The Stroke Of Midnight


I passed this display on my travels and just had to return and shoot it. This is the result of many pops of my flash,and several ambient exposures. The main ball on the carriage is covered in plastic, which at first kind of made me wish it was off,but after dusk,the plastic helped with the glowing effect,so it all worked out. The owner told me this setup cost $17,000, and they are going to do tourist rides and weddings, using a real horse of course. It supposedly was in a popular TV series based in New York City. I am sure many cinderella’s will be drawn to take a ride.

Steam Power


While this looks like two steam tractors racing,it actually is a competition to back up and hook up to something. This was shot at the rough and tumble reunion in Pennsylvania and the event includes all kinds of powerful machines from the past. You should see the drivers work the steering mechanism on these things,as it’s a real workout.

Coming in Hot

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This might be the last pair of images from this subject unless I  come up with something more imaginative. To be honest,I was somewhat disappointed with my burning steel wool result and perhaps that’s because the rusty subject gets lost in the burning embers? I only tried about five steel wool spins due the fact that I was right by a busy highway and I didn’t want the cops harassing me. The bottom image is the same as the top except for sparks,and that was light painted using my flash.

For those not familiar with burning steel wool, you need fine grade steel wool,which burns better than coarse,and a device to spin it. I took a steel kitchen whisk, which holds the steel wool inside and then I took a wooden handle and mounted a pulley with a screw that allows the pulley to freely spin and then attached a steel cable to the pulley and whisk. I simply load the whisk with steel wool,light it and then start spinning the thing rapidly. As the air hits the wool,it becomes a raging flame thrower, so wear protective clothes,eye protection etc. Always have a fire extinguisher handy and do it when its damp outside at your own risk. One steel wool pad burns about 30 seconds or so and you should also keep your camera out of the ember zone.One guy on the net had a Nikon 14-24mm lens get messed up when an ember fused on his front element.

Nostalgic Flight







This bi-plane was among my favorite subjects at the air show, but it was not very accessible,so these three shots were all I could muster. After I had gotten permission to return later in the evening, I noticed many of the planes were getting put into the hangers and I figured this one would be away all night. Much to my surprise it was out all night but it had covers placed on its engine,cockpit etc,which made it less than desirable to shoot in that state,so I had to dream of what might have been if I had gotten to light paint this classic. I used other planes parked on the field to frame the bi-plane and add a touch of interest to the shot. I am not sure what the CAP on the wing stands for but it might be civil air patrol?

Heat Seeker



Really I have no clue what kind of missiles are hanging from the wing of this plane but they look intimidating nonetheless. This was the last light painting session I tried at the airshow. For some reason my laptop went haywire at the start of this shoot,so I did not have enough time to do this one to the degree I wanted.

Meet Miss Virginia



This was my third subject to light paint on the evening I was allowed to shoot at the air show. It is a lovingly restored and highly polished  C-47 named Miss Virginia. A moon rising in the background added an extra detail to the shot. According to web sources,this restoration took over 7000 hours and the aircraft was named Miss Virginia to honor both the military and the state of Virginia. Miss Virginia was the name of the P-38 lightning that shot down Japanese Admiral Yamamoto in 1943.


Air Show Beauty


Unfortunately I do not have any info on this plane from the air show, but I gave it my best attempt to show it off in a good light so to speak. I use a wireless flash setup on a pole to reach higher than my arm can reach. In this case it allowed me to position the flash high enough to throw light into the interior of the plane to give it an appearance of being ready to take off with a crew on board.

A quick addition thanks to friend Dan at the airport, this is the collings foundation B-17G “Nine o Nine”

Wings of Glory


Our local airport was the sight for a community event showcasing numerous airplanes and flying machines in a celebration of flight this past weekend. I am not a big fan of plane photos with a ton of people standing around,so I inquired whether there was any chance to come out after the show closed and do some light painting images of planes on the tarmac. Thankfully,I spoke to one of the gentlemen in charge and he was willing to trust me and allow me to give it a whirl. I returned later than I had hoped to,and that forced me to make quick decisions about what I could shoot in a short time frame till it was pitch dark out. The sunset was a huge disappointment for my background,but I lit the plane with about twelve pops of the flash at various angles and this was the result. Special thanks to Austin for the opportunity to shoot these special vehicles.

The plane shown above is the only restored flying B-24j in the world and is owned by the Collings foundation. Read more about it at

Fishing Convoy


Can anyone guess what I absolutely hate about this image?  It is the obnoxious reflective vests that were given out to Amish children recently after some Penn State extension agent decided they needed to wear these to be safe. As far as I am concerned, if you cannot see a person at the side of the road in the daytime without one of these vests on,then maybe you should not be driving. What used to make wonderful images of local culture, has now become an eyesore in neon yellow. I wish some people would keep their noses out of other people’s business and stop trying to fix problems that never existed. It surprises me a little that a culture that likes to stay low-key actually accepted the idea of wearing these things. Certainly I want them to be safe, but I truly can’t remember any problems before the vests were introduced.

The Last Airbender


Well I found out a tiny bit more about this machine since yesterdays post. It supposedly is built around a real Tucker SnoCat from years ago,actually moves and was a prop in the movie The Last Airbender. I never saw the movie but my wife claims to have seen it,and yet most of what I find on the net shows an animated movie and she claims it was a regular movie. Anyway it is supposedly a part of the fire nation military in that movie, and if you want to buy it, I can hook you up with the owner who is currently asking $13,000. This image was shot in infrared to add a little extra drama. It would make a cool lawn decoration if you had a huge estate. The owner told me he has more neat stuff of a similar nature if I want to check them out sometime,which I hope will happen.

The Book Of Eli


I recently spotted this crazy machine as I traversed the countryside and I just had to stop and shoot it. At this point I cannot determine if it was originally a real machine, or more likely the creation of some futuristic artist? My title as crazy as it is,refers to the movie starring Denzel Washington that takes place in a post apocalyptic world,and as soon as I saw this thing, it reminded me that it would have fit in this movie perfectly. I hope to return to it and try some light painting to see what I can do with it and hopefully find out more about it as well. If you get a chance, rent the movie and see if you agree. All it needs is a flame thrower shooting out the front and I could name it scorched earth. Might be a good subject to try my burning steel wool on?

A Little Ingenuity





No matter how many times I travel the back roads in Amish country, I am constantly amazed how many strange things I come across. This teen had jury rigged a wagon and small engine to make his own motorized transportation. He drove this thing several miles across the country while cars passed him left and right. He probably has a plow for it in the winter.




Work,then Play

amish-tractor-scooterCaptured this Amish youth heading down the road on a tractor and upon closer examination,you can see he is hauling his transportation with him on the back. The two-wheeled scooter is the transportation of choice for Amish youth,as bikes are frowned upon. Last year I spoke to an Amish guy who I noticed coming up a hill at a rather fast pace,and it puzzled me how he was doing it? Turns out he had an electric motor added and it was all hidden on the frame. It intrigued me enough to think about buying one since he said it ran about $400 for everything. Well in the year since he got his,price went up to near a $1000 so I will stick with the bike for now.

The Barnyard Bully



This rooster might think he is the boss of this barnyard but it wont be long till this pint-sized donkey grows up and kicks him to the curb. The rooster looks like he is ready for a fight the way he is strutting. If only he would have hopped on his back for a ride.


Lip Service


I did not even know I had captured this image till I was at home on the computer. I fired a sequence off and he did this right in the middle.Not sure if it is a comment on my skills or what but I had to post his funny moment.

Glistening Terrain

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These two images were shot on the same evening,so I figured I would share them together. Heavy rains were punctuated by brief times of no rain,which kept the roads glistening and a bit reflective,which I used to my advantage in getting the shots. I actually went out for lightning,but it did not flash once all evening.One trick I use when leaving my tripod and camera set up in rainy weather is to put my trucks rubber floor mat over the gear to keep it from getting wet. That works in all but the rainiest or windiest times.