Interfaith Environmental Festival Planned for April 27
Virginia Stands with the Bay

Virginia Through the Lens of a Photo-Artist

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Everyone takes pictures these days. Most of us carry cell phones with built-in cameras, and many of us own inexpensive point-and-shoot digital cameras. And who needs film anymore?!

But while everyone is taking photographs, not everyone is a photographer. Yes, we all get lucky and snap an occasional good picture. But great photography remains an art form, requiring talent, practice, persistence, patience, and some luck.

If you still think just anyone can take compelling photographs, take a look at Natural Virginia, a brand new coffee-table book of images documenting the stunning beauty of Virginia’s natural landscapes as photographed by Ben Greenberg.

Nearly every page prompts a “wow” or a smile or a memory. Like a fine painting, the images demand that you linger and study their composition, texture, and detail.

As outdoor writer and photographer Deane Dozier wrote in the book’s introduction, “Open the pages. Smell the Eastern Shore salt marsh. Breathe in the Virginia mountain air. Feel the swelling of the heart at the expanse of mountain ranges fading to soft blues in the distance…Savor the experience of Virginia’s natural beauty. It resides within the images.”

Greenberg confesses upfront he’s a proud native Virginian and a committed conservationist. He champions environmental stewardship, acknowledging "there remain serious dangers to our natural environment, dangers we know all too well. I will experience great satisfaction if this book contributes in any way to protecting the locations found in my images and other natural places throughout Virginia.”

His book should do just that. The volume is divided into three sections -- the Tidewater, Piedmont, and Western Region -- each amply documented with color panoramic photos and notes.

My favorite Greenberg photos tend to be those of Tidewater marshes, beaches, and Chesapeake Bay vistas. As a Hampton Roads native, I’m sure they resonate with me as much as photos of the Blue Ridge, Shenandoah Valley, and Southwest mountains will touch readers with roots in those regions of the Commonwealth.

GreenbergHeronGreenberg says his personal favorite is a photo of a Great Blue Heron stalking the rocks of the James River on a misty morning in Richmond. It graces his book’s cover. And if you still think that it’s easy to capture such an image, read his notes about how it came to be. (Note: Greenberg used a film, not digital, camera; he had limited time and tools to get it right.)

As Tayloe Murphy, former member of the Virginia House of Delegates and state Secretary of Natural Resources, writes in the book's foreword, “He did not just happen to walk by and snap a picture. Like all of his photographs, it represents how important timing and experience are to the creation of a scene worthy of preservation.”

But enough words. Check out Greenberg’s website here for a sampling of Virginia’s natural majesty through the lens of a real photo-artist.

Chuck Epes

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

(Photos by Ben Greenberg)

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