Virginia is for lovers

SML2014-02That has been the unlikely VA state’s motto for as long as I can remember… At least it was already in existence when I was an exchange student in Sperryville, more than 25 years ago !
And as slightly cheesy as the motto may be, Virginia itself sure has a lot to love

SML2014-01This is probably the first pic I shot this year, Marla running, hair wild, towards the lake upon (finally) getting out of the car, after a 18 hour trip…

SML2014-03Needless to say we were all SPENT. But typically enough, the excitement of being there, the sheer beauty and enchantment of the lake, kept us going long past our normal bedtime

SML2014-04This is, truly, an enchanting place ! It’s our Heaven on Earth…

SML2014-05Smith Mountain Lake is a HUGE body of manmade water. It’s so big we never quite covered it, despite spending nearly the whole week on the boat, and not at slow speed, either 😉

SML2014-07View of the house and lot from the dock

SML2014-08It’s a modest 3 bedroomer, but for the 3 if us, it’s actually very roomy and lovely !

SML2014-09I love the vaulted ceiling and open kitchen, the wrapping porch and numerous views of the lake

SML2014-10The family room

SML2014-11Wrap around porch, my husband would smoke his evening cigarette on

SML2014-12Very gentle sloping lot, which is not so easy to find at the lake, a lot of much pricier homes are ruined by steep lake access

SML2014-13There is a roomy basement with sleep in sofa and half bath, plus the usual suspects, washing mashine, dryer, etc

SML2014-15Icing on the [lake !] cake : (and a true rarity) the sandy beach !

SML2014-16Pretty much what keeps us going back to this particular home (been there in 2011). Marla just *loves* walking in the lake at any time of the day

SML2014-17We hadn’t been there for an hour that she dumped her clothes and went in

SML2014-06And at sunset, that’s what you get. Bliss, in my book

SML2014-18Don’t get surprised by the ratio. I set the camera to 16:9 for a bunch of landscape shot and forgot to set it back to 3:2. I found that the wider format actually works pretty well for some images

SML2014-19The Navitar at work

SML2014-20Delicate light

SML2014-21That didn’t take long…

SML2014-22I’d taken the following stuff : NEX7, SEL35/1.8, SEL16-70/4 CZ, Zuiko OM 50/1.8, and Navitar 75/1.3 TV lens. I have zero complaint with how everything performed, whatsoever. At one or two occasions I wished I had a telephoto lens, but Sony offering none that I like for the E mount, I just did without


SML2014-24Marla is a VERY avid swimmer. She can’t spare the inflatable arm bands yet (though she’d want to), but with them she’s fearless and will swim for hours on end, including in very deep water

SML2014-25On Sunday we headed to Mitchell’s Point Marina, to pick up the boat we’d booked for the week. As we had in 2011, we received the warmest greeting from the whole boat rental team. They had very nicely set their best condition boat aside for us (the privilege of being returning customers… and maybe a touch of favoritism for being French ?), and we enjoyed an older, but very clean blue/white Chaparral runabout. Plus, we got to meet Henry, their “new” rescue Beagle (amazingly and sadly enough, the previous one had been killed by… coyotes !). Here you see Marla feeding a bunch of seriously big carps

SML2014-26The old SeaRay we rented three years ago has since been turned into a towing only boat

SML2014-27Marla already missed Google a lot, and fat Henry got a lot of affection

SML2014-28Marla checking out the new vessel

SML2014-29One of the helpful SML Boat Rental team briefing the crew

SML2014-30That’s it ! Marla sporting her life vest

SML2014-42Sailing away…

SML2014-38Safely docked at the house



SML2014-33The Navitar at work

SML2014-35Despite being manual focus, it’s a lens I do like for motion shots


SML2014-36She can be pretty intense with the kickboard !

SML2014-40Navitar charm

SML2014-41And in mono


SML2014-43Smith Mountain Lake is unique to us by its sheer size, beauty, and navigability. We have nothing comparable here in France, and to my knowledge, maybe not even in Europe. So we obviously spent most of our week zooming around the lake in our thirsty Chaparral (a real fuel hog, and to refill 4 times in all !!)

SML2014-46As said before, the lake is positively huge, and sports countless homes, from the cheapest, most humble shacks, to ludicrous, millionaire mansions


SML2014-44No, you’re not dreaming. Olivier put her at the wheel, and soon enough, she was operating the boat pretty skillfully



SML2014-50Docked home


SML2014-54A perfect place

SML2014-51I mean, how much better can it get ?


SML2014-56Studying the numerous fish population off our dock

SML2014-57Prolonged boating makes one very hungry !

SML2014-61And boating, she did !

SML2014-59Emerald green waters

SML2014-58Granny calling from France

SML2014-62We were absolutely blessed with gorgeous weather

SML2014-60The outter screened room

SML2014-63Check out that hand on the throttle 😉



What can I say ? We had a tremendous time. The whole area is beautiful. Sitting on the dock and taking in the mountain view, my soul reaches total peace. Boating around the lake, anchoring in smaller, shady coves, and lazily swimming under the trees, while osprey birds  slowly circle above. Pure bliss

SML2014-67I have 130 processed pictures so far, and still a few to edit, so I’ll take a break and be back with more in a later post. Stay tuned…



About marla2008

Shutterbug. Shallow DOF nut. Mother of Child. Student of the Horse.
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7 Responses to Virginia is for lovers

  1. Dennis R. Ely says:

    Extremely well structured shots all.

    Have you ever tried The Fujifilm x-e2?



    • marla2008 says:

      Hello Dennis and thank you
      I have only tried the X100, XE-1 and XT-1, and very briefly the X-A1, and surprisingly, only the latter gave me some joy. But I’m mostly a Sony girl by now 😉

  2. bek says:

    outstanding Claire…………………………..xo

  3. MJWC1 says:

    You have excelled yourself, Claire. Wonderful photos that truly capture the beauty of the lake and the happiness of your family. The image quality from the Sony is superb too. Thank you for sharing (even though you have left me totally green with envy}.

    • marla2008 says:

      Thank ya all 🙂 Matthew and Bek, I doubt not you have similarly gorgeous places in that huge country of yours ? I haven’t even started scratching how truly wonderful this place is, but it’s hard to put into words, and need to be experienced first hands. If my pictures carried even a part of that, then I consider them successful 🙂

  4. Heather Kilpatrick says:

    lovely pics lady!

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