Tag Archives: Roanoke

Fall in Roanoke

Along for the Ride

I’m getting back around to working on some photos from earlier this fall.  In no particular order, just whatever my attention span allows me to concentrate on!

Hotel Roanoke and Railroad Tracks
Corned Beef & Company

I had mentioned in a previous post that Kathy & I had decided to spend our fall weekends differently than we have the past few years.  Rather than chasing color up and down the Blue Ridge Parkway (something we enjoy but have grown a little weary of) we spent a weekend in Florida at a jazz festival, a weekend in Roanoke, VA visiting friends, and a weekend in which I took photos at a recreated pioneer village and photographed some kids.  That was a different fall for us, indeed.


Kathy & I have had an attachment to Roanoke since spending a single night there very early in our marriage.  I don’t even remember for sure what we did, where we stayed or where we ate, but we’ve always had good memories of our short time there, and have wanted to go back and spend some time.  This year we got to go to Roanoke twice.  Of course it was made easier because we have good friends there.  We go to see Steven and Cheryl, and just like us, they enjoy wandering around town, taking random photographs, shopping and eating.  What a deal!


We’ve found a nice historic hotel right in the downtown area that is walking distance to just about everywhere.  We can literally park the car and enjoy the weekend without having to drive.  Although this visit we did spend a little time exploring the countryside, visiting a winery and one of Steven & Cheryl’s favorite restaurants, which is now also one of our favorite restaurants!

Bright yellow leaves of Ginko Biloba trees celebrate fall in downtown Roanoke, Virginia

One of my objections to the constant driving we have done in previous years is that I get tired of driving.  And I get really tired of traffic.  Kathy drives sometimes, but my creativity seems to suffer when I view the scenery from a moving vehicle, regardless of who is driving.  And the addition of crowds just makes it harder.

Missing shutters

The other thing with fall is that it’s often very hard to find really interesting scenes.  Fall color gives the impression of being interesting because everything is a different color, but in actuality it is much harder to make an interesting photograph in the fall because of the color.  Much of what we see in the fall is just as boring as it is in the summer, it’s just a different color.  My opinion, anyway.

Open and Shut

Fall happens everywhere, not just in the mountains.  And it’s not just colored leaves that make up fall.  The air is crisp and cool, the light is warm and contrasty, and a lot of interesting things happen in the fall, such as festivals, concerts and farmer’s markets.  So my goal was to find and photograph fall in different places.  I think it was a successful approach, and in many ways I think am happier with the results than I’ve been from those in previous years.

Shadow and block

Farmer’s Market

Farmer’s Market in downtown Roanoke, Virginia

I really love fall because it is a great time to travel and take photographs.  But the hard part about fall is that we do a lot of traveling and take a lot of photographs!  I was already a few weeks behind on processing my photos from the last two weekends, and then this weekend I went and took another 1,000 or so photographs, so I’m even behinder now than I was before.  But we’ll slow down a bit in November and December, so with any luck I’ll have some time to get caught up on my processing and my writing.  Wishful thinking, perhaps, but that’s the plan.

Farmer’s Market in downtown Roanoke, Virginia
Farmer’s Market in downtown Roanoke, Virginia

Over the weekend of 10/19-10/21 we headed to Roanoke, VA to spend time with our good friends Steven and Cheryl.  One of the things I had been looking forward to was visiting their Farmer’s Market, which is right downtown, in the Market Square area.  There is a block-long section of street that has been permanently set up for local farmers and craftspeople to display and sell their goods.  It was quite an experience, and for me it was a real photographic treat.  And all I did was shoot vegetables!  I could have make an entire day photographing people, although many of them were not nearly as photogenic as the food. 🙂

Farmer’s Market in downtown Roanoke, Virginia
Farmer’s Market in downtown Roanoke, Virginia

I’ve not spent a lot if time at farmer’s markets, although I certainly need to do more of it.  The quality of food for sale is much better than that found at even the better local grocery stores.  Most if it is truly local, and you can be pretty sure that whatever you buy was picked just a few days before you bought it.  We always tell ourselves that we don’t buy enough produce to make it worth the trip, but I think there’s a lot to be said for buying fresh and for buying local.

Farmer’s Market in downtown Roanoke, Virginia
Farmer’s Market in downtown Roanoke, Virginia

The fall colors were coming into their own while we were there, and I’ll try to follow up with another post on that subject in the next few days.

Farmer’s Market in downtown Roanoke, Virginia
Farmer’s Market in downtown Roanoke, Virginia

I have a number of friends who seem to be able to race home and see who can be the first to process and post photos from their weekends, but I don’t seem to be able to come close to that, so I don’t care to waste much effort trying to compete.  In the mean time I’m currently trying to download and process another batch of photos from our two latest adventures.  One of them was for a paying client today, so I’ll have to give those photos a higher priority.  But I’ll get back to these soon, so stay tuned.

Farmer’s Market in downtown Roanoke, Virginia

Special thanks to Riverstone Organic Farm from Floyd, VA for allowing me to shoot their vegetables!

A Little Breathing Room

Pedestrian overpass in Roanoke, VA

I mentioned in several earlier posts that I had just about run out of hard drive space, and that coincidentally one of my three drives – the one that had been my main working hard drive for three years – had been acting weird and giving my trouble.  I switched over to one of my backup drives, relegated the old main drive to temporary backup status, and ordered new hard drives.  Exciting, huh?  Non-photographers can probably stop here…this is as good as it gets!

This past Monday I took delivery of three new 2 Terabyte Western Digital My Book Studio external hard drives to replace the 1 Terabyte drives I had been using.  It wasn’t a hard job, in fact it was remarkably easy.  But given that those drives contain all my photos from the last 8 plus years, I wanted to shut down Lightroom and stop processing photos until I was finished.  The third drive finished copying sometime this morning.  It took about 15 hours to copy the data from the old drive to each new drive, but now I have three identical copies, one that stays connected to my computer, one that lives in a cabinet in my home office, and another that lives offsite at my work office.  I then use SuperDuper! to run incremental backups on a regular basis.  I did a backup on each of the new drives just for fun, and each one took 30 seconds.  But of course nothing had changed, so that was what I expected.  No problemo.

Acquainting Lightroom with the new drive couldn’t have been simpler.  I opened up Lightroom, pointed it to the new main drive, and in seconds it was synched.  Piece-o cake-o!  Back in business and ready for a few more years worth of photos.  Hopefully another 3 or so years, but it’s hard to say.  These files are getting rather large!

A Visit to Roanoke

Mill Mountain Star in Roanoke, VA. In-camera HDR with Canon 5D Mark III

Kathy & I recently visited Roanoke, Virginia to visit with our friend Steven Norris and attend the opening of a gallery show that Exposure Roanoke is having at a gallery there.  We had visited Roanoke many, many years ago, and had good but fading memories of the place.  We had been intending to return for a long time, and this gave us a good chance to go.

Evening shower, Roanoke VA

We didn’t have a lot of time there, but we stayed at the Hotel Roanoke, which gave us easy access to the downtown area.  With the expert guidance of Steven & Cheryl we visited some of the downtown highlights on Saturday night, and I returned for a little shooting on my own on Sunday morning, before meeting up with our friends for the sumptuous breakfast buffet at the Hotel Roanoke.

I’m not exactly sure what ‘Tomato Water’ is, but if they can make a Martini out of it, how bad can it be?

Roanoke is a railroad town, having grown around the success of the Norfolk & Southern, now Norfolk & Western.  A lot of coal moves through Roanoke.  With a population of just under 100,000 with 303,000 in the MSA, it’s a happening place without the sprawl and congestion of larger cities.  Situated right near the mountains and The Blue Ridge Parkway and an easy drive from Charlotte, it’s a place we need to spend more time visiting, especially with friends there.

Roanoke VA at night
Roanoke VA at night

Despite the amazing number of railroad tracks, there are numerous bridges and pedestrian walkways, so getting around is easy.  Our hotel had a walkway right across from the entrance, so we could be in town within minutes of leaving our room.  And with the exception of going out to the gallery, once we parked our car we didn’t need it again until we left.  My kind of place!

Pedestrian overpass in Roanoke, VA

We didn’t visit the Transportation Museum, deciding to spend our limited time seeing more of the town.  We did visit the O. Winston Link Museum on Sunday afternoon and learned the story of Link and is railroad photography.  The Link museum is a fascinating place, located in the former N&S passenger depot.  It’s definitely a must-visit for any photography and/or railroad buff.

Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke VA
Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke VA
Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke VA
Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke VA

The Taubman Museum of Art is across the tracks from the Link Museum, and provides an interesting architectural contrast with much of the older architecture in the area.  I got the impression that there were only two opinions about the place most residents considering it either a hideous eyesore or beautiful.  In my opinion there’s no point in making an art museum look like a Wal-Mart, so I guess I would fall into the “beautiful” camp.  I’d vote for spending my tax dollars on it.

Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke VA

We had a nice weekend in Roanoke, a wonderful visit with Steven and Cheryl, and hope it isn’t another 30 years before we return for another look.

Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke VA

Just One Shot

Rain, Billy’s Restaurant in Roanoke, VA

Kathy & I spent this past weekend visiting friends in Roanoke, VA.  More on that later.

Sunday afternoon we were walking around the downtown area, when a thunderstorm passed through.  Taking refuge under the overhang of the City Market, we were right across the street from Billy’s, a restaurant we had stopped at for cocktails and appetizers the evening before.

The girl in this photo is a hostess at Billy’s.  During the height of the downpour, she pulled up in front of the restaurant in her car, and one of her co-workers from inside came outside under an umbrella and handed her another umbrella through her car window.  She then drove around to the side of the building to park.  Sensing a possible photo opportunity, I maneuvered into a position I thought might be suitable, and waited for her to come down the sidewalk.  As she approached the front of the building, I lifted my camera, took this one shot, and she immediately covered her face with the umbrella and that was it.  But this is the shot I was looking for, and the expression on her face makes it for me.

Passing the Umbrella, Billy’s Restaurant in Roanoke, VA

The photo itself is probably not a big deal, but what excites me the most is that I envisioned the scene, saw it coming and made it happen.  The fact that I only got one shot is interesting, but I only needed one, right?

More to come on the rest of our wonderful visit with good friends, but I wanted to share this one before I go back to working on the rest of my photos.  I’ve got a few more!