December 31, 2017

Looking for a Photo of the Year.

Here we are at the very end of 2017 so...

Happy New Year!

Meanwhile, I am trying to pick a Photo of the Year to post to City Daily Photo. Here are some runner-ups. I'll post the final pick tomorrow.

First, three black and white edits.

  1. The re-enactors were near the 8th Vermont Monument at Cedar Creek. 
  2. I added the sparkles to the angel statue using Movavi software.
  3. Someone at Harper's Lawn Ornaments had the idea of putting a concrete sculpture under the flow of water in a lighted feature. I just snapped a picture of it and I like the look.

And then there are the color photos. It's hard to pick what's best or most topical or even most liked. My site statistics show that certain older posts got the most hits, with only one post from 2017 placing in the top ten of popularity, and that one (Today in Charlottesville) does not have very good photos. So I picked some based on specialness.
Bear in Shenandoah National Park.
Selfie, Viewing the Eclipse.
Flash, Coming Home in the Car.
Lynn, showing off the pants she altered by adding ruffles. She was going to a rock concert.

I wanted to show her spirit because this is the year she beat cancer. She got the diagnosis a year ago and recently the doctor said she is definitely cancer-free. She is still dealing with the side-effects of radiation, though.

The first rule of success is to survive.
Children at State Arboretum, Boyce, VA.
Autumn, Shenandoah Valley.
View of Front Royal from Skyline Drive.
Bronze Dawn, Virginia Beach.

St. John's Episcopal Church, Hagerstown

On the day after Christmas, Hagerstown offered a Historic Houses of Worship Tour. Since some of my ancestors came from Hagerstown, I decided to drive there and do part of the tour. We enjoy seeing historic places and churches often have impressive architecture.

I don't know where George Hammer's family attended church but I had a vague recollection that he was buried at St. John's Church before being moved to Rose Hill Cemetery. Whether that is correct or not, we enjoyed visiting St. John's Episcopal Church.

The interior of the church is impressive, with a tall cathedral ceiling.  I was glad we saw it.

There is an interesting history of the church online. Members were involved in controversy in the years leading up to the Civil War. Some members held southern sympathies and others quite the opposite. Read about Rear Admiral Donald McNeil Fairfax and the US Navy's African Squadron, a fleet of eight vessels with orders to protect American commerce and suppress the transatlantic slave trade from 1859 to 1861. Many captives from Africa were freed by the Navy.

Hagerstown is in Maryland but just over the West Virginia line, and the part of West Virginia that we cross to get there is in the narrow "panhandle." 

December 30, 2017

Wren, Geese, Snow

Last night we got a little snow, barely enough to cover the roads. I stood at the window this morning and watched the birds at the feeders and the geese out on the lake.

Here the Carolina wren is defending it's supply of suet. The photo was a surprise because I had focused on him sitting on the rail and just as I pressed the button, another bird darted in toward the food but was chased off in an instant.

Immediately it was over and he calmly posed on the rail. Birds have little altercations all the time, usually very brief ones like this.

The lake is mostly frozen except for a pond of open water near the middle. The geese like to sit around this pond, occasionally swimming in it. They don't mind the cold, and I suppose this is a good defensive position. If some predator dared to come out on the ice, the geese could get in the water or fly away.

December 29, 2017

Five for Late December

1. How cold is it? Well, right now it's 22° F (-6° C) and it will get colder later tonight. At least the sun came out today, and I ate lunch in the car with my window open just to feel a little sunshine. (This was following an appointment in Front Royal and a stop to pick up a salad at Martin's.)
Black and White Photo of the South Fork.
2. We haven't had much snow, although we were treated to a light snowfall three weeks ago.  There's a chance we'll see a little tonight.
Bottle Fence in Strasburg, Dec. 9.

3. Our trees may look gray and brown right now, but a sunset can still look colorful.

4. Next we see some trees that are colorful, starting with the top of a Christmas Tree.

5. Have you ever seen a tree made of poinsettia plants? How's that for merry and bright?

Some may argue that these are red leaves, not flowers, but I'm linking to Floral Friday anyway.

Have a nice weekend!

December 28, 2017

Unintentional Theme

Our holiday season is pretty much over. New Year's Eve is not a big deal in our house and our guests have returned home. We are catching up on appointments and financial tasks that need to be done before 2017 ends. 

I checked through my unused pictures and found these two that I wanted to post. Oh, I see they have a theme going on!

Peggy and Bill

December 27, 2017

Cold Weather Geese and a Look Back

Temperatures are well below freezing here in Virginia. Sheets of ice are forming on the lake and we had snow flurries all morning.

The Canada Geese don't seem to mind. They've been coming and going in large numbers for a week or so. But I long for warm sunny days!

I follow a bird-watching group on Facebook and they asked for our favorite bird photo of this year. I picked this one of a pileated woodpecker sitting on our woodpile.

I thought about this picture too. The great blue heron is one of my favorite birds and this is a clear shot of him. 

I took many other bird pictures this year. I like this one because it has nice light, although a sparrow is a very common bird.

Geese are pretty common too, especially since we live by a lake. In this shot, I like the way that one goose looks taken aback by the splashing.

And then there's the cardinal. Everyone loves the bright red color of the male. 

December 26, 2017

Old Barns and Woodstock Treasures

These old barns will probably be demolished soon when development begins for Seven Bends State Park. The park is located east of Woodstock, Virginia along the North Fork of the Shenandoah. Although the land for the park was donated ten years ago, planning the park takes time, and then construction was held up because a narrow old bridge across the river had to be replaced before heavy equipment and trucks could come in to begin demolition and new construction. Also, the road to the site needs widening and improvements.

I read that the original Master Plan may have been scaled back, but public access to trails should be available in 2018.

No doubt this old house will have to go too. It looks to be past repair.

Since I am sharing with Tuesday Treasures, here's another special item. This one is in the town of Woodstock. The horse is a statue but the cart looks authentic.

December 25, 2017

Random-osity for 12/25/2017

Merry Christmas! I'm using the Good, Random, Fun format for a fairly brief post as this pleasant holiday winds down.

The Good: Downtown Front Royal is nicely decorated for Christmas. Doesn't the gazebo look pretty at night?
Sharing with Through My Lens.
The Random: Someone told me there was a nice mural in First Bank in Strasburg so I stopped in there the other day to get a snapshot. It's a painting of the nearby countryside with Massanutten Mountain in the background.
Monday Murals.
The Fun: Family members visited today for Christmas.
Marie, Dave, Allison, Frank, Lynn.
Mosaic Monday.

December 24, 2017

Marie Arrives for Christmas

Yesterday I picked Marie up at Dulles. I drove up to that area a little early so I could pick up a few things at the organic market in Herndon. It was raining so the only photo I took all day was this shot I grabbed while waiting at a stop light. This is the First Baptist Church in Herndon.

Today we went out but didn't do anything strenuous. Marie has a cold and I still have some foot pain. I wanted to show her the music park near Front Royal so we started there before going to lunch.

After eating at Spelunker's, we headed up on Skyline Drive. Since it was a cloudy day, things looked rather gray until we got up high enough to see what looked like frost on the mountains.

And we found a frosted forest! It was below freezing on the peaks even though it was mild in the valley below, and moisture from a cloud had crystalized on the branches. I've heard this called hoarfrost 

I don't see this very often so I took several pictures. Even though we don't have snow for Christmas, we got to see these pretty white branches.