Thursday, December 10, 2015

West Virginia and LightZone

Just so you don't think that I have turned into a hermit in my dotage, I did manage to get out on a motorcycle ride at the end of September.  This is the first time I have been able to edit the photos, since my photo editor has been locking up.  In this case, for you camera nuts, I am trying a new photo editing software, LightZone.  I like it because it is one of these open source, community supported, and free software packages.  I have a lot to learn, but so far it works very well.  I will drop a screen shot of the program at the end of this post and recommend that you consider it, if you like taking and editing photos.

Now, on to W. Virgina.

In most of West Virginia and Virginia, the mountains run in long ridges with wide valleys between.  The exception is an area in the north eastern part of W. Virginia where the mountains look like they have been stirred up by a giant spoon.  Valleys and ridges twist and turn with rivers and streams in the valleys doing the same.  If you are looking on Google maps, turn on "terrain" and check out the area east and north of Elkins.

There are very few paved roads in this area.  Most are one lane, hard packed gravel.  In 2009, I explored the area a little bit, but ran out of time and wanted to go back.  This year, I got the chance.

I don't make much speed on this kind of trip.  I like to just putt along and enjoy the scenery.  Of course, I stop at the drop of a hat to take a picture.

On most of the W. Virginia state highways, there are so many trees that you really have a hard time seeing what the land is doing.

 These little roads seem to follow either the top of the ridge or the stream in the valley and there are a lot more views.  Funny how I always take pictures from the top of the ridge.  I also notice that I never seem to have other people in my photos.  It seems, when I am with other people, I am usually too busy to take pictures.

 Lots of lovely sunshine on this trip.  After 5 days of riding down on the backroads and playing in these mountains, I headed south to meet up with the MSTA motorcycle club for a group ride.  Unfortunately, that was the beginning of the rain and flooding that hit the East Coast.  I abandoned the group and headed for home, safe in the knowledge that I had already had a good time exploring.

And as promised, here is the screen shot of the LightZone program.  Lots of editing tools on the right and "styles" on the left.  One of the best things about this program is that they have taken time to make some very useful YouTube videos to teach you how to use the program.  Very nice.