Beauty in stillness

December 24, 2007|By JULIE E. GREENE

HANCOCK - As the snow was falling Wednesday, Dec. 5, Sam Judge was inside his warm Warfordsburg, Pa., log cabin thinking of something he'd read recently in The Herald-Mail.

Someone had referred to the Western Maryland Rail Trail that goes through Hancock as a "cathedral in the trees," Judge said.

As the snow continued falling, the retired federal veterinarian grabbed his Sony digital camera and drove down to the area of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath near Hancock and the Western Maryland Rail Trail used by many bikers.

"I thought I'd go down there and take some pictures of the ice-covered trees," Judge said.

"Hancock has become like my hometown even though I live in a little town nearby in Pennsylvania," said Judge, 70.

Since retiring about 10 years ago, Judge has become a serious hobbyist photographer. He took a course in photography at Hagerstown Community College and often uses his photography to promote the Hancock area. His work has been exhibited at the Hancock Library, and he's created posters of his photos to market attractions such as the towpath and rail trail.


In 2006, he began organizing an annual photography contest in Hancock.

Judge, who also has an apartment in Frederick, Md., said he enjoys photography because he's a "lazy artist."

"I'm too lazy to draw and paint pictures," he said.

To see more of Judge's photography, go to

Photos by Sam Judge


Sam Judge refers to this photo of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath as "Crystal Cathedral."

Sam Judge was standing near Canal Street in Hancock when he photographed this low bridge over the C&O Canal. The canal was partially frozen.

The C&O Canal is semifrozen along Canal Street in Hancock.

This arched tree is a favorite subject of Sam Judge's photography. Judge said the bend in the tree reminds him of the history of Hancock, along a bend in the river that was an American Indian trading post and hosted a ferry operation to West Virginia. The Potomac River, along with the U.S. 522 bridge toward Berkeley Springs, W.Va., are in the background.

Judge's image captured the floating ducks as well as the reflection of two Canal Street buildings in the C&O Canal in early autumn.

The remains of a lock house stand along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal near Hancock, photographed last April.

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