Unique Flora at Dolly Sods and Canaan Valley
Dolly Sods and much of Canaan Valley is classified as subarctic tundra. Heath Barrens, cotton grass bogs have plant ecosystems that are very similar to subarctic plant ecosystems in Alaska, Canada and Maine. TFrequent rapidly moving storm fronts that produce light effects that enhance the beauty of the landscapes to an extent I have not observed elsewhere. The Canaan Valley region has one of the three most prolific displays of Fall color in North America. The other two being New Hampshire - Vermont and northern Michigan. The color diversity of the Canaan Valley and Dolly Sods area is much broader than either Alaska, Canada or Maine.
Dolly Sods & Canaan Valley Photography
Joseph Henry specializes in depicting northern landscapes that include sub-arctic tundra areas in the Canaan Valley region, Canada and Alaska. Forty of my Dolly Sods images were displayed in a 5-month one-man show at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in 2007. I have been closely observing Dolly Sods for 30 years.

I am focused on creating images that convey the essence and mood of a landscape. I especially focus on northern landscapes and plant ecosystems. Dolly Sods is a prime example. The central goals of my work are to evoke emotion in the viewer and inform regarding the unique character of a place. I accomplish this by: developing selective compositions, pursuit of quality light and revisiting particular landscapes often. Paul Cezanne put it best when he was asked why he painted Montagne Sainte Victorie more than 80 times. He told his critics that he would continue to paint the mountain as long as he experienced new emotional responses to it.

My compositions result from applying the principles of visual design. I strive to balance graphic elements in the scene. I tend to focus on the exquisite beauty of the flora to the exclusion highly panoramic landscapes. I find that I spend hours working a subject to understand the view that best conveys my response. Many of the photos here resulted from revisiting the same scene many times over a period of years. The pursuit of good light is central to the efforts of all nature photographers. Claude Monet devoted much of the latter part of his career to the expressing the "envelope." By that he meant the interaction of light and atmospheric conditions with his subject. For me this means experiencing landscapes under diverse weather conditions as well as different light angles. Drama in photographs is as much about the light and weather as the composition.

Dr. Henry was formerly professor and chairperson of chemical engineering at both WVU and ASU. He lives in Canaan Valley.
  • Fall 2014
    The fall color in the Canaan Valley and Dolly Sods region of West Virginia is more diverse than...