“Celebrating Open Space” Debuts at the Fire House Gallery

CCEA PosterThe beauty of Clarke’s outdoors makes its way indoors for the next two weeks at an exhibit of landscape photography by some of Clarke County’s notable photographers.   The exhibit opened on Friday March 19th at the Fire House Gallery and Shop at 23 East Main St. Berryville.   It will run through Saturday April 3rd.  

The exhibit, titled “Celebrating Open Space” is the result of a photography contest by the Clarke County Conservation Easement Authority.   Their goal is to raise appreciation for Clarke’s abundant natural riches and awareness of the importance of protecting its open space for generations to come.   The exhibit honors the Clarke County Historical Association’s new museum exhibit:   “Our Land is Our Legacy”.  

Twenty-four local residents submitted a total of 65 photographs for judging by professional photographer Matthew Klein of New York.   Klein chose eleven images for recognition.   They are expertly framed in black and displayed on panels in the center of the gallery.    

Bonnie Jacob’s photograph titled “Curves” took first place.   The aerial shot of Tupper Dorsey’s farm near Berryville was taken from a plane flown by her husband.   It features the bends of a blue stream mirrored by curved stripes of plowed land tinted by the sunset.    

Gallery visitor Peter Cook, owner of Oakland Tree Plantation, commented on Bonnie Jacobs’ winning photograph, “The waves along here compliment the meanders of the river.   It’s extraordinary that she was able to capture that; with the bright blue and the contrast there.   I think Tupper has probably done these for planting game.   He likes to plant wildlife cover along side the stream.”  

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"Celebrating Open Space" at the Fire House Gallery

The Long Branch Balloon Festival at Long Branch inspired the second place entry by John P. Lewis.   The  photograph shows a lone hot air balloon ascending above a fog shrouded pasture.   A majestic oak tree spread out against the sky balances the composition.  

A weathered red barn at the crux of field and sky is the subject of Richard Lee’s third place photograph.   Lee went no farther than his backyard for the shot.   “That’s about 50 feet from my backdoor,” he mused.   The balanced exposure of sky and field was achieved by overlaying six images each taken at different exposures. “It’s called High Dynamic Range,” he explained.   “If you combine underexposed with overexposed images and blend them together you come up with a thing that looks like that.   It’s a huge thing in the digital photography world and these are my first experiments with it.”  

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Tim Farmer with his photograph; "Ginkgo Leaf"

Kaye Bayliss, event coordinator for the gallery, offered her assessment of Lee’s photograph, “I actually love this one because I love color and think this one is so intense.   You know, I don’t know the technique and I don’t know the style but I can tell you what it evokes in me.   It invokes a deep dark mood and then wonderful warm mood so I’ve got a range of emotions here that I simply love.   I would love to be there, wouldn’t you?”

Special mention was awarded to the eight other photographs.   The subjects ranged from Locke’s Mill in the snow to riders of the Blue Ridge Hunt on an autumn day.  

Tim Farmer, Public Relations Coordinator for Blandy Farm caught a unique moment in his photograph of a ginkgo leaf suspended from a tree by a single strand of spider silk. He shot nearly one hundred images of the leaf before capturing the final composition.   “It had to be on the tree and flat against the lens, not on edge.   It was spinning like a top and swinging like a pendulum.”   His patience was awarded with an arresting image of the bright yellow leaf in front of the dark trunk of a ginkgo tree in the grove at Blandy.  

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Richard Campbell with his photography; "Morning Commute"

Richard Campbell’s sharp eye produced a landscape classic.   On his morning commute down Locke’s Mill Road, the dramatic sunbeams illuminating the road inspired him to photograph the scene.   A serendipitous starburst effect elevated the shot to something ethereal.   “As I was getting ready to take it, I moved a little bit and saw the starburst and then shot it,” he said.     Having a camera handy is not unusual for Campbell.   “I take it wherever I go,” he explained, “but a lot of my shots are right here in Clarke County because it’s so beautiful.   It’s hard to exhaust the possibilities here.”  

Bring family and friends to the Fire House Gallery to enjoy this exhibit that brings a fresh and compelling look at the Clarke County landscape and reminds us to cherish and protect the beauty that surrounds us daily.   The gallery is just across the street from the Clarke County Historical Museum where you can view the new exhibit, “Our Land is Our Legacy.”  

First Place – Bonnie Jacobs, Berryville – “Curves”
Second Place – John Lewis, Millwood – “Balloon Festival at Long Branch”
Third Place – Steve Lee, Bluemont – “Barn, Sky, Grass, Light”
Special Mention:
Richard Campbell, Boyce – “Morning Commute”
Jo Domenica, Bluemont – “Rainbow on the Shenanoah River”
Christy Dunkle, Bluemont – “Branches”
Tim Farmer, Round Hill – “Ginkgo Leaf”
Janet Hitchen, Millwood – “As the Seasons Change”
Carol Joyce, Berryville – “Locke’s Mill”
Emily Mason, Berryville – “Shenanoah River at Blue Ridge 21”
Karen Shull, White Post – “Views of Farnley 2”  

Show Schedule:  

March 19 through April 3, 2010  

Show Hours:    

Tuesday: 10am – 3pm

Wednesday/Thursday: 10am – 5pm

Friday: 10am – 8pm

Saturday 10am – 3pm  

Website:   Fire House Gallery and Shop  

Clarke County Conservation Easement Authority:   Clarke County Conservation Easement Authority

 Clarke County Historical Association:   Clarke County Historical Association

For additional photos  see “Celebrating Open Space Show” on Photo tab.