A Christmas Classic

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This is the time of year when the Grinch makes his appearance and he seems to be hanging around this bookstore in downtown Lititz. The top view shows the store during hours of operation and the bottom image shows someone lurking inside the closed store behind the locked door. I thoroughly enjoy the movie “Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas” featuring Jim Carey and its elaborate costumes,makeup and props,and the town these images were shot in actually had an elementary school that has done this movie and everyone gets dressed up as their favorite character and it was always a blast to see.

The Light Show

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Normally I would not shoot Christmas lights without snow on the ground but the local merchants association held a jingle bell trolley tour that went around town to see some cool light displays and they asked me to shoot the winning home. This home has l.e.d. lighting set to music and features over 20,000 lights that can shine in any color in the visible spectrum.The owner spent countless hours synchronizing the music to the lights and the effort was enjoyed by countless passersby.

Done From Scratch

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This old building is located in a nearby town and includes this business called Scratch. Everything is made from scratch,including cupcakes,decadent ganaches and countless other tasty treats. the snow was flying the night I shot this and I could have used a nice cup of hot chocolate and a few cupcakes.

Starry Night

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I wanted to title this home for the holidays, but I used that already on another photo. This is another example of me seeing something as I was driving and I just decided to stop and ask if I could shoot photos. Thankfully the owners were gracious enough to let me give it a whirl. Folks seem to like to hear of my escapades,so I will provide some interesting facts about this shot.Initially I was impressed with the fresh fruit arrangement that hangs over the entrance and the fruit that was in the planters by the door and window boxes,but I knew I wanted to jazz things up and I had a few items at home to bring for the shoot.

So just before the sun set I showed up with my box of luminaries, a few wrapped packages and a sprinkling can.After setting up my tripod and choosing the angle I wanted,I began placing the luminaries along the walkway,added the packages and grabbed the sprinkling can.I know you are wondering where it is in the photo,but its purpose was merely to make the sidewalk wet so it would shimmer with the glowing luminaries.My luminaries are white bags but they are inside plastic photo bags so they stay dry.A light snow the day before had provided a dusting on the bushes which definitely helped with my composition. As I was getting ready to make the sidewalk wet,I realized there was no faucet that would fill my can so I went to the next door neighbor and got the go ahead to use their faucet,and without them,the walk would have been dry.

After I shot this,I drove up the road to shoot another house that had fruit,and commented to the owner that I just came from a house that also had amazing fruit arrangements,to which he said the owners of this house had seen his displays on a home tour and he had helped her get started with this holiday tradition,so the old saying,it’s a small world really is true. I lit everything with either my flash or my spotlight,including the star on the chimney.I am not sure what style of home this is,but I have always found it appealing. Close your eyes as you feel the cold night air rush by your face as you ride in the old red sleigh and listen to the sleigh bells jingle as you arrive for a gathering with family and friends. The luminaries light your way as you carry an armful of packages and the smell of the Christmas meal greets your senses as the door opens to welcome you home. Now go cue up Perry Como’s version of No place like home for the holidays,and your all set.

Banking on My Patience

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My photo today will be a bit long-winded but for those who enjoy my ramblings both literary and photographically,this will be perfect.I began this evening photographing Christmas displays ten miles away and was on my way home at 8pm when I called my wife to say I would be home in 15 minutes. As I drove home in the rain,I began to take note of lights reflecting on the road and as I drove by this Bank and its Community Christmas tree all lit up, I knew I had to try to capture it.

I found a store across the street with an awning that provided cover from the rain,set up my tripod and began to figure out how I was going to light the place and deal with several issues that I needed to overcome. The biggest issue I had was one lone car parked right in the middle of the shot, but I figured it was a night all but one store was closed and the person would leave soon. Well I began capturing the scene and lighting the building and then a second car pulls in, and I started to get a little frustrated.

The second car had a girl in it and she proceeded to play games on her phone for 20 minutes till some guys showed up,one of which owned the other car,and I was sure they were all leaving after they got in both cars.Well guess what,they all sat there doing who knows what for at least ten minutes until the one car left. Ten minutes later,it returns and you guessed it,more sitting there doing nothing.Now you must understand the street around me on both sides has absolutely zero cars in any space so these two in the middle of my shot were a tad frustrating.

At one point I checked in with my wife and said it might be late because I was determined to outlast these nitwits and get my shot.So at exactly twenty minutes before ten, the one car leaves and just the girl remains playing on her phone again,so I decide I am going over and offer her five dollars to just move the car already and as I ask how long till she is heading out,she answers, in a minute,so I keep my money and I think, finally. Well guess what,twenty minutes later she is still sitting there. While waiting I had some dude ask for a dollar,which I obliged and then two nights later the same guy asks again,to which I said hit the road this time.I also almost got hit right in the middle of the road because I was over by the bank and was watching a guy heading toward my camera across the street and started walking while focusing on the guy in case I had to give chase and all of a sudden I hear tires screeching and the car bumper is about two feet from me.Needless to say the woman was a little irked at my lack of concentration on the road traffic.

Well in the end all the cars left,and I was soaked but I captured the shot I had imagined was possible. After shooting multiple frames of lighting, it was literally the last 10 shots that really brought the image to its optimum. I had a couple of spots on the road that showed very little reflection or color and I figured out by blasting the buildings up high with flash that the light would reflect on those areas and that’s were the beautiful blue on the road emanated from.The final time to get this shot was exactly two hours and I think the odds of being able to duplicate this shot anytime soon are rather slim,and you can usually bank on my patience getting a great image.

Back in Time

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This lovely older home has lots of little architectural details and is decorated for the Christmas season,so when I saw it reflecting on the wet roadway,I just had to stop and try a shot.There is a traffic signal that hangs right in the middle of this photo that I felt compelled to clone out so you could truly focus on the beauty of the home and not some ugly light. the street lights are so bright and are very tricky to incorporate in the shot but I made them work.This is actually a retirement home for a limited number of seniors and is quite a cozy place.