Showing you the things you missed.

© 2022 Tom Wahl Photography. All rights reserved.

If you’re from Manassas, you know it. You may have wondered how it has stayed there as long as it has.

Right next to Manassas Mall, taking up more space than the mall at a reported 78 acres, is a farm. It’s the last piece of agriculturally zoned property in the area, and Amazon made a bid to turn it into a data center.

I always remember wondering what this was all about. This chunk of property in the middle of Suburbia that I never saw any activity on, never saw a vehicle pull into the driveway, but was clearly kept up reasonably well, at least until recently. The owner, Lewis Percival Ashby Jr., was 94 years old when he passed away in May of 2020. Just tonight I learned that he was a WWII veteran, a graduate of Virginia Tech, and a Civil War history buff. Sometimes I wish I never pulled the sheets back, because now I am very sorry that I never made an effort to meet him.

The farm sits empty now. Besides Amazon, I am aware of one other potential buyer, but those plans fell through. And with our county government under close scrutiny and harsh criticism for some of their land use decisions in the last couple of years, I don’t know how long it will stand. The raw monetary value is huge, if the zoning can be worked out, but the value of having such a property in the middle of suburbia – well, what is it? And who can afford to buy it and preserve it? Would politicians even allow the zoning to remain, over the tax revenue they covet so much? Who knows?

This is a comparison – one shot taken directly at the farm house, where a couple of outbuildings are visible. The other shot is taken from the same spot, just facing 90 degrees to the right.

EXIF: ISO 400 40mm f/9.0 1/125

Ashby Farm

EXIF: ISO 400 17mm f/9.0 1/125

90 Degrees Right

This short tree-lined stretch of pavement is a perfect example of the use of the word “Avenue.” I said earlier in the month that more pictures would come from Grant Avenue, and here is one of the Grand Ladies that I was always so fascinated by as a kid.

A half mile in either direction, things look very different, but here between Sudley Road and Church Street are mostly grand old homes. Some have been meticulously kept over the years, some have been brought back, and a few are showing their age. But most of them have yards of a size not often found in the area, and none of them look just like the house next door.

EXIF: ISO 400 17mm f/5.6 1/50 sec.

A Grand Lady of Grant

I was on my way to work this morning, and racking my brain for a photo for today. The days are getting short, and sunset is happening while I’m on the way home. Options are getting kind of limited – it’s going to get tough soon, and I’m only on my first month of this!

So I was on the Goldwing, and passing through Old Town Manassas. The Farmer’s Market is set up at Harris Pavilion, and as my luck goes, there’s an empty parking spot right there in the front row. So I pulled into it, got off the bike, and grabbed the camera.

I got a few shots that may show up later, but this is my favorite. I want to discuss that briefly. While I was kneeled down for this shot, the young lady you see moved into it a little more, and I changed my focal point to her face and snapped a shot. She saw me and smiled, but the smile is not the moment I took the shot. It’s not bad, but it’s slightly unflattering. Though she will probably never see this, I still have enough respect for people to try to not make them look bad. So rather than being the focal point, she instead adds human interest to the subject, which is equally important.

EXIF: ISO 400 17mm f/4.0 1/80 sec.

Eggplant at Farmer’s Market

This is something I don’t think I have ever done – taken credit for a photo I took for work.

As many of you know, I work at a motorcycle dealership, an industry that I’ve been in for coming up on 9 years. Part of my job at the moment is marketing for the dealership, which gives me the opportunity to put my skills as a photographer to use.

One of the cool things that happens at a dealership, especially a larger dealership, is being visited by a Demo Truck loaded with new machines for both customers and employees to ride and experience. So when I pulled in to the parking lot this morning with a beautiful big blue semi parked in front of the store, I recognized that it would be a perfect opportunity to use my wide angle zoom lens. This is a non-standard crop to suit the subject.

EXIF: ISO 200 32mm f/8.0 1/160

#onemonthonelens

Yamaha Demo Truck at Coleman PowerSports, Woodbridge