Facing a New Day

Karen Wood stands in front of the Appomattox County Courthouse in Appomattox, where she spent many long days in legal battles with her ex husband. Those cases have resulted in him convicted of kidnapping and solicitation to commit murder. She decided to come forth with her story in hopes of teaching other the lessons she learned the hard way, with plans to do public speaking on the topic of domestic abuse.

We accidentally set up our time for the portrait before the courthouse opened so I opted to take a few shots outside in the meantime. We used one with her eyes open in the paper but I like the feel of this one as well.

Dave Thompson’s article about her story is here.

A Day in DC

I pulled a 22-hour shift to cover Obama’s second inauguration (my first) in Washington yesterday. A group of people from the Lynchburg area organized a bus to leave at 1:30 a.m. and come back in the afternoon. With a 4ish-hour trip each way I knew it would be a long day. I mistakenly thought I’d be able to grab a decent nap during the ride but sometimes it just doesn’t work out (and it doesn’t help when you are right under the speaker for the en-route movie). All in all it was an amazing day and one that I’ll never forget. Seeing the sun rise over the Jefferson Memorial and feeling the crowd roar as Obama approached the lectern – photos and words really aren’t adequate to capture those moments. But they are better than nothing so, as usual, here is a set of my favorite pics from the day. Including a very candid photo of Obama hanging out with some people in the park…

Bogotá, Armenia, Salento

Selection of photos from Colombia, during a week-long trip I recently took with my parents. Our long-distance friend, Diego Mendoza, was marrying Angelica Bonilla in Bogotá and they invited us to attend. We took the opportunity to spend a few extra days visiting Armenia and Salento, also hiking a day in the Cocora Valley. The food was wonderful, the weather cooperated when it really mattered, and the people we met were all very patient and helpful.

I took all of these with an iPhone or Canon G10, a refreshing departure from the 5-lb Nikon and bag that I haul around for work. I wanted to both test the range of those cameras as well as force myself to experiment with a different shooting style.

Long Term Served

I went Altavista last Sunday to photograph outgoing mayor Rudy Burgess. He has served on City Council for 40 years; as mayor for 24. I shot sparingly in the 90 minutes I was with him and his wife, Lucy, at their comfortable 1910’s home, spending most of the time listening to their stories. Having just come back from Thanksgiving in Minnesota where I saw my remaining grandparents’ health declining, I am more attuned to the experience and wisdom that will be lost along with their generation. Burgess said that members of Council were all issued laptops recently but he declined his, wanting “nothing to do” with the device. The only new device in his life these days is a wheelchair, which he admits is frustrating but necessary, having suffered a few embarrassing falls. “I’ve got a lot of miles on me,” he said, half-jokingly. As the Burgess’ walked me to the door, they said I was welcome to come back and visit any time and, if I was lucky, they’d have some food ready.

Old Time Railroad

The Appomattox train station hadn’t seen a passenger arrive in over 20 years until earlier this month when nearly 1,000 visitors rode the railroad into town and spent the afternoon soaking up some history. I was let on the train while they were out and about. I walked through the train of extravagant old cars, a hodgepodge of carriages from rail systems across the country.