St. Mary’s Church (A Spiritual View from Across the Valley)

Sunrise over St. Mary’s Church in Villa Ridge, as seen from our deck.

St. Mary’s Church in Villa Ridge, Missouri, is perched on a ridge overlooking the Bourbuese River Valley to the west. Our little house on the prairie just happens to be on the other side of the valley, high atop a hill itself, facing due east, right back at St. Mary’s. So every morning I go to church, kind of, as I walk out on the deck to behold the beauty of the little church and the new day that unfolds around it. To say that my sunrises are spiritual would be an understatement. Sometimes, I just sit back with my coffee and enjoy the view. I am a “wildlife photographer” after all. But once in a while, as seen in the featured image, the scene is so sublime I can’t resist dragging out my tripod and telephoto lens to capture the moment.

The featured image was taken a few days ago when I watched as the first sliver of sun revealed itself as a soft-orange slice through the morning haze. “Wow,” I thought, as I ran to the basement to grab my camera, tripod and 500 mm lens. If you are a sunrise watcher like myself, you know how fast the orb clears the horizon so by the time I made it back upstairs I had to work fast. If you are wondering, I didn’t use any weird filters or anything like that. I just took the picture with a selected focus point on the church’s steeple. I bracketed the shot with plus and minus exposure and found this one to be my favorite. I also cropped the image a bit.

St. Mary’s Church earlier in the summer and later in the morning.

The above image was taken well after sunrise. I couldn’t resist capturing the church with a blue sky and unusual clouds all around the treetops.


St. Mary’s Church in the afternoon.

I rarely photograph the church in the afternoon but this scene cried out for an image as the setting sun lit up the treetops underneath a beautiful eastern sky. And of course the church was just glowing!


Summer sunrise over St. Mary’s Church.

I’ve shared the above image here before but I thought it would look nice with this series. I was taken by the angled slice of land between the river-clouds and the glowing sky. Of course, the steeple pulled it all together as a keeper.


A sight to behold in layers of trees and river-clouds.

This image, which I’ve shared here before, remains my favorite of St. Mary’s Church.


I can’t wait to see what the future brings as I go to church each morning. I’m already seeing some colors among the treetops. Perhaps a few more afternoon scenes will call me and my camera out to the deck.

Happy Naturing,


Email me with questions or comments at:  Natureframes@Rocketmail.Com

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