I photographed this cemetery scene last evening as the sun set on another cold day. This shot was only possible by shooting two exposures because the flare was too overbearing,so I blocked the top half with my hand as I captured a flare free bottom of the shot, and then I had to wait till the sun was right on the horizon to get the second part of the shot. The only thing that is less than perfect is the fact that the sun set to the right of where it was when it cast the shadows,and unfortunately there were little if any shadows when it got low enough to capture it properly,so I had to use the two images I did.
This is a stream located along a quiet country road in Lancaster County,and it includes a farm at the end of the stream and several majestic old trees. This is not the first time I have attempted to photograph this lovely setting but it is the first time I had the opportunity to use my new flashlight to add some interesting light to help accentuate the lay of the land. One reason this spot appeals to me is because the trees are against the clear horizon,so they stand out nicely and do not blend in with the land. It was around 4 degrees when I photographed this,which took close to an hour or more to capture.One thing that puzzles me is how the temperature actual drops after sunrise on days like this. It was 11 degrees when I left home and after the sun came up,it dropped to 4 so go figure. I photographed the farm located beside this stream the night before and that image is awesome but the owners asked me not to post that,so I agreed not to show it here unfortunately.
This pair of Amish sleigh riders are zipping down the road in rural Lancaster county on a day that saw temperatures hover around five degrees. Judging by the fact that you can only see their eyes,its safe to assume it was a bit brisk in the old red sleigh.Next time you complain about your car not heating up quickly enough in winter,think of these two.
I headed out to a local cemetery to try some light painting this past weekend and once again temperatures in the single digits tested my dedication to the craft. The sunset was nice and the colorful sky in this image is part light from sunset and the city nearby,which gave a neat effect. I used my nitecor flashlight to illuminate the chapel,trees,snow and tombstones. I always am on my toes when I am alone in places like this because I have seen homeless sleeping here,but not with the temperatures we have right now. I was also worried the gate might be closed when I went to leave but thankfully that was not the case.
This telephoto shot compressed the distance between the one room school-house in the middle and two Amish farms in the background. I find it humorous how modern schools have closed several times due to low temperatures,yet Amish kids still walk to school and attend on the days public schools are closed. I spoke to an Amish friend and he told me ”we love our children just as much,we just don’t think they need to be sheltered from every adversity”. Some people wonder how the Amish can live without all the modern gadgets,yet they have things many can only dream of,like contentment, humility and the list goes on and on. Imagine sitting in the outhouse at that school in minus 10 degree weather,and you can bet you would take care of business in a timely fashion.
We have been bouncing back and forth between temperatures than can reach 40 one day and then plummet to single digits the next,and while I like a good hard winter,it has been a little painful going out shooting lately. On this day I left the house at five in the morning and the temp was a whopping 1 degree,but as the morning progressed and winds picked up, the wind chill went to minus 18,and there were several times I could not feel my fingers as I controlled the camera from my tablet.I wore gloves with hand warmers,but changing camera settings is a bit tough with thick gloves,so they came off at times and that proved very painful and I could see my finger touch the tablet screen but could not feel it.Being near water did not particularly help keep me warm either but memories like that get etched in your brain for posterity and every time I look at this image,I will be transported back in time to feel all the cold again.
Imagine waking up and sitting out at this table to drink your morning coffee. A creek flowing at the bottom of the hill and farms in the valley create a vista that just melts your cares away. Might be a little nippy on mornings like this,but maybe you could substitute hot chocolate for coffee. The owners claim they regularly see eagles,osprey and herons who fish the waters.
For some reason I like to photograph old items from the past and when I do,I get to wondering about the history behind them. I found this old rusty tow truck for sale in a parking lot and it clearly had seen some mileage,but with a little searching on the net for the name emblazoned on the door,I did find the truck was originally owned by a gentleman named Edward Graf who had his own garage and was a certified mechanic. He was a life member of a fire company and from what I found at least one son has followed in that proud tradition and that’s why my title was aptly picked. This truck certainly came to the rescue of many motorists over the years and that ties in with serving in the fire company as well. I light painted the truck with my flashlight.
This serene scene is located along a dirt road that is part of a state wildlife preserve in our area. Both myself and a good friend were snapping a few photos during the last week of december here during this snowstorm and tragically about four days later two young men murdered a young woman less than a half mile from this spot. They knew her and for reasons unknown they not only repeatedly stabbed her but poured gas on her and burned her too. Then to top it off,they came back at a later date and burned her again to hide any evidence. A very strange incident happened when we were here,as we were packing up,a vehicle passes and we start up the road behind them and as we crest a hill,the one guy is out of the vehicle throwing a live rooster into the woods and then they take off. It was the most bazaar thing but since it was days before,we figured it had no relation to the crime.
This is another image from the sanctuary at St Luke’s Church. It highlights The Eagle lectern which was made by J. & R. Lamb of New York. It is made of polished bronze and stands about six feet high from the pavement to the Eagle’s beak. It rests on a heavy bluish marble cross at its feet, laid horizontally on the pavement. The bronze shaft rises from the middle of the cross and is rectangular with chamfered angles. At the summit of the columns, the shaft swells into a large knop with four faces on which appear the four emblems of the Evangelists in raised medallions. The cylindrical shaft above the knop is encircled by four angels, each above his own medallion, and holding scrolls bearing the names of the Evangelists. The eagle stands about 20 inches in height and 2 1/2 feet across the back and wings. On the extended wings of the eagle is the book rest to hold the Bible. This lectern is the second largest in the country, the only larger one being in Trinity Episcopal Church, New York.
the following was supplied by the church historian concerning who actually donated this amazing piece to the church.
The inscription on the lectern is “In memoriam my husband Wm. Coleman who died May 24, 1861.”
Many in Lebanon County know the Coleman family as the first family of Lebanon. Owners of the Cornwall Iron Mine, the largest iron ore deposit east of Minnesota and the nation’s primary source of iron in the early 19th century, since 1798, they also build iron furnaces in Cornwall, Colebrook, Lebanon, and other locations. William Coleman was one of the principle heirs in the first half of the 19th century. He married a Southern belle, Sue Ellen Habersham from Savannah, before the Civil War. They had 2 children before he died at a young age in 1861, Robert Habersham and Anne. Sue Ellen remained a dominant force at St. Luke’s and in Lebanon County for 30 years after William’s death (http://www.lebcounty.org/Womens_Commission/Documents/Womens_History/Coleman_Women_LCCWrev.pdf). William was the driving force behind the construction of Old St. Luke’s in 1862-3.
When Robert came of age, he and his sister (obviously with the encouragement of their mother) built the current church in 1879-1880 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Habersham_Coleman). The entire church is their memorial, although Anne also donated the angel mosaic on the south wall. The lectern was given in honor of William Coleman by his widow when the church was built.It apparently was modeled after the lectern in the previous building of St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City, Mrs. Coleman’s church when she was at her New York residence, although eagle lecterns are common in Anglican and Episcopal churches). If you don’t know the tragic story of Robert and his first wife Lilly and his fall from eminence in the Panic of 1893, there are several books about it that make interesting reading
I walked out of the house yesterday morning to go get a fog shot and almost fell on my back on a frozen sidewalk. Turns out the area was covered in what was referred to as frozen fog. Supposedly a rare weather occurrence that included roads covered in black ice. I shot this image using my nitecor flashlight
This lovely farm sells Christmas trees and they were generous enough to allow me and a friend to capture a few images.We arrived under heavy cloud cover but within a few minutes the sky started to open and I captured this shot as the first rays of sun illuminated the house and barn but still left the trees in shadow.
A single leaf is locked in pond ice and is split in half as the ice shifts.Temperatures that went as low as three below froze this pond in two days and forecasts calling for temps near fifty will see a thaw in the coming week.
Another Christmas has come and gone and my wife was busy tearing the tree down last week and I noticed this assortment stacked in a basket waiting to be wrapped up. We had two trees this year and these were from the cool tree. Our other tree has lots of red and gold glass ornaments which are my favorites,but the blues look nice too.I lit these in a dark room with a small flashlight from various angles.
I photographed this snow-covered scene yesterday on a back road in Amish country and it includes numerous buggies and a few walkers as they head to church at one of the farms up the road. There is actually four buggies rounding the bend but they are hard to see in the distance. I really liked the youngster bundled in the green blanket and his sister wearing the bright yellow scarf. It was 16 degrees when I snapped this image,which was made possible by using my camranger from inside my warm truck to fire the tripod mounted camera on my vehicle roof. I had no intention of going out at sunrise because freezing rain was forecast,but as I looked out my bedroom at 5am,I could see stars,so I headed out.Clouds quickly moved in to ruin sunrise and this was shot at iso 1000,which I hate to do,but it was necessary to get a 500th second shutter speed. Was really pleased I Made the effort.
This is an exterior shot I did at the church I posted yesterday. I actually drove many miles in a raging snowstorm to shoot on this particular evening and it was quite an undertaking shooting in heavy blowing snow. I used an umbrella as best as I could but the camera was rather wet till I finished. Driving home was a nightmare and even seeing the road was pretty tricky at times. Still nothing ventured,nothing gained.
This church sanctuary is perhaps the most elaborate undertaking I have ever decided to capture photographically. I first drove past the church on a trip and I was so impressed with the exterior,I decided to inquire if I could possibly see the inside and make an attempt to capture its grandeur? The church secretary coordinated my visit to allow ample time to shoot uninterrupted one afternoon and with the help of my good friend Morrie, I was able to pull it off. When people say it’s a small world,I now believe it because halfway through the shoot,the Rector comes in to say hi and I told him where I was from,and after some more conversation we both realize he was the pastor who had officiated my wedding almost twenty-five years ago.
This has to be the most beautiful church I have ever been in and the details are just amazing. From the arched walls to the wood ceiling to the stained glass and lights,everything reminds you of a time when things were built with great pride and workmanship and I feel blessed to be given the opportunity to capture it. The church is St Luke’s in Lebanon,Pa and for those interested in photography,I lit it using available light along with a tiny monster flashlight from Nitecor that really puts out the light in a small package. The light helped me bring out the roof detail among other areas in deep shadow.I also used my newly purchased wi-fi device called the camranger,which hooks to your camera and sends wireless images to a tablet,so I can now walk around lighting things while seeing the result right on my tablet in my hand and never needing to go look at the shot on the camera or laptop. You can change shutter speed and practically everything else on your camera remotely.
I was wrapping up the photo session and several times during the shoot I mentioned how I wish we could light the candles that were set up for Christmas,and literally a minute before I was ready to tear down the tripod, the organist comes in and nonchalantly says would you like the candles lit? I said absolutely and that extra touch just added to the shot.