Lititz,Pa was voted Americas coolest small town this past year and one of the cool events they held was called the fire and ice festival.Expert ice carvers create these beautiful sculptures throughout town and thousands stroll the streets to take it all in. This stagecoach was one that caught my eye so I used my flashlight to bring out the icy details.Thankfully cold weather was around the region this year so the masterpieces were around for several days.
Winter is still holding on but a few days of mild weather produced a very foggy day recently. I was coming down this road and noticed the trees looked nice with the foggy layering and off in the distance I heard the buggy coming,even though I could not see him yet.All of a sudden he materialized in the mist and I managed to get this image with him in a good composition.Wish I had gotten lower to get his reflection in the puddle too but it was a very fleeting moment. If you would have seen how thick the fog was,you would think they were crazy for being on the road.We have had more buggy accidents in our area in the last year than I can remember for many years combined.Mostly distracted drivers but not always,and the poor horse always loses.
Todays post features an image that I envisioned in my mind and thanks to the owners of the property,I was allowed the opportunity to go for it. I had stopped here to get permission to shoot another image and as I drove up the lane, it became obvious to me that more photo possibilities existed. I had a box of luminaries at home and could envision them lining the lane leading to the house on this winter night.The owners thought it might be a cool shot and encouraged me to try it. I arrived an hour before sunset and started to place the luminaries and then started to light them. I brought two lighters from home that I tested before leaving and when I tried to use them at the location,they no longer worked? Thankfully I brought matches as well,but the thing that really amazed me was the owners were going away as I was trying the lighters, and they told me to just go in their house because there were several lighters in the kitchen I could use. I said I absolutely was not going to go in their house,especially since we just met that morning.The matches worked and thankfully I got the shot I had imagined. I think the luminaries provide a nice leading line for the eye to follow.
It seems every winter I try to find the right timing for a clear full moon night with lots of snow cover to shoot and it never comes together. Well this past week I got lucky enough to have everything align so I could try a few shots.This particular night started out cloudy but the weather channel predicted clear skies later that night so I headed out at 10pm to look around.I ended up at this location and of course got lost in shooting till my wife called at eleven to ask where I was, and I said I might be out a little bit yet and don’t wait up.The next time I looked at my watch it was one in the morning,so I felt it might be time to call it a night. The rippled snow had excellent texture and it was not too bitter,so I could concentrate on getting the shots. For me the full moon has proven to be a bit of a pain,literally,as I get migraines and I lost track a long time ago how many times the full moon triggered them.Sometimes I get the full-blown headache/visual problem and other times I just feel like I am in a fog,and for a while I thought it was my imagination till I started documenting them and reading that others have had similar effects.Thankfully this night proved to be just a great full moon experience.
Actually it’s getting harder and harder to find farms that still use the old windmill,but this one stood out pretty prominently as I crested a hill and got this lovely view across the valley featuring numerous farms.The red barns illuminated by late day sun stood out as the focal point among the many farms.
Finding any body of water around the area that is not completely frozen over has been a bit of a challenge this winter. This partially thawed farm pond was a bit of a surprise with temperatures in the single digits.It must be a spring fed pond to stay open at this point in the season and the temperature at daybreak was a crisp minus 5 degrees.
Our region received another wonderful snowstorm recently,dumping around fourteen inches of fresh powder across the landscape. This is the kind of storm that finds me driving around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to capture the beauty, before the usual winds that follow these storms wipe the slate clean. I headed out before sunrise knowing I had to get my shots before heading to work,so I had extra pressure on me to deliver. This particular shot was a pleasant surprise as I drove through a small town and noticed the heavy layer on the bushes by the church. I actually had to park on the street because plows had everything blocked shut from the night before and to top it off I no sooner got my tripod out and noticed the neighbor was starting to snow blow his property.Even though I was obviously shooting this gorgeous scene,he chose to come right down the drive toward me and blew snow right onto the bushes in my shot,totally ruining the scene. Perhaps he was jealous that I was out enjoying myself and he had to work on snow removal,but thankfully I was quick enough to compose and capture before that point. One problem is how the church is situated up on the hill,which forced me to use lens correction to help with keystoning and there were a million wires and wire shadows across the church which I painstakingly removed. Color or Black and White,I find both appealing.
This image features a local farm-house and a gazebo the owners have positioned across the street to relax in. I waited till dusk to capture the glow of the gazebo lights against the cold of the night. I used my flashlight to bring out the stairway path in the snow as well as the snow texture in the foreground. I once again used my camranger wi-fi device with my tablet to fire the camera and review the images,all the while from a camera that was close to a hundred yards away. I could not dream of pulling a shot like this off without that device. It does have a slightly slower transfer rate to the tablet at this distance,but that’s still pretty impressive.
Every winter I find myself thinking of different images that I would like to create or hopefully find somewhere to shoot. For years I had this dream of getting out after a heavy snowstorm and building some nice snowmen,dressing them in colorful accents and placing them in the perfect scene.Well this exact scenario came to fruition recently thanks to a family that decided to get out and spend some quality time together in the snow. My wife was headed to work one day and called me to say I needed to check out five well done snowmen she had seen, to which I said yeah right.Upon further consideration I thought I better at least look and see if her suggestion was worth a shot and to my surprise it was absolutely perfect.
Not only did this family of five create one snowman for each family member,but they added colorful accents,had them positioned nicely,and even kept the ground covered in snow so no ugly grass showed. Add to all that the fact that the house was glowing with warm illumination and the trees were adorned with snow and I had all the elements to make a picture perfect moment.When I pulled into the driveway and rang the doorbell,no one was home and I was only 30 minutes from needing to set up for the shot so I visited a few neighbors who kindly gave me a work number for the owner and thankfully he said go for it and he would be home in a little while.Its not everyday someone calls you to shoot a snowman photo,so I am sure he thought this seemed a bit strange.I lit the scene with my flashlight to bring out the details and make them stand out in the scene. Many thanks to mom,dad and the three girls for your ambition and creativity.
This spot is a recent find I made and one I hope to work more in the future. The snow was very textured,possibly from strong winds at some point.This is an Amish farm and I think the light in the house is from a propane or kerosene light lantern.This snow was extremely hard to traverse because it had a hard crust that you would break through and sink eight inches with each step. I also got zapped twice on the electric fence going in and leaving this field,which my friend thought was hilarious. When I stopped to ask about taking photos,I was greeted by a large dog that appeared friendly as I called him over,and then after I was 6 feet from the car,he started growling pretty good and seemed like he was ready to rip into my leg,and thankfully the owner came out and the dog calmed down.
This early morning image had all the earmarks of becoming a spectacular shot and although it turned out very nice,it could have been much better. the sky was just filled with clouds that would have lit up at sunrise but for some reason it kind of fizzled just when I was getting excited about the shot. I had to find the farmer in the barn as he was milking cows to ask if I could go on the land and he was more than happy to oblige. One funny thing that happened several times in the last week is me getting shocked as I climb over the electrified fences.Each time I gave them a cursory couple touches with the hand and each time nothing,until I start climbing or going under the fence and sure enough I get zapped. It kind of helps you get over the fence a little quicker.