appalachian photographers

Sitting by the warmth of the fire, the sleeping bags in the cozy tent waiting for you to snuggle into them, warm food in your belly, mountain ranges surrounding you from all sides, and the expanse of the universe above your head; couldn’t have asked for more! It was really cold and windy on the night this was taken and I had to warm up my hands in between shooting to keep them going!

Photographed by: Paolo Nacpil ( tumblr | instagram

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Margaret

It’s not odd at all to have a connection with a home, a place where bits of your life happened. But what about a home that you have no personal connection to other than noticing it’s sheer beauty peering out from amongst a thick blanket of trees? I cannot even begin to explain the flood of excitement and admiration that washed over me the first time I spotted the house I will from here on out refer to as Margaret. Like with most places I find, I was out on a random weekend drive. While speeding down Route 2 in Mason County, West Virginia toward Point Pleasant, a road I’ve been down countless times, something in the distance caught my eye that I had never noticed. I quickly turned around and headed off the main road, dropped my car into 2nd gear and began to slowly ascend up a narrow one lane back road. As I grew closer and the trees parted, I simply could not believe what laid upon my gaze. How could something so beautiful and majestic just be sitting here all alone? Needless to say I immediately fell in love with this antebellum gem. Dozens of questions about this place flooded my curious mind as I drove up the muddy and narrow driveway. That was in December 2015.

Over the past year or so I’ve been periodically making the 45 minute drive to shoot photos of Margaret. No matter what my mood she always made me feel better. I don’t know why I immediately felt such a strong connection with a home that I’ve never lived in. Perhaps she knew I would be coming along one day and admire her how someone once had. I sure as hell can’t fathom why someone would leave her behind. Sadly while on a recent visit, that same moment of laying eyes on her as the trees parted that made me fall in love, this time made my heart fall to the pit of my stomach. At first glance at a distance I thought maybe someone was demolishing the home. As I drove closer I realized that it was far worse. Margaret had been torched. I looked at my girlfriend and just kept saying “No! No! No!” as we drove closer. How!? Why?! I had just visited a few weeks prior and everything was fine. Judging by what’s left (or rather lack there of) it appears she burned for a while. Who the hell would do something like this? One thing is for certain, I will miss Margaret dearly.

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Exploring the TNT Area of WV (Pt. 1)

Just north of Point Pleasant, West Virginia is 8,000+ acres that was once home to a US Army facility dedicated to the manufacturing of ammunition and explosives during World War II. The $45 Million project was only operational from 1942 to the end of the war in 1945 and employed around 3,500 people during the peak of operations. The explosives for safety reasons were stored in bunkers or “igloos” that were strategically scattered across the territory and hidden by a thick layer of earth to prevent being spotted from the air. The plant was disposed of shortly after the war and the surrounding land was utilized for a landfill, the Mason County Airport, an industrial park, and the McClintic Wildlife Management Area. This area is most famously known as the location of the first sighting of a cryptid known as “The Mothman” in November 1966. During the late 70’s a fisherman reported red water seepage at the site and in 1981 TNT, DNT,  and other contaminates from the WWII operations were discovered. In September of 1983 the site was included on the EPA’s National Priorities List making it eligible for the cleanup under the Superfund program. It was then listed as West Virginia’s top priority site and one of the top ten polluted in the entire country.
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Appalachian Trail, Gatlinburg

Hiking along a section of the Appalachian Trail - which is approximately 2,200 miles long and spans from Georgia through Maine. The trails were snow capped and sometimes ice capped in several sections which made the scenery all the more interesting. I did an 8 mile loop on this day and merely saw 2 pairs of hikers. It was so easy to get lost in one’s thoughts and enjoy the solitude.

Photographed by: Paolo Nacpil ( tumblr | instagram )