Mabry Mill

Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia

Mabry Mill

Mabry Mill is one of the most photographed places on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It is historically interesting, as it was constructed in 1903, and has operated as a blacksmith and wheelwright shop, a sawmill, and a gristmill.  It is extremely picturesque, with the setting putting on various shows of color, depending on the season.  If you are ever fortunate enough to find yourself on the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia, be sure to spend a little time exploring Mabry Mill.

Colorado Pines

colorado lake and pines in Rocky Mountain National Park

Colorado Pines

About this time last summer, I made my very first trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, in Colorado.  It will, most certainly, not be my last.  At every turn, there is a scene like the one in this image.  The deep colors of the water below, offset by the bright whites in the clouds above and the never ending shades of green in between are calming not only to my eye, but also to my soul.  I have always found the Rocky Mountains to be majestic, and this trip certainly reinforced my love for all things Rocky.

Desert Moonrise

moonrise in the desert

Desert Moonrise

This gorgeous scene was one we came upon while exploring beautiful Arches National Park a few years ago.  The colors of the desert are so rich and rewarding at certain times of the day.  I love the reds and oranges in the rocks in this shot, and the rising moon just made it a “must shoot” situation.  I am so grateful to have traveled to so many stunning places across the beautiful United States.

The Painted Desert

Painted Desert in Arizona

The Painted Desert

A visit to The Painted Desert, in Arizona, this summer, treated us to the strange and beautiful colors of the hot, dry sand.  The various layers of color in the canvas here reveal millions of years of work by Mother Nature.  It’s an interesting, albeit desolate, place to visit.  We happened to travel through in the heat of the day – not the best time for making nice photographs.  This park is another one of those places that changes dramatically depending on the time of day and conditions.  An unexpected highlight for us was meeting a young woman who was working in the park.  She was kind and knowledgeable, and gave us some personal insight into this fascinating desert.  I’m so grateful that there are people like her (and her husband) who find it important to love and share our nation’s natural treasures.

Monument Valley Riders

horseback in monument valley

Monument Valley Riders

On one of my very favorite trips through Monument Valley, in Utah, we were in and out of the car a million times shooting some of the most beautiful landscapes, when we came upon this picture perfect scene of four riders on horseback in the valley.  It was just such perfection.  It was as if a movie set had been placed before us.  Though this photo was made several years and many Monument Valley trips ago, it continues to be one of my all time favorites.

I Miss Maui

sunset over the beach in maui, Hawaii

I Miss Maui

I recently had lunch with a friend who had just returned from Maui.  As she talked about her trip, I couldn’t help but reflect back to the heavenly days we spent in Maui in December of 2005.  While looking back through my shots, I came across this image.  It has got to be one of my favorites from that trip.  I love the way the clouds are caught by the mountaintop, and the beauty of the sun reflecting off the blue water.  I like the “noise” of the children playing in the surf and the quiet serenity of the sailboat on the horizon.  Ah, Hawaii….

Morning Fog

early morning fog on pond

Morning Fog

I am not known to be an early morning person!  Several weeks ago though, I had to be up early to get my daughter to an out of town event.  Luckily, I took my camera with me.  Once I was on my way back home, and good and awake, I began to appreciate the early morning light as the sun came up, and decided to make a stop by a local park.  I had been to this park many times before, but I found it especially serene and peaceful in the solitude of early morning.  The light coming off the pond was warm and wonderful, and provided a great and worshipful way to start my day.

Milky Way

nightime milky way in the southwest

Milky Way

So, honestly, I feel less than thrilled to post this particular image.  It was made while in the Four Corners area on the mission trip, and does, indeed, illustrate why those of us on this trip love to sit out under the stars every night, no matter how tired.  It is, however, my very first attempt to capture the milky way in an image.  I was using my brand new wide angle lens.  At an ISO of 1600, a wide open aperture, and a 20 second shutter speed, I positioned my camera on a pile of large rocks, aimed it toward the sky, and fired away using my auto release cord.  I was really only moderately pleased with my results.  While I did record some “close” images, nothing really took my breath away.  Because I was shooting in the dark, and not able to truly review my images (other than in the viewfinder, where they all looked amazing), I found it hard to tweak the settings to improve the results.  So, while I am not thrilled with the sharpness of the image among other things, there are a few things I do like about it.  I was pleased with the silhouetting of the landscape in the foreground and the luck I had in capturing the satellite in the upper left hand corner.  It was also quite a trill to see how beautifully the milky way showed itself in the image – even better than to the naked eye.  All in all, I felt like this was a decent first attempt at capturing a pleasing image of our galaxy from one of my favorite places on earth.  It only makes me look forward to further attempts in my future!