Here Comes The Sun


This image really came to life after the sun peaked over the horizon and sidelit this winter farm scene.I really hoped a buggy would come out the lane but no such luck on this day. Two days after this was taken,the temperature climbed to sixty-five degrees and all the snow disappeared.

The Historic Smithton

smithton-snowy-night smitty


Todays photo of the day features the Historic Smithton Inn located in Ephrata ,Pa. Innkeepers Dave and Rebecca Gallagher have painstakingly restored this beautiful property and it now functions as a highly rated B&B welcoming guests from all over the world who are visiting quaint Lancaster County. This year marked the 250th anniversary of the inn and the owners have hosted many events over the past year,which have benefitted many charities. Of all the folks I have worked with doing photos,Rebecca has been one of the most appreciative,which makes my efforts easier. I probably spent close to three hours bringing this image to completion and it included dozens of images.

The middle image is the starting point with no light added and the top image is after adding light from various angles. If you notice,the lamps were not lit when I got there,so I used a spotlight to light them and the ground below them.Most other areas were lit by flash.Take special note of the unique three-dimensional design on the wall shown up close in the bottom photo. I have no idea how that was done,but it is very unique.

The Chocolatiers Imagination


Lititz Pa earned the distinct honor of being named Americas Coolest Small Town this year, and there are a variety of reasons for this accolade. From the small town charm, to the businesses that are an integral part of the community, to the residents that take pride in their town, lititz is one unique place that beckons visitors to return over and over.One of the attractions that draws visitors to Lititz is Wilbur Chocolate,which is famous for Wilbur Buds as well as countless other confectionary delights. The amazing display shown above is thanks to the creative genius of Chocolatier Kathy Blankenbiller of Wilbur Chocolate. Kathy spent countless hours making this masterpiece of nursery rhyme characters for the annual Lititz Chocolate Walk held on Columbus day weekend. It is currently on display in the Wilbur chocolate store,and is showcased against a backdrop of antique chocolate making items.

Kathy says the entire thing is edible and includes modeling chocolate,royal icing,licorice,Rice Krispie treats and more,and depicts at least 13 nursery rhymes plus a few jokes thrown in.I saw the dazzling display when visiting the store and inquired if I might record the masterpiece and the fine folks at Wilbur were very accommodating in allowing me to undertake this project.I cant wait to see what next years creation might be,but you can bet with attention to detail like this piece exhibits,it will be inspiring.

Merry Christmas



This nativity is located on the square in the town of Lititz,PA, and a few years ago someone complained and the ACLU got involved trying to ban the display. Thankfully the land is owned by the Church and the ACLU and its misguided agenda were sent packing. Wishing all my loyal blog followers a Merry Christmas.

The Lane Home



This snow-covered stone wall frames the lane leading in to this rural home. I looked out my bedroom window in the early pre-dawn light and had an inclination the sunrise would be good,so I bundled up and headed out in search of a scene to capture. I passed this place,hit the brakes and backed up to capture the gorgeous light on the landscape.

Dawn in a Winter Wonderland


Todays post features a lovely older home that is owned by someone I know and it always seems to have such an inviting charm that beckons you to stop and sit on the wrap around porch and watch the world go by. The man of the house puts the lights up and then the lady of the house adds her special decorating touches to bring it all together and finally mother nature throws a dash of snow to complete the picture. This was actually pretty challenging to shoot because the house sits on a steep hill,so I set my tripod up on my truck roof,which gave me about ten feet of elevation to help get parallel.

Gingerbread Creation



Every year the folks at RLPS Architects in Lancaster,Pa create an amazing themed gingerbread display for the public to enjoy. This year the theme was Italian Ice and this is one of a few images I was lucky enough to be able to shoot. You can’t take all the detail in on one visit because it is amazingly detailed and took 2000 hours to complete.Make sure you visit lefever photo under my artists that inspire tab. He is the primary photographer for this creation and most certainly will have amazing images.

An Illuminating Path



Lanterns mark the path for guests on their way to hear a chorus sing at the Historic Ephrata Cloister. Thankfully, snow had fallen the day of this event and made a perfect setting for the glowing candles in these lanterns.

Home for the Holidays



This lovely scene was one I captured last weekend as I drove home in some rather treacherous  wintry conditions, but they were not bad enough to stop me from shooting this Currier and Ives picture postcard type scene. It was actually half snowing and sleeting the whole time and thankfully I had an umbrella clamped to my tripod to protect the camera somewhat. I have great memories of gathering with the family during the holidays and going to grandma and grandpa’s house to savor all the treats that only grandma seemed to be able to make. From sand tart cookies that melted in your mouth to glazed carrots that were a perennial favorite with the whole family,oh how we all long for the good old days. below are the beginning lyrics to two classic holiday tunes that you can sing to yourself as you imagine curling up by the fireplace in this classic home on a frigid night.

Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays,
‘Cause no matter how far away you roam,
When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze,
For the holidays, you can’t beat home, sweet home.
or this lyric from the song sleigh ride

There’s a happy feeling
Nothing in the world can buy,
When they pass around the coffee
And the pumpkin pie,
It’ll nearly be like a picture print
By Currier and Ives,
These wonderful things are the things
We remember all through our lives!


Glaze of Ice


Icy-snow-tree-sunsetOpportunities like this don’t come along very often because freezing rain on top of snow is not that commonplace. The glistening coating makes for a lovely canvas for light to reflect and shimmer across the surface. I had plans for a cool shot after sunset but the sun disappeared behind a cloud bank shortly after this image. A light snow also came last night which has ruined the chance for more images like this but I have no complaints because we finally are having a winter with snow again.


A Warm Respite




This image is from this weekend and features the amazingly beautiful St Luke’s Church in Lebanon ,Pa.  You would never know it from this photo,but there was a raging snowstorm dropping lots of snow all around me. This side entrance gave me a little cover while I was shooting but I had to continually clean snow off my lens and laptop the entire time. The ride home was about twenty miles and more than once I had to slow to a crawl just to see the road in front with the white out conditions.

The entire entrance,including the lantern were lit using my deer spotlight and without the lit shining,I felt it would not have the warmth I was after. This image took me about 40 minutes to do and I hope to be able to photograph the sanctuary as well,which is stunning. I used a 17 mm to get this wide view but could have used even wider if I had it,plus I lost a little angle when I corrected for the tilt. They sure don’t build them like this anymore. The bottom image shows the general conditions I saw when I began photographing the scene.

Hoar Frost Coating


As I mentioned the other day,this is what I left the house to seek out before dawn the other day. It is called hoar-frost and it is not snow but ice that accumulates on cold objects when the conditions are just right. Two days in a row the temperatures were in the single digits and one day it was all over the place and the next there was not even a single tree to be found with it. I have heard it referred to as radiation frost as well. Usually appears near streams or creeks in my experience.

A Degree of Beauty



forest-hills-churchSometimes I head out to photograph one thing and end up seeing something totally different that intrigues me. Such was the case a few days ago when I headed out in search of hoar-frost on trees near streams,but instead found this lovely set of three trees adorned for Christmas near a local church. Brutal cold had the region all set for a hoar-frost appearance and I did get a few images later this morning of that but this scene was beckoning to be captured first.


I left the house at 5am with the temperature registering 12 degrees,and as I headed across the landscape I watched the temperature go from 12 to 7 to 4 and bottom out at 1 degree.Even with hand warmers I still found my hands hurting pretty bad a few times. Often I will go glove less to operate the camera better and merely touching metal for a few seconds drains the heat out of you.

I have always enjoyed intense cold that makes you appreciate summer more and being prepared helps insure you get your shots and stay safe. The same morning this was taken,I actually saw an elementary age kid walking to school in shorts and short sleeves,and the temperature in my truck read 18 degrees. Common sense is not so common apparently.




History Awaits


This image taken at dusk features the historic Ephrata Cloister. It is a National Historic Landmark and looks even more special in a fresh blanket of white. Snow came fast and hard during the day,but clearing skies in the evening provided a perfect backdrop.


Fishing Village Christmas


I photographed this lovely New England scene along the coast in Rockport Massachusetts. The Christmas tree in the window looks great above the collection of buoys outside and once evening came,I was able to paint the scene with a flashlight to bring it to life. The owners were very accommodating in allowing us to shoot it.The only way this might be better is if it was covered in fresh snow..

Winter Wonderland



A fresh snow blankets the sleepy little village of Lititz,Pa on a quiet night. These poor snowman and santa are trapped behind glass and wish they could get out to frolic in this winter wonderland.

Dashing Through The Snow


Finally found some time to visit Lititz,Pa again to capture some more shop scenes in the downtown area. The first scene that caught my eye was this set of reindeer,complete with illuminated red noses and a sleigh with christmas packages behind them. I had to rush a bit because they put the reindeer away at closing time,which is just the time the light gets good. A few pops of the flash added a bit of interest to bring the scene to life. This was shot saturday and then it snowed on sunday,which would have added to the shot but this turned out pretty good despite no snow.