Shooting live Facebook videos for the Powhatan Today is simultaneously one of the most entertaining and aggravating tasks involved in this job.

I love writing and taking photographs for this newspaper, but sometimes you just know that to capture the scope of what is happening would take much more space and detail than any newspaper has and most readers can wade through.

The Powhatan Lions Club’s annual Labor Day Parade is just such an example. I love taking the photos during the event and trying to capture as many special moments as possible, but there also is an energy that is best captured on video. As good as the Powhatan High School Band looks in their uniforms in photos, you get so much more out of looking at those uniforms while listening to their great musical performance.

That doesn’t mean the experience is always perfect. This year, my tripod broke before the parade started, so I had to go handheld again and try not to move around so much people thought they were watching the beginning of “Saving Private Ryan.”

Halfway through the parade on what I thought was a gorgeous day, my phone decided to overheat and shut down. I borrowed another phone to film while I gave mine a few minutes to cool. That still meant losing portions of the parade that didn’t record properly, which is always a shame because so many people work hard to put on a good show for everyone. I’ve had a similar experience with Christmas parades and phones shutting down because of the cold.

Still, even with the hiccups, as long as readers like them, I will continue to do the videos to bring people a little closer to what is going on in Powhatan County.

I think back to some of the most memorable videos for me, and maybe you remember some of them, too. There is nothing I can say that would accurately describe the heaviness of listening to the few simple notes of Taps at a Memorial Day or Veterans Day event, so instead I show it on video.

I remember when Powhatan Junior High School was torn down. I went and filmed some of the demolition as the heavy equipment tore down the walls of a building that had taught so many young people through the years. Yes, the building needed to be replaced, but that didn’t erase the fact that this community made some great memories in that school.

Because of the formation of a new equine technical rescue group here in the county, I  recently watched an old video of mine of a horse being rescued from a pool here in Powhatan. I remember the disquiet I felt hitting that button to go live, not knowing if the rescue would end well for the horse, which I am sure would have been a hard thing for many to watch.

More recently, I requested to take a tour of the newly renovated Pocahontas Landmark Center with Dr. Jason Tibbs, director of facilities for Powhatan County Public Schools. The school district did an excellent job transforming the former middle school to meet the needs of the division and other community groups.

As Mr. Tibbs and I walked down the halls, I hoped people watching who attended there or were the parents of former students could recognize parts of the building and the memories they shared there. I  had visited the building many times when it was still a school and recalled the historic photos that used to line the walls, the vibrant student artwork, and the sounds of children’s voices

Again, it was probably annoying to anyone watching live when the connection messes up and they have to wait until I finish the whole thing to see what they missed, but I hope they still enjoyed sharing a Powhatan moment even if they couldn’t be there in person.

Laura McFarland may be reached at

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