The Highland Maple Festival is one of the best events in this area of Virginia. If you like food, or beautiful scenery, or are a human being, it’s the greatest. I decided to feast like crazy while I was there this year and indulged in maple-glazed chicken, buckwheat pancakes and, of course, the infamous warm, doughy maple donuts.

Rachel Hartzler, 7, takes a minute in between session of playing tag behind the Sugar Tree Country Store on Saturday, March 8, 2014, during the Highland County Maple Festival in McDowell, Va. The families of the children were at the country store to sell maple ice cream and maple chicken as a part of the festival.

Rachel Hartzler, 7, takes a minute in between session of playing tag behind the Sugar Tree Country Store on Saturday, March 8, 2014, during the Highland County Maple Festival in McDowell, Va. The families of the children were at the country store to sell maple ice cream and maple chicken as a part of the festival.

One of my photographs was also featured on a project by Roger May called Looking at Appalachia. It’s a wonderful project looking to create a more encompassing and accurate depiction of the Appalachian area, as most of the images from the area were taken 50 years ago during a “War on Poverty” campaign commissioned by LBJ. I think it’s a wonderful project and can’t way to see the other crowdsourced images that come out of it.

Ron and Kay Sommers of Fishersville look into tapped sap pails at Rexrode's Sugar Orchard on Saturday, March 8, 2014, during the Highland County Maple Festival in Monterey, Va.

Ron and Kay Sommers of Fishersville look into tapped sap pails at Rexrode’s Sugar Orchard on Saturday, March 8, 2014, during the Highland County Maple Festival in Monterey, Va.

Bill Ellenburg sells pork rinds with the Monterey Lions Club on Saturday, March 8, 2014, in front of the Highland County Public Schools during the Maple Festival in Monterey, Va.

Bill Ellenburg sells pork rinds with the Monterey Lions Club on Saturday, March 8, 2014, in front of the Highland County Public Schools during the Maple Festival in Monterey, Va.

Fred Frye fries pork rinds with the Monterey Lions Club on Saturday, March 8, 2014, during the Highland County Maple Festival in Monterey, Va.

Fred Frye fries pork rinds with the Monterey Lions Club on Saturday, March 8, 2014, during the Highland County Maple Festival in Monterey, Va.

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Ash Wednesday is one of my favorite celebrations in the Catholic Church. I’ve always really liked Lent — I think it’s a great period of reflection and Ash Wednesday is the start of all that. “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

Congregants leave the church after Ash Wednesday service on Wednesday, March 5, 2014, at St. John the Evangelist in Waynesboro. Ash Wednesday signifies the beginning of the Lenten season, the 40 days of reflection that lead up to Easter Sunday.

Congregants leave the church after Ash Wednesday service on Wednesday, March 5, 2014, at St. John the Evangelist in Waynesboro. Ash Wednesday signifies the beginning of the Lenten season, the 40 days of reflection that lead up to Easter Sunday.

Congregants walk back to their seats after receiving communion during Ash Wednesday service on Wednesday, March 5, 2014, at St. John the Evangelist in Waynesboro. Ash Wednesday signifies the beginning of the Lenten season, the 40 days of reflection that lead up to Easter Sunday.

Congregants walk back to their seats after receiving communion during Ash Wednesday service on Wednesday, March 5, 2014, at St. John the Evangelist in Waynesboro. Ash Wednesday signifies the beginning of the Lenten season, the 40 days of reflection that lead up to Easter Sunday.

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February was a messy month and I don’t think I wore anything but boots the entire time. Mud, snow, muck — you name it, I walked through it.

Ronald Shiflett walks down Beverley Street with a shovel after over a foot of snow fell on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Staunton.

Ronald Shiflett walks down Beverley Street with a shovel after over a foot of snow fell on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Staunton.

People light their candles before the candlelight vigil in the memory of Waynesboro Police Department reserve captain Kevin Quick on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, in Waynesboro. Quick served on the police force since 1990 and was last seen on Jan. 31. A body was found in Goochland County Thursday that was confirmed to be Quick. Three people were arrested and charged in connection with his death.

People light their candles before the candlelight vigil in the memory of Waynesboro Police Department reserve captain Kevin Quick on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, in Waynesboro. Quick served on the police force since 1990 and was last seen on Jan. 31. A body was found in Goochland County Thursday that was confirmed to be Quick. Three people were arrested and charged in connection with his death.

Bette Amsler, who says her favorite television show of all time is "Breaking Bad," wears her Heisenberg t-shirt in her apartment. Amsler profiles people for The News Leader.

Bette Amsler, who says her favorite television show of all time is “Breaking Bad,” wears her Heisenberg t-shirt in her apartment. Amsler profiles people for The News Leader.

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True/False Film Fest — a time in Columbia, Mo. that I like to call “hipster homecoming.” So, I returned home last weekend for the best time of the year — filled with inspirational documentaries, liquor-laden conversations with old college buddies and the wonderful weirdness of Columbia.

True/False

True/False

True/False

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January is always a bit of a slow month. I’m glad things have finally picked up, but here are some frames I liked from last month.

Toni Landram holds a portrait of the reverend as she walks during the Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight March on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, in front of Central United Methodist Church in Staunton. The march, which is followed by a memorial service, has been held for 23 years.

Toni Landram holds a portrait of the reverend as she walks during the Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight March on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, in front of Central United Methodist Church in Staunton. The march, which is followed by a memorial service, has been held for 23 years.

The gospel choir and band perform during a celebration and dedication of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's life at the St. James Baptist Church on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014, in Waynesboro. This is the 26th year the celebration has been held, organized by the Waynesboro chapter of the NAACP.

The gospel choir and band perform during a celebration and dedication of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s life at the St. James Baptist Church on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014, in Waynesboro. This is the 26th year the celebration has been held, organized by the Waynesboro chapter of the NAACP.

A tiny snowman greets those crossing the Sears Hill Bridge as it snows on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, in Staunton.

A tiny snowman greets those crossing the Sears Hill Bridge as it snows on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, in Staunton.

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I know a lot of us feel documentation-weary sometimes — that people today, with the accessibility of camera phones, document every mundane aspect of their lives. But as someone whose job it is to document everyday, I realized recently that I was doing a pretty poor job of documenting my personal life and the things I love.

A man smokes a cigar from his balcony over Beverley Street in Staunton on Feb. 12, 2014.

A man smokes a cigar from his balcony over Beverley Street in Staunton on Feb. 12, 2014.

It’s really easy to take certain things for granted — the beautiful town we live in, the fun moments we have with our friends, even just curling up on the couch with our pets. And I think the wonderful thing about photography is that, even though it’s amazing that we’re able to remember things like that, the camera can — for the most part — capture just how we’re feeling about the things we love, because it can be present in the moments that we’re happy.

Snow falls on red berries in Staunton on Feb. 12, 2014.

Snow falls on red berries in Staunton on Feb. 12, 2014.

On Wednesday night, before the big bulk of the snowstorm blew through — just as the snow was quietly settling on the streets, muffling all the sounds around — I ventured out with my good friend Pat Jarrett to just photograph Staunton. Because even though I work for a paper whose job it is to document Staunton, sometimes it’s hard to get across how absolutely beautiful this place is for people who don’t live here. And guess what — everything looks pretty in the snow at night. And it made me really happy.

A boy shovels snow as it falls on Augusta Street on Feb. 12, 2014, in Staunton.

A boy shovels snow as it falls on Augusta Street on Feb. 12, 2014, in Staunton.

Pat Jarrett walks along Middlebrook Avenue on Feb. 12, 2014, in Staunton.

Pat Jarrett walks along Middlebrook Avenue on Feb. 12, 2014, in Staunton.

Snow falls in front of the Visulite Cinema on Augusta Street on Feb. 12, 2014, in Staunton.

Snow falls in front of the Visulite Cinema on Augusta Street on Feb. 12, 2014, in Staunton.

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Well, while we’re on the subject of controversial topics, why don’t I jump into Virginia’s Lee-Jackson Day. No longer Lee-Jackson-King Day for seemingly obvious reasons, this day celebrates the January birthdays of Confederate heroes Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

Re-enactors march in a parade during Lee-Jackson Day at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, in Lexington. The day celebrates the birthdays of Robert E. Lee (Jan. 19) and Stonewall Jackson (Jan. 21).

Re-enactors march in a parade during Lee-Jackson Day at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, in Lexington. The day celebrates the birthdays of Robert E. Lee (Jan. 19) and Stonewall Jackson (Jan. 21).

Here in Virginia, one of the biggest towns to celebrate the day is Lexington, where Stonewall Jackson is buried. People gather to celebrate his life around his grave, and then march in a parade while singing “Dixie,”  holding their Confederate flags on the way to the Washington and Lee campus for a service at Lee Chapel. The night is culminated in a traditional Civil War-era ball with traditional dress.

Re-enactors fire of a gun salute during Lee-Jackson Day events at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, in Lexington. The day celebrates the birthdays of Robert E. Lee (Jan. 19) and Stonewall Jackson (Jan. 21).

Re-enactors fire of a gun salute during Lee-Jackson Day events at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, in Lexington. The day celebrates the birthdays of Robert E. Lee (Jan. 19) and Stonewall Jackson (Jan. 21).

I was really glad I was able to attend Lee-Jackson Day — another event that I would’ve never seen in Missouri!

Re-enactors say a prayer during Lee-Jackson Day events at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, in Lexington. The day celebrates the birthdays of Robert E. Lee (Jan. 19) and Stonewall Jackson (Jan. 21).

Re-enactors say a prayer during Lee-Jackson Day events at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, in Lexington. The day celebrates the birthdays of Robert E. Lee (Jan. 19) and Stonewall Jackson (Jan. 21).

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Photographs and articles on Facebook have been re-circulating recently about the “inhumane” and “sickening” Faroe Islands whale hunts. After re-posting my original blog post written the day after my own experience in the Faroe Islands, I started thinking about my time in those small islands and realized I hadn’t revisited my photos in a long time.

A man carries a wheelbarrow full of meat across the beach after a whale hunt in the Faroe Islands. Photo © Katie Currid

A man carries a wheelbarrow full of meat across the beach after a whale hunt in the Faroe Islands. Photo © Katie Currid

I visited the Faroe Islands in May of 2011 for a photo story I planned to do about the whale hunt. Because hunts are not planned, I decided to do a larger focus on the culture of the Faroe Islands. The thesis of my project was centered around a nickname for the Faroes, “The Land of Maybe.” The nickname comes from the difficulty of traveling and planning between the islands, as weather conditions are often harsh — the Faroes are located between Ireland and Iceland — and can leave plans a little up in the air, as you’ll never get anywhere quite on time.

Two men stand near wheelbarrows to haul whale meat after a whale hunt in the Faroe Islands. Photo © Katie Currid

Two men stand near wheelbarrows to haul whale meat after a whale hunt in the Faroe Islands. Photo © Katie Currid

When I went to the Faroes, I stayed in two places — Torshavn, the largest city in the Faroe Islands, and Klasvik, the second-largest city. “Largest” is a generous term — Torshavn is made up of 13,000 people and Klasvik is home to less than 5,000. This is not surprising, as the entire country, a nation under the kingdom of Denmark, houses around 50,000 people total across its 18 major islands.

A whale's skin is marked with a number, assigning it to a person who will receive its meat, after a whale hunt in the Faroe Islands. Photo © Katie Currid

A whale’s skin is marked with a number, assigning it to a person who will receive its meat, after a whale hunt in the Faroe Islands. Photo © Katie Currid

And the Faroe Islands are a magical place and perhaps one of the most beautiful places on earth. The islands — massive, lush green mounds — jut out of the North Atlantic Ocean, hidden under constant fog. The houses that dot the seaside are colorful and simple — similar to Cape Cod style houses, in bright reds, yellows and greens. And even though the Faroe Islands are beautiful, its weather is not for the faint of heart. It is cold there almost year-round and sees constant misty rain, leading to a lack of tenable livestock and not much room for agriculture. Sheep are the only livestock that can manage the climate, and rhubarb and potatoes are about the only plants hearty enough for the country. One of the biggest industries in the Faroe Islands is salmon farming.

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I was going through archived photos the other day and realized I haven’t posted anything I shot since for the last three months. So, here are some moments from the Valley as of late.

A tree is lit up by a sodium vapor light between Verona and Fort Defiance on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014.

A tree is lit up by a sodium vapor light between Verona and Fort Defiance on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014.

Cynthia Craig added coconut creme pies to the oven in the kitchen at Mrs. Rowes on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, in Staunton.

Cynthia Craig added coconut creme pies to the oven in the kitchen at Mrs. Rowes on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, in Staunton.

James Sheffield sits in his blacksmith booth in the Village of Bethlehem living nativity scene on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013, at Hebron Baptist Church in Afton. Sheffield's grandfather was a blacksmith and he remembers helping him shoe horses when he was 8 years old.

James Sheffield sits in his blacksmith booth in the Village of Bethlehem living nativity scene on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013, at Hebron Baptist Church in Afton. Sheffield’s grandfather was a blacksmith and he remembers helping him shoe horses when he was 8 years old.

Austin Vorgert, Buffalo Gap wrestler.

Austin Vorgert, Buffalo Gap wrestler.

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It’s usually a tradition for photographers to compile a collection of their best photographs from the past year. You look at your collection of work for an entire year and a lot of thoughts and memories dawn on you. Did you document it well enough? Did you do your job to the best of your abilities?

Pastor Floyd Miles dips Justin Tate into the baptism pool at Mt. Salem Baptist Church on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in Staunton. Miles, who commutes to the church on weekends from the Richmond area, had the tub installed when he started pastoring at the church. He has been a pastor there for almost 15 years.

Pastor Floyd Miles dips Justin Tate into the baptism pool at Mt. Salem Baptist Church on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in Staunton. Miles, who commutes to the church on weekends from the Richmond area, had the tub installed when he started pastoring at the church. He has been a pastor there for almost 15 years.

Hounds from Middlebrook Hunt Club gather at the gate before being let loose for the hunt on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 in Middlebrook. Most of the hounds used by local groups are Penn-Marydel hounds, in blue tick and black and tan variations.

Hounds from Middlebrook Hunt Club gather at the gate before being let loose for the hunt on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 in Middlebrook. Most of the hounds used by local groups are Penn-Marydel hounds, in blue tick and black and tan variations.

I usually hate looking at my own work. Photographers are inundated with hundreds of photographs every day, from other photojournalists in their newsfeeds doing amazing work, to beautiful photos on their Instagram feeds, to the photos flowing in on the AP wire. It’s hard not to compare yourself to others and often it can be a process of self-loathing.

Angus Carter's work was featured in Shenandoah Art's "40 Under 40" show, and he is also the director of Augusta Arts and the Unreal City gallery in Staunton. Carter moved away from Staunton after graduating from Robert E. Lee High School, tired of the small town and "country music," to study art in California. He returned at 22, though, missing the mountains, history, and bluegrass music.

Angus Carter’s work was featured in Shenandoah Art’s “40 Under 40″ show, and he is also the director of Augusta Arts and the Unreal City gallery in Staunton. Carter moved away from Staunton after graduating from Robert E. Lee High School, tired of the small town and “country music,” to study art in California. He returned at 22, though, missing the mountains, history, and bluegrass music.

Boston Schilling and Clay Stockman walk with their sleds to Thornrose Cemetery to go sledding on Wednesday, March 6, 2013, in Staunton.

Boston Schilling and Clay Stockman walk with their sleds to Thornrose Cemetery to go sledding on Wednesday, March 6, 2013, in Staunton.

But looking at my work from 2013 just reminds me of how much I’ve grown this year: how much I’ve grown to love Staunton, how I’ve grown as an adult (hey, I’m 23 now), how I’ve progressed in my career as a photojournalist, and how I’ve learned so much about this area’s culture.

Fort Defiance’s Braden Herman and Waynesboro’s Denny Jimenez both go up for a head butt during the soccer game on Friday, April 12, 2013, in Waynesboro.
8 9 14

Children and adults dance around the May Pole during May Day festivities at the Frontier Culture Museum on Saturday, May 4, 2013, in Staunton. Participants learned a variety of patterns and weaves around the May Pole for the celebration of spring.

It hasn’t been so much a process of self-loathing, but a flood of memories as each photograph takes me back to the moment in which they were taken, and how I felt documenting that moment. And, hey, I guess that’s what great photos are supposed to do, right? Document moments.

Kenny Will leans against a piece of feeding machinery to take a break before starting the day’s second milking on Saturday, April 6, 2013, at Mt. Crawford Creamery. Kenny and his brother, Frank, have spent the last three years and invested over a million dollars trying to open their own creamery. They say the creamery was a last-resort option to keep their farm afloat, as they say they were not earning enough money selling their milk for others to bottle. “By golly, if we’re going to stay in business we got to do something else or quit. We’re too old to quit and we’re too dumb to run a computer,” Kenny said.

Kenny Will leans against a piece of feeding machinery to take a break before starting the day’s second milking on Saturday, April 6, 2013, at Mt. Crawford Creamery. Kenny and his brother, Frank, have spent the last three years and invested over a million dollars trying to open their own creamery. They say the creamery was a last-resort option to keep their farm afloat, as they say they were not earning enough money selling their milk for others to bottle. “By golly, if we’re going to stay in business we got to do something else or quit. We’re too old to quit and we’re too dumb to run a computer,” Kenny said.

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