This little scene played out at the mud sale and thankfully I was ready to capture it. The six little Amish girls in the foreground were talking and eating candy when all of a sudden they spontaneously wrapped their arms around each other and gave a big group hug. It only lasted a few moments but it was so special to be witness to youngsters caring for each other.
Monthly Archives: March 2015
This passing buggy reminded of the steampunk creations that many people make from industrial items.The mechanical item on the buggy looked like it was some sort of turbo charged addition to make the buggy faster. Steampunk is a fictional genre that combines science fiction and fantasy and people create things that look like real items from an imaginary Victorian era.
Farm and Home
Going Four Wheeling
Are You Pulling?
This is one of many images that I will be sharing from recent mud sales in my area. The first mud sale I went to was of epic proportions this year as rain fell most of the day on an already soaked ground from winter snow melt. The mud was up to a foot deep in some places and I saw more than one Amish gentleman walk right out of his muck boots as they stuck fast. These two guys are moving a purchased buggy through the mud and it appears if they wonder if the other guy is helping? A mud sale is an auction held in spring and is usually muddy because of spring weather.
This early morning scene complete with hoar-frost on the trees and the moon setting in the background was one that made getting up at 5am worth the effort. I lit everything with my flash and I was pushing the distance envelope with my wireless setup as I fired the camera to trigger my flash as I stood near the house. Sometimes moisture in the air seems to affect wireless transfer of the images to my tablet,which I need to see to tell if I am lighting things properly.I backlit the icy tree to highlight the hoar-frost and blasting the flash at full power on the house gave a good reflection in the water.
Heavy Hoar Frost
This flooded scene was captured a week or two ago after snow melt and heavy rain caused flooding.The spot I am standing in is actually a loading dock area and because I had hip boots on I was able to get the shot.I was standing in about three feet of water that was about two inches from top of my boots.There is a road going between where I am and the building across the way and the water was moving around me, thankfully very slowly.
Relax,Winter is Finished
The Cleaver Residence
This cozy home reminds me of the television show Leave it to Beaver and even though the style is different,it has a certain character to it that reminds me of small town life for some reason.I thought it looked like a good place to stay warm by the fireplace on a cold winters day after sledding with Wally,”Beaver” and good old Eddie Haskell.I snapped one view straight on and one looking up the street.If only a horse-drawn sleigh would be passing yet to round out the dream.
Check Your Watch
I went out the other weekend looking for snow images and ended up in Amish country.I decided to set up on this hill because the sidelight was nice on the plowed snow and the farms were lit nicely. Amish usually head to church between 8am and 845 and since I was setup at 750,I figured I had a good hour plus to get lucky and have a buggy go by.After sitting about 25 minutes,I decided to call home and check in but as my phone came on I noticed it said it was 915.Suddenly I realized it was daylight savings time and all the buggies had long passed by here. I sat in disgust thinking you can pack up when I hear a lone buggy coming, and much to my surprise he heads to the farm at the bottom of this hill. I have very rarely seen them out that late but maybe he forgot to change his clock too,but either way it completed the composition I was after.If you noticed the snowball on the road,that is my marker so I know when the subject gets to that point they will be in my frame and I can hit the remote to start snapping.
The Cottage Awaits
This set of images were taken during the last winter storm of the season,and I shot these around nine thirty at night. The long exposure recorded some color in the night sky which surprised me but it helped complete the images. Usually storms like this don’t hang around long but the snow hung on trees for about two days,which gave me ample time to capture some nice images. This quaint home with its red door,lovely architecture and snow-covered fence made the perfect subject on this rather still winter night. The view of the front required me to light the snow with flash to overwhelm a very bright street light that was casting a terrible shadow across the snow. The bottom photo includes a trellis with a lantern and that is what originally caught my eye as I was driving by because of the warm light against the cold blue of the snow.
The Path Home
Photography can be a very satisfying endeavor when you express your creativity and bring a subject to life such as this image.This was the last real snowstorm for this winter and I always liked this home for its unique charm so when I saw the faint form of the snow-covered steps as I drove by,it set the wheels in motion to ask if I could try a shot. The owner gladly obliged and I set off to light the scene as I envisioned it. This shot ranks right up there among my favorites for this winters shooting and compositionally everything works in harmony. There always seems to be a twist to my endeavors and after I knew I had captured the un-tracked snow,I headed up into the yard to begin lighting the house,when all of a sudden I hear a guy say in a rather gruff manner-who are you?, to which I shot back who are you? He says it’s not my property and wants to know what am I doing in the yard? I tell him I have permission and then his demeanor becomes a little more amenable. He tells me he is just looking out for his neighbors,which is understandable.
From Sunrise to Sunset
This is one of those scenes that makes me want to go back over and over again because of the unique situation and the possibilities it presents. I started the day many miles away trying for a sunrise shot and when that fizzled out,I just started driving and looking and this scene caught my eye as I drove by. The sun was just starting to illuminate the farm in the bottom photo at sunrise and the ice was reflecting the color nicely. We recently had heavy rain and snow melt which filled this farm field that is usually dry. After thinking about the image all day I decided to return for a go at sunset.
The top image was captured at sunset as I stood in freezing water in my hip waders for almost 30-45 minutes. My friend was along and he bailed after 15 minutes but I knew what I wanted and that required waiting.The reason I had to wait is because I love when buildings are lit inside and have the lived in feel,and the lights from the windows would not start to record till it was pretty dark. I learned on this shoot that even if your eye can’t detect there are lights on,your camera can,and as I was shooting this the two brightest windows were clearly lit but as I stood in the water I kept thinking I wish they would turn more room lights on. well as my exposures started to get into the 30 to 60 second range,I started seeing there were actually lights on in other rooms but it took the long exposures to pick them up. As I finished in the dark and had to walk through the foot deep water, I kept thinking I hope there are not any huge holes I can’t see that are more like three feet deep.
Each image has its own unique qualities from the frozen reflection to the melted one later in the day,and although I really like both images, I would pick the sunset one with the lights on as my favorite. The sky light up to the left of the top image as sunset was unfolding and the color this night was unbelievable but it was way out of my frame and I was already committed to this image,so I just stood there in awe of the display.
Winter Triple Threat
Another view of the country property I shot recently and by triple threat I meant within the image there is snow,ice and even hoarfrost on the trees. The hoar-frost can happen on bitter cold nights were wind is non-existent and the right combination of moisture in the air along with cold forms a sort of frost effect on trees and other objects. For anyone making mental notes on improving your own photos I want to point out that choosing the right angle or vantage point can make or break a shot.In this image I lowered my tripod till the icicles on the split rail fence were exactly against the dark pond area,and being lazy and just snapping a quick shot would have put them against the white snow and you never would have seen them.The funny thing on this shot is the icicles were only on this one rail and the fence was a couple hundred yards long.
Dawn at the Ranch
This unexpected find features the full moon setting just before sunrise last week.This log cabin sits right along a back road, and I walked out in the field across the street to use my 70-200 to help magnify the moon. Wish I had brought a longer lens but honestly it was so cold I am not sure I would have felt like walking another hundred yards out. Shooting the full moon requires doing so at just the right time or you run the risk of having an overexposed moon or underexposed foreground.This was shot minutes before sunrise so the ambient light was getting stronger. This is not really a ranch but reminded me of something from Colorado or Wyoming.
Seize the Moment
Sometimes I just do not know when to call it a night when I go out shooting,and sometimes my persistence pays off thanks to that effort. Take this shot as an example that was captured after dark on a road that was closed due to flooding.My friend and I went out for sunset and recent snow melt and heavy rain had several roads closed which we used to our advantage to shoot scenes without any cars bothering us.Anyway,I dropped him off after sunset and as I headed home,I decided to look at this flooded farm in the dark. I liked the way the house reflected in the flowing water and since the road was barricaded,I figured no one would be driving by.
I set up my tripod in about 6 inches of moving water and to be honest it was a bit intimidating standing in moving water and the width of the flow was about 3o feet or so.So first I captured long exposures for the sky, etc and then had to walk back and forth across the flooded road to light the barn and house.The biggest problem I had was cars that decided to try crossing the water and since I was standing there in the dark,I had to signal them to slow down,one for their own safety and two,so my camera would not get hit by a tidal wave.
To finish the story I will tell you I had every intention of getting a sunrise shot here with the barn reflection the next morning and seeing the water in the field was at least two feet deep when I shot this,I figured it was going to be amazing.Got there an hour before sunrise,realized there was not a drop of water left in the field and to add to my dismay,there were four pickup trucks parked along the farm fence on the left,so thanks to my diligence the night before I was able to seize the moment. the lower photo shows the scene as it was as I was shooting it and you can see how being around the water might have my senses keenly alert.The water was not flowing in such a volume that it could have swept me away,but if I would have slipped,I would have gotten real soaked for sure.
Click then Face plant
This is one of the first shots I took after the snowstorm ended last week. This is a pretty busy road so I hand-held this to avoid getting run over.There is a beautiful old home on my left and an equally gorgeous barn behind me on the right and the road divides the two parts of the property. The red barn on the right is part of the property but the one in the distance is not.My title describes my experience here as I finished shooting this shot,I turned and started walking along the barns fence and did not realize there was a large trough buried in the snow,and it tripped me sending me face forward with camera in hand into two feet of snow.The camera was completely encased in snow and the lens hood had 5 inches of snow packed in it. thank goodness I had a filter protecting the front element on the lens.
Just Beyond The Fence
Memories of School Days
This set of images are from the same location,with the top view featuring the front of this private home and the second image of the pines and farm at sunset is the view out the back yard. I originally stopped to ask if I could shoot the view of the farm but then thought maybe I could do a neat shot of the house as well. At one time the main stone building was located about a mile away and was called the Bethany one room school which was built in 1858. The current owners saved the old structure by dismantling it and having it rebuilt piece by piece at this picturesque location. The bell on the roof adds a nice touch and thanks to the cooperation of the owners allowing me to go in their home to shine a light out the window,I was able to accomplish the lighting I had pre-visualized to get the shot here. I took this set of images this past weekend and the snow is practically gone at this point.
This Amish buggy heads down the road enjoying the beauty of a late winter storm.This storm dropped between 8 and 12 inches of snow,which laid on trees for almost two full days thanks to very light winds. I set up my tripod along the side of the road and waited for buggies to pass as they headed to the seasons first mud sale,and I chose this spot because of the gorgeous background. If you look real close you can see the added bonus of the little girl standing up front in the buggy to enjoy the snowy view,and sometimes the simplest things are the most memorable.
End of the Ice Age
I was lucky enough to get permission to shoot some photos on this amazing property that has lots of lamp posts.old buildings and a great layout and I will be sharing several in the days ahead. I decided on my title after going here for a second day and being very disappointed when I got there at sunrise only to find all the icicles were no longer hanging like they were the day before. I went on saturday to photograph here and saw this view after the sun came up,so thankfully I captured it or I would be very upset. We have had bitter cold for weeks and these must have slowly been forming for a while,but yesterdays warm up must have caused them to fall because they were all neatly piercing the snow on the ground sunday as I stood in shock at their demise.
Sometimes I see photos and then think about them afterwards and this shot had me wondering what I could do with it using my light painting technique before dawn but that will be for my imagination I guess. If someone had bet me they would be gone in a day,I would have taken that bet. I did a similar shot sunday morning at daybreak with the lampposts glowing and that should be a winner I hope. Now that we got a good snow I am ready to welcome spring with open arms and the coming week is supposed to average around 40 degrees,so the snow will be fading fast.
A few days ago I commented about wanting some more snow this year yet, and lo and behold we got a significant storm that left the region in a glorious coat of white. I shot more beautiful snow scenes in the last two days than all winter before that point. The night it snowed I was out shooting till almost ten at night in a landscape with literally no cars out and about, and then before and after work hoping to get as much captured before it melts. The scene shown here was yesterday morning when the temperature in my truck displayed -6 as I left at 5am to seek out images. The image above was shot later in the morning when it warmed slightly and this shot was captured as I was ready to give up for the morning.
I found this sweeping vista with the road curving into the distance and I had seen a lot of buggies heading to the seasons first mud sale, which is basically an auction held in the spring by various fire companies and the local Amish attend in large numbers. It is called a mud sale because the ground is usually a sloppy mess when they are held,so anyway back to the photo.I set up here with the hope a buggy would pass by and because this location is many miles from the sale I had no idea if a buggy would even be on this road? After 20 minutes of standing in the snow,I gave myself a three-minute countdown to leave and just as I did that I heard the clip clop sound in the distance. I basically looked through the lens and waited for the buggies arrival in the scene and was really excited when I saw the young lad being pulled behind on his wagon. He was probably going to be a runner at the sale and runners help the buyers haul their goodies to their cars which often times are a mile or more away from the sale site due to parking craziness in the country. He seemed to not mind the bitter cold ride and if you look closely you can see someone inside the buggy peeking out the back to either look at me or talk to him. Hopefully I can get to the new images to share before the tulips are blooming,so stay tuned.
Reflecting on Winter
This less than spectacular shot was taken on my way home the other night and the wet road reflecting the color in the sky is what caught my eye at first.As I climbed out of my truck,I heard a buggy coming and figured I would silhouette him in the bright section of the road.The setting sun was still shining on the barn,which contrasted with the cold snow.This has been a rather cold winter with the average temperature for february being 9 degrees but I still would have liked to see more significant snow storms for photos. My hope is the extreme cold somehow killed all the stink bugs waiting in my shed but from what I have read they are pretty good at surviving bitter cold.
Shine Your Light
Dawn arrives to silhouette these trees against the morning sky.The sun rose way to my right so I tried using my flashlight to replace the sun and it actually worked.I used my tablet to fire my camera and look at the shot and then simply moved till I was in the right spot.This is one powerful little flashlight.