53 AM on November 14. This means when the moon comes up in the evening on Monday, it’s already waning. So do you put Sunday or Monday on the calendar as full moon? At moonrise Sunday night it is fuller than at moonrise Monday night. Usually full moon (according to the calendar) comes up as the sun is setting. If you consider the 14th to be full moon, and if you’re looking for it Monday night, it will come up after dark. It comes up nearly an hour later each night.

Anyhow, calendars and full moon conundrums aside…. Monday cleared up beautifully and we had a wiener roast at my mom’s house for supper. The moon rose up, big and bright. On my bucket list is to get a shot of the moon on the horizon with an object silhouetted in it. We live in a very flat land with few hills, even you can even call them that. What “hills” we have are mostly covered in pine trees. They are not the most exciting thing to silhouette.



There it is, big and round and bright! But without anything for scale, it’s hard to tell just how big it was as a super moon.


My lens is 200 mm at the long end. I’m amazed at the details it can capture considering it is not a high end lens. This Leyland Cypress was at least 30 feet from me plus this is cropped.

Tuesday morning I tried again, even though it would be more light from the sun than I wanted (as I mentioned each day makes nearly an hours difference in the location).

The mists were rising from the water and the grass, and well, nearly everything.






I had thought Lake Grace would be the mostly like to still see the moon at the horizon without going further out into the county where the farmland is. Alas and alack, the fog off the water totally obliterated the view of the moon.



All was not lost as the fog created another kind of beauty!





A few more beauties in the early morning:



This maple tree is supposed to be an “orange blaze” and this year is the closest it’s come to that. Usually they turn brown and fall off. We’ve had quite a few pine trees taken down due to the county working on putting a paved road in, and some trees came down that were diseased. I think the tree is more unprotected from cooler temps so maybe we’ll see more color out of it another year. Unless…those spots on the leaves tell a different story about the tree. Any horticulturists out there with opinions on that??


That’s water beads on some outdoor seat cushions, in case your wondering if Scotchgard really works. 🙂

Bucket List – Babcock State Park

Every October I get the urge to travel to where there is leaf color change, and every October the weekends seem to fill up quickly. In 2010 my sister and I, along with 2 friends who were with us part of the time, spent 2 weeks in the New England states. If you are free to travel and can make this trip, do it!

This late spring, when my nephew and his girlfriend announced their engagement for an Oct. Virginia wedding, I decided to work in a trip to Babcock State Park. BSP has an iconic grist mill that is in a stunning setting. The park itself is kind of remote and not on the way to anywhere. We stayed in a cabin just up the lane from the mill. There are about 8 cabins back this lane.




We got lucky and got cabin 12 which only has 12 steps down to it. Even with that, the lane was about even with the roofline. Some of the others were were way down the hill. The good part was, there were closer to the rushing stream.


Our cabin was their “intermediate” level cabin. It was warmed only by a big open fireplace. We needed it because the night temperatures dipped into the 30s and the bright sunshine warming to daytime temps in the 60s hardly warmed the cabin because of all the trees. It had a full kitchen, though a bit rustic and small. There are not many restaurants or grocery stores close by so were glad we had planned ahead and picked up some things at a Kroger a few hours before we got there. They provide plenty of good fire wood, which burned nicely and cozily.

Some pre-seasoned and prepared foods from Kroger were the ticket for delicious meals.
I had to laugh when I saw this picture. I totally look like Mr. Lunt. 🙂

The best time to shoot the mill only sunny days is in the hours just after it gets light. When we were there, bright light didn’t hit it until after 9 AM. By 5:30 or 6, the sun was no longer hitting it. If you want to use a slow shutter speed to make the water look silky, you have to shoot when the sun is not hitting it.


There were quite a number of other photographers around morning and evening. We had to work around each other.


In the morning there was mist coming of the water. Can you spot the other photographer below? One of the ladies dressed in camouflage and she blended in well.







There’s a pretty lake in the park where you can rent boats in the summer. It was closed down for the season when we were there. In the morning there was mist dancing over the water.







We hiked one of the many trails in the park. This was along a narrow-gauge 2.5 mile trail. I’m not sure what this rail was used for, possibly mining purposes? There was a swinging bridge that we wanted to see and we got to within a short distance of it, but gave up because the trail hit a ravine, and I didn’t have shoes with enough support on plus the knee I had hurt a month and half ago was starting to ache a little.



The trail was muddy in some spots from recent rains. While not considered a treacherous trail, for a portion of it, one misstep close to the edge could’ve sent you rolling down a steep embankment.

We didn’t see all of the park but were impressed with its quiet beauty. I’m sure there was quite a bit more activity during the weekend because the cabins were all booked.

Leaving this area, we crossed the New River and stopped to snap a picture.