Photography By Paul Purpura: Blog en-us (C) Photography By Paul Purpura [email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Sun, 31 Oct 2021 22:58:00 GMT Sun, 31 Oct 2021 22:58:00 GMT Photography By Paul Purpura: Blog 90 120 The Banjo Player The Banjo PlayerThe Banjo Player

]]> [email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) #photographybypaulpurpura #photojournalism #textures Sat, 15 Jun 2019 01:30:50 GMT Natural Bridge Rock Formation Natural BridgeNatural Bridge

Located in Rockbridge County Virginia

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) #naruralbridge #rockbridgecounty #virginia Wed, 12 Jun 2019 01:53:29 GMT
My Final Post for 2018 Yours TrulyYours Truly I am sitting here at my desk thinking of the events that happened over the past twelve months, and how I can write some perspicacious prose that people would remember me by. So what happened to Paul this year? How would I characterize the past 12 months of my life?

Let's start with January. I was in a ski clinic when I accidentally caught an inside edge, or crossed my skis, and the next thing I knew I was laying on the snow, with my colleagues hovering over me and telling me not to move. I felt embarrassed when the Ski Patrol took me off the mountain in a stretcher. To make a long story short, I suffered a concussion and spent the day at UVA Medical Center getting a CAT Scan. Contrary to what some people may have thought, I saw that I actually had a brain after all.  Lovely. So I came though it okay and finished the season continuing to teach skiing. I got back on the skis that were so nasty to me. But I must admit, the accident affected me more than I thought it would. I find myself being much more cautious on the snow, sometimes being overly so.

After ski season, I went back to my other profession as a Professional Photographer. During the months of April and May, I did some soul searching as to where I wanted to take my business, and I found two aspects of photography that I really love --- Photojournalism and Fine Art Photography. I love photographing the events in and around Nelson County, Virginia. I have shot for Blue Ridge Life for over ten years. I find it interesting to review the photo shoots that I do every year such is the Piney River Mini-Triathlon and the Nelson County Kite Flying Festival. I love to photograph any kind of sporting event, and also fine art performances such as music or dance. The Fine Art aspect is something that I am in the process of developing. 

I also completed a project that took me back to my days as a Software Developer. I successfully implemented my own database management system to track and analyze my website. I loved writing code during my IT career, and to be able to do it again was wonderful. So I learned Microsoft Visual Basic and Structured Query Language. I could also learn Python if I was motivated to do so. My DBMS creates 20 reports on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis ranging from hit totals, to geographic analyses, to browser and operating system analysis.

I also worked as a Starter at the Devil's Knob Golf Course which gets me out from behind my desk and lets me interact with people. I have worked this position for several years and I enjoy it more and more.

In September I went to visit my oldest daughter (Lauren) and her boyfriend in Philadelphia, PA. I toured Independence Square and Liberty Hall. It was really a transforming experience to be in the same room where our nation's forefathers put this country together. We also went to Love Park, and the Italian section of the city, where I had one of my favorite Italian pastries -- a Sfogliatelle.

In October I traveled to Georgia to visit my best friend whom I have known since my high school days. He lives in a very rural and mountainous area of Georgia similar to where I live here in Virginia. We visited the alpine city of Helen, Georgia and Brasstown Bald which is the highest mountain in the state of Georgia. If you ever make it to Helen, check out The Huddle House restaurant. They have great breakfasts.

In November my youngest daughter (Danielle) and her husband visited us from France. I was blessed with the good the news that I am going to become a grandfather next summer, so I see a trip a trip across the pond in my not to distant future.

That brings me to this December where I have started teaching skiing again for another season (my 16th). So the wheel has come full circle once again.

So that is my year in review. God granted me another year and for that I am truly grateful. I am forever thankful for my good health, my children, my brother and sister, and to all those in my life who have chosen to include me in theirs. So all in all, it was a pretty good year.

Merry Christmas to all, and a healthy and prosperous New Year.

Cheers, Paul P.

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Sun, 23 Dec 2018 21:20:21 GMT
Country Living
You have often talk about where I live, and about how much I love rural country living. Today I would like to share some photographs with you that I took today (09-Jun-2018) for a photoshoot. 

The town of Roseland, Virginia consists of a post office, a fire station, and a funeral home. It's also my polling station when November rolls around. Today, the Roseland Volunteer Rescue Squad put on a celebration to help raise money for the organization. The opening photograph in the slide show show the band The Little Mountain Boys entertaining a small crowed. People came out to enjoy the music, get a few eats, and watch a rescue helicopter land. Mostly people were just talking catching up on the latest news in the county, and maybe even enjoying a good piece of gossip. As a photojournalist I cover many of these types of events here in Nelson County, Virginia, and I always enjoy them. Life is simple here and much more laid back. That is why every weekend we get an influx of people from Northern Virginia who want to escape the rat race and hub-bub of city living and its daily grind. This is why I enjoy living here and what I wanted to share with you today dear reader. I hope you enjoy.



[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Sat, 09 Jun 2018 20:59:51 GMT
In Remembrance Paris Trip - (D) - 0058This monument is dedicated to all forces who landed in Normandy on June 6th, 1944

One year ago today, I stood at this location on Omaha Beach and took this photograph. Tomorrow will be the 74th Anniversary of the largest amphibious landing in history. It is important to remember the lessons of history, for if we don't, then we will repeat them. This has been proven time and time again.

It is really hard for me put my feelings into words about what I experienced here. I saw bomb craters, remains of pill boxes, and other remnants of the battles that took place here 74 years ago. I felt like I was standing on sacred ground. What took place here led the liberation of Europe. I think it affects me so much because my father fought in World War II in the South Pacific, and I was born into a military family. I have many photographs of Omaha, Juno, and Utah beaches. I saw the cliffs and I stood in wonder at how those cliffs were scaled under constant machine gun fire. As I have said many times before, it is one thing to see photographs of a historical site, but something totally different when you are at the location. For me, to have been able to photograph here is an experience I will never forget. I will be forever transformed.

So let us remember those who fought and died here, so that we may have the freedoms that we have today. If you are viewing this on a mobile device and cannot read the inscription it reads "THE ALLIED FORCES LANDING ON THIS SHORE WHICH THEY CALL OMAHA BEACH LIBERATE EUROPE - JUNE 6TH 1944."

Cheers, Paul P.

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Tue, 05 Jun 2018 21:20:30 GMT
Nothing But Blue Skies Nothing But Blue SkiesNothing But Blue Skies

After the rains of last week, which caused some flash floods, today was absolutely beautiful. A view such as this one is not an everyday occurrence here on the East Coast. Often, haze sets in and ruins the vista, but when we get a lot of rain, it gets rid of the haze for a day or so.  So when I had the opportunity to take this shot, I did. The ridge in the foreground is part of Humpback Mountain, which is in the George Washington National Forest. What you see in the distance is Mount Torrey Ridge and the Shendandoah Valley. The mountains in the far distance are very close to West Virginia.

I am always inspired by scenes such as these. You have heard me say this before, it is one thing to see photographs of a place, but when you photograph it, it takes on a different perspective. That's what I enjoy about my profession.

Hope you enjoy!

Cheers, Paul P.

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Mon, 04 Jun 2018 20:52:55 GMT
I Hate Converging Verticals! BeforeBefore AfterAfter

I hate Converging Verticals! Okay? I said it. Nothing drives more nuts than seeing a building where you know the sides are parallel but in the photograph they converge. I will admit that CV's can be used to make an artistic statement. But the only place where CV's work as far as I'm concerned is when you stand on railroad tracks and look at them as they off into the distance. PLEASE DO NOT THIS! Not only is it dangerous (you could be killed), but it is also illegal. You could be cited for trespassing.

What causes Converging Verticals. CV's are caused when the camera focal plane is not parallel to the subject. Hunh? Think of it this way. Pick up a magazine, or clip board, or something similar that is rectangular. Pretend this is your camera's sensor, or film back in the old days. Hold the rectangular object so that it is parallel to a wall. If you were to photograph the wall, the objects in front of the wall, such as tables and the like will have no distortion. Now hold the rectangular object at a 45º angle to the wall. If you where to photograph the wall now, there would be distortion. Nowhere is this more obvious than when you try to photograph a building. That's the first reason why I don't like CV's. Then second is that objects such as people will look weird. Look at the before photo and you will see that the people are compressed sideways. Converging Verticals Be Damned!

So how do you mitigate them? The proper way is to own what is called a Perspective Control, or Tilt And Shift Lens. I would love to own one. Unfortunately, the cost of one new is around $2,000 and I cannot cost justify the purchase. If I did a lot of architectural photography, then I would purchase one. The second way to mitigate the dreaded CV's is in post processing. Quality wise both will get the job done, but it's tantamount to buying a Chevrolet (post-processing) instead of a Cadillac (PC Lens). They both will get you where you want to go. But one has more style. 

If you look at the after photo, you will see that the people in the audience look more like normal people, rather than looking like they have been sucked through a straw. You will also notice that in the before photo the light from my flash trails off quickly. That's caused by the inverse-square law which is a topic for another day. Yes I would love to use lamps, umbrellas or soft boxes (and I have them), but I was shooting live on location with the general public, and it just would not have worked. Besides, there are also liability issues if someone tripped over a light stand. So, a little dodging in post was used to correct that problem. Then after a little nudge here, and a little crop there, things finally came together which you see here. 

And I hope you enjoy!

Cheers, Paul


[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Sun, 03 Jun 2018 17:55:04 GMT
When Conditions Are Less Than Ideal BeforeBefore AfterAfter

A professional photographer should have the knowledge and skill to handle almost any type of shooting condition. I often shoot live events, and often the lighting conditions are less than ideal. Also you may have to deal with objects in the frame. Such is the case here. The first photograph shows some blown out highlights and an object that appears to be going the performers head.

So here is how I dealt with it. When I photograph, I want to capture the scene and show it as if someone was there looking watching it when it happened. So I wanted to keep the same lighting pattern showing as well as the wide dynamic range. Yet, I wanted to fill in the highlights that were blown out and had no photographic information (or as we say in the trade the "Triple 255"), and I wanted to remove the object in the background. As I mentioned in my previous blog, the use of Blend If greatly simplified how implementing the corrections to the blown out areas. The first photograph shows blown out highlights on the performer head and also his hands. The second shows the corrections. The corrections may look flat but I assure you that there is texture to match the rest of his hands. Removing the object in the background was fairly easy. The corrections were subtle as if I did not tell you about them, you probably would not have noticed. 

So I hope you enjoy.

Cheers, Paul

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Sat, 02 Jun 2018 21:03:29 GMT
High Contrast Scenes Can Be Challenging High contrast scenes can be very challenging to photograph, but they provide the opportunity to learn new techniques in post processing to make it a usable photograph.

The two photos in this slide show are before and after photos from a photoshoot I did for a client earlier this year. It was a ground breaking ceremony for the property development of Earl Hamner's home in Schuyler (pronounced "Skyler"), Virginia. Earl Hamner produced the TV show "The Waltons" back in the 1970's and you can still watch reruns. If you have watched the show, Nelson Country is still a very rural area of Virginia. How rural? How about one traffic light in the entire county. 

Although it may be hard to see in these low resolution photographs, there is a difference between the two. The first photograph is straight out of the camera and show a very high contrast situation. If you are a photojournalist, you know that each photoshoot is like a poker hand. You don't know what you are going to get, but you have the play the cards you are dealt. Such is the case here. I will state unequivocally that "Blend If' in PS Layer Styles is the best invention since sliced bread. It is a very powerful tool that can do amazing things. I knew I wanted to brighten the dark areas of the photograph but leave the lighter areas alone. Using a mask with a brush tool would be difficult at best, but Blend If does it with ease. By protecting the lighter areas of the photograph I was able to bring up the shadows to lessen the high contrast situation. 

I realize that I should have put "Before" and "After" on in each photograph. My apologies, but I think you will be able to tell which is what. Anyway, I hope you enjoy.

Cheers, Paul

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Thu, 31 May 2018 18:55:47 GMT
The Big Bang Big BangsBig Bangs

Maybe I am rushing the 4th of July, but photographs of fireworks just grab your attention because of their bright colors. They provide an interesting uplift to our emotions because they are always used in celebrations and festivals. At Wintergreen resort, there are usually two fireworks displays during the year, and sometimes there are three. I make it a point to photograph each of them.  I have been photographing fireworks for several years and over that time I have developed my own technique and developed my own vision of what I want to create.

I practice what we call in the trade "Painting With Light." Multiple air bursts will paint the sky in wonderful shades of color, and if captured properly the results can be beautiful. This can be carried to an extreme by photographing bursts separately, and making a composite in post processing. I used to do this and although the work looked nice, for me it seemed fake. I wanted something real and more organic. I want my works to show what was actually displayed at the show rather than something that I put together. What you see here was captured in a single photograph with no photo editing trickery. I hope you enjoy it. I will publish a more technical post sometime next month.

Cheers, Paul

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) fireworks wintergreen resort Wed, 30 May 2018 21:12:25 GMT
In Performance In PerformanceIn Performance

Music is a very big part of my life. When I was growing up I listened to Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, and the other big bands that were popular during the 1940's and 1950's. I had no say in the matter really, my parents liked them and that's what we listened to. I can remember many Saturday evenings when we watched Lawrence Welk on television. At the age of 10 I started taking piano lessons. It took me a few years to develop an appreciation for the instrument, but when I did the piano became a part of my life. I was never much of an athlete, actually I was NOT an athlete, so music became a very big part of my life. When I was a teenager, my piano teacher had me play transcriptions of classical music. Here I learned about Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and the other great masters. When I was in the 9th grade I heard Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor for the first time. I was mesmerized by the work and I listened to it many times. 

Fast forward too many years and we come to the present, and I am photographing musical performances. My works are taken during live, there is no staging or posing. Only then can I capture what is happening between the performer and his/her instrument. Today's work were is an artistic rendering of a soloist that I photographed last summer. Her facial expression is almost trance like. There is nothing but her and her instrument. How ironic that I feel that when I am using my camera, there is nothing else between me, my instrument, and the visions I see in my head. 

I hope you enjoy today's work.

Cheers, Paul

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) wintergreen performing arts wintergreen resort Tue, 29 May 2018 21:43:34 GMT
Memorial Day Memorial DayMemorial DayThese men, and thousands of others, rest here so that I may have the freedom I have today.

It's one thing so see a photograph of this cemetery, but I cannot tell you what it was like to photograph it.
Today is Memorial Day. Today we honor The Fallen, those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we might have the freedoms that we enjoy today, namely, the right to free speech.This photograph brings up a lot of emotions for me. My father enlisted at the beginning of World War II and served for 30 years. I was brought up in a military family, where I learned values that I still hold very dear to this day. 

This photograph was taken at one of the American national cemeteries that are located in Normandy, France. I was forever changed by my trip and I will publish more photographs on June 6th. It's one thing to see photographs of graves at national cemeteries, but it's totally different when you stand at a grave site and look at the names of the people buried there. It becomes much more real and much more personal. There are some things that a photograph cannot capture and this is one of them. But they do serve as reminders that we should be forever grateful to those who gave their all for our country. I hope each of you takes time to remember that.

Paul P.


[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Mon, 28 May 2018 21:41:04 GMT
Going Down River Piney River Mini-Triathlon - (A) - 0050Piney River Mini-Triathlon - (A) - 0050

Each year on the second Saturday in April, the Piney River Mini-Triathlon takes place. It is sponsored by the Nelson County Department Of Parks and Recreation. Is is a family oriented event, and one that look forward to photographing each spring. I have photographed this event for many years, but this photograph is one that I took this year.  I love photographing water and anytime I get the opportunity to do so I take advantage of it. 

The river was not very high when the event took place, so the rapids were not that difficult to navigate. Nevertheless these rapids still make an interesting photo. 

Hope you enjoy!

Cheers, Paul

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Sun, 27 May 2018 20:48:24 GMT
The Empty Chair The Empty ChairThe Empty Chair In continuing along the theme of photographs that may spark your imagination, today I am presenting "The Empty Chair". I also wanted to post something that I processed as a black and white photograph. Whenever I look at a black and white photograph, I love to see the different tones ranging from totally black to totally white. It used to be called different shades of gray, but you know where that's going.

So what do I imagine when I look at this photograph? I imagine a cold winter's day where the snow conditions are absolutely fantastic, and there are skiers and riders all over the mountain. I imagine myself teaching a group of adults and children how to ski. I imagine myself riding the chair. I imagine the wind on my face, ice crystals forming in my beard and mustache, and hearing the sound of my skis as they slice through the snow. But at this time of the year however, the snow has long melted, temperatures are warm, the grass is high, and the empty chair sits idle waiting for the next snow sports season.

About this lift. It is known as the Loggers Alley lift, and it runs when there are large crowds at Wintergreen resort or if there are special events going on. It is one of the oldest (if not, the oldest) operating ski lift at the resort.  Other lifts were added, and later replaced, as the resort grew and there was the need to accommodate more people. 

Hope you enjoy,

Cheers, Paul

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Fri, 25 May 2018 18:02:12 GMT
Sometimes It Takes Awhile The Bleeding HeartThe Bleeding Heart

I realize that I published a photograph of a Bleeding Heart two days ago, but when I came across this photograph in my collection, I knew I had to publish it in today's post. And I must admit that I really like this flower, even though its name implies loss and hardship. The symmetry of the flower is what makes it so beautiful. Viewed from either the front or in profile, the symmetry remains quite defined. I like symmetry by the way.

Would you believe that I took this photograph ten years ago? The digital negative was stored on one of my hard drives all that time, and I did not look at it until today. This is tantamount to developing a roll of film and never making prints. The negatives are stored in a drawer for years before they are looked at again. 

So I hope you enjoy today's photograph. Please feel free to leave a comment.

Cheers, Paul

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Thu, 24 May 2018 20:17:17 GMT
The Journey The JourneyThe Journey

I am calling today's photograph "The Journey". This particular photograph (notice I am calling it a "photograph" rather than a "work") was on the cover of Blue Ridge Life Magazine in November of 2008. And I still continue to shoot for this magazine today. 

I have always liked photographs where the viewer can imagine something about the photograph, in this case, where are these two hikers going. Actually we were hiking to a T28 crash site. The editor and publisher of the magazine was doing an article about this particular site. The plane crashed on Afton Mountain during the 1960's while on a training mission. The wreckage still remains to this day. There are numerous crash sites on Afton Mountain and they are popular hiking destinations. I remember this hike particularly well, I was wearing the wrong type of shoes and because of such I developed a serious case of toe-bang. I will spare you the gory details. After that I purchased a pair of hiking shoes and I wear them when ever I will be doing a lot of walking. Since this hike, I have walked many miles on numerous trails, as well as the streets of Paris,  without anything happening to my feet. Let's move on. 

Why do I call this a photograph rather than a work? Because I was photographing as a photo-journalist. When doing such, I have much stricter guidelines to follow than in other types of photography. I must render the scene as it actually was, without adding or removing any objects, or doing any photo editing that would affect what was in the image. That's why it is a photograph rather than a work.

Hope you enjoy.

Cheers, Paul

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) afton mountain appalachian trail nelson county virginia Tue, 22 May 2018 20:59:18 GMT
Why I Prefer Selling Prints Over Digital Files. More Studies In TextureMore Studies In Texture

Today's work is a rendering of a painting on a canvas print. I feel very strongly about making prints. I believe this is where the true beauty of a photographic work comes to life. If a work is printed on high quality photo paper and is displayed properly, it will last a century or more, and it is unaffected by changes in media technology, lost thumb drives, and crashed hard drives.  They brighten the walls of a home or business and make for a pleasant work atmosphere.

I am often told by prospective clients that they wish to purchase prints, they just want hi-resolution files that they can print themselves, or for use on social media. There have been many discussions about this among professional photographers. How do I feel about selling hi-resolution files? With one exception that I will explain in a moment, I don't sell them. Why? I could sell a hi-res file at a price that would more than make up for any lost of revenue from not making prints, but these are not the reasons why I don't sell them. The first reason is that when I sell a digital file, I have no control over how many copies may be made of a work, either in digital format or print, which gets into copyright issues. The work maybe sold for commercial use, which is illegal without the proper license. The second reason is that any work I sell is a part of me. My vision of the work, my skill as an artist, and my interpretation of the work, all comes from me. My photo lab uses the finest photo papers available. Is the cost more? Yes, but a quality product always costs more. If someone prints my work on lousy paper, that reflects on me.

Now, I do sell hi-res files to clients for use in publications, such as magazines, newspapers, and other similar venues. These publications could either be in print, on a website, or even in social media.

Have I lost clients because I do not sell digital files for retail? Probably so. But when you feel very strongly about something, sometimes you just have to say no. 

Anyway, hope you enjoy today's work.

Cheers, Paul

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Mon, 21 May 2018 20:57:09 GMT
A Study in Lines

One of the things that makes for a great composition is the effective use of lines. In western cultures, our eyes are used to going from left to right and top to bottom. This is what I have done in this photograph. I want your eyes to go from top-left to bottom-right. If you look more closely in the background, you will also find lines that also go from top-left to bottom-right. Lines also add depth to the photograph. So here’s to the effective use of lines.

Hope you enjoy.

Cheers, Paul.


[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) resort wintergreen Sat, 19 May 2018 08:45:31 GMT
Got Champagne? Champagne Anyone?Champagne Anyone?

A little “bubbly” for everyone.

Today’s work is a study in complimentary colors. The color blue is the complimentary color  to yellow. When complimentary colors appear together, it makes for a very interesting image. This is one of those photographs that everyone will interpret differently. 

Today’s blurb is short today as I have been preoccupied with other events this week. 

Hope you enjoy!

Cheers, Paul!

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) wintergreen performing arts Fri, 18 May 2018 12:26:47 GMT
It's Summer Whack It!Whack It!

Baseball Season means that summer has arrived. In contrast to yesterday's concert photograph, today I thought I would change up things a little by posting a sports photograph. 

What I notice first when I look at the work is how the batter's eyes are fixed upon the ball and that he has already started to swing. Shooting at a wide aperture (f/2.8 in this case) the background is rendered to a soft focus (called "bokeh") and it does not compete for your attention. I want your attention on the batter and nowhere else. 

Now I am going to throw a curve ball at you as to whether he hit the ball or not. Have you ever read the short story "The Lady Or The Tiger" by Frank R. Stockton?  I am not going to reveal the ending of the story, but it's ending could be applied here. Did he hit the ball or get a strike?

One other bit of trivia. The word "bokeh" is of Japanese origin and is pronounced similarly to the word "bouquet". It is used to describe the areas that are out of focus because they are beyond the depth of field of the camera's lens.

Hope you enjoy and please pardon my corny attempts at humor.

Cheers, Paul

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Tue, 15 May 2018 18:32:51 GMT
Can You Hear The Music Can You Hear The Music?Can You Hear The Music? I I have posted many photographs of Wintergreen Performing Arts. Why? Because I love the performing arts and I would really like to do more of this type of photography. I have photographed Wintergreen Performing Arts for several years. Each year the organization presents a Summer Music Festival up here on Devil's Knob at Wintergreen Resort. 

Please note that there was no staging in this photograph. It was captured live a during performance. Only then can you capture the energy in the moment.  

I hope you enjoy today's work.

Cheers, Paul

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) wintergreen performing arts Mon, 14 May 2018 18:13:18 GMT
Mighty Three Ridges Three Ridges MountainThree Ridges Mountain

I hope you enjoy today's rendition of Three Ridges Mountain. With its summit at 3,970 feet, it stands out very prominently here in Nelson County, Virginia, and hikers can access it via the Appalachian Trail. As a matter of fact, the community where I live is named after this mountain.

My goal in creating this work, was to go from finer detail in the foreground, to less and less detail in the background, hence giving work depth. I feel I have achieved my goal. I hope you do too.

Cheers, Paul P.

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Sun, 13 May 2018 16:59:02 GMT
Moonrise Over Rockfish Valley Moonrise Over The Rockfish ValleyMoonrise Over The Rockfish Valley

This has always been one of my favorite works. I have photographed the moon rising over the Rockfish Valley in rural Nelson County Virginia many times. You may ask why photograph the same scene over and over? The answer is, or at least my answer is, because they never look exactly alike. Weather patterns and seasons change of course, but, so do the feelings and the perspectives of the person who created the work. The feelings of the artist are always incorporated in his/her work. 

What do you feel when you look at this work? Feelings of calm and peacefulness, or feelings of somberness and fear which the cooler colors like color blue often evoke. Regardless, I hope you enjoy today's work.

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) moon Fri, 11 May 2018 20:48:15 GMT
Finish! Finish!Finish!


The Wintergreen Ascent Bicycle Race is held annually on the first Saturday in May. Cyclists from all over the state of Virginia travel to Winter Resort to participate in the event. The course is about seven and a half miles long, but it ascends vertically about 2,000 feet to the summit of Devil's Knob. It is a real test of physical prowess. Ages range from children to senior citizens. Each year I look forward to photographing this race




[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Thu, 10 May 2018 21:16:21 GMT
Rule Of Thirds Rule Of ThirdsRule Of Thirds One of the most popular rules in photography is the Rule Of Thirds and Power Points (not Microsoft®), and today's work is an example of those put into action. You can readily see that the foreground lies in the lower third of the frame, the mountain in the middle third, and finally followed by the sky in the upper third. Also note that the vertex of the angles formed where the fence sections meet are on power point locations in the frame. The top of the mountain also lies on a power point. The painting like finish gives a nice texture, and adds a little drama to what would have been a very boring cloudless sky.

Will this work win any print competitions? I don't think so, as a matter of fact I doubt it would even merit. But creating works like one you see here let's me explore. I get to work with shapes and textures. My imagination and creativity can lead me to places I have never been. 

Hope you enjoy!




[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) founders vision overlook nelson county paintings virginia wintergreen resort Wed, 09 May 2018 20:24:33 GMT
Crusin' Down The Tye Crusin' Down The TyeCrusin' Down The Tye


Rather than post a work as a Photograph Of The Day, today I am doing something different. When I share a work, I would also like to share what inspired me to create it. I mean anyone can post a photo. And besides, it's been too long since I have posted on my blog.

The above work shows canoers and kayakers travelling down the Tye River in Nelson County, Virginia. What I wanted to show is a peaceful setting and a place of contemplation as people make their way down river. If they continued to travel long enough, they would find themselves in The Chesapeake Bay. The Tye River empties in the the James River, which then empties in the The Chesapeake. Today's work is a semi-impressionistic rendering of one of my stock photographs. 

Hope you enjoy!



[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) canoe chesapeake bay watershed kayak nelson county virginia tye river Tue, 08 May 2018 19:24:29 GMT
A Small Desk, But Many Stories Sometime's I just want to go back to a different place and time.Earl Hamner's (John Boy Walton) Desk

I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to photograph this desk. One of the things I love about my craft is having the opportunity to photograph objects that are historical. Be an avid lover of history I relish these opportunities. Last June I had the opportunity to photograph the Normandy Beaches, and I will post those in a blog in June.

But let me talk about this photograph. This desk belonged to Earl Hamner, many of you may remember him as John Boy Walton from the 1970's television series "The Waltons". I could go on and talk about the time when he grew up, but that has been done my so many people that I do not feel I could say anything that has not already been said. So I am going to take a different approach and write about what this photograph means to me as a photographer.

We all look at photographs and videos about people, places and historical objects. You may say, oh what a wonderful photograph, or something along those lines. You may even be impressed by it. But there is an entirely different feeling you get when you photograph it. When I took this photograph I was standing in a historical place. I was standing where a young man wrote about growing up in Appalachia during The Great Depression. Hearing his words brought to life in each episode of The Walton's, I felt a kindred spirit since Virginia is my home. I live about 40 minutes from from his former home Schuyler (pronounced (SKY-ler) in Nelson County, Virginia. Earl wrote about the rural area where he lived, and although things have changed somewhat with the times, there is only one traffic light in the entire county. No kidding. 

So when I had the opportunity to photograph the interior of his home for Blue Ridge Life Magazine, I jumped at the opportunity. When I looked at Earl's desk, I thought about the hundreds of hours he sat here writing about his life as he was growing up. Did he feel the same confusion and uncertainty that I felt when I was a teenager? Did he wonder about what was going to happen in his life as he got older. I am sure there were many things in his journal that were never published. I felt, how lucky I was to be standing here and to be able to photograph his desk. So I photographed it from the perspective of him sitting there looking out his window. Of course I was not allowed to sit in his chair, so I had to make the best of the opportunity within certain constraints. 

So now my dear reader you know a little more about me, about how I approach my photography, and how I relate to this world, which is one of the reasons I post a blog. I hope you enjoyed my story.

Until next time, always watch and never look down because there is so much to be seen.

Paul P.


[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) earl hamner john boy walton schuyler virginia walton's mountain Sat, 24 Mar 2018 18:47:20 GMT
Another ski season is about to come to an end

March has arrived, and with it comes the end of the snow sports season. I don’t know exactly how much longer I will be teaching skiing, but it can be safely assumed that in a couple more weeks I will be done until next season. The final date of course will be determined by the number of visitors who come to Wintergreen Resort to ski or ride, and the weather.

Here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Central Virginia, the temperature may be 70 on one day, and then it may snow the next. The reverse is also true. About this time of year, the first hint of spring shows itself with a period of warmer temperatures. This period may last from one to two weeks. During this time the snow melts and people tend to forget that it’s still winter even though the Daffodils and Crocus start popping up. People think that winter is over, and that spring has arrived. But I know better. Mother Nature is a tease, and as quickly as she sends in the warm weather, she will (emphasis on “will”) remove it and return to colder temperatures.

This warm spell is always a challenging time for people like me who love ski. The once beautiful base of snow and powder becomes what we call mush, sugar sand, crud, or mashed potatoes. For skiers, this is can be challenging terrain. Regardless, skiing in crud makes you a better skier because it forces you to ski more efficiently. You cannot skid your turns, you must carve them. Small zig-zag turns will wear you out very quickly, but longer slalom and giant slalom turns make for much more efficient skiing. But when the colder weather returns, the resort starts making snow again, and skiing conditions improve dramatically.

As I look back over the past season, in one way it was one of my best seasons ever, but in another, it was mediocre at best. First, I had my best teaching year ever. I had some truly wonderful clients. Every year I teach, my confidence in my ability to teach people how to slide down hill increases. I have been teaching for 15 seasons and I have developed my own teaching style.  I like my clients to have fun while they learn. So, part of my repertoire is singing opera (no kidding) as we side step up the hill in the learning area about 50 feet, to playing “red light green light” as we come down. Finally, I show them how to turn their skis left and right. At the end the lesson I teach the class how to safely get on and off the ski lift. So, I had a very good year teaching-wise.

Unfortunately, I did not attain the goals that I had set for myself to increase my own skiing competency this season. I should have realized that things were not going to go well when I skied for the first time this season and I fell on a trail called Eagle Swoop. Little did I realize that the trail had become cursed. Every time I skied that terrain I fell, with one fall resulting in a cracked ski helmet and a CAT scan at the UVA Medical Center. But I was determined to break the curse before the end of the season and I returned to Eagle Swoop with a student. I skied down the trail beautifully. And I went down another trail called Tyro (which is my favorite trail on the mountain). I was so happy, I thought I had exorcized the curse. However, when getting of the ski lift, my student knocked my skis out from under me when she exited the lift, and I took another tumble. However, I still I exorcized the curse, and even though the dragon may have burned me, I still slayed him.

As a result, of these experiences, I became overly cautious and skied conservatively by skiing  on easy (green) or moderate (blue) terrain. Since I teach mostly beginner skiers, this had no effect on my ability to teach. Over the summer I will train hard for next season. Next year I intend to teach somewhat less so that I my concentrate on improving my own skiing.

And now, I look forward to spring. Spring in Appalachia is one of the most beautiful sights one can see. From the budding Red Bud trees, to the blooming Dogwoods, to the Daffodils and the Crocus, it is a sight to behold. I love to watch how spring first starts in the valleys and then it works its way up the mountains. It takes about three weeks to go from the bottom to the top.

And so, my dear reader, I hope you have enjoyed my attempts at prose. I wish for you only good things, and a wonderful spring.



[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) central virginia nelson county photography by paul purpura wintergreen resort Fri, 02 Mar 2018 20:22:43 GMT
The Art of Zen Photography What do you do and where do you go when you want to isolate yourself from everyone and everything?

I am very fortunate to live in Nelson County Virginia. Some of you (older folks like me) may remember the television show "The Waltons" that ran for several seasons. I do not live far from where John-Boy (Earl Hamner) grew up. His home is now an historic landmark. I have visited the home on several occasions and photographed it for clients, and I have photographed John-Boy's desk.

Life has not changed too much here in Nelson County. A traffic light was installed in Lovingston, (the County Seat) awhile back, and several wineries, breweries, and distilleries have been built. In 1976 Wintergreen Resort opened and it is the county's largest employer.  But still, Nelson County is a sleepy kind of place where people from Metro DC, Tidewater Virginia, and Raleigh, North Carolina come every weekend to get out of the hustle and bustle of city life. Generally they arrive on Friday evening and leave on Sunday. I live a stone's throw from the Appalachian Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway. I have lived here for over 20 years and the very thought of moving back to an urban area causes me anxiety. Of course there are some downsides. You can't just drive a couple of blocks to the nearest grocery store. The nearest grocery store (like Kroger®) is about 17 miles away, so you have to plan accordingly. Making a shopping list is an absolute necessity. As far as culture goes (I love classical music and opera), the nearest major city is Richmond which is about a two hour drive on Interstate 64. It's a nice drive because there are no stoplights until you get to Richmond.

Okay, so what does all this have to do with photography and meditation? Well, I had to give some background about myself and where I live before I could proceed further.

During the spring, summer, and fall, when I am not on a photo assignment, I love to go to one of my favorite places (like 20 Minute Cliffs at MM 19 on the BRP) and photograph the grand vista from that location. So where does the meditation part come in? The art of meditation is being able to shut down your mind to any kind of stimulus and being present in the moment. That is what photography does for me. I am focused on only one thing and that is what is happening in the current moment. I tune everything else out to the point that if there is an external stimulus, I get startled. I once read that a photographer is the opposite of a painter, albeit we are both artists. The painter starts with a blank canvas and adds things in. A photographer does just the opposite. He/She removes objects in the frame to eliminate distractions and isolate the subject. Doing such requires total focus, at least it does for me. I am totally focused on what I want to do. And by eliminating all the distractions, I also eliminate the worries and concerns that creep into my mind and won't let it go. When I am doing photography, I am in my own little world separated from everyone, and everything. 

And that my dear reader, is bliss.

Here is my photograph from 20 Minute Cliffs on the BRP rendered as a painting. The cloud formation is real. There was no photo editing trickery.

HEAVEN'S GATEHEAVEN'S GATEOf all the nature works I have created, this one is my favorite. Processed as an oil painting, it would look fantastic if it were printed on a 32" X 18" canvas. As a matter of fact, a canvas print of this particular work hangs in my living room. The location of where I took the photographs that became this work is at Mile Marker 19 on The Blue Ridge Parkway.

I broke every rule of nature photography in this work. I did not wait until the golden hour and I had to do some cropping to get the composition I wanted. But I really like how the shadow and highlighted areas of the work combine to give it depth.

I hope you enjoy it too.


[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) bliss central virginia focus meditation photography by paul purpura virginia wintergreen resort zen Sun, 11 Feb 2018 20:09:32 GMT
Meet Me On Clark Street Meet Me On Clark StreetMeet Me On Clark Street

Photograph Of The Day (10/19/17)

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Thu, 19 Oct 2017 19:40:13 GMT
It's All Over UNTIL NEXT SEASONLooking down Upper Cliffhanger at Wintergreen Resort, Roseland, Virginia

Every year at this time I feel a little sad. It's the end of ski season. Once again I must put my skis away for the next 8 months until December's winter winds arrive once more. One of my clients absolutely hates winter and makes no bones about it on social media, come to think of it, my ex-wife hates winter too. I think most people hate winter. Let's face it, it makes for hazardous driving conditions, you have to shovel snow, the days are short, the nights are long, and it is a proven fact that people are more depressed during the winter months.

I must say that I used to hate winter for all of the above reasons. I was a lifeguard at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront from 1970 to 1975. Those years were some of the happiest of my life and I will cherish those memories forever. In 1977, I moved to South Florida as a career move. I also learned how to scuba dive and later became an instructor. In 1995 I moved to Central Virginia as another career move, and it was here that I learned how to ski. My love for the sport was instant. Starting at age forty five I was not the most graceful skier but I learned nevertheless. After skiing for about 5 years, I became an instructor at Wintergreen Resort and I can honestly say that after my 14th season of teaching, my love for the sport grows even more. So I am at odds with most people about winter.

Actually, I am very fortunate. Winter does not affect me the way is does most people. My children are gown and I live alone. I have a wonderful little place on top of Devil's Knob that I often refer to as "My Humble Abode". Yes, we do get to bad weather up here, but I can walk to the slopes when I teach so driving is not an issue. And if I do need something like eggs or milk, I am in walking distance from a small grocery store. So I am in my own little world up here.

And so, we come to the end of Ski Season. Actually to be more correct, I should say Snow Sports Season. I will miss skiing, and I will miss teaching. I will miss talking to clients. Those of you who know me know that I am very gregarious and will talk to almost anyone. I love finding out where people are from, what they do for a living, and why they want to learn how to ski. I remember some of the lessons that I taught this year, one in particular was teaching a 3 year old girl how to ski. I hold a Child Specialist rating from the Professional Ski Instructors Of America, so teaching children is a regular part of my role as an instructor. My three year old student was a very sweet young lady. She was quite athletic for her age, and although I had to use a "Kid Clip" to keep the tips of her skis together, she was able to stop and turn very well. We rode the people mover lift in the learning area a couple of times, and then, she saw the Potato Patch Lift. She said, "I want to ride that" in a rather decisive tone of voice. So we skied down to the lift from the learning area and we rode it back up. She was thrilled, as was her parents who watched from below.

I also had a three hour lesson with a seven year old boy who just happened to play ice hockey. It was this third time skiing and because of his ice skating skills, he was a natural on skis. He moved the skis naturally and could easily do hockey stops. I further refined his ski skills so that was doing parallel turns, and doing them smoothly. We had a blast, and of course we through snow balls at each other towards the end of the lesson. 

In addition to teaching, there is also the exhilleration of skiing for myself. earlier this week, we some the best ski conditions of the season. I have said many times that the best skiing often happens in March.  After taking the photograph which later became the work displayed in this post, I skied this trail known as "Upper Cliffhanger" which is one of the more challenging trails, a.k.a., a black diamond. As I carved one turn after another, I cannot describe the joy I was feeling in the moment. I was one with the trail, feeling each feature as it was transmitted to my skis. The wind in my face was terrific. This is why people ski and snowboard.

Do I like the other seasons? Of course I do. As the days get longer and warmer, I do my "other profession" as a professional photographer, specifically, family events and the like. During the summer, I volunteer my time photographing performances for the Wintergreen Performing Arts ( during their Summer Festival. I always photograph the 4th of July Fireworks show up here at the resort. And during the fall, there is always the autumn scenery. So I do not dislike the other seasons, actually I need them to make a living. But when when winter approaches, I always look forward to skiing, as well as teaching. 

I hope you all now understand why I feel about winter the way I do.

Cheers, Paul

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Sun, 19 Mar 2017 20:17:39 GMT
I Am A Ski Instructor, I Like Cold Weather About this time of the year, we usually get warm spells here in Virginia and everyone thinks that winter is over. You see photographs of spring flowers posted on social media, i.e., Daffodils, Crocus, and the like. The snow on the slops of Wintergreen Resort where I teach skiing starts to recede, and my snow sport instructor colleagues and I curse the warm weather. Don't get me wrong, I like the four seasons, but I don't want spring weather in winter, fall weather in summer, or other odd types of weather. Spring should be moderate, summer should be warm to hot, autumn should be cooler, but damn it, winter should be cold. None of this warm weather in February crap, even if it is the end of February.


When I see photographs of flowers posted on social media before ski season is over, it makes me want to throw up. You see, I love skiing, I love putting on my ski boots, I love getting dressed for the cold weather, and most of all I love the cold wind in my face as I carve turns down my favorite trails. I also love to teach skiing. I love everything about the winter. Yes, my heating bill goes up, and yes, I have to be watchful for black ice, falling icicles, and frostbite. But I don't care. I am willing to do all this in order to do my fulfill my one of my passions. Warm weather turns the snow to "crud" or "mashed potatoes" and it can be very difficult to ski in. One could argue that crappy snow makes you a better skier because you it forces you to be on form, and you have to be able to carve, medium and long radius turns. Those who skid their skis when they turn will have a difficult time on this type of terrain.


This is nothing like carving turns on groomers in cold weather. You create "railroad tracks" in the show as you carve through the turns. Powdery conditions, for the most part, do not often happen here in the mid-Atlantic. In New England you get more powder, but nothing compares to skiing out west where there has been so much snow they will not be finished digging out until mid-July.


So we can have warm weather in February, and everyone sings the praises of the warm weather. But I get my revenge in March. When March comes around Winter realizes that he still has cold weather left over and he must get rid of it before spring. So in March, we can get some of the best skiing of the season. We can get massive snow storms and the snow conditions are fantastic. Yeah the snow may not last as long, but I can sill ski in "good snow".


Once the resort closes, typically in the latter part of March, then I will look forward to spring. I await the Red Bud, Forsythia, and the other spring flowers. But until that time comes, pray for now. Looking down Lower Dobie at Wintergreen Resort. This is the beautiful view of Humpback Mountain at Wintergreen Resort in Roseland, Virginia

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Wintergreen skiing snow sports Sat, 25 Feb 2017 22:17:29 GMT
Super Moon Rising

Click On Photograph To Purchase

I have photographed the moon rising over the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia from this location many times. Each time I do so, I marvel at the beauty of where I live, here in Nelson County, Virginia. There is just something mystical about this place, and I feel that I captured it in this photograph. As I look out upon this scene, I think I can almost see the ghosts of those who travelled these mountains before me. Virginia is known as "The Old Dominion". The city of Jamestown was the location of the first permanent English settlement in North America. The site is still being excavated to the present day. The settlers arrived in 1608, twelve years before the Mayflower arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts. As more people came to Virginia, the settlers moved west. The James River was an essential route for business and trade. People came to this area known as Appalachia to make a new life for themselves. Out here in one of the most rural areas in Virginia (one traffic light in the entire county) life is slow and more laid back. That is why people from Richmond, Washington D.C., and Raleigh, North Carolina come here on weekends. They want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. I love talking about where I live. Like I said, there is something mystical about this place. 

Let's talk about the photograph. It was taken on November 20th, 2016 at the occurrence of a superior super moon. Other than tonal correction, cropping for emphasis, and sharpening, I did not do any type of "gimmickry" to the photograph. What you see here is what I saw with my eyes. In many moon scrapes, the moon is enlarged for emphasis. Artistic expression is an individual thing so I will not criticize or judge. I could have enlarged the moon or processed the photograph to look more impressionistic, and in some of my works I do just that, but I chose not to do so here. It was my intent to show you, dear viewer, what I saw, i.e., a peaceful tranquil scene. When I look at this phograph I feel peaceful and calm. I would like you to have your own experience. Photography is more than just taking pictures. For me, it is a medium where I can communicate how I see the world around me, and how I relate to it. So how did I create this work? Read on.

Nature photographers often refer to "The Golden Hour", which starts about a half hour before sunrise, and again about a half hour before sunset. It is when the light is at its best. The light is even, i.e., there are no deep shadows or harsh bright areas. This photograph was taken just after sunset. If you notice the pink in the sky, that is "earth shadow". The sun had set behind me and as its light is refracted by the earth's  atmosphere, a beautiful pink glow forms on the eastern horizon. When to shoot was the tricky part. The moon is very bright. So in order not to over expose the moon I had to photograph when the brightness of the moon and the darkness of the valley were within the camera sensor's dynamic range. If I had waited until after night fall, I would have had to take several exposures at different shutter speeds and combine them in post processing to get the same effect as what you see here.

I love what I do and I could write much more. But if I did I think I would bore you with all the technical stuff like f-stops, exposure times, and the like. So I will close here wishing you all well, and hoping that I added some beauty to your day.

Cheers, Paul ;-)




[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Blue Ridge Mountains Central Virginia Super Moon Wintergreen Resort Mon, 21 Nov 2016 22:32:28 GMT
Mountain and Lake - Spring - Oil Painting

I never tire of this view of Lake Monacan and Crawford's Knob.

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Wintergreen Mountains Nelson County Applachia Lake Monacan Devils Knob Fri, 16 Sep 2016 19:01:21 GMT
Picture Of The Day (06/03)LNG PIPELINE BE DAMNED! LNG PIPELINE BE DAMNED!LNG PIPELINE BE DAMNED!I don't consider myself an activist, but I think there are times in your life that you have to stand up for what you believe in. I think today's POD is one of those times.

The proposed route of a 42" LNG pipeline is marked as the yellow stripe in the photograph. The path crosses one of the most beautiful vistas at Wintergreen Resort. I have photographed weddings here. The vista shows Three Ridges Mountain as the prominent feature. If the pipeline goes through as proposed, there will be an empty swath across the vista because of the imposed right of way.

Today's photograph was taken during a meeting of Friends Of Wintergreen to keep Wintergreen residents informed of what's happening. To learn more visit


I don't consider myself an activist, but I think there are times in your life that you have to stand up for what you believe in. I think today's POD is one of those times.

The proposed route of a 42" LNG pipeline is marked as the yellow stripe in the photograph. The path crosses one of the most beautiful vistas at Wintergreen Resort. I have photographed weddings here. The vista shows Three Ridges Mountain as the prominent feature. If the pipeline goes through as proposed, there will be an empty swath across the vista because of the imposed right of way.

Today's photograph was taken during a meeting of Friends Of Wintergreen to keep Wintergreen residents informed of what's happening. To learn more visit


[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Fri, 03 Jun 2016 21:04:35 GMT
Photograph Of The Day (05/26) SIMPLE BEAUTYSIMPLE BEAUTYEach spring, the Rhododendrons in from of my humble abode bloom with their blossoms of deep and soft pink hues. And every year I photograph them, because I never see the same composition twice.

I think this is what separates the photographer from the general masses --- looking at the same scene over and over, but seeing something different every time.

I guess you can say I live in my own world, and, you would probably be right.

Hope you enjoy!

Each spring, the Rhododendrons in from of my humble abode bloom with their blossoms of deep and soft pink hues. And every year I photograph them, because I never see the same composition twice.

I think this is what separates the photographer from the general masses --- looking at the same scene over and over, but seeing something different every time.

I guess you can say I live in my own world, and, you would probably be right.

Hope you enjoy!

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Thu, 26 May 2016 18:04:56 GMT
AND SPRING COMES AND SPRING COMESAND SPRING COMESAs winter wanes and the snow melts, the crocus make their annual appearance.

I have walked by the place where I took the photograph that became today's work many times. And as each spring comes and these beautiful flowers appear, I never stop marveling at their simple beauty.

As the winter wanes, the snow melts, the crocus bloom, and spring comes.

Hope you enjoy!

As winter wanes and the snow melts, the crocus make their annual appearance.

I have walked by the place where I took the photograph that became today's work many times. And as each spring comes and these beautiful flowers appear, I never stop marveling at their simple beauty.

As the winter wanes, the snow melts, the crocus bloom, and spring comes.

Hope you enjoy!

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Tue, 24 May 2016 20:58:48 GMT
WELCOME 2015! Click Photo To Enlarge

Roll Over To View Caption

For those familiar with the resort, the Potato Patch Lift house is visible in the lower right of the photograph.Wintergreen New Year's Eve Fireworks Display (12/31/2014)Spectators watch and brave temperatures in the upper teen's to watch the New Years Eve Fireworks Display at Wintergreen Resort, Wintergreen, VA. A happy and most loving, healthful, prosperous New Year to you, dear followers of my humble attempts at prose.

We always talk about resolutions at this time of the year, setting goals for ourselves, etc. These are all well and good. We should set goals for ourselves for in doing so we set objects, or things that are measurable. For myself, I have set some financial goals for my business, but more importantly I want to get my weight down to about 185 lbs. I am almost there, but it’s always the last part of the journey that takes the longest. Lastly, I am trying to be more patient, and talk more softly. Since I am of Italian Descent, this is going to take a lot of work on my part. Like skiing, I have been working at this for years. And also like skiing, it has not come easy.

But enough about new year’s resolutions. How about taking a look back over what we have achieved over the past year.

For me, I came to the realization that I will probably never have another woman partner. Not because I have any ill feelings towards women, or at this stage of my life it’s more difficult to establish an intimate relationship; no, it's just that I like my life the way it is right now. I am independent and I come and go as I please. I am not anti-social by any means. I have a very dear woman friend. She and I meet up frequently. We know each other very well and she is a confidante. Will I even decide to have another partner? Anything is possible. If God dropped a woman in my lap (literally) and said “Be Partners”, I would consider it.

I took my business in a new direction last year --- I am now doing weddings. From a business perspective, it was a good choice. Along with other business practice changes, my photography business has improved. I improved my technical skills as well. My mentors are some of the best professional photographers in the county. I have not only learned much from them, but I am also so thankful for their friendship.

My skiing has improved significantly. Losing about 65 pounds and new ski boots let me do things which permitted me to advance my skiing skills.  My athletic stance is more forward, and because of such my turns are more fluid because I can turn the skis more easily. Again, I have some really great coaches.

I worked as golf starter and marshal last summer, and in doing so I learned how a golf course operates. Do I play golf? No. Would I try it? Maybe.  

Finally, I made several personal discoveries about myself, one of which I have talked about already. But I am going to keep the rest of them private. I will say they let me better see how I relate to the world and about who I really am.

I only wish good things for you this year. May you know happiness, may you have good health, and may you prosper.

Most important, may you always love.

Until next time,





[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Central Virginia Photography By Paul Purpura Wintergreen Resort Thu, 01 Jan 2015 20:46:30 GMT
MY WISHES FOR YOU FOR THE HOLIDAYS I have not blogged for the past couple of weeks. Although I try to blog weekly, I try to write about things that I am passionate about. More than photography, or skiing, I am passionate about many things. Read my past few blogs and you will see what I mean. But this week I want to write about two things that mean the most to me.

First, love is the most important thing there is in this world. Nothing can equal it. I don’t say this because the words look good on paper or on electronic media; no, it comes truly from my heart. Forget money! Money can buy you a lot of things --- all the sex you want for one, power over people, expensive cars, huge homes, attention, the list goes on. But what do all of these have in common? Just like glory, they are fleeting! There is a definite duration to their existence and then they are no more. Money and all the things associated with it are not eternal, but love is. And it is for this reason that if I were given a choice between love and anything else, I would choose love every time. Besides you can’t buy it. Not real love. So it is my wish that you, my dear reader, find true love in your life, and may it last throughout your lifetime. Whether it is found between lovers, or among family or friends, is not important. But don’t go looking for it because you won’t find it. It will find you if you are a person of high moral character, and have a heart that is receptive to it.

My second wish for you is good health. It’s something else money can’t buy. Earlier this year I suddenly lost a close friend as a result of depression. I grieve for him especially at this time of year, because he was a fellow ski instructor. His passing was the reason for the blog “There May Be No Tomorrow.” The gift of good health is so precious and can be lost at a moment’s notice. Cherish it, and do your best to keep it. When I was much heavier and my doctor told me my sugar was getting high, I knew that unless I lost the weight I would end up having diabetes like my father. So if you are in good health, I pray that you stay that way.

Love and Good Health are my two wishes for all of you this year. In the interest of full disclosure, I must state that I would not mind of bit of prosperity.

So Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or Happy Kwanzaa. May you celebrate this wonderful time of the year in your own way.

Always love.

Until next time,



[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Action Sports Central Virginia Christmas Fri, 19 Dec 2014 21:06:40 GMT
SERENITY ON A COLD WINTER'S DAY (Click On Thumbnail To Enlarge Photo)

I hope you enjoy the simplicity in the photograph that accompanies this week’s blog. My mentors have always told me to keep it simple, otherwise the photograph becomes too busy and those who observe it will have difficulty in understanding what you want to convey. So today I am presenting a simplified black and white photograph of the Potato Patch Lift at Wintergreen Resort in Nelson County, Virginia.

What am I trying to convey in this photograph? First, it’s winter. The photograph was taken early in the morning before the slopes opened, hence there are no people on the snow to distract from the overall theme. Second, converting the photograph to black and white makes the ice on the trees next to the lift house pop; and because of such you may be able to get a better sense of how cold it is. The combination of the lack of people and the ice on the branches, contribute to a theme of serenity on a cold winter’s day.

For me, this photograph brings to mind of my favorite time of the year when I can do what I love to do – ski and teach skiing. But more than that, like I said above it shows a tranquil winter scene. The crowds have not come yet. All is quiet albeit is it is the lull before the storm.

What I like most about this photograph is the dark sky. The photograph was taken in bright sunlight in a cloudless sky using a circular polarizing filter. The filter will render an already blue sky even more so. In post processing I converted the photograph to black and white and implemented a high contrast red filter. There was a time when you would mount such a filter on the camera. But adding it digitally gives me more control. Such are the differences in work flow between film and digital capture.

So now that I have told you how I feel when I look at this photograph, I would appreciate your feedback. What does this photograph do for you? It is nothing but a dumb photograph, or is there something more? You can provide feedback by clicking on the “Add Comment” radio button. If you wish you message to be private, you can do so by selecting the “Private Comment” button.

Always love, and have a great week.

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Central Virginia Paul Purpura Wintergreen Resort Tue, 09 Dec 2014 21:40:18 GMT

Gateway to HeavenGateway to Heaven

How many of us have said in passing "Let's get together", or "Let's do dinner"; but the meet-up never takes place because of the distractions in each person's life. Or it's said thinking it is appropriate to say in the moment, but there is no intention of follow-up.

I am feeling rather contrite as I write this week's blog, because I am guilty of the former.

Earlier this year I lost a colleague and friend whom I had known for over 10 years. We would often say to each other as we worked, let’s get together, or something similar. It seemed like the appropriate thing to say in the moment. But we never made it happen. We would see each other at functional get-togethers, and we make would light conversations, but it's not the same as talking to someone one-on-one (as I often wont to do), without distractions. He was my friend and we shared many experiences, both work and non-work related.

Now he is gone, and I did not keep the promise that I made to him; and his passing has affected me profoundly. I miss him as a friend and colleague. But from this experience, I will never again make a promise in passing. From now on if I say let's meet up, I will schedule a date, time, and place. And if someone says to me "Let's get together", I will expect the same.

If you have followed my blogs, the themes of loyalty, friendship, honesty, honor, and commitment are pervasive. These are the qualities I look for in other people. But in doing so, I must also hold myself to the same standard, or even more so. This time, I failed. And I failed miserably. Am I being too hard on myself? Perhaps. Could the point also be made that it takes two? Again, perhaps. But I will only judge myself; judging others is God's job, not mine.

So I leave you with these words, and they are not said in passing. If you say to someone "Let's meet up", then schedule it!  Set up a time and place. And when you do meet up, give that person or couple your total undivided attention because they deserve nothing less (no cell phones unless it's an emergency!). Know that this could be the last time you meet with an associate, friend, lover, or partner. Love like there is no tomorrow, because there is no tomorrow for those who are destined to move beyond today.

Finally, have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving. Be thankful, and cherish those who are around you in the moment, because moments will slip away.

Always love.

Until next week.

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Keep Your Promises Mon, 24 Nov 2014 19:15:55 GMT
RAPTURE (Click On Thumbnail to Enlarge)


This week I would like to share with you what I feel is one of my greatest photographic works. As I look upon it, words fail me and I cannot put my feelings into words. I have titled this work "Rapture", not only because of the expression on the subject's face, but also because I am enraptured when ever I look upon it. What you see here is an expression of myself not only as a photographer, but also as an artist. The subject of the work is  renowned cellist Tanya Anisimova who has performed all over the world. A few years ago, Ms. Anisimova performed at the Wintergreen Performing Arts Summer Music Festival, and it was at this performance where I took the photograph, or the digital negative, that became this photographic work. I would like to share with you all how this photograph came to be, and hopefully not bore you too much along the way. 

In every photoshoot I do, I have a plan to best capture the activity of the event. I have to be very watchful, and react quickly to what's happening to "get the shot." For example, when I photograph a concert, I will get a wide shot of the orchestra, a close up of the conductor, close ups of the musicians, and finally, the conductor and orchestra taking a bow and the end of the performance. By doing such I can capture the power of the performance, which is my overall plan. By being watchful, I can capture the expressions on the musicians faces, especially if the musical work is complex such as Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto.

When I photograph a soloist, I am more focused and my plan narrows to capturing the musician's virtuosity. Such was the case for today's blog photograph. The photograph is very simple in its composition, but what it conveys is beyond words. I waited for this photograph, it's composition was planned and everything had to come together at the right moment. First, note only the solitary light on Ms. Anisimova. At no time is flash permitted during a performance, so any photograph taken while she was looking straight ahead or down at her instrument would cast her face in shadow. So I waited. I waited for her to look up so her face would be lit, and for her arm to be aligned properly with her instrument. After several tries, I "got the shot" , or the foundation for what you see here.

After the concert, the transformation began, i.e., making the photograph into a work of art. First issue, the concert took place during the day and the backstage was visible. The backstage wall had a 2x6 beam about 4 feet off the floor that extended all the way across the stage, and from the perspective of where I took the photograph it gave the illusion of going straight through Ms. Anisimova's head. Next issue, there were the backs of heads of members in the audience which were a another distraction, and finally, there were technical corrections needed to enhance the photograph. These issues were resolved in post processing. But the work was not done yet. I wanted to present a more powerful image to highlight Ms. Anisimova's virtuosity. The original photograph was taken in color --- more distractions. What, you may ask? Her clothing. So I converted the photograph to black and white. By eliminating distractions you look at her face, her expression of rapture and her at-one-ness with her instrument. Matting and framing adds the final touches. And that, my friend's was my plan. I feel I have succeeded. I hope you do too.

Until next week.


[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Central Virginia Tanya Anisimova Wintergreen Performing Arts Wintergreen Resort Sun, 16 Nov 2014 22:08:53 GMT
Moving On (Click On Thumbnail To Enlarge)

Moving OnMoving On

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. When the situation is beyond our control, then, it is time to move on.

For each of us, this happens many times throughout our lives. It could be the loss of job, the breakup of a relationship, falling in love with someone that does not feel the way towards you, or any other situation or circumstance that  is  beyond our control, then, it is time to move on. Recently, I found that I was doing something over and over, over for several years thinking that this time the outcome would be different. But I was trying to achieve something that was beyond my control. The reality that I could not do so, and had to move on, was a major realization.

For each of us, at least it is for me, moving on can be sometimes very difficult. It forces change which often causes anxiety because we venture into the unknown. In moving on, there is an acceptance of what is; and the sooner we do so, the better off we will be.

I know that there will more situations that will require me (and all of us) to move on in our lives. But in doing so, we become stronger, like iron in a forge. We build confidence in ourselves, and, we can take satisfaction in what we have accomplished.

Until next week,

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Central Virginia Moving On Paul Purpura Tue, 11 Nov 2014 19:46:43 GMT
REFLECTIONS (Click On Thumbnail To Enlarge)

In August of this year, I took this photograph at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Preserve near Cape Canaveral, REFLECTIONSMerritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Florida. Still water is nature's natural mirror, so when I have the opportunity to photograph it  I always take advantage of the opportunity. On this particular day I was with a colleague who loves photography not only as much as I do, but also we went to high school together. Two photographers who are friends doing what they love to do most, take photographs, and catching up on the latest news about our former classmates. It absolutely does not get any better.

Why do I like this photograph so much? Symmetry does not naturally occur in nature. Things are never straight or perfectly round. Although there are exceptions, nature, like a child's playroom, tends towards maximum disorder. The scientific word for this is "entropy". But in this serene scene, the clouds, and everything are symmetrical because of the water's reflection. It is a most interesting dichotomy to say the least. Maybe that's why scenes like these stand out, and beg to be photographed.

Reflection has another connotation. We "reflect" on events in our lives, our beliefs, and how we relate to others. We "pause to reflect." Stated more simply, we think about things. So whenever we see a photograph like this, it brings up not only the reflection in the image, but also reflections about ourselves as well.

Oh I am getting philosophical aren't I? Move over Aristotle and Plato, here I come! Funny though, I never really thought of myself as a philosopher, 

So here's to symmetry in nature, you elusive creature.

Before I close though, I would like to mention that there is some order in nature if you look hard enough. The best example of this is the Nautilus. It's shell grows and expands to a formula called the Fibonacci Series.  Google it. I won't discuss it further because you be clicking the X in the upper right corner if I do. If you love mathematics like I do you will find it interesting. Otherwise, don't worry about it. It's been around a long time.

Thanks for reading my blog.

Until next time. And remember, when it doubt, press the shutter button.


(Click On Thumbnail To Enlarge)



[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Florida Merritt Island Nature Paul Purpura Sat, 01 Nov 2014 21:23:50 GMT
Chicago Chicago Skyline"That Toddlin' Town" Hello again,

I have not blogged for several weeks and it is my intent to do so more often. Over the past month I have redesigned my website (and I still have more changes to make), celebrated my birthday (Oct 23rd), and over the past week my youngest daughter came to visit. Finally, I also bought new ski boots for the upcoming ski season. My old boots were packed out and they were also too big as advised by a PSIA examiner when I achieved my Child Specialist I certification last season. In addition to photography I am also a professional ski instructor. But enough of this. Let's get back to my passion and profession --- Professional Photography.

Last month I photographed my brother's wedding which was held in Chicago. I have always wanted to photograph the skyline of a major city so I took advantage of the opportunity when I was there. I was most fortunate to have created a night photograph of the city. Since I travelled by air to my brother's wedding, I had minimal equipment with me, i.e., I did not have a tripod. So I had to improvise. I was outside on the 18 floor of the Public Hotel. I placed the camera on the safety railing, and held the camera in place for this 8 second exposure. I set everything manually, including the white balance which was around 2800 Kelvin to offset the incandescent lights of the city, and also to bring out the blue of the sky and the blue light on what I think is the John Hancock building. I can't remember. I also made sure that the camera sensor was at 90 degrees to the skyline to eliminate the "converging verticals" that would otherwise happened if the sensor was at an oblique angle. I would have liked to have had a perspective control lens, but like I said earlier I brought minimal equipment with me. 

This photograph is one of my all time favorites. I never tire of looking at it. Looking out onto the skyline and the lighted windows in the buildings. I ask myself who are these people. What are their names. What do they do for a living. Since I am a country guy, viewing this photograph mesmerizes me. I am so far removed from a places like this. I live on top of a mountain in Nelson County, Virginia, which is where I am typing this blog. Sometimes I think I would like living in a large city where you can walk almost anywhere or take the metro. To be able to go to an opera without having to travel around 40 miles would be great. Or would it? I live in what I think is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I am high atop Devil's Knob where I can view the Rockfish Valley or the Shenandoah Valley.

Chicago is without a doubt one of America's most interesting cities. It was the birthplace of Jazz, and has an amazing history. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay there, learned a little more about America, and I would jump at the opportunity to return. 

Ending on a more technical note, always keep looking for something to photograph. Most importantly take your camera off "Auto" or "Program" mode. Learn how your camera works and experiment with different settings and techniques. Otherwise you are not a photographer, but just a person who takes pictures. Will you screw up? Absolutely! I took several photographs of the Chicago Skyline until I got the results you see here. How did I know what I wanted? I had it pictured in my head before I took the photograph. This is what separates a skilled photographer from a person who just takes snapshots.


I hope you enjoy this photograph as much as I enjoyed creating it.

Until next time,






[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Architectural Photography Chicago Large Cities Mon, 27 Oct 2014 23:10:25 GMT
The Incurable Romantic And Trains There is something mystical about trains.

Last weekend, I flew to Chicago, Illinois to attend and photograph my brother's wedding. My connecting flight, which was in Baltimore, Maryland, was delayed 24 hours because of the fire at the Control Tower in Aurora, Illinois on Friday (26-September). Not wanting to spend the day in a hotel room I decided to do some sight seeing. So I rode the Light Rail Commuter Train to the Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore, and while I was riding the train, a vision popped in my head. It was almost like an epiphany. It is this vision that I wish to share with you. Maybe you can relate.


I was taken back in time to my late teens or early 20's. I had moved out of my parent's house trying to make it on my own, trying to figure out how to get by, and also trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I worked any job I could find to be able to pay the rent for a very small apartment. Obviously, money was scarce. 


But I did have one thing that all the money in the world could not buy. On the commuter train that would take me back to my meager apartment, there was a young woman sitting beside me who loved me as much as I loved her. And as we rode home on the train, we talked about our current circumstances and how we could change them for the better. We were young, scared, but believed we could get through anything if we did it together. When we finished talking, actually she fell asleep in my arms, I held her close and thanked God that she was in my life. She was the woman I loved. She was someone who loved me, believed in me, and wanted to journey her life's experience with me.


We worked through those tough times, and we would share many more journeys throughout our lives. Fast forward to the present. Now we are senior citizens and we still look forward to the journeys that lie ahead of us, knowing whatever life throws at us we will work through it together, because we have done so in the decades we have been together. But I will always recall that night we rode home together on the train as one of the happiest moments of my life. She is, and always will be, the love of my life.


As many of you know, this is not the way life turned out for me (real vs ideal). But I am not bitter, rather, I am very thankful. I have many people in my life that I am grateful for --- my brother and sister, my children, and my close friends who know me only too well, and love me despite me being me.


But I am, and will always be, the incurable romantic.


And so until next time, be thankful for those in your life who love you. They are to be revered.


Paul P.


[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Central Virginia Love Paul Purpura Romance Mon, 29 Sep 2014 18:29:23 GMT
Real vs Ideal Real Vs Ideal
I am preparing to take my PSIA Child Specialist I exam at the end of this month. I am concentrating on Piaget's CAP Model which is composed of three parts: Cognitive, Affective, and Physical. Don't worry I am not going to write about the model, else you would close this window quickly. One aspect of the Physical is Real vs Ideal. I am studying how it relates to skiing, but then I got to thinking (Uh-Oh!) and I realized that Real vs Ideal occurs not only in skiing but it also to everything in general. So today I would like to run with this topic.
First, how Real vs Ideal relates to skiing. Don't worry, I am not going to get too technical. If you have ever watched children ski you will notice that a 4 year old skies quite differently than a 7 year old, an 11 year old skies differently than a 7 year old, and a teen skies differently than an 11 year old. In each of these stages there is a Real vs Ideal way of skiing. For each age group, Ideal would be correct stance over the skis, and correct execution of turns. For my fellow ski instructors, I am over simplyfing for the sake of brevity. But we don't live in an Ideal world. Children, and adults too for that matter, may not stand correctly over their skies, and may not turn correctly either -- which is why I have a job. So let's take this concept of Real vs Ideal out of skiing
For those of you who are nerds like me, remember the wonderful days of chemistry and physics? In chemistry we learned about Ideal gasses, and in physics objects always slid down a ramp with no friction, objects always fell in a vacuum, and beams never deflected. But alas, we do not live an Ideal world. In the Real world, we have to contend with friction (even on skis), objects do not fall in a vacuum because our planet has an atmosphere (lucky for us) so objects will reach a terminal velocity rather than continually increase, and beams do deflect.
In my photography profession, an Ideal photograph would be tack sharp because the camera lens has no flaws, would be exposed properly so that it has a good balance of shadows and highlights, and would have good color balance. Again, we do not live in an Ideal world. Lenses have flaws. A photograph may not have the correct exposure either due to incorrect setting, or the dynamic range of the camera photo sensor may be exceeded. Finally, the color of the photograph may be off due to an incorrect white balance setting. 
Let's take this concept of Real vs Ideal even further. In Ideal world, we would never have to stop for a red light, we would be the only car on the road so we would not have to deal with traffic (like the I495 Beltway around Washington DC or the George Washington Bridge), our car would never break down, the pipes in our homes would never freeze, children would always behave and do what they are told, and WE WOULD NEVER HAVE TO PAY TAXES! Sadly, we don't live in an Ideal world.
This week's photograph is a classic example of Real vs Ideal. Every year towards the end of the snow sports season Wintergreen has its annual pond skimming contest. The goal is to ski or snowboard across a pond (filled with water at 45 degrees) and not get wet. Alas, as the photographs shows, we do not live in an Ideal world.
Pond Skimming Contest - 505Pond Skimming Contest - 505
Thank you for reading my streams of consciousness about Real vs Ideal. Have a great week!
Until next time,
[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Action Sports Central Virginia Football Monster Trucks Paul Purpura Photography By Paul Purpura Wintergreen Resort Tue, 04 Feb 2014 23:42:37 GMT
I Am A Nationally Certified Snowsports Instructor Level I Instructors (2014) (D) - 0007Level I Instructors (2014) (D) - 0007CONGRATULATIONS LEVEL I PSIA/AASI INSTRUCTORS!

Make this day a lasting memory with a 4x6 print for only $4.95!

Just click the "Buy" radio button in the upper right portion of the page.

Your satisfaction is guaranteed.
You all know that during most of the year I make my living as a professional photographer. I love the profession, I love creating beautiful photographs, and I love documenting events in a rural county in Central Virginia. But there is another side of me that most of you already know about. So I am going to elaborate about my other profession as a snow sports instructor. I will write about it in terms of it being a profession, that those of us who teach snows ports are professionals in our own right. Most people in this country scoff at the idea that teaching snow sports is a profession, and most regard it as something less than professional. Most do not even think of it as a "real job". It's thought of as something you do until something better comes along. Nothing could be further from the truth.
It is true that you cannot teach skiing or snowboarding year round; they are seasonal positions, no doubt. So most of us have other professions that we do during the off season --- in my case professional photography. But that does not mean that teaching snow sports is not a profession or anything less than professional, and I will prove it
First, let's start with what happens at least 6 months before the snow sports season starts. Gone are the days when you simply applied to a resort and attended an orientation clinic. Most resorts now have fitness requirements that must be met before one is considered for an instructor position. Although the fitness requirements may vary slightly from resort to resort, most are based on the Vail Resort Fit To Ride test. I wrote about such in a previous blog, about how I trained for about six months and still did not pass the fitness test the first time round. I trained for an additional month and passed. So I trained for about seven months prior to the start of the snow sports season. Needless to say that I am in the best physical shape of my life. Just another job? I think not.
Those who teach snow sports are certified through two national organizations. For ski instructors, it is the Professional Ski Instructors Of America (PSIA), similarly for snowboard instructors, it is the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (AASI). For all practical purposes, the two function as one cohesive organization.
There are three levels of teaching certification in PSIA and AASI --- levels I, II, and III respectively. Level I instructors teach from the beginning to the lower intermediate level, Level II instructors teach from the intermediate to advanced levels, and Level III instructors teach from the advanced to the expert level. Each teaching level (I, II, III) has a set of standards (both technical and teaching) that must be met or exceeded before one attains the certification. Quoting from my ski coach, "Level II is an order of magnitude more difficult to attain than Level I, and Level III is an order of magnitude more difficult than Level II." Standards for any of the three levels are set high and not every one passes when tested. The failure rate increases with each higher level of certification. It is not uncommon for a candidate to repeat an exam several times. Yeah, it's that tough. I can speak about failure as well, last year I did not meet the standards for the Child Specialist I certification. Needless to say, I am preparing for the test again, this time with more focus and technical skill. Hey, if it was easy everyone would do it.
Regardless of the level of certification, continuing education is required to maintain certification. Attendance at workshops and clinics are mandatory. This past week I completed my workshop to maintain my certification. We were critiqued on our skiing and teaching skills, and we were coached so that we could improve in both. I was fortunate in that I had one of the best clinicians on the East Coast, if not, in the US. Advanced Level II and Level III instructors offer clinics at their resorts as well. Typically, each resort has one or more Level III instructors who offer clinics weekly. We are continuously learning, continuously improving, continuously striving to become better skiers, riders, and instructors. The journey never ends, and none of us want it to. We passionate about about skiing/riding, we are passionate about our profession, and we want to share that passion with others. This is why we teach. So that others can enjoy the feeling that you get when the edge of the ski carves in to the snow, and then you feel the spring in your foot as you come out of the turn. Or, you just enjoy the feeling of skiing/riding on fresh powder. To be outside, with the wind in your face. Most people detest cold weather, but I don't even though my heating bill goes up. In cold weather, to hear the snow crunch underfoot is one of the most beautiful sounds there is. Well, Beethoven's 9th Symphony is up there too, but that's another blog.
Come March when the days get longer I will either head out west to teach at a resort where the season is longer, or I may just put my skis away, stay here, and go back to my "other" profession. I haven't decided which yet. But I do know one thing. The training continues --- practicing skiing skills in the spring, summer, and fall. Also, continuously to physically train. I especially want to concentrate on my balance and core body strength. These are my goals, but anyone who teaches snow sports, and who is dedicated, will set up their own training regimen. Next November, we will meet again at the rehire clinic and we will be happy to see each other again. I am part of a special family. Like any family, we have our dramas, our times of disappointment and jubilation. I share a bond that only another snow sports instructor knows. 
So in closing, I hope I have proved to you that being a snow sports instructor is not just another job, or a job you do until you find something better. It is a profession, and we are professionals. We are dedicated, we continuously train, we are continuously evaluated, and we believe in what we do. Always striving to better. Always striving to improve. 
This week's photograph shows a group newly certified Level I instructors. I share their joy and jubilation. At one time I stood where they are. And I continuously train to attain my next level of certification. I have several advanced technical skills to master, and one dragon to slay before I will even consider taking the exam. But as one of my instructor friends said to me, "It's not about the achievement. It's about the journey to get there."
Until next time,
[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Central Virginia Wintergreen Resort paul purpura photos photohraphs by paul Sun, 26 Jan 2014 21:38:03 GMT
Gotta Have It! This week I would like to write about "Gotta Have It!" appeal. What is "Gotta Have It!" appeal? It is when you view a photograph and you say to your self "I Gotta Have It!", and you feel a very strong desire to purchase it. You "Gotta Have" that photograph.
Modern point-and-shoot digital cameras do a good job of letting almost anyone take photographs. I daresay that some people may think photographs taken with a point-and-shoot camera have "Gotta Have It!" appeal. I also daresay that around 1900, amateur photographers probably thought the same way when George Eastman created the first point-and-shoot film camera. His motto was "You take the pictures and we do the rest." The camera was mailed to a designated place for the film to be developed and prints to be made. The camera would be returned with a new role of film loaded into it. 
So what is the difference between taking a photograph, and creating photographs that have "Gotta Have It" appeal? Did you notice the subtle phrasing in the previous question? The key phases are "taking a photograph" and "creating photographs." Since memory cards for digital cameras are capable of holding Avagadro's Number of photographs, one or two photographs could have "Gotta Have It" appeal. But it's a game of chance. It's tantamount to what we call in the trade "Spray And Pray", i.e., if you take enough photographs, sooner or later you'll "get a good one." What separates the amateur from the professional is that the professional creates photographs with "Gotta Have It" appeal consistently rather than by chance. And to do such takes technical skill, subject composition knowledge, and often, patience. 
Let me show you what I mean. Below is a photograph that I took at a 4th of July fireworks display. There was a thunderstorm in a town about 20 miles from where I was, and I hoped I could get a lighting photograph in addition to the fireworks display. Waiting on Mother Nature required patience, and she rewarded me with a lightning bolt that went off at the same time as the fire works. 
Wintergreen Fireworks - 0059Wintergreen Fireworks - 0059
The above photograph shows what was captured by the camera. I submitted this photograph to the editor of Blue Ridge Life. He was ecstatic and published the photograph. 
But I realized the photograph had issues and did not have "Gotta Have It!" appeal. It contained too much dark sky and the lightning bolt was not as prominent as I wanted it to be. So I performed some photo editing and the below photograph was the result. I submitted it to the editor of Blue Ridge Life. This time he was really ecstatic, and, he published the photograph.
Wintergreen Fireworks - 0059-1Wintergreen Fireworks - 0059-1
But still, the photograph did not have "Gotta Have It!" appeal. The lightning bolt is on the left side of the photograph. Since our eyes view a photograph from left to right, two thirds of the photograph is wasted. I had to fix that. Below is the final result.
Wintergreen Fireworks - 0059-5Wintergreen Fireworks - 0059-5
Note that now you view the entire image from left to right. I submitted the above photograph in a Professional Photographers of America print competition. I competed with photographers from all over the country, and I scored well considering it was my first competition. Finally, this photograph has "Gotta Have It" appeal.
Let me show you another example. Below is a photograph of renowned cellist Tanya Anisimova that was taken during a live concert performance. I composed the photograph in my mind, waited until the right moment, and took the below photograph which displays what the camera captured. I got the composition I wanted, and her facial expression captures the intensity of her performance. But it does not have "Gotta Have It!" appeal. Why?
WPA Tanya Anisimova (Concert) - 024WPA Tanya Anisimova (Concert) - 024
First, there is a board going through her head. Since I photographed on location, I had no control over the lighting or the background.  In addition, the out of focus heads of people in the audience are a detraction. After performing some photo editing, I achieved the results shown below.
WPA Tanya Anisimova (Concert) - 024 - WMWPA Tanya Anisimova (Concert) - 024 - WM
Note that the black background hides the board going through her head and creates much more contrast. In combination with the removal of the detractive elements, the photograph now has "Gotta Have It!" appeal. Ms. Anisimova has used the above photograph several times in her concert promotions. By the way, if you ever have the chance to hear Ms. Anisimova perform, she is amazing.
So in closing, I hope I have been able to convey to you what "Gotta Have It" appeal is, and what comes out of the camera, more often than not, does not have it. Every time I hear the words "It's Good Enough" to describe a photograph, I get sick to my stomach. Sadly, most people think that "It's Good Enough" is the same as "Gotta Have It!" It definitely is not, and I hope I have been able to enlighten you accordingly.
My blog is longer than usual this week. Thank you for staying with me.
Until next time,
[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Action Sports Central Virginia Football Lightning Photographs Tanya Anisimova Wintergreen Resort Mon, 13 Jan 2014 00:33:12 GMT
Ski Instruction and Professional Photography – A Most Unusual Juxtaposition  

This is my eleventh season of teaching skiing at Wintergreen Resort.  Most of my ski lessons have been adult beginner lessons. Since I began teaching, I have always shied away from teaching children because I didn't know if I had the patience for it. I have always said to my own children that it was it miracle that I survived them; but it was even more of a miracle that they survived me. I am often not as patient as I should be (just ask some of my friends) and the last thing I ever want to do is upset a child who is not mine. Not that upsetting my own children was good either. But after teaching adult beginner group lessons on weekends for ten seasons, which can be . . .  well let's just say it often presents "opportunities", I decided that I wanted to do something different this season.

Ski Scenes - 0034Ski Scenes - 0034

I knew if I increased my skills set I would be of more value to the resort. Since I love the challenge of learning something new, I took the plunge and decided to teach children this season. I think the seed for doing such was planted last ski season when the manager of the children's program asked me to do so. I was asked because the manager wanted to bring in someone who was, well, let's just say "a little older". I had a group of children ranging in age from four to about eight. They were beginners having never been on skis before. It was an experience for most of the children. It was the first time they ever had a male instructor, moreover, an instructor who was older than their parents. It was an experience to for me as well, and to my surprise I found that I enjoyed teaching the youngsters. 

The Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) places much emphasis on teaching children to ski. PSIA offers workshops in teaching children and offers Child Specialist certifications. What many adult skiers (parents) may not know is that generally speaking, young children do not (actually they cannot) ski the same way adults do. Their center of mass is higher because their heads are larger in proportion to their bodies. Muscles that adults take for granted may not yet be fully developed in children. Children have different learning preferences such as "watchers', "doers", "feelers", and "thinkers". I could go on here but then this blog would become a treatise. Getting back to my original thread, this past week I taught at the children's center for two days. On the first day I had beginners, and on the second I had a group that was more advanced. I enjoyed both. I am currently preparing for my Child Specialist 1 certification. The exam is not easy. A candidate's skiing and teaching skills are evaluated. Standards are set high and it is not uncommon for candidates to fail.

So now the juxtaposition. How does teaching skiing to adults or children relate to photography?

First, they are alike in that each ski lesson, and each photoshoot, are different from the previous. In both circumstances you are given a situation and are responsible for bringing out the best in each. For a ski lesson, you want to create a "fun" learning experience for the child and teach skills that are appropriate for where they are in their development. By doing so, you please not only the child but also the parent. The child wants to ski again and the parents are pleased. In photography it's not much different. For the type of photography that I do (sports and events) I walk into a situation and I have to determine the best way to produce photographs that cause an "I gotta have it" moment when viewed by the client. 

Second, both require training, experience, and continuous improvement. I am certified by PSIA to teach skiing and I must successfully complete continuing education and undergo periodic evaluation to maintain my certification. Becoming a Master Instructor (and there is a PSIA cert with this name) requires study, training, attending workshops and clinics, and continuous mentoring to perfect the skills required. Becoming a great instructor does not happen by chance. It is learned.

Similarly in photography I am a member of the Professional Photographers Of America (PPA) and the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP). I am mentored by some of the best professional photographers in the country to continually hone the skills of the craft. Today's digital cameras let most people take photographs that are "good enough". But for the professional, "good enough" does not cut it. Consistently creating "I gotta have it" photographs does not happen by chance.  There are skills that have to be mastered such as lighting, where to stand, choice of lens, shutter speed, and mastery of technique.

Finally, both ski instruction and photography offer higher levels of certification, and each is more difficult to attain. For the ski instructor, the first cert is "Level I". In photography the first cert is "Certified Professional Photographer". For ski instructors the next levels are Level II and then Level III and each is an order of magnitude in difficulty from the previous to achieve. Similarly, the highest level in professional photography is Master Photographer. In both organizations, you are critiqued and evaluated. Advancement in either organization is not easy. Just ask any Level II candidate who did successfully pass Level II requirements, or, ask any professional photographer who submitted a print thinking it should score 95 out of 100 in a national print competition, but was only scored a 75 by the PPA Jurors.

So, a most interesting juxtaposition of two diverse skill sets don't you think? I wrote about my two biggest passions today -- skiing and photography. I seek to be the best at both, but I know I have a long way to go. I set goals and then work to achieve them. It's going to be a long road for both. But my mentors from each craft say that the journey to achievement defines who you are and where you learn things about yourself that you never knew. For skiing, my next goal is attaining my Child Specialist 1 certification. In photography, I was recently admitted into MaxPreps which is a national organization that promotes high school sports photography. I submitted a sports portfolio as part of the entry requirements and it took two revisions to get it accepted. I am now working on getting my MaxPreps Press Credentials which requires the submission and approval of 10 sports portfolios of recent high school sports events. This is where I consistently create the "I gotta have it" photographs.

I started this blog thinking I was going to write about one thing, and as is often the case when I write, it morphs into something else.

Thank you for reading my bits of clipped prose.

Make it a great week.

Until next time,


[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Action Sports Central Virginia Paul Purpura Wintergreen Resort Sun, 05 Jan 2014 20:20:52 GMT
The Beginning Of A New Year. Celebrate! Wtg Fireworks - 0109Wtg Fireworks - 0109

As I look back on 2013, I asked myself what was different this year than in previous years. What were my accomplishments.

First, I became a MaxPreps Photographer. What is MaxPreps? It is an orgranization that specializes in high school sports photography. I have photographed college sports, but high school sports photography is more difficult. Why? Because most high schools don't have the sports arenas that colleges do. Photographing on football fields at night or in poorly lit gymnasiums present special challenges in creating professional sports photographs. But, it can be done if one learns the skills to do so. So I have grown as a professional photograher. I love being challenged. It's how I advance my art.
Second, I have lost over 50 pounds since the beginning of the year which has allowed me to do things on snow skis that I could not do in previous years. I am more confident both as a skier and a ski instructor, and I am better at doing each. I like that most of my clothes don't fit me because they are too big.
Third, were my clients who gave me the opportunities to advance my art, and challenge me --- technically, creatively, and sometimes with tight deadlines. I often think that I do some of my best work under pressure. 
Finally, the number of people who read my blog has increased, thanks to each one of you. Thank you for reading about how I see my world, both as a photographer and as a person. Photography teaches you to look at the world from a different perspective. Sometimes on a partly cloudy day as the sun goes in and out of the clouds, I watch the how the high contrast light from the sun, and the flat light of shadows, change the color of leaves on a tree. I may be a little crazy. But it's how I view my world.
So what are my goals for next year? Obviously I would like to grow my photography business, but I would also like to do something totally new. I don't know what that will be yet, but I am sure it will reveal itself in due course. Another goal is to stay healthy. I found out today that someone I knew for many years, who was younger than me, past away just before Christmas. Life is so precious. Finally, I would like to lose an additional 25 pounds to get to my ideal weight.
So celebrate the new year. The above photograph was taken last New Years Eve. It's one of my favorites. A new year means new things, new opportorunites, and new challeges. We all wish for happy times, with no worries, but would we be really happy? The challenges allow us to grow. Dissappointments and failures allow us to exalt when we accomplish something, like passing a fitness test.
My wish for you all is good health in the new year and that you may find someone who loves you. Truly loves you. Money will take care of itself in due course.
Happy New Year,
[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Action Sports Central Virginia Paul Purpura Virginia Wintergreen Resort Mon, 30 Dec 2013 23:17:58 GMT
Hike to Humpback Rocks Yesterday I went hiking with my daughter and her boyfriend to Humpback Rocks which is accessed either by the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) or the Appalachian Trail in the George Washington National Forest.

This well known rocky outcrop on Humpback Mountain is a very popular hiking destination because of the spectacular views the Shenandoah and Rockfish valleys.

The trail accessed from the BRP is about a 1 mile hike to the rock formation. Although it is short, the change in elevation is about 800 feet. So it is definitely an aerobic workout. The trail changes from sculpted gravel at the bottom to narrow and rocky towards the summit, which is about 3,000 feet. The average time to hike the trail is about one hour (give or take) depending on your athletic prowess. In winter ice forms on the trail at the higher elevations, which lets me segue into my first photograph. 


Frozen WaterfallIce covers part of the trail to the summit of Humpback Rocks

Here, ice covers part of the trail up to the rock formation. We had go off the trail slightly to avoid the ice, but I could not resist the opportunity to photograph a frozen waterfall.





















Humpback Rocks (A) - 0022Humpback Rocks (A) - 0022


Here the Shenandoah Valley is visible in the top half of the photograph, while the rock outcrop is in the foreground. Despite the haze and clouds, the view is still spectacular.


Humpback Rocks (A) - 0021Humpback Rocks (A) - 0021


In this photograph, the Rockfish Valley is visible on the right as Afton Mountain winds north. Just above the outcrop, a small part of the BRP is visible. The road leading off to the right leads to the trail up to the rock formation.


So much for me saying this would be my last blog before Christmas. Oh well!


Hope you enjoyed the photographs as much as I enjoyed taking them.


Until next time,









[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Appalachian Trail Blue Ridge Parkway Humpback Rocks Sun, 22 Dec 2013 22:22:12 GMT
How I Love to Ski! Those of you who regularly read my blog know what I enjoy most is photography and alpine snow skiing. Well, there's chasing women too, but we won't go there.

For the past several days I have been snow skiing and loving every minute of it. But instead of writing about how wonderful it is to ski, feel the cold wind bite your face, listen to the sounds the skis make on the snow, and feel the sensation as the ski's edges bite into the snow, I would like to do something a little different this week. 

I have created a slide show (see below) of winter photographs which I really like or have special significance. Most were taken when I was skiing. The photograph of "Franks Post" is special because my father's name was Frank. My favorite (there's always one) is the fireworks display taken on New Year's Eve.

This will be my last post before Christmas. My wishes for you are two things that all the money in the world cannot buy. First is that may you know the joy of loving and being loved. Not the shallow kind that erodes like wind upon sandstone, but love that is deep. Love that lasts through life's joys and sorrows. Love that is like granite --- love that will last for a lifetime. I am a very lucky man to be loved by family and close friends. My second wish for you is good health. Both physically and emotionally.

Merry Christmas! Thank you for reading my weekly blog.

Until next time,


P.S. The slide show is viewed best in full screen mode. Hope you enjoy it.


[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Central Virginia Paul Purpura Virginia Wintergreen Resort snow skiing snow sports winter Fri, 20 Dec 2013 21:18:16 GMT
I PASSED! And The Value Of Persistence I experienced a personal triumph yesterday. I achieved a goal that I had set for myself. It was not a financial goal, although such would have been easier to accomplish. It was a personal goal, a physical goal, one that only I could achieve.

Some background. In addition to photography, I am also a ski instructor. Photography slows down during the winter months so I fill in the gap by teaching skiing. For the upcoming season, the resort where I teach instituted a fitness test for all instructors as part of the rehire process. Such is not unusual. Many ski resorts throughout the country are doing the same thing. It is to make sure that instructors can meet the physical requirements of the position. After all, skiing is a very active sport.

So I took the test, and despite the fact that I had exercised, lost over fifty pounds since last January, and did a lot of hiking, I failed. I thought I was ready. But I wasn't ready enough. Oh how I hate failure! The examiner gave me a series of exercises to perform over a period of one month, and then return to retake the test. I was devastated. Why me? I was prepared, or so I thought. Everybody else seemed to have passed. Did I really want to teach skiing this year? Maybe it's time to give up the profession and to Hell with the stupid test. I was angry, frustrated, and did a such a great job of feeling sorry for myself that I should have won a prize. I vented my feelings on one of my dearest friends. Of course I promptly and sincerely apologized, and lucky for me we are still close friends. There is a lot of truth to the saying that a friend sees you as you really are, and likes you anyway. I calmed down. I love skiing and I love teaching; I knew what I had to do.

If someone was to ask me what is my strongest attribute, without hesitation I would say it is persistence. Here's an example. Last night I played a game of Sudoku (I love the game). Normally I can solve a "Difficult" puzzle in about forty five minutes (often less). But the puzzle I had last night was one of the toughest I had ever experienced. Nothing in my bag of tricks worked. After about two and a half hours and several trial solutions (educated guesses) that resulted in the dreaded "blank square", I finally solved the puzzle. It was ugly, but I solved it. Persistence is also how I got through college while enduring many setbacks and disappointments in my undergraduate and graduate degree programs, but I achieved both Bachelors and Masters degrees in Engineering. Sometimes I think I am persistent to the point to where it does me more harm than good. But giving up is something that is abhorrent to me. I feel like such a loser. And that's what I feel when I experience failure. Maybe that's the reason why I lash out -- not that such excuses any bad behavior on my part.

One of the exercises I was told to perform was to walk at least 150 minutes per week, which I did faithfully for the entire month. Since I live on top of a mountain, a two mile walk includes both uphill and downhill terrain. Who needs a treadmill. Sometimes I would walk in the valley where the terrain is generally flat. But most of the time I walked on top of the mountain. I often walked to the very top of a steep trail, and when I did so I thought only of the re-test. I wanted so much to pass the exam. 

So yesterday I took my re-test. And I passed! I was ecstatic! I wanted to tell the world. I accomplished the goal I had set for myself, and I felt great.

Perhaps some of you may ask why I am making such an ado about a test that an average person in good health can easily pass. To answer that, I am sixty two years old, I smoked much of my life but have now been an ex-smoker for over ten years, and for the past several years I was very much overweight. I overcame all of these challenges, and with effort and persistence, I accomplished a goal that would have been impossible a year ago.

Until next time,


[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Action Sports Central Virginia East Coast Ski Sun, 08 Dec 2013 21:13:45 GMT
Just In Time For Christmas!




My Four Seasons collage and other nature photographs are now available for purchase!


Purchase prints, frames, and a host of other merchandise. In addition, I offer these photographs in digital file format and they would make a great wallpaper background on your computer.


To access the photographs, move your mouse over the "Nature" pull down menu and select a gallery.


Merry Christmas!


[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Central Virginia Christmas Four Seasons Nature Virginia Tue, 03 Dec 2013 22:34:52 GMT
I Am Thankful For Many Blessings Rose River Loop  (A) - 0007Rose River Loop (A) - 0007


May you all have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving. I am spending mine with family. I am truly blessed with good health, family, and friends. Nothing else matters.

This is one of my favorite nature photographs, taken from one of the overlooks near Big Meadows on Skyline Drive in Virginia overlooking the Shenandoah Valley. 

Until next time,



[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Drive Paul Purpura Photography Skyline Virginia Thu, 28 Nov 2013 15:47:48 GMT
Happy Thanksgiving Mountain and Lake - FallMountain and Lake - Fall


It's that time of year again. What I call the Trilogy Holidays are upon us -- Thanksgiving, Hanukkah/Christmas, and New Years. So with Thanksgiving nearest, I thought I would share some thoughts with you. 

Before you say to yourself "Oh Pullleeese" and move your cursor to the X in the top right corner of your screen, I humbly ask that you not click on it and and read on.

Let me  start by saying that I live in the state where the first Thanksgiving took place, even though it wasn't called Thanksgiving yet. Sorry y'all up there in Plymouth, Massachusetts, but Jamestown, Virginia was settled 13 years before yours was (in 1607 and 1620 respectively). For those of you who study history, you also know that the Jamestown residents almost did not make it through one of the coldest winters at the time. Many perished.

But enough of the history lesson. What is Paul thankful for?

First, and above all, are my two daughters who will celebrate the holiday remotely this year. Well, one is in France so maybe only one will celebrate the holiday. My daughters are my pride and joy and I could not be any more proud of them. They have grown into young adults who are pursing their own goals, and are now smarter than I could ever hope to be. But then again, isn't that every parent's wish for their children? 

Next is my Italian heritage. I am second generation American; my maternal and paternal grandparents emigrated from Italy in the early 1900's. They became citizens and rapidly assimilated into American culture; yet, they added an Italian flair to Thanksgiving. During my childhood, I recall my aunts, uncles, and cousins sitting around the table. Before the traditional turkey was served, there was macaroni (we never called it pasta), meatballs, antipaste, and homemade "Minestra Mantata", commonly known as Italian Wedding Soup. The literal translation means "married soup", hence its connection to weddings. Then came the turkey and all the fixin's that we are all familiar with. My mother loved to cook and bake. She could make the best pumpkin and mince pies. I can remember sitting at the kids table. I thought that was so cool because I didn't have to worry about interrupting an adult who might be speaking, and then being duly chastised by my parents. Gaps in the conversation were few and far between. So when there was a lull you took full advantage of it by getting what you had to say out very quickly. For those that know me personally, now you know why I talk as fast as I do. Memories from childhood I guess. The time of my childhood has long passed. I am much older, and my parents, aunts, and uncles have now passed on. The family that I remember as a child is no more, save for a few cousins. So I cherish these childhood memories. 

Oh, by the way, it really irks me when a child interrupts me when I am speaking without saying "excuse me". More memories from childhood.

Moving on, what would life be without friends. True friends which I wrote about  in last week's blog. Lest I repeat myself, let me say that am thankful for those friends to whom I am very close, and love me in spite of myself. Yes love. Read what I said a about this in last week's blog.

Lastly, I am thankful for you. For my reading my attempts at composing prose, and visiting my web site regularly. I majored in Engineering in college. Creative writing was not part of my curriculum. So, much like many things in life, I am learning it as I go along. Will I ever be a John Steinbeck or an Ernest Hemingway? I think not. But then again, they probably never studied Differential Calculus, Thermodynamics, or Ohm's Law.

So Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the holiday wherever you may be. And I pray that you do not spend it alone. 

Until next time,





[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Central Holidays" Paul Purpura Thanksgiving, Virginia" Wintergreen Resort Tue, 26 Nov 2013 00:18:17 GMT
"Old Friends" Mountain and Lake - SpringMountain and Lake - Spring So begins a song with that name by Simon and Garfunkel. This week's blog is one of personal reflection, specifically, the value I place on friendship. I mean true friendship, not the social kind you may have at the local brew pub. True friends --- those who have been with you in good times and bad, those who have known you for years, those who know you as you really are, and still love you anyway. Yes, love. Because I believe true friendship is a form of love (not always, or necessarily physical) that borders on the metaphysical. It cannot be bought, it can only be freely given by another. More importantly, it cannot be codependent or manipulative. And if the bonds of friendship are broken, they are either extremely difficult or impossible to repair. So along these lines, my reflections begin.
It's been a long time since I walked the halls of First Colonial High School in Virginia Beach. When I graduated, there was no Facebook, no Twitter, no digital cameras, no internet, no cell phones, and a whole lot of other "no's" which I can't remember at this moment. The military draft was still in use (my draft number was 339) and the Vietnam War was in full swing. Computers were huge things that took up entire rooms, IBM punched cards were the only means of input, and engineering students (like me) used slide rules in college.
As I grew older and surrendered the things of my youth, I am grateful for, and now appreciate more than ever, those who were my friend during my high school years. To say that I was "cool" when I was in high school would not only be a gross overstatement, but also an outright lie. I was like any other teenager trying to figure things out in my own world, and trying to come to terms with who I was and how I related to others. When I graduated there was no social media, and for that reason I lost track of my high school friends, including my best friend.
Fast forward. Then came the internet, cell phones, search engines, and social media. One day, on a whim, I googled my best friend from high school. I called, he answered, and we spoke as if we had spoken only yesterday. It was as if the lapse of many years had never occurred. So after more than 40 years, he is still my best friend.
Once I was on Facebook, the sky was the limit. People to whom I had not spoken for years were now accessible if they decided to "friend" me. I reconnected with many members of my high school class and I feel we are closer now than at any other point in our lives. And that is something I often contemplate. Sharing a bond with people you have known more than four decades is not something you can describe with words, it can only be experienced. So it is in this experience that I find permanence in a world where friendships and relationships wax and wane like the moon. Suffice it to say that I am not a recluse, nor do I consider only those to whom I have known for many years to be a friend. I have made many friends as of late, some of which I consider to be true friends. Nevertheless, the bonds to those whom I have known over half my life are not the same as those to whom I've known more recently. I am not saying the bonds are not equal, nor any less important or valuable; but I am saying they are different. It's like apples and oranges. You can like both with equal fervor, but they are nevertheless, different. And it is in that difference that I find permanence.
After reading this week's blog, most of you will be able to estimate my age.  At this point in my life, I realize the value of true friendship and I wanted to share that with you. One thing I also firmly believe, two people have to be best friends, true friends, before the relationship can advance any further. Enough said.
Ending on a lighter note, I still have my slide rule from college; I have had it for over half my life. Call me sentimental. But it has been with me during some tough times, like chemistry and thermodynamics exams. So is it possible to bond with an object? Maybe so.
Until next time,
[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Friendship Paul Purpura high loyalty school Sun, 17 Nov 2013 17:13:22 GMT
It Happens About This Time Every Year It happens to me about this time every year. I have enjoyed the spring with its promise of rebirth. The summer with the hot humid days that make one laid back and work more slowly. And the fall with all of its splendor.


But when November arrives and the splendor of the fall is gone, the temperatures drop, and frosts are frequent, then I know it's coming -- winter, that glorious season. Winter with its biting cold. Winter. Waking up and seeing the trees coated in ice so that they look like they have been dusted with powdered sugar. Winter. Celebrating Christmas and Hanukah. Winter. Ringing in the new year, and then celebrating Valentine's Day.


But what I like most about Winter is the snow! Now before you call me crazy just hear me out. Yes, I know snow makes travelling difficult whether you drive or fly. But where I live here on the top of Devil's Knob it is the most beautiful thing one can experience. Waking up and seeing everything covered in white. Watching a winter sunrise after a storm from the top of a mountain is one of the most beautiful things one can experience.


The snow also makes my favorite snow sport possible -- Alpine Snow Skiing. You may ask why anyone in their right mind would attach two planks to the bottoms of their feet, with boots that seem heavy and restrictive, dress in three layers of clothing (minimal) so that you feel like the Pillsbury Dough Boy, don a helmet, goggles, gloves, and when it's very cold -- a ballaclava, and go slide down a hill. Oh, I forgot to mention ski poles.


The answer is -- because it's FUN! It is fun to listen to the sound the snow makes when you ski over it. It is fun to listen to the wind as you ski down the trail (in control of course!). It is fun to feel your skis respond when you perform body movements to make them carve, turn, and most importantly -- stop. And when you love doing this as much as I do, you want to teach these skills, and more, to others so they can have fun too.


I am a Ski Instructor. I teach children and adults how to ski.  I have taught children as young as 4 and adults as old as 71. Over the years, I have taught classes that were great, and classes that were challenging. But without challenge there is no growth. I have experienced joy and sadness, elation and frustration, the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Yeah, it can be a roller coaster but I would not change a thing.  I work with a wonderful group of instructors who never cease to assist me in my own growth, which by the way can sometimes be a difficult job. 


I have been a member of the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) for several years. It is through this organization that I am certified as an instructor. As instructors we are critiqued frequently on our teaching and skiing skills. We take "clinics" to improve our skills and stay up to date. 


Enjoy winter! Enjoy skiing or snowboarding, whichever is your preference.


So I will leave you with the Responsibility Code published by PSIA. If you ski or snowboard, please observe it. Your safety and the safety others depends on it.


Until next time,



[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Action Sports Central Virginia Paul Purpura Skiing Snow Sports Virginia Tue, 05 Nov 2013 21:37:14 GMT
What Is That Funny Graphic Looking Thingy In Your Camera's Display? If you have clicked to open this week's blog, then you must be part nerd.


Today I would like to briefly discuss "The Histogram", that funny graphic looking thingy you may have seen in your camera's display, and why it's one of the most important skills to master in digital photography. 


So what is a Histogram? Defined simply, it is a way to sort things into groups by using some sort of grouping criteria. One example with which we are all familiar is test scores.  Remember the "Bell Curve"? There were the few brains in the class who always got an A, some would get B's, most would get C's, some would get D's, and sadly there were few who got an F.


Let's use another example. Say someone gives you a large bag of assorted color marbles and will pay you $100 to determine how many there are of each color. To keep things simple, the  assorted colors are: White , Red, Orange Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple and Black. So we get eight containers and label each accordingly. You put the red marbles in the container labeled "Red", the blue marbles in the container labeled "Blue", and so on. When you are done sorting you count how many marbles are in each container. What an easy way to make money.


So to repeat, a histogram is nothing more than a way of grouping objects by some sort of grouping criteria.


Are you bored yet? If not read on. We're getting to the good part.


So how does a Histogram apply to photography and why is it so important?


One of the greatest photographers of all time was Ansel Adams. His work is legendary to this day. Those familiar with his work know that he developed the "Zone System", where Zone 0 is the blackest black and Zone 10 is the whitest white. Each zone is one Exposure Value (or one f-Stop) higher than the previous. Sounds like a histogram to me, but I have greatly oversimplified this concept. To understand The Zone System thoroughly, read "The Negative" by Ansel Adams. His book is beside me as I write this blog. The zone system applies to color as well as black and white photography. So let's take this concept one step further.


Most digital cameras have a "Histogram" option that when selected, will show the Histogram for a photograph. Here's an example:



The above is a photograph of my camera's monitor display after I photographed a rock. I would have liked to have used a model but no one was interested. Even the rock had to be coerced. Anyway, the white colored histogram below the image of the rock is the RGB Histogram, which is derived from the R,G,B (Red, Green, Blue) histograms in the right side of the photograph. The RGB Histogram (the white one) is the most important and forms the basis of our analysis. So let's begin. Remember, the left side of the graph is where the darkest blacks are graphed. Conversely, the right side is where the whitest whites are graphed. If you see spikes on the extreme left or extreme right, these would indicate underexposure or overexposure respectively. Back to our analysis. Notice there is a small amount of data on the extreme left. These data correlate to the darkest shadows in the photograph, which are the shadows underneath the leaves. Conversely there is some data on the extreme right, these correlate to the bright spots on the rock.  But most of the data is in the middle, which is where we want it. The bell shape of the curve in the center of the graph indicates the photograph is correctly exposed. If the peak of the curve was more towards the left, that would indicate underexposure. If the peak was more to the right, that would indicate overexpose. So, this is a properly exposed photograph of a rock and its surroundings. Lovely! 


Contrast this photograph with the one below.



Oh what a mess! The photograph of the rhododendrons was taken about 15 feet from where I took the photograph of "The Rock". Note the spikes on the extreme left and extreme right indicating underexpose and overexposure. The spikes correlate to the darkest shadows under the bushes, and to the leaves that are in direct sunlight. There are some mid-ranges tones, but underexposure and overexposure dominate. Furthermore the data is skewed to the left which indicates underexposure. But a slower shutter speed would blow out even more highlights raising the spike on the extreme right. What's a photographer to do? Delete the image. This is a no-win situation called a high contrast scene. You can't correct it in Photoshop (or any other image editor) because you've lost too much data. What has actually happened is that we have greatly exceeded the dynamic range of the camera's photo sensor. More about dynamic range in another blog.


I would be lost if I was not able to use histograms. They do so much more than a light meter. I have one of those too, but it stays in my bag.


I could go on and show several more examples. But I said that I would be brief. Besides, who wants so see a photograph of a rock anyway. Can we get any more boring? And if you have read this far then I thank you for reading this nerdy prose about thingies that look like some sort of graph.


My intention today was to introduce, explain, and analyze a histogram. I pray that I have succeeded. Evaluating a histogram is one the most valuable skills one can learn in digital photography.  With practice and experience, you too will learn how interpret them. Once you have mastered such, you will be well on your way to creating great photographs.


I also want to thank you for putting up with my inane attempts at humor.


Keep shooting, and read your histograms.


Until next time,





[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Histogram Sun, 27 Oct 2013 21:39:35 GMT
TV Commercials, Suspenseful Music, and Dramatic Pauses Finding a topic for this week's blog was proving difficult, but I found my inspiration after watching a TV program yesterday evening. I was flipping though the channels and I came upon a reality program that was ready to announce a winner among four finalists. But before the winner is announced a sequence of events takes place. I think TV producers do this just to drive people crazy. 


First, there is the four minute commercial break that seems like forty. There are the usual commercials, some of them are really well done, but the ones that drive me nuts are those that end with "Call 1-800-555-5555 for this really neat product, once again call 1-800-555-5555, don't delay call 1-800-555-5555 and if you are among the first 100 callers we will double the offer, that's 1-800-555-555", call now!" WILL YOU SHUT UP! I don't want to buy your stupid product. That's why TV remotes have a MUTE button and I thank God for mine.


Okay, back to the program. Repeat the last 30 seconds for the benefit of those who took a bio break and were late returning. Then the next part of the sequence begins. We are ready to find out the winner. What we've been waiting for. The one who will reign supreme.

(Cue suspenseful music and dramatic pauses)


Robert So-And-So . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  You have lost!

(Cue hugs and tears of farewell. Robert appears calm, but is actually ready to take a swing at someone.)


Okay, he's out. Who's next?

(Cue the music again)


Amy Doe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . You have lost!

(Cue more tears, hugs, and farewells. Rule # 1: NEVER make a woman angry. Rule # 2: See Rule # 1)


Okay, two down and two to go. I wish they would hurry up.


One . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Will be the winner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The other . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Will go home  . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

(Enough of this music already! And the the length of the dramatic pauses now double in duration.)


So . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Jane  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Ficticious . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

You . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Are  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


(Cue hugs, tears of joy, applause, and triumphal music. Amen! Halleluiah!


Okay. Cool. What's on after this? Is it time for "Pawnstars"?


Look, I know that TV producers just want to add suspense to these types of programs, but this type of programming does does nothing for me. Just announce the winner and be done with it. Does Monty Python's famous line "Get On With It!" come to mind here? Maybe it's because I am very analytical and suspense does nothing for me. I want the answer and I want it NOW! And I must admit, as hard as I have tried to acquire it over the years, patience has eluded me like a clever buck eludes a hunter.


And so ends this week's banter about reality TV programming. Thanks for putting up with my warped sense of humor.


Next time, I will return to writing about photography. With the holidays coming up, I would like to share some ideas and thoughts about digital cameras and digital photography. Do you why histograms are important? I will tell you and show you how to read them. iPhones take great photographs (I have one), but photography really becomes fun when you control the camera rather than just setting the camera to "Auto". With ski season coming up, I will show you how to take great photographs on snow.


Until next time,




[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Action Sports Central Virginia Football Sports Virginia Wintergreen Resort Fri, 18 Oct 2013 19:34:32 GMT
Here I Go Again!


This past weekend I photographed an apple festival in Nelson County Virginia. In this week's blog, I was going to write about how much I love photographing events that represent Americana. So here I go again, saying how much I love to photograph this event or that event. I am finding that whenever I write about an event in my blog, it almost always begins with "I love photographing this because . . . " So I had to ask myself why, and after some reflection I believe I have found the reason. I love photographing events because I love photography. I love photography because of what I can create with it. And I love any opportunity where I can be creative. Let me illustrate.


Earlier in my life I studied piano. I loved the instrument. I loved the music that I could create with it. Studying piano was where I was first introduced, and learned to love, classical music. My last piano teacher would always say to me, "Paul, don't just play the notes. Make what you are playing a piece of music." Later on during my career in the engineering and IT professions, I wrote software and I loved it. I loved the creativity in taking a concept and breaking it down into finite steps so that it could be coded and executed.  Fast forward to now. Photography is my latest creative experience. I love creating photographs, along with the feelings I can evoke from them. Each photograph has my imprint, my style, my vision of what I want to capture. Each photo opportunity, regardless of what it is, lets me do this again and again. Mastering any of these crafts requires skill, years of study, and experience. But most importantly, they all require creativity. Even writing this blog requires creativity (and many revisions).


Let me share this with you. My favorite composer is without a doubt Beethoven. Almost every piano student (including myself) performs the 1st Movement of Sonata # 14 in C# Minor ("The Moonlight") during their course of study. Those who master the instrument perform Rachmaninov's 3rd Piano Concerto in D Minor, which is considered to be the most difficult work ever written for the piano. Moving on to my career, I wrote software in Fortran which is an extinct programming language. But it was the grand dad to languages like Basic which is used to write macros in Microsoft Excel and Access. As far as photography goes, I have only written the first chapter in a book of what I plan to be many chapters. My inspirations are my mentors for they have taught me much. But more importantly, I draw inspiration from those whom I photograph. Without them, there is no creativity.


Thanks and have a great week.


Until next time,



[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Americana Apple Festival Central Virginia Country Life Nelson County Virginia Paul Purpura Photography By Paul Purpura Tue, 08 Oct 2013 20:35:10 GMT
On A Clear Day You Can See Forever Rose River Loop  (A) - 0007Rose River Loop (A) - 0007


You have heard me say many times that Central Virginia is one of the most beautiful places in the world. And this photograph proves it. I went hiking with a very close friend this past Sunday (09/30). We drove up to Big Meadows on Skyline Drive and before we started our hike, I took this photograph from Fishers Gap Overlook. As you can already see, autumn is starting. Being an avid lover of Classical and Broadway music, this photograph reminds of the musical "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever", and of course, "L'Autumno" from Vivaldi's "Le Quatro Stagioni", i.e., "Autumn" from the "The Four Seasons". Visiting a place like this soothes me. After visiting I feel less encumbered by what's going on in my life. All of us lead busy lives and I am no exception. So when I can get away to a place like this, I come back feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. 


I love photographing each season in Central Virginia. Each has its own special beauty and if you asked me which one I prefer, I would not be able to answer the question. So if you would, please let me share with you what I like about autumn. First, it is a season of change. Nature prepares for the upcoming winter. The trees lose their leaves from summer, and as they do so they change from green to gold, to orange, to red, with a color palate that would be the envy of any artist (including me). Second, autumn is a celebration of the harvest. Summer crops have been harvested and winter crops are being planted. Fall is apple season. As a matter of fact, I will be photographing an apple butter festival next Saturday (yummy!). Apples are used to make cider and apple wine (especially yummy!). Finally, autumn is football season, when the World Series is played, and, when I get my skis tuned for the upcoming snow sports season.


Each season brings is own beauty. So enjoy autumn. Enjoy it's grandeur, it's splendor, the change from warm nights to cool ones. Enjoy the nip in the air that autumn brings. Enjoy jumping into a big pile of leaves. Enjoy autumn. Enjoy life.


Oops! I forgot talk about my hike. My friend and I walked the Rose River Loop Trail, which is about 4.4 miles long with a change in elevation of about 800 vertical feet. Although the Rose River is known for its many water falls, including a 50 footer, there river was low and the waterfalls were mere cascades. But it was still a great hike, and a great way to prepare for the upcoming ski season.


Until next time,



[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Action Sports Central Virginia Football Four Seasons Nature Photography Virginia Wintergreen Resort Tue, 01 Oct 2013 19:08:53 GMT
My Commitment To Myself Goruck Nasty at Massanutten Resort - 09/21/13


Last January, I became sick with the flu. I went to my doctor and as part of the routine I was weighed. I was astounded when I saw the magnitude of my gravitational footprint. I knew I was overweight, but I did not realize by how much. So, I made a commitment to myself to reduce my gravitational footprint and get into better physical condition. I radically changed my diet and started exercising. Since last January, I have reduced my footprint about 40 pounds, and lost more than four inches from my waist. When I rise each morning, I do 40 push on my foam roller, and I walk the ski trails at Wintergreen at least every other day. Who needs a treadmill when you have ski trails in your back yard. The exercise has helped me tremendously. 


I lead a very active lifestyle and my weight was restricting it. As a child, I could never sit still. If Ritalin was available when I was a kid, I would have received by IV. Looking back, I really admire my mother. She put up with me when I don't think I could have. I was an active kid, and I was thin throughout my childhood. I did not start gaining weight until I graduated from college and started my career. As I grew older my weight increased, and several stressful events in my life exacerbated the condition. My weight increased to the point where I could not do the things I liked to do. I did not like the way I looked which adversely affected how I felt about myself. The final insult was when I found it difficult to buy clothes.


Most of you know that in addition to being a photographer, I teach alpine snow skiing. My weight was limiting how well I could ski. It affected my fore and aft balance, how I executed turns, as well as my stance. I had to adapt my skiing to my weight. Moreover, the kind of photography I do is physically demanding. I don't work in a studio and I don't have technicians to carry my equipment for me. I photograph on location and I carry my own equipment. When I photograph high school football I carry more than 20 pounds of camera gear. One of my lenses weighs about 13 pounds. I walk from one end of the football field to the other (goal line to goal line), not only at the change of the quarter, but also when the ball changes possession.


Over the summer, I photographed The Wintergreen Cliffhanger Bike Race, a football game, the Reebok Spartan Race, and the GoRuck Nasty. With the exception of the football game, all photoshoots were at ski resorts, which meant the course was laid out over ski terrain. I could not have photographed these events to the extent that I did if I was not in good physical condition. I draw inspiration from the people who participate in extreme sports.


I am proud of what I have accomplished, but before I pat myself on the back too much, I still need to reduce my gravitational footprint by an additional 30 pounds to reach my goal. I keep working at it. I plan to achieve this goal by the end of next ski season.


Anyone up for a walk to the bottom of Dobie (ski trail at Wintergreen) and back?


Until next time,





[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Extreme Sports Sports Photography Mon, 23 Sep 2013 16:32:27 GMT
Going For A Walk It was such a beautiful day when I took this photograph. Cumulus clouds always enhance the sky.SerenityAn early fall scene in the Rockfish Valley.


One of my favorite things to do is walk. It is by far my favorite form of exercise, and I often hike trails near where I live on Devil's Knob or in the Rockfish Valley. Sometimes I walk with a friend, but most times I walk alone; the advantage of which is that I get to observe and contemplate whatever is happening in the moment. 


I live in one of the most beautiful places on earth and I draw inspiration from the mountains here in Central Virginia. I am very close to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian Trail. When I walk I always carry a camera with me. Sometimes it's my phone camera, but most times when I walk I carry a point-and-shoot.  Although I have tripods, polarizing filters, professional camera bodies, and a great wide angle lens, the point-and-shoot is just plain easy to carry. Besides, a camera is a tool and is only as good as the skill of the person who stands behind it. 


When I took this photograph, I was in the Rockfish Valley walking a trail that I have done many times. It's a trail that goes around a lake and through part of a golf course. Crawford's Knob is prominent in the photograph and I have photographed it many, many times. You could say it's my version of El Capitan or Half Dome Rock. It's something that is photographed over and over. As you can see, it's early fall. The beach is empty, the crowds are gone, and all the kids are back at school. It's very serene and I like that. Given the choice, I like to avoid crowds. I guess I am becoming more of a private person as I grow older.


I am a photojournalist. I photograph events and action sports. But when I am shooting just for me, just for the sheer joy of taking a photograph, I love to photograph nature in one of the most beautiful places you can ever be -- Central Virginia.


If you wish to view additional photographs from my little sojourn,  you can do so by clicking here.


Until next time,


[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Central Virginia Crawford's Knob Lake Monacan Wintergreen Wed, 18 Sep 2013 21:28:07 GMT
Detachment On a recent photoshoot I let my emotions get the better of me. No I did not lash out or act inappropriately, but I let my emotions get in the way what I was supposed to do -- objectively photograph an event. It was the first time I have ever experienced this and I have been photographing events for several years. I should know better. One of my colleagues asked me if I was okay and I told him how I felt. He told me something I needed to hear again. We can control aperture, shutter speed, ISO settings, and which equipment we want to use; but we have no control over what is happening in the moment. It is our job to photograph it. Not emotionally react to it.


I have always been one to show my emotions, it's part of who I am. Sometimes this can be a good thing. Other times? Definitely not. Yes, I cry at movies. I love to give hugs (when appropriate). I am one that can easily empathize with another person. Yet, I can detach myself from a situation when required. When my youngest daughter accidentally put a sewing machine needle through her finger when she was a little girl, I remained calm and removed it. There have been similar events in my life when I had to detach myself from a situation. And that's the key. 


When you are a journalist, or in my case a photojournalist, you must detach yourself from the situation to photograph it objectively, truthfully, and without spin. Emotions cannot come into play. Period.


I detached myself from the situation and did what I was supposed to do.


Until next time,



[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Action Sports Central Virginia Football Virginia Sun, 15 Sep 2013 23:39:29 GMT
What Goes Through My Head When I "Press The Button" I truly love what I do.


When I capture a photograph like the one featured here, words cannot express what I feel.

Awe. Accomplishment. Unbridled joy.

Everything comes together (skill, experience, and a little bit of luck) to make it happen. 


So what goes through my head when I "press the button"? My goal is to capture not only what is happening in the moment, but also what is happening from within. Capturing what's happening in the moment is fairly easy. Photograph as an observer and you can easily accomplish such. TV coverage of a sports event does such for the most part. But as a photographer (and artist) that is not good enough. I photograph not from the perspective of an observer, but from the perspective as someone who is participating. I want to capture facial expressions, feelings, emotions, i.e., what is happening from within. This is when a photograph shows more than just what is happening in the moment, and transcends from "good enough" to "great."


Until next time,


NCHS vs Page County (Footbal) (B) - 0090



[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Action Sports Central Virginia Football Nelson County Photography By Paul Purpura Virginia Sun, 08 Sep 2013 19:12:22 GMT
Football Season Returns I am really looking forward to photographing tonight's football game between Page County and Nelson County high schools. Nothing gives me more of a rush than seeing a running back and several defensive linemen sprinting straight towards me. 

Photographs of the game will be exhibited on my home page by Saturday evening. 

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Action Sports Central Virginia Football Nelson County Fri, 06 Sep 2013 15:31:56 GMT
Love like there is no tomorrow I received some very sad news this past week about some friends of mine.

So I say love like there is no tomorrow and never hold back, because you will never know what tomorrow will bring. What you expect will always be there may be taken from you.

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Love Wed, 04 Sep 2013 23:00:54 GMT
Creating Projects For Myself I feel like it's the day after Christmas. All the rush, all the build up, all the anticipation. The big day comes, and then it's gone. That's how I feel today after photographing the Reebok Spartan Race held this past weekend (24 and 25 August) at Wintergreen Resort in Nelson County, Virginia. 

Photographing the race was pure heaven. The slide show on my home page shows the race from beginning to end. My goal was to capture the grit, the determination, and then the celebration when racers crossed the finished line. I feel I accomplished my goal. I hope you agree.  

But now the race is over, all the hype and anticipation is no more. The crowds are gone. The racers are gone. Construction workers are taking down all that was built for the race. It's tantamount to taking down the Christmas Tree and putting all the ornaments away. So I guess that's the reason I am feeling a little down today. It's always this way after I photograph a big event.

What I do when I am feeling a down is to create a project for myself. It could be working on my web site, or doing anything that is constructive. I find that the work gives me a sense of purpose and a goal to attain. With my focus fixed on a goal, the negative feelings go away (or at least I keep them at bay). I also like to write, which is the reason I am sharing these thoughts with you now. But don't look for any books from me anytime soon. I am not a John Steinbeck.

The race is done. I must look forward. Time for a new project. Labor Day is this weekend and end of summer celebrations will be happening all of the county. Soon, autumn will be here and that means football. Football means more photoshoots (projects) of doing what I love to do. Create a project for myself. Yup. Works most of the time. 

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts you.

Until next time,

Paul P.



[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Action Sports Photography Athletic Event Photography Central Virginia Reebok Spartan Race Virginia Wintergreen Resort Mon, 26 Aug 2013 21:01:28 GMT
Summer Is Almost Over And Upcoming Events The summer is almost over. In a little more than a week it will be Labor Day. Students are already back to school (Rod Stewart's "Maggie May" is playing in my head) and football season will begin in earnest. Fall will follow in all its autumn splendor -- an event especially worth seeing here in Appalachia. 

As the Official Photographer for Wintergreen Performing Arts in Nelson County Virginia, I had the opportunity to photograph several concerts and other activities during their 28 day Summer Music Festival. As an avid lover of Classical Music and Opera, I could not have had  a better project. I photographed some truly outstanding performances. You may view photographs of the Summer Music Festival by clicking on the "WTG Performing Arts" tab on my home page. I made some wonderful friends and I look forward to next year's festival. 

So what's coming up on Paul's calendar?

  1. Saturday (24-Aug-2013) I will be at the Devil's Backbone Brewery Company in Beech Grove to photograph The The Virginia Crafts Brewers Festival. 
  2. Sunday (24-Aug-2013) I will be photographing the Reebok Spartan Race at Wintergreen Resort. The race course is laid out on ski trails throughout the resort. Vertical ascents and descents (over 1,000 feet) will provide an additional challenge - always fun to photograph. Look for photographs that capture the intensity of the event. As always, I will be photographing up close and personal
  3. Labor Day weekend (31-Aug-2013) at Wintergreen Resort is always fun to photograph. Craft shows and chair lift rides always provide good photo opportunities. The end-of-summer celebration.
  4. High school football begins on 30-Aug-2013. At the risk of sounding smarmy, I love photographing football, albeit it can be somewhat scary when you see a running back and a bunch of defensive linesmen sprinting straight towards you. I have had several close calls, but I would not have it any other way. Again, I will be photographing up close and personal.

So that's a wrap. Look for my upcoming blog and photographs after the The Spartan Race.

Until next time,

Paul P.

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Spartan Race Wintergreen Performing Arts Wintergreen Resort Thu, 22 Aug 2013 17:05:10 GMT
So Simple Yet So Elegant Each spring in the higher elevations of Appalachia (which is pronounced "Apple-At-Cha" by the people of this area), the Trillium Flower blooms. Being an avid lover of classical music, I am reminded of Aaron  Copeland's "Appalachian Spring" which is based on the Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts". Upon hearing this wonderful piece of music, visions of blooming Dogwood, Red Bud, Purple Plum, and of course, Trillium come into my mind.  Spring. The time of re-birth and renewal. The forests come alive again after the long winter. So beautiful. -- Paul P.


Nature, Wild Flowers, Appalachia, TrilliumWNF Wild Flower Symposium (B) - 0026

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Sat, 18 May 2013 17:21:05 GMT
Truck And Tractor Pull May 11th 2013 I love living in Nelson County, Virginia. If you want Americana at its best, go to a local truck and tractor pull where you can close the the action. 

This was just fun to photograph. 

RFVR Truck and Tractor Pull (C) - 0178

RFVR Truck and Tractor Pull (C) - 0588

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Monster Trucks Thu, 16 May 2013 23:09:55 GMT
Antique Car Show May11th 2013 When I photographed this event, my thoughts went back to when I when I was a teenager in the 1960's. I remember the muscle cars, surfing, and "cruisin'". So I wanted to create a metallic look  to the photographs.

A sincere thank you to Captain Saums of the Waynesboro Fire Department who took me up in the tower truck to get this shot.


Waynesboro Auto Show (A) - 0017


Waynesboro Auto Show (A) - 0113




[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Antique Cars Autos Show Cars Classic Cars Monster Trucks Muscle Cars Thu, 16 May 2013 19:26:32 GMT
I want one of these In my line of work, I have some rather large telephoto lenses.

But they don't compare to this:

Show-N-Tell Car & Bike Show - 0032

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Autos Show Cars Classic Cars Muscle Cars Mon, 21 May 2012 22:59:22 GMT
Must have toys - big toys. Photographed this Chevrolet Camarro Super Sport at The Waynesboro Auto Sports Show at Constitution Park. I love cars, like most people.

You can view the gallery containing photographs of more cars and trucks by clicking here

Keep shooting!


Waynesboro Auto Sports Show - 0039


[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Autos Show Cars Classic Cars Monster Trucks Muscle Cars Sun, 13 May 2012 19:39:23 GMT
Gateway To Heaven This is one of my favorite scenics. I come here often because I enjoy the magnificent scenery. El Capitan and Half Dome Rock are great, but more often than not you can find beauty right in your own back yard.

This photograph was taken from 20 Minute Cliffs on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The placement of the clouds over the valley makes me feel that it is the Gateway to Heaven. I waited for the clouds to move where I wanted tham. Hope you enjoy.

Gateway to Heaven. The view from Twenty Minute CliffsGateway to Heaven

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Blue Ridge Parkway Clouds Inspirational Spring Twenty Minute Cliffs Virginia Sun, 13 May 2012 19:22:17 GMT
Path Through The Storm I created this photograph a few days ago when cloudy weather had persisted over Nelson County for several days. Although the overall feeling in the photograph is stormy (which is what I wanted), the reflection of the clouds on the water seem to create a path to safety.

The photograph was shot from a bridge spanning the Tye River in Arrington, Virginia.

Path Through The Storm

[email protected] (Photography By Paul Purpura) Inspiritional Nature River Storm Tye Thu, 10 May 2012 16:55:27 GMT