The sky was falling

Last week included some strong weather systems moving through, so one evening I headed to this location to hopefully shoot lightning over the farm on the right. I arrived with basically clear skies all around and set up the telephoto to zoom in on the farm. After about an hour, I decided to call my friend who lives about 10 miles away and ask if he saw any black skies? He immediately said the sky was black and winds were howling, but I said yeah right,because this vista offers a view for miles and it was clear. About two minutes later the sky went real black and These amazing clouds rolled in fast. It got so ominous that I feared getting out of my truck to get my camera and tripod,but I made a mad dash anyway. The sky literally looked as if it were coming down on me, and can’t remember seeing anything like it before. This wide-angle shot was out my window and was the best I could muster in short order. Lightning barely made an appearance through the whole event.

Life in the slow lane

This past week I came across a group of car enthusiasts that were touring the countryside throughout Lancaster county. The group spent five days navigating the scenic back roads and also spent time visiting several county sites of interest. The group included owners of what are known as E-M-F cars, which are early 1900 vehicles built by Byron Everitt, William Metzger, and Walter Flanders. This image is the result of some planning, and a dash of luck, which I will explain.

I got the itinerary for the day from the organizer and decided on a spot to shoot them as they drove by. I took a few images at the location I picked and then decided I was going to get ahead of the group for a second attempt. The second spot included a covered bridge, but as I got to the road, it was closed for repaving,so I tried to find another road to access the planned route. Thankfully one lane was still open,and it allowed me to get this image of the cars coming through the bridge and a buggy waiting his turn as well. This image would have been all but impossible if the road were not closed to traffic for the road work. Usually cars file down this road one after another, but I actually set up my tripod on the road and shot a series as they all came through the bridge. These cars are full of character and draw a crowd wherever they go. If you want to learn more about them, check out     E-M-F Company on the net. I may post another shot or two in the coming weeks.

Fancy Wheels

This is another one of those moments where the planets aligned at just the right instant. I decided to get a photo of the five girls walking and talking, and as I pulled up to the stop sign I saw the horse and cart coming up the road.I pre-visualized the spot they might meet,pre-focused and took 4 images in a row. This was the one that was the winner because the others had too much subject overlap, and I liked the way the horse and driver seem to be looking at the girls. Perhaps this gentleman might be a future husband to one of these young ladies, as his cart was on the fancier side and might have impressed one of them.

A Day of Rest


I headed out to do some photography with a good friend on sunday morning,and We headed out at 430am in the hopes of a great sunrise,but that was a total flop. As we made our way home, we came across these colorfully dressed members of the local Amish community heading to church. I took this photo from the car using a 400 mm telephoto.

Oak Hill Chapel

This is another infrared image featuring the chapel at the oak hill cemetery in Washington,D.C.. It was very peaceful in the place, but the trip to get there was a real anxiety laced ordeal for me. I have a real problem with being in traffic jams that just sit there, and this trip included just that.

Malachite on Flower

This Malachite butterfly sat long enough for me to get parallel to his wings and get the shot.For anyone wanting to do these type of shots, get as parallel as possible to get maximum sharpness and use flash to freeze motion. I see so many people shooting at whatever angle they feel like and then they get a sliver of acceptable sharpness due to depth of field limitations. This was shot around f16.

Passing Storm

This was shot the same evening as the thunderhead image from yesterday and was pure luck to get the lightning bolts. The evening looked like it was done storming, but as I started the truck to head home, I noticed a flicker off to the right. I set up my tripod just outside my driver’s side window, and hit the shutter every 15 seconds or so in a mini burst. The bolts were very infrequent and miles away, but I happened to get these two on one shot. As mentioned before, daylight lightning is very hard without a lightning trigger, and this image was shot at f32 at a third of a second. I never stop down that far because image quality degrades at small apertures,but my only other choice would be a neutral density filter and with a 400mm lens,quality would drop as well. I captured a couple other bolts,but they were blurred due to me pressing the shutter too hard. There was actually a mini rainbow that appeared off camera for about 15 seconds as well, but disappeared before I decided to shoot it.

Thunder Heads

Actually I am not sure if these are what are referred to as thunder heads,but there were rumbles of thunder in the distance as I frantically drove around sunday trying to get a shot of these formations. I was hoping for a good lightning show,but only saw an occasional flicker from these clouds. Finding a decent foreground proved to be tougher than I thought, but I am satisfied with this one.

The Road

Todays posting features a road I have always thought had possibilities and last sunday I got several images in the span of fifteen minutes. I was out before dawn and got absolutely nothing over the course of three hours, so I decided I was going to just sit somewhere and see what I get. This road leads right by a farm so I set up my tripod real low at the edge of the field and a few minutes later I could hear the clip clop of buggies in the distance. The first two images had buggies turning from the left and the scooter boys coming in on the right from the T road. The last shot was taken from my truck roof after I changed my position and shows the farm better,but not the locals as well.

I pre-focused for all the shots and used a wireless remote when subjects reached a certain spot, and even though I did this, the horse in number two is fairly sharp,even though I was focused about where the scooter boys are. They were moving at a good clip,so they are not razor-sharp. Focal length was probably around 200mm or so.

Sign,Sign,everywhere a Sign

This is what I consider to be a very ideal location with the covered bridge, the farm, and the family heading down the road together in the wagon. What drives me crazy are the signs that are needed to warn every idiot that has no common sense. We have weight limit signs, one lane bridge signs,and most recently the addition of the wooden beam that hangs at the entrance to alert trucks not to go through. Most people would say no truck would ever try to go through such a structure, but right here in our county a month ago, some idiot actually drove a tractor-trailer through a covered bridge and got stuck going out the other end because the road went down slightly and his trailer jammed against the roof trusses. As I recall from the news, he blamed his GPS for sending him on a back road. Picture yourself in a big rig at the entrance here and thinking to yourself, I am sure I can fit.

Every time I look at this image,all I hear is the old classic tune from the Five man electric band, Sign,Sign,everywhere a sign,blocking up the scenery,breaking my mind. I found it too exhausting to even try cloning out the signs in Photoshop,so I left them. Too much wood detail to bother trying.Interestingly enough, the weekly newspaper just ran a story about the wooden beam hanging down, and called them headache bars.The intended purpose is to give truck drivers a loud smack to hopefully warn them not to proceed any further.

Barely made it

This image was taken recently while I was out shooting with a good friend. We were hoping to get a sunrise shot and I was pretty sure we were not going to get anything till we rounded a bend and saw the foggy valley ready to see the first rays of sunshine. I parked quickly and grabbed my gear and rushed across the road barely in time to frame the shot before the flare overwhelmed the scene. Thirty seconds later,it was hopeless trying to shoot with the sun in the shot.

An exercise in frustration

Yesterday we passed the 100 degree mark and as evening approached a bit of relief came through in the form of a storm front. I heard the thunder in the distance, so I grabbed my camera and made a dash for the countryside. I found an excellent location that was right on the fringe of the storm,and was rain free but I have never been so afraid to get out of my truck to try and set up my tripod.Lightning was flickering on three sides of my location and was literally within a few hundred yards as it repeatedly blasted down every few seconds.I watched some amazing bolts fire off right behind the farm I was at, but it was too close to even try setting up. I decided to try and get ahead of the storm and wait somewhere else,but it kept up with me,so I ended up hand holding the camera out my window for this image.

This shot is the only image I managed to capture a bolt on despite shooting 146 frames. I saw some really great bolts here as well, but I already knew trying to capture lightning this way was going to be an exercise in frustration. There were several times I had the camera on multiple frames and saw lightning hit repeatedly in one spot,but never captured a thing. Usually I try to shoot lightning when it’s just getting slightly dark and exposures range from 10-30seconds, so you have that window of time that the shutter is open to catch a bolt. trying to watch and capture a bolt at a 250th of a second in daylight is maddening. A lightning trigger would be great but they run several hundred dollars.This bolt was among the weakest all night, but it is the only one I got.

Hold fast, help is on the way.

This was the scene the other day as temps hit the 90 degree mark with stifling humidity. Local farmers were hard at it harvesting wheat the old-fashioned way with hay forks and an honest days effort. Wagons are loaded full and then taken to threshing machines to separate the various components.The men use two prong pitchforks and they basically guide it to the men on top of the pile. To me it looks like you better be on your toes if your on the receiving end of the pitchfork,which comes within inches of face and hands at times. The bottom image shows how high the stacking can go, and both images were taken from the same vantage point looking different directions,all the while  shooting from my truck with the air conditioner running.These were shot with a 400mm telephoto from about a hundred yards or so away. These men are essentially doing the same task as the modern machine Shot from my june 28th post.

Mansion in bloom

As promised, here is another image taken at the Watt Mansion featuring hydrangea in bloom.Recent severe hot weather has taken its toll on these lovely plants and we are in need of a good soaking rain again. A few flash pops helped light the shaded blooms.

Sorry for the error on calling these hyacinth in my original post. Thankfully a friend pointed out my brain freeze.

My Deer, Can you spare a Buck?

Antlers are covered in velvet as these buck sit face to face in a field.  Velvet provides nutrition and growth to deer antlers.This special tissue is a type of skin, loaded with blood vessels and nerves, that regenerates every year. Because deer shed their antlers annually, they need dense and rapid growth of their antlers to occur every year. Antlers are important in distinguishing the strongest and most viable bucks, who will end up mating and passing on their genes.


This is a location I have driven by numerous times and never really gave it much consideration. This evening I turned onto the road and saw the late evening sun hitting the one room school and hilltop farm, and decided to set up and see what develops. Once again I sat for close to an hour as countless buggies went zipping by on the road behind me, each time raising my anticipation and then never turning onto my road. Several times I set a time to leave, and several times extended it because I knew as soon as I moved a convoy would start coming by. My patience paid off as these two buggies came by. I like this scene because it has the one room school, a farm and the locals all in one shot.I utilized my rooftop setup and laptop to operate the camera. The scary thing is several times in recent weeks, I have found the images I am capturing are somehow not downloading to the laptop and are gone forever. I hear my camera firing and then no download, so when you wait an hour for one chance, you pray everything functions as expected and this time it did.