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Scenic Beauty

Fall colors make photographers smile

A classic old barn near Glady has deer edging around its corner in a typical pasture setting.

One thing I am hearing from all walks-of-life right now is a dislike for the absence of group activity, events, church gatherings, clubs and festivals. Many of us have wound our lives around these service groups or recreational activities and are now socially experiencing deprivation and boredom.

Considering that my monthly goal has been to introduce information about some wonderful place or celebration where the public could attend and experience enjoyment, it has certainly been a challenge for me.

Thankfully, the weather patterns have favored the eruption of hillside coloration so that one activity can flourish. A photographer’s dream is at hand and will assure some happy times for those seeking beauty from our valleys and our mountain vistas.

Many do not consider actually getting out-and-about to take pictures because they think they need a fancy camera. This is not the case. The Kodak disposables will work just fine, and I have been amazed through the years just how clear and colorful these cameras have produced images.

Actually, picking a good travel route is a very important part of this adventure. And, it is a difficult choice, because there are so many roads and pathways one can take. An important item to remember, however, is to make sure when the picture is snapped that one’s back should be to the sun, so the brightest of rays will focus on the subject and the best of colors will dominate.

Often, a road can be travelled at a higher speed while searching for a subject and looking for a pull-off spot. A return on that same stretch can be made knowing what is to be photographed and where a safe departure can be made on the roadside. Some attention must also be given to possible guard dogs or other farm animals that run freely and could be made restless.

Through the years, my camera has often been my best friend as I usually found I did better artistry when not distracted by any other vehicle travelers. I have taken photos from Wheeling to Bluefield and Parkersburg to Charles Town, which included Logan and Raleigh counties’ strip mines and beautiful farmlands in Hardy and Monroe counties. If one makes it a goal to travel widely throughout the State, they will find it a very spiritually uplifting hobby.

As a guide for a trip that could be taken, if unique barns are desired, Route 92 north of Belington might be a good choice or past Cheat Mountain over to Green Bank and on to Huntersville on Routes 250 and 92 will allow some good shots to be taken, too.

Water photos with hillside color can be had at Stonewall Jackson Resort off I-79 at Roanoke Exit and Tygart Lake near Grafton on Route 50, and pristine pasture land is prominent moving toward Pendleton and other Eastern Panhandle sights on Routes 33 and 220.

Most photography experts advise that including people adds much to the photograph, and I would concur with this belief. Somehow, they give life to the picture and provide personality or an emotional tone. My suggestion is to take a picture both ways, and make your own determination.

Most will tell you that practice makes perfect when trying to work with a camera. But, I will share that my wallpapering my college dormitory rooms with my dad’s “Wild, Wonderful, West Virginia” magazine full-page scenic photos taken by the late, great photographer Arnout “Sonny” Hyde Jr. helped me more than anything to develop the ability to have an eye for a good picture.

One cannot go wrong capturing beautiful moments for posterity. And, being able to do this primarily in West Virginia has been an honor beyond belief. I never had to wish for a magnificent shot because these were always available everywhere I turned, and the people I have met doing photographs have been priceless examples of kindness and hospitality. I know you will discover this, too.

Get behind a camera and see what you will learn about others and yourself. You will begin to understand why life unfolds as it does and one might become less critical. You surely will begin to see that there is a common thread between us all. And, if we can be satisfied to share that connection, we might figure-out more ways we can all live peacefully together.

Above all, as important as asking the Lord to keep His eyes on us, is for us to keep our eyes on him. A picture-perfect day will have him in our view-finder. Keep smiling.

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