Natural Virginia Book Cover

Natural Virginia

Panoramic Landscape Photographs by Ben Greenberg





  • Evergreens in Fog at Grayson Highlands State Park, VA.jpg
  • After the Sunset, Rockbridge County, VA
  • Late Afternoon Light on the Shenandoah Valley, VA
  • Early Fall Morning Panorama from the Blue Ridge Parkway, Nelson County, VA
  • Burke's Garden in Springtime, Tazewell County, VA
  • Early Fall Morning at Peaks of Otter, Blue Ridge Parkway, VA
  • Little Stony Creek in Spring, Giles County, VA
  • Falling Spring Falls in an Autumn Mist, Alleghany County, VA
  • Ravens Roost in Afternoon Light, Blue Ridge Parkway, VA
  • After the Sunset on Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, VA


Click to enlarge


Virginia Regions



Western Virginia

Western Virginia

(The following is the beginning of the Introduction to the Western Virginia
Region of Natural Virginia prepared by Deane Dozier)

There’s no getting around it – the western part of Virginia is mountainous.  But just contemplate for a moment the tremendous differences in the panoramic images selected to reflect the natural character of this part of the state.  The sheer range of subject matter reveals the complexity behind the simple word “mountainous” to describe western Virginia. 

High meadows, rolling sunlit pastures, moody evergreen forests, rhododendron thickets, rock cliffs, placid lakes, tumbling waterfalls, pastoral countryside, expansive vistas—the variety of the selected images is astounding.

The explanation lies in the geology. Three of the Commonwealth’s five physiographic provinces comprise the western portion of the state—the Blue Ridge, the Valley and Ridge, and the Appalachian Plateau, in the southwest corner. 

Millions of years ago, back in the mountain building history of the North American continent, large land masses forming the earth’s crust slipped and crunched their way over the earth’s plates, colliding in what are known as orogenies, slow-motion fender benders that turned layers of bedrock on their ear, lifting former ocean floor to dizzying elevations.  Geologists believe the mountains of the Blue Ridge once rivaled the Himalayas in height. These crumpled and folded layers of earth have gradually eroded over the eons, draining the softer rocks away to expose verdant valleys between the mountain ridges that are composed of harder rocks more resistant to erosion. 

The Appalachian Plateau forms much of Virginia’s western border and has a larger presence where it juts into the Southwest corner of the state.  It was too far west to be much affected by the latest collision of continents, but to the east of that plateau is dramatic evidence of the crunching effects of earth’s plates where long, linear ranges of the Valley and Ridge Province trend southwest to northeast, and contain valleys between them, including the Shenandoah Valley, the James River Valley, The Roanoke Valley, the New River Valley, and the Holston Valley.  To the east of these interspersed valleys and ridges is the ancient backbone of the Blue Ridge, making a convenient eastern boundary for this western section of the book. 

For those who love exploring the outdoors and more specifically, photographing natural areas, the western portion of Virginia is soul food.  Here is an abundance of wild and green places set aside for public enjoyment and protection of our natural heritage.  Most of the 1.8-million-acre George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, including the popular destination, Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, lies in the western part of Virginia.  The Appalachian Trail, one of the world’s longest footpaths and a work in progress to become even longer, has more than a fourth of its original 2,175 miles in Virginia and crisscrosses the western portion of the state to touch all three of the physiographic provinces of this region.  Numerous state parks and natural area preserves, managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, provide lakes, rivers, and trails leading back into shady woods and across sunny fields. Wildlife management areas, operated by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and state forests, managed by the Virginia Department of Forestry, offer even more hiking, biking and riding trails, waters to fish and canoe, and woods to investigate.  Several federally-designated wilderness areas and Nature Conservancy preserves attract naturalists, botanists, photographers, and students of nature…………………..


Copyright ©2013-2014 by Ben Greenberg. All rights reserved.