Lee Halvorsen: Blog https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Lee Halvorsen (Lee Halvorsen) Sun, 09 Apr 2023 16:18:00 GMT Sun, 09 Apr 2023 16:18:00 GMT https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u754934782-o315646922-50.jpg Lee Halvorsen: Blog https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog 120 80 My Thoughts on an Incredible Book, "Show Me the Way to Go to Home" https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2023/4/my-thoughts-on-an-incredible-book-show-me-the-way-to-go-to-home Distant Mountain = FreedomDistant Mountain = FreedomFrom the Book "Show Me the Way to Go to Home" photo by Sandy Sugawara    Sandy Sugawara and Catiana Garcia-Kilroy’s book “Show Me the Way to Go to Home” is thought provoking, artful, and powerful. Their book is not a “coffee table” photo book although lonely, compelling images are wonderfully sequenced throughout. Rather, the book is a work of art and literature, a masterful, almost lyrical depiction of the incarceration sites of Japanese Americans in America during World War II. Sugawara is the daughter of two incarcerates who viewed their time in the barbed wired camps as something finished, to be forgotten…not to be remembered.

   Silence, terror, and time often collaborate to overshadow the physical and psychological wounds inflicted on Japanese Americans during World War II. “Show Me the Way to Go to Home” is a glimpse into America’s betrayal of its citizens and the grievous loss by those interred and a hint of the opportunities lost to the rest of us because they were interred. Incredible, sensory-rich images fill most of the book. Poems by survivors’ family members, artifacts, and historical notes provide additional emotion to the photo journey.

   Sugawara was aware her parents were incarcerated during the War, but they seldom talked of it, saying those days should be left behind so that the people could move forward. Just before Sugawara’s mother died, she asked Sandy, “Why didn’t someone speak up, why didn’t other Americans stand up for us?” Shortly after her mother died, Sandy and her friend, Catiana went looking for answers. Their journey, the people they met, the pictures they took, the objects they found all weaved together to create the texture of this magnificent book.

   The two photographers spent the next years visiting ten of the incarceration sites, interviewing people, finding images, and stirring up memories of those years. Books like this are difficult. Sandy’s parents were incarcerated not Sandy, it’s really not Sandy and Catiana’s story to tell, they weren’t there…except, they did it. They told the story from their perspective and remained objective by combining today’s images, poems, and descriptions with yesterday’s mementoes, recollections, historical footnotes, and linking incarcerates’ names with current, well-known personalities from each incarceration site.

   The sites were all abandoned, mostly empty and desolate, and all in remote, inhospitable terrain. The photographers’ images capture the physical and emotional essence of the sites. I could feel the hot wind blowing sandy grit into my face and the oven-like heat roasting the soles of my shoes. I could hear my feet crunching through the desert sands and the creaking boards of rotting buildings.

  The book captures a living story, a monument to the incarcerated people and a beacon to all of us who can learn from the incredibly unjust act of having armed men rip our neighbors from their homes to board trains and buses to carry them hundreds of miles from their homes to these camps.  In America. We did not do that to German Americans. Or Italian Americans. 

   The book has many images with some text. Each site’s section has a one-page description before the set of images. At the beginning of the book are two poems by descendants of other survivors. At the end of the book are images of some historical objects, photos, legislative history, and an essay by Dr. Donna Nagata, “Intergenerational Impact of the Japanese American Incarceration.” A binding attachment is a booklet with images of some of Sandy’s father’s wartime collectibles, kept in a box and not seen by Sandy until after her mother’s passing.

   The book is a perfect balance…a peek at what was, a step-by-step walk-through today’s remains of the sites, and a glimpse of what that historic period means to the survivors, their children, and the rest of us.

   The book is a work of art and is available at Radius Books.

Cover, "Show Me the Way to Go to Home" Photo by Catiana Garcia-KilroyCover, "Show Me the Way to Go to Home" Photo by Catiana Garcia-Kilroy

(Lee Halvorsen) garcia-kilroy incarceration camps japanese americans show me the way to go to home sugawara https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2023/4/my-thoughts-on-an-incredible-book-show-me-the-way-to-go-to-home Sun, 09 Apr 2023 16:17:40 GMT
A Poem - Seven https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2023/3/a-poem---seven Seven

Birthday 7 haunts me like the bzzzzz of an angry dentist’s drill.
That day’s dream was a red bike with handlebars like a Texas longhorn. 
That day’s truth was a backside whuppin’ for a now unremembered 7-year-old’s stunt.

Remembering the whuppin’, that’s the easy part, a broad, strop-like belt
Artfully wielded over my underpants clad bottom,
Accompanied by screaming and anger and searing emotions.

Other birthday memories have come and gone from those early years
But none remain where I can reach. 
I got the bike.  But, birthday parties fade only to that single day in May.

The reality of the bike’s ride was as good as I’d dreamed. 
And ride I did throughout the town and into the places I didn’t know 
Where I found that the going was better than the getting there.
And…oh, I discovered the coolest thing ever, adrenaline.

On a sunny day, less than a month from the infamous birthday,
I was reaching new heights of airborne prowess and speeds
Previously unknown or even imagined in my adrenaline soaked brain.
Suddenly in mid-jump, my bike betrayed me and went in a direction 
Quite opposite of where I’d intended while my body stayed obediently
Ballistic stopping abruptly on the edge of a newly poured concrete curb.

And then, I discovered pain. Pain like no other I’d known and without end or ebb.
Gathering up my wounded bike I sobbed my way 
Through neighbors’ yards telling them all was okay and my arm was not broken. 

All night I lay in agony with the throbbing, searing pain
Bemoaning the betrayal of that evil red Schwinn and wondering
How I could modify its obviously flawed design 
Into something worthy of my derring-do.

Next day’s doctor’s visit 
Added a plaster cast with metal brace, and, 
A story to my life.


(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2023/3/a-poem---seven Sat, 04 Mar 2023 16:12:33 GMT
Yesteryear https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2023/2/yesteryear Immersion in the moment is what I try to do on a walkabout but of course, those moments came at me fast which is why I have a camera.  The camera only captures part of the moment though, there's what I was hearing, feeling, seeing...others there...what they were saying. All of my emotion and the emotion I imagine in others sometimes leads me down a complex post processing path. I know that the literalists among you will turn away, that's okay because that's part of the moment. This is an image from Leesylvania Park taken a couple of years ago, imagined again today.

Walk to WorkWalk to WorkDock on the Potomac

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2023/2/yesteryear Sun, 26 Feb 2023 16:56:05 GMT
Poetry https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2023/2/poetry I have a poetry section on this website. Once in a while I add a piece. This is one that I started working on a while ago. This and many others are on the "Poetry" page. Please visit.

EarthquakeComing of Age


I sat next to my grandfather on the floor where he'd fallen.
He lay twitching and shaking from the brain bleed
that would kill him just moments later.
Watching him die,
all that I learned about
love and life
fanned out before my 14-year-old eyes.
Wanting to help him. Terrified I didn't know how.
Then he was gone.
I was alone.
Certainly now the world would
pause or salute or shed a tear.
But nothing slowed;
few noticed.
Nothing changed.

Except me.

(Lee Halvorsen) death poetry https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2023/2/poetry Sun, 19 Feb 2023 14:14:14 GMT
Downsizing the Number https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2023/2/downsizing-the-number I am submitting some images for a juror's consideration. The subject is gardens/flowers and the limit is ten! I have sorted through many but can't get to ten. Can you help? Please recommend one that I should dump, or two, or ever how many you think need to be tossed. 



3 4 5







(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2023/2/downsizing-the-number Thu, 09 Feb 2023 18:29:42 GMT
Virginia Museum of History & Culture Hosts St Emma & St Francis de Sales Event https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2023/2/virginia-museum-of-history-culture-hosts-st-emma-st-francis-de-sales-event Enslavement to Empowerment

On February 18, 2023, St. Emma Military Academy and St. Francis de Sales High School will be highlighted in an event hosted by the Virginia Museum of History & Culture. If you've followed my blog for the last couple of years you might remember images of the ruins of the two schools. The property began its story as a plantation using enslaved people to build and maintain the large estate. In the 1890s Katherine Drexel (later St. Katherine) and her half-sister's husband Edward Morrell bought the property and founded the two high schools, St Emma (boys) and St Francis de Sales (girls) for African Americans and Natives. St Emma was the only military academy for Blacks in the U.S. The two schools graduated more than 15,000 in 70+ years of their existence. 

The schools are crumbling and in ruins but the alumni are energized and doing their best to ensure the memories and legacies of the two schools remain alive. The event at the Museum will include photos from years past, an alumni discussion panel, and an historical presentation. I encourage you to come to the event, parking is easy (right behind the museum) and the information will be cool. Imagine a military high school in the middle of the woods...isolated, focused, and proud. Their last Commandant was Father Egbert Figaro, an inspirational leader whose imprint remains!

For more information and tickets ($20) please click the link. This is an important part of Virginia and U.S. history, one that must not be forgotten.

Cadet Alums of St Emma Military AcademyCadet Alums of St Emma Military AcademyCadets talking at an event in front of St Emma in 2022.

St Emma & St Francis de Sales PosterSt Emma & St Francis de Sales PosterPoster advertising event at Virginia Museum of History & Culture Riverview of MansionRiverview of MansionKnown as the Big House during the years that St Emma was active Virginia Museum of History & CultureVirginia Museum of History & Culture

(Lee Halvorsen) Belmead St Emma St Francis de Sales https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2023/2/virginia-museum-of-history-culture-hosts-st-emma-st-francis-de-sales-event Thu, 02 Feb 2023 14:22:53 GMT
Introducing Mae Leslie Myer https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2023/1/introducing-mae-leslie-myer Our granddaughter, Mae, is home with her parents and doing awesome. She is ensuring Kirsten and Paul are accustomed to her schedule and her wardrobe needs. Some concern about sleep seems to exist in the house despite the example Mae is setting, Paul and Kirsten are sleepy eyed. Mae and Simba are getting along famously and Mae is melting the hearts of all she meets. I remembered my camera and managed to snap a few. She dozed off while she was posing...I've had the problem with many of my models. Sigh.

(Lee Halvorsen) Baby granddaughter https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2023/1/introducing-mae-leslie-myer Mon, 02 Jan 2023 22:38:29 GMT
A Granddaughter is Born! https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/12/a-granddaughter-is-born Magic was in the air when we met, Mae, our one day old granddaughter yesterday. She is a tiny ball of wonder and had everyone smiling as she stretched and yawned and squirmed in our arms. She and the mom and the dad are healthy and a little tired. I will take and post some images in the coming days if the parents are okay with it. Time goes by so quickly that before you know it, she'll be driving a car.

Welcome to the world, Mae. You will make it a better place!!

The image is a Christmas tabletop village scene taken with a macro lens and then fiddled with a bit.

Holiday SceneTable Top Holiday Village

(Lee Halvorsen) holiday https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/12/a-granddaughter-is-born Fri, 30 Dec 2022 13:39:39 GMT
Winter https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/12/winter Winter fell softly like
The tears from my swollen eyes;
Sun crushed by quiet.

The Holidays come at us fast! And LOUD...endless traffic, honking horns, brazen lane changes, caroling, excited little voices, Hallmark movies, "everything's on sale," and more and more and more. Sometimes it's like we're drowning, immersed, surrounded by the sights and sounds of this happy, over scheduled month. But not for everyone; for some, life's fabric is torn...missing loved ones, pets, relationships, places, friends that used to mesh to help soften the din. Quiet isn't refuge or peace but a crashing silence of alone. The gift of time and caring might help, and we can give those without sales or coupons.

Day's EndDay's EndSun setting over a flock of ducks in the winter.  

(Lee Halvorsen) Haiku holidays winter https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/12/winter Tue, 13 Dec 2022 15:21:07 GMT
Last Night My Hair Turned White https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/12/last-night-my-hair-turned-white For years I've avoided mirrors, not on purpose, just, well...because. When I retired, so did my need for GQ. Not that I ever was GQ, I just needed a mirror to get all the buttons buttoned properly. After retirement, well, I wear shirts without buttons for the most part. I digress.

This morning and I'm not sure why, I looked at a picture of me that someone took last weekend and Oh! My! God! My hair is white!! WHITE!  It was just a day or two ago when I was in the barber's chair and saw a tiny bit of grey. So...I'm pretty sure that some NOAA-induced super-snow cloud brought a cold, freezing breeze into my room last night and left me with this Jack Frost do! People will not recognize me. And law enforcement!! If they look at the me on my driver's license, they will arrest the new me for kidnapping the pictured me. 

But then I look at my profile and the plot (and me) has thickened! And, I have a beard. It's white, too!! Maybe I am taking on the earthborn persona of Tim Allen's Santa Clause. It can't be that I'm getting old...too, too many things still to do. Are those cookies?

Snow!Snow fall in my front yard several years ago


(Lee Halvorsen) hair snow white https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/12/last-night-my-hair-turned-white Mon, 12 Dec 2022 16:02:13 GMT
Haiku and My Dad https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/12/haiku-and-my-dad Trout soars like rocket
Gymnast’s twist slapt soft water;
Turned to me. We smiled.

My father was a poster child for stereotypical Norwegian emotional aloofness. He was never mean and certainly never abusive, but he had expectations for me, and mirroring, I for him. When the two sets of expectations did not intersect, and they did not more often than they did, conflict or escape ensued. Not physical conflict, but intellectual battles with few rules. The winner was logic-based but sometimes victory came by might; the might exercised by, “Go to your room!” Occasionally, I’d head to my room at the beginning of the debate. Escape.

We had few things in common and we shared almost nothing that was mutually delightful…except for fishing. He loved to fish---river, lake, ocean, and stream, that adventure was all fun for him, I don’t remember seeing him have much fun at anything else. Except work.

I enjoyed fishing, too, but with a slightly different bent. I loved the early morning air…the smell of dawn on the lake, the quiet rush of a river or stream, the fog slowly lifting, the unspoken promise of a possible bite, and then the battle to bring the fish to the net. For my dad, the reward was bringing the fish home to eat, influenced I think from young adulthood in the depression. He would reach into his tackle box and find the perfect lure for the spot we were in. He’d carefully attach the bait to our lines and give me general casting and retrieval guidance…we would connect, and the day would begin together, an alien concept for our relationship. 

For me, that was enough, that was the pinnacle of feeling good. Because, well, the fish were beautiful, gorgeous, shimmering creatures perfectly adapted to their environment. When they fought for their lives while connected to me, that was a physical and spiritual moment, like I was sharing with dad. I didn’t have the same need to bring the fish home, oftentimes I’d “lose” the fish at the end of their fight. Other times, I’d release them when he wasn’t looking. Sometimes, I’d have no choice but to land them, hook them to a stringer and later turn them into something quite different.

What’s left? What’s printed on my psyche and my personality are the hours, minutes, and seconds ending with a brief, fleeting connection between me and the fish. And me and my dad. And then the release. My father died in 1993, I haven’t fished since.

Burke LakeLonely LakeLast days of fall at Burke Lake



(Lee Halvorsen) Fishing haiku poetry https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/12/haiku-and-my-dad Sat, 03 Dec 2022 13:20:33 GMT
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/10/lewis-ginter-botanical-garden My sister and I did a walkabout at Ginter Garden. The weather was fantastic. The trees were just starting to turn colors so we didn't see the full autumn glory. Many of the flowers were gone or barely hanging on. Quiet reigned supreme! We walked into the Conservatory and were surprised by the heat and humidity...almost shocking from the cool 50 degrees outside. But the cacti and the orchids were happy. I am always impressed by the Conservatory's appearance, sort of otherworldly. We had a good time.

ConservatoryConservatoryLewis Ginter Botanical Garden view from Rose Garden FlowerFlower

(Lee Halvorsen) lewis ginter garden richmond https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/10/lewis-ginter-botanical-garden Tue, 25 Oct 2022 11:02:55 GMT
Shirley Plantation https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/10/shirley-plantation Aerial View of the HouseShirley Plantation house next to the James River

We visited Shirley Plantation earlier this week. The place is remarkable for several reasons including the family still lives on the second and third floors and that it's the longest, continuously operating farm in America. The house required twelve years to build, 1723-1738. Originally the labor was supplied by a mix of indentured Europeans and enslaved Africans but by the time the house was completed all of the labor was enslaved Africans. During the Civil War, one of the enslaved Africans, Siah Hulett Carter, escaped the plantation and went down the James on a boat and discovered the Union ship, the USS Monitor. He joined the crew of the Monitor remained until the ship was sunk. He stayed in the US Navy until he was honorably discharged in 1865. He returned to Shirley Plantation for Eliza Tarrow who became his wife. They moved to Philadelphia where they raised 13 children.

The family supports the preservation of the property including tours of the first floor of the house. Several of the out buildings remain. Most of the materials that were used during construction were manufactured on the property, including over one million bricks. The video is of the land side of the house, the river side is one of those below.

River View Of Shirley PlantationRiver View Of Shirley PlantationLooking from the river towards the house. Note the scaffolding. Chicken CoopChicken CoopCurrently a chicken coop at Shirley Plantation KitchenKitchenRoom in the kitchen building at Shirley Plantation

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/10/shirley-plantation Fri, 07 Oct 2022 11:35:23 GMT
Virginia is for Lovers https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/9/virginia-is-for-lovers That's the tagline of the Virginia tourism industry. Virginia is actually a very big state with beaches, mountains, prairies...the works. I enjoy living here and believe that some of the state's hurtful history is beginning to heal, at least I hope so. Politics and policies in the state government have recently become more hateful and prejudicial but that is the history of politics in the state...starts off slow but eventually things end up about where they should be. For instance, Virginia closed all of its public schools for years to avoid integration. Sigh. Eventually things began to change and I'm heartened by the grass roots changes I've seen so far with statues and street names. Change comes slowly and there will be bumps but I like the tagline, this is a table top in my house.

LoveLoveFall table top

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/9/virginia-is-for-lovers Wed, 21 Sep 2022 18:47:02 GMT
Armour & Co. Meat Packing in Huron, South Dakota https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/9/armour-co-meat-packing-in-huron-south-dakota This past week in Huron the former employees of Huron's Armour & Co, Dakota Pork, and Swift had a reunion. Three different companies but one facility. I would have liked to have attended, I'm sure the ghost of my dad was attending...like the old Armour Men's Club Christmas parties.

My dad worked for Armour & Company in this plant, the same building, from the time it opened in about 1929 to when he retired in 1976. The plant was how he defined his life. He retired because in those days when you turned 65 they made you retire. If such a rule hadn't existed, he probably would have worked there until he died. For the last years of his employment he was the general manager...he'd started as a supply clerk in '29 and over the years did most of the jobs in the plant. He knew the work, knew how to do the work, and knew the people. I worked there during the summer for several years while in college. Being the boss's kid wasn't easy until I started working the cleanup crew at night. They asked only that I do my job, it was VERY hard work and in the beginning I had trouble. However, many in the night crew busted their asses so they could come to help me...a great memory. I don't remember all their names, Detraz, Peterson, many more. And Louis Kraft from the condemned room area, a cool guy who loved to fish. I was treated extremely well by one of the members of the management team, Joe Stahl. He was the best, knew the people, knew the work, knew how to talk to my dad, something that I never learned.

I went back to Huron in 2016 & 2017 for my 40th & 50th HS reunions. I wandered about during the 50th and ended up on the east side of town. The dam at Third Street always fascinated me, I understand it's different now. The railroad bridge above carried trains across the country; Armour used to have a spur just east of this bridge, dedicated to the plant. The railroads would alert the watchmen who would open the gates on both ends of the plant. In they'd go, decouple the cooler cars and head out the other direction. I remember one year there was a derailment at the spur and several of the cars came tumbling down the steep embankment.

A lot of memories from my Armour days...I think the Mens Club Christmas party at the Isaac Walton club was the most fun. When Armour sold the plant, my dad was very sad, when the plant was abruptly closed just a few years later, he was heart broken. He knew the people that worked there, as well as the community in general, would be hard pressed, but he was very Norwegian and so couldn't let the emotions show.

The first image is the old front gate at the plant. I was a watchman there. Everyone that worked on the plant side (not the Yards) entered through that gate. "Back in the day" Coors wasn't available in South Dakota because it was not pasteurized. In Coors' home state, Colorado, "empty" truckers would throw several cases of Coors in their empty, chilled trailers and head east, Armours in Huron was their last stop before they loaded up with beef for the return trip. If I had been lucky enough to be working when they departed the plant in Huron I would have ordered some beer. I would know when they were returning and would have picked up my case or two...$5 a case at this gate. Bootlegging? No.

The second image is the ruins of the "box building" I think. Not sure, it was built later. My dad explained that when they switched to only killing hogs, things changed...many, many things. Everything went out in boxes, no more cars filled with sides and quarters of beef.  When I worked there they were still killing beef and hogs. Although, I do remember the billy goats that led the sheep up the ramp to the 6th floor. My dad called them "Judas Goats" because they got to go back to the yards after they'd taken the sheep to the kill floor. 

The third image I've previously posted but wanted to look again...it's the Third Street dam and the railroad bridge. Armour used to cut ice from the James and Ravine Lake, pack it in the "ice house" with hay and use the ice to keep the meat chilled in the summertime. Eventually the ice house was no longer needed and was torn down. I remember that a builder, Vern Groves I think, bought some of the wood and built a couple of houses at 13th & Ohio SW. Armour used to pump water from the river. I'm not sure exactly why...there was a pump house halfway between the river and the plant. I believe at some time they pumped stuff back into the James and that wasn't very environmentally friendly. I remember dad was happy when the water treatment ponds were started just east of the plant. Speaking of the environment...Armour used to have a very tall smokestack which would bellow smoke from the meat packing process. Normally the wind blew from west to east so you'd never smell the plant but once in a while, the wind would shift. People would complain and my dad would say, "That's the smell of money." Eventually they closed the ovens that caused that smoke and changed to high efficiency. environmentally friendly machines, however, the smokestack stood for many years after that. My dad was very proud when it was finally taken down. In fact, he spent most of his time figuring out how to keep the plant going. The building was very old and was setup based on early 20th century procedures. He was constantly afraid that Armour central management would close them down for inefficiency. He was especially worried when Greyhound of Greyhound bus fame bought Armour.

The last image is Armour & Co memorabilia that I still have. My sister also has some. I looked for an Armour & Co museum to donate but apparently there is no such thing. I am pretty sure my kids won't want this stuff so it'll go in a dump heap some day. Kind of sad when you think about how important the meat industry was to the industrialization of America. Railroads were extended to move livestock. Chicago and Omaha were meat packing giants. Dial soap was Armour. Who doesn't remember singing "Armour Hot Dogs?"  Like the plant...all gone.


Armour & Co Entry gateArmour & Co Entry gateThe main gate that most of us used to get into the plant. Guard shack and the rest are all gone Huron's Armour & Co RuinsHuron's Armour & Co RuinsThe remains of the box house. Huron's Third Street DamHuron's Third Street DamOld dam at 3rd Street and railroad bridge crossing the James River and highways Armour & Co Meatpacking MemorbaliaArmour & Co Meatpacking MemorbaliaSoap from the 1940s, Letter Openers, Jug, Sapphire Tie Tack from the Greyhound days

(Lee Halvorsen) Armour Dakota Huron meat packing South https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/9/armour-co-meat-packing-in-huron-south-dakota Sun, 18 Sep 2022 16:00:12 GMT
"Wicked" Witches https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/9/-wicked-witches When I was 8 or 9-years-old my family began watching "The Wizard of Oz" on television. Televisions were relatively new and a movie on television was completely new.  I remember that in October a great deal of advertising began for the show and many, many people would tune in. Typically the movie was broadcast in November, an early harbinger of the Christmas Holidays. We had a black and white television those years and so did not get the full splendor of Dorothy opening the fallen house door onto Munchkin Land. Somewhere in time, the movie lost its tie to Christmas, then came VHS tapes, then DVDs, and now streaming.  But for me, the tradition remains, I've been watching the "Wizard" in the weeks before Christmas for sixty plus years. I will continue to watch in November each year but now, now my view of the witches has forever changed and my thoughts on the "Wizard" are very different. Why?

Last night, Diane and I went to the Broadway in Richmond production of "Wicked" in the Altria Theater. The singing and acting was fabulous! Each cast member was outstanding and the performances of the two witches, Lissa deGuzman and Jennafer Newberry were stunning, powerful, and compelling. The staging, costumes, lighting, well everything was spot-on for the songs, the stories and the performers. The show was fun, it made me smile and laugh and wince. I say wince because the story was about the witches before and during the story we all know in the "Wizard of Oz." Wicked's story is about being different, being ridiculed, making friends, falling in love...  The next time I watch the "Wizard" I will be overlaying the story and performance of this play onto the story and performance filmed eighty-five years ago that I still watch today.

The image below is a composite from my images and stock images.

"Wicked" Witches' Story"Wicked" Witches' StoryComposite photo from my images and Stock Images

(Lee Halvorsen) richmond theater wicked https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/9/-wicked-witches Mon, 05 Sep 2022 17:07:57 GMT
Hyphenated Photographers https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/8/hyphenated-photographers I had a random thought about photographs, photographers, and generally, all people who take pictures. People like me. Going down this rabbit hole began when I had a thought about the photos my dad took. In the later years of his life (he passed in 1993) he made hundreds and hundreds of pictures. All color slides. He had a 35mm camera, a Pentax I think, with two or three lenses. I only saw a few of them because he didn’t have a slide viewer so looking at them required setting up a screen, a projector, and loading the slides into a carousel. Way too much work. When my mother died several years later, all those slides were tossed. Today, I wonder, “What were they like?”

That got me thinking about amateur photographers and what makes a “professional” photographer. Some professional photographers look down on  photographers who do other work besides photography, what some of them call “…hyphenated photographers.”

I’m a hyphenated photographer, so was my dad, so are most photographers. Vivian Maier, a photographer-nanny, is probably the most famous of us. I admire photographers who rise to the top of the commercial photography business, it’s a tough, competitive, passion driven occupation. But that’s not for all of us…I carry my hyphen proudly…father-photographer, husband-photographer, IT-photographer, retiree-photographer. Perhaps one in a thousand of my photos rises to the level of “professional,” but most rise to the level of making me smile. And that certainly balances the burden a hyphen might carry.

ForgottenForgottenForgotten dock on the Potomac


(Lee Halvorsen) photographers Potomac https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/8/hyphenated-photographers Mon, 15 Aug 2022 12:45:54 GMT
Sunflower Festival at Alvis Farms https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/7/sunflower-festival-at-alvis-farms Yesterday the heat let up just a tad and I went out in the late afternoon to the local Sunflower Festival at Alvis Farms. I got there right at opening time and I was pretty much alone except for the Alvis folks. They have acres and acres of sunflowers!! Well, sad sunflowers. The heat has been oppressive and then the heavy thunderstorms so I don't think they've had many visitors. Because of my early arrival I was able to find some nice images without crowds although people would have been okay. All the sunflowers were facing east, probably waiting for the morning sun since there was no sun in the west, just storm clouds.

What made me really smile was to see all the honey bees! They were everywhere and that, well that's a very good thing. I know it's hot but the flowers are spectacular and the Festival has games, dairy cows on display, and other stuff. Because of the heat and storms, the flowers may not last, they are already starting to droop. The farm is not far away from Short Pump and I know the Alvis family would appreciate your business. I'd been there for maybe 45 minutes and then it started to sprinkle and my equipment does not like the rain. Or maybe it was the humidity!

Sunflowers at Alvis FarmsSunflowers at Alvis Farms Sunflowers at Alvis FarmsSunflowers at Alvis Farms Sunflowers at Alvis FarmsSunflowers at Alvis Farms Sunflowers at Alvis FarmsSunflowers at Alvis Farms Sunflowers at Alvis FarmsSunflowers at Alvis Farms Sunflowers at Alvis FarmsSunflowers at Alvis Farms

(Lee Halvorsen) alvis farms manakin sabot sunflowers https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/7/sunflower-festival-at-alvis-farms Thu, 28 Jul 2022 13:53:08 GMT
Heat https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/7/heat I'm taking a writing course...micro-stories with a high visual component. The heat we're currently suffering reminded me of my trips to the high California desert. These are some of the images from those trips. Of course, in California, it's a dry heat. That, of course, is B.S.

The story was a timed, ten minute writing exercise.

It’d been a long day with oppressive heat, air so dry my skin was parched and my nose hurt from spikes of dried mucous. And the wind, oh my God, the wind never stopped. Howling, whistling, crackling seeming to intensify the hot, dry air. I only had a short distance to run to the barn and I could almost feel the cool and dark of that strong building. I squinted my eyes to keep the fine dust out and started down the road. The wind seemed to calm a little and I looked up, softened my squint, and slowed my pace. Where the fence met the street a small whirlwind, a dust devil, was just beginning its mad rotation. The calm abruptly ended and the 6’ high dust devil began to grow and to move.

Doubling in height in just seconds, the small twister seemed to leap over the machinery and charged directly at me with bull-like intent. The wind and sand on my face was the constant slap of a porcupine and my vision began to narrow.

The noise was horrific, like standing next to a train or a jet engine. The little dust devil was now over thirty feet tall, roaring like a freight train, and almost black. And then, it wasn’t.

It was gone.

MojaveSunrise Over Apple ValleyApple Valley sunrise looking over the Mojave River SunriseApple Valley SunriseSun peeking over mountains east of Apple Valley Mojave Desert Joshua GroveGrove of trees outside of Hesperia, CA


(Lee Halvorsen) desert sunrise https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/7/heat Mon, 25 Jul 2022 13:35:30 GMT
Brown's Island https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/6/browns-island Today I did a quick walkabout with a friend on Brown's Island. We went in the morning although not early enough to avoid the beginning of the more tropical weather. I nervously launched my drone to mentally practice not having the thing flying just a few feet away. I still have quite a bit to learn but I will be patient. Some of these images I took with my phone, some with my camera, and one with the drone.

Civil War MuseumCivil War MuseumCivil War museum from the James River Emancipation & Freedom MemorialEmancipation & Freedom MemorialOn Brown's Island in Richmond, VA Bridge Across the JamesBridge Across the JamesBridge with personal memories of the three days in April 1865 when Union forces entered Richmond Triple Exposure of Richmond BridgeTriple Exposure of Richmond Bridge James River and the RailroadJames River and the RailroadTracks and machinery next to the James in Richmond Civil War MuseumCivil War MuseumWater wheel at the museum

(Lee Halvorsen) aerial photo brown's island https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/6/browns-island Mon, 13 Jun 2022 22:42:43 GMT
Carytown https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/4/carytown I'm putting together a series of images looking inside and then through to the other side. I found this image in Carytown. However, the bright vertical window pane in the center of the image seemed to split the view in half...two images, and that's not what I wanted. The two "halves" had a great deal in common and I felt the story of a city diner was definitely there. But the vertical pane...distracting. I copied the image as a layer on top of the original photo, I distorted the new layer, rotated it, and zoomed in so that the geometry and colors enhanced the image. For me...it worked. What do you think? The original image is on the bottom.

CarytownCarytownDouble exposure of Carytown street scene CarytownCarytownCarytown street scene


(Lee Halvorsen) carytown https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/4/carytown Sat, 23 Apr 2022 10:45:22 GMT
Self Portrait https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/4/self-portrait I walked about Alexandria and stopped in the Torpedo Factory. Things are a little different there now and I'm sensing bigger changes are on the horizon. Walking out I found myself face-to-face with a restaurant and an outside-inside-outside view of the Potomac through the restaurant's windows. Oh...and a self portrait. Hint, I'm not half the man I used to be. Smile.

Self PortraitSelf PortraitWaterfront bar and restaurant overlooking the Potomac in Alexandria

(Lee Halvorsen) potomac https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/4/self-portrait Fri, 22 Apr 2022 13:59:43 GMT
Navy and Merchant Marine Memorial https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/4/navy-and-merchant-marine-memorial I was in Northern Virginia for a few days earlier this week. I took a short time off from my tasks and did a walkabout with a friend in the Lady Bird Johnson Park. The park is on Columbia Island which is on the Virginia side of the Potomac. However, because of the unusual demarcation rules, the border of the District (and Maryland) is the shoreline of the Potomac on the Virginia side. Consequently, all of the river and the islands are part of our neighbors territories, not Virginia's. The memorial is dedicated to sailors in the Navy, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps who died at sea during World War I and other times. The memorial was opened in 1934.

I enjoy this park. It's right next to everything, airport, interstates, pentagon, river, and more. But there's peace and beauty to the landscape enhanced by the occasional statue or marker. I'm pretty sure that Lady Bird would be pleased. Not easy to get to but worth the trip.

Crashing WavesCrashing WavesMemorial to those in the Navy and the Merchant Marine in the Lyndon B. Johnson Park Monument OverlookMonument OverlookMemorial to those in the Navy and the Merchant Marine in the Lyndon B. Johnson Park overlooking Washington Monument

(Lee Halvorsen) marine memorial merchant navy sea https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/4/navy-and-merchant-marine-memorial Thu, 21 Apr 2022 12:37:05 GMT
Richmond and The James River https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/4/richmond-and-the-james-river Richmond's history is long (for America) and chock full of significant events. For instance, Richmond was where Patrick Henry said "Give me liberty or give me death!" I admit that when I was a kid, my South Dakota-based impression was that all the 1776 revolutionary activity had been in the New England states. I mean, Virginia? Who knew?

The James River and the railroad were significant in Richmond's history. Trade goods were brought up the James on small ships but could not go further inland because of the rapids. Consequently, a canal was built so that goods could be transferred to flat bottom canal boats and continue the journey. The railroad began to grow in Virginia and the canals were abandoned. I was on a walkabout on Friday on the canal and suddenly I was standing on a track. At first I thought the track was abandoned because I'd come on it so suddenly, but then I looked out toward the river and saw the bridge in the first image below; I looked the other direction and saw hints of the Main Street Station off in the distance. Not abandoned, not a place to stand for very long. I continued my walk along the canal and came to the art corridor, the second image. A quiet place to spend time with some cool views and unexpected discoveries.  I'm still learning about RVA.

Richmond Railway BridgeRichmond Railway BridgeThe bridge near Main Street Station crossing the James River and Mayo Island Richmond Canal WalkRichmond Canal WalkIn the art corridor

(Lee Halvorsen) James River Richmond VA https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/4/richmond-and-the-james-river Sun, 17 Apr 2022 13:10:20 GMT
Peeking Into The Past https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/4/peeking-into-the-past Several months ago I did a quick walkabout of President John Tyler's home called Sherwood Forest, not too far away from Richmond. He bought the plantation in 1842 and lived there until the Civil War started. The Tyler family still owns the place and kindly make the grounds available for walkabouts. If you call ahead you might be able to tour the inside of the house. I stayed on the outside but was able to look through the old fashioned windows into the very narrow house. The house was occupied by Union troops during the war which makes me believe that few of Tyler's original furnishings are there. Signs are available about features on the property but none mentions the enslaved people that worked on the plantation. One of the small structures was labeled "building for laborers" which I assume really meant a house for the enslaved. President Tyler left the plantation and moved to Richmond when the Union troops arrived. He died a short time later and was buried in Richmond. It's very peaceful but I think the summers would be miserably hot and humid, this is right next to the Great Swamp.

Peeking InPeeking InHome of President Tyler from 1842 until 1861 or so.

(Lee Halvorsen) plantation president john tyler https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/4/peeking-into-the-past Thu, 14 Apr 2022 16:46:00 GMT
On the Water https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/4/on-the-water I was in Alexandria, VA, earlier this week. I had the chance to do a quick walkabout with a friend. Seems like "quick" is a metaphor for not creative. The day was relatively nice, very cool temps but no rain which gradually changed to gentle showers. I enjoy the waterfront, the docks, and the other people just strolling. The sad part is that things are getting more expensive which reduces the variety and diversity of the walkers. I guess that's progress. The first image is the latest in Alexandria's waterfront art, the "I Love You" sign. The second is the water of the Potomac. Sort of oily.

I Love YouI Love YouArt on the waterfront in Alexandria, VA RoilingRoilingPotomac River viewed through railing

(Lee Halvorsen) waterfront https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/4/on-the-water Thu, 07 Apr 2022 12:00:05 GMT
Belmead https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/4/belmead Six more from Belmead. These have been post processed and modified (except where noted). The first is a triple exposure of the chapel at St Francis de Sales. The crumbling walls are offset by the beautiful stained glass. Until you get close. 

Chapel at St Francis de SalesChapel at St Francis de SalesTriple Exposure

The next image is the main altar at St Francis de Sales. Slowly, time and vandals are robbing the place of its former glory.

Altar at St Francis de SalesAltar at St Francis de SalesRemains of the altar, slowly crumbling

The image below is taken from the granary to the barns. Only sharpening and some exposure correction on this image.

Granary at St EmmaGranary at St EmmaView from granary to the barns at St Emma This image of the fields taken from the granary uses infrared effects to sharpen and emphasize the colors in the IR spectrum.

Granary and Barn at St EmmaGranary and Barn at St EmmaInfrared effects image through the granary entrance looking towards the barns This image is taken from the bottom of the hill looking up towards the mansion, what the St Emma students called "The Big House."

Looking Up "The Hill"Looking Up "The Hill"Looking along the fenceline up the hill towards the Big House at St Emma, once the mansion of Belmead Plantation This last image is where the plantation owner, Cocke, killed himself on December 26, 1861.
Suicide Steps at BelmeadSuicide Steps at BelmeadSteps where Belmead Plantation slave owner Cocke killed himself the day after Christmas 1861.

(Lee Halvorsen) Belmead on the James St Emma St Francis de Sales https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/4/belmead Fri, 01 Apr 2022 12:21:06 GMT
St Francis de Sales School https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/3/st-francis-de-sales-school The St Francis de Sales school for African American girls was a Catholic Church institution. The girls were taught in the classrooms and on the campus, lived and ate in the dormitories, and went to church in the sanctuary which was part of the main building. Today it's all abandoned and for the most part inaccessible because of the dangerous crumbling structure. I stood in the chapel, looked down this hallway and tried to imagine the voices, laughter, and discipline that must have been ever present in this place. Except, of course, during services. Turning left from the hallway view but staying in the same place on the floor, are these wall pews or benches. I heard a couple of the St Francis alums on John Plashal's YT channel talk about this room. Not only were church services held here but also other major school events, like graduations. It must have been an awesome room. It still is.

St Francis de Sales HallwaySt Francis de Sales HallwayLooking down a hallway from the abandoned nave in the African American school for girls, St Francis de Sales Side PewsSide PewsPews or chairs at the side of the nave in St Francis de Sales school for African American girls

(Lee Halvorsen) abandoned school https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/3/st-francis-de-sales-school Mon, 28 Mar 2022 12:51:45 GMT
Entryway at Belmead https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/3/entryway-at-belmead Arriving at Belmead is a little jarring...suddenly from the rolling hills and rushing streams rises this impressive structure that seems larger than life. When the mansion was built the front side faced the James River so that all could see the grandeur of the structure. If folks visited by land, they'd come up the hill and drive or ride into this covered entryway. The porch is inlaid tiles, the steps are hewn granite, the inner tiles are stone. Standing in the doorway I tried to imagine visitors arriving and was left empty despite the wonder of its construction.

Entry at Belmead on the JamesEntry at Belmead on the JamesEntryway where guests arriving by land would be greeted

(Lee Halvorsen) belmead mansion plantation https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/3/entryway-at-belmead Sun, 20 Mar 2022 14:03:15 GMT
Low Tide https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/3/low-tide Time does not stand still and as Canute the Great found out one thousand years ago, no man can stop the tide. I was mind deep in a pile of paperwork a couple of days ago and needed a break. I got together with a friend and we did a brief walkabout along the river south of Old Town under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and surrounding neighborhood. The tide was out, the sun was bright, and this image leapt out at me. I believe this little inlet used to be part of the shoreline commerce facilities three hundred years ago. What remains is a city park and two million dollar townhomes. The tides are not friendly to shorelines so I'm guessing that all of the stakes with white markers are part of a water damage mitigation study. Maybe. Who knows. I enjoyed the view.

Low TideLow TidePotomac River in Alexandria, VA, at low tide.

(Lee Halvorsen) potomac shoreline https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/3/low-tide Fri, 11 Mar 2022 15:19:54 GMT
Rising https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/3/rising I'm headed for NOVA this morning and am hopeful that I-95 doesn't make this a multi-hour trip. On the best of days, it's a three hour round trip...on the worst of days, eight hours. This image from Burke Lake came to me just as the pandemic was getting into full swing, February 2020. People were beginning to stay inside and the virus had somehow become political. The politics remain but we're slowly beating the virus, through science not politics. The sun is finally rising from the shadows of a horrible disease, history has certainly repeated itself.

RisingRisingMorning at Burke Lake

(Lee Halvorsen) burke lake sunrise https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/3/rising Mon, 07 Mar 2022 12:56:13 GMT
Bob King https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/3/bob-king My friend Bob King passed away this weekend. I hadn't seen him in a while because of COVID and my move but we kept in touch through all those solitary months. He was an unusual man, a great storyteller and an adventurer. Years ago he regularly participated in the Great American Race...a friend of his drove and Bob King navigated. What stories he told about those races. He's also the only guy I know who actually did the Trans-Siberian railway express. He had some not so pretty tales about that very long adventure. He was a Johnny Appleseed of government contracting going from place to place starting up new regional offices everywhere he landed. That's where I met him, I introduced him to the Star Wars group and the next thing I knew, he had a contract. Complex math was his art...he could do earned value equations at the drop of a hat; calculus was his second language; and he could sell anything because of his scientific abilities to puzzle things out. He had an aircraft simulator company! He taught in universities! He was in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica! Much of what he did, he did with Multiple Sclerosis. 

He was many things in his life. But, the best for me was his friendship.

Bob KingBob KingBob King telling it like it is.


(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/3/bob-king Sun, 06 Mar 2022 15:00:20 GMT
Hallway In The Mansion https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/3/hallway-in-the-mansion I looked down this long hallway to the stained glass window and tried to imagine what life might have been like for the people that had lived or worked in that room over the last 180 plus years. I concluded this mental exercise was a little presumptuous so I tried to imagine a list of the people who might have walked where I was walking and not what their lives might have been.

The room was created by enslaved Blacks in the 1830s or 40s. When the building was completed the Philip St. George Cocke family moved in. He and his wife Sallie had eleven (11!) children. I imagine that children occupied the room and the children would have enslaved Blacks caring for them.

When Philip St. George Cocke killed himself in 1861 his youngest child, Ann, was 4; his oldest, John, was 25. Cocke's wife died in 1872. John stayed on the property with some number of siblings until the property was sold at auction in 1879. I wondered if the room was empty for many of those years. When the Morrells bought the house in the 1890s they created St. Emma Military Academy for Boys; staff members of St. Emma may have used the room for classes or maybe as bedrooms.

St Emma was owned by the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, an order of nuns founded by Katharine Drexel. Some of the nuns moved into the house and lived there for many years beginning in the 1970s when St. Emma closed. I saw a picture of a nun in her bedroom with that window in the background. I've heard rumors that the Sisters operated other "schools" on the property for some years after St. Emma's closure. 


Belmead HallwayBelmead HallwayHallway in mansion at Belmead

(Lee Halvorsen) belmead mansion school st emma: https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/3/hallway-in-the-mansion Thu, 03 Mar 2022 11:58:35 GMT
Site Of Washed Away Bridge On Belmead https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/2/washed-away-bridge-on-belmead The road to the mansion at St Emma used to share common access from the highway with the road to St Francis de Sales. The access road made a Y: turning left crossed Deep Creek and soon arrived at the mansion; turning right went to St Francis de Sales. I was told the bridge washed away during a storm...I don't remember which storm, I'm guessing it was Hurricane Camille in August 1969. Instead of rebuilding the bridge, access to the mansion was added from the main road. One quarter of a mile upstream from this site is a dam, built by...I don't know but I'm guessing the schools. I'm told that the students would occasionally go swimming in the pond at the dam. During an interview of a St Francis de Sales alum, John Plashal asked about swimming and the lady said they would splash their hands in the water to scare away the water moccasins! Hmmm, I probably won't go back, I am not a fan of snakes.

Deep Creek on the BelmeadDeep Creek on the BelmeadSite of the bridge that washed away on Deep Creek Dam at Deep CreekDam at Deep CreekDam on Deep Creek on Belmead on the James


(Lee Halvorsen) belmead Deep Creek https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/2/washed-away-bridge-on-belmead Mon, 28 Feb 2022 11:40:14 GMT
Abandoned Nave in African American School for Girls https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/2/abandoned-nave-in-african-american-school-for-girls The St Francis de Sales School for African American girls was founded in 1899. After graduating over 5,000 young ladies the school closed in the early 1970s. Now the building is crumbling and mostly inaccessible except for this nave. I don't know much about this school, more information is available from John Plashal who has a YouTube Channel and does PodCasts that include at least one about St Francis.  This image from the choir loft at the back of the room.

St Francis de Sales NaveSt Francis de Sales NaveAbandoned nave at the school for African American girls

(Lee Halvorsen) abandoned nave St Francis de Sales https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/2/abandoned-nave-in-african-american-school-for-girls Sun, 27 Feb 2022 13:28:53 GMT
Plantation Era Granary https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/2/plantation-era-granary The granary was built on the Belmead plantation in the lowlands not too far from the James River. Most of the stones were quarried on the plantation and probably the wooden doors and beams were also harvested from the land. I assume that the structure was built by enslaved people. The main beam that crosses from front to back is massive and must have been horrendous to lift into place. 

Belmead GranaryBelmead GranaryView from inside the granary which is probably 180+ years old.  

(Lee Halvorsen) belmead plantation granary https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/2/plantation-era-granary Fri, 25 Feb 2022 11:48:19 GMT
Graveyard for Enslaved at Belmead https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/2/graveyard-for-enslaved-at-belmead A quarter mile or so from the Belmead mansion is a graveyard. I'm not sure anyone knows how many people are actually buried there. The site is on a hilltop overlooking fields and forests that were once part of the Belmead plantation and later on the St Emma school. For many years enslaved people were buried on the site.

Philip St John Cocke had 124 enslaved people on Belmead in 1860. I don't know of any records of burials in the cemetery. Only one of these graves is marked by a large headstone. A couple of others have a small stone next to the cross. A plaque is mounted on a large boulder with the names of 45 people buried in the cemetery. Interestingly, some of the dates indicate the burials happened after the civil war. The large headstone marks the grave of Napoleon B. Drew whose life spanned 1843-1925. He would have known Philip St John Cocke, the plantation owner as well as the Drexel and Morrels, founders of the two schools. 

Another cemetery exists a quarter mile away from this one. That cemetery was for the sisters and other members of the community, probably white only. I'll have images from there in an upcoming post.

Graves of EnslavedGraves of EnslavedGraveyard on Belmead for the enslaved

(Lee Halvorsen) enslaved graveyard people https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/2/graveyard-for-enslaved-at-belmead Thu, 24 Feb 2022 13:13:37 GMT
Enslaved to Empowered https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/2/enslaved-to-empowered "Enslaved to Empowered" is the tagline some graduates of St Emma use when they describe how they feel about this building and the school. The plantation mansion was built in the 1830s by enslaved people and then converted to a school for African Americans in the early 20th century. The contributions that the graduates made to U.S. society and economy are no doubt significant.

Much of St Emma has been destroyed. To the west of the house is a large asphalt "pad" or parade ground. That's where the cadets held their parades, formations, and punishment tours. Around that pad were the student buildings, a chapel, dormitories, gymnasium, academic halls, etc. When the school closed the buildings were seldom used and apparently not maintained. Three of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament continued to live in the mansion after closing the school; some of their furnishings are still there. For some years after St Emma closed, the sisters conducted alternative education, I'm not sure about this, I'll have to do more research. In the early 1990s, the structures of the St Emma school were in such disrepair and potentially dangerous that the sisters had all of the structures bulldozed into a ravine on the west side of the complex. Everything except the mansion where they lived.

The image below is from the river side of the house. Belmead mansion sits high on a hill and would have been clearly visible to boaters on the James River just a quarter of a mile away. Additionally, a railroad was eventually built on the north side of the James and a small train stop was directly across from Belmead. Some St Emma students would take the train to a small stop which I believe was called "Rock Castle." A small ferry would take them south across the river to St Emma. Perhaps girls took the same route to St Francis de Sales. 

BelmeadBelmead on the JamesThis is the James River side of the mansion easily viewable from the river.

(Lee Halvorsen) belmead mansion plantation https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/2/enslaved-to-empowered Wed, 23 Feb 2022 14:33:25 GMT
Confederate General Cocke Commits Suicide https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/2/confederate-general-cocke-commits-suicide I'm turning a concept into a project: the abandoned St Emma and St Francis de Sales buildings represent the best and the worst of humanity. The book will include images I've found and poems I've written as I walk the property. This first image is from the tower in the Gothic Revival styled mansion and is the inner title page. So far...very early edit. There will certainly be changes. Many.

This is an excerpt from Chapter 1: "The day after Christmas, 1861, Confederate General Philip St. George Cocke had dinner looking out over this lawn. After eating, he walked outside onto these steps and shot himself in the head.  The fate of the plantation he built with the help of his enslaved workforce was litigated for years and finally adjudicated in 1897.

Saint Katharine Drexel founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament order of nuns in 1892 and focused on providing education and educational facilities to people of color. She purchased Belmead-on-the-James and built St. Francis de Sales School for African-American girls in 1899 less than a mile east of this mansion. Katharine’s half sister Louise Morrell and Louise’s husband Edward converted the Belmead mansion into St. Emma Military Academy for Boys. St. Emma was the only military high school for Black Americans in the United States. Ever. Still.

The schools prospered and grew throughout the first half of the twentieth century. Primarily technical and service oriented in nature, when integration began in the 1960s enrollment began to fall. Together the two institutions graduated over 15,000 students until they both closed in the early 1970s.

This book includes images from the four seasons of the mansion, the grounds, the outbuildings, and the St. Francis de Sales nave. I added haikus of my impressions of the places when those places evoked in me notions of melancholy balanced with hope."

Roof lineLooking OutView from the mansion tower at the roofline of the west wing.


(Lee Halvorsen) architecture mansion https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/2/confederate-general-cocke-commits-suicide Tue, 22 Feb 2022 12:53:48 GMT
Confederate Icons https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/1/confederate-icons The mansion is Belmead, the circular staircase from the first to the second floor. Overlaid is the Confederate Pyramid in Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery that was erected in 1869 as a memorial to the confederate dead buried in the cemetery...about 18,000. It was also erected to honor "The Lost Cause." Sadly, this lost cause lives on.

Composite imageThe Lost Cause PyramidComposite image of staircase at Belmead with Hollywood Cemetery confederate memorial layered onto the ceiling of the mansion built by enslaved people

(Lee Halvorsen) Belmead Cemetery Hollywood RVA https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/1/confederate-icons Fri, 07 Jan 2022 21:03:43 GMT
My Favorite Images of 2021 https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/1/my-favorite-images-of-2021 Well, at least they are my favorites for today!! This is another "Fresh Start" project from Matt Kloskowski. The first assignment is to review last year's images and pick a couple dozen that I would "favorite" in the collection. I don't think they are necessarily "art" photos, they just happen to be images that I like. I know some of you might think that I have a skewed view of the world which would give bias to skewed images. That's probably true. I did notice that I didn't have as many candidates as I did a couple of years ago for a similar exercise. I created a special "gallery" and I put all of them on the front page and one here. 

(Lee Halvorsen) 2021 favorites https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2022/1/my-favorite-images-of-2021 Tue, 04 Jan 2022 15:06:33 GMT
Ghosts of Hollywood Cemetery https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/12/ghosts-of-hollywood-cemetery Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond is a rolling landscape of elaborate and simple gravesites. The monuments range in style from the bare tablet laying flat on the ground to the towering stone markers for families and icons of industry and history. Imagining their stories came easily. The children's graves were many, most lived less than three years. I'm guessing that losing children to disease and accidents was common. For me, Hollywood is maze-like with its winding roads and circular byways, I seem to always end up where I started and only seeing one section of the cemetery.

Hollywood CemeteryHollywood CemeteryFamily Gravesite in Hollywood Cemetery

(Lee Halvorsen) Hollywood Richmond https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/12/ghosts-of-hollywood-cemetery Thu, 30 Dec 2021 11:24:46 GMT
A Carved Stone, Perhaps Pipestone https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/12/a-carved-stone-perhaps-pipestone One hundred years ago my grandparents spent their "leisure time" camping out in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Minnesota. They camped and hiked in remote places and collected artifacts such as arrowheads, tomahawks, and other Native American pieces. Sadly, after grandpa died, grandmother sold his collections which probably should have gone to a museum. Years later when she sold her house and moved, she found a small bucket of grandpa's "rejects" which she passed on to me. Most were shattered arrowheads or broken points. Among the rejects was this stone carving, probably from a pipestone quarry in southeast Minnesota. The little statue is about 4 inches high and an inch and a half wide. The carving is very delicate, a bison on the front base, a fox and a bird on the side bases. 

The land where pipestone is quarried is considered holy ground by Native Americans and the color of the stone represents the blood spilled by their people. I wrote the South Dakota State Historical Society about it. They didn't respond. Same with the Smithsonian. I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

Stone CarvingStone CarvingPipestone carving, note the buffalo on the base Pipestone - Right ViewPipestone - Right ViewHand carved stone Pipestone - Left ViewPipestone - Left ViewArtifact from my grandparents

(Lee Halvorsen) pipestone https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/12/a-carved-stone-perhaps-pipestone Sun, 26 Dec 2021 20:35:49 GMT
"Portraits" from Belmead https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/12/-portraits-from-belmead None of the ghosts of Belmead-on-the-James in Powhatan County, VA, showed up for a sitting. I imagined them in the rooms and on the grounds of the place. In truth, I couldn't imagine what enslaved people might have felt except horror and hopelessness. I did envision the African American students in the first half of the twentieth century walking in the rooms and wondered what might catch their attention. They might have taken these things for granted, or maybe not.

ReadingReadingFrom the library in the old mansion at St Emma. Old leather bound book from maybe 100 years ago is a ledger with nothing inside. The candelabra is a cheap one, lightweight, alloy. Stained glass windows. Ghosts View from the TowerView from the TowerCLimbing to the tower on the riverside of the house and looking out over the roof of the mansion Window on River Side of MansionWindow on River Side of MansionLooking into the house through 170 year old window. Trees are reflected in the old glass. Pillar Capital PortraitPillar Capital PortraitA closeup taken in the chapel of St Francis de Sales School for Girls. The room was ornate with many carvings like this. Now crumbling. 29 & 3/10 cents per gallon29 & 3/10 cents per gallonOld gas pump near the ruins of the barns and granary at St Emma. The school closed in the early 70s and I remember that's about what gas cost in 1971.

(Lee Halvorsen) st emma st francis de sales https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/12/-portraits-from-belmead Fri, 10 Dec 2021 17:24:42 GMT
Ghosts of Francis de Sales School https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/12/ghosts-of-francis-de-sales-school I spent more time at the girls' school this visit. The only part of the school that I could get into is the sanctuary. The rest of the facility is closed because of instability and partial building collapse due to the earthquake in 2011. And after walking around the place and seeing the general condition, I don't think I'd want to go in. I've been to Belmead three times in the last 7 months and each time I find a little less of the buildings remaining.

The first image is the sanctuary. The colors of the room reminded me of old color film and so I treated the image with shades and tones of Kodachrome film. I think the film look also enhances the general breakdown of the building. The stained glass windows are gradually failing or being broken and bits and pieces of the ceiling and walls are falling down. Just below the school campus is the remains of an old road leading off to...who knows where, perhaps a neighbor. The Hump Back stone bridge is a little more than a quarter mile down that road which now is only a trail and a rugged trail at that. The stone bridge is over a small creek that flows into Deep Creek just before entering the James River. On the hike back I saw this old gasoline pump standing alone in the forest. Right next to the trail but no standing buildings. I tried to imagine what life was like on the campus fifty years ago.

Chapel at St Francis de SalesChapel at St Francis de SalesCrumbling Catholic sanctuary at the abandoned African American school for girls Humpback BridgeHumpback BridgeStone bridge on a long abandoned road in Belmead-on-the-James St Francis de Sales property. Rumor has the age of the bridge older than the mansion house which was built in the 1840s Pump in the ForestPump in the ForestOld gasoline pump in the forest.

(Lee Halvorsen) st francis school https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/12/ghosts-of-francis-de-sales-school Wed, 08 Dec 2021 12:42:13 GMT
National Landing https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/12/national-landing I did a very quick walkabout in what I'd known as Crystal City. Now I guess the name is National Landing and the construction underway is amazing. I worked there, for 8 years! I recognized very little. I am sure all this growth is good but...how do you add 25,000 jobs to a small area like this and manage the traffic? Smarter minds than mine have probably thought this issue through and will do all sorts of imaginative things to the transportation system. Probably. No Manhattan-like skylines exist (yet) but the streets are narrow and the buildings are tall. In some areas to see the sky you need to be in the street. I looked up the price of an apartment and the prices were about what I expected...BMW range. 

The infrastructure required to maintain this community will be significant. Probably millions of windows, hundreds of restaurants, and...well you get it. I wonder where they'll live. I found some images of folks working. The first is looking into a restaurant where I think training was happening. The reflection of the crosswalk caught my eye. A short time later, a gentleman walked up to where I'd been standing, looked inside at the folks and knocked on the window trying to get their attention. The last image is just the beginning of the window washing requirement.

Restaurant TrainingRestaurant TrainingThe reflection of a crosswalk and city park in the window of a restaurant Outside Looking InOutside Looking InThe new "Crystal City" now called National Landing. This gentleman is trying to get the attention of the people inside where a restaurant training class is apparently being held. Keeping CleanKeeping CleanIn the Metropolitan Park area of National Landing. Construction makes things dirty and I imagine that window cleaning is a constant chore

(Lee Halvorsen) arlington national landing https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/12/national-landing Fri, 03 Dec 2021 12:27:55 GMT
Man Ray, The Paris Years https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/11/man-ray-the-paris-years Yesterday I went to an incredible exhibit of Man Ray's portraits at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. He was able to catch his subjects perfectly telling the story of their lives and their art. Ray seemed to know all of the artists in Paris in the 1920s, Gertrude Stein, Picasso, and every other name that was famous a hundred years ago and many, are still famous today. The excitement and adventure of working with these artists when art was really taking off after World War I must have been an incredible experience. The exhibit showed hundreds of his original prints with details of the when the image was made. Man had made more than the norm portrait, his told the story of the person in the image. I had only an hour and finished less than half of the exhibit so I will go back next week. An incredible visit.

The emotion and story in Man's portraits were really quite incredible. I don't do portraits but I do spend time studying those from Tom Wolff and Annie Leibobitz, two incredible photographers who seem to really connect with the people they are working with. Perhaps they are channeling shades of Man's storytelling techniques.

Man Ray ExhibitMan Ray ExhibitTwo of the galleries in the Man Ray Exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

(Lee Halvorsen) Arts Exhibit Fine Man Museum of Ray Virginia https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/11/man-ray-the-paris-years Sat, 20 Nov 2021 22:16:41 GMT
Printing Newspapers https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/11/printing-newspapers My grandfather was a linotype operator, he typed on a machine that created blocks of raised letters (called slugs) from molten metal which were then put into columns, then onto pages, then onto presses, then inked and made into newspapers. He used to take me into the newspaper building's magical, noisy world and I'd watch the paper rolling through the presses to become our small town newspaper, "The Huronite." The "Huronite:" eventually became the "Daily Plainsman" and the printing presses disappeared into...well, I don't know but I'm pretty sure they're gone. Today I read that the newspaper in Sioux Falls, SD, the "Argus Leader," would also stop printing its own paper and would contract printing out to an out-of-state company. People just don't read newspapers anymore and to survive, papers have to consolidate big operations, like printing and distribution.

I think not reading newspapers is sad because they are run locally, even if they have a wider distribution, and they have a general code of conduct, not always followed, but one that requires a level of integrity and truth that isn't required by foreign trolls or internet posts (like this one). Fewer newspapers is probably better for the trees but I'm pretty sure it's not better for the people.

AutumnAutumnAutumn colors as the sun sets


(Lee Halvorsen) colors fall https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/11/printing-newspapers Sat, 13 Nov 2021 11:19:30 GMT
To Facebook or Not To Facebook, That is the Question https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/11/to-facebook-or-not-to-facebook-that-is-the-question A quandary. I've been debating this issue with myself for several weeks. On the one hand, Facebook is the only place I stay in touch with folks I haven't actually seen in many, many years and is probably the only way that I'd maintain contact. Peggy, Rod, Ted, Stefan, Stacey, Gerry, Don, Carolyn, Jacque, Dan, Maryanne, Mary, Bob, and many more from recent decades. I've unfriended way too many "friends" who've chosen to "live" on FB by repeating fascist memes, factless "news" casts, and shameless russian trolls. From those "lost friends" I read happy Facebook stories about how things are all so good and happy and wonderful but when actually talking with that person, I find in their real lives they've become ideological hoarders who are suffering and have turned inward to live in creative isolationism.

I note that posting on FB increases my website traffic by 500% and that made me ask myself what was important about my website. I came to the conclusion that this is part of the creative process that I do for me, like making a print and hanging it on my wall. I don't work at selling my art so having a website isn't really critical for that...no, the important part of the website is the act of creating and "publishing" the art. Websites are really only one method of putting art out for consumption, there are other ways. I may begin to explore what other people are doing...sort of a travelogue or catalogue of art in Virginia. If I post on FB in the future, I will probably simul-post through Instagram.

These are two more images of the 522 Bridge at Maidens, VA with a walkway along the river. I imagined that the walkway might have been where the mules pulled the riverboats upriver. I think the name "The 522 Bridge" is kind of a pedestrian name for a bridge close to Maidens.

Quiet WalkQuiet WalkPathway next to the James River at Maidens Crossing. The 522 BridgeThe 522 BridgeBridge over the James River at Maidens Crossing


(Lee Halvorsen) james river maidens https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/11/to-facebook-or-not-to-facebook-that-is-the-question Fri, 05 Nov 2021 14:16:34 GMT
James River https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/11/james-river Like most large rivers in the early days of western history, the James River was an important commerce route. Canal boats and riverboats went up and down the river, the canal boats pulled by mules, typically with passengers riding on top and cargo stowed below. This image is close to sunset looking across the James from Goochland County to Powhatan County.

James RiverJames RiverThe James River at Tucker Park

(Lee Halvorsen) james river https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/11/james-river Thu, 04 Nov 2021 20:20:04 GMT
Pocahontas Park https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/11/pocahontas-park Yesterday we did a very short walkabout in the park. Very, very few people. Probably because it was a weekday, during school/work hours, and not the season for leisurely strolls in the park. Well, I'm not sure the last part is true, t'was a glorious day with crisp fall air and only a slight breeze. I was hoping to find some autumn colors before the storms blew everything away and I was somewhat lucky. Green was still hanging on and red was scarce but I did find these blue pontoon boats! And the bridge. And, we enjoyed the quiet.

Lake in Pocahontas ParkLake in Pocahontas ParkLooking down the lake at the pontoon boats Lake BridgeLake BridgePocahontas Park bridge over the lake

(Lee Halvorsen) autumn park https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/11/pocahontas-park Tue, 02 Nov 2021 11:58:51 GMT
Cresson Prison Blues https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/10/cresson-prison-blues This building was built in 1932 when the mountaintop facility was still a TB Sanatorium. I think the idea was to make the place seem like a hotel or vacation spot to the suffering TB patient. Eventually the drugs were developed to combat TB and this Sanatorium was converted into a hospital for the mentally handicapped. That probably meant the people were restrained as if they were in prison. Eventually the hospital was converted into a prison. I'm not sure what this building was for, inside was a big kitchen, a room that looked like a dance room, shoe shine chairs, destroyed books about physically restraining people, and more. The architecture was very interesting with some cool features inside. In the second image I tried "light painting" with my iPhone with not very good success.

Cresson Prison TudorCresson Prison TudorThis building was built when the prison was a hospital for the mentally handicapped. The Halloween Season was the appropriate time for my visit. Prison ArchitecturePrison ArchitectureFascinating Columns and Arches inside building. The arcs of light are from my iPhone

(Lee Halvorsen) cresson https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/10/cresson-prison-blues Tue, 26 Oct 2021 17:41:40 GMT
Women's Building Cresson Prison https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/10/womens-building The Cresson facility closed as a Pennsylvania state prison but before becoming a men's prison, it was a TB sanatorium and then a hospital for the mentally handicapped. The mentally handicapped facility looked to me like just another type of prison. I think this building was one of the women's "dormitories" which was more like a prison. Three and four beds per room (cell) with no sinks or toilets or showers. At the center of the floor two rooms housed all the toilet facilities. I have to admit that as bad as these were, the medical facilities of the prison were worse. They had showers that were stainless steel boxes with barred doors and large locks. I imagine they locked the prisoners into these shower "cabinets" and then turned the water on for as long and as hot as the correction officers wanted. The first image is one of the "rooms" or cells, the next is looking down the hall from this doorway. The last is the shower room with three stalls and three sinks, now all in ruins.

Prison CellPrison CellThree beds. No bath. No comfort. Prison HallwayPrison HallwayCresson Prison Women's Hospital

Cresson Prison ShowersCresson Prison ShowersShowers and sinks in Cresson Prison

(Lee Halvorsen) abandoned Prison https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/10/womens-building Sat, 23 Oct 2021 21:01:14 GMT
St Emma Library https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/10/st-emma-library I was told this was the "library" but I'm not sure that the boys attending St Emma had access to this room...maybe, but I'm not sure. If any alums are out there and reading this, please write or comment and let me know. This room is on the right hand corner as your facing the mansion looking north. Shelves lined all four wall except for the windows and the fireplace. The ledger book sitting on the desk has the look and feel of an 1800s book but there is nothing written on any of the pages. I think the books and pictures on the shelves might be left from after St Emma closed. 

The mansion was built by enslaved people and I'm guessing that the hand painted windows in the original side of the building were done by them. The first closeup is from the library, the second from the dining room. The dining room faces the north, the library the south hence the painting is faded on the library windows. The paintings were of plants that grew on Belmead. 

Belmead in St EmmaBelmead in St EmmaLibrary in the St Emma School St Emma Hand Painted WindowSt Emma Hand Painted WindowThe original mansion's hand painted windows probably painted by enslaved people. St Emma Hand Painted Dining Room WindowSt Emma Hand Painted Dining Room WindowThis painting faces north and so was not faded from the sunlight

(Lee Halvorsen) military high school for african american boys st emma school https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/10/st-emma-library Thu, 21 Oct 2021 10:00:13 GMT
Beneath The Castle, A Short Story https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/10/beneath-the-castle-a-short-story CastleCastleCastle

Chapter 1

After a long walk in the deserted Castle gardens I stopped next to the fountain pond and sat on the stone ledge at water’s edge. I was uncomfortably tense despite the quiet of the grounds. Movement in the pond’s murky water caught my eye and I saw a bottle gently bobbing just below the surface. Looking more closely, I saw it was a large capped bottle with something inside.  I couldn’t see well enough through the dirty pond water and the brown tint of the bottle to tell what I was looking at. Without thinking, I grabbed at the bottle and was surprised that it was much deeper than I’d thought. As I reached for it, the bottle seemed to move further out and even deeper. I flailed a bit but managed to wrap my fingers around the slippery, gooey, neck and pull the bottle onto the bench where I’d been sitting.

Semi-transparent slime slowly oozed down the sides of the bottle creating a shiny, mucous-like puddle on the bench. The bottle was thick, about 18 inches tall with a capped opening. The cap was clay or mud stuffed into the bottle’s neck and wrapped over the edges of the two inch wide opening. Inside the bottle was an object, maybe a foot long and a couple of inches wide, I couldn’t really tell what it was, maybe a stick, maybe a metal bar. Gold? Iron? Sausage? Long roll of silver dollars?

What do I do with this thing, I asked myself and looked up the long stairway to the Castle. I’d seen no one, no activity anywhere. Only “Keep Out” signs. My choices, i thought were to throw the bottle back in the water, leave the bottle sitting on the edge of the pond, take the bottle home with me, or take the bottle to the  Castle.  I chose the Castle.

The long stairway to the Castle was next to the abandoned stair step fountains. I’d climbed about halfway up when I was greeted by a chained, rusty gate with a “Keep Out” sign loosely attached with rotting twine to one of the gate’s iron posts. But the gate wasn’t too high and was constructed of old iron cross beams that could provide ladder like access to the other side. I paused for less than a second and began my climb. I quickly discovered that holding a slimy large bottle and gripping a crumbling rusty gate was much more difficult than I’d imagined. When I threw my leg over the top to start down, I slipped and had to quickly grab the gate’s top crosspiece in an embrace like two lover’s saying goodbye at the train station. The bottle sailed away down the staircase and I watched in horror as it bounced and bounced and bounced and then finally shattered twenty feet or so down the stairway.

I struggled to get down and when I was firmly back on terra firma I saw that my shirt was in shreds and my chest and belly were stained with bloody scrapes and crumbs of the rusty gate. I tried to remember the last time I’d gotten a tetanus shot and decided that since I couldn’t remember, I probably needed one. Feeling a mixture of anger and embarrassment, I headed for the remains of the bottle. My boots ground broken bottle bits into smaller glass bits creating an unsettling, sandpaper-like feel to my walk.

Several steps down I found the bottle’s tubular secret. I sat down and examined it more closely. It was about a foot long, maybe two inches wide and covered with something shiny and soft. I poked at it, it had no give but was cold and slick on the surface like soaking wet leather. Slowly rotating the tube I discovered a very thin, almost invisible thread loop embedded into one of the tube ends. I had to use one of my keys to pry the loop away from the soggy surface.

In for a penny, in for a pound, I thought as I pulled on the loop and the soft, gooey surface of the tube came apart as if unzipped. I was left holding a metal tube with finely detailed etching or carving and what looked like a screw cap at one end. Naturally I unscrewed the cap, looked inside and saw what looked like a tightly wrapped roll of paper. I turned the tube and the roll came out onto my hand, surprising heavy, surprisingly strong feeling. This wasn’t paper, or at least the paper I knew.

I stood up and put the roll down on the base of a nearby statue. The sun came out from the clouds and shone directly onto the tube. In clear but small block letters was, “Start at the Center.” I had a flashback to “Alice in Wonderland” and wondered what rabbit hole I’d fallen down. And then, just like Alice, I saw another small looped thread at the end of the roll, I pulled on it and the papers unrolled and flattened out in seconds. I looked closely and saw the words,

“Help me! I am a prisoner below the Castle. I will die soon unless you find me. You absolutely must read through this entire record of my adventures. Skipping to the end is what I did and now I’m trapped. My mistakes and my profits will help you. Please don’t abandon me, if you don’t start now, I will run out of time.”

To be continued...

(Lee Halvorsen) adventure Castle fantasy fiction Short Story https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/10/beneath-the-castle-a-short-story Wed, 20 Oct 2021 13:25:19 GMT
Sunken Gardens at Assisi https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/10/sunken-gardens-at-assisi I did a walkabout in the Sunken Gardens at Assisi this past weekend. The Gardens are on the grounds of the Saint Francis Friary at Mt Assisi in Loretto, PA. Formerly the home of Charles E Schwab the US steel magnate, the garden is the only public accessible part of the estate, the rest is closed off since the buildings are the private residences of the Franciscan Friars who live there. The place is, well, palatial, at least from what I could see. The gardens were very cool although nothing was really in bloom since autumn is now fully in control of the weather. Most of the time during my visit, I was the only one on the grounds. I found the place to be very peaceful and graceful...a place for people to contemplate. I'm guessing back in the Schwab days the grounds were carefully trimmed and manicured with the primary use for the place to show splendour and majesty, now the setting is more natural. The image below is from inside one of the garden structures.

Mt AssisiSunken Gardens at Mt AssisiLooking out from a structure on the gardens.


(Lee Halvorsen) gardens https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/10/sunken-gardens-at-assisi Mon, 18 Oct 2021 10:32:44 GMT
Canal Walk https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/10/canal-walk The Richmond Canal Walk parallels the James River and the remains of the Kanawha and Haxall canals. The Kanawha Canal was initially promoted by George Washington and went from Richmond to Buchanan, VA, about 180 miles. Railroads and floods eventually made the canals impractical and they were abandoned. Richmond created a 1 plus mile long park along the banks of the James and the canals to revitalize the city center. Over the last hundred years or so the old canal paths became the beds for railroads, mostly carrying coal from the west to Norfolk. The James River rapids in the center of Richmond are a dividing point, down river was deeper and boat commerce was easy from the coast to Richmond. Upriver, beyond the rapids, goods and people had to disembark and switch to another boat, a bateaux (flat bottom boat), rail, or horseback.

Canal WalkCanal WalkAll about the light on the Canal Walk in Richmond Under the Bridge in RichmondUnder The BridgeIn Richmond under the bridge on the canal walk overlooking the rapids Ruins of the Richmond & Petersburg Railroad BridgeRuins of the Richmond & Petersburg Railroad BridgeRailroad bridge ruins in Richmond, VA. Originally built in 1836 the bridge was torn down and rebuilt several times


(Lee Halvorsen) Canal Richmond https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/10/canal-walk Thu, 14 Oct 2021 11:44:52 GMT
Basement Steps at Belmead, St Emma https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/10/basement-steps-at-belmead The basement in the Belmead mansion was a bit, well, creepy. The only illumination was the natural light coming in through the barred windows making walking possible but not without risk. This spiral staircase was one way to come down to this level but i wouldn't dare to take these even if I were 50 years younger. A door directly to the outside also existed in the "new" wing. Sometime during the last years the mansion was occupied an elevator had been installed, I think the car was jammed in one of the upper floors. In the basement all that was left was the empty shaft and the call button. 

Rumors exist about secret tunnels that may exist which would start in the basement of the mansion and end somewhere probably towards the river. Folks have speculated that they might have been the Cocke family escape tunnels. For an archeologist or anthropologist that's like buried treasure and so maybe someday someone will bring technology to bear and find out if tunnels really exist. Or is imaging them the best part of the rumor?

Basement Steps at Belmead on the JamesBasement Steps at Belmead on the JamesCrumbling stairway in the basement of the Belmead Mansion.   Elevator Button at Belmead on the JamesElevator Button at Belmead on the JamesA long forgotten elevator button.

(Lee Halvorsen) mansion St Emma https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/10/basement-steps-at-belmead Tue, 12 Oct 2021 12:35:06 GMT
Father Figaro at St Emma, The Big House https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/10/father-figaro-at-st-emma-the-big-house The door on the far left of the Big House was the entrance into the administrative area. The head of the school in the 1960s was Father Egbert Figaro, his office was just inside that door and on the left. Father Figaro was a slight man, born in Trinidad, raised in New Jersey. He earned a B.A. and B.D. from Ferndale Seminary, an M.S. from the University of Michigan, and an M.Ed. from Eastern Michigan State. He was assigned to the school in 1958 as a teacher, moved to assistant principal, and in 1966 became the Commandant of the Academy as well as the Superior of the religious community. The decision to close St Emma was made in 1970 but Fr Figaro remained active with the alumni association for the rest of his life. I'm betting that his voice can still be heard echoing across the blacktop by visiting alumni.

The original part of the house was built in the 1840s and is the right half of this image. Visitors would have arrived at the portico and been greeted by a member of the Cocke family. The other side of the house faced the James River. People were most likely to see the house from the river side since that was the main method of transportation when the mansion was built.

Belmead on the JamesBelmead on the JamesThe "Big House" on the land side, the other side is the river side and would have been what was seen most by people passing by on the James River

(Lee Halvorsen) Emma Mansion St https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/10/father-figaro-at-st-emma-the-big-house Thu, 07 Oct 2021 11:14:31 GMT
St Emma Parlor Windows https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/10/st-emma-parlor This window from St Emma's Big House looked out over a tree lined drive drive like you see in the movies like "Gone With The Wind." I wondered who looked out this window, some people had actually scratched messages in the glass of the window...one dated 1859, another 1890. Slave owners, enslaved people, post war Cocke family, priests, nuns, students...all looking through the same glass at the same hills from the same room. What did they think as they looked out onto the peaceful green world below? Imagine.

Room At St EmmaRoom At St EmmaThis may have been the parlor. It's a large room just off the main entrance, next to the library and the dining room

(Lee Halvorsen) st emma https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/10/st-emma-parlor Wed, 06 Oct 2021 21:28:24 GMT
The Thing About Belmead Ghosts https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/10/the-thing-about-belmead-ghosts Standing at the back of the "Big House" at St Emma, a.k.a. Belmeade Estate, I tried to imagine what this view might have been like for all those who stood in this spot since 1845 when the land was purchased to become a plantation. The James River is just beyond view which is why Phillip St. George Cocke built the mansion where he did...the main roads of commerce 200 years ago were rivers and everyone who traveled the James River in that neck of the woods could not help but look up the hill at the magnificent mansion and be impressed. Across the river from the mansion was Rock Castle railroad station and at river's edge near the station was a flat ferry that took people, wagons, and horses from the Goochland County side of the James to the Powhatan County side.

Cocke used enslaved people to build his estate. Everything on the estate was built from the raw materials on THAT land with the intellect and muscles of over 600 enslaved people. On the day after Christmas in 1861, Cocke, a Confederate general, committed suicide on the riverside steps of the mansion just a few feet behind where I took this image.  What did he think as pulled the trigger looking out over his land? What did his family and the enslaved folks think when they found his body? Was this the last view they had from the place as they left when the Civil War ended? What did the cadets of St Emma think when they looked out over the barns and granary? Did they think of sneaking down the hill on the weekend to secretly visit the girls of St Frances de Sales School? Hmmm, that I know, I heard some of the students say that was a high risk but often accomplished adventure of the St Emma students. Did the St Emma cadets think about the enslaved people who built this place?

And the first occupants? The Monacans? I'm not sure but I read they weren't interested in meeting the whites and so migrated west and north.

So many voices, so many ghosts.

View Down The HillView Down The HillLooking from the riverside steps of Belmead Estate towards the barns and the James River

(Lee Halvorsen) barns river st emma https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/10/the-thing-about-belmead-ghosts Mon, 04 Oct 2021 15:11:12 GMT
Ghosts of St Emma's, African American Military High School https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/10/ghosts-of-st-emmas-african-american-military-high-school Now abandoned St Emma's was a military high school for African Americans in Powhatan County, VA, graduating more than 10,000 students. Built around the mansion of a former Confederate general, the school opened in 1895 and closed in the early 1970s. The institution is mostly demolished except for the original general's mansion that remains standing but is slowly deteriorating. Yesterday I was on a history tour of the grounds led by John Plashal and Fred Schneider. The grounds, all 2300 acres, were awesome and the buildings, especially the mansion, were outstanding. But the best part of the day was listening to three St Emma's graduates talking about student life at St Emmas and their lives after graduating.

The African American students and teachers of St Emma built the agricultural and industrial infrastructure of the school enabling self sufficiency and becoming the largest economic force of the county. Ironically, the mansion, called the Big House by the students, was originally built by enslaved people of materials taken from the plantation's own natural resources. This transition of the mansion and its environs from a place of enslaved people to one of empowered people wasn't a single "event" but rather the dedicated effort of many people over many years, especially the students. The school closed as legal segregation ended but the school's legacy lives on through the accomplishments of its talented and successful alumni. What's puzzling, but perhaps not surprising, is that no detailed  history of St Emma exists in US historic records, for instance, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture has collected no information on the school. Nor has Virginia, nor has Powhatan County. As the buildings crumble and the graduates pass on, memories will eventually fade and only the Ghosts of St Emma will remain.
St Emma MansionView from lounge to dining room St Emma DriveTree Lined DriveThe students of St Emma referred to leaving the grounds as "going down the hill" The Big House at St Emma'sThe Big House at St Emma'sLong abandoned mansion basement now a shelter for ferns

(Lee Halvorsen) St Emma https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/10/ghosts-of-st-emmas-african-american-military-high-school Sun, 03 Oct 2021 13:01:08 GMT
Imperfectly Permanent? https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/10/imperfectly-permanent I did a walk on the Canal in Richmond. There is a stretch that has some really fun murals, street art. The art was cool and so was the land trying to take back what was lost! I very much liked this small spot...the only place like it in the world...the mural and the plants growing into the shape of the art. I spent quite a bit of time enjoying the area; the first image a study in life makes art, the second, it's all about the light.

Richmond Street ArtRichmond Street ArtPlant growing into shape of mural on the Richmond Canal Walk City Street ArtCity Street ArtLooking down the walkway with street art, murals, cool shadows, and walls on the Canal Walk in Richmond, VA  

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/10/imperfectly-permanent Fri, 01 Oct 2021 17:19:38 GMT
Summer is Leaving https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/summer-is-leaving Signs of summer ending have been with us for a couple of weeks. I am slowing my pace and being more mindful of the things around me and today I noticed this seed pod hanging on for dear life. Or actually, just the opposite, hoping to let go soon to find whatever destiny is due. My cousin Henry in the northern parts of Minnesota calls these "Warning Signs" that the cave cold of winter is slowly marching on. I guess that's what life is really about, learning to deal with that marching on because all things change and before you know, we are not part of the marchers anymore. That's why I am taking time to see things.

Please let me know whether you like this image in Black and White or color. Thanks for looking.

Seed PodSeed PodBlack & White Image of Seed Pod found on walk Seed PodSeed PodColor Image of Seed Pod found on walk

(Lee Halvorsen) black and white color seed pod https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/summer-is-leaving Wed, 29 Sep 2021 14:25:02 GMT
Impermanent, Imperfect https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/impermanent-imperfect I am still working on "the me," that is my philosophy towards life and art. You'd think that after all of these decades mucking about that I would have figured it out, but no, that's just not the way things are for me. For a while, I've been looking at wabi sabi and have started reading a book, "Wabi Sabi, The Wisdom in Imperfection" by Nobuo Suzuki. an author and philosopher currently living in Japan. Describing the concept of wabi sabi is difficult, Impermanent and imperfect are two descriptors commonly used. How does one experience wabi sabi? Suzuki suggests accepting imperfection, respecting what is fragile, being dynamically calm while we observe what we feel, being modest and accepting of all things impermanent while focusing on the here and now. I am certainly not trying to appropriate Japanese culture by learning about wabi sabi, I am using the tenets and philosophy to better understand me and my approach to art.

Everything has a story even if the story is a short one, if I move too fast I might miss that story. I can't seen to help it though, a clock is ticking in my head that I need to hurry up. I try to pause often, I will try harder. I was walking on the east part of the canal walk in Richmond not too far from the train station. It's a diverse and dynamic and often invisible population in that part of town. I saw these newish looking dress shoes sitting on this stone bench in an otherwise deserted section of the canal walk. And I wondered how.

ShoesShoesShoes on a bench in a deserted area under the bridges on the canal walk in Richmond, VA

(Lee Halvorsen) bench canal on shoes walk https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/impermanent-imperfect Mon, 27 Sep 2021 10:33:28 GMT
Random Beauty https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/random-beauty Well, maybe not so random in real life but random in my image pile. As my life gets more complex and fall begins in earnest, I searched for images that made me feel good when I found them. That's the randomness of it, the actual in life flower was not so random. This combination of flowers was in the U.S. Botanical Garden and I'm sure were planted next to each with a very strong purpose. I was happy to find the colors. The second image is me trying to get a bee to pose for me, unsuccessfully, I might add. The day was a good one, my daughter and I were doing a walkabout in the Garden, way too long ago, 2014.

US Botanical GardenThe beauty and calm of the garden highlighted by glowing petals Posing BeeIn the Garden trying to get the bee to pose

(Lee Halvorsen) bee flowers garden https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/random-beauty Sun, 26 Sep 2021 16:36:31 GMT
Deserted Main Street Station https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/deserted-main-street-station Earlier this week I visited the Richmond Main Street Train Station. I'd been there a few months ago but much of the area inside had been closed, perhaps for event preparation. The station has been through a lot, floods, fires, and restorations. I think the structure once housed a shopping mall. Now, in addition to its train station duty, it also is an event center with two main areas, the "Headhouse" and the "Shed." The Head House is shown in the images below with the chandeliers and cafe tables. The "Shed" is where they kept the trains in days long gone by and is now a 100,000 square foot event space. There are still shades of days of yesteryear but the ghosts are slowly finding someplace else to be.

HeadhouseThe HeadhouseTables set up in the old Headhouse of the Richmond Main Street Station Main Street Station in RichmondHeadhouse in Main Street Station in RichmondClose up of tables set up in the Headhouse area of the Richmond Main Street Station Richmond Train StationThe Shed in the Richmond Train StationEvent space called the "Shed" in what used to be tracks in the Main Street Station in Richmond

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/deserted-main-street-station Thu, 23 Sep 2021 13:33:31 GMT
Dock in Ruins https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/dock-in-ruins I was on the Alexandria waterfront last week. The modernization and transformation process is really going well. New restaurants along and on the Potomac, new multi-million dollar condos, accessible walkways the entire length of the City's waterfront...and this dock. The Boat Club is a private enterprise with a gorgeous new building. There is a sign that they own this dock. There's probably some sort of dispute about what do with it.

Ruined DockRuined DockDock in ruins belonging to the Alexandria Boat Club

(Lee Halvorsen) dock potomac ruins https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/dock-in-ruins Mon, 20 Sep 2021 13:11:20 GMT
Fun! https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/fun I was on the riverwalk slash waterfront in Old Town Alexandria yesterday. Cloudy but the temperature was reasonable. Not a lot of people. But the day was young. Restaurants were setting service getting ready for the lunch crowd. Shops were just opening their doors. I was not paying close attention to the world around me until I looked up and saw this young person was coming down the walkway on the rear wheel of the bike, treating it like a unicycle. And I don't mean just for a few feet or yards, I mean they were on the bike for the entire time they were in view! I was envious of the skill, dexterity, and the obvious fun. So I imagined myself on that bike, that made me smile, and I moved on.

Bicyclist on DocksBicyclist on DocksBalancing on a bike on the Alexandria Waterfront Riverwalk  

(Lee Halvorsen) alexandria biking waterfront https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/fun Fri, 17 Sep 2021 10:22:07 GMT
Orchids... https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/orchids I like flowers and admire their beauty and colors but they don't really compel me to search for images with flowers as the story. However, a friend mentioned macro photography in connection with a group walkabout that I was part of today...or at least was supposed to be today. The forecast was for RVA heat and my friends were afraid of melting away. Sniffle. However, two of us met briefly at Lewis Ginter Gardens and I focused (pun intended) on macro shots inside the conservatory. I can get to a story upon examination and "posing" of the smaller parts of the flower, I'm not sure that this is really macro at its best, in fact I'm sure it's not, but I am getting an idea that I might like the extreme close up possibilities when finding stories in the wild.

In the Conservatory at Lewis Ginter GardenOrchidIn the Conservatory at Lewis Ginter Garden

In the Conservatory at Lewis Ginter GardenShoe OrchidIn the Conservatory at Lewis Ginter Garden

In the Conservatory at Lewis Ginter GardenOrchidsIn the Conservatory at Lewis Ginter Garden

In the Conservatory at Lewis Ginter GardenAfter the waterIn the Conservatory at Lewis Ginter Garden`

(Lee Halvorsen) lewis ginter gardens orchids https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/orchids Mon, 13 Sep 2021 20:02:27 GMT
Ovens https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/ovens The Nazi concentration camps were where hate, racism, and nationalism came alive and manifested themselves in the German people who savagely raped, maimed, murdered, and defiled millions of people including children. They did all this in the name of a "superior race" and manifest destiny of the country. With the careful manipulation of the German people, the press, the military, and society, Hitler's henchman turned a land of reasonable, normal people into a heartless, savage, brutal nation. Hitler used the mantra of making Germany great again, a new reiche, a new destiny. He blamed Jews for high unemployment, for stealing jobs from aryan Germans, for causing national financial distress, and more. Little by little, the German people bought into it. Was it just Hitler and the SS? No, it had become the national thing to do. When Germany was losing and the Allies were quickly approaching the concentration camps, many of the camp commanders did forced death marches so that they could continue the final solution in another camp or along the march route. 

This image is from the Richmond Holocaust museum, an oven from a concentration camp. Someone placed a single red rose in a "In Memoriam" vase. I ache for the 6 million souls lost in that Holocaust. I am nervous about the nationalism, racism, and hate that is capturing our nation and the world because of fear and the ever increasing need for power by the nationalists. Shameful. Hurtful. Deadly. 

Concentration Camp OvenConcentration Camp OvenConcentration camp oven shown in The Holocaust Museum in Richmond.


(Lee Halvorsen) Holocaust Museum Oven https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/ovens Sun, 12 Sep 2021 22:09:51 GMT
Shangri-La https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/shangri-la This portal to the Japanese Gardens at Maymont Estate had me thinking about a novel that I'd read quite a long time ago. Early in my educational journey I was given a reading assignment: "Lost Horizon" by James Hilton. I also watched the old Capra movie and experienced the mood a little bit more intensely in the movie, probably because at that age I had no concept of how Tibet might look...my imagination had some gaps that impaired my visualization of scenes in the book. (In truth, I still have many imagination gaps and Tibet is still one.) What sticks with me about the book's story is that Shangri-La was a physical representation of a state of mind, a place where we would all like to be or at least visit. I don't remember much about the actual place in the book, most of the snippets of memory I have are about going to or leaving Shangri-La, the old "grass is always greener" story.

Or maybe the theme of the book (and life) is the "silver bullet,"  if I can just get through that door then everything will change for the better. Graduation. Employment. Mortgage. A move. Marriage. Children. Sickness. Health. Retirement. Safety. But then I remember, life isn't really about getting some particular place, life is about the steps you take to get there and the vision to see where you are as you're going. Another Rabbit Hole and I still haven't seen Alice.

I remember twenty years ago today. The terror and tragedy. We came together as a nation, not for long, but for a while. We do that, we come together, and then we forget. Events and economy overtake our memories...some people actually call the Holocaust fake news, the social and economic and life impact of Vietnam is only remembered by people my age, we were so used to the war in Afghanistan that we barely noticed it in the news. And more. No Shangri-La. 

Gateway to Japanese gardens at MaymonPortal to Shangri-La?Entryway to the Japanese Gardens at Maymont Estate  

(Lee Halvorsen) Japanese Gardens Maymont https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/shangri-la Sat, 11 Sep 2021 12:09:15 GMT
Edgar Allan Poe https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/edgar-allan-poe Not too far from the canal in Richmond I found the Edgar Allan Poe Museum. I decided to take a tour. The museum is actually a walled compound with a cool garden and four old buildings where the artifacts are housed and described. I didn't have time to do a complete tour and will no doubt go back because the museum is close to other interesting places. I'm told they have two black cats, Pluto and Edgar, I met one of them...not sure which. Or maybe I met both.

One of the black cats on the grounds of the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in RichmondEdgar or PlutoOne of the black cats on the grounds of the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond

(Lee Halvorsen) museum poe richmond va https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/edgar-allan-poe Wed, 08 Sep 2021 12:41:45 GMT
RIchmond's Holocaust Museum https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/richmonds-holocaust-museum I was walking to the canal on 20th Street in Richmond today when I saw the side of the Holocaust Museum glowing from the reflections of the windows from the building across the street. The eerie reflections got me to thinking...I was happy to see there is a museum for remembering here. I didn't have time budgeted for a visit today but will definitely go back soon. The museum is on a side street, sort of out of the way and is right next to where the Libby Prison used to be. Racism and nationalism seemed to be tied together so I'm guessing it's appropriate that the museum is close to where the civil war prison used to stand.

Morning ReflectionsMorning ReflectionsMorning reflections on Richmond's Holocaust Museum

(Lee Halvorsen) holocaust museum richmond https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/richmonds-holocaust-museum Tue, 07 Sep 2021 18:40:34 GMT
Tranquility Base https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/tranquility-base  

Garden walk, a slide show.


(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/tranquility-base Mon, 06 Sep 2021 13:19:40 GMT
Tranquility & My Cross Country Adventure https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/tranquility Tranquility. A place? A state of Mind? A space Station? All of the above? I remember with relatively great clarity (or at least I think I do), July 20, 1969, when man landed on the moon.  Tranquility Base was the first manned station on a celestial body besides earth. My story starts the week before the landing.

With virtually no planning two friends from Platte, SD, and I decided to do a mad dash from South Dakota to Lake Louise in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. After all, we were on summer break and had 7 days with no scheduled activities. Like the crazy 20 year olds we were, we packed our huge, heavy canvas tent, cooler, and other supplies for a week into my 1965 Mustang. We spent the first night in the Black Hills of SD, close to what was the Dinosaur Park. From there we drove to Yellowstone National Park where we camped in a place now closed to tent camping because of bears. And we did see a grizzly bear in the campground when we were there. The rangers brought a "bear trap" to the campground and put it about 100 yards from our tent. The trap was a very large steel culvert with a piece of meat on one end. The bear comes in one end of the culvert, pulls on the meat, and the door slams shut. They caught him! But honestly, we did not get much sleep that night.

From Yellowstone we drove to Glacier Park. It wasn't a pleasant drive, my Mustang did not like the exceedingly steep roads in the summer heat and my water temperature got too high. We ended up driving with the radiator cap off. I'm sure that's not a good thing. We apparently blew the thermostat, who knew? the downhill side was just as bad because I worried about my brakes overheating. I don't remember where we camped that night, probably too stressed out.

My father was born in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, and grew up in nearby Medicine Hat. We next stopped in those two places and looked at what had been his childhood homes. Not surprising, none of us 20-year-olds were overly impressed.

We next drove to Lake Louise in Banff. Except there was no place to camp and we couldn't get to the fancy hotel (not that we could afford to stay there). I don't remember why, perhaps because of the "No Camping Ahead" signs. We did park somewhere and hiked up a mountain so that we could see the lake as well as the lodge we'd heard so much about. Unbelievable blue water. But we needed a place to camp and ended up on Mt Eisenhower. The Canadians changed the name in 1979 back to Castle Mountain because why would you name a Canadian Mountain after an American president. I mean, really. Quick story about that mountain, we camped high, at the treeline and not "finished," that is no facilities. The next morning for some crazy reason, I decided I needed to wash my hair. Without thinking I stuck my head in the small creek next to our campsite. Wow. The water was so cold that I felt like my head was hit by a hammer.

On July 20, 1969, the last night of our journey, we were sleeping next to a cornfield someplace in Saskatchewan, Canada. The night sky was clear, the moon was out but i think it was a quarter moon. We were listening to my tiny little radio about Tranquility Base and man walking on the moon. Pretty spectacular, we thought. But so was our trip, we noted.

Circling back to Tranquility. The Japanese Gardens at Maymont are a place where tranquility reigns. The image is looking over the Moon Bridge to the waterfall.

Postscript. Last year, I reached out to my travelling companions. They still live in Platte, SD, and are doing well. 

The Moon BridgeThe Moon BridgeThe Moon Bridge in Maymont Estate in the Japanese Gardens   

(Lee Halvorsen) bridge Maymont Waterfall https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/9/tranquility Sun, 05 Sep 2021 13:40:23 GMT
Waving Goodbye - Wabi-Sabi https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/8/waving-goodbye---wabi-sabi Last week I was visiting Ginter Gardens during a rainstorm. The wind was blowing hard and the raindrops were drumming a light tattoo on me and the flowers. This particular blossom seemed to be posing as "bashful" or perhaps waving goodbye since shades of brown hinted that better days had passed. I am reminded that diminishing life and fading beauty are actually stepping stones to the next place, the next bloom, the next year. Wabi-Sabi...life's changes are required.

Wave GoodbyeWave GoodbyeBlossoms final hours after hard rain storm.

(Lee Halvorsen) gardens ginter richmond https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/8/waving-goodbye---wabi-sabi Tue, 31 Aug 2021 20:22:01 GMT
Ghosts https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/8/ghosts Someone suggested that I walk slower through gardens, buildings, and cityscapes, for then I'd then be able to feel and hear the ghosts of days gone by, a little bit of "If these walls could talk." I have taken the suggestion and slowed my pace considerably although some of my friends might say that my age and titanium joints have done the slowing. "Fah!" I say. As I walk about I try to imagine what the makers were thinking as they built in then completed the place. Were they proud of what they'd done? The people who lived in or cared for the place...was it just a duty or was there perhaps an emotional commitment? Why is the place abandoned or why is the condition superb after all the use and years? I don't think I hear their voices but I do think I give voice to what they left behind.

Yesterday I went to Maymont in Richmond. I've only seen a small bit of the place and look forward to going back. My walkabout included only the Italian and Japanese Gardens. I tried to imagine the family that had lived there a hundred years ago. And then I tried to imagine the people that designed and built the gardens in the 1890s. What do you suppose they were trying to provide? Sanctuary? Post-war peace? Transformation to another land? People build things and those things remain as their legacy, if they'd written down how they FELT about doing what they were doing, we'd better understand why they did what they did. On the other hand, then their ghosts wouldn't talk with me on my walkabouts.

GhostsGhostsJapanese Gardens at Maymont Estate

(Lee Halvorsen) Maymont https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/8/ghosts Wed, 25 Aug 2021 16:31:06 GMT
Rome and Color https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/8/rome-and-color A couple of weeks ago I wandered about the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and found this room of Roman artifacts. When I thought about Roman art I usually thought in black and white because the statues we see from that era are all white stone. This exhibit pointed out that most of the statues were actually painted in the vivid colors of the time but that, over time, those colors had worn away leaving only the pure white stone. The Romans were very colorful people, the stone mosaic floors that survived time, earthquakes, and floods give us an idea how bright and colorful the Age of the Romans really was. 

Roman Exhibit in the VMFARoman Exhibit at VMFARoman artifacts in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts including mosaic floors

(Lee Halvorsen) exhibit roman vmfa https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/8/rome-and-color Mon, 23 Aug 2021 14:22:18 GMT
My Family - Prison Warden https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/8/my-family---prison-warden Yesterday I was in downtown Richmond and wanted to walk to the river in a non-touristy place. I found this trail not too far from the Main Street Train Station, If you look through the door on the right you can see the river or canal and the train track. The road you see was sadly slammed with rush hour traffic and I could not safely cross the road. I found this sign on the wall. I think the wall is part of the flood prevention project.

Libby prison was evidently a horror house of sick and wounded Union soldiers. There was a sign describing the conditions of the place and they were awful. Lest we think the Union was nice to their prisoners, I was reminded of Elmira Prison in New York, another horror house where confederate prisoners were held. An ancestor of mine, on the Jones Family side, was the last commander of Elmira prison.  Libby Prison MemorialLibby Prison MemorialFlood wall in downtown Richmond erected as a memorial to a confederate prison

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/8/my-family---prison-warden Fri, 20 Aug 2021 13:41:40 GMT
Rain Walking https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/8/rain-walking I went to Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens today for a quick walk about. "Quick" because the clouds were threatening when I got there and they stayed true to their intent and the rain started after only thirty minutes or so. Although I enjoy flowers, I'm usually not too, too interested in bringing them home on my sensor. But today I felt differently and brought several home. I do not know what they are, just that they were doing their best to look good for me...and I was thankful.

Curling ProfileCurling ProfilePondside in the Japanese Garden at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens Japanese GardenJapanese GardensIn Lewis Ginter Botanical Center

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/8/rain-walking Wed, 18 Aug 2021 23:30:03 GMT
Wedding Bouquet https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/8/wedding-bouquet Our daughter's wedding was fun with lots of smiles, laughters, and hugs. They are off on their honeymoon and we are slowly decompressing from the weeks before and the big day itself. One of the "leftovers" is the bride's bouquet which is sitting in my studio so I looked closely and was fascinated by the subtle colors and textures. The image below is about a 2 square inch square of the bouquet. The honeymoon is in the Caribbean. I am hopeful about hurricanes and earthquakes and COVID.

Wedding BouquetWedding BouquetWedding Bouquet from Maggie, NC

(Lee Halvorsen) closeup flowers wedding bouquet https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/8/wedding-bouquet Mon, 16 Aug 2021 20:42:38 GMT
Maggie Valley North Carolina https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/8/maggie-valley-north-carolina Last weekend our daughter was married in Maggie Valley, NC, a mountain destination an hour outside of Asheville. The weekend was wonderful, the weather was cooperative, and the outside wedding was mostly rain free. We reunited with friends and family and met new folks...a great time. I did not have time to do any "proper" proper walkabouts (if there is such a thing) but did find a few images that made me think.

Apparently the land was originally occupied by the Cherokee until they were driven out in the early 19th century when white settlers arrived. On a side road I discovered an inn that had this old buckboard wagon sitting at the entrance to the drive. I wondered how old the wagon was and what "extras" the wagon might have had...brakes (the wood block in front of the right rear wheel), suspension (spring system), a bracket for a wagon cover (between the rear wheel and the body). And I wondered, were we as proud of our wagons 150 years ago as we are of our cars today? Hmmmm, good question.

The second image is from the stream that split the wedding venue in half. Brook, brown, and rainbow trout are in there and I saw folks fishing from the shore as well as with waders. Fly gear and spinners. But I didn't see anything on the hook. 

WagonBuckboard WagonWagon in Maggie Valley, NC

Trout StreamTrout StreamStream in Maggie Valley, NC

(Lee Halvorsen) buckboard wagon https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/8/maggie-valley-north-carolina Sun, 15 Aug 2021 11:18:38 GMT
Mountain Meadow https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/8/mountain-meadow This is the entire meadow with the little orange house. In truth, I don't know if the house is little, I used an 18mm lens and so the distances can be deceiving. I do love the layers of the mountains and the clouds/fog/humidity embedded in the valleys. The image was from Nov 8, 2009 at 5:11 pm (EDT). I was parked on a narrow road with no shoulder next to the farm. Not a perfect place for photographers but I was drawn to the house and the setting sun. I would have liked to stay longer but apparently there was a rush hour of sorts...all dodging me and my car.


The second photo is one of the pano images from the far left, further than the final image.

Mountain MeadowMountain MeadowWide scenic view of a mountain meadow in southern Pennsylvania/   MeadowLooking to the LightMountain Meadow looking toward the setting sun

(Lee Halvorsen) at meadow mountain sunset https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/8/mountain-meadow Fri, 13 Aug 2021 16:41:27 GMT
The Heat https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/8/the-heat The heat is truly oppressive. I know that it's really me that's the problem in the equation, lots of people live in places with higher temperatures and humidity. But, that's not me...I am a temperate soul. I was going through images I'd labeled as "seasonal" and came across this set from the mountains of West Virginia or Pennsylvania, not sure which. I was wandering around by myself on the way back to DC from Ohio. I had fun although many of the country roads were very narrow with no shoulders so pulling off to look around was often difficult. Seems like not too long ago but looking at the capture date.....November 8, 2009. Wow. How time seems to zoom by.

Solitude at SunsetSolitude at SunsetA lone house on a mountain prairie in West Virginia or Pennsylvania.

(Lee Halvorsen) autumn mountain prairie https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/8/the-heat Thu, 12 Aug 2021 21:30:59 GMT
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/8/virginia-museum-of-fine-arts I went to the VMFA last week to see the Natural Bridge exhibit before it closed on August 1. Thomas Jefferson was a big fan of the Natural Bridge and encouraged artists from Europe to come to America to paint the bridge and Niagara Falls, two of his favorite places. I enjoyed the paintings and the history of the natural formation. Despite the heat, which wasn't as bad as in previous days, I walked around the grounds for a bit. I was impressed by the way they'd use the sweeping landscape and made small areas of retreat available throughout the campus. The images below are about those spaces.

I also did a walkabout in the Virginia Museum of History & Culture. Fascinating place with lots of stuff. I will have to go back because I only had a short time to walkabout. They are also constructing new parts of the museum and I look forward to seeing the changes.

Between those two places is a white blockhouse building surrounded by orange tape, orange cones, and "No Trespassing" signs. Turns out the building is the headquarters for an organization that venerates "The Lost Cause," the KKK, and believes that most enslaved people were happy. Sad. Really sad. Here comes the hate mail.

VMFA PondVMFA PondWater feature around main VMFA building WaterfallWaterfallWater feature next to the stairs on the VMFA campus

(Lee Halvorsen) virginia museum of fine arts https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/8/virginia-museum-of-fine-arts Mon, 02 Aug 2021 11:21:00 GMT
Lewis Ginter Gardens https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/7/lewis-ginter-gardens I went out today for what Julia Cameron would call an "artistic date," that is, a date with myself with something artistically themed. I chose to walkabout in Lewis Ginter Gardens. It's really a beautiful place with wonderful gardens and some great designs. The conservatory is fascinating not only for the plants that it houses but for the unique structure which has the commanding position on the property. I cut my walkabout short because of the extreme heat but will go back again soon. There is a lot to see.

Ginter GardensGinter GardensGreenhouse at the Lewis Ginter Gardens taken from just above the Rose Garden Conservatory at Ginter GardensConservatory at Ginter GardensSteps leading from the gardens to the Conservatory Plaza


(Lee Halvorsen) conservatory Lewis Ginter https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/7/lewis-ginter-gardens Tue, 27 Jul 2021 21:09:50 GMT
San Clemente Pier https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/7/san-clemente-pier Today is my cousin Rene's birthday, she lives in Southern California, a place I enjoy visiting and where I'd like to visit again. After the pandemic. And probably not by plane.

As much as I love Southern Cal that love is not for the surfing or sailing or swimming. No...I am not a fan of walking in the sand and certainly not of chumming for ocean sea creatures with my body. But I am a huge fan of the sight, sound, and smell of the ocean and love to sit or walk along the high bluffs above the beaches. When the ocean crashes onto the beach my senses are filled with the power and immensity of that joining. This image of the San Clemente Pier was taken from Casa Romantica Cultural Center & Gardens sitting on a cliff high above the beach. Perfect.

I hope Rene has a great day. 

San Clemente PierSan Clemente PierSan Clemente Pier and CIty Beach taken from Casa Romantica

(Lee Halvorsen) Beach pier San Clemente https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/7/san-clemente-pier Mon, 26 Jul 2021 12:17:33 GMT
Creativity https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/7/creativity I've been having a conversation with myself about creativity...specifically, MY creativity. Not for one second do I believe such conversations are unique to me, I understand that this issue is common. Like other creatives, I spend quite a bit of time searching for my muse, listening to podcasts, reading books, etc., so I know that my creative state of mind is pretty much the norm. Sometimes I'd like to blame creative stasis on my ADHD, my age, my curmudgeonous, or some other part of me, but that's just a cop out. This is just the "norm," a part of the creative process.

I've told myself that creativity is a fluid process, a tidal river that isn't routine or regular. I've answered myself by describing some endpoints or conclusions about my creativity...no, endpoints is the wrong word. I've discovered describable boundaries in my creativity. I'll circle back to them in a paragraph or two.

Currently, my craft is most influenced by David duChemin, George Nobechi, Michael Kenna, and Cole Thompson. Their work and their creative energies are the desert rain drops on my suppressed story. Listening to their talks and studying their works (sorry, Cole) reconnect my creative spirit with my reluctant doing self.

I make things selfishly, to lift up my own joy and happiness. The story or the poem or the image or the print is not what rings my bell but rather the bell ringing happens during the process of the making. Consequently, I'm anxious about trapping myself in a creative "La Brea Tar Pit" or echo chamber where I might be captured into doing the same things over and over and over again. By emphasizing the process instead of the end I may not change my boundaries, but I have made them softer, more accessible, and less restrictive.   

After all of that, "Where am I now?" Well, for today, anyway? First, selling stuff has never been important but has been a bit of a nagging presence with the thought that to be successful I should sell stuff. I'm over that. I no longer need to maintain a FB store or stress about hate mail I receive or insensitive nationalistic, racist comments sent to me in response to an image or comment I post. I will keep my personal FB page and post images and stories. I will continue to enter gallery juried exhibitions. I appreciate when others enjoy my work and exhibitions provide another channel for that in addition to this seldom viewed website. But, I am a terrible procrastinator. Hmmmm, that's not right...I'm a GREAT procrastinator! I love to put things off. Gallery exhibition deadlines are very helpful to keep me on track and paying attention.

So what's changed? Not much really. Suspending my business FB account on Aug 1 is the only real thing. I have a slightly better handle on the creative me. And I am pretty sure I will continue having creative conversations with myself. I'm not a great listener, but I'm learning.

Everyone Knows Your NameEveryone Knows Your NameWinter Day At The Majestic in Old Town Alexandria

(Lee Halvorsen) Alexandria bar Everyone knows name your https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/7/creativity Sun, 25 Jul 2021 15:46:19 GMT
US Capitol https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/7/us-capitol The fences around the Capitol building were recently taken down and I thought a visit might be appropriate since I had some extra time between medical appointments. All did seem normal, or at least what I remembered as normal. Of course, the drama inside the building hasn't really changed...the symbol of our democracy is just a place where dysfunction is the business of the people. 

The ninety mile drive home took me four hours. Imagine.

US Capitol BuildingUS Capitol BuildingThe building after the fences were taken down.

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/7/us-capitol Thu, 22 Jul 2021 14:03:51 GMT
Bell Tower Stairway https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/7/chapel-stairways Abandoned buildings are rich with mystery and unspoken stories of the people that had lived their lives in the walls. When the buildings are bustling houses or busy school houses or magnificent churches we often take them for granted and then...poof...they crumble and leave only made up memories in people like me who wander through their bones.

DoorsDoorsStairway to bell tower St Emma Military Academy

(Lee Halvorsen) abandoned building emma st https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/7/chapel-stairways Fri, 16 Jul 2021 21:31:11 GMT
It's All About The Light https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/7/its-all-about-the-light When I made my first image with a Single Lens Reflex camera in 1969, one of my mentors, Keith Kettering said, "It's all about the light." Sounds obvious but the message was really an understatement of what I needed to pay attention to throughout the process of finding to printing. Even today I admit that I take the light for granted, especially if I'm outside in the middle of the day in the bright, bright sun. If I'm thinking properly, I look for shadows, tones, gradients, etc., that might give a hint of depth and mystery. This is another image from the Belmeade Estate...the abandoned chapel at St Francis de Sales, a school for girls. I sometimes wonder what happened to Keith, does he still live in South Dakota, does he still take pictures, does he still look for the light?

Chapel in St Francis de Sales SchoolChapel in St Francis de Sales SchoolThe sun shining through a window in the opposite wall onto the altar rail

(Lee Halvorsen) abandoned african-american chapel for girls school https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/7/its-all-about-the-light Thu, 15 Jul 2021 12:16:20 GMT
Trench Art https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/7/trench-art This was made from combat debris of World War I...The Great War...The War to End All Wars...but realistically, just World War I. It sat in my grandparents basement in a backroom for decades. I ended up with it somehow. An attempt to bring some sort of "normalcy" to a war souvenir. The inscription is meaningless to me and to Google. It says:

O.F. 18 Pr

That's engraved on the shell casing which is about 6" high, perhaps a 40mm shell. It's mounted on a small stand and on the brass plate that's on the small stand it says:

Colonial Fixtures, LTD
Registered 1915

The image below is a detail of the 2" clock that is mounted on the round. If anyone has a clue about any of the engravings, I'd really appreciate it if you'd let me know! Thanks!!!

Trench ArtTrench ArtA two inch clock mounted on an artillery shell from World War I. This type of thing was called Trench Art.

(Lee Halvorsen) antique art clock trench https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/7/trench-art Tue, 13 Jul 2021 21:40:01 GMT
Black Lives Matter https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/7/black-lives-matter Last week I went to Monument Ave in the heat of the day. I wasn't sure what to expect, I'd last visited in the summer of 2018 as part of a group. Back in 2018 a  local history expert was kind enough to lead us on walk to the monuments. I asked him about the statues being erected as part of the Jim Crow movement. He called me a "snowflake" and ended the conversation. Today's statue is covered with the marks of the community with the message that black lives do matter. I hope the statue comes down soon and that hate and white supremacy end. I do appreciate the social and political art.

Black Lives MatterBlack Lives MatterLee Statue in Richmond, VA, covered with BLM graffiti.

(Lee Halvorsen) BLM Richmond Robert E Lee statue https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/7/black-lives-matter Mon, 12 Jul 2021 14:12:24 GMT
Richmond Skyline from Hollywood Cemetery https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/7/richmond-skyline-from-hollywood-cemetery The heat yesterday was not pleasant and I admit thinking of the combatants fighting in the July heat of the 1860s, conditions were probably miserable. I turned away from the cemetery and looked out over the James and the railway to the skyline of Richmond. THe cemetery is peaceful which belies the terror of its origins. This is a panorama of several images with the camera oriented vertically!

Richmond Skyline and James RiverRichmond Skyline and James RiverTaken from the edge of Hollywood Cemetery looking over the river at RVA

(Lee Halvorsen) Hollywood Cemetery RIchmond https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/7/richmond-skyline-from-hollywood-cemetery Fri, 02 Jul 2021 13:31:36 GMT
Mellon Fountain in Very Hot D.C. https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/7/mellon-fountain-in-very-hot-d-c I took a train to DC on Monday. I hadn't visited the National Gallery of Art in a VERY, long time. We got there a bit early and so walked about the building looking mostly for shade. There was a cool oasis with a fountain on the southside of the building right next to the long staircase leading to what used to be a main entrance. We spent 10-15 minutes enjoying the relatively cool air in the shade with the mist from the fountain. We then walked to the north side of the building and across the street to the Mellon Fountain which is actually still a part of the National Gallery. The image below is from that fountain looking towards the gallery. The temperature was in the mid nineties with the humidity very close to that same number. Finally our ticket time arrived and we entered the cool, quiet building.

Mellon FountainMellon FountainNational Gallery of Art Mellon Fountain

(Lee Halvorsen) dc fountain mellon national gallery of art washington https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/7/mellon-fountain-in-very-hot-d-c Thu, 01 Jul 2021 12:34:46 GMT
Waiting for the next gust https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/6/waiting-for-the-next-gust The area across the street from us was a forest just a few weeks ago, but now the excavators have changed the landscape and the flora and fauna. A period of adjustment is underway, the small creek that is the namesake of our development is being protected by adding retaining walls and abutments and even large steel tunnels to preserve its flow. Within a couple of years the new look will be the way our side of the street looks with houses and streets. I walked the edge of the section...the actual excavation uncovered the red clay of this part of Goochland County and the clay loves to stick to my shoes. This small flower caught my attention as it waited for the next strong breeze to make it all worthwhile.

FlowerDying BlossomDead flower waiting for a breeze

(Lee Halvorsen) flower goochland https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/6/waiting-for-the-next-gust Wed, 23 Jun 2021 11:01:36 GMT
Wabi-Sabi https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/6/wabi-sabi I did a quick walkabout in Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden a couple of days ago. I'm looking for a place that's peaceful, colorful, and grounding...a thinking place, a feeling place. I'd had that at Burke Lake in NOVA and I'm sure there's a place like that in RVA. I only saw a tiny bit of the entire Garden; I spent most of my time in the Asian Valley and Flagler Garden sections. Beautiful! And, calm. Many of the images I found were complex, a great deal of landscape in a tiny little sensor. Most of the "complexity" however, was impermanent, flowers or shrubs or fallen flower petals that would slowly morph into nature's nothingness. And that reminded me of Wabi-Sabi, a concept I had tried to discover and describe some years ago but was left wanting on both fronts. I don't know if you can call the gardens "imperfect" because they certainly are not. Or maybe...is this nature or man? And if man, it cannot be perfect. Wabi-Sabi.


At Lewis Ginter Botanical GardenAsian GardenAt Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Looking into FlaglerAt Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden looking into the Flagler section Lewis Ginter ConservatoryLewis Ginter ConservatoryThe conservatory taken from Luck Garden The Lotus BridgeThe Lotus BridgeThe Lotus Bridge overlooking part of Sydnor Lake in Lewis Ginter Garden

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/6/wabi-sabi Wed, 16 Jun 2021 17:15:10 GMT
Chatham Manor https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/6/chatham-manor A friend and I met in Fredericksburg for a walkabout in the heat. We spent most of our time at Chatham Manor, in the garden, not the house. The grounds are beautiful and the site is peaceful. The manor overlooks the Rappahannock River and the center of downtown Fredericksburg. The Union soldiers occupied the house during the Civil War and turned it into a hospital while the grounds were used as cannon emplacements. The death toll on both sides of the river was horrendous. Apparently the manor took a real beating, too and wasn't fully restored for decades. Enslaved people built the manor, planted and harvested the crops, and served the white owners until the Union soldiers arrived. This image of the grounds with what I think is a post Civil War statue of Pan.

Statue of PanStatue of PanChatham Manor in Fredericksburg with Pan in the Garden  

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/6/chatham-manor Tue, 15 Jun 2021 01:06:48 GMT
Byron Park https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/6/byron-park We took Sunshine for a walk in Byron Park today. We saw lots of people walking dogs so the socialization experiment was successful. Sunny didn't get too excited, didn't bark, and didn't do her sled dog impression to try to reach other people and dogs. I even had a chance to find some images, albeit they were flowers. A good time. The park is trying to emphasize native plants and not foreign invaders.

Flowering treeFlowering treeNo idea what this is but the blossoms are high up in the tree. Red FlowersByron Park ground flowerRed flowers

(Lee Halvorsen) byron park flowers https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/6/byron-park Sun, 13 Jun 2021 21:01:02 GMT
Way Back https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/6/way-back Eleven and a half years ago I went to Manhattan, my first and my only visit. I've always wanted to return but something has always gotten in the way. I've been away from day-to-day work for quite a while now and you'd think I'd have made the trek. Really, it's only a short train ride away and you know how I am about trains. But something always gets in the way. This image found me in Battery Park looking out to the Statue of Liberty and then some old ferry drove by and photobombed me!! I processed the photo as if it has remained in my back pocket for these long years. I should go back. Yep. One of these first days. 

ManhattanBattery Park and the Statue of LibertyLooking out over the river towards the Statue of Liberty


(Lee Halvorsen) manhattan ny https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/6/way-back Sat, 12 Jun 2021 19:14:25 GMT
Maymont Pergola https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/6/maymont-pergola The Italian Garden of Maymont sits just below the plain of the Potomac shoreline, perhaps called the geological terrace. The gardens were designed by locals who modeled the grounds in the 15th and 16th century Italian classical style. At the back of the gardens, overlooking the Potomac, the waterfalls, the stone works, and the gardens is this Pergola. I estimate that the structure is about 250 feet long, I tried to envision Richmond's gentry sipping tea or cocktails looking out over the river at the setting sun. The Dooleys, the owning family, did not spend summers here so the gardens and view would have been more accessible in moderate temperatures. Still...250 long! But a great view. This image is from the dome end of the pergola which has a unique echo at the center point.

Pergola at MaymontPergola at Maymont EstatePergola at Maymont looking from the dome towards the Mansion

(Lee Halvorsen) Italian Garden Maymon https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/6/maymont-pergola Thu, 10 Jun 2021 10:54:37 GMT
The "Small Stuff" in the Japanese Garden at Maymont in Richmond https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/6/the-small-stuff-in-the-japanese-garden-at-maymont-in-richmond Sensory overload is definitely possible in the Japanese Garden at Maymont. Initially I found myself seeing only the "big stuff," the rolling hills, the colorful trees, the curving lines of the water. But, then I slowed my walk (and not just because of the heat) to look closer or rather allow myself to see more clearly. And then I saw the gently blowing grass, the rocks poking out of the stream leading my eye to the bridge, the rich texture of the bridge's rocks outlining the portal to the lake, the contrasts of hard (rocks) and soft (swaying grass). I often forget to slow down and allow myself to see. I will go back, I know there's more.

BridgeGentle BridgeJapanese Garden at Maymont in Richmond, VA BridgeBridgeWalking bridge in the Japanese Garden at Maymont

(Lee Halvorsen) japanese garden https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/6/the-small-stuff-in-the-japanese-garden-at-maymont-in-richmond Wed, 09 Jun 2021 11:15:19 GMT
Maymont https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/6/maymont Yesterday I took a break from unpacking and did a quick walkabout in a very small part of Maymont Estate in Richmond. Maymont is a huge place, a former residence of the Dooley family currently open to the public, at least the gardens and some of the attractions in the estate...I don't think the mansion itself is open. I walked through the Italian Garden and then down to the Japanese Garden. To get to the Japanese Garden you walk down many steps and through a surrounding band of trees and then break out into a wonderful view of the garden, like discovering Shangri-La. The temperature was almost 100 so I didn't walk through the garden but stayed on the edge saving the garden walk for my next trip. The first image is that first view of the Japanese Gardens, the second is the waterfall staircase between the Japanese and Italian Gardens, the last image is the portico of the Italian Garden.

Japanese GardensJapanese Gardens Photographic Painting of Japanese Garden at Maymont Estate in Richmond, VA Waterfall StaircaseWaterfall StaircaseWaterfall staircase from Japanese to Italian Garden Maymont Italian GardenMaymont Italian GardenPortico at Maymont Estate

(Lee Halvorsen) gardens maymont estate https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/6/maymont Tue, 08 Jun 2021 10:46:17 GMT
Called to the Office https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/6/called-to-the-office This image was found in a small building just outside of the main building of St Francis de Sales School for Girls. I'm not sure what it was, perhaps an art building, science lab...I know I was told or given a map with the description but...I do not remember as well as I used to. (Dangling participle alert.) This office was in the back of the classroom and my mind filled with images of girls being "called to the office" for infraction notices or meting out discipline or something. But that's really not fair to the St Francis school since my experiences have all of those things, like called to the office, detention, and more. So really, I'd imagine this office was used to encourage the girls on their academic achievements. I hope.

Office at St Francis de Sales School for Girls Office at St Francis de Sales School for Girls Office in a small outbuilding of the school, shared with a classroom in the front section of the building.

(Lee Halvorsen) de francis sales school st https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/6/called-to-the-office Sat, 05 Jun 2021 13:55:35 GMT
You Gotta Wonder https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/5/you-gotta-wonder I try to find water that's close by where I live, there's something about water that helps me think about things...all sorts of things. For instance, remembering the fallen this Memorial Day...where would we be if they'd lived. Of course I understand that they died for our way of life in the USA but what if one of them hadn't, or two of them, or, well you get my drift. Would one of them had developed a cure for cancer? Space transport? Next generation telecommunication? I don't know but I think there must be something that we're missing because they aren't here. But I am thankful for our country and grateful for their sacrifice for that country.

Potomac RiverPotomac RiverSubsiding storm clouds over the Potomace as the sun begins to set

(Lee Halvorsen) potomac https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/5/you-gotta-wonder Mon, 31 May 2021 14:25:47 GMT
Rainy Day https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/5/rainy-day Sometimes the smallest things capture my attention. On this rainy day I was reminded of a walkabout I did in Green Spring Gardens last August in the middle of the pandemic. I was pretty much alone in the park, the rain had stopped some time ago but leftover pools and puddles were everywhere, including in this leaf. I have no idea what types of plants they were, just that they were attractively posed and waiting for me.

Rainy DayRainy DayLeaf holding blossom petal and rain water in Green Spring Gardens

(Lee Halvorsen) flower gardens green petal rain spring https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/5/rainy-day Sat, 29 May 2021 14:11:57 GMT
Memorial Day https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/5/memorial-day Memorial Day is the main day that we honor those that died in the military in service to this country although I think we should remember everyday. The most significant place for me to remember is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, The Wall. I'd visit at least once a year when I lived in metro DC, this image is from my last visit just a few months ago, in the midst of COVID. No one was there.

The WallVietnam Veterans MemorialThe Wall during COVID lockdown. No one was there and this unusual angle was available

(Lee Halvorsen) memorial the veterans vietnam wall https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/5/memorial-day Fri, 28 May 2021 21:33:38 GMT
Alexandria Waterfront https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/5/alexandria-waterfront During my visit to NOVA I did a quick walkabout on the waterfront of Old Town Alexandria. On the land-side, the changes are really dramatic; new and architecturally cool buildings are rising up rapidly and the skyscape is quite different. I'm betting that the folks who had riverviews that now have building views are NOT completely happy. Last to change has been the waterside. One old dock, where I took pictures of the USCG Cutter Eagle a couple of years ago, is now the home of what looks like a high end bar and restaurant but most of the water structures are failing. Methinks Old Town is morphing into the likes of Georgetown, not that the change is bad, changing isn't bad, just different than what I'd had for the thirty-five years I'd lived in the region. The old structures days are probably numbered.

DockWreckage of DockOld dock in Old Town Alexandria, closed and crumbling DocksOld Town DocksCollapsing docks in Old Town Alexandria. Potomac RiverPotomac River from Old TownLooking across Potomac from Old Town Alexandria  

(Lee Halvorsen) Alexandria Docks Old Potomac Town https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/5/alexandria-waterfront Thu, 27 May 2021 11:26:42 GMT
Chapel in St Frances de Sales School https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/5/chapel-in-st-frances-de-sales-school The long abandoned chapel retains the grandeur of its past. The soaring ceilings and rich stained glass windows amid crumbling walls and creaking floors still exude the richness and splendor of the building. The chapel was attached to the main building of the school which may have been a combination of class and dormitory rooms. Part of the school building has collapsed and is no longer accessible but the chapel door is open and you can get an idea of what the place must have looked like fifty plus years ago. in the first part of the twentieth century thousands of girls went to this school and worshiped in this magnificent room. The school was run by the Sisters of the Benevolent Sacrament which was founded more than a century ago by Saint Katherine Drexel. The school was closed in the seventies and is slowly deteriorating; a tower on the structure collapsed and fully exposed one part of the building to the elements. The chapel is lit only by the sun through the stained glass.

Chapel at St Frances de SalesBack of chapelBack of the chapel at St Frances de Sales school looking up at loft and windows ChapelFront of ChapelLooking from back to front of the chapel at St Frances de Sales school. This is the left side of the chapel with part of the altar showing on the right side of the image Altar RailAltar railAt the altar rail in the chapel at St Frances de Sales school for girls Stairway in chapel to loftBack of ChapelAt the back of the chapel is a stairway to the loft lit by stained glass windows

(Lee Halvorsen) chapel County Powhatan school https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/5/chapel-in-st-frances-de-sales-school Wed, 26 May 2021 11:17:18 GMT
Green Spring Gardens Walkabout https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/5/green-spring-gardens-walkabout Yesterday I took a train trip to Northern Virginia to do a walkabout with a friend in my favorite garden spot. I even had the chance to see a large number of cicadas which we don't have in my new RVA neighborhood. I didn't find many images that jumped onto my sensor but I had fun meeting with my friends, one of whom I hadn't seen in 15 months...the beginning of the pandemic. Green Spring Gardens is hidden just a couple of hundred yards from Little River Turnpike and is an island of quiet and beauty. The first image I noticed because of the bright, bright yellow highlighted by the dewdrops. The next two grabbed my attention with their unique patterns and bold angles.

Green Spring Gardens FlowerGreen Spring Gardens FlowerGreen Spring Gardens Flower, perhaps a daffodil...I'm not sure HiddenHIdden!!This structure was fascinating, the bud (or whatever it's called) was hidden (perhaps protected) by all of the leaves surrounding the center. SymmetrySymmetryThis bud was almost 2 feet above the circular leaf pattern at its base.

(Lee Halvorsen) flowers gardens green spring https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/5/green-spring-gardens-walkabout Tue, 25 May 2021 14:19:19 GMT
ST EMMA MILITARY ACADEMY & ST FRANCIS DE SALES SCHOOL https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/5/st-emma-military-academy-st-francis-de-sales-school I recently had the opportunity to visit these schools in Powhatan County, VA, not too far from where we now live. The cliché, "if these walls could only talk" is so true about these two places. They've been abandoned for decades and many of the really cool buildings have been destroyed. The schools were founded for African Americans, the boys school using a military protocol. Both schools were run by the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament who sold the property just five years ago. The current owner is allowing tours to help preserve and protect the property. The photo tour was led by John Plashal and Fred Schneider. I've put many of the images I found in my gallery and I will talk about some of them here.

The mansion house on the Military Academy side was the former plantation house of a confederate general, and the 2200+ acres were known as Belmead Plantation or Belmead-on-the-James. The land is rolling forest and field and river...truly beautiful, Virginia (inland VA) at its best. The first image is the front entrance to the mansion. The second image is looking from the mansion down the hill towards the entry gates which are quite a ways away.  I will go back, thanks to John and Fred for putting this together!

Looking across the James River Valley from the MansionTree Line at Saint EmmaLooking across the James River Valley from the Mansion
Front entrance at the academy. Former southern plantationSt Emma Military AcademyFront entrance at the academy. Former southern plantation

(Lee Halvorsen) & academy de emma francis military sales school st https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/5/st-emma-military-academy-st-francis-de-sales-school Sun, 23 May 2021 21:21:31 GMT
Terry Understock https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/5/terry-understock Terry UnderstockTerry UnderstockCoolest of the Cool.

My brother-in-law Terry unexpectedly passed away this last weekend. He was a fighter with a gentle inner strength way above the norm. I am saddened beyond description and know his immediate family is too. I cannot be with them when they celebrate his life tomorrow but wanted to tell my friends of his passing.

I most remember his caring and concern for others. For Terry, helping people personally and professionally was second nature. He was a very private person shunning notice of his own personal and professional accomplishments even while he proudly lauded the achievements of his friends, family, and colleagues. He gave so much of himself to all of them. His life certainly was not one of calm waters and easy navigation. Rather, hard work, physical challenges, injuries, changes in national and local economics, business crises, and more all made his life’s journey seem tempestuous and challenging to the observer, but to Terry, all in a day’s life…the way things should be done.

If I were sailing at sea in a terrible storm, I’d imagine a sweet spot in the position of the boat, the tension of the sails, and the angle of the rudder…the manner and method of maintaining course and minimizing the tempest of the storm. Terry was that sweet spot in life’s tempestuous journey.


(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/5/terry-understock Wed, 19 May 2021 15:31:35 GMT
And Poof...we were somewhere else https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/4/and-poof-we-were-somewhere-else Yep. We've moved. Not a concept anymore but the real thing. Thirty-plus years ago I'd been moving every couple-three years but I've been in one place now for several decades and moving is not like riding a bike!! In fact, if the earth was flat (and maybe it is), I have this feeling that I've just stepped off the edge and am falling like Dorothy in her trip from Kansas to Oz. Or maybe it's the lack of sleep. Or maybe it's the dozens and dozens of boxes. We don't know anyone here but have now met most of our neighbors...from a social distance, of course. We are looking forward to this chapter of our lives and plenty of new things to photograph and enjoy.

"And where did you move?" you might ask. That's a little difficult to describe...it's an area consisting of two small towns, Manakin and Sabot, hence we live in "Manakin Sabot." Manakin is from the native Monacan and Sabot is a French word for shoe or armament because French Huguenots settled here 300 years ago in a village they called Sabot. Sounds like we are out in the country but we're really on the edge or transition area between city and country. We're only 15 miles northwest of Richmond and 3 miles west of Short Pump. Our area has what I'd call a creek running through it, it's called a "branch" and to preserve the branch they will put in huge pipes while developing the land. These are some of the pipes, about 10 feet in diameter.

Creek to BeCreek to BePIpes that will save the flow of Reader's Branch in Goochland

(Lee Halvorsen) pipes https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/4/and-poof-we-were-somewhere-else Tue, 20 Apr 2021 11:14:53 GMT
The Emotion of Light https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/3/the-emotion-of-light Shooting mid-day doesn't often offer special light but such light is possible, and yesterday, for just a half hour or so, the light was very cool under the 14th Street Bridge close to the Jefferson Memorial. The lighter surfaces seem to glow and the darker surfaces had a richer, textured feeling. I know this quality is probably because of some pollutant that has momentarily drifted between the sun and my spot on the planet...but you know, I guess that's okay once in a while. I found images at the Jefferson Memorial, too, but the light was gone and the harsh, bright mid-day sun ruled.

PotomacPark Bench on the PotomacQuite a lot of this sidewalk on the Potomac is collapsing and is closed. I hope they find the dollars for repairs 14 st Bridge14th Street BridgesThe tree seems to point to the river, the many bridges that make up the 14th St bridge complex 14 st bridgesThe 14th Street BridgesAll of the bridges from below MetroMetro Train on 14th St BridgeMetro train crossing the bridge into Virginia. Not that many riders these days

BridgeRusting BridgeThe rust coats all parts of this incredible structure Morning under the bridgeVery cool light reflecting on one of the 14th Street Bridges14th Street Bridge looking into Virginia in the mid-day morning light.

(Lee Halvorsen) 14th Bridges DC Street Washington https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/3/the-emotion-of-light Wed, 24 Mar 2021 11:59:55 GMT
Lorton Prison https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/3/lorton-prison A little more than four years ago a friend and I had the opportunity to visit the deserted Lorton Prison. Officially known as the "Lorton Reformatory" the property had been turned over to Fairfax County in the 1990s. At one time, the Reformatory was over 3,500 acres with dairies, farmlands, workhouses and, of course, the prisons. I moved to Virginia in the 1980s and used to drive by part of the facility a couple of times a week. The places you could see from the road were scary, tall barbed wire fences topped with concertina wire with walled blockhouses and "dormitories." The place had become a horror filled facility where murders and rapes were common if not everyday occurrences. Overcrowding was just a fact of life. Most prisoners were black. Once in a while you'd hear loud sirens with their modulated warnings of escaped convicts. This is the place where the suffragettes were held and tortured more than a hundred years ago. 

I think what I could see from the road was just the youth facility, the women's facility, and the low risk men's facility. What you couldn't see was the high risk risk and the maximum security facilities. Fairfax County was kind enough to give the two of us a tour of the place in December 2020. We went through the cell blocks which were being converted into apartments. Then we went into the walled maximum security facility. This is where the prisoners considered the most dangerous were housed, in single cells with little comfort and little freedom.  Now, well now the maximum security is becoming a shopping area with groceries, restaurants, and shops. Converted cells and homes on the grounds are upscale. Change.

The images in the slideshow are (1) the abandoned Warden's House; (2) looking down the wall from a guard tower, the maximum security yard is on the left; (3) cell block door control panel where the doors could be remotely locked and unlocked; (4) Looking down the second story of the cell block, there was no air conditioning, the fans on the wall were the only "cooling;" (5) Entryway into the cell block from the guards' secure area. Prisoner art, a tiger, was painted on the wall just prior to the entryway; (6) the area just outside the cell block where the guards could "relax" if such a thing was possible in this place.


(Lee Halvorsen) Lorton prison Reformatory Virginia https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/3/lorton-prison Mon, 22 Mar 2021 13:09:34 GMT
Memory from 2008 https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/3/memory-from-2008 Almost thirteen years ago we travelled to visit family in Carmel, Indiana. Fall had sort of "fallen" although the grass was still green. I've been drawn to park benches for a very long time and was happy to find that Debby and Mark had a bench in their yard...a yard that was more like a park. Debby is an awesome photographer who was patient enough to walk me around the property when the light was perfect and give me tips on how to compose maximizing light and geometry. As the autumn sunset approached I framed the bench inside the tall trees, their lengthening shadows, and the bright, dying light. 

Although they've moved and the park bench is probably long gone, I carry the memories of that place and remember the light and the mentoring. I think, in fact, that I'm always looking for that same line of shadows, the same golden tones, and, the same type of mood. The trip was fun, lots of laughs, great food, and wonderful image finding. Ah...memories.

Park BenchPark Bench just before sunsetCarmel, Indiana, in the fall.  

(Lee Halvorsen) and bench park Sunset https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/3/memory-from-2008 Sun, 21 Mar 2021 13:00:00 GMT
It's Been A While https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/3/its-been-a-while Somehow I have been distracted. I am way out of practice for moving. Part of my brain tells me that it didn't used to be so hard but then I remember that I wasn't the one doing all the packing and deciding what to keep and what to toss. Back in my Air Force day I just stood back and watched the packers pack and told myself that one "day" I would sort through stuff I wanted and stuff I needed and stuff that was no longer required. Well, that time has apparently arrived. I have no doubt tossed some things I really wanted to keep and kept some things that are really trash. Oh well.

This image is from Leesylvania Park which is on the Potomac River just a few miles south of here. The park is large with a fishing pier, loads of picnic tables, and lots of shorelines. And almost no one is there. A couple of fishermen. A couple of walkers. Crickets. But some very cool nature.

ShorelineLonely ShoreShoreline on the Potomac River at Leesylvania Park

(Lee Halvorsen) leesylvania potomac shoreline https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/3/its-been-a-while Sat, 20 Mar 2021 10:35:16 GMT
New Poems https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/2/new-poems I found a recent news story about an undersea creature that lived far below the Arctic Ice Cap in complete darkness where in truth, nothing should be able to live. No sunlight, few plants, and what should be a relatively nutrient free environment. But no, that's not the case. Living is difficult in places like that and apparently the creatures that live there may subsist on what's known as "marine rain" which is organic material often coming from an ecosystem created on the ocean floor by a dead whale, a dead whale that's fallen to the floor of the ocean at a depth greater than 1,000 meters. I was intrigued by the thought of a falling whale and the creation of a survival system for other creatures. I wrote this poem and was reminded of this image I found in Bar Harbor, Maine.

I put this and two other new pieces in the poetry section of this site.

FallingFallingFalling Whales

(Lee Halvorsen) bar harbor maine sailing whales https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/2/new-poems Sun, 21 Feb 2021 20:28:27 GMT
The Magic Lights of Old Town at Night https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/2/the-magic-lights-of-old-town-at-night In last week's walkabout the mood was almost fantasy as the cold air and the bright lights merged with plastic dining tents under the dark skies. I wanted to think "Disney-like" but it was more Hobbit-like. This is a handheld image taken at the end of King Street looking up towards the City Hall and The George Washington Masonic Memorial (which you cannot see). Not many people but that's part of the fantasy. I'm eager to go back at night! Maybe next week.

King StreetKing Street Alexandria, VALooking to the west from near the water on King Street

(Lee Halvorsen) alexandria https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/2/the-magic-lights-of-old-town-at-night Fri, 12 Feb 2021 19:25:00 GMT
Surreal https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/2/surreal Walking about in Old Town with almost no one there was a bit surreal and quite frankly, eerie. The dining is "outside" either in plastic tents or under awnings. Of course, there are propane and electric heaters everywhere. I guess that the dining experience might be okay...I don't know, some folks just want to be out having fun even if it is wintertime al fresco dining. I know that as a social species (mostly) we like to go out and have fun. Indeed, I miss the going out. I'm lucky to have a gourmet cook in the house and so I definitely don't need to go out to get outstanding food. When I look at the dining tents I am reminded of Army chow halls out in the wilds. But that is truly a distant memory. 

I saw these two waiters getting ready for the dinner crowd. I was reminded of a sidewalk cafe in Belgium and so changed the textures to match my distant memories. The second image is a couple dining in one of the plastic chow halls on King Street. Most of the restaurants in the lower block of King Street have tents...on the street, the block is now a walking street. I wonder how long that will last.  

Landini BrothersLandini Brothers RestaurantLandini Brothers in Old Town Alexandria, outside dining Dining with COVIDDining in Old Town AlexandriaTwo diners in a tent outside the restaurant on King Street


(Lee Halvorsen) Alexandria https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/2/surreal Mon, 08 Feb 2021 12:00:31 GMT
Winter Night https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/2/winter-night Something about walking in town during the winter has always been fun for me. Usually silence is the thing you here unless there's crunchy snow and biting snow pellets. Oh wait...that's back in Huron, South Dakota!! Not here, well, mostly not here. The silence of the pandemic adds to the winter quiet and makes the mood quite melancholy. 

This image is from last Thursdays walkabout in Alexandria. I don't have a title but "Alone" seems proper.

AloneAloneOn a corner in Old Town Alexandria

(Lee Halvorsen) alexandria night winter https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/2/winter-night Sun, 07 Feb 2021 22:03:42 GMT
Night Walker https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/2/night-walker Sounds like a scary movie..."The Night Walker." Probably was, I'll google it. Hmmm. Well, in 1964 Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor starred in a "psychological thriller" with that name. Last night I walked about the river blocks of Old Town Alexandria. Not a lot of people, but of course, the time was early and folks weren't really out and about yet. I had double masked and maintained well over 6 feet distance from everyone I met. The weather was mild which I think was because there was no wind. Or maybe my senses have just been numbed.

I was looking for color combinations that stood out in the night and provided sort of a "film noir" feeling. Over the next few days, I'll post a few of them. I was shooting at a high ISO, 5000, and so they might be a bit grainy. I enjoyed the walk. 

Night TImeNight Time BreakroomBack entrance in Old Town DockDock to nowhereBroken dock, "Caution"

Empty RestaurantEmpty RestaurantIt was early, maybe before the dinner crowd. Or maybe the pandemic norm.  

(Lee Halvorsen) alexandria night https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/2/night-walker Fri, 05 Feb 2021 14:01:21 GMT
SNOW! https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/2/snow Normally when snow begins to fall I find myself bundled up and heading for someplace with trees and water. I think I'm either slowing down or distracted by the requirement to stuff my life into boxes so that I can quit obsessing about getting ready for the move. Wah! Wah! Wah! It's probably both. Yesterday I went to Burke Lake to see if the place was frozen over or normal or what. The lake was maybe half frozen with a thin layer of ice, nothing at all like when I grew up in the winters of South Dakota where the ice would be several inches (or even feet) thick. I walked a short distance and found this image. I didn't want to stay out too long or wander too far lest I be smitten by an Icelandic Snow Snake.

Burke Lake Winter at the LakeBurke Lake WInter Scene

(Lee Halvorsen) Burke Lake scene winter https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/2/snow Wed, 03 Feb 2021 13:23:31 GMT
Still at Meadowlark https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/1/still-at-meadowlark The thing about being on a photowalk is that if I take my time and move a bit slowly then I see more. That is not just a function of the speed my body moves through space (trust me, that's not fast photowalk or not) but really a function of letting my brain slow down and quit thinking ahead so much. A good photowalk (for me!!) let's my brain process what I'm seeing in many ways so although I might miss adjoining shadows, sculpted light in trees, etcs., I have a better chance to find them if I just sit. Sit. Hmmm. A photosit? I guess that's okay but I need to move a little. Almost every photo guru I listen to talks about taking time to walk around before you plant your tripod or camper chair. I mostly agree with that but I'd add that you should walk around slowly lest you walk right by the coolest thing on the planet.

This image is from the hilltop lookout walk looking over the smaller pond. Peaceful, not quite melancholy, but almost lonely.

Meadowlark Park. Meadowlark ParkOverlook at Meadowlark Park. Walking path and walking bridge.


(Lee Halvorsen) meadowlark park https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/1/still-at-meadowlark Mon, 25 Jan 2021 18:15:33 GMT
Meadowlark Park https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/1/meadowlark-park Yesterday some friends and I went to Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. The Gardens were still configured for their winter walk but of course no lights were on in the middle of the day. The weather was clear and sunny but windy and chilly. Truth be told, it was very chilly.  I was inspired to continue on by other artists that were painting next to the lake. The clear skies brought out the bright colors and sharp contrasts in the otherwise flat winterscape, perfect for the black and white photographers in our group. I decided to stay mostly (all but two) in color of the six that I kept. Four of them are here. If you're looking for a cool place to walk, this would be the place.

Artist at the LakeArtist at the LakePainting next to Meadowlark Lake. Plein Air painting! Meadowlark LakeOverlook at Meadowlark LakeVintage View of Meadowlark Lake Meadowlark ParkWaiting at the BridgeWaiting at the Bridge in Meadowlark Park Walking Bridge at MeadowlarkWalking Bridge at MeadowlarkWalking Bridge at Meadowlark

(Lee Halvorsen) gardens meadowlark https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/1/meadowlark-park Sat, 23 Jan 2021 21:08:16 GMT
Honoring Our Mailman https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/1/honoring-our-mailman Billy Dew has been the mailman in our neighborhood for 22 years. His route is an old fashioned one, the mailboxes are actually on the houses by the front doors. Each of us has come to know Billy even if only for a few seconds each day as he stopped by our houses and took care of our mail. Our local post office has suffered horribly from COVID and sadly Billy passed away from the virus just a few days ago. Hospitals are struggling and our healthcare providers are exhausted. This illness is certainly not a hoax and not political. People in the post office are doing their best in a difficult environment as are so many others on the frontlines of our social and economic infrastructure. Well Done, Billy Dew. May you Rest In Peace. 

Today, the local Post Office honored Billy with a memorial parade along the street of Billy's route. Many of us turned out to honor his service and his memory.

Billy Dew MemorialBilly Dew, Postal Carrier Memorial ParadeParade of Postal Vehicles honoring fallen carrier who died from COVID-19. Flags placed along mail route honoring Billy DewFlags placed along mail route honoring Billy DewFlags placed along mail route honoring Billy Dew who died from COVID

(Lee Halvorsen) Memorial Office Parade Post https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/1/honoring-our-mailman Sat, 16 Jan 2021 18:23:28 GMT
Storming the Capitol! https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/1/storming-the-capitol Imagine the president of the United States urging armed extremists to takeover the Capitol. A coup d'etat! Can't be, you say. But it is. We let it happen...we knew, we knew. I have purposely not been political on this site but Oh My God...what have we become. Time to find a bench, sit in the quiet and decide whether we want a putin-like country or something kinder and gentler. Aren't you at all embarrassed. Are we so afraid of the likes of these people that we won't fix it? 

PeacePeaceBy the Lake  

(Lee Halvorsen) accotink bench lake park https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/1/storming-the-capitol Wed, 06 Jan 2021 22:33:08 GMT
Dam It! https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/1/dam-it "Legislatures"

"I think I can say, and say with pride, that we have some legislatures that bring higher prices than any in the world."
Mark Twain, 1873, Id., p.159

I did not have much time today but wanted to spend a bit of that time trying long exposures with a neutral density filter. I headed for Lake Accotink and stopped at the dam. This is a 30 second exposure converted to B&W. I learned that I have a lot to learn with this set of filters and equipment. This is a 10 stop change in the light that comes into the sensor and I was only successful 1 out of 8 images. Time to hit the books (or YouTube). 

Lake AccotinkLake AccotinkLong exposure of water flowing over Lake Accotink Dam

(Lee Halvorsen) Dam Lake Mark Twain https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/1/dam-it Mon, 04 Jan 2021 20:47:26 GMT
Burke Lake Park https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/1/burke-lake-park "Training"

"Talent is useless without training."
Mark Twain, 1879, Id., p.280

Yesterday I had a random thought: before the days get too long and sunset is a bit inconvenient, why not head out to the lake just before the sun was going to set and see if there are images to be found. And off I head to Burke Lake, my "go-to" photo goldmine. Surprise, surprise, I was not alone in my desire for a sunset at the lake, in fact, parking was a problem! But, I had a great walk, everyone was masked except some of the runners/bikers and everyone was paying attention to social distancing. The weather was very un-January like, 45 degrees with clear skies. The disc golf course was jammed, people waiting on all of the tees; the hiking paths were very busy with lots of families and couples hiking briskly through the forest, and there were even people out on the water in canoes and kayaks. I found this image at my favorite photo-perch but had to wait a while for the bench to be unoccupied. I didn't wait for the sun to go down, I wanted to beat the closing traffic rush.

Marina viewNature's Gallery SeatPark bench at Burke Lake overlooking the Marina

(Lee Halvorsen) bench burke lake marina park https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/1/burke-lake-park Sun, 03 Jan 2021 16:58:22 GMT
Happy New Year! https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/1/happy-new-year Hard to believe that we are in 2021, wow, it makes me feel verrryyyy experienced. I have lots to be thankful for as the calendar turns and I have lots to hope for as COVID continues to wreak its horrible swath of death and division through this country. I am no longer monitoring or using social media because of the disinformation and hate that is rampant and believed. 

I have a new project in the "Projects" section of the site, I'm making a book and the first galley of pages is ready. Some of the poems and images were previously published but not in this arrangement. As I make changes, including more pages, I will also have a blog post noting the change. I would very much appreciate comments and critiques. I know there are only a couple of you out there reading the blog (smile) but I value your input. Or you can email me!

This image is of the Duke Ellington Bridge in Washington, DC, taken from next to Rock Creek.

Duke Ellington BridgeDuke Ellington BridgeView from Rock Creek Park of the Duke Ellington Bridge

(Lee Halvorsen) bridge dc duke ellington https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2021/1/happy-new-year Sat, 02 Jan 2021 12:43:47 GMT
New Year's Eve https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/12/new-years-eve "New Year's Resolutions"

"Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.
Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual...
New Year's is a harmless annual institution,
of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat
for promiscuous drunks, and friend calls, and humbug resolutions..."

Mark Twain, Id., p194

This year has ended. Many things can and will be written about 2020 and many of the writings will seem grander than they really should be. We all had to adjust.  We've had many, many tragic losses and we must somehow remember them and what those people would have contributed to this world. We are in the middle of the Twelve Days of Christmas so it's not too late to be kind to someone! Later this month I will sit in judgement of the images I've made this year and post them. I think I will narrow the set down to twelve...one for each month, perhaps a calendar is coming!

Twelve Days of ChristmasTwelve Days of ChristmasChristmas isn't over, we still have 7 days left!

(Lee Halvorsen) Christmas New Year's https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/12/new-years-eve Thu, 31 Dec 2020 16:37:35 GMT
Like Clockwork https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/12/like-clockwork "Legislatures"

"This (Hawaiian) Legislature is like all other legislatures. A woodenhead gets up and proposes an
utterly absurd something or other, and he and half a dozen other woodenheads discuss it
with windy vehemence for an hour, the remainder of the house sitting in silent patience the while,
and then a sensible man---a man of weight---a big gun---gets up and shows the
foolishness of the matter in five sentences; a vote is taken and the thing is tabled."

Mark Twain, 1866, Id., p158

The days are counting down to the end of this awful, scary year. Of course the turn of the calendar page is only an artifice of things and doesn't actually separate anything that could be construed as helpful. Well. Perhaps a new tax year? Perhaps a new medical insurance year? Hmmm, well maybe there is something to this New Year thing. I often think about time, I'm not the only one since people have been keeping track of time for millenia, I mean think of Stone Henge, Tulum, and more.

A couple of years ago I did a walkabout with friends at the Bromo Seltzer Tower in Baltimore. The last vestige of a financial and "medical" empire from a century ago. The tower was intended to be a miniature Big Bend and is consequently quite a site. We had the chance to crawl around inside the tower at the clock level. The highly polished brass movements reminded me of the inside of old pocket watches...very elaborate and precise looking.

Wheels of TImeWheels of TimeClock movement inside the Bromo Seltzer Tower in Baltimore, MD

(Lee Halvorsen) bromo clock movement seltzer tower https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/12/like-clockwork Wed, 30 Dec 2020 16:41:15 GMT
Winter https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/12/winter "Familiarity"

"Familiarity breeds contempt & children."
Mark, Twain, Id., p95

I went on a short walkabout with a friend today in Holmes Run Park in Alexandria. This park is several miles long running west to east through the city ending in the Potomac. The walk was short because the wind was a tad brisk and biting. I wasn't in a creative mood and so few images were found. In fact, I think that the best part of the walkabout was the walking part. For Christmas I received a pair of hiking poles and I gave them a test run! I loved that I could also poke about in the leaves that cover the ground and find the holes that I used to inevitably fall into. The sun was high and harsh and so black and white seemed an appropriate approach. This small pond had some really bright grass framing the reflections on the water. A couple of ducks were feeding next to a weed patch in the middle of the pond. I didn't want this to be another bird watching session!

Winter PondWinter PondWinter pond in Holmes Run Park in Alexandria, VA

(Lee Halvorsen) alexandria park winter https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/12/winter Tue, 29 Dec 2020 17:22:59 GMT
Out of the Darkness https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/12/out-of-the-darkness "Jackass"

"Concerning the difference between man & the jackass.
Some observers hold that there isn't any. But this wrongs the jackass.
"  Mark Twain, 1899
The Quotable Mark Twain, R.K. Rasmussen

I'm opting out of social media for a bit. I will work harder on my creative skills including looking at images that didn't seem special when they found me. This one, for instance, was a beautiful flower I found in a pond at high noon at Hillwood. The backdrop of the flower was the deeply shadowed stone bank or wall of the pond. I'm a fan of the stark contrasts and textures and complimenting colors. 

I'm also a fan of Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens. I find his skills delightful and inspiring. I have read and re-read many of his works. I will provide a quote by him in many of my posts. As a source, I'm using Rasmussen's "The Quotable Mark Twain." The quotes won't necessarily match the image or the story of the post but they will always make me smile and I hope they do you, too.

I am going to post this post (hah! see) on FB but then will no longer do that after today. If you haven't already, please click on the "Subscribe RSS" button on this page. If you aren't on my mailing list, you can sign up by going here. I really do appreciate those of you who follow me. You can always write or comment!! 

"Out of the Darkness"Out of the Darkness"Lotus growing in pond at Hillwood during the summer of 2019

(Lee Halvorsen) Contrast Deep Flower Hillwood https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/12/out-of-the-darkness Mon, 28 Dec 2020 17:29:40 GMT
Should I Leave Social Media https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/12/should-i-leave-social-media I am considering leaving social media...and by that I mean, no more Facebook, no more Instagram, no more twitter, no more of the "same." No more echochamber. I am interested in your thoughts. Does me leaving social media make a difference? Will leaving help me listen? How will I listen? How can I let people know what I'm doing (do they care)? I think I want to spend more time on my raw creativity and less time feeding the machine and then reacting. I've been at a low level of participation for a few weeks, and now...I don't know. I want to create...not feed the beast. What do you think? 

Prison DoorPrison DoorDoor into the gymnasium at Lorton Prison



(Lee Halvorsen) Lorton Prison https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/12/should-i-leave-social-media Sun, 20 Dec 2020 21:58:26 GMT
Sunrise https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/12/sunrise My bride and I were up early and thanks to the shortest days of the year, we could call this a sunrise walk!! She is walking toward the rising sun which is peeking through the trees and just above the hill line. We were visiting Huntsman Lake...the temperature was just below freezing and the lake had a very thin coat of ice. A chilly day but all in all, beautiful.

SunriseWalking SunriseWalking toward the rising sun on the dam at Huntsman Lake

(Lee Halvorsen) Lake Sunrise walking https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/12/sunrise Fri, 18 Dec 2020 19:21:06 GMT
Mt Zion Cemetery! Underground Railroad? https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/12/mt-zion-cemetery-underground-railroad Yesterday I went to Georgetown with a friend and we did a walkabout in another cemetery. Actually, two cemeteries!! Both are primarily the final resting places for African-Americans from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Mount Zion Cemetery and the Female Union Band Cemetery were originally part of the Old Methodist Burying ground which started in 1808. Originally for whites and blacks but separated by a fence, the cemetery eventually fell into disrepair. Part of the site washed away and the remains went towards Rock Creek where they would have been covered by construction of the parkway. The site has been the subject of decades of litigation and is currently a "passive memorial" in need of a great deal of restoration and preservation. A small brick vault sits on the hillside of the Mt Zion side and is rumored to have been part of the Underground Railroad during the years leading up to the Civil War.

The Mt Zion side of the cemetery has some "piles of headstones." I can only speculate how they got there. I think the most likely scenario is past attempts to gather artifacts that had perhaps been displaced, perhaps as far away as the Rock Creek Parkway.  These piles of stones are only on the Mt Zion side, none on the Female Union Band side. The one image of the Female Union Band gravesite with the "Father-Mother" stone, has the Oak Hill Cemetery in the background. Oak Hill was started after Mt Zion and was Whites only. When Oak Hill opened many Whites exhumed their family members from Mt Zion and reinterred them at Oak Hill also taking away the perpetual funding. The difference between these Black and White cemeteries is stark and continues.  

Headstones Mt ZionStone GatheringHeadstones arranged in Mt Zion cemetery VaultUnderground Railroad stop! This vault was used for "pre-burial" storage, is hidden over the hill from the street and was frequently used by runaway enslaved people on their flight to freedom in the north. HeadstonesStone YardHeadstones gathered on the Mt Zion hilltop. HeadstonesHeadstones in the Female Union Band CemeteryHeadstones in the Female Union Band Cemetery on the edge of a slope overlooking the manicured grounds of Oak Hill Cemetery.


(Lee Halvorsen) Cemetery disrepair headstones https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/12/mt-zion-cemetery-underground-railroad Wed, 16 Dec 2020 16:21:59 GMT
Birds!! https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/12/birds I don't intend to find images of birds and I'm certainly not equipped with the huge lenses normally required to have good bird images. Not that these are any good, but they are relatively close, except for the eagle. The eagle was on a closed dock in north Old Town. There was an opening in the fence and so I walked out to get closer so my tiny lens had half a chance of capturing the bird. I have better eagle images but this one was right in the middle of town! Well, sort of. Actually on the edge of town on a piling next to the Potomac. I'm guessing that it's not a very old bird, the coloring on the head and body seemed to be that of a juvenile just entering adulthood. 

The crow was at the end of another dock. He and I had quite a conversation for several minutes as I inched ever closer. I had a wide angle lens on so couldn't really get a closeup. He was very vocal about me getting closer and eventually decided enough was enough and I was lucky to be ready for that moment.

The sparrow, well, the little thing was obviously cold and didn't mind me getting close. In fact, this is the wide angle lens, i was about two feet away from it when I snapped the shutter. 

I am not a birder. I am not a birder. I am not a birder.

https://cloud.ibm.com/loginEagle in Old TownYoung bald eagle sitting on a piling in Old Town Alexandria Impatient CrowImpatient CrowI had talked with this crow for several minutes before he thought I'd gotten too close SparrowSparrowPerhaps an English Sparrow

(Lee Halvorsen) Alexandria bald crow eagle https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/12/birds Thu, 10 Dec 2020 18:07:02 GMT
Thankful https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/11/thankful I am very thankful for my family and friends and all the blessings we enjoy. I am also thankful that the locals, the Wampanoag Nation, helped the pilgrims way back in 1620. I am saddened, however, about how this tribe and others were treated in following years...even today.

Sculpture at the National Museum of the American IndianNational Museum of the American IndianSculpture at the National Museum of the American Indian

(Lee Halvorsen) american indian sculpture https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/11/thankful Thu, 26 Nov 2020 17:26:57 GMT
Quiet https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/11/quiet Something about being near the water makes "sounds" more significant. I am positive a scientific explanation exists for this phenomenon but I prefer a more spiritual or natural description of why this is true. First, let it be said no absolutes exist for what I hear around the water. An explosive waterfall, a crashing ocean wave, or as in this image, nothing. Well, the distant sounds of honking geese. Everything was quiet except for those geese. Perhaps this is a good way to start or end a day...with the peace and quiet of still waters. 

Burke Lake DockBurke Lake DockStill waters at Burke Lake on a cold November day


(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/11/quiet Tue, 24 Nov 2020 18:22:01 GMT
Just One More Bridge https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/11/just-one-more-bridge I wrote this short story for a Creative Writing class at George Mason. The images are from a covered bridge close to Frederick, Maryland. The story continues after the second image.

Covered Bridge near Frederick, MD that provided the theme for the fictional short storyCovered BridgeCovered Bridge near Frederick, MD that provided the theme for the fictional short story

Just One More Bridge

Lee Halvorsen

Just one more bridge. That’s all, I told myself. Just one more bridge. I smiled as my mind filled with bridge clichés and Hallmark Coming Home movies and Prodigal Son stories but none of them is what I’m feeling now. My smile quickly faded. I’ve been sitting on this rock in the ditch looking at that bridge for an hour. Looking at it, hoping for a sign or any indication of comfort or familiarity. I mean, for crying out loud, the bridge should know me! For 18 years I’d been carried over, walked on, or driven over that rickety pile of boards and nails. I hid underneath the damn thing to escape the rain or the enraged football rivals from just over the county line. I remember thundering tires, creaking beams, swirling dust, and dripping mud. But all mine! This was my bridge. The gateway to my childhood home.

Becky and I would sneak out of high school every chance we got and then head for my bridge. Once away from the school we walked slowly, held hands, and picked daisies. When we were riverside, we made a wish,  threw the blossoms into the water, and watched them swirl away. We imagined doing that same thing with our lives, swirling away and finding a new place together. One day we did swirl away. Just not together.

Under the bridge selected to accompany the fictional short storyRiver under the bridgeUnder the bridge selected to accompany the fictional short story Dad would take me fishing under the bridge. He liked the bridge’s shade and told me the fish liked shade too. I doubted they did; I think in the ten years we fished under the bridge, we caught only five fish! I’d get quite frustrated about the lack of action and want to head somewhere else. He’d always say, “No, let’s give it a little more time,” and then he’d start to talk with me again. Even on the hottest summer day, it was always comfortable under my bridge. I asked him once why we didn’t fish at sunrise or sunset when it was cooler and a better hour to catch fish. He answered with a smile, “We aren’t here for the fish.”

My mom taught me to drive in a 1957 Rambler station wagon with a three speed stick on the column, a very, very manual transmission. I didn’t know then and I don’t know now, how the magic of car mechanics happens  but I do know this Rambler did not have power steering. I was only 14 and barely able to reach the pedals. Turning the beast while changing gears and accelerating or decelerating was a challenge. Of course, right over on the home side of the bridge the road curved sharply, way sharply;  you had to slow, change gears, turn, straighten, accelerate, change gears, turn, slow, accelerate, and then NOT hit the bridge! I’m willing to bet the marks from my first three Rambler bridge crossings are still visible.

Even the Hallmark Channel admits you can’t go home again. I haven’t been back here in decades. I left in a huff...angry, hateful words stinging and sticking between us. I hadn’t seen him since that night’s fierce battle and I’m now realizing I never will. I just missed him, only one day late. Time to head over the bridge. Well, maybe there’s a little time for fishing.


(Lee Halvorsen) bridge covered growing up https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/11/just-one-more-bridge Sun, 22 Nov 2020 14:00:38 GMT
Women and the Right To Vote https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/8/women-and-the-right-to-vote Things worthwhile are seldom easily attained and the right to vote is one of those things. Yesterday I wrote about Suffragists who were imprisoned and tortured in Lorton Prison in Fairfax County, Virginia. Today I coincidentally read an article by Kate Clarke Lemay (https://tinyurl.com/yxtt5oj6) about American women participating in World War I. Apparently the line of thought was that women should not have the right to vote since they did not help the country during combat. Of course, that limitatiation was a result of male-made regulations and laws.

But, there is another story from 102 years ago about fighting for those rights on the battlefield. The National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) independently funded and sent 78 American women doctors and nurses to France. With assistance from other Suffragists, they built medical installations, hospitals, etc., and provided critical medical care on and very near the battlefields. Black women were sadly shut out of NAWSA but organized themselves under Howard University graduate Dr. Mary L. Brown and provided similar support through the Red Cross. Not surprisingly, more than 100 American women during WWI were decorated by foreign governments...but none by the United States.

This image, "Yesterday's Vision" is from the Rawlings Conservatory in Baltimore, MD, and was taken in March 2018. The conservatory was originally opened in 1888 and was renovated in 2002-4.


Rawlings Conservatory"Yesterday's Vision"Rawlings Conservatory entryway in Baltimore, Maryland

(Lee Halvorsen) conservatory rawlings https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/8/women-and-the-right-to-vote Sun, 16 Aug 2020 15:49:50 GMT
Lorton Workhouse and the "Night of Terror" https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/8/lorton-workhouse-and-the-night-of-terror I admit that I am a bit fascinated by the entire Lorton Prison Complex. Founded over a 100 years ago as one of those places that was intended to be an island of penance where one could be rehabilitated by being given a chance to repent, do honest labor, and have time to yourself in a serene environment. This was the "Penitentiary" concept. However, from some of the reading I've done, that goal and those methods were short lived. 

For instance, just over a hundred years ago, women suffragists silently marched six days a week outside of the White House protesting that women did not have the right to vote. These women were called the "Silent Sentinels" and were often arrested on trumped up or trivial charges like "obstructing traffic." They were given a choice, pay a fine or go to Lorton Workhouse Prison for Women.

One of these women, Alice Paul, was sentenced to seven months for obstructing traffic, was treated roughly and fed only bread and water. To protest her treatment she went on a hunger strike. In response, prison officials tied her to a chair, held her down, had a large woman physically straddle her, and then had two other women force a rubber hose into her nose and down to her stomach from which she was force fed. Publicity of this atrocity didn't stop or slow the same or similar treatment to other women. On November 14,1917, called the "Night of Terror," the Lorton Prison superintendent ordered many of the Silent Sentinels to be severely beaten. All were hurt, some terribly, some to unconsciousness. This wasn't fake news, this was an American institution beating political prisoners who had no voice in the political system. News of the atrocity did leak out and two weeks later the women were released from prison. Three years later, the Nineteenth Amendment was passed. (From the Smithsonian, "Folk Life," https://tinyurl.com/y2fx5kas)

The Women's prison is mostly gone. Across the street from where the Women's facility was located, the Lorton Workhouse Art Center stands with a museum dedicated to the Prison's history including the Silent Sentinels. These images are from the Workhouse area.

Lorton Workhouse PrisonLorton Workhouse Prison Guard Tower overlooking the old baseball field and scoreboard from the Lorton Workhouse Old Power Plant at Lorton WorkhouseOld Power Plant at Lorton WorkhouseOld Power Plant at Lorton Workhouse Barred WindowsBarred WindowsWindow in the Gym at the old Lorton Workhouse Prison Lorton WorkhouseLorton WorkhouseFlowers behind the ruins of the dugout at the baseball field with the guard tower in the distance.

(Lee Halvorsen) Lorton Prison suffragettes Virginia https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/8/lorton-workhouse-and-the-night-of-terror Sat, 15 Aug 2020 13:38:26 GMT
My Trip Through Maximum Security https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/7/my-trip-through-maximum-security When the Lorton prison first started as the Occoquan Workhouse, the idea was that prisoners could be rehabilitated with clean conditions, fresh air, and reasonable work. In the latter half of the 20th century and the advent of extreme drug enforcement and the push to jail folks no matter the offense, Lorton began bulging at the seams. The guard who took me through the facilities talked about the murders in the gym, the yards, the barracks...well, pretty much everywhere. Apparently you could get whatever drug made you happy, better than the street. Lots of cats. Lots of mayhem. When we walked through, the place had been abandoned for years and was targeted for renovation as a shopping mall. The max security part of the very large facility consisted of barracks, a gymnasium, and other admin and support buildings. Those are now high end apartments and condos. At the center of this part of Lorton was the high walled portion. Inside the wall were barracks with single prisoner cells, kitchen facilities, and the "Hole." All that's left of the Hole is the black foundation. The individual cell barracks were still there when I walked through, those will be converted to shopping and dining facilities. 

I didn't go through all six of the barracks, only two of them and the kitchen or central facility (which now faces Silverbrook Rd). There was no electricity and the light was minimal.

The first image was on the ground floor of one of the barracks. In a hallway prior to the cellblock, I went into a room that was about 16x16' with no windows; the only light came through the doorway from a window down the hall, quite a few feet away.  I was startled by the colorful art which literally leapt out at me despite the darkness; Prisoner art I was told.  

Before you enter a cell block there is an area, I don't know what it's called, it's like a foyer or waiting area. Some of them had metal tables, some exercise equipment, some were just empty rooms leading to the cells. This one had a tiger painted right next to the door. Prisoner art or guard art...who knows.

The third image was taken in one of the entryways to the kitchen. Of course all sorts of things go through my mind about how it was made and what the materials might have been. There is an outside chance it could have been done by intruders after the prison closed but the County has had an armed guard at the facility to keep prowlers out so I don't think so. I think that the symbolism and desperateness of the symbol speak volumes for where it is located.

Prisoner Art, Lorton, VAPrisoner Art Lorton, VATaken from the interior of a small room at Lorton. Not a cell, maybe an admin room.

Prisoner art at LortonPrisoner Art, The Tiger, at Lorton Entryway to the cellblock at Lorton. Prisoner art on the wall in the waiting room

Prisoner Art at LortonPrisoner Art at LortonPrisoner Art from the kitchen at Lorton Prison  

(Lee Halvorsen) art lorton prison prisoner virginia https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/7/my-trip-through-maximum-security Sat, 18 Jul 2020 14:08:51 GMT
Lorton Prison https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/7/lorton-prison I stopped by the Lorton Prison Maximum Security unit today...except now it's almost a shopping center. Thirty years ago it was an awful place, a violent, drug laced prison where few were actually rehabilitated. Now. Well now, the old buildings have been renovated and are condos, apartments and soon to be supermarkets. My how the world changes. I wonder what former inmates think if they ever come out here. There is an old house on the grounds, it was built around 1780 by the first recorded land owner, William Lindsay. He is buried in a small cemetery just a few yards away.   Lorton Prison Guard TowerLorton Prison Guard TowerLorton Prison Guard Tower now overlooking old prisoner cell blocks that have been converted to condos

Lindsay HouseLindsay HouseWIlliam Lindsay built this house around 1782. It's been added onto extensively over the centuries and is now boarded up and off limits. Lindsay HouseLindsay HouseView of the back porch of the Lindsay House. Sitting in ruins, probably not long for this world.

(Lee Halvorsen) lindsay lorton prison https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/7/lorton-prison Fri, 17 Jul 2020 22:07:52 GMT
Marina - Walkabout DMV Project https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/7/marina---walkabout-dmv-project During the COVID Calamity I have decided to get out at least once a week on a "non-interactive basis"...which means I won't actually get close to anyone. I will post a picture or two from each of these outings, even if they are only just okay images. I guess just to prove that I'm alive if nothing else. I'm also going to post them on twitter (VASnaps) and IG (@leehalvorsen) so you might see them more than once. Oh, the agony.

Yesterday a friend and I went to Belle Haven Marina (separate cars BTW). It's an interesting place, fully operational although not terribly busy. It's a school and perhaps a summer camp like operation for kids. There are quite a few boats at dock, all sizes, all types, all conditions. There is an inland waterway kind of thing that has older boats tied up, boats that don't look like they've seen the open water in a long time. Lots of kayaks, boards, etc. Most of the people visiting were masked, more than half I'd guess. 

After the marina we walked for a short bit on the trail in Dyke's Marsh. The image of sailboats taken through the trees is from that trail. That was a peaceful walk. There were portions of the trail that were directly next to the river and the shore was a sandy beach. We also saw an eagle, sitting alone on the branch of a dead tree with nothing else around it. Perfectly posed!! But I only had my short lens and so no closeup eagle shots. Oh well, the eagle has been done before, but I enjoyed the sight! Only about half the people walking on the trail had masks. Sigh.

Belle Haven MarinaBelle Haven MarinaBelle Haven Marina, boats at anchor taken from Dyke's Marsh trail

Flat TopFlat TopFlat Top boat tied up in Belle Haven Marina Old BoatsOld BoatsKayaks and an old sailboat in the Belle Haven Marina


(Lee Halvorsen) alexandria at belle boats haven marina on potomac the va https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/7/marina---walkabout-dmv-project Thu, 16 Jul 2020 13:35:30 GMT
Pileated Woodpeckers https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/7/pileated-woodpeckers A magnificent bird! And I normally do not do birds, I don't have the money for the exotic lenses required. This little girl was different, she seemed to be posing for me. I was about ten feet away from her and she just moved from pose to pose quite naturally. Other birds leave her alone, even the blue jays give her the choice of which feeder she wants to be on. We think she's young because her plume isn't yet bright red, more of a bright orange. We've had a couple of them earlier in the year so perhaps this is one of the offspring. She's fun to watch. But I still won't do birds on purpose. Maybe.

Pileated WoodpeckerPileated WoodpeckerOn the feeder in the front yard tolerating me quite well.

(Lee Halvorsen) Pileated Woodpeckers https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/7/pileated-woodpeckers Wed, 08 Jul 2020 16:04:27 GMT
Upside Down https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/7/upside-down Yesterday I "Masked Up" and went out with a friend to Ballston in Arlington. T'was a bit warm although not miserably so. I was particularly uninspired and so only made a couple/three dozen shutter snaps. When I looked at the images at home, I was not disappointed in my anticipated disappointment. However, I thought to myself, "There must be something here!" Another friend has been experimenting with double exposures creating gossamer-like images that exude emotion and tenderness. Well, I knew I'd get nothing tender shooting at high noon in a glass city but I thought the double exposure thing might have merit for this set of images. I chose not to get too cosmic with the effects and so only did a vertical flip and then a color/light blend of the layers. I ended up with sci-fi like images that made me smile. And...isn't that what art is all about. 

This is a double exposure, flipped vertically of some glass buildings in Arlington.Spaceship "Arlington"This is a double exposure, flipped vertically of some glass buildings in Arlington. ArlingtonArlingtonBallston Commons in Arlington, Double Exposure, Flipped Vertically Suspended EntrywaySuspended EntrywayBallston Commons in Arlington, Double Exposure, Flipped Vertically  

(Lee Halvorsen) arlington double exposures va https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/7/upside-down Fri, 03 Jul 2020 12:14:04 GMT
Video, "Suddenly Lonely" https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/6/video-suddenly-lonely Most of the time I work only with images. One of the challenges I have is deciding which images go with one another and in what sequence or order they should be placed. I don't think that this is a skill that stays with me, like riding a bike, but rather this is a skill that I have to keep practicing. And so I do that but normally within a software program and normally I don't "publish" my practice sessions. But I decided to make an exception and I put this set in a video and tried to make the sequence work along with some music, click on: titled, "Suddenly Lonely." 

Oh. BTW, I'm not sure I could ride a bike. I guess I better try!

This is a long exposure image taken in DC during the winter.

Real?Real?Long exposure taken in Washington, DC, in the winter


(Lee Halvorsen) DC exposure Long Washington https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/6/video-suddenly-lonely Sat, 27 Jun 2020 15:51:33 GMT
Ice Cream Castles https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/6/ice-cream-castles Castles in the CloudsCastles in the CloudsCastles in the Clouds from Burke Lake Park

When I was younger I spent quite a bit of time looking at clouds (before my pilot days!). Joni Mitchell's song was very appropriate to me then...probably even now. I desperately wanted to be a writer when I was a teen and I'd write stuff, most of which is long gone both in memory and in fact. But this week I was going through old boxes to "downsize" and found an unopened letter forwarded by my parents to me in my room at 201 Hansen Hall at South Dakota State University. The "letter" was actually a typewritten poem by me that I had submitted to some contest or jury or something in the spring of 1967. There was a nice note from Adeline M Jenney at the bottom of the letter encouraging me to continue my poetry. Ms Jenney was the Poet Laureate of South Dakota back in those days. Here's the poem.


I often wonder what I'm here for,
Maybe it's to just dream from birth to death
Of what I want or could be or should be,
For that's all I do to pass the time.

I see many others around me who
Are dreaming too; most of the are
Lost, drifting from one place to another,
Looking for the dream to end their misery.

Perhaps I too will someday be a part of that
Moving, seething mob. Maybe.
What if I wake? God only knows
What a shock it would be to my sleeping mind.

Then there are the others, those who never dream.
Though I often envy them for their power,
Most often I see only someone so tired
But so afraid to dream.

(Lee Halvorsen) and castles cloud poetry https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/6/ice-cream-castles Thu, 25 Jun 2020 10:45:18 GMT
Listening https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/6/listening Listening is a skill. One that admittedly, I'm not very good at...and you should know that an abundance of historical evidence exists showing my true clumsiness at listening. I think many of us are in the same boat...a reluctance to listen and to hear what others are experiencing before we act.  Racism is something we learn, something we teach and hopefully something we can unlearn and unteach. But I propose that the first step is NOT to act on what we think should happen but rather listen to others, especially those who have suffered the negative impacts of racism over the centuries.

Some of my friends might say, "You liberal snob, you don't know what you're talking about." I think they're right, I don't know the scope the depth the width the inhumanity of racism. I am not sure how I should listen either. So my quest is, hopefully with the help of others, to learn to listen. Some of my friends recommend I listen to FoxNews and the network's most popular star. But I think that person and that type of rhetoric doesn't want me to learn to listen to others, only to him. So I will start searching out other people, books, videos, etc. I've learned that PBS has some really well done documentaries, if you have the time, take a look at what they have to offer.

I'm reluctant to go out because of my health and COVID, but I have and now I worry. I may have to modify my behavior. Maybe behavior modification should be a thing. This image found me in Springfield a couple of days ago as locals came out to support Black Lives Matter. #blm

BLMBlack Lives Matter Demonstration #BLMBlack Lives Matter Demonstration in Springfield, VA

(Lee Halvorsen) #blm https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/6/listening Sat, 13 Jun 2020 13:15:05 GMT
My Back Deck https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/5/my-back-deck I did not go outside today except to help take the dog to the vet (sprained foreleg!). Most of the morning we had a light rain and frankly, neither my camera nor me is especially fond of rain. That's not an exclusive exclusion, sometimes I go out but not today. We have a glass patio table, I couldn't get the table to pose so I did the next best thing and moved around myself. And got wet. Smile. Oh, and one of the overhead light string. 

Rain drops on our patio tableRain drops on our patio tableRain drops on the patio table picking up the reflected light from other things on the patio LightRain and light, or is that light rainPun for the rainy day Drops of water fall from glass tableDrops of water fall from glass tableDrops of water falling from the table during a rainstorm

(Lee Halvorsen) rain yard https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/5/my-back-deck Thu, 28 May 2020 21:43:13 GMT
Walking Alone https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/5/walking-alone I went on an exercise walk today to the "trail" next to the Potomac on the southside of Alexandria. There were people walking and running and riding  during most of the walk. The runners and all but one of the bikers did not have masks. When I first started, I was thinking that I wouldn't wear a mask because I was outside and could easily stay six feet away. Howsomever, the trail was only 5-6 feet across and it was impossible to maintain the proper distance. So..on came the mask. And off came the glasses since I haven't yet solved the problem of fogging lenses. I would say that of the non-atheletes, about half wore masks. THe other half expected me to move since they weren't going to make the effort. And, I did. 

Father-daughter walkFather-daughter walk. I assumed this was father and daughter but maybe not, who knows. He was masked, she was not. I think I'd be researching why kids don't get the virus.

Bridge and BoardwalkBridge and BoardwalkLooking from the Alexandria River Walk to the Woodrow WIlson Bridge

(Lee Halvorsen) alexandria potomac shores https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/5/walking-alone Wed, 27 May 2020 18:49:34 GMT
Walk in the Woods https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/5/walk-in-the-woods A friend and I did our exercise walk in a park in Arlington today. The place was very "woodsy" and we sort of expected to find campers or at least campsites at every turn in the trail. The place was beautiful, tall green trees, babbling brook, "easy" trails, and quiet...very quiet. All this within shouting distance of the GW Parkway and embedded in a residential area which you could only see if you looked up and through the thick trees. I had some that I liked, most not so much, but I am thinking I need more practice!!!

Arlington County ParkArlington County ParkArlington County Park Arlington County ParkArlington County ParkArlington County Park Arlington County ParkArlington County ParkArlington County Park Arlington County ParkArlington County ParkArlington County Park

(Lee Halvorsen) Arlington Forest park https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/5/walk-in-the-woods Wed, 13 May 2020 19:15:15 GMT
Dog Walk https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/5/dog-walk The dog took me for a walk this morning. This was an adventure since I don't have a neck camera strap and hand-carry my camera ALL the time. The "dog" is our 45 pound, six month old puppy who wakes with the unlimited energy of a golden retriever at her age. So far, my reasoning with her to remain calm hasn't been successful. Ah, but someday. Nonetheless, she did let me have a few random seconds and fortunately the light was good. The sun was just rising over the neighbor's house onto their flowers next to the sidewalk. The raindrops, the reflected colors, and the texture of the plants were fun to see and to have in my camera. I was so taken with the textures that I also did a B&W conversion...which do you like more.

Flower petals with raindrops. B&W conversionFlower petals with raindrops. B&W conversionFlower petals with raindrops. B&W conversion Flower petals with raindrops. Color versionFlower petals with raindrops. Color versionFlower petals with raindrops. Color version

(Lee Halvorsen) flowers raindrops street walking https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/5/dog-walk Mon, 11 May 2020 12:31:15 GMT
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/5/vietnam-veterans-memorial-wall Yesterday I took a quick trip to DC for my "exercise walk." I went to the Wall which is always, well, difficult or at least a bit emotional. I knew what to expect, that is, that no one would be there. And there wasn't anyone there, or rather, only a few...five over the thirty minute period I was there. I sat next to the wall and walked on the walk for almost an hour before I ducked over to the Lincoln Memorial.

I was moved to show an image from several years ago that contrasts with the scene I found yesterday. Yesterday's was a lonely walk.

Vietnam Veterans Wall SoldiersVietnam Veterans Wall SoldiersVietnam War Era vets posing in front of the soldiers at the Vietnam Veterans Wall Soldier Sculptures Overlooking the WallSoldier Sculptures Overlooking the WallVietnam Veterans Wall Memorial, soldiers on overloook Vietnam Veterans Wall east sideVietnam Veterans Wall east sideVietnam Veterans Wall on the east looking toward the Washington Monument  

(Lee Halvorsen) veterans vietnam wall https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/5/vietnam-veterans-memorial-wall Sat, 09 May 2020 20:18:53 GMT
Haunted Stairwell https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/5/haunted-stairwell This is probably not really haunted...but really, if something "out in the open" deserved to be haunted, this is the place. Looking at the surroundings and the mood, I was left with a feeling of apprehension, perhaps this was the scene of mayhem many years ago. At least that is what the mood was. I found the shot which was similar to one a friend took some time ago. So maybe that's the ghost...an image gone.

Haunted Stairwell under the railroad bridge?Haunted Stairwell under the railroad bridge?Haunted Stairwell under the railroad bridge? Probably not but this is the"look" I would imagine.

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/5/haunted-stairwell Sat, 02 May 2020 19:13:19 GMT
West King https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/4/west-king I was in Alexandria today but not in the normal spots, rather I walked around in the west end of Old Town, west King. Not many people. Really almost none. One guy out in his pajamas but he was having difficulty with the mud so the jammies were probably the least of his worries. Lots of memories, even in that side of town. Of course, this post apocalyptical mood is easy to catch and hard to shake.  StairwelDiscombobulated stairwellI sliced the image into bits and let it fall where it may. Lone greenLone green in a field of blackLone green in a field of black struggling to come in someone's front yard.


Under the bridgeUnder the railway bridgeMakes me think about how much work needs to be done

(Lee Halvorsen) Alexandria bridge https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/4/west-king Wed, 29 Apr 2020 19:22:02 GMT
Rainy Day Walkabout https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/4/rainy-day-walkabout The weather has been cold and rainy which would seem to be great for staying inside, but when inside is the only "side" I see, I hope for just a bit more than in the 50s. Our furnace came on for crying out loud!! The rain does wash away the pollen which is coming on strong and trying to make my allergies fire up. Yesterday Diane and I and Sunny went for a quick walk together and I found these images.

A friend mentioned that some of my images "completely fill the frame"  and I thought I would try to replicate that process. I changed the tones and shades to replicate an image taken 60 years ago...I'm feeling my age. I remember having an old Hasseblad with color film, I remember my prints coming out like this.

Rainy Day FlowersFlowers in the rain Rainy Day FlowersFlowers in the rain Rainy Day FlowersFlowers in the rain Rainy Day FlowersFlowers in the rain Rainy Day FlowersFlowers in the rain Rainy Day FlowersFlowers in the rain


(Lee Halvorsen) flowers rain https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/4/rainy-day-walkabout Mon, 27 Apr 2020 19:31:31 GMT
It's Been A Long Time!!! https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/4/its-been-a-long-time I haven't posted for several weeks which is a problem. I'd like to say I've been really, really busy but that's not exactly what's been happening. Part of the issue, of course, is the COVID-19 lockdown and my reluctance to dare the virus demons. I still have that respect but managed to score some masks from China (but still am staying mostly close to home). Yesterday, though, I decided I needed exercise and so met a friend at Ivy Hill Cemetery in Alexandria. We walked the hills and dales of this peaceful domain. A few others were also walking about but we maintained our proper social distance. Some images found me and I'm posting them here, You would think that the subject matter of a cemetery would be melancholy, but, the setting was serene, peaceful, and a bright spot always seemed to find me.

(Lee Halvorsen) B&W Cemetery Hill Ivy https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/4/its-been-a-long-time Thu, 23 Apr 2020 14:53:29 GMT
Training https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/3/training This image is from outside of the B&O Museum in Baltimore. From a year ago!! It might be that long before I go out again! Or before anybody lets me be in the same crowd as them. I fit the demographic for most of the "high risk" groups in the COVID pandemic. Consequently, I probably will not be going anywhere soon or anywhere where there are large groups of people. Which leaves out Costco, Target, grocery stores, Walmart, and...hmm. I think maybe I'm okay to go out if I go out and NOT use Metro. Which is NOT a good thing, I like Metro, it's very efficient and I like the low cost. I was getting ready to do a "Creativity Class" but I think I will do this free online instead of an in-person class. I am fascinated by trains, perhaps I need to join a group of train nuts!! 

B&O Railroad Museum YardB&O Railroad Museum YardThe yard at the B&O Museum in Baltimore, MD, one of the coolest museums in the regiion.

(Lee Halvorsen) b&o railroad https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/3/training Wed, 11 Mar 2020 21:26:38 GMT
Leap Year! https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/2/leap-year "tis the day to celebrate the dissonance of time with human clocks! And we get a reset, but I heard that the reset is not a complete solution and that periodically we don't have a leap year in the regularly scheduled sequence. But, all that's too much like math for me so...on we go to another place!

I was out yesterday riding the metro to get to NOMA for a meeting. Lots of people since it was rush hour. I imagine if the coronavirus continues its march westward that there won't be quite so many people about. Pretty scary thoughts, especially when you look back at the flu epidemic a hundred years or so ago. I have more thoughts but they border on the political so I will keep my pen quiet. 

On the metro, I think most people prefer to be invisible, just rolling along waiting to get off. Mostly we read, listen to music, listen to books, sleep, zone out. Sometimes, not often, we talk with one another. Mostly about work, methinks. 

Metro UpMetro UpDC Metro

(Lee Halvorsen) metro https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/2/leap-year Sat, 29 Feb 2020 22:07:45 GMT
Clear Skies!!! https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/2/clear-skies At last the rain has stopped and the sun is out in its full glory. And, the temperature dropped into the teens. Which is pretty much normal for this time of the year but still. I think it was ten years ago that Snowmageddon hit! All part of global warming I'm guessing. I was driving on the beltway today and saw huge plumes of white smoke. I turned off at the Van Dorn Street exit to get a closer view of the large smoke stack and its little brother. At one point, I think this was a coal burning power plant but now I'm told, it's morphed into a trash incinerator. Of course, by the time I actually got close to the plant and was able to find a parking place, most of the "smoking" was done and just a slight double stream was all that remained. Still...

Trash incinerator Alexandria, VATrash incinerator Alexandria, VAFrom the metro parking lot a view of the incinerator in western Alexandria City

(Lee Halvorsen) alexandria incinerator smoke https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/2/clear-skies Sat, 15 Feb 2020 18:01:21 GMT
Mountains in the Winter https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/2/mountains-in-the-winter We were in the Shenandoah when we picked up the puppy a couple of weeks ago. Well, not actually in them but in the foothills! The scenery is very cool no matter where you are but one of the challenges is finding a place to park so I can get out of the car and find photos!! The roads are usually very narrow with little to no shoulder. And they are winding so just stopping is not really the smartest thing in the world to do. I guess I could drive into someone's driveway and park but that isn't really polite and in this divisive world, probably not very smart. But I did find this image looking down a small hill back towards the mountains.

Foothills of the ShenandoahsFoothills of the ShenandoahsWInter day in the Foothills of the Shenandoahs

(Lee Halvorsen) foothills sycamore winter https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/2/mountains-in-the-winter Mon, 10 Feb 2020 17:17:12 GMT
My Mustang https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/2/my-mustang In the summer of 1968 I took stock of my life as a college (about-to-be) sophomore and noticed something missing...a car! I'd been a freshman, living in a dorm, and walking to class, in the snow, uphill both ways! I needed a car. Plus, I'd somehow managed to find an apartment off campus and a couple of guys to move in with during the upcoming year. I don't remember what my summer job was that year, it may have been in the meat packing plant, but I know I had some money. But not enough. I found this really cool 1965 Mustang at a home dealership and got my dad to co-sign a loan for $1,600 to buy that car. I had a blast, it wasn't a racing mustang but it had a 289 cubic inch motor with a huge two barrel carburetor and it would go fast. Originally, it was painted burgundy with a black leather interior. One day it was parked in front of the apartment and someone slid (ice and snow) into it and crushed the side. I had it repainted in Chevy Racing Yellow and it just looked fast (and cool). Sadly, I only kept the car until the spring of 1971 when I sold it for $1,200 to put into my brand new Dodge Charger.

Last Thursday, I did a quick walkabout with a friend in the National Inventors Hall of Fame. That's a museum honoring inventors and it's located in the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). The museum isn't part of the PTO but rather a separate non-profit business. One of the displays was two Mustangs, both driver side, but joined in the middle like one car...like a Brit Mustang on the right. The right side was the cockpit like layout of a 2018 Mustang, on the left was the driver's side of a 1965 Mustang, in black. Talk about memory lane, wow, I had some very, very cool times in that car during the two plus years I owned it and most of them came rushing back as I eased into the driver's seat to take this image. The seatbelt was invented and first put on a car in about 1963. The 65 Mustang was one of the first cars in production to have the seatbelt. I can still remember my neighbor across the street, Dan Doty, whose mother had a white convertible 1964 1/2 Mustang. The first model and certainly the first in my hometown.

   1965 Mustang Inventors Hall of Fame1965 Mustang Inventors Hall of Fame1965 Mustang Inventors Hall of Fame in the PTO

(Lee Halvorsen) car museum mustang https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/2/my-mustang Sat, 08 Feb 2020 19:24:56 GMT
My Travel Day https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/2/my-travel-day I packed my virtual bags, pocketed my stock of good will, and headed for the exotic reaches of my neighborhood lake. Hah...that's another way of saying my inner artist screamed at me to get out of the house, open my imagination, and let an image find my camera!! I mounted my trusty steed, Sir Subaru, and headed for the hills, er, lake. It's a cloudy day and the lake's colors were washed out and the scenery was very flat. Plus, no contrasts for impactful B&Ws. Oh no. But then, this little bridge over a teeny creek just sort of called out and that's what you see here. I know I've written about the difference between creek and creek. Hmmm, or is that the difference between "crick" and "creek?" I think this was a crick, I mean, I could jump over the widest part of the stream and so the "creek" test is failed. The rule: if the stream is small enough to jump over, that stream is only a "crick." As in small enough to only challenge a cricket. 

Burke Lake PondBurke Lake PondSmall stream with a bridge that comes from a pond flowing into Burke Lake

(Lee Halvorsen) bridge Burke Lake pond stream Virginia https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/2/my-travel-day Tue, 04 Feb 2020 20:50:57 GMT
Great Falls https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/great-falls The temperatures have been low for the last two or three days. Not as low as where my cousin Henry lives, but in Minnesota, they say it's a dry cold so it's not so bad. Hah! I went with friends to the Virginia side of the Great Falls Park and walked about at dawn. Most of the images I found were the same as on most postcards or brochures so off they went to the recycle bin. I did like this one because of the cresting sunlight and the tree on the left which gives the image some scale. That's one of the problems, this is such a large place that it's tough to see how big the falls and rocks are without someone kayaking or canoeing down the rapids. Oh well. I had fun in the fresh, reasonably mild air.

Great Falls ParkGreat Falls on the PotomacGreat Falls at dawn on the Virginia side

(Lee Halvorsen) falls great potomac rapids river https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/great-falls Wed, 22 Jan 2020 22:05:25 GMT
National Museum of the Marine Corps https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/national-museum-of-the-marine-corps Yesterday I did a walkabout in the National Museum of the Marine Corps. I really liked the place; whoever did the building and the exhibits really did a fine job...no, an excellent job. The building seems large because of the central atrium where the airplanes are on display but the space for the galleries and exhibits isn't huge. However, the way everything is laid out is superb, there are lots of things on display but they are not on top of each other and so you get to appreciate the individual pieces in the context of the campaign, or battle, or war. The docents were extraordinarily helpful. I suggest this place is a great destination whether you're a visitor or especially if you live here! This really does a great job of telling the USMC story as well as the stories of many of its Marines. 

USMC A-4USMC A-4A-4 on display at the USMC Museum

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/national-museum-of-the-marine-corps Tue, 21 Jan 2020 13:14:42 GMT
Martin Luther King, Jr Day https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/martin-luther-king-jr-day He said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"

St Mary's ChurchSt Mary's ChurchSt Mary's Church, Burke, Virginia

(Lee Halvorsen) church https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/martin-luther-king-jr-day Mon, 20 Jan 2020 12:44:12 GMT
Preachin' to the Choir https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/preachin-to-the-choir I do not often find images of birds that I bring home with me. I have not caught "birder fever" and so when I do bring a bird image home, there was something about the birds that made me notice. I was too late on this one, when I first saw this group of birds, which perhaps are cormorants, the one on the highest piling was facing the others and squawking. I thought of church or school or...fill in the blank. By the time I'd found the image on my sensor, I was too late and the moment was gone. But still nearby so I took the image. I wonder if they're happy? Taking a break? Looking for breakfast? Posing?

I don't think I could become a "birder" because of the equipment required for the serious bird watcher/photographer. Some of the lenses cost more than ten grand and they are huge! That means you have to also have a huge tripod, probably a spotting scope, and who knows what else. I was in Huntley Meadows Park a few months ago very early in the morning when the birders are out in force. I smiled when I saw that one of them had an old fashioned pram or baby carriage and inside, not a baby, but a huge, huge lens. I'm glad they do it, birds are cool animals and some have incredible colors but for me, birds are sort of circumstantial, if they're telling me a story, I am eager to bring them home. Just sitting there a couple of thousand feet away...hurray for them!

Birds roostingBirds roostingBirds roosting on the Potomac River


(Lee Halvorsen) birds pilings potomac river https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/preachin-to-the-choir Sun, 19 Jan 2020 11:11:12 GMT
Buddha Exhibit https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/buddha-exhibit The Smithsonian Museum of Asian Art has an exhibit of things, "Buddha." From what I've read and seen (I've been there twice, & I'll return soon), this isn't your "standard" Buddha exhibit but rather a display of Buddhas in the context and culture and geography of Buddhism. That context helped me to understand the how and the methods although I'm still very puzzled by many aspects of the culture assimilation. This exhibit, "Encountering the Buddha" will be in Gallery 22 of the Sackler for another year or so. By looking at the context of the where/who/when you get a better idea of how Buddhism seemed to flow out and up. The three curators were Dr. D. Diamond, the Smithsonian curator of South and Southeastern Asian Art, Robert DeCaroli, an Asian Art History expert, and Rebecca Bloom a Freer Fellow. I found these images in two separate trips to the museum. I'm taking a course from DeCaroli on curating this spring and so I'd expect to spend a lot more time wandering about the Smithsonian.

Encountering the Buddha, Smithsonian Museum of Asian ArtEncountering the Buddha, Smithsonian Museum of Asian ArtEncountering the Buddha, Smithsonian Museum of Asian Art Encountering the Buddha, Smithsonian Museum of Asian ArtEncountering the Buddha, Smithsonian Museum of Asian ArtEncountering the Buddha, Smithsonian Museum of Asian Art Encountering the Buddha, Smithsonian Museum of Asian ArtEncountering the Buddha, Smithsonian Museum of Asian ArtEncountering the Buddha, Smithsonian Museum of Asian Art Encountering the Buddha, Smithsonian Museum of Asian ArtEncountering the Buddha, Smithsonian Museum of Asian ArtEncountering the Buddha, Smithsonian Museum of Asian Art

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/buddha-exhibit Sat, 18 Jan 2020 17:01:21 GMT
Film https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/film I went out briefly yesterday because, well, because it was over 60 degrees...in JANUARY! I had some images I'd taken at Glen Echo Park last week that were still in the camera and I wanted to develop them along with one more roll. I have a tank that does two rolls, that seems like the most efficient use of my time, energy, and chemicals.

I find myself "adjusting" much more when I'm shooting film, and I don't mean adjusting apertures and shutter speeds (altho there is a lot of that), but rather adjust how I am seeing what is in front of me. Sounds silly, but now I'm looking behind me, to the side of me, and lastly to the front. I believe that's because I want to more deliberately put my camera in a position where the "image finding" might be and by habit, I used to only look to the front. This deliberate mode follows into the processing mode since two hours is required to develop and then scan the film. I'm getting better at developing film, not a lot, but some. However, that's not a rabbit hole I really want to go down. I will do film for another week or so, leave it for awhile and probably come back in the summertime for a refocus on being deliberate!

This image is from the balcony at the Glen Echo Park. The other images I'm building from film at in my Projects Gallery.

GlenGlen Echo ParkStanding on the balcony of Glen Echo Park

(Lee Halvorsen) and black white https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/film Thu, 16 Jan 2020 16:37:48 GMT
Haiku - Winter https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/haiku---winter Images run quickly
through my sensor to my mind
and stick to my soul


I wrote this Haiku a couple of weeks ago but couldn't find the proper image. I have now.

Winter Woods GuardiansWinter Woods GuardiansStrong, emotional trees guard the edge of the forest at Glenstone



(Lee Halvorsen) forest glenstone museum woods https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/haiku---winter Wed, 15 Jan 2020 12:34:10 GMT
Haiku https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/haiku Sometimes when I am waiting for an image, my mind wanders to words and I write them down. If I have a pen, paper, phone, whatever. This is one of those times, the words came out as a Haiku. I know the sun is bright, because, well, the sun was bright.

Sunrise at the LakeSunrise at the LakePoem on winter sunrise at Burke Lake, Virginia.


(Lee Halvorsen) Burke Lake Sunrise https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/haiku Sun, 12 Jan 2020 12:25:40 GMT
Film again! Well, just for a bit https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/film-again-well-just-for-a-bit For the past few weeks, I've been treating my digital images with film-like post processing. Then, our oldest daughter gave me a Holga for Christmas and I was inspired to get out with film again. I dragged out all six of my "film" cameras. Two of them used 620 film, one is a 35mm, and three of them are 120mm, including the Holga. Except for the Holga, some haven't been operated in 30-50 years. The 620 film is outrageously expensive so those two went back into the cabinet. I'm not interested in 35mm film so that left me with a Lomography, an old Rolleiflex, and the Holga!!

But then, what to do about developing and printing?? Another outrageous expense. But wait, I do have a flatbed scanner that does film! So, I bought a couple of bottles of chemicals, a tank and film holders, distilled water, and...well, now I was theoretically ready to "minimally darkroom" my film. I've taken four rolls, I developed two. I have a lot to learn. I think the Holga was the best. So far. I'm not up to speed anymore on the Rollei but will practice with that in the next week or so. I'm not going back to film but I think the slow pace and deliberate methods will enhance what I do!

The first three are with the Rollei the last two with the Holga! I had fun!!

Old Town Alexandria VendorOld Town Alexandria VendorI chatted with this vendor during a quick walkabout. We talked about cameras, photography, and the wonder of technology from 50 years ago. Waiting at the MarketWaiting at the MarketDog and master waiting at the edge of the market. Dogs aren't allowed on the plaza. Bread! Bread!Bread! Bread!Lots of super looking bread. Made me hungry!! In the WoodsIn the WoodsPicnic ground after the snow. Holga camera taken in late afternoon, an hour before sunset. In The WoodsIn The WoodsHolga shot late in the day with long shadows, disappearing snow, mild temperatures.


(Lee Halvorsen) B&W https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/film-again-well-just-for-a-bit Sat, 11 Jan 2020 23:26:22 GMT
In The Clouds https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/in-the-clouds A long time ago when I used to fly, I had mixed emotions about flying in and out of clouds, especially if I was flying close to the ground. I was hopefully preoccupied with my gages and my "orientation" so I didn't make a mark on the earth where one was not intended to be. Clouds are, of course, fog and rain and drizzle but normally higher up. Not always so in the mountains...you are driving through precipitation and then, zooooom, you're in the clear. You're in the clear because you're above the rain, above the cloud. And so when you look back, the dreamy cloudscape emotion takes over and you forget about the pounding rain or hail or snow and think only of the puffy, pretty clouds. Until the next time.

This image is looking west after we've gone through several miles of mountain rain. Folks who live in the mountains might not appreciate the beauty because they're constantly immersed but I'm guessing they don't forget the possibility of being too close to the ground in really bad weather. Flying or not, there could be a negative thing.

North Carolina Mountain PassNorth Carolina Mountain PassJust to the west of Asheville. In and out of the clouds.

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/in-the-clouds Thu, 09 Jan 2020 15:27:47 GMT
Rainy Day https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/rainy-day Sometimes the opportunity to enhance the emotion of an image just sort of happens. We were walking on a shopping street in Asheville, gray skies and the rain was light and inconsistent. A woman in a bright raincoat was walking down the street away from me and toward two red awnings and a red umbrella. I thought the matchup might be cool but at that time, no rain. Camera time. Focus at my feet, slow shutter, slight motion. Unbelievably, the two second process ended up with an image I'm happy about. That's one in about two hundred using the same technique!! I need more practice!!

Rainy day in AshevilleRainy Day in AshevilleWalking street in Asheville, NC

(Lee Halvorsen) asheville rain https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/rainy-day Wed, 08 Jan 2020 17:51:17 GMT
Dinner out in Asheville https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/dinner-out-in-asheville After finding the perfect dress, the family gathered and headed out for an early Saturday evening dinner! We like this cool place in west Asheville, Haywood Common. The food is great, the atmosphere perfect and the beer is, of course, quite good, although I'm a big fan of their sangria. They have an awesome mussels recipe that I I must have!! I know I'll try something else on one of the trips but...not yet. Fortunately, I could nibble-sample from anyone at the table who glanced elsewhere!! And an early dinner is really the only option we had since we hadn't made any reservations. A late dinner wasn't really an option since the earliest after 6 was 9:00 pm which is way beyond my nap time. After dinner, we headed to Biltmore which was in the last celebration day of the Christmas Season. 

Some things in Haywood Common caught my eye that were "around the room" and I thought I'd bring some of their images home. I'm really fixated on film looks and so changed the final images so that they had the look of film. I'm also actually going to start film again, the old 120mm type from my brand new Holga camera. Stay tuned!!

Common CoffeeCommon CoffeeCoffee can planter in Haywood Common Restaurant in Asheville, NC Vinyl CornerVinyl CornerRelax to vinyl in in Haywood Common Restaurant in Asheville, NC Retro toysRetro toysToys for kids in Haywood Common Restaurant in Asheville, NC  

(Lee Halvorsen) and images objects retro toys https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/dinner-out-in-asheville Mon, 06 Jan 2020 14:54:24 GMT
Happy New Year https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/happy-new-year Not just another day! But a marker from which I resolve to smile more, create more, and love more!! I hope the same for all of you. The last year was another with challenges and silver linings and we're happy to begin again. Our family will be bringing a puppy into the house at the end of January! The puppy, already named Sunny, and DIane will begin Therapy Dog training shortly after they meet each other. DIane intends to visit chemo centers, hospitals, senior centers, etc., to bring some of the comfort she felt when visited by a Therapy Dog last year when she was going through chemo.

I plan on continuing my creative activities and am investigating whether or not I should begin moderating a class on creativity this spring. I have some examples out in the world that have helped me energize my creativity and I want to share those thoughts as well as my spin on making. The theme will be along the lines of motivating your muse and it's never too late to start creating. Although I'm focusing on photography, I might also include writing...poetry or even short, short stories. Any thoughts?

Stay tuned!!

Mythical Island on Burke LakeMythical Island on Burke LakeImage based on a rainy day photo outing.

Rain TreeRain TreeTree framed by vines during rain at Lake Accotink



(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2020/1/happy-new-year Wed, 01 Jan 2020 15:55:12 GMT
Still of the Day https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/12/still-of-the-day In the morning, the world is sometimes "still." Not moving. Quiet. Waiting. Urban and suburban dwellers don't often experience "still" since even in our quiet neighborhoods you can usually hear the river-like rush of the highway just a couple of miles away. But sometimes, sometimes, there is a perfect alignment of the weather, the wind, the crowds, and my timing and I experience the still usually in one of the lake parks. By contrast, I'm guessing that my cousin Henry, also a photographer, experiences "the still" almost every time he walks outdoors, he lives in the frozen lakelands of Minnesota. Yah. Sure. Youbetcha! (They don't really say that. Well, they might.) 

This image found me on the western shore of Burke Lake. The fog had lifted, the sun was fully above the horizon! A gorgeous time of the day to be out...very, very still.

Lake Accotink at DawnBurke Lake at SunriseThe still of Burke Lake at Sunrise


(Lee Halvorsen) Burke in Lake quiet Sunrise VA https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/12/still-of-the-day Sat, 28 Dec 2019 13:19:07 GMT
Composites https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/12/composites Today is "Festivus" which was started in 1966 by Daniel O'Keefe who just made the word up to celebrate his first date with his future wife. The concept was later put into a book by his son but didn't really get any traction until an episode of Seinfeld. Seinfeld brought the concept into general conversation and suddenly Festivus was a thing with souvenirs, spirit wear, and songs. People are supposed to have fun, be jovial, and just celebrate on Festivus. Sounds like a good deal to me.

I continue to work with composites and this is another example. I've put some DC images, desert and oceans and some stock into this one. It's a little different. Hmmm. Me, too.

Desert CompositeDesert CompositeComposite photo, Joshua tree in the desert overlooking the ocean and Capitol  

(Lee Halvorsen) capitol dc joshua tree https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/12/composites Tue, 24 Dec 2019 02:47:05 GMT
Doc Duresky! https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/12/doc-duresky Steve "Doc" Duresky and I flew F-16 fighters back in the day when the tail numbers started with 00! In fact, the first operational tail number 001, was in our squadron. That was...wait for it, wait for it...thirty-nine years ago!! Ouch. Wow. He and I have kept in touch over the years although we haven't actually seen one another since 1984!!! He is also a poet. He's written poems for artists to accompany their work, including Krista Schumacher in Laguna Beach. He's given me permission to publish his poem, "Monumental Folly" on this site with my piece,"Angst." Doc is from Richmond, VA, so the emotions and images he has of his hometown are vivid and real. Thanks, Doc!!!

                          "Monumental Folly"

History is crucial, but perpsective is the key.

We can't erase the past - or facts - of Davis, Jackson, Lee.

The pain is real - it makes us feel ashamed of decades past

But we can rise above all this, and forge a peace to last!

Those monuments made sense to some 

           - "A source of Southern pride!"

"It's heritage", they all professed -

           - "Respecting those who died".

To some, that's true, but facts remain - 

     They died for their "States' Rights".

The right to beat and hang and rape

      their slaves by day and night.

The Rebel cause - not nobel - but misguided from the start,

Still haunts us with its monuments 

       like knives right through our hearts.

But let us not forget these years - 

       Let's LEARN from them instead!

Don't bury facts, or run from pain

       But face it head to head!

They're monuments to greed and power

       To folly in past days.

But we can make them learning tools 

       for future children's ways.

Perspective is the key for sure, and context gives the clues.

We can't undo the past, but a bright future we can choose!

So take them down!

      Or make them tools to teach us of the past. 

To honor NOT -

       But just to learn how our great Union lasts!

                   Steve Duresky,   12 Aug 17 

AngstAngstComposite image. Lee statue in Richmond. Demonstration in DC. Arlington Cemetery.

(Lee Halvorsen) statues https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/12/doc-duresky Thu, 19 Dec 2019 15:09:44 GMT
Foggy Day https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/12/foggy-day I was potsying around in the house this morning when I looked outside and...wow! Fog in the middle of the day!! Just another weather thingie; freezing temperatures one day and then the 40s the next! And that causes fog which is usually good for photographs. Since the day was half over and that meant the fog would be short-lived I dropped what I was doing and headed to Lake Accotink. Some really fun images seemed to jump out at me and I will post more of them over the next few days.

Lake Accotink is a manmade lake just a few blocks from my house. When these neighborhoods were built, most people didn't care much about drainage or the environment. Consequently, all of the storm and water drainage goes into Lake Accotink which flows to the Potomac and then into the Chesapeake. But, most of the solids that go into the storm drains actually STAY in Lake Accotink, they do NOT go downstream. After a few years the silt builds up so badly that the lake is only a couple of feet deep except at the dam and so to keep the lake, Fairfax County must dredge every few years. The tax base in the county used to be a lot higher than it is now and so dredging wasn't that much of an expense (relatively) but now, it's expensive. A study was completed and the county supervisors decided to keep the lake rather than just letting the silt build up to the point of making the lake a marsh. I like to visit the lake, the dam is cool, the hiking and biking trails are neat, a small marina with paddle boats and canoes is perfect, and today...well, the fog was perfect. Until it started rolling away!

Looking across Lake Accotink as the fog recedesLooking across Lake Accotink as the fog recedesFog receding across Lake Accotink

Overlooking Lake Accotink fogOverlooking Lake Accotink fogLake Accotink fog

(Lee Halvorsen) accotink fog lake https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/12/foggy-day Tue, 17 Dec 2019 20:26:54 GMT
The Day https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/12/the-day The word "Daybreak" implies an awakening, sunshine, new horizons, fresh beginnings, and surging energy! Hmmm. Maybe not all of the time. Sometimes the day breaks quietly with soft edges and distant glows that quell any feelings of energy I might have had. This morning was such a day. The dark slowly changed to grey. I watched the change and sat without moving for quite a while just staring at the trees surrounded by the mist, well, not quite mist, not quite fog, not quite drizzle...I just sat. And stared. Then a thought, perhaps I might have an image here!! Not a great image but certainly one of the sounds of silence.

DaybreakDaybreakDaybreak in our backyard  

(Lee Halvorsen) morning trees https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/12/the-day Sat, 14 Dec 2019 14:07:31 GMT
"Lost Words" https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/11/-lost-words My art was juried into the December Show at The Art League in the Torpedo Factory! I am honored that the juror chose this image which is a little abstract but an actual typewriter I discovered in the Arts District in Asheville, NC. The typewriter was welded to the iron crossbars of a boardwalk railing in front of a row of artists' shops. There was no overhang or protection and so the machine was exposed to all the elements. In my mind, the image is an icon of what may be the loss of the written word in today's world. Or one of technology gone by. Or...who knows. 

"Lost Words""Lost Words""Lost Words" juried into December's Art League Show at the Torpedo Factory


(Lee Halvorsen) art league the https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/11/-lost-words Fri, 29 Nov 2019 16:58:20 GMT
Fantasy Land https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/11/fantasy-land I have avoided writing about politics for over a year. I will continue to do my best to not discuss or rant or bemoan anything on politics. After this post.

I am completely befuddled and alarmed by all the real and supposed crises we are having in America. For instance, our forefathers thought it would be okay to impeach someone, they put it in the Constitution. It's normal, not done often but certainly an intent of the forefathers that it could happen!! And really, the likelihood of trump being convicted is almost zero since no republican dares to switch sides, no matter the issues. They are afraid to lose their power if they piss trump and his cohorts off. 

People on the left are ecstatic about all the bad stuff they are hearing what trump and his people do. But they just can't seem to get it through their heads that much of trump's base has picked a side, the side of stars and bars, and no one and nothing else counts.  trump may be impeached but he probably won't be tried. If he is tried, they will acquit within just a few days.

So what's alarming? To me, what's alarming is the complete disregard for the processes of the constitution. If trump is not re-elected, will he give up the office or claim voting irregularities or some other fact that would allow him to declare martial law? I'm betting that the real crisis will happen then. The impeachment will be over (not guilty), the elections will have taken place and we'll either be in a constitutional crisis (if trump loses and won't leave office) or if he is re-elected the beginnings of a political era not intended by our forefathers but probably welcomed by Putin. The late Senator from West Virginia, Senator Robert Byrd, wanted all of us to carry around a copy of the constitution and read it once in a while to remind us what our forefathers were thinking when they wrote the document.

There is almost nothing trump does that is in the spirit and framework of our foundational documents. And there is nothing that trump's base minds about that at all. They won't care until they come for them, and come for them they will.

Now, I'm neither republican or democrat. The danger to our country by ignoring the constitution is grave. We should talk about this and not shout and shoot.

I'd prefer no comments to this post.

Stairwell in AlexandriaStairwell in AlexandriaStairwell in Alexandria on the docks

(Lee Halvorsen) Alexandria political https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/11/fantasy-land Sun, 24 Nov 2019 22:48:54 GMT
Civil War Tunnel https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/11/civil-war-tunnel Yesterday I took a quick trip to Accotink Park and went into the woods for a quick walkabout. I started with the Civil War tunnel/bridge that's been there for quite a long time. The leaves are a little richer in color here than in most parts of the neighborhood so I had a chance to enjoy the bright colors. The creek was mostly dry but there was a teeny bit flowing. I had a great walk and found many images, this is the first of a few with fall colors.

Accotink Park Civil War StructureAccotink Park Civil War StructureAccotink Park Civil War Tunnel/Bridge

(Lee Halvorsen) bridge civil tunnel war https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/11/civil-war-tunnel Mon, 18 Nov 2019 19:08:29 GMT
Night Light Painting https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/11/night-light-painting Yesterday Diane and I went to a talk by Frank Hallam Day at the Katzen Arts Center Museum. His exhibit "Dark World" is available until December 15 at the Katzen. Frank discussed his images from both a technical perspective as well as the context of where/when/why. All of his imagery is done at night, many of them are done with the use of flashlights on long exposures. He has a "painterly" approach, that is, he paints the light on those images he uses flashlights and he uses photoshop to enhance individual elements of each image. As he says, he is not doing photographic journalism.

Diane suggested that I try the technique when we got home and so I did! The first thing I did was to call the neighbors and tell them that I'd be walking about flashing lights onto their trees! I did not get the effect that I was hoping for but I did get the idea. I think I will try this again but with different lights and lenses. I had fun and it wasn't too cold. This is a 15 second exposure so you can see star trails and you can actually see the strobes of an airliner on the left side of the image. I could have eliminated the jet as a distraction but chose to leave the track in because I think the track is cool.

Night shot in the drivewayNight shot in the drivewayIn the driveway with a flashlight  

(Lee Halvorsen) light night painting trees https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/11/night-light-painting Sun, 17 Nov 2019 12:23:50 GMT
The Cold Is Here https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/11/the-cold-is-here Last night the temperature was in the 20s. That's cold; I don't care who or where you are...that's cold. The frigid winds had me thinking about last summer which seemed to pass at different paces, some days were ferociously fast, others were tediously slow. One summer evening I was at National Harbor enjoying the warm evening with lots of other folks. I am pretty sure there aren't many out there strolling around right now. But I do like the holiday season so there is a silver lining. 

National Harbor in summerNational Harbor in the SummertimeNational Harbor Ferris Wheel in the Summer

(Lee Halvorsen) harbor national https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/11/the-cold-is-here Wed, 13 Nov 2019 11:41:12 GMT
The Cold is Coming https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/11/the-cold-is-coming I found this image not too long ago in Old Town. By this evening, those flowers will be sagging or gone and I'm guessing that walking shorts will be just as scarce. Our forecast is for sub-freezing weather for one or more days. Now I know that you South Dakota and Minnesota folks are not too sympathetic since you're probably already ice fishing, but out here in the warmer world, thirty-two degrees is at the extreme of our comfort zone. Of course, this is when the lakes and rivers start to "steam" and so I'll probably bundle up and toddy down to the water with my camera! Maybe.

Old Town AlexandriaOld Town AlexandriaOld Town Alexandria, ever vigilant!

(Lee Halvorsen) alexandria puppy https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/11/the-cold-is-coming Tue, 12 Nov 2019 12:55:33 GMT
Katzen https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/11/katzen I was at the Katzen Arts Center at American University today. Really cool exhibits with an incredible artistic variety. I admire this place because their exhibits generate excitement through the diversity and edge that you don't often get to see in galleries and art centers in the DMV. There are several exhibits of special note but I spent much of my time in "Fair is Foul & Foul is Fair" and "Radical Link: A New Community of Women, 1855-2020." The image below is from the latter.

I'm writing a piece about art centers and galleries in the DMV which I'll publish in a few weeks. So far, the Katzen is the bomb! Can I say that? Maybe not, but it's really a cool place and fun to visit!


KatzenKatzen Arts CenterMichal Heiman's exhibit is captivating.

(Lee Halvorsen) katzen https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/11/katzen Mon, 11 Nov 2019 01:32:01 GMT
Changing https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/11/changing Inevitably winter begins its march into our lives. For some, think South Dakota-ish, that change can be harsh and dangerous. For us here in the greater DMV, things aren't so hard but seeing the green turn to gray is kind of sad. Or not. I actually enjoy seeing the outlines of the trees, the glimmer of broken ice on ponds, and the lack of snakes and ticks in the woods!!! I found this image just a few days ago during a walkabout in Huntley Meadows park. The recent rains have replenished the water, all the animals are happy and busy as they prepare for winter. 


Huntley Meadows Park reflectionsHuntley Meadows ReflectionTrees reflected in the pond as the sun begins to set

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/11/changing Sun, 10 Nov 2019 12:49:01 GMT
Chilly Weather https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/11/chilly-weather The weather has definitely taken a turn and I'm pretty sure that winter is right around the corner. On the plus side, snakes are looking for a place to hide out for a few months and the woods will be a much safer place. Same with ticks!!! On the negative side, there is a possibility that some unusual thing will compel me to leave the house on a day when only crazy people are out driving and careening through the ice and snow. And one of those crazies will be me. Sigh. But the leaves are falling rapidly, not much color in the leaves this year but I'm thinking that could be a trend.

I love the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and this is a high key image from below. I've been all over the Virginia side of the bridge including walking on top to the middle of the Potomac. Perhaps on a nice day this fall I'll drive over to the Maryland side and do a walkabout there. Of course, Marylanders will argue that Maryland actually starts at the Virginia shoreline and they're right, so the Virginia side of the bridge is all landbound. Ah well. A bridge that's not too far.

Woodrow Wilson BridgeWoodrow Wilson BridgeWoodrow Wilson Bridge from the Virginia shoreline on the north side

(Lee Halvorsen) bridge high key https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/11/chilly-weather Fri, 08 Nov 2019 23:10:01 GMT
KEEN!! https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/10/keen KEEN!!!  Kids Enjoy Exercise Now!! During the Visual Poetry show last month I met a woman who introduced me to the KEEN Greater DC-Baltimore organization. This is an extraordinary group whose mission is to empower severely disabled kids and young adults with exercise, activity, and music! To help with their fundraising, I donated my "Bits of Time" book of images and poems to their KEENFest celebration this weekend. Some of my images and poems will be available at the event as well as online (I think online, I'm not 100% sure). Extra dollars are tough, I know, but if you have any, please consider KEEN! It certainly doesn't have to be by bidding on my awesome images, any contribution will help!! Thanks!!!!!!!

(Lee Halvorsen) baltimore clock tower https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/10/keen Tue, 29 Oct 2019 23:06:05 GMT
My Image in November Art League https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/10/my-image-in-november-art-league I'm honored to have one of my images juried into The Torpedo Factory's The Art League for November 2019. The image, entitled "I Am Technology #2" was taken in the Baltimore Industry Museum and is an old telephone switchboard. I am old enough to remember when operators used to sit in cramped quarters and literally connect one line to another. In fact, the old telephone building in my home town is still there. I remember walking by the building's open door on the lower floor, seeing all of the people (mostly women) plugging and unplugging lines to connect people from far, far away.

I appreciate The Art League's support for local artists and the opportunity to participate in the community.

And for those of you who arrived here from my email blast which still had the Visual Poetry image, sorry for the older event, although I hope you will keep Glen Echo and Photoworks in mind when you are thinking of the arts. 

I Am Technology #2Baltimore Museum of Industry

(Lee Halvorsen) industrial museum switchboard https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/10/my-image-in-november-art-league Mon, 28 Oct 2019 13:45:22 GMT
Umbrella Parade https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/10/umbrella-parade I was leaving Photoworks in Glen Echo right during a rather significant rainstorm. Evidently, other activities at the Park were also finishing. I joined what seemed like a parade of umbrellas. Sadly I didn't have a camera but was able to fumble my iPhone out and get this snap. Gentle rainfall, laughing kids, photo op...doesn't get much better.

Rain Storm at Glen Echo ParkRain Storm at Glen Echo ParkRain Storm at Glen Echo Park

(Lee Halvorsen) echo glen park rainstorm umbrella https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/10/umbrella-parade Sun, 20 Oct 2019 18:03:20 GMT
Shattered Windshields, Shattered Lives https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/10/shattered-windshields-shattered-lives Fortunately, not for me. Well, not in 50 years. Fifty years ago my fraternity brother and best friend Pat Condon was killed in a car accident that shouldn't have happened. I visited an auto salvage yard today because of the amazing photo opportunities but couldn't get that crazy Irishman out of my head. Rest in Peace Brother Pat. Drive safely all my children.

Shattered Windshield in auto salvage yardShattered Windshield in auto salvage yardShattered Windshield in auto salvage yard

(Lee Halvorsen) accident windshield https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/10/shattered-windshields-shattered-lives Mon, 14 Oct 2019 21:51:37 GMT
Weekend Walkabout https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/10/weekend-walkabout The last three days have been busy. I went to several sessions in the Fall For The Book Festival and met poets, novelists, reporters and...well, many people. I did have some time on Saturday morning for a walkabout in Old Town and in Huntley Meadows Park. I was surprised by the flooding in Old Town, the water had been half way up the 100 block of King Street. By the time I arrived the water had receded to just above Union Street which did not stop the bikers from biking. Then I went to Huntley Meadows...a wetlands. But not so wet right now. The drought we are experiencing is significant which seems opposite of the flooding in Old Town. But I think that flooding was tidal based because no rain has fallen in days if not weeks. It's all a mystery, probably something to do with the moon.

The first image is from Old Town, the remainder are from Huntley Meadows.

Biker going through flood on King StreetBiker going through flood on King StreetBiker going through flood on King Street

Huntley Meadows ParkHuntley Meadows ParkHuntley Meadows Park, if you look closely you can see the red leaves in the distance. Most leaves were just turning plain brown and then falling.

Signs of FallSigns of FallI had to search for leaves on trees that had actual fall colors. Most were just brown. I found this web covered seed pod plant in front of a golden backdrop.

Little Water in the WetlandsLittle Water in the WetlandsMost of the water was gone, puddles and ponds in low spots. Mud islands in what is normally the big "lake-like" part of the wetlands.

(Lee Halvorsen) Alexandria Drought flooding. Huntley Meadows Park https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/10/weekend-walkabout Sun, 13 Oct 2019 10:46:05 GMT
Leesylvania State Park https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/10/leesylvania-state-park I discovered this park just yesterday; right under my nose and I'd somehow missed it!! It's a huge place with lots of parking for cars and cars with boat trailers! Paved roads, paved paths, visitor centers, BEACHES, levees, fishing piers, hiking trails, bridges, and much more. And of course, I like the name. It sits on the Potomac not too far north of Marine Corps Base Quantico. I found many images I like but this railroad bridge draws me in.

Railroad Bridge at Leesylvania State ParkRailroad Bridge at Leesylvania State ParkRailroad Bridge at Leesylvania State Park

(Lee Halvorsen) bridge leesylvania https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/10/leesylvania-state-park Thu, 10 Oct 2019 12:55:19 GMT
Washington DC Mural https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/10/washington-dc-mural A few days ago I was meandering through the U Street area with friends. It was morning time, cloudy, not many people. The murals in this area are noteworthy and that word doesn't do them justice. U Street is changing, probably gentrification edging out the edgy. I don't know. When I see things like this I immediately head down the rabbit hole of "Who made this? Who asked for it to me made? Who owns it now? Why would people deface it?" But in the end, it doesn't make any difference, it's the art, it's there, I enjoyed being with it for even just the few minutes. I hope it lasts.

Washington DC. U Street muralWashington DC. U Street muralAlley corner in Washington DC. U Street mural

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/10/washington-dc-mural Wed, 09 Oct 2019 12:13:28 GMT
Writing - A (Very) Short Story https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/10/writing We were in Asheville on Sunday.  I found this old typewriter attached to an outside railing on the deck of a brewery in the Arts District. All sorts of things came to mind. Coincidentally, I had been asked to write a third person short story that covered passage of ten years. Here they are:



They stood hand-in-hand on the low peak. The rising sun had transformed the sweeping vista of ice and snow before them into a sparkling field of diamonds. This glacier view was the highlight of their honeymoon adventure and they vowed to return to this spot every year to celebrate the majesty of nature and the endurance of the earth as a symbol of their relationship.

Unfailingly, they’d returned to the same peak each year. When their firstborn was four, the sunrise wasn’t all sparkle. The few clouds in the morning sky couldn’t soften the harsh peak that had erupted like a rocket through the pristine snowscape. The rip in the texture of the land was painful and the child didn’t understand its parent’s sadness.

On their tenth anniversary, the two of them walked more slowly than usual and explained to their two children what things had been like just ten years ago. The morning sun was still behind the mountains as they slowly made their way up the familiar path that would take them to their vantage point. They got to the very top just as the sun’s brilliance erupted on the expanse below them, but now, no diamonds, no sparkle, no snow, no ice. Rather, shards of ancient volcanic rock all standing at attention, silent monuments to nature’s wonder.


Old Typewriter Wasting Away in AshevilleOld Typewriter Wasting Away in AshevilleOld Typewriter Wasting Away in Asheville (sounds like a country song)

(Lee Halvorsen) asheville short story typewriter https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/10/writing Tue, 08 Oct 2019 20:44:39 GMT
Days of Two https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/9/days-of-two In recent months, two of my friend's life partners were swiftly taken by cancer. I found, well, I still find that difficult to process. "A parallel universe," one of them said. I cannot imagine, I really cannot. I was studying a poem by Mirza Ghalib, a 19th century Urdu & Persian poet; one of his lines stood out...I used it for the opening and closing lines of a poem that came to me about such a loss. I've embedded the poem into one of my images.

Poem, "Days of Two"Poem, "Days of Two"A poem about joy and loss.

(Lee Halvorsen) loss Poem https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/9/days-of-two Tue, 17 Sep 2019 14:47:04 GMT
Haiku - Vietnam Wall https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/9/haiku---vietnam-wall I'm from a small town in South Dakota where lots of "stuff" happens and not all of the stuff is good. I did not go to Vietnam, by the time I was out of pilot training, the war was pretty much winding down. But many of my high school classmates went and some did not return. Too many did not return. I was asked to write a "Haiku" in my writing class...this is it.

Vietnam Wall HaikuVietnam Wall HaikuVietnam Wall Haiku  

(Lee Halvorsen) dc poetry vietnam wall washington https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/9/haiku---vietnam-wall Mon, 16 Sep 2019 10:03:13 GMT
Fall is here...well, almost https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/9/fall-is-here-well-almost My muse is on vacation. I’m sure she’s in a place with no snakes, fine beer, and superb seafood. Until she returns and brings my renewed sense of inspiration, I will experiment with concepts and techniques and procedures and protocols just, well, new things. Yesterday I went to the newly constructed boardwalk at Neabsco Creek . The boardwalk is quite extraordinary! The creek is actually wetlands that feed the Potomac and is part of the Potomac National Heritage trail. I was impressed with the boardwalk…one was literally in the midst of this awesome wetlands without actually being in them and destroying them. I’m sure that some might argue that the boardwalk itself is damaging but the balance of use and beauty is quite well done in this place.

Since my muse has abandoned me and I have nothing creative to show for my outing, I dared to add artistic elements to my images (note the “fence” which is actually the walkway in both images). A small homage to the fall season as well as a thumb on the nose to my muse!

Winter BridgeWinter BridgeWinter Bridge is a folk art composite that includes sculpted images from The Plains, Virginia, and the walkway from Neabsco Boardwalk.

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/9/fall-is-here-well-almost Mon, 02 Sep 2019 23:36:47 GMT
Coffee https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/8/coffee I admit that of all the drinks, libations, mixtures, and liquids I've tried, coffee is my most exquisitely favored...and flavored. I imagine the land on which the plants are growing and the farmers picking the beans. I try to buy only Fair Trade beans from small businesses and my go-to place is Cervantes Coffee in Springfield way south, down by Costco and Lorton. They buy beans from all over, mostly Fair Trade, and roast them on the premises. They have a casual seating area with easy chairs, tables, and a coffee bar so people off come to enjoy their coffee, visit, study, think...whatever. The place is out-of-the-way and so isn't like the ubiquitous Starbucks filled with resume writers. No, this is just a casual gathering place with really, really good coffee and friendly baristas. This is a view of their roasting machine.

Cervantes Coffee RoasterCervantes Coffee RoasterCervantes Coffee Roaster

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/8/coffee Tue, 27 Aug 2019 09:44:40 GMT
Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/8/kenilworth-park-and-aquatic-gardens Some of my fellow photographers have been braving the heat and walking about in Kenilworth Park. I have not joined them, mostly because of the heat and my somewhat fragile condition (O woe is me!). Since my surgery a week ago has also limited my excursions, I took a trip in the Wayback Machine to see when it was that I last visited Kenilworth, and last visited was also the first visited. Turns out I was there in July 2017! My how time flies. The Park and Gardens have a lot to offer but most people go there to see the Lotus flowers. I converted the image below to emphasize the contrasts and tones of the aquatic nature of the plants. What I didn't see until now was that the most interesting part of this image is that the little girl is only wearing one shoe.

Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens, Lotus FlowersKenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens, Lotus FlowersKenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens, Lotus Flowers

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/8/kenilworth-park-and-aquatic-gardens Wed, 21 Aug 2019 10:16:53 GMT
Save The Date- September 6 at 6 pm!! https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/8/save-the-date--september-6-at-6-pm I am one of fourteen Photoworks photographers exhibiting in the Popcorn Gallery during the weekends of September. The opening reception is on September 6 beginning at 6 ending at 8. The same evening, ALL of the galleries will be open for Glen Echo's Art walk. My images and poems will be on display and during the opening reception, a DC poet, E. Ethelbert Miller, will be doing a reading. Popcorn gallery is open Saturdays and Sundays from 11-6, well, except for the reception which is a Friday!! Come on down!

The promo reads:

Fourteen photographers challenge their vision and step out of their medium to explore images captured through the lens and words that illuminate ideas. Come meet photographers and poets and immerse yourself in two creative art forms. Sit, write, reflect, and share your thoughts.

The image below is a promotional image and will not be in the show but may be available as a poster.

Visual Poetry PromoVisual Poetry PromoVisual Poetry Promo

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/8/save-the-date--september-6-at-6-pm Thu, 08 Aug 2019 10:57:58 GMT
"Coming Home" https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/8/-coming-home I've been working on artistic composites as the summer wears on. This image was inspired by tall ships including the USCG Cutter Eagle as well as the Providence that I've published in previous posts. The image is a composite of several photos, the final product is a product of my imagination.

"Coming Home""Coming Home""Coming Home"

(Lee Halvorsen) ship storm waves https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/8/-coming-home Wed, 07 Aug 2019 01:14:56 GMT
The Tall Ship "Providence" https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/8/the-tall-ship-providence Providence FIrst MateProvidence FIrst MateProvidence FIrst Mate Gently bobbing up and down dockside in Alexandria, Virginia is the tall ship Providence! I was at Jones Point Park under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge this morning and saw the tall masts in the distance. So off I went. The Providence was built in 1976 and is a replica of The Katy, a ship built in Providence Rhode Island in the 18th century. Providence was built a little differently however and isn't equipped to carry people for long distances (no bunks). The ship is meant for people like you and me to crawl around and see what a 1700s ship was like (except no bunks), and for people to rent river cruises, sailing experiences, etc. The sails are not machine operated, they are people operated. And some "people" have to climb up these VERY high yardarms. I talked with the ship's First Mate who was painting the rails, she is local, from Baltimore! The Captain of Providence is also a woman! They aren't open for the public yet except to walk up and ask questions about the history of the ships and tall ships in general. Check their website for when they will be open!

Tall Ship Providence in Alexandria, VirginiaTall Ship Providence in Alexandria, VirginiaTall Ship Providence in Alexandria, Virginia



(Lee Halvorsen) providence ship tall https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/8/the-tall-ship-providence Sat, 03 Aug 2019 19:22:50 GMT
Freedom https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/7/freedom This image has been juried into the Art League's September show at the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria where it's available for sale in an 11x14 frame. I haven't been outdoors much for the last several weeks. I'm using the opportunity to work on some compositing techniques and to create a large 11"x14" handmade book for a show in Photoworks at Glen Echo Park, Maryland this fall. More information on that in a a couple of weeks.

The image is entitled, "Freedom".

"Freedom""Freedom"A composition of war memorials in the greater DC area.

(Lee Halvorsen) dc memorials war https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/7/freedom Wed, 31 Jul 2019 11:17:12 GMT
Little Seneca Lake https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/7/little-seneca-lake Early last week I actually went out in the heat; a friend and I drove to Little Seneca Lake near Gaithersburg, MD. This place is another one of those suburban parks that is well hidden and a real "Wow" when you get there. It's a relatively large lake, >500 acres with several Maryland Park facilities. They apparently have boats and stuff to rent as well as water and worms. When we arrived, summer camp kids were fishing from the shore and dock with a great amount of enthusiasm, which I'm guessing the fish were also enjoying since I didn't see any sign of kids actually catching a fish. There are many trails and paths around the lake, or at least we think there probably are since we only went a short bit along the shoreline. The temperature wasn't awful, the humidity wasn't either but both were high. One part of a road had collapsed into the lake creating a light, latte like color in the water on the ck. On the other side of the road was a lone tree in the water, the last tree standing on what was probably once shoreline.

Little Seneca LakeStanding tall at Little Seneca LakeLone tree dying in Little Seneca Lake, Gaithersburg, Maryland


Three Dead TreesThree Dead TreesThree Dead Trees in Little Seneca Lake, Maryland

(Lee Halvorsen) lake maryland park trees https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/7/little-seneca-lake Sun, 14 Jul 2019 11:34:00 GMT
Heat...summer is here at last. I still miss winter!! https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/6/heat-summer-is-here-at-last-i-still-miss-winter I dropped Kyle off at work today and since I was in the neighborhood I stopped at Mount Vernon. I hadn't been in several years and was surprised at how many new "things" exist on the grounds. Probably the most significant is the "Visitors Center" which is a relatively large building but well designed so that it blends into everything. I walked around for about an hour but did not go into the house. It was hot and humid. Admittedly, the mid-80s isn't hot for this part of the world but for this part of me, it was plenty hot. And this poor blacksmith, wow. He was really hot.

BlacksmithMount Vernon BlacksmithThey use original design hardware for the restoration work at Washington's home. This man is fashioning hooks from iron. I enjoyed watching him!

Mount Vernon shed overlooking the Potomac behind the big houseMount Vernon shed overlooking the Potomac behind the big houseMount Vernon shed overlooking the Potomac behind the big house

(Lee Halvorsen) Blacksmith https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/6/heat-summer-is-here-at-last-i-still-miss-winter Thu, 20 Jun 2019 18:25:11 GMT
Sands of Time https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/6/sands-of-time I've decided that I need lots of practice with my processing skills and created this composite of Kelsey entitled, "Sands of Time." As we pause to celebrate the day and the ideals, hopes, and passions of fatherhood, it dawned on me (again) just how quickly the days go by and how sometimes I used to take those days for granted. I admit that I don't do so anymore and try to immerse myself in as many moments and experiences as possible. And the best of those are with family.

Composite Photo of KelseySands of TimeComposite Photo of Kelsey

(Lee Halvorsen) composite family https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/6/sands-of-time Sun, 16 Jun 2019 17:59:38 GMT
Frederick, Maryland https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/6/frederick-maryland Diane and I did a quick walkabout in and about Frederick yesterday. The weather was truly magnificent, about 70 degrees, light breeze, puffy clouds...just awesome. We visited three covered wooden bridges (covers were wood, not floor) north of town and then went into town to explore the shops and eateries. We had fun! We had to beat rush hour...which we didn't do because after all, it's Friday, and on Friday everyone leaves work at the same time. Normally, they sort of leave in shifts but on Friday, everyone wants out at 5-ish. We had fun. And I found some images.

Thurmont, MDThurmont, MDCovered Bridge outside of Thurmont, MD  

(Lee Halvorsen) bridge maryland https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/6/frederick-maryland Sat, 15 Jun 2019 21:02:42 GMT
Hillwood https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/6/hillwood I went to Hillwood in DC today to see a photo exhibit they have during June. Bad news, members only today in the exhibit so I walked around the mansion and grounds instead. Hard to imagine having that much money. Hillwood was the home of Margaret Merriweather Post. Well, she lived in DC a couple of months in the spring and then a couple of months in the fall. She had money. And some of the houses around are like hers...except the land. The grounds are 25 acres which is insane!! This image is one of the falls in the Japanese Gardens.

Hillwood Museum, Japanese FallsHillwood Museum, Japanese FallsHillwood Museum, Japanese Falls

(Lee Halvorsen) fals hillwood museum https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/6/hillwood Fri, 07 Jun 2019 18:04:37 GMT
Changing D.C. https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/6/changing-d-c A couple of weeks ago I did a very, very short walkabout on L'Enfant Plaza. Most of the buildings in that area are what my architect friend calls "boring." I posit that he's correct, most developers are not trying to make an artistic statement with their buildings. In DC if it's a government building, the contract probably went to the lowest bidder and that normally translates to ironclad minimalism. With the exception of the new International Spy Museum, the buildings in the L'Enfant area are mostly flat faced with little decoration. It is a very walkable area though and it's possible to walk all the way to the waterfront where the buildings are new and mostly cool.

Washington, D.C. L'Enfant Plaza areaWashington, D.C. L'Enfant Plaza areaWashington, D.C. L'Enfant Plaza area

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/6/changing-d-c Thu, 06 Jun 2019 11:11:06 GMT
Old Town Alexandria Waterfront https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/6/old-town-alexandria-waterfront I am revising my website (this one!) and hope to be complete by the end of June. As part of that effort I'm also going through my images (again) deleting those that don't have impact as I quickly review each (way over 100k). This image from the docks of Old Town leapt out at me during the summer of 2012, oh...so long ago. That evening was warm but pleasant; flying bugs everywhere as was the laughter and buzz of people enjoying relief from the daytime heat. Vendors were on the dock quickly turning out works of art for tourists and locals. Just a fun evening too quickly gone except for the electrons resting in my camera. My feeling that evening was very "Saturday Evening Post"-like and I've emphasized that emotion in this image.

Waterfront in Old Town Alexandria, VAWaterfront in Old Town Alexandria, VAArtist on the Waterfront in Old Town Alexandria, VA


(Lee Halvorsen) alexandria artists waterfront https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/6/old-town-alexandria-waterfront Tue, 04 Jun 2019 11:07:54 GMT
The Art League at The Torpedo Factory https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/6/the-art-league-at-the-torpedo-factory One of my images will be hanging in the Art League at The Torpedo Factory during June. I've previously posted the image but will post again. This was taken spring 2019 at Burke Lake, VA. I'm also competing with more Burke Lake images in the PhotoWorks "Photo Slam" at Busboys and Poets (14th and V Streets, NW) this Sunday, June 9 from 7 to 9. Come on down and hear my images get shredded! Hah, it will be fun.
Burke LakeBurke Lake PathSpringtime


(Lee Halvorsen) forest lake path https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/6/the-art-league-at-the-torpedo-factory Mon, 03 Jun 2019 10:44:53 GMT
Another Poem! https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/6/another-poem My allergies have been awesomely horrible this week, actually for two weeks. I haven't been outside except for baseball and doctors. I lead a sheltered life! Hah. With all this time indoors and not outside shooting, my mind begins to wander hither and yon and landed in the 60s & 70s! That kicked off all sorts of memories and thoughts and ended (so far) with this poem from those days and an image from a couple of years ago on The Mall.

(Lee Halvorsen) Poem relationships https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/6/another-poem Sat, 01 Jun 2019 11:14:32 GMT
Imagination! Lake Byron? Or... https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/5/imagination-lake-byron-or Back when I was a lad, sometime when Princess phones were all-the-thing, teens used to go "parking" with their significant others in remote places outside of town! I remember places like Lake Byron, Pearl Creek, and many wooded roads that seemed so far away from civilization. And, BTW, there are NOT so many wooded places around my old home town, at least not then. So when I stumbled across this old vehicle far from any roads in the middle of a suburban forest my memories fired up my imagination! I've posted shots of this old Willys before but stumbled across the image again today. Ah...memories! Ah...imagination! Did some teens get stuck? Is it haunted? 

Suburban ForestSuburban ForestSuburban Forest

(Lee Halvorsen) car forest suburbs https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/5/imagination-lake-byron-or Wed, 29 May 2019 13:21:17 GMT
Earthquake - A poem https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/5/dewey---a-poem A memory popped up and so did this poem:

Mountain RiverMountain RiverCanyon on a Mountain River




I sat on the floor next to my grandfather

as he lay twitching and shaking from the

brain bleed that would quickly

take his life just moments later.


All that I’d learned about love and life

seemed to fan out before my 14-year-old eyes

as I watched him die, wanting to do something.

Terrified that I didn’t know what.


Then he was gone.

I was certain the world would

pause or salute or shed a tear.

But nothing slowed;

Few noticed.


Nothing changed.


Except me.



(Lee Halvorsen) death poem https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/5/dewey---a-poem Sat, 11 May 2019 17:38:06 GMT
Days Gone By https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/5/days-gone-by I appreciate the past, a lot! I also appreciate what might happen in my life tomorrow and the next day! But most of all, I appreciate today and what's happening around me right now! One of the things that I enjoy doing, however, is poking about around in yesterday's remains, the embers of my and someone else's memories. I read and hear about the "Good Old Days" but I know from experience that the good old days are usually not always so good. Polio. Slavery. The Plague. Tyranny. Well, you get my drift.

This is an image of an old coal-fired power plant that sits pretty much right in the middle of a suburban area between Alexandria City and Crystal City. The plant burned about 3,000 tons, that's 6 MILLION pounds, of coal per day before closing in September 2012 because natural gas was a cheaper energy source. The company has a lease that will go almost to the end of this century and is under no obligation to do anything other than try to clean up the residual toxins. I admire the structure's strengths, lines, its brooding power. That's today. I do not think I would have been such an admirer when tons of pollutants were projected into the air and the water. Probably.

Closed GenOn Plant in Alexandria, VAClosed GenOn Plant in Alexandria, VAClosed GenOn Plant in Alexandria, VA

(Lee Halvorsen) building closed power https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/5/days-gone-by Thu, 09 May 2019 14:36:26 GMT
I Miss Winter https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/5/i-miss-winter Green, green, green...everywhere! Sometimes I miss the non-green stuff but then I remember the cold and wet. I wish I didn't have allergies and I wish snakes would move south to Alabama. But, I have learned that all wishes cannot be granted. I've spent a fair amount of time inside which is good for the allergies and snake-a-phobia but not too good for the image collection. And during this time of the year we have a little moisture in the air which isn't good for my camera. Sigh, whine, whine, whine. This is an image from Huntley Meadows back a few weeks when the snakes were saving up their energy to come at me this spring. But wait, it's not all about me!

Huntley Meadows WetlandsHuntley Meadows WetlandsHuntley Meadows Wetlands

(Lee Halvorsen) huntley park wetlands https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/5/i-miss-winter Sat, 04 May 2019 23:36:35 GMT
Spring https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/4/spring One of the more interesting parts of the waterfront and National Harbor is the pier that has a ferris wheel with large gondola carriers instead of the open seats of days-gone-by. This is a small gondola carriage, though, not like the one in London, or so I'm told. I'm guessing that the developers would have loved to put in a giant wheel like London's but since National Airport is right across the river, I'm thinking that wasn't even floated to the zoning commission. As the number of water taxis increases and the entire waterfront of DC and Virginia is explosively expanding, I'd imagine that this place will be packed in the summer. The image is from a couple of weeks ago; the sky was almost clear, a few wispy clouds. The image reflects my dizzying view of heights. I have a relatively significant "dislike" of heights and looking back I wonder how my mind reconciled that to being a fighter pilot. Didn't seem a problem at the time.

Ferris Wheel at National HarborFerris Wheel at National HarborFerris Wheel at National Harbor


(Lee Halvorsen) Ferris Wheel https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/4/spring Sat, 20 Apr 2019 11:51:53 GMT
The Farm https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/4/the-farm Certainly not my farm, but a farm and National Park. I took a break yesterday and drove to Oxon Hill Cove Park and farm. This is really not far away at all...as the crow flies. It's just over the bridge in Maryland so to get there, one needs to get on the beltway with a few hundred thousand of your closest friends, accelerate to either 70+ or decelerate to 20, and hope for no closures!! It's only twelve miles but it took me 45 minutes. Oh well. The farm is literally right off the beltway just south of Blue Plains Water and the DC/Maryland line. The governor of Maryland wants the federal government to trade it to Maryland so a football stadium (Redskins) can be built there. I think there are probably better places for a stadium.

Barns and sheds at Oxon Hill FarmBarns and sheds at Oxon Hill FarmBarns and sheds at Oxon Hill Farm

(Lee Halvorsen) farm maryland park https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/4/the-farm Fri, 19 Apr 2019 10:40:47 GMT
So Many Books, So Little Time https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/4/so-many-books-so-little-time Libraries and bookstores are centers of gravity for me. I could and do spend hours absorbing the smells, turning the pages, sneaking quick peeks at the content, comparing covers, searching for treasures, etc., but alas, there are so many! When I was in the military, I collected books and hauled them from station to station thinking I'd build myself a library one day into which I would retire. That didn't quite work out. At some point I had over 7,000 pounds of book boxes, there was little room in the house, and, I'd run out of shelving. An Arlington County library was the beneficiary of two decades of collecting. Books are an addiction and a passion.  I'm okay with that...most of the time.

I enjoy reading the books of course, but I also enjoy imagining what the authors were thinking when they wrote their books. Was writing fun? Did the ideas come from completely within? Were they inspired by someone or something? Did they write the book because there was a deadline? Passionate about something? Bored? Depressed? Terrified? 

The image is from Capitol Hills Books which is close to the Eastern Market in DC. Tens of thousands of books, thousands of subjects. A wonderful rabbit hole!

I may need more books.

Capitol Hill Books near Eastern Market in DCCapitol Hill BooksCapitol Hill Books near Eastern Market in DC



(Lee Halvorsen) books dc https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/4/so-many-books-so-little-time Thu, 18 Apr 2019 12:27:23 GMT
Spring Time https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/4/spring-time I have been distracted for a bit with a myriad of issues and so haven't posted in several weeks...well, on this blog. I have on the Things I Notice blog. I went out yesterday in the rain for just a short while, my camera does NOT like the rain as much as I do. The lake was humid and sultry but with the hushed overtones of spring. So rain or not, my camera worked away. A small railroad memorializes the Burke Station in Burke Lake Park which is surrounded by miles of trails in the shoreside forest.

Rainy day at Burke LakeRainy day at Burke LakeRainy day at Burke Lake

Burke Station in the woodsBurke Station in the woodsBurke Station in the woods


(Lee Halvorsen) burke lake train https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/4/spring-time Sat, 13 Apr 2019 19:11:31 GMT
Potomac River, Lock 7 https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/2/potomac I was in Glen Echo Park last Saturday and stopped at Lock 7. The Potomac was fierce and high and so walking along the shore was difficult at best. Since I had limited time I just shot from the little inlet just down from the Lock. I adjusted the tones and sharpness of the image to reflect my mood.

Potomac RiverPotomac RiverPotomac River near Lock 7 of the C&O Canal

(Lee Halvorsen) potomac https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/2/potomac Wed, 27 Feb 2019 20:40:57 GMT
National Cathedral https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/2/national-cathedral Yesterday I went with friends to the National Cathedral. Sadly, I did not have the same level of access I had on my last visit...to the roof, bell towers, etc. The Cathedral folks were getting ready for a concert last night so the chairs in the middle of the sanctuary were gone and the "mood" lights were on the pillars. Also, the sun was a the perfect angle glowing through the stained glass windows and shining on the left side of the room. Fun time but getting the entire place into one shot is difficult. Maybe next time!

Washington National CathedralWashington National CathedralWashington National Cathedral with sun coming through the stained glass windows and illuminating the left side of the sanctuary. Blue theater lights are on the pillars as they setup for a concert.

(Lee Halvorsen) cathedral concert lighting https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/2/national-cathedral Tue, 19 Feb 2019 16:03:14 GMT
Coopers Rock West Virginia https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/2/coopers-rock-west-virginia Every year around this time I spend more hours inside the house vice outside taking photos. I end up deleting and cataloguing images from years ago, sort of a trip down memory lane and a catharsis of image hoarding. Blame it on the cold. Of course, it's not South Dakota or Minnesota cold, but still!

I've been to most states in the Union and I have pretty much enjoyed them all (I have not been to Alaska, Hawaii or New England). I would put West Virginia in the top 5 of the "Most Beautiful States" category. I have visited and even camped at Coopers Rock several times and the "Wow" factor has never diminished. This is at Coopers Rock overlooking the Cheat River Gorge; if I were younger I'd hike and climb this really cool place each time I visit. The hills on the way to the Park around Interstate-68 don't really prepare you for what you'll see when you finally arrive at the overlook. After leaving the interstate, you drive for just a couple of miles on a winding, forest road with gentle hills and turns and tall trees everywhere.  You end up in a large parking lot that might have been a mountain meadow. Following the signs for a couple of hundred yards to the "Overlook" you are suddenly presented with this OMG view. I will go back. 

Cheat River Gorge at Coopers Rock, WVCheat River Gorge at Coopers Rock, WVCheat River Gorge at Coopers Rock, WV

(Lee Halvorsen) cheat coopers mountain mountains river https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/2/coopers-rock-west-virginia Sat, 09 Feb 2019 13:02:18 GMT
Graphic Design https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/2/graphic-design I'm trying to learn more about Graphic Design which I believe will positively influence my images. I'm enrolled in a 300 level course at George Mason University under Professor Cui's leadership. Our first project was to pick a quote and an image then create four designs with varying levels of type/text emphasis. This was one of my candidate images but I chose a Burke Lake image instead. The quote is from Gandhi. But I like this shot...the Joshua Tree. But it's on the cutting room floor. 

Joshua Tree in Hesperia, CAI've posted this image before or ones that are similar.

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/2/graphic-design Thu, 07 Feb 2019 12:27:43 GMT
Burke Lake Ice https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/2/burke-lake-ice I have enrolled in a Graphics Design course at George Mason University. I'm learning the principles and elements of design and other "style" kinds of things. So naturally, my first images after class are just the opposite of everything I've learned in class. The ice was glazing over much of the lake when I visited this time. The sun was about an hour from setting so the shadows and glare was harsh coming through the trees. And so that's how I transformed the image I took...to emphasize that "glare" and to lessen the reality since the camera saw more than I could.

Burke Lake, VA. Infrared post processing treatment.Burke Lake, VA. Infrared post processing treatment.Burke Lake, VA. Infrared post processing treatment.

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/2/burke-lake-ice Sun, 03 Feb 2019 18:13:31 GMT
Cold, cold, cold! https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/1/cold-cold-cold The temperature was over 40 in the morning today. Steadily a chill has crept over the suburbs and it's supposed to be below 20 by dawn! This image actually came to me Friday night at Burke Lake but the patchy ice and cool sky and setting sun provided a mood that matches the falling temperatures today. And tomorrow...I'm going downtown DC...it will be chilly.

Burke Lake ice at sunsetBurke Lake ice at sunsetBurke Lake ice at sunset

(Lee Halvorsen) burke cold ice lake https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/1/cold-cold-cold Mon, 21 Jan 2019 02:36:31 GMT
Winter https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/1/winter Our forecast tells us that winter is on the way. Well, not Minnesota or South Dakota-like winter, but winter for here in Northern Virginia.  I went out to Burke Lake for a few minutes yesterday. The snow was melting. The sky was gray. It was sort of a "meh" kind of day, like the color of the sky. 

Burke LakeBurke LakeBurke Lake WInter Scene


(Lee Halvorsen) Lake snow winter https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/1/winter Sat, 19 Jan 2019 12:41:44 GMT
Exercising my imagination https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/1/exercising-my-imagination This week I began an online "Refresh" class with Matt Kloskowski. The end goal is to refresh and revitalize my imagination and "eye," which, based on my dramatically high exhibition rejection rate of late, desperately needs some renewing. The first week's challenge included a number of "non-photo" things and also a relatively simple (or so I thought) photography task...the challenge: use something I had around the house, not complicated, no studio, no strobes, no heavy processing, just basic stuff looking to capture some shapes, designs, colors, contrasts, etc. Shoot 20+ and pick 5-10. These are my five, now six because I thought I would include a black and white version of the eggs. None of them are really "wallable" but I had fun doing it. The last two are "macro," I used extension tubes since I don't have a macro lens.

This first is eggs at sunrise. I had a blank piece of white paper that I curved to make a backdrop and floor for the eggs. They are peacefully sitting on my dining room table with morning light streaming through the patio doors.

Eggs out of basketEggs out of basketEggs out of basket

I liked the shadows and so decided to convert this one to B&W and will also submit this one to the project (even tho it's an "extra"). It's a little dark but...that's what I wanted.

Eggs out of basket, B&WEggs out of basket, B&W I liked this one, mostly because of the cobalt blue bowl.

Fruit bowl at sunriseFruit bowl at sunrise

I tried all sorts of images with the gold fish. To get these two to look like they were getting ready to leap out of the bowl, I put a dab of yogurt on their sides to hold them to the bowl. Certainly not a superb, gallery quality image but one that I had fun making. In fact, I may expand on the concept a little and have a school of them escaping!

Goldfish escapingGoldfish escapingGoldfish escaping from the bowl!

This is my least favorite. The light reflecting off the glittery doo-dads is kind of overpowering. But, that's the look I wanted. Bad me. Goldfish swimming in sparklesGoldfish swimming in sparklesA sea of sparkles  This last one is a closeup of garlic, onions, and a shallot. I had an entire bowl of them (no danger of vampires in this house) but decided to zoom in to get a closeup of the textures of the veggies. 

Garlic & ShallotGarlic & ShallotGarlic & Shallot ready to cut

(Lee Halvorsen) eggs fun goldfish vegetables https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/1/exercising-my-imagination Wed, 16 Jan 2019 17:12:21 GMT
Nightfall at Huntley Meadows Park https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/1/nightfall-at-huntley-meadows-park I had to be in eastern Alexandria late yesterday afternoon/evening, found myself with some extra time, and so thought I would see if Huntley Meadows was accessible. "Accessible?" you wonder. Yes, I wondered about accessibility because of the 6 inches of snow we'd had and that the hour was late and the park closed at "dark." But dark in a blizzard is a relative or perhaps subjective thing and so off I headed. I was surprised, not only was the parking lot relatively clear but also a little crowded with cars. I gathered up my gear and headed out. But...I admit that I was a bit reluctant, "dark" was no longer subjective...it was a real thing. And the path I was on all of a sudden had people walking by me but not towards the water, but to the parking lot. I had visions of some loyal gate guard lowering the entry gate and me having to call someone for help getting out. Ah well.

I decided to retreat. I'd only come a couple of hundred yards. I stopped to soak up the quiet and the evening's peace. I planted my tripod and looked back towards the visitors center and found this image. I remained still, like the forest, and enjoyed the silent fall of the night.

Huntley Meadows at nightfall.Huntley Meadows at nightfall.Huntley Meadows at nightfall looking back towards the visitor's center.

(Lee Halvorsen) huntley meadows night snow https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/1/nightfall-at-huntley-meadows-park Mon, 14 Jan 2019 13:24:50 GMT
Armour and Company, Still LIfe https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/1/armour-and-company-still-life Armour and Company was a meat packing industrial giant founded by the Armour brothers in the 1800s. They had a hell of a history that lasted for over 150 years. In the last part of the twentieth century they sort of imploded and now there's little left of the original company...all the bits and pieces were sold off to other food industry giants. I'm from Huron, SD which used to be home to one of Armour's top producing meat packing plants back in the 50s and 60s. My dad started working there in 1029 when the plant was built and worked there until he retired in 1976. He started as a supply room clerk and retired as the General Manager.

In 1970, Armour was purchased by the Greyhound Bus Corporation...who knows why. Armour moved its corporate HQ from Chicago to Phoenix, AZ. The new CEO was Jess Nicks, a Greyhound executive with little experience in the food industry. His daughter is Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac fame. They wanted my dad to move to Phoenix to bring his years of experience to the executive circle...he didn't. Of course, the world changes, Years after my dad retired, Armour sold out to Smithfield which then closed the plant in Huron putting hundreds out of work. When my  dad died I inherited some Armour memorabilia, just a few things. I'd donate them to an Armour museum but there isn't such a place. What should I do with them, I say to myself.

And then. I became curious about still life photography after seeing more of my friend Carole's incredible oils. She walked me through her creative process which is heavily influenced by her graphic design background. She suggested I start with something I enjoy to "star" in the image. I like this old Armour's jug. I surrounded it with other Armour stuff including a really old soap "Big Ben" which was made by Armour before they started making Dial soap in 1948 so this bar is older than I am. The two letter openers are big. The very small sapphire tie tac is something from the Phoenix days. Thanks, Carole, I have a very long way to go but I am starting!

Amrour and Company Memorabilia Amrour and Company Memorabilia Amrour and Company Memorabilia

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/1/armour-and-company-still-life Fri, 11 Jan 2019 17:35:07 GMT
Photos to enter. Or not. https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/1/photos-to-enter-or-not I am considering these photos to enter into DC Exposed. Comment on the ones you like, I can enter four. Some of these I've posted before. Thanks!

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/1/photos-to-enter-or-not Tue, 08 Jan 2019 21:28:45 GMT
Walkabout at the Kreeger Museum https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/1/walkabout-at-the-kreeger-museum A friend and I went on a short walkabout at the Kreeger Museum. Sadly, all of the Smithsonian museum are closed because of the shutdown but this one is not in the Smithsonian "family." The weather wasn't as bad as we thought it was going to be so we actually also walked outside for a little while. This Museum is a hidden gem, art work by artists you always hear about but seldom get to actually see and see more than one, Picasso, Rodin, Monet and dozens more...all there...incredible. Normally I don't like taking photos of other's art but the two in these shots were more about light, color, and perspective than the piece of art itself. I've also started to learn about colors, color saturation, color "blurring" and other stuff. So, join me on my journey!!


In this first image, the Rodin sculpture is highlighted and silhouetted in front of the rain soaked window. I am learning more about colors and so pulled out some of the gold tones from both the bronze statue and the barren trees in the background. Rodin Sculpture in the Kreeger MuseumRodin Sculpture in the Kreeger MuseumRodin Sculpture in the Kreeger Museum

I made this abstract from the reflecting pond in the back of the museum. Most of the building and the structures around the building are covered with travertine which to me has sort of a gold/brown essence. I worked with a black and white conversion of the pond and two of its artistic structures to change the prominent hues to gold, then I did away with the gradations or shades. After I finished, I was reminded of the predominant color theme of the movie, "The Lion King." The "original" B&W is below.

Reflecting pond at the Kreeger MuseumReflecting pond at the Kreeger MuseumReflecting pond at the Kreeger Museum

Reflecting pond at the Kreeger MuseumReflecting pond at the Kreeger MuseumReflecting pond at the Kreeger Museum This image is looking up from the pond level to the deck level of the house. I have converted the image to black and white and blurred/distorted some of the internal textures.

Reflecting pond at the Kreeger MuseumOutside stairway at the Kreeger MuseumReflecting pond at the Kreeger Museum

(Lee Halvorsen) Abstract art Kreeger Museum Rodin https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/1/walkabout-at-the-kreeger-museum Sat, 05 Jan 2019 12:47:18 GMT
Video of DC Fire Response...And...HAPPY NEW YEAR!! https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/1/video-of-dc-fire-response-and-happy-new-year I have stayed in for the last couple of days! I took the time to put together some of the DC Fire response at the Union Station a couple of weeks ago. Please visit my YouTube Channel to take a look. The link is also embedded on the second image below.

(Lee Halvorsen) dc fire response https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2019/1/video-of-dc-fire-response-and-happy-new-year Tue, 01 Jan 2019 12:23:57 GMT
Video!? https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/12/video I am still trying to figure out how to do the video and I've decided I must practice, practice, practice!!

(Lee Halvorsen) camera zoom https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/12/video Thu, 27 Dec 2018 21:15:07 GMT
Just a short drive away... https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/12/just-a-short-drive-away Today I headed west for a quick visit with friends and to take the shot below at the old rail station in Delaplane. We managed to beat the rain and enjoyed the very gray skies throughout the day. Delaplane was an important rail station for the Southern forces before the First Battle of Manassas.  I don't know if this particular building had any history but it seems old enough to have some. I guess my imagination can fill in the blanks. Lots of cool places to shoot on that particular highway but not lots of places to pull off the highway without driving onto someone's very private driveways.

Old House close to Delaplane, VAOld House close to Delaplane, VAOld House close to Delaplane, VA

(Lee Halvorsen) delaplane old house https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/12/just-a-short-drive-away Fri, 21 Dec 2018 01:49:10 GMT
US Capitol and Union Station https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/12/us-capitol-and-union-station Before the dramatic fire at Union Station, I was at the US Capitol Building trying some zoom techniques on the Capitol Christmas tree and the Building itself. After some fails and frustration I had some success and learned a little about zooming, edges, exposures, etc. I'll do a video later today about what I discovered. As I was enjoying the rather brisk evening air, I turned and looked the other way and discovered the Washington Monument's lighted prominence. I did a few of that view and was surprised at how well the image turned out, I was even able to capture the "zoomed" Lincoln Memorial.

The first image is the Capitol Building dome with the top stories providing a dramatic light show.

US Capitol Building with lens zoom to create the light show effectUS Capitol BuildingUS Capitol Building with lens zoom to create the light show effect I moved off center a bit so I could capture the dome and the Capitol Christmas tree. The tree lights give the image a very seasonal mood!

A "zoomed" view of the dome and the tree.US Capitol Building Dome and TreeA "zoomed" view of the dome and the tree. At this point, I turned around and "discovered" the Washington Monument. This was a teeny bit more difficult since the distance was a great deal longer and I did not have a super long lens. Nonetheless, the effect turned out pretty good.

A "zoomed" view of the Washington Monument. If you look closely, you can see the Lincoln Memorial right behind it.Washington MonumentA "zoomed" view of the Washington Monument. If you look closely, you can see the Lincoln Memorial right behind it. After finishing at the Capitol grounds, I started shooting at the Union Station. Surprisingly, there were few people there. The first image is a painterly conversion to black and white of the ceiling in the main area of the station. Majestic!

Washington DC Union Station Ceiling in the main area of the terminalWashington DC Union StationWashington DC Union Station Ceiling in the main area of the terminal This last image is at the front of the station looking down an exterior walkway. This is actually looking toward where the fire broke out. What makes this shot interesting to me is the texture, color, and architecture of the building, AND, that there are no people.

Union Station exterior walkway in front of the stationWashington, DC Union StationUnion Station exterior walkway in front of the station

(Lee Halvorsen) night union station us capitol https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/12/us-capitol-and-union-station Wed, 19 Dec 2018 12:33:00 GMT
Company Engine 3 - Four of DC's Bravest!! https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/12/company-engine-3---four-of-dcs-bravest I was walking about in front of The Union Station last night when all of a sudden there was a giant "WHOOSH" and a huge cloud of black, acrid smoke. Off to the left side of Union Station, right next to the cab stand flames were shooting out of something...I couldn't tell what at first because of the thick smoke and bright fire...and I was out in front so a hundred yards away. The shot below is what I saw...I knew my camera wasn't set up for "instant" shots so as I headed toward the flames I started changing my settings.

This crew (Engine 3) showed up in what seemed like seconds. After it was all over, I looked at the "clock" in my camera to see what the total time was from when I noticed the fire to when they had it under control and then "out." The fire started at 9:05 pm, the truck was there about 9:06 pm, the firefighters were fully engaged by 9:07 pm and the fire was under control at 9:08 pm. Now I know that this fire was tiny compared to what they normally battle but I want to tell you that their response was incredibly fast, well organized, and EFFECTIVE. It was fascinating to watch them work. The blaze was just yards away from the taxi stand where a half dozen cabs were waiting for fares. The AMTRAK and other law enforcement folks kept us bystanders a little ways away.

The light was interesting and I had set my camera on a relatively long shutter speed since I was handholding and not using a tripod. Consequently, you'll see some blur in some of the shots. I converted a couple to black and white because they seemed to emphasize the action and drama that was happening. Again, for the firefighters, this was probably very ho-hum but to those of us watching the response unfold, it was very cool.

For the shot below, I'm racing across the street (well, racing for me, as you know, is a relative term). The people taking photos with their phones are shooting the fire truck as it's pulling up. On the right, you can see the first cab in the stand which gives you an idea how close the line of cabs was from the fire.

They took a quick look when they first got there.

And then they headed in with a single hose. I think that the vehicle was some sort of utility vehicle probably run by Union Station. It was sort of like a giant golf or utility cart, about 15' long or so and covered with plastic and other stuff that burned quite nastily.  Three of them are all attacking the fire from the same side.

After just a couple of minutes and who knows how many gallons of water, the fire reduced to a steaming sizzle. The remains of the utility cart are poking through the smoke.

This is the same image but in color. The light was hazy and yellow from the street lights and the smoke and tinted orange by the bright red lights of the fire truck.


They are in the last stages of the process and adding more water and tearing into smoldering pieces to ensure the fire will not survive.

And, by now, it's pretty much out. This image was taken at 9:13. They are in what I would call the "insurance phase," making sure that nothing is still smoldering or even thinking about smoldering. Awesome!!

The shot below are the responders from Engine Co 3. They were kind enough to pose as they were cleaning up the area and their stuff. Thanks to you guys and and your comrades! Awesome work!!

(Lee Halvorsen) fire firefighters https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/12/company-engine-3---four-of-dcs-bravest Tue, 18 Dec 2018 20:52:42 GMT
Street https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/12/street Most of the time the streets are festive in DC. Of course, there are places and times that should be avoided. But around most places in the center of the city, close to the Capitol, Verizon Center, GWU, etc., things are okay. I don't think DC is a city like New York...never sleeping...but it is alive for most hours of the day and night. Great places to eat, art, theater, etc., and lots of smiling people. I like the city at night, I'm cautious but I'm of advanced chronological experience and so have to be careful. My issues have to do with not being as mobile as i once was which means I'm usually sitting or standing in one place. In the shot below, I was sitting on the steps at the side of the Portrait Gallery. Lots of happy faces!

Night Time DC StreetNight Time DC StreetNight time in DC. Holiday festival

(Lee Halvorsen) dc night https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/12/street Sun, 16 Dec 2018 18:21:48 GMT
Update on the Target Gallery Show https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/12/update-on-the-target-gallery-show The show closed a week or so ago and I was on the way to the Target Gallery when they emailed to say my image had sold to someone from Nevada! I'm happy and hope they enjoy the image! Right now, "Summer Fountain" is being shown in The Art League through the end of the month. For January, I am trying something a little different, a triptych of sorts. These were shots of people sleeping on benches. I talked with them when they awoke but two weren't  very talkative. The most talkative and helpful was the man bundled up on the lower left, we chatted for more than half an hour. His image was taken in Birmingham, AL.  The framed triptych is 24"x20" so it's kind of big. Seemed like a reasonable reminder about others on these cold days in December.

"Down, but not done," they said."Down, but not done," they said.Homeless sleeping on benches but still with hope. Bottom left in Birmingham, AL, other two from Washington, DC

(Lee Halvorsen) Birmingham homeless Washington DC https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/12/update-on-the-target-gallery-show Wed, 12 Dec 2018 21:47:02 GMT
Nighttime in DC! https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/12/nighttime-in-dc I was certainly in the Christmas spirit when I joined Joe Yablonsky for a short night shoot walkabout last night in DC. 'Tis definitely the Season and there were lots and lots of people enjoying the mostly mild weather. We walked from the National Archives to the Navy Memorial and then to the Portrait Gallery. On the way we found a Christmas Bazaar on the sidewalk in tents...the block long shops really sent me back, back to the "days of old" when I could run laughing through the streets not worried about the cold, or the hour, or dark. Just the fun and laughter. My first shot is a long exposure on a tripod to create sort of a "Ghosts of Christmas Past" on the streets of DC. The second is across from the Spy Museum; while making a long exposure I rotated the zoom ring to create the "spikes" of light. I love the view across the Navy Memorial up the street. And the last is the National Archives...it's the back of the building, someday I swear I'll go to the other side. Thanks, Joe!

Corner in Washington, DCCorner in Washington, DCCorner in Washington, DC

The Spy Museum Using Zoom LensThe Spy Museum Using Zoom LensThe Spy Museum Using Zoom Lens

The Back of the National Archives in Washington, DCThe Back of the National Archives in Washington, DCThe Back of the National Archives in Washington, DC


(Lee Halvorsen) dc night washington https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/12/nighttime-in-dc Tue, 11 Dec 2018 23:49:08 GMT
Burke Lake https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/12/burke-lake This is a shot of Burke Lake not too, too long before sunset. This was a very wide lens so details from high and low are also available. But you can't hide the fact that the trees are mostly leafless. Winter time in the city. Well, not the city but the burbs! It's a great place to go!!!

Burke Lake SunsetBurke Lake SunsetLooking southwest just minutes before the sun set on a clear day with a very wide lens.

(Lee Halvorsen) burke lake sunset virginia https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/12/burke-lake Tue, 04 Dec 2018 00:13:01 GMT
Wow! Water! Technology! Cool Stuff, All in One Place https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/11/wow-water-technology-cool-stuff-all-in-one-place DC used to have one of the worst records in America when it came to water treatment...tons of really bad stuff used to flow DIRECTLY into the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. But today, what a difference. I had a chance to go on a tour of The Blue Plains Advanced Waste Water Facility, the largest of its kind in the world!!! Over 150 acres of processing turning really ugly, polluted water into pure (although not drinkable) water that flows back into the Potomac. I've put a brief description  just below the image to give you a better idea of how the plant functions.

Primary Treatment PondPrimary Treatment PondPrimary Treatment Pond

The image above is one edge of a VERY large circular pond in the Primary Treatment section. There are 36 of these ponds. This is where the water comes in with much of its "junk" and the junk either floats to the top or sinks to the bottom. Skimmers on the top and the bottom skim the junk into the next stage.

Secondary Treatment Section.Secondary Treatment Section.Secondary Treatment Section. The image above is one of the secondary treatment ponds. It's a timed exposure to show that the sludge is constantly moving. The sludge normally looks like brown...well, er, sludge. But it's alway on the move. 

Secondary Treatment SectionSecondary Treatment SectionSecondary Treatment Section The image above is another view of the Secondary Treatment section. Although this is also a timed (slow shutter speed) photo, the time is much shorter so you get a better idea of what the sludge looks like.

The image above shows some of the nitrification/denitrification ponds. This is close to the end of the cycle. Gradually, the plant removes and converts the water from "pure sludge" to pure water and reusable solids (fertilizer). Water is sent to Blue Plains from all of D.C., parts of Fairfax and Loudon counties in Virginia, and, Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland.

Out of service purification/filtrate machineOut of service purification/filtrate machineOut of service purification/filtrate machine The image above is an out of service machine. Normally, the v-shaped things are laying flat on the surface below and moving the sludge around.  At the end of the process, we looked at the water and could not tell the difference between the fully processed Blue Plains water and tap water...it was that clear.

This is an awesome place.




(Lee Halvorsen) blue plains dc water https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/11/wow-water-technology-cool-stuff-all-in-one-place Fri, 30 Nov 2018 21:32:36 GMT
The Art League https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/11/the-art-league The photo below was juried into the Art League in the Torpedo Factory for the December show. Additionally, the juror gave the photo an Honorable Mention award. I also am in a small photo group that shoots and meets regularly. We talk about artistic stuff, photo techniques, each others photos, and life! Six others in the group are also in The Art League in December. We must be doing something right! This shot was taken at The Wharf last summer. I was holding my camera on a handrail so I could take a long exposure. I love that the father and son (at least I imagine they are father/son) stood still enough to almost be "there" during the click unlike the two others on the left.

Father and son in the fountain at the Wharf in Washington, DCSummer FountainFather and son in the fountain at the Wharf in Washington, DC

(Lee Halvorsen) the wharf washington dc https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/11/the-art-league Mon, 26 Nov 2018 11:23:46 GMT
Harpers Ferry https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/11/harpers-ferry Several friends and I went to Harpers Ferry on a photo expedition. It was chilly and mid-day so the light wasn't the best and the temps were a bit unfriendly. I spent most of my time by the Shenandoah River where the fast rush of water seemed to actually make it seem warmer as I was standing on the shoreline. ON the way to the river, this stone wall and gate caught my eye. I've never been to Harpers Ferry during the "good" weather and so all of my pictures seem bereft of people when I'm there. I'll try harder next time. In the spring.

Harpers Ferry, West VirginiaHarpers Ferry, West VirginiaStone Fence in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

(Lee Halvorsen) ferry harpers virginia west https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/11/harpers-ferry Sat, 17 Nov 2018 20:05:36 GMT
Study in Black and White https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/11/study-in-black-and-white I gathered many of my black and white images...those that I really like. I'm trying to sift through my collections, downsize them, and then feature some that really stand out from my perspective. I know that some of these (like the palm trees shot) don't really fit...but, hey...they make me feel good. It's a quick video, three minutes, you can stop it though if there's something that really grabs your attention. Click on the full screen icon for the best view.

(Lee Halvorsen) and black california landscapes virginia west white https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/11/study-in-black-and-white Sun, 11 Nov 2018 23:01:55 GMT
Target Gallery & Burke Lake all in one day! https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/11/target-gallery-burke-lake-all-in-one-day Yesterday morning I headed off to Burke Lake hoping for fog, mist, a golden sunrise, and fall tree colors. I was "O" for 4!!

On a whim, I decided to try an ad lib a video...my apologies to all things visual but I had to try and it's a rabbit hole I will probably do down again!!! In the evening, Diane and I went to the Target Gallery for the opening reception of the Armistice Show. I had the opportunity to provide a few remarks about my art that was included in the show. I mentioned my home town and my high school classmates whose names are on The Vietnam Wall.

Burke Lake, VirginiaBurke Lake, VirginiaBurke Lake, Virginia Burke Lake, VirginiaBurke Lake, VirginiaBurke Lake, Virginia Burke Lake, VirginiaBurke Lake, VirginiaBurke Lake, Virginia

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/11/target-gallery-burke-lake-all-in-one-day Sat, 10 Nov 2018 17:08:16 GMT
Time Flies https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/11/time-flies I said last week I was going to change my website...sigh...I'm just starting. Time does fly...as an example, I was going through old galleries and found this image, an image I'm quite fond of because of the built-in drama of the water under the calm of the bridge and landscape. When I looked at the date of the photo...I was taken aback because I took it seven years ago! Aug 19, 2011, in Sioux Falls, SD. These are the falls which is the reason for the name of the city. Time flies.


(Lee Halvorsen) sioux falls https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/11/time-flies Wed, 07 Nov 2018 19:30:27 GMT
Coopers Rock West Virginia https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/10/coopers-rock-west-virginia Over the past few weeks, I've looked back at my work and re-imagined what I must have been thinking or humming as I brought the images into my camera. This retrospective exercise has given me an opportunity to review some images I thought inconsequential when I first looked at them on my computer. I don't think the photos are any better than what they were years ago, but I do believe that perhaps I didn't recognize them as part of a style that I would grow into as I mellowed and focused. Over the next few days, I will redo my website emphasizing this style I've grown into...doesn't mean that this will be only thing I do...but, my eye will be temporarily (ah...temporary could be four to eight years, you know) looking for similar moods and songs. "Penny Lane" is in my ears and in my eyes. A cloudy, rainy, windy day at Coopers Rock...makes me wonder if this is the Hundred Acre Wood.

(Lee Halvorsen) Coopers Mountains overlook https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/10/coopers-rock-west-virginia Tue, 30 Oct 2018 16:17:50 GMT
The Target Gallery https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/10/the-target-gallery This morning was the first day of Target Gallery's "Art of Armistice" exhibit which shows through December 2. A variety of media show the many perspectives of war and "after war." My piece is at the back of the studio on the right, in a small alcove. Sculptures, paintings, printings, and photographs make up a relatively small but impactful story. I am happy to have been selected as one of the exhibitors. This is the photo they chose.

The Vietnam WallI Touch, I Remember.The Vietnam Wall


(Lee Halvorsen) names touching the wall Vietnam Wall https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/10/the-target-gallery Sat, 27 Oct 2018 15:27:39 GMT
The Lake https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/10/the-lake There's something compelling about water...especially in the fog. This is Burke Lake, VA on a winter morning. I've been on the road and shooting quite a bit, that's why I've been sort of scarce! 

(Lee Halvorsen) fog lake https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/10/the-lake Fri, 26 Oct 2018 13:32:26 GMT
On the mountain https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/9/on-the-mountain I was in Charlottesville, VA this weekend. A friend suggested I head for Carter Mountain Orchard to get the best views (and great apples). Saturday afternoon was a glorious day and off I went to the orchard on top of the mountain. Well, it was me and hundreds of others!!! Lots & lots of people and everyone seemed to be having an awesome time. They had hard apple cider, beer, and apple slushies and all sorts of other apple stuff. And pumpkins, and...well stuff. Apples everywhere. Grape vines in the distance. And the place overlooked all of Charlottesville. I wandered about talking with folks and enjoying the festival-like atmosphere. A family (below) asked me to take some photos for them on their phones. We talked for a while and...small world...they were also from Northern Virginia!! I took one photo of them and then more of the view below although most people were behind us in the barn. A fun day!

Fellow NOVA visitors on a mountaintop close to Charlottesville, VAFellow NOVA visitors on a mountaintop orchard close to Charlottesville, VAFellow NOVA visitors on a mountaintop close to Charlottesville, VA

View of Charlottesville, VA from Carter Mountain orchardView of Charlottesville, VA from Carter Mountain orchardView of Charlottesville, VA from Carter Mountain orchard

(Lee Halvorsen) charlottesville mountain orchard va https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/9/on-the-mountain Sun, 30 Sep 2018 21:09:45 GMT
Trains!!! And the B&O Railroad Museum https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/9/trains Pouring rain yesterday which made my trip to Baltimore a little difficult but the destination was inside and so a perfect outing. AND, I love trains so this was the cat's meow. (Ooooo, nostalgia alert) I did a way too brief walkabout in the B&O Railroad Museum both inside and out. I've been there before and I will go again and again and again. History abounds and it's American history and is really the foundation of how America moved west and became an industrial and agricultural powerhouse...RAIL! 

The first image is a Hudson Steam Locomotive that was built in 1926...it looked like the steam locomotive in the second image!! But...the railroad industry was worried about the "new" airlines getting started so in 1946 they covered this locomotive in bright "modern, sleek" looking steel sheathing so that it could compete with the airlines for "modern" travel. Not too long afterwards, steam engines gave way to diesels. This is a way, way cool place.

A Hudson Locomotive in steel sidingA Hudson Steam Locomotive in steel sidingA Hudson Steam Locomotive in steel siding Steam LocomotiveSteam LocomotiveSteam Locomotive

(Lee Halvorsen) engines museum rail steam https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/9/trains Tue, 25 Sep 2018 23:07:19 GMT
Alexandria Art Festival https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/9/alexandria-art-festival I must be turning into a bit of a curmudgeon. Kelsey and I went to breakfast in Old Town with our friend Bob. Afterwards we walked two blocks of the Art Festival and enjoyed the art and talking with some of the artists. However, grumble...grumble...grumble...our parking time only allowed about an hour and was not extendable and so my pace was WAY, WAY too fast.

I was pleased to see lots of aluminum photographs...something that wasn't an East Coast thing until relatively recently...that is, compared to the West Coast.  Lots more painters this year which I was happy to see. One of them was doing a painting in front of his stand.

Did I mention that my pace was rushed? Sigh. Next year!!

Artist Painting in Old Town Alexandria, VAArtist Painting in Old Town Alexandria, VAArtist Painting in Old Town Alexandria, VA

(Lee Halvorsen) alexandria art https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/9/alexandria-art-festival Sat, 22 Sep 2018 18:07:40 GMT
Harvest at Paradise Springs Winery https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/9/harvest-at-paradise-springs-winery Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit Paradise Springs Winery during harvest!! They started working shortly after the sun peeked over the treetops when the dew was heavy and the air relatively cool. Each grape bunch was individually cut from the vine and then gently placed in bright yellow tubs. Despite the early hour, everyone was smiling, laughing and enjoying the time...except perhaps the winemaker who is very focused at this time of the year because of the many harvest events, poor 2018 weather, and the current impact of Hurricane Florence on harvest operations.

Paradise Springs is a little bit off the beaten path but this Virginia gem is well worth the short drive from Clifton. The surroundings are peaceful...almost Walden Pond-like, quiet and...well, energizing. The people are friendly, fun and VERY knowledgable about wine. Oh...and the wine, exquisite!! Which is why I really appreciate the winemaker's focus!!!

Paradise Springs vineyard at dawn looking back at the 200 year old cabin!Paradise Springs vineyard at dawn looking back at the 200 year old cabin!Paradise Springs vineyard at dawn looking back at the 200 year old cabin! Jane Kinchloe (left), one of the winery Founders, and Hayley Monroe the Office Manager during harvest.Early morning harvest!Jane Kinchloe, one of the winery Founders, and Hayley Monroe the Office Manager during harvest.

(Lee Halvorsen) harvest Paradise Springs Winery https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/9/harvest-at-paradise-springs-winery Fri, 21 Sep 2018 12:28:43 GMT
Oak Hill Cemetery https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/9/oak-hill-cemetery I went out this morning to Oak Hill Cemetery in DC...it was sooooo hot! An interesting place that's been there a long time. Because of the heat and tropical humidity, I saw only one tiny corner so I'll go back. I look at the headstones and wonder what they were like!

Crypt in Oak Hill Cemetery in DC. Crypt in Oak Hill Cemetery in DC. Crypt in Oak Hill Cemetery in DC. Oak Hill Cemetery in DC. Oak Hill Cemetery in DC. Oak Hill Cemetery in DC. Stairway in Oak Hill Cemetery in DC. Stairway in Oak Hill Cemetery in DC. Stairway in Oak Hill Cemetery in DC.

(Lee Halvorsen) cemetery https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/9/oak-hill-cemetery Wed, 05 Sep 2018 18:36:32 GMT
Hot Weather https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/9/hot-weather It seems that I am really not a hot weather person. This leads me to the conclusion that I should live in a more temperate climate...but, egads, where is that?? Some would say Oregon or Washington but for a variety of reasons, they are out of the question. The other side of the coin is snow...I really don't like snow either. Have I mentioned snakes or mosquitos?

Bottom line, I really haven't "been" anyplace for the last few days. When I head out, I'm usually ending in some sort of medical facility for tests or poking or 20 questions. I try to drag my camera with me to get some snaps...postcards you might call them. This is a shot from the Mosaic green.

Watching the funWatching the funWatching the fun



(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/9/hot-weather Sun, 02 Sep 2018 10:15:36 GMT
B&O Railroad Museum https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/8/b-o-railroad-museum Several months ago I went to the B&O Museum. The place was amazing...amazing because they have real locomotives from the steam days and the diesel days and they are massive. What used to keep America going...that's the train. In fact, the rail was really what ignited the migration westward. Growing up in South Dakota, we depended on the railroad for so many things. Most of the rail is gone now or a shadow of what it was 50 years ago. I really enjoyed this place and will go back again this fall.

(Lee Halvorsen) museum rail trains https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/8/b-o-railroad-museum Thu, 16 Aug 2018 13:03:36 GMT
Ron Hicks Project https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/8/ron-hicks-project A couple of weeks ago I went to the Forklift First Friday Festival and listened to this awesome band, The Ron Hicks Project. To say that they made some truly magic music would be an understatement of Biblical Proportions, they had the place rockin'!!  They are playing at the Blues Festival at the Ritchie Coliseum on November 10!!

Ron Hicks ProjectRon Hicks ProjectRon Hicks Project Ron Hicks ProjectRon Hicks ProjectRon Hicks Project Ron Hicks ProjectRon Hicks ProjectRon Hicks Project Ron Hicks ProjectRon Hicks ProjectRon Hicks Project

(Lee Halvorsen) band jazz https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/8/ron-hicks-project Tue, 14 Aug 2018 15:24:20 GMT
Tysons Corner https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/8/tysons-corner I'm not able to get out for a while and so am looking back at past photos to convert to high contrast black and white. These are some I took while walking among new buildings in the Tysons Corner area. That place is growing super fast especially now that the metro is there and if Amazon would pick that particular "corridor" of the area, wow, gridlock!

Tysons Corner Building ReflectionTysons Corner Building ReflectionTysons Corner Building Reflection


Tysons Corner Building CornerTysons Corner Building CornerTysons Corner Building Corner


Tysons Corner Building CornerTysons Corner Building CornerTysons Corner Building Corner

(Lee Halvorsen) corner tysons virginia https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/8/tysons-corner Sun, 12 Aug 2018 20:20:01 GMT
Community Forklift https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/8/community-forklift Last night I went to Community Forklift's First Friday! They stay open late, have a live band, food, a pop up bar, special market sales from local folks, and a sale on everything they have! They do this the first Friday of every month from May through September so you have time to attend one more. They're in business for a great cause, they have LOTS and LOTS of very useful stuff and the First Friday thing is just fun!!! I was there early...heavy rain and terrible rainy-day traffic going through DC...so there weren't a lot of people, although more were coming in as I was leaving. Just a fun evening. These are a few of the shots of folks I met and things I saw.

Forklift's First FridaysForklift's First FridaysForklift's First Fridays

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/8/community-forklift Sat, 04 Aug 2018 20:05:04 GMT
DC Walkabout https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/7/dc-walkabout I was taking a class from Greg Holden of Capital Photography Center in downtown DC. He was teaching "Seeing in Black and White" which was a mix of lecture, discussion, and then, he went with us to the street. We visited Lafayette Park just across from the Whitehouse to experiment with finding the right subjects and content for B&W photos. I think I took a fairly even mix of people and things but these five rose to the top and they are all of people. I'll post more in the days to come of buildings and objects but thought these people were quite notable.


DC Walkabout in B&W Class with Capital PhotographyDC Walkabout DC Walkabout in B&W Class with Capital Photography DC Walkabout in B&W Class with Capital PhotographyDC Walkabout DC Walkabout in B&W Class with Capital Photography

DC Walkabout in B&W Class with Capital PhotographyDC Walkabout DC Walkabout in B&W Class with Capital Photography

DC Walkabout in B&W Class with Capital PhotographyDC WalkaboutDC Walkabout in B&W Class with Capital Photography

DC Faces WalkaboutDC Faces WalkaboutDC Walkabout in B&W Class with Capital Photography

(Lee Halvorsen) dc faces https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/7/dc-walkabout Sat, 28 Jul 2018 21:36:51 GMT
Loudoun County Fair https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/7/loudoun-county-fair The rain paused!! So off to Loudoun County for their fair. Admittedly, the rain from the last few days has made some of the grounds kind of muddy...well...really muddy. The folks that were in charge of the fair were doing their best to haul old coal or gravel in so that the mud was less muddy. The rides, ferris wheel, etc., weren't open yet so not many kids were around. Except at the livestock barns where the 4h-ers were completely out and having lots of fun. It took me back 50+ years to the South Dakota State fair. I had fun!

Loudoun County FairLoudoun County FairLoudoun County Fair


Loudoun County FairLoudoun County FairLoudoun County Fair

Livestock JudgeLivestock JudgeLivestock Judge

Horse wanted my cameraHorse wanted my cameraHorse wanted my camera

Midway at FairMidway at FairMidway at Fair

Champion Chicken?Champion Chicken?Champion Chicken?

Old Barn & SiloOld Barn & SiloOld Barn & Silo

Barn & SiloBarn & SiloBarn & Silo

(Lee Halvorsen) animals county fair https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/7/loudoun-county-fair Wed, 25 Jul 2018 20:33:19 GMT
Still Raining!! https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/7/still-raining It's wet out! I was heading for Huntley Meadows Park early this morning but the deluge discouraged me! So I did some light painting with old books and old cameras...a great rainy day project.

Light PaintingLight PaintingLight Painting

(Lee Halvorsen) light painting https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/7/still-raining Mon, 23 Jul 2018 22:37:52 GMT
Rainy Day Photo https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/7/rainy-day-photo The day is wet, very wet, and apparently this UK-like weather will continue for the next week. That's encouraged me to stay inside so I don't melt or rust away. I was inspired to do a traditional "Still Life" but I discovered that i don't have a very good relationship with fruit and kitchen utensils. I chose to work with books instead although I did leave in a flower. The light wasn't perfect and I had to use a several second exposure to get the shot.

As a side note, the book that's opened is one of the three volume set of "Spencer's History of the United States," which was published in 1866. A "contemporary" history of the Cilvil War.

Spencer's History of the United StatesSpencer's History of the United StatesSpencer's History of the United States  

(Lee Halvorsen) books flowers pen https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/7/rainy-day-photo Sat, 21 Jul 2018 16:47:24 GMT
Old Camera https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/7/old-camera My Grandfather Ed Halvorsen was a printer, a newspaperman...a linotype operator! He and my grandmother, Hattie Kelsey Halvorsen (aged 19 & 18), headed for Medicine Hat, Saskatchewan, Canada because he could get decent wages, and in 1909, that was a big deal. He became interested in photography sometime while they lived in Canada and took some photos while they were there...some of which have survived. When they returned to the states, a decade later, they moved back to South Dakota which is where they stayed. Over the years he had several cameras, two of them were handed down to me, this old Kodak Monitor 620 and an Argus. I put two expansion rings on my lens and took this macro shot. I wish I'd been smart enough to ask him about his time in Canada, I know they liked the people. Or...I wish he'd written it down.

KodakKodak CameraKodak Monitor 620

(Lee Halvorsen) camera kodak https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/7/old-camera Thu, 19 Jul 2018 20:13:12 GMT
One More of Paradise Springs https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/7/one-more-of-paradise-springs I'm told Paradise Springs is a very busy place on the weekends but it was very peaceful when I visited. I took this shot from the old cabin and changed the content by "painting" in blurs and highlights to transform the image into something "painterly." I made some other changes to sort of highlight the ambience and welcoming nature of the vineyard.

The vineyard taken from the old cabin.Paradise Springs Winery's VineyardThe vineyard taken from the old cabin.

(Lee Halvorsen) paradise springs vineyard https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/7/one-more-of-paradise-springs Tue, 17 Jul 2018 13:07:31 GMT
Richmond https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/7/richmond On Tuesday I did a scouting trip for a future, more detailed shoot for my Virginia Project. Virginia has been involved in some of the most important phases of America's history and this building has been a part of each one of those phases. The wings on the left and right side of the core, original building were built in 1906. I had a chance to walk around the 'open' sections and came away with a good feeling about what i want to do when I go back later this year. I also went to the Hollywood Cemetery and St John's Church but I'll post some of them later. The first shot is from the front of the Capitol Building, which was built in 1785!! Of course there's a lot of subsequent history this place has seen. The shot of the desks is the old House of Representatives room in the center building where they met for years until the new wings were put up in 1906. The third shot is really my favorite...a worker taking a newspaper break from painting.


  Virginia State Capitol BuildingVirginia State Capitol BuildingVirginia State Capitol Building designed by Thomas Jefferson





Old Virginia Representatives RoomOld Virginia Representatives Room



Worker on BreakWorker on Break in Richmond

(Lee Halvorsen) Old Representatives Room Virginia https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/7/richmond Sat, 14 Jul 2018 18:54:53 GMT
Paradise Springs Winery https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/7/paradise-springs-winery Today I visited Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton, VA, an awesome winery in Fairfax County. The owner is a descendant of the original land grantee in 1716!! Doing the math on that makes my head hurt but over 300 years ago this all started, not as a vineyard of course, probably a farm that's been divided many times over.

I am doing a book project that will release early next year and I'd like this winery to be a part of it. This is the closest winery to DC, one of the first in Fairfax County, and is steeped in the history of the land. An original building from two centuries ago is on the property and was renovated in the 1950s by one of Frank Lloyd Wright's associates. There are really cool places to relax, meadows with picnic tables, decks that overlook the vineyards and forests...and...the wine. They actually grow grapes in other places in addition to those grown on this property, but all in VIRGINIA! They have a wide variety of reds and whites and based on my (limited) taste testing, the wine is really quite good...well, actually it's excellent!! And they have a "wine educator" on staff who helps you understand the wine, the process and the grapes. 

I hope to go back soon for photos of bottling, harvesting, processing and more. I also hope to visit without my camera since they have live music three days a week and, of course, wine tasting every day. Want a cool destination...Paradise Springs Winery!!

Young grapes at Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton, VAVery young grapes.Young grapes at Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton, VA

Barrels of wine aging next to Tasting Room at Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton, VAWine aging in Barrels Barrels of wine aging next to Tasting Room at Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton, VA

(Lee Halvorsen) barrels grapes wine https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/7/paradise-springs-winery Fri, 13 Jul 2018 23:23:06 GMT
Anacostia Watershed https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/7/anacostia-watershed Today I went to the Anacostia River. I actually started in Bladensburg, MD, where there is a park with rental kayaks, canoes, boats, etc. The Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) hosted a few of us on a boat ride from Bladensburg Park to the Navy Yards. I learned a great deal about the river and about the land around it. The watershed area of the Anacostia is most of DC, PG county and parts of other counties. Rain water and other liquid products are what makes this river a river. Consequently, there is not a lot of "flow" and the river mostly just sits...so all the junk and toxic stuff that used to go into the river would just sink to the bottom. Over the decades, well centuries, the Anacostia river just turned bad...really bad. But in the last few years tremendous strides have been made in cleaning up and reducing new contaminants. I normally don't take bird photos but I've included a couple in this sequence...the eagle is one of those who is in the Arboretum and has a nest right next to a webcam so every little bit of their lives was on the web while they were having baby eagles.

House boat on the DC side. There are three boating clubs on the Anacostia.House boatHouse boat on the DC side. There are three boating clubs on the Anacostia.




Wetlands of the AnacostiaThe Anacostia is really mostly wetlands that are trying to be wetlands again but there are a great many manmade structures that have and are changing the landscape.Wetlands of the Anacostia


DC Arboretum EagleDC Arboretum EagleDC Arboretum Eagle


DC Arboretum EagleDC Arboretum EagleDC Arboretum Eagle

(Lee Halvorsen) anacostia river wetlands https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/7/anacostia-watershed Wed, 11 Jul 2018 23:31:00 GMT
Does No One Print in Color Anymore? https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/7/does-no-one-print-in-color-anymore A friend recently posed this question and I realize that I have "gone to the dark side" by working a lot to get my prints into B&W format...I think that's because I'm influenced by another friend who shoots almost exclusively in B&W and whose photos are quite stunning. And, I really like the work of Ray Metzker who treated B&W in a way that brings art, contrast, life, and nature into moving B&W images. Nonetheless, i need to work more on my color renderings. I am still baseball focused for the next few days so don't have anything new to put up here but I did go back in time a bit to prove that I have been actually exposed to color photography...

This first photo is a simple shot of a storefront window in Harpers Ferry reflecting the store across the street.

Harper's FerryHarper's FerryStorefront in Harper's Ferry, WV

The second is the inside of the locomotive called "Allegheny." This locomotive weighed 389 TONS!! Do the math on that....778,000 pounds...three quarters of a MILLION pounds. Now that's really something. There weren't a lot of creature comforts in the heart of this beast. Locomotive Allegheny in the B&O Railroad Museum in BaltimoreAllegheny




(Lee Halvorsen) ferry harpers trains https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/7/does-no-one-print-in-color-anymore Sat, 07 Jul 2018 12:42:03 GMT
Way Too Hot https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/7/way-too-hot The day before July 4! And the weather is exactly what one would expect in Washington, DC...hot! hot! hot! And so I'm not going out too far...maybe not out at all. Once again I'm looking at old photos and trying to pull out the high contrast shots. This is kind of cool, looking over the Memorial Bridge to Crystal City. The steps you see on the left are to the Lincoln Memorial. I shot it at 8000 ISO, 70mm, f/2.8 and 1/10 sec. I was bracing the camera on a ledge.

Memorial BridgeMemorial BridgeLooking across the Memorial Bridge from DC to Virginia at Crystal City.  

(Lee Halvorsen) bridge contrast high https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/7/way-too-hot Tue, 03 Jul 2018 17:32:30 GMT
Not quite sure where to start... https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/6/not-quite-sure-where-to-start Inside the antiques shop the hallways wind about and about and I'm sure one could easily get lost. Or so distracted you only wake up when someone screams, "Off with his head!"  The hallway I was in widened into a large room but piled high with stuff and in the stuff was a LARGE scale model of the London Bridge!! By large, I mean the thing was at least six feet high from its base. And each one of the towers was in the model!!! I was only able to get part of one of them in the shot!

Right next to the bridge is an old English pub. Actually, I think several pubs have been combined but there is one large bar back. The first shot after the bridge is the "Public" sign that probably would have been in the window at the door. The next is a large bar back. Everything in this room was labeled "Private Collection, Not For Sale." Then there's a lot of bull, and, finally, an old crossbow. Kind of astonishing.

Scale Model of London BridgeScale Model of London BridgeLondon Bridge Pub Door GlassPub Door GlassSign from English pub door Bar BackBar BackEnglish Pub Barback Steer's Head in English PubSteer's Head in English PubBull's Head English PubEnglish PubCrossbow in English Pub

(Lee Halvorsen) antiques pub https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/6/not-quite-sure-where-to-start Fri, 29 Jun 2018 20:57:20 GMT
Antique Store https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/6/antique-store I stumbled across the "Antiques & Interiors" store in High Point, NC. What a PLACE! I don't really have all the words I need to describe this outside/inside walk in what can only be described as an Alice in Wonderland kind of adventure. I'll post some more over the next several days, this one is the base of a table...the base is all sticks that are somehow formed to support the marble top. 

Antique table base made from sticks!Antique table base made from sticks!Antique table base made from sticks!

(Lee Halvorsen) black and white table https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/6/antique-store Fri, 29 Jun 2018 02:22:10 GMT
High Point, North Carolina https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/6/high-point-north-carolina In the middle of High Point is a quiet, peaceful park known as the Bog Park. Lots of trees (and shade!), bubbling brooks, a lake, and even a small, man made waterfall. It was a wonderful place to escape the heat and the rushing to and fro. 

The Bog Park LakeThe Bog Park LakeBog Park Lake in High Point, NC



Bog Park Lake WaterfallBog Park Lake WaterfallBog Park Lake, man made waterfall about four feet high

(Lee Halvorsen) lake park https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/6/high-point-north-carolina Sun, 24 Jun 2018 10:57:33 GMT
B&O Railroad Museum https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/6/b-o-railroad-museum I am absolutely fascinated by trains which is sort of a mystery since you could probably count on two hands the number of times I've actually been on a "real" train (metro does NOT count). The history of our country, the history of commerce in America, the history of education, science, politics, economy, etc., etc., etc., all had rail involved for decades!! Much of that past is preserved for us at the B&O Railroad Museum. I spent too short a time there yesterday and I MUST go back. Each train they had (and they had MANY) has its own story and the stories are amazing. There are very knowledgeable and passionate volunteers throughout the HUGE museum who can answer questions and provide information on almost all train things. I could have stayed for hours. Most of the facility is NOT air conditioned so it can be hot. As I said, there are many, many, many, many trains and cars both inside and outside. The Roundhouse is gorgeous and still functional. The "shop" is fascinating. It's a cool place to visit. I'll put more pictures up the next time I go back.

I've made the downloads free for these. Click on the photo, you'll be taken to the gallery where you can find a teeny, tiny menu at the top left rollover corner of the photo where you can click "Download."

Round House and trainsOne third of the Round HouseRound House and trains

Roof of RoundhouseRoof of RoundhouseRoof of Roundhouse

Old, old locomotive with car in backgroundOld, old locomotive with car in backgroundOld, old locomotive with car in background Stage Coach with train detail on doorStage Coach with train detail on doorStage Coach with train detail on door Wheels of stage coachWheels of stage coachWheels of stage coach

(Lee Halvorsen) baltimore museum trains https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/6/b-o-railroad-museum Wed, 20 Jun 2018 17:14:32 GMT
New River https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/6/new-river The New River flows hither and yon in the southwest part of Virginia as well as North Carolina and West Virginia. I'm told that this river is one of the oldest in the US and one of the most scenic. I had a few minutes before a baseball game and so raced over to a park in Radford, VA, to get a few shots. I found a peaceful and powerful river flowing from south to north with small "rapids" right in the middle of the Radford community.  This is taken from a small creek that's a tributary to the river.

New River in Radford, VASmall Creek feeding into New River in Radford, VANew River in Radford, VA

(Lee Halvorsen) radford river https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/6/new-river Mon, 11 Jun 2018 13:06:13 GMT
Draper Mountain https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/6/draper-mountain Just outside of Pulaski, VA, is Draper Mountain - named for John Draper.  His wife and sister-in-law were captured from this mountain by the Shawnee in 1755 and taken away to the Ohio River Valley. His sister-in-law escaped but his wife did not. He found her six years later, ransomed her from the Shawnee, and returned to this area to live. I'm in the Blacksburg, VA, area looking for scenery...and it's EVERYWHERE! A teeny bit overwhelming. Most of my time is spent at baseball games but sometimes I just stop and take photos. 

View from Draper MountainView from Draper MountainView from Draper Mountain

(Lee Halvorsen) mountain scenic view https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/6/draper-mountain Sat, 09 Jun 2018 22:31:12 GMT
The Stone Bridge https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/6/the-stone-bridge Yesterday I did a quick walkabout on the Manassas Battlefield. I've been there before but I'd never been to the Stone Bridge. This bridge is where the first shots were fired in this battle...the place where the future brutality of the war would be unveiled to a naive nation expecting a conflict of chivalry with little blood and gore. Both battles took over 20,000 American lives.

This is a shot from the west side of the bridge, I've made the downloads free. It's a very cool desktop view.

(Lee Halvorsen) battlefield bridge bull run https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/6/the-stone-bridge Fri, 08 Jun 2018 11:06:03 GMT
Asheville, North Carolina https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/6/asheville-north-carolina We did a quick trip to Asheville this weekend. One might think we left the DC area to get out of this rain that never ends!! But no, we were helping Kirsten and Paul move into their new home in Asheville. It's a cool place, ten minute walk to downtown and high up! The first shot is from the walkway in their apartment looking over the southern side of a tree covered Asheville. The second shot is looking back at Asheville in the morning.

Asheville view looking over South Asheville.Asheville view looking over South Asheville.Sunset overlooking Asheville.

Asheville in the distance.Northeast of Asheville, NC looking back toward the city.I-26 view of Asheville from NE of the city

(Lee Halvorsen) asheville https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/6/asheville-north-carolina Sun, 03 Jun 2018 22:07:25 GMT
Dusk in Old Town https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/5/dusk-in-old-town I did a quick walkabout in Old Town Alexandria last night. The weather was fantastic and lots of folks were out strolling, eating, and on the docks just watching the world go by. Even on the Potomac lots of people were out...there must have been a dozen sailboats. I didn't have that much time so clicked and ran.

Sailboats in the distance.Old Town Alexandria DocksSailboats in the distance.

(Lee Halvorsen) alexandria sailboats https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/5/dusk-in-old-town Wed, 30 May 2018 10:56:08 GMT
Chinatown https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/5/chinatown I went to Chinatown in DC today...I was surprised at how dynamic the corner was where I exited the Metro. Lots and lots of people hanging out, there was a busy buzz in the air and you could see every kind of person, from every walk of life, from every economic background all in one place...on the corner under the Chinatown Arch. The actual Chinatown has shrunk quite a bit since I move here over thirty years ago. Only a block or so of Chinese restaurants and shops remain, mainly restaurants.

At the Metro StopAt the Metro StopAt the Metro Stop

Street musicians are the coolest (and bravest!).

Playing some TROMBONE!Playing some TROMBONE!Playing some TROMBONE!

Waiting on the Portrait Gallery Steps

Waiting at the Portrait GalleryWaiting at the Portrait GalleryWaiting at the Portrait Gallery

(Lee Halvorsen) chinatown dc washington https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/5/chinatown Wed, 30 May 2018 01:38:50 GMT
Into the Woods https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/5/into-the-woods I went out yesterday for a walk in the woods. I wasn't truly successful finding the "perfect shot," but I think that's because I was enjoying my walk more than I was looking for photo worthy scenes. The humidity and temperature were low, the pollen was tolerable, and, my hip wasn't snarling. I walked through lots of muddy spots in the trail from all the rain last week, the lake and streams were full and flowing. A great day for a walk. I did see the  remains of a grand old tree sort of glowing in the green of the woods...like a totem to the powerful old tree it must have been.



(Lee Halvorsen) lake tree https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/5/into-the-woods Sat, 26 May 2018 17:21:41 GMT
Sleeping https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/5/sleeping Everyone has a story. Some are more interesting than others, some are more compelling, more tragic, more...whatever. When I'm on the street, I sometimes stop to chat with people. Most of the time people are friendly, seldom are they nasty. Sometimes they are sleeping or not otherwise available. And I am not going to wake them, this is one of those times, right out in front of the Navy Archives.

Resting in DCResting in DCResting in DC

(Lee Halvorsen) dc homeless in https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/5/sleeping Thu, 24 May 2018 20:45:29 GMT
National Gallery of Art https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/5/national-gallery-of-art I went to the NGA yesterday to hear a lecture on Sally Mann, an extraordinary photographer. I had my camera but did not snap the shutter too many times. I took this one in the East Wing. I wonder what others think when they are in a place like this...and who are they thinking with when they're on their phones. Do you suppose they're texting about the art or about getting to the art to enjoy the place together. That's what I think.

Thinking in the GalleryThinking in the GalleryThinking in the Gallery

(Lee Halvorsen) art nga washington https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/5/national-gallery-of-art Wed, 23 May 2018 12:54:14 GMT
The Rain Must Be Clearing https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/5/the-rain-must-be-clearing Many of our roads are flooded. The rain was taking a short break and so I headed for the lake to get some photos of the dam. Well...across the way were these four. They had a photographer so I'm guessing they were doing Cosplay shots and I was just a lucky bystander. The rain hadn't really stopped...only dwindled and so the mood of the lake was kind of eerie which was perfect for this shot!

Cosplay at Lake AccotinkCosplay at Lake AccotinkCosplay at Lake Accotink


Cosplay at Lake AccotinkCosplay at Lake AccotinkCosplay at Lake Accotink

(Lee Halvorsen) accotink lake https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/5/the-rain-must-be-clearing Sat, 19 May 2018 19:00:47 GMT
Rain, Rain, Rain! https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/5/rain-rain-rain Rain has been the theme of the day for several days now and supposedly will continue as the theme for almost another week!! I think we've had almost 5 inches so far and are schedule for another 5 or so.  That's a lot of water. There are more than 27,000 gallons of water per acre for every inch of rain that falls on that acre...that's about 35,000 gallons of water on a standard football field. To get a feel for that I went to one of the lakes in our neighborhood and took some photos of the dam...it was kind of spectacular. I could not get close because of the heavy rain and my camera is NOT waterproof...this shot is a significant crop but I wanted to show you the huge amount of water and debris that are coming over that dam.

Dam at Lake AccotinkDam at Lake AccotinkDam at Lake Accotink

(Lee Halvorsen) accotink at dam lake https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/5/rain-rain-rain Fri, 18 May 2018 11:09:14 GMT
National Cathedral https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/5/national-cathedral Last night I returned to the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. I was there to do a video of the Evening Song Concert but I also took some photos of the facility although not as many as last year. The evening was beautiful...great music, awesome weather, smiling people. But then whoosh, I had just finished putting away the equipment and looking around...eerily quiet. So i took this photo looking back into the sanctuary.

Late evening in the National Cathedral.National CathedralLate evening in the National Cathedral.

(Lee Halvorsen) cathedral washington https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/5/national-cathedral Sat, 12 May 2018 11:39:44 GMT
Reading & Riding https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/5/reading-riding I continue to experiment with high contrast shots. I noticed this compelling combination of contrasts and concentration while waiting for a metro train a few days ago. The spotlight over her head was of course NOT a coincidence since she needed the light to read. Even when the train came in and she boarded, the book remained in the "reading position" ...now that's affirmative concentration. AND acute environmental awareness...at least I hope so.


High Contrast Metro RiderMetro Rider ReaderHigh Contrast Shot

(Lee Halvorsen) metro rider https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/5/reading-riding Mon, 07 May 2018 12:14:25 GMT
C&O Canal https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/5/c-o-canal I go to Glen Echo Park once a week and pass some of the locks on the old C&O Canal. I've always wanted to stop and so did this week. I did not have a great deal of time and so just walked a short distance to "Lock 8" and then down to the Potomac River. I will go back when there's more time, it was a very cool place. These are a couple of shots of the Potomac.

Potomac River from Lock 10 of C&O CanalPotomac River from Lock 10 of C&O CanalPotomac River from Lock 10 of C&O Canal Potomac River from Lock 10 of C&O CanalPotomac River from Lock 10 of C&O CanalPotomac River from Lock 10 of C&O Canal

(Lee Halvorsen) 10 c&o canal from lock of potomac river https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/5/c-o-canal Mon, 07 May 2018 01:14:04 GMT
The Yards Park in Washington, DC https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/5/the-yards-park-in-washington-dc Over the years, since the Washington Nationals Baseball team moved to Southeast DC, the areas on the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers shorelines have changed dramatically. Some would call the change gentrification, others modernization, others....well, you get my drift. The place is way different than it was but still accessible to most. Parks and walkways, and of course the baseball stadium with soccer coming shortly. The Wharf, the Yards, lots of restaurants, clubs, picnic areas, outside recreation, and more. This was taken at the wading pool-waterfall during the week and so there were few people. This one little girl was filled with energy as she raced from one side of the "pond" to the other.

The Yards WaterfallThe Yards WaterfallThe Yards Waterfall in Washington, DC

(Lee Halvorsen) pond waterfall yards https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/5/the-yards-park-in-washington-dc Sat, 05 May 2018 19:31:00 GMT
High Contrast https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/5/high-contrast I'm doing a little exploration...high contrast shots. Of course, today was the kind of day I usually like, sort of cloudy which is usually my favorite kind of weather. But...not with this new idea. I walked all around Union Station and couldn't really "see" the shot or shots that I wanted. I found this one just as I was leaving the local train station. Not perfect...but a start.

Metro RiderMetro RiderMetro Rider

(Lee Halvorsen) contrast high metro of rider shot https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/5/high-contrast Fri, 04 May 2018 21:05:30 GMT
A Bright, Sunny Day https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/a-bright-sunny-day I had a few minutes to walkabout in Alexandria. I tried a new technique that uses a fixed manual focus, fixed f/stop, and fixed shutter speed. The idea is to make the photo taking shot almost invisible...no camera adjustments necessary which in theory would give me more time to actually "look" for a photo. I gave it a try and perhaps will try again, but, I wasn't happy with the results, I don't feel these shots are sharp enough!

Seats in the SunSeats in the SunSeats in the Sun Docks and Dove, Alexandria, VADocks and Dove, Alexandria, VADocks and Dove, Alexandria, VA

(Lee Halvorsen) alexandria https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/a-bright-sunny-day Sun, 29 Apr 2018 20:15:10 GMT
The Morning Hour(s) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/the-morning-hour-s There's something about the morning hours next to a lake, something... the picture is worth a thousand words, especially this one since I don't seem to be able to put together a coherent description. Quiet. Calm. Potential. Crisp. Clear. Cool. Birds. Promise. 

(Lee Halvorsen) burke early fog lake morning https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/the-morning-hour-s Sun, 29 Apr 2018 13:31:52 GMT
New System https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/new-system I have started using a different system and things are a bit different...well, a LOT different. Consequently my time out shooting has diminished as I watch lots of tutorial video. And, lots of errors, missed twists, missed shots, wrong clicks, "Where Is that Function?" and more. Doesn't really make any difference, just getting out is fun. I'm still working on landscapes. This shot is about an hour after dawn at Burke Lake, the fog is starting to rise off the water and I think these geese might be on a date.

Rising fog at Burke Lake.Rising fog at Burke Lake.Rising fog at Burke Lake.

(Lee Halvorsen) burke geese lake northern virginia https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/new-system Sat, 28 Apr 2018 22:12:32 GMT
Fells Point Walkabout https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/fells-point-walkabout I drove to Fells Point in Baltimore today. Bright sun, few clouds, and not really very busy. I did find lots of people to talk with and some let me take their photos. This was the first day out with this camera system and the learning curve is a little steeper than I had anticipated...but, so far so good.

So...here I am, walking the docks and streets where everyone is going to and fro...all about their business. Since it was high noon, that business was either serving food or eating food or on the way to do that very thing. But then, something different! A young lady working on flower pots, trimming plants, stuffing dirt into trays...all to make a few feet of the sidewalk a cooler looking place. For all I know, she worked for the restaurant next door where I was sitting but many people stopped to chat so maybe she lived there or owned the building or just cared enough to make that twenty feet of sidewalk look better than any other on the block. Cool beans. Fells Point. Baltimore, MDFells Point. Baltimore, MDFells Point. Baltimore, MD


(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/fells-point-walkabout Thu, 26 Apr 2018 21:12:51 GMT
Back to the Bridge https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/back-to-the-bridge Doing hair on the PotomacDoing hair on the PotomacDoing hair on the Potomac i'm still developing my mini portfolio for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and so returned there early this morning. I wasn't able to see any "inspirational" photos but did find some other things to shoot. I thought the idea of doing hair on a fishing pier on the Potomac was really cool and they didn't mind that I'd taken their picture. The creepy, alien looking plant is actually the burst of leaves starting to bloom from a sugargum tree. The bridge...well, it's the bridge...I really like the darn thing but need a couple more interesting photos. I'll keep going back until my eye and my brain cooperate.

Sugargum Tree LeafSugargum Tree LeafSugargum Tree Leaf

Sugargum Tree LeafSugargum Tree LeafSugargum Tree Leaf

Woodrow Wilson BridgeWoodrow Wilson BridgeWoodrow Wilson Bridge

Woodrow Wilson BridgeWoodrow Wilson BridgeWoodrow Wilson Bridge

(Lee Halvorsen) woodrow wilson bridge https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/back-to-the-bridge Sat, 21 Apr 2018 17:23:17 GMT
Doing What He Otter (Ouch) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/doing-what-he-otter-ouch One more picture from yesterday...an otter!!! I did not know that Huntley Meadows had otters...I know that beavers are EVERYWHERE because, after all, that is what created this great wetlands park, and I know that there are muskrats because I've seem the furry little beasts...but otters!?! This one popped up in a bush not too, too far away with a fish in his mouth and, I imagined, a twinkle in his eye. He looked right at me and then seemed to pose all the while I was madly changing my camera settings from timed exposures to "normal,"...I did not want to only capture a blur!  He posed for perhaps a minute and then headed off. Then he stopped and looked at me some more, then a little further, then stopped again, and then under and away. Fun!

Otter at Huntley Meadows ParkOtter at Huntley Meadows ParkOtter at Huntley Meadows Park

(Lee Halvorsen) huntley meadows otter https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/doing-what-he-otter-ouch Wed, 18 Apr 2018 11:14:34 GMT
Another Early Morning https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/another-early-morning Today I went to Huntley Meadows Park and was rewarded with a stunning sunrise meeting sparkling water reflecting blue from the brilliant morning sky. The sun had actually been up for a few minutes when I arrived at the lake. The trees were bright golden, like shining brass and the water was Banff Lake-like from the reflecting sky. Amazing light that had a few low stratus clouds. During the next three hours I took advantage of the changing light to tell the Park's springtime story. Truly a glorious morning!

This first shot is an example...the sun is rising over the trees behind me painting the forest on the other side of the lake a brassie gold color, but, the shadows of the trees behind me are literally splitting the lakes reflection into two bands of color, the darker from the fleeting shadows that will soon be gone as the sun finally drives the dawn away.

Huntley Meadows Park at SunriseHuntley Meadows Park at SunriseHuntley Meadows Park at Sunrise

 The next two were taken about 20 minutes after sunrise. The golden shades are disappearing but the winds haven't started yet so the waters are picking up the bright blue sky.

Huntley Meadows Park at SunriseHuntley Meadows Park at SunriseHuntley Meadows Park at Sunrise


Huntley Meadows Park at SunriseHuntley Meadows Park at SunriseHuntley Meadows Park at Sunrise

Two hours after sunrise and things are beginning to change. The temperature is above 40 degrees and the wind is starting to blow.

Huntley Meadows Park at SunriseHuntley Meadows Park at SunriseHuntley Meadows Park at Sunrise

(Lee Halvorsen) huntley meadows park https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/another-early-morning Wed, 18 Apr 2018 00:32:23 GMT
DC - A Bird's Eye View https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/dc---a-birdseye-view Well, perhaps not a bird's eye view but not something normally seen. This was taken on Saturday the 14th and I'm at the top of a hotel just south of the Potomac River looking over the 14th St bridge. The bridge is actually several bridges all clustered around the 14th St entrance into DC, hence, the collective name, "14th St Bridge." The shot was taken about an hour before sunset; lots of cars headed into town, perhaps to see the cherry blossoms in bloom since Saturday was going to be the last day before a period of colder weather and heavy rain. From the left side of the photo, the landmarks are, Washington Memorial, National Cathedral (way in the back sticking up high on the horizon), the old Post Office Pavilion (now a hotel), the Jefferson Memorial (the white dome at the far end of the 14th St Bridge), and the Capitol Building on the far right. Cool city.

Washington DC viewed across 14th St BridgeWashington DC viewed across 14th St BridgeWashington DC viewed across 14th St Bridge

(Lee Halvorsen) 14th across bridge dc st viewed washington https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/dc---a-birdseye-view Mon, 16 Apr 2018 13:17:19 GMT
Cherry Blossoms https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/cherry-blossoms I was up early this morning...but not on purpose, Kyle had practice at 6:30 and so I thought that since I was up, I might as well head for DC and the Cherry Blossom festival. The cold weather has kept the blossoms from fading at the normal pace so despite the fact that they've been blossoming for quite a while, they still look good. I had my parking all planned out; I'd go into town on the Memorial Bridge and turn right by the Lincoln Memorial to get on the Rock Creek Park Trail road, drive to the end of that road which would put me right next to the Jefferson Memorial and the Tidal Basin. And..at 6:30 in the morning, who else would be up?!? What I had NOT counted on was that this was THE day of the Cherry Blossom parade and the big vendor gathering. The Rock Creek Trail had been turned into one way...and not the way I wanted. And there were many, many people and CARS! I circled around to Hains Point Park and fortunately, the masses had not yet discovered the parking lots underneath the 14th Street Bridge which are only a couple of hundred yards from the Tidal Basin.

The sun was well past "up" by the time I got to the Basin and although the walkways weren't jammed, there were many, many people. In fact, I found the people more interesting than the cherry blossoms. The weather was perfect, the people were laughing and smiling, and EVERYONE was taking pictures. Me, too.

Cherry Blossom BallerinaCherry Blossom BallerinaCherry Blossom Ballerina

Springtime in the CitySpringtime in the CitySpringtime in the City

(Lee Halvorsen) blossoms cherry dc washington https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/cherry-blossoms Sat, 14 Apr 2018 16:26:40 GMT
Teddy Roosevelt Island https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/teddy-roosevelt-island Charge! Or at least that's what Teddy might have said as he started across the long foot bridge to the island that houses his "memorial." Memorial is in quotes because I don't know if the fountains will ever run again. Supposedly a renovation effort was undertaken several years ago but then the earthquake hit which complicated things, and, so no fountains or ponds at the memorial. But...that's not why we really went to the island. We walked down to the southern tip which is under the Memorial Bridge. The tide was out so we were able to walk "off the trail" to the shore...such as it is. From there we had a reasonable view of the Kennedy Center and the Lincoln Memorial. I admit that my hip and knees were not happy with my small walk...snarling...yep, that's what my hip was doing.

Kennedy Center from under the Memorial BridgeKennedy Center from under the Memorial BridgeKennedy Center from under the Memorial Bridge Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument from under the Memorial BridgeLincoln Memorial and Washington Monument from under the Memorial BridgeLincoln Memorial and Washington Monument from under the Memorial Bridge The marsh side on the Teddy Roosevelt IslandThe marsh side on the Teddy Roosevelt IslandThe marsh side on the Teddy Roosevelt Island

(Lee Halvorsen) memorial bridge roosevelt island https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/teddy-roosevelt-island Fri, 13 Apr 2018 20:59:52 GMT
Sunrise at Huntley Meadows Park https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/sunrise-at-huntley-meadows-park I decided that if I'm going to do sunrise photos, I'd like to do them at a fairly reasonable hour, summer hours will make getting up just a little tougher than it is right now. I was on the road about 5:30ish without a real goal in mind. I really wanted to head downtown for the cherry blossoms but didn't want to get in the middle of the rush hour traffic and so I headed to Huntley Meadows. I was there well before sunrise, in fact, I don't think it was supposed to be open but I was not the first one to set up a tripod. The sunrise was kind of meh but the park was really gorgeous. Although the water level is low, the sense of spring and growing is everywhere and the vocal birds especially let me know that they were frisky and into this time of year. Although I came for landscapes, I spent much of my time with this heron who was quite patient with me. A good morning...now for a nap.

Heron diving for breakfast at Huntley Meadows ParkHeron diving for breakfast at Huntley Meadows ParkHeron diving for breakfast at Huntley Meadows Park Heron with fish for breakfast at Huntley Meadows ParkHeron with fish for breakfast at Huntley Meadows ParkHeron with fish for breakfast at Huntley Meadows Park Heron seeming to wave goodbye at Huntley Meadows ParkHeron seeming to wave goodbye at Huntley Meadows ParkHeron seeming to wave goodbye at Huntley Meadows Park Low water at Huntley Meadows ParkLow water at Huntley Meadows ParkLow water at Huntley Meadows Park

(Lee Halvorsen) heron huntley meadows park https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/sunrise-at-huntley-meadows-park Thu, 12 Apr 2018 21:01:05 GMT
Landscape https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/landscape I am not very experienced with landscape photography and think I should up my game a little. I will go out more and try to pay attention to the things that make such photos worthwhile. I admit that I think I might enjoy street photography a bit more but I'm willing to give this a try. I have a great deal to learn since perspectives and light are quite different. Light and object reflections from water instead of windows, shadows from rocks and trees instead of buildings and cars, and hidden dangers from lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) instead of racing bikes and autos. But, I'll strap on my hiking boots, fire up my GPS, and head out to learn. This is a shot taken across a local lake from ankle level with a long exposure (1/15 sec), high f/stop (f/22) and very low ISO (64) Burke Lake MarinaBurke Lake MarinaBurke Lake Marina .

(Lee Halvorsen) burke lake marina virginia https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/landscape Tue, 10 Apr 2018 22:23:58 GMT
Woodrow Wilson Bridge https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/woodrow-wilson-bridge I have many pictures of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge from down below but none with an upper view. Hoping for a partly cloudy sunrise, I headed for the bridge this morning when it was still quite dark. I swear my titanium hip was snarling at me as I got out of the car from a parking place just two blocks from the bridge. I had no idea what the walkway was like but had visions of somehow climbing up on a fence that was on the walkway over the bridge at Washington Street. But no, the fence is high and it's mounted on an even higher wall so there was no getting to a bridge view from the street.  I headed across the bridge. The high sound wall eventually changes to just a railing and then a bit further out I was rewarded with both traffic access as well as a great view of the Potomac, Alexandria, and DC. Sunrise came...but with no sun...way too many clouds. The total walk was just a bit over two miles, now I'm ready for a nap.

Docks at Old Down AlexandriaDocks at Old Down AlexandriaDocks at Old Down Alexandria


Woodrow Wilson Bridge entering VirginiaWoodrow Wilson Bridge entering VirginiaWoodrow Wilson Bridge entering Virginia

(Lee Halvorsen) https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/woodrow-wilson-bridge Fri, 06 Apr 2018 13:31:18 GMT
Wandering In Loudoun County https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/wandering-in-loudoun-county We drove to Lovettsville, VA for a lunch and were very, very happy with the meal. The place is called the Market Table Bistro and uses mostly locally sourced stuff including a lot from the owner's garden. After a super meal we headed to Point of Rocks, MD, for a very quick side trip. Way, way out in the middle of nowhere you would think, and then you run into a parking lots that's jammed with cars...the MARC train stops there for commuters into DC!! The first shot is from the Maryland shore looking toward Virginia and the bridge that connects the two commonwealths. From there we headed back into Virginia and stopped at the Old Lucketts Store, a really "hip" place where you can find an awesome assortment of antiques, home decorating ideas, and tons and tons of STUFF! It's a great place to visit. The last two shots are from Lucketts.

Bridge between Maryland & Virginia at Point of the Rocks, MDBridge between Maryland & Virginia at Point of the Rocks, MDBridge between Maryland & Virginia at Point of the Rocks, MD

Bike Fun at Lucketts StoreBike Fun at Lucketts StoreBike Fun at Lucketts Store

Studebaker, the king of the hill in the 50s!Studebaker, the king of the hill in the 50s!Studebaker, the king of the hill in the 50s!


The Great Out "Doors"The Great Out "Doors"The Great Out "Doors"

(Lee Halvorsen) antiques lucketts of point rocks https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/wandering-in-loudoun-county Thu, 05 Apr 2018 21:48:44 GMT
Photograph on Display in the Art League, Torpedo Factory https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/photograph-on-display-in-the-art-league-torpedo-factory One of my photographs, "Chicago Shoreline" was juried into the April Exhibit at the Art League in the Torpedo Factory. I took the photo on a windy day (surprise) with lots of interesting clouds. I had originally had it as part of my "Near the Water" collection that was to be in the book but this was so different from ocean beaches and sunsets. I'm happy they chose the photo, if you get to Old Town this month, stop in the gallery and take a look!

Chicago ShorelineChicago ShorelineChicago Shoreline

(Lee Halvorsen) chicago shoreline https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/photograph-on-display-in-the-art-league-torpedo-factory Tue, 03 Apr 2018 10:55:56 GMT
Happy Easter! https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/happy-easter What a wonderful weekend! And the weather was great, too. At least yesterday the skies were clear, the temperatures mild, and the wind...well, it wasn't South Dakota strength, but there was a light breeze that encouraged thousands to "go fly a kite" on the Mall!! A friend and I went down and walked the Mall and the area around the Washington Monument. Lots of smiles, laughter, and most of all...KITES! Everyone had one, everyone desperately wanted the kites to fly even without a lot of wind, so lots of running and yelling and encouraging and "TRY AGAIN!"

There were some kites that were "professional" but most were store bought. And they flew quite well and got just as many laughs and crashes. It was a good day. The sun was a bit bright and the walk was a bit long...but I had fun!

FLY! FLY! FLY!FLY! FLY! FLY!FLY! FLY! FLY! Kites on the Mall in Washington, DCKites on the Mall in Washington, DCKites on the Mall in Washington, DC

(Lee Halvorsen) dc kites mall washington https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/4/happy-easter Sun, 01 Apr 2018 13:03:14 GMT
Morning Mist https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/3/morning-mist Our weather is turning warm which was a shock to all of the cold air, ground, and pavement in the area. The good news for me was that usually when this happens, the fog is everywhere with tendrils creeping into trees, buildings, bridges, etc., that you don't normally get to see during "stable weather" times of the year. So...off I went just before sunrise to visit my local lake in hopes of finding a mysterious mist. I was a bit underwhelmed probably because my expectations were too high, sigh. The mist was in the air but not thick and certainly no tendrils or mystery. The ceiling was well over 500 feet and visibility was at least a mile so things just weren't all that foggy. But the moisture in the air was dripping off this dying flower (in the first shot). Looking back over the lake the empty dock and the empty train trestle did match the mood of the high mist. A little further on was the carousel with hand carved horses from the 1930s. Empty, too.

Morning fog drips from flower at Lake Accotink.Morning fog drips from flower at Lake Accotink.Morning fog drips from flower at Lake Accotink. Lake Accotink dockLake Accotink dockLake Accotink dock Lake Accotink train trestle and park benchLake Accotink train trestle and park benchLake Accotink train trestle and park bench Lake Accotink CarouselLake Accotink CarouselLake Accotink Carousel

(Lee Halvorsen) accotink carousel lake https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/3/morning-mist Thu, 29 Mar 2018 13:57:48 GMT
Back To The Bridge https://www.leehalvorsenphotography.com/blog/2018/3/back-to-the-bridge I admit that I am fascinated by the Woodrow WIlson Bridge, a veritable engineering miracle that is not only functional but also artistic. I was out early today to get to the side of the bridge that I am normally NOT on. Consequently I discovered some old concrete and iron things that were like sidewalks heading out to the river from a couple of blocks inland. I found a sign that explained them and it was really kind of cool. During World War I the US built a shipyard at Jones Point that included five huge "shipways" which would have been sort of like dry docks upon which they built the ships. The concrete things that I'd found were actually tracks for the huge cranes they used to build the ships. During the day (100 years ago), the place had 7,000 employees with lots of rail, construction equipment, and an eating place that could seat 2,000 at a time. Now, the grounds are quiet except for the constant hum of traffic overhead, the barks of dogs running for fun with their masters, and the slap, slap, slap of joggers' shoes. But I also found Tim who finds time to relax from his hectic work schedule by fishing (and returning) on the Potomac. A good day.

Early morning shadows under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.Early morning shadows under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.Early morning shadows under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

Tim fishing in the PotomacTim fishing in the PotomacTim fishing in the Potomac  

(Lee Halvorsen) fishing potomac woodrow wilson bridge