Into the Mist to Find My Soul

Sony Alpha 7 II |Sony FE 50 mm | ISO 250 | f/1.8

Sony Alpha 7 II | Sony FE 50 mm | ISO 250 | f/1.8

Sony Alpha 7 II | Sony FE 3.5-5.6/28-70 mm OSS | ISO 250 | 28 mm | f/11

Sony Alpha 7 II | Sony FE 3.5-5.6/28-70 mm OSS | ISO 400 | 53 mm | f/5

Sony Alpha 7 II | Sony FE 3.5-5.6/28-70 mm OSS | ISO 250 | 31 mm | f/11

Sony Alpha 7 II |Sony FE 50 mm| ISO 250 | f/1.8

 

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

cee’s fun foto challenge: Zen

cee’s which way challenge: photo #2 & #3

WPC: mystical place = my sweet spot

 

 

Megan Whitmarsh "Your thoughts are forming the world" installation at Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia

Megan Whitmarsh at Taubman Museum of Art

Roanoke, Virginia.

Most of you know by now that I’ve been living in Roanoke, Virginia for the past 4 1/2 years. While the raising of my teenagers keeps me quite busy (I often wear the hat of chauffeur), I do occasionally get to spend some time discovering the city. Now that two of my three teens drive and the youngest will only travel with soccer in the fall, I hope to do quite a bit more exploring.

However, I did get a chance for a local outing during the first weekend in January.

Taubman Museum of Art.

Most times that I find myself in downtown Roanoke, I will also find myself popping in to the Taubman Museum of Art. Located at 110 Salem Ave SE, the museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. The architecture of the building is stunning both in its interior and its exterior.

Then, of course, it is filled with magnificent pieces of art.

I’ve shared part of my outing to the museum in the post about the art of Paul Villinski. I also gave a sneak peek at the work by another artist in Edition 48 of Friday Faves.

All is Possible necklace from art installation. Megan Whitmarsh.

Megan Whitmarsh.

You might recall my sharing of the above photo in that sneak peek. This is from Your Thoughts Are Forming the World by Megan Whitmarsh.

As I shared in that post, Megan Whitmarsh is an American Contemporary Artist based in Los Angeles. The entire piece creates the “impression” of a 1970′ female artist’s working studio.

I have chosen to photograph pieces of the installation rather than the whole and have also not photographed all of the pieces.

The exhibition was only on view until February 11, 2018, but you can check out her website here.

Avant Garde.

I find art to be a very subjective thing. What one person likes, another may not and also the same in reverse. Perhaps what draws you to a piece of art may not be the same thing that pulls on another. I am not a fan of declaring interpretations of what the artist meant. If the artist did not tell you what they meant, then you speak from no place of authority (I feel the same way about interpretations on works of literature). However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t draw your own conclusions about how the art makes you feel or what it makes you think.

I am a child of the late 70’s (’77 to be exact) so while I was drawn to certain components it was not necessarily because I was familiar with the background. Take for instance the Avant Garde portion of the piece. I’d heard the term, but wasn’t familiar with the fact that  Avant-Garde magazine was published January of 1968 to July of 1971. I liked this piece because it looked like a magazine place haphazardly (although it’s likely it location was specific) on the floor. Plus the red lips made me think about Classic Hollywood. Apparently the magazine is one that broke many taboos.

Stand on Moon.

I liked this portion because it said “Giant Step for Woman”.

During the 60’s and 70’s there was a large push for equal rights for women. While there are still disparities between the equality of the genders (I’m talking….equal pay for the same exact education and job description), I’d like to think that we are moving steadily toward the day when that becomes a reality.

Real Magic.

Who doesn’t love a bulletin board filled with lots of interesting pieces? I was enamored by the thought and effort it must have taken to create each word-filled piece. That was the real magic to me.

Life.

I think the thing I most enjoyed about this collection was that it felt like life.

I am not a 70’s female artist with a working studio. However, I do have a little slant-ceilinged room with a desk where I write and edit my photos.

I have once had a banana peel sitting on my desk. It was waiting for me to carry it downstairs when the time came to leave my “office”. I have a Travel + Leisure magazine tossed haphazardly on my office floor, waiting for me to decide if I’ve finished reading it.

Amongst the random bits around the room are a wooden dowel and rope to try my attempt at macramé, a shell and bundle of sage, some lip balm, and essential oil to diffuse during my meditation time (which I do in the other half of the tiny space).

I think besides the fact that many pieces hearken back to my childhood, I appreciated that there was a sense of reality to the installation.

This blog began as my journey of discovery outside of my roles…wife, mother…etc. and I think as well that:

I shall yet see many things.

A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others. -Salvador Dali

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

wpc: tour guide

 

Photo Diary of My Current City - Roanoke, Virginia

Photo Diary of My Current City – Roanoke, Virginia

 

Tour Guide.

I have often highlighted the city in which I currently live. For those of you who may be unfamiliar, I live in Roanoke, Virginia. After living for the first 30 years of my life in Naples, Florida, and another 5-ish across the state of Florida, I moved to Roanoke in July of 2013. If you’re ticking off the numbers on your fingers, I turned 40 this past September. But most of you already know that since I’ve been actively doing 30 day challenges for my year of #thisis40. When the weekly photo challenge came up as tour guide, I knew that I would have plenty to share.

Usually, I participate in the photo challenge on Wordless Wednesday, in which (as is indicated in the title) no words are used. I did share some photos of the Hotel Roanoke, but wanted to share some more photos and talk a bit about my current city.

Photo Diary.

Today’s photography series will be a collection of some of the photos that I’ve taken from around Roanoke. A photo diary of sorts. I will also share some links to my past posts about Roanoke, where you will find plenty more information about the area.

Roanoke is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia. With easy access to the Blue Ridge Parkway, it is the delight of many fans of the outdoors.

If your interested in the Blue Ridge Parkway, you can check out these posts (a few are outside of Roanoke, but not too far away):

Roanoke Star.

One of the things that Roanoke is quite well known for is the Roanoke Star. The Roanoke Star is also known as the Mill Mountain Star. The star is located on Mill Mountain and is the largest, free-standing, man-made, illuminated star in the world.

The star was designed and built by Roy C. Kinsey and his two sons. It was constructed in 1949 and is three stars that contain 2,000 feet of neon tubing. The star is illuminated every night. It is primarily illuminated white, but can include red, white, and blue for various occasions.

I must admit that when we return home from points north, the star upon the mountain is a welcome sight, letting us know that we are close to our final destination.

H & C Coffee Sign.

There are also two other neon signs sitting atop buildings in downtown Roanoke, which are illuminated at night and visible from I-581. One is a Dr Pepper sign. According to this article, Roanoke consumed more Dr Pepper per capita than any other place on earth from 1957-1959, and again in 1961. The other is the H & C Coffee sign. H & C Coffee was established in Roanoke in 1927 and the sign built in 1948. (cee’s which way photo challenge)

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This sign was my favorite upon moving here because the coffee appeared to be pouring into the cup. However, I’ve noticed that it just stays fully lit now. According to this article from 2014, the animator mechanism needs repaired. I don’t often drive home in the dark, but I don’t think that its been replaced as of yet.

If you’re wondering about where the photo above was taken…I’ll tell you.

It’s from inside one of my favorite places to visit when I’m in downtown Roanoke:

snapseed-435

 

Architecture.

Another of my favorite things about Roanoke is the amazing architecture. Having grown up in Florida, the architectural styles here are very different. While I have always been cognizant of architectural details, when I began to participate in Norm’s Thursday Doors, a weekly roundup of amazing doors from around the world, I began to see buildings through new eyes.

I’ve shared a close-up of one set of these doors in my post, Keys to the Past

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Municipal Building.

The Municipal Building is located at 215 Church Avenue. It is Neoclassical Revival and was erected in 1915.

Big Lick.

Prior to being named Roanoke, the city was known as Big Lick. As shown on the sign at the Municipal Building, the original name was based on a salt outcropping which drew the wildlife to the site near the Roanoke River.

City Market Building.

The City Market Building is located at 32 Market Square SE. It is considered the heart of downtown. The Farmer’s Market is the oldest continuously operating open-air market in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It began in 1882. After the original building (built in 1886) was destroyed in a fire, the current building was built in 1922.

There are wonderful views to be had from the rooftop of the Center in the Square building. In addition to this one, I’ve shared some others in a much older post: Downtown Stroll.

Events.

Quite often there is something happening in Roanoke. I haven’t been able to make it to many events since we’ve moved here. Why? Miss Sunshine has been playing travel soccer since we moved here and that ties up most weekends. Occasionally we have some down time in the winter, but most of the events are not winter events.

Last year I did make it to the Local Colors Festival and I attended a Veteran’s Day parade a few years ago, where I gathered these photos.

However, Miss Sunshine will not be traveling for soccer this spring so I plan to take full advantage of the weekends to attend events and do more hiking!

Alley.

You never know what treasure you might stumble upon when you are wandering around Roanoke. For example, there are beautiful sights to stumble upon in the alleyways found in the heart of downtown. (cee’s fun foto challenge). This is a connection in the alley behind the Center in the Square parking garage.

 

More Architecture.

Of course, no tour is complete (on my end) without showing you more architecture. The stone at the top of the building says 1926. I know that much of our United States architecture pales in age comparison to those of Europe, but a building that’s 50 years  older than me and looks this good deserves a glamour shot.

709 S. Jefferson Street.

I knew that a building with this much character had to have a history.

And it does.

Gill Memorial Hospital was founded by Dr. Elbyrne Gill in 1926 and is believed to be the Commonwealth’s first specialty hospital. It was an Eye, Ear, and Throat hospital.

It is currently home to RAMP (Regional Acceleration and Mentoring Program).

Visit.

The Roanoke Valley is a great place to come visit. There is a great mix of urban and wilderness. Many people enjoy a great portion of their time outdoors.

High Adventure.

Many high adventure enthusiasts love it here. There are plenty of trails for mountain biking and cycling. There are places to fish and kayak and rock climb. There’s even a climbing gym for those times when you can’t make it to the trails.

Not so High Adventure.

If you aren’t quite into high adventure (like me…the only one in my family of five), there’s still plenty to do. Roanoke likes its green space and preserves much. I’ve shared before some of our walks along the Greenway. I like to hike the many trails surrounding the area.

There is scientific backing to the benefit of spending time in nature and I can heartily agree with the conclusions.

Fitness.

Even though I take my Pilates and Yoga classes at my local gym, there are plenty of studios around town offering a focused workout. There is Empower Pilates & Yoga and Uttara Yoga Studio. There are also places like Pure Barre and Orange Theory Fitness. These are just a few of the places that I’ve heard of through friends.

Event Locations.

As I mentioned above, there are often events held around Roanoke. There are often a calendar of events at Elmwood Park, Dr Pepper Park, and the Berglund Center (where the hubby and I just watched Riverdance).

Food.

There are breweries and vineyards and an array of dining options.

Local Information.

There is so much more that is available to see and do in the area. Here are some great websites to check out for upcoming events and information on the area:

But you don’t just have to take my word for it.

Not only did Forbes put Roanoke on their 2017 list of 25 Great Scenic Places to Retire, but TripAdvisor recently named Roanoke as one of the best small USA cities to visit in 2018.

But you don’t just have to take their word for it.

Come visit and see for yourself.

Hope to see you soon!

The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.- John Muir

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

Photography series of trains in the snow in Roanoke Virginia

Trains in the Snow

 

Photography Challenges.

While most (okay, probably all) of my posts showcase some of my photography, I often find that I struggle with finding the space to share all the photos that I’d like to share. This is mostly due to the fact that I don’t post every day and never more than once a day. There are photo challenges that I find myself not participating in due to that fact. I enjoy the photo challenges because they help me think out of the box and improve my photography skills. The teach me to looks through my lens in a new way.

Since today is the day that I often share doors as part of Norm’s Thursday Doors, I thought I’d see if this photography series was applicable to some some of the other photo challenges in which I’ve participated. You’ll see links, as applicable, if you are interested in checking them out!

Photography Series.

Hmmm… I wonder what you’ll be seeing in this photography series. If the title didn’t give it away, the cover photo sure did.

That’s right! This photography series is “Trains in the Snow”.

When we had our first snow here in Roanoke, we decided to talk a walk along the Roanoke River Greenway. I shared many photo from that walk in this post.  However, I saved my train photos to share as a series.

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Train Under the Interstate.

The part of the greenway that we walked passes under the Interstate. I-581, if you’re ever in the Roanoke area and are wondering where this is located. We parked on Wiley Drive SW, near the hospital and beside the River’s Edge Sports Complex. From this location, the Roanoke River Greenway heads in both directions, following the Roanoke River. On this walk we headed toward Smith Park. This was the capture of the train under the interstate.

Norfolk Southern operates 19,500 route miles in 22 states and D.C.  Their trains often travel through town.  In 2015, they closed their downtown Roanoke office building and relocated many workers. The building itself is a work of beauty, seen rising in the center of downtown in this post.

Their trains are often seen traveling through town and quite often seen parked along this stretch of track. My original intent in capturing this scene was because I liked how the columns looked on the overpass. If you’ve been following the blog for some time, then you’re well aware that I’m a huge fan of architecture. However, my attempt to capture the scene that I wanted was thwarted by many factors.

Norfolk Southern Train under Interstate 581

Behind the Columns.

The scene above was the photo composition that I wanted to capture. The train behind the columns. However, not only was it snowing pretty steadily, but there was water pouring down as a means of drainage from the overpass. What you cannot see in the photo is that between me and the train tracks is the expanse of the river. This was the only place in which I could stand to capture the photo and the barrage of water falling could not be avoided.

So intent was I on capturing the scene, that when the hubby asked me afterward if my photo had captured the “giant phallic symbol” grafittied there, I had no clue what he was talking about. When I then looked at the scene while not behind the lens, I wondered how in the world I had missed that. Luckily, the photo was composed in a way in which I could crop that graffiti out. Normally, I love graffiti, but this one, not so much. Plus, it said “….is awsome”. I think it may have been someone’s name, but they couldn’t even spell awesome. That’s not so awesome.

We kept walking until we reached Smith Park. Miss Sunshine and I played on the swings and then we decided to head back to the Jeep. Across from the park, there is the continuation of the train tracks. There is a barbed wire fence separating the tracks from the park.

As I headed over to snap some photos, Miss Sunshine commented “Thursday Doors.”

Green Boxcar.

To be honest, I just loved how the trains popped against the fresh, white snow. But, Miss Sunshine was right, this green boxcar does have a door.

It’s also old, qualifying for Frank’s photo challenge. Plus it snows in “winter” and there’s a sign for “water”, qualifying for Cee’s photo challenge.

There’s something to be said about aged things. About aged people too. So much depth of character to be found.

Through the Barbed Wire.

While I am tall, I am not all enough to see over the barbed wire. If you’ve seen many of my photos, you know that I am a fan of unique perspective, so I did not let that fact stop me from gathering my photos. I love the pops of color as seen through the barbed wire.

Since I typically shoot with a Sony Alpha 7II, which is a mirrorless camera, I have an electronic viewfinder and usually use that to compose my shots. Mostly, because I’m just old school like that, even though cameras are made for right-handed people and using the viewfinder presses my nose into the camera. I don’t really mind that though because being left-handed in a predominately right-handed world has made me extremely adaptable.

All that to say, that sometimes having the LCD screen with live view comes in handy. To capture the photo above, the camera was well above my head, but I could use the LCD screen to compose my shot.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this little walk amongst the trains in the snow!

So much of who we are is where we have been. -William Langewiesche

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

wpc: variations on a theme

The Thing About Silence - a view of freshly fallen snow

The Thing About Silence

Silence.

I wasn’t going to post today.

Silence.

I’m having a melancholy day. It happens to me sometimes. Usually when things are racing along at too frantic of a pace, or one of my teens is causing me internal angst, or it’s winter (sometimes all of the above). As is often the case with melancholy, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly the reasons…if any. I suspect SAD (seasonal affective disorder) may play a role, as well.

Silence and withdrawing are my tendencies on melancholy and high anxiety days.

Untitled Design 2

The Thing about Silence.

The thing about silence is that sometimes it’s best to speak.

This space with my blog is to spread love and kindness, to share the beauty of the world through my words or my photos, but it’s also a place for me to process. A place to pour out the reality of me. I am often able to look through a lens of gratitude, to focus on the beauty, to remind myself that this too shall pass.

Then there are days when this process of growth on the journey is a little harder.

So today, I write.

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Memories.

After running some necessary (and semi-unneccesary…I discovered bathing suits are in stores …and I have an upcoming trip to Aruba) errands, I decided to pop on Facebook. My nephew’s birthday was yesterday and I had left a message over there. One of the things (and there are really only a few) I do like about that social media space is when it brings up past memories.

One of the memories that Facebook shared for today was actually an Instagram post from two years ago.

This one in fact:

Blog.

I wondered which blog post this was referencing. It was interesting that the post that I wrote on this day two years ago should be about silence. Not only, silence, but the silence brought about by a freshly fallen snow. If you saw my Silent Sunday post, then you know that my take on the weekly photo challenge theme of “silence“, was our most recent snow.

Sometimes I cringe when I read my older posts, but this one was a perfect read for my melancholy spirit. I thought I’d reblog it, but that button seems to have disappeared for the moment. If you’d like to read my post, Silence is Golden, just click on those words.

The post was a reminder to me to search for the beauty in the midst of chaos, to stay in awe and wonder at the gloriousness of it all, to smile along the journey…because this is life.

I hope it offers the same reminder for you.

So, if you are too tired to speak, sit next to me, because, I, too, am fluent in silence. -R. Arnold

Let your light shine!

Amy