Ballenger Creek Pool

I am fortunate to live in a beautiful area—Fluvanna County, Virginia. Most people familiar with the county would agree and when they do I suspect they’re thinking of the farmland and woods. And they’re right—as you drive around the views are wonderful.

But one of the other reasons I personally love this county is the creeks—something I think most people don’t pay a lot of attention to unless they have some specific reason—say a problem with flooding or needing to water livestock or a place to go swimming in hot weather.

There are dozens of creeks flowing through the county and they all flow into two rivers—the Rivanna in the central, northern and eastern majority of the county and the Hardware in the southern and western part. Both rivers in turn flow into the mighty James River which forms the southwestern boundary of the county—fully one forth of the perimeter of Fluvanna County. The James is the river the pilgrims sailed up from the Chesapeake Bay in 1607 to found Jamestown—which is about 100 miles southeast of here as that crow we keep hearing about, flies.

My two favorite creeks are Cunningham and Ballenger. It seems like almost any road I drive down in the county I keep crossing Cunningham Creek again and again. It’s all over the central and southwestern parts of the county which is what I travel across the most. Cunningham Creek is also the principle feature in the most commercially successful picture I’ve ever taken entitled “Cunningham Creek Winter Dawn”—I’ve sold a ton of those prints. It’s an example of what I call “calendar photography” and is very popular around here.

My second favorite stream is Ballenger Creek (the subject of the featured image) and runs through the northeastern part of the county. The picture you see was taken just a little north of Palmyra, the county seat. I did a little research and Ballenger is an old family name in this region—the creek has had that name as far back as the early 1700s.

I made that exposure on a beautiful sunny day in late fall or early winter a few years ago. I was writing a history column for the county newspaper at that time and was doing a little field research for an article on a massive train wreck that occurred in that part of the county in 1942. The historical accounts I had read indicated there was still wreckage to be seen in the woods around Ballenger Creek in that part of the county.

I wandered around in the woods that day through, brush, briars, vines—up and down the creek—for hours and never found any wreckage. But I did get this shot. Back at home that evening I did some post-processing using a technique I was fond of back in those days to get the dreamy, fantasy look you see.

This image (called “Ballenger Creek Pool,”) has also sold fairly well at art & craft shows around the area. Even though this sort of treatment is something I lost interest in years ago I thought I’d post it to see what kid of reaction I get on Fotoblur—I’ve noticed a lot of the images that are featured employ heavy post-production.

I remember selling a matted print of this image to a young woman about a year ago who seemed very taken with it. As I bagged it for her she told me how much she loved it and explained she planned on redecorating her entire living room around this picture.

I thanked her and told her I was flattered. She seemed like a very nice young woman but I remember thinking to myself as she disappeared into the crowd, “She really needs to get out more.”

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2 Responses to “Ballenger Creek Pool”

  1. Nelson Cheang Says:

    I remember it is hard to see some colour in your photo.
    Very nice…

  2. orion Says:

    Thank you Nelson–you are one of my strongest supporter–and I appreciate you very much :)

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