The Food Chain

Have you ever seen so many cobwebs,you thought you were on the set of some science fiction thriller? Well this was the case as both myself and a fellow photographer spent an evening shooting in a local feed mill. I walked around looking for a shot and came across this corner of the mill that seemed lost in time. It’s no wonder spiders have laid claim to this place as flies were a real nuisance while we shot. I light painted this with an off camera flash trying to bring out the webs and dust and dirt as best I could. At least no mice ran by me on this visit. I have no idea what the machine does but it must not get used very often.

Where is the tree?


This is the third cicada shell that I found this year in a strange location. These insects usually climb trees and hatch from there as they hang on the bark, but this one seemed to prefer greenery instead. The hibiscus was 10 feet from the tree,so maybe he was too tired to keep going.  Not sure how the pollen got on him, but it was windy the day before. Their jagged legs are perfect for clinging. I only wish I had seen him hatch from here.they usually can be seen on the move around dusk as they seek out their spot to open.


Tobacco Rows

Went out sunday morning because the weather was unsettled and I was hoping to find something interesting. After a bit of driving,I came upon this partially harvested tobacco field which had nice curved lines leading your eye to the farm. Started out at ground level but decided the higher perspective from my truck roof might be beneficial,and in fact it was.The sun popped out briefly,adding a touch of sidelight to the scene as an added bonus.The green area on the left is uncut tobacco

Beyond Thunderdome

Call me crazy, but this reminds me of some wild set of wheels from the movie Thunderdome. If you look closely in the middle underneath you can see a machine gun mounted,or maybe its just a muffler? Put some muscle-bound maniac on top going down the road at 100 mph and you have your own futuristic movie in the making. Shot this at the rough and tumble event, which showcased old farm equipment.

Tobacco Harvest

The end of summer is rapidly approaching and farmers are busy beginning to harvest everything from corn to tobacco. This Amish family was busy putting freshly cut tobacco onto lathe, which then gets hung on the wagon and then it will move to the barn for drying. This scene includes at least three generations carrying on the tradition.

Rough and Tumble

Here is another image from the thresher reunion at rough and tumble.For this image I mounted the camera on my tripod and shot several exposures utilizing a hand-held flash off camera. There is no way to get a result like this on one shot,unless you set up a bank of flashes  to fire simultaneously. The exposure for the setting sun put everything in silhouette,so after capturing that piece of the puzzle, I moved to illuminating the tractor. As you can see from the smaller images, The starting shot with the sun was where I started and then lit each area as the example of lighting the front shows. A small detail worth mentioning is the use of a wireless remote to fire the camera from anywhere I need,so I can position the flash at the proper angle and then fire when ready.

Steam Powered Past


Machines from the past fascinate me, and these old steam-powered contraptions are no exception. Rough and Tumble located in scenic Lancaster county held their 64th annual threshermans reunion last week, and the event included all kinds of steam,gas and kerosene powered machines. This old steam roller with its massive iron wheels was one of many unique pieces I saw at this event.


The Promise

This image features a rainbow that happened during a recent storm. I parked at this spot to shoot the farm as the storm was ending because I knew the sun was going to come out and light up the barn.I shot for about twenty minutes,packed up and headed down the road,and of course the rainbow then makes an appearance. I turn around, fly up the road as the rainbow starts to lose its color and set up again to capture this fading spectacle. I guess it appears to be almost a double rainbow,but folks a few miles away tell me they saw it as the most amazing rainbow they had seen in quite some time. I guess it all depends on your location. Below is an excerpt from the Bible about rainbows.

And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13 I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. 14 It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; 15 and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.


Steel Wool Spectacle

I finally gave my steel wool spinner device a test run this past weekend, and it was more impressive than I expected. After a rainy friday and a quick shot from the garden hose before I did it, the yard was ready to handle the flaming steel wool. To accomplish this effect, I set up my tripod and waited till the ambient light dropped and my exposure was around 8 to 15 seconds at f11.At that point, I put on long pants,a long sleeve shirt,a hat, a face shield,and gloves and grabbed the steel wool device. This is nothing more than a steel kitchen whisk with steel wool stuffed inside, connected to a steel cable on a handle and then it gets lit and rapidly spun. You light the steel wool by touching a 9-volt battery to it and then spin it quickly to give the burning steel wool as much oxygen as possible.

The top image features me spinning the contraption all around me and you can see the steel wool even bounced on the grass a bit,and the bottom image was spun in just a circle,but the bright area shooting up to the right is actually a piece of steel wool that broke loose and landed in our tree.If you are brave enough to try this, do it in a safe setting,keep water nearby and protect yourself and camera.There was a fellow on the internet that had a flaming ember land on his eighteen hundred-dollar lens and fuse fast to the front element,which would not be good. Each ball of steel wool burns about 30-60 seconds and then you load a new piece. Also the real fine stuff works better than coarse steel wool.

The Painted lady

The painted lady butterfly has always been one of my favorites, but I do not see as many of them as I did years ago. This one was the only one I saw all day last week, and while it’s not my best shot,it’s the most recent. Anyone interested in doing this type of shot should do their best to get the head sharp. This shot is barely acceptable, as he was turning away from me while I was focusing. If the wings are sharp and not the head,forget it. Its like doing a portrait of a person and having their hair sharp and not their eyes. Little things like that make or break a shot.

Arriving by wagon

This image is one of those special moments that make being a photographer so rewarding for me. The young girls were riding on this miniature cart and were making their way to sunday church service at a local farm when they passed me at a covered bridge I was photographing with a friend. They headed on their way up the road and I decided to get in my truck and try and get one more photo of something I have never seen before, and figured never would again. They turned down this farm lane with others who were arriving on foot and I took this image through my open car window pretty quickly. Although I am extremely thrilled with the photo, For some reason I have this bad habit of tilting my head and consequently my camera when I shoot handheld,and the image was slightly tilted.My framing was less than ideal in this hurried moment so the image has a touch of tilt yet.

Something I missed was a shot from the front showing the miniature horse that was pulling them,and he must have been a little powerhouse to pull five youngsters. The other thing I really like about this image are the colors the people are wearing,and admittedly I am no expert on Amish ways and I have always wondered how or why they pick certain colors. they are usually very lovely hues and I have seen families dressed in the same color palette on more than one occasion.

Farmland full moon


This is last nights full moon rising over a pair of farms. I went out with a friend to this spot we had tried for during last months full moon, and after using his cell phone to utilize the program called The Photographers Ephemeris,we were in disagreement over were it said the moon would hit the horizon. I used my compass and the coordinates the program said and as it ended up ,I was in the right spot and my friend was down the road a hundred yards or so in the wrong spot. It takes a little effort to look at the satellite image and decide exactly were you are and need to be,but it is a great tool. The moon was not visible right away,but became stronger as it climbed. I had to shoot from my truck roof because the corn was too high to see the farms.

Here is a screen shot of the program we use. the colored lines show you all the rise/set positions.this is the portland headlight in Maine as an example.