The Pharmacy

ephrata-royers-pharmacy

ephrata-royers-sign

This local pharmacy has been an anchor in the local business community for years and since I was doing a little photo series on shops in the town, I felt it was a definite choice for photographing. I went inside to see if they would like a shot done and I asked if I could add some garland above the one sign to give it a little more seasonal feel? They said certainly,and I set out to capture the top image on a very nice December evening. I really wanted to do a shot of the entrance as well because it has this neat old curved metal sign that been there since the 1930s and has eye-catching orange lighting behind it. The employees were all very helpful and I was told the sign could be set to stay illuminated all night so it was ready to shoot at dawn the next morning and they would also leave a few inside lights on as well to look like they were open, and as we were talking the pharmacist said yeah the weather looks like it will cooperate as well. I went to bed thinking how I was going to do the shot and when I woke to my alarm at 530am, it was pouring outside. I knew it was going to be a treat trying to get this in the pouring rain and the following describes the ordeal.

I brought an 8 ft ladder, and on the top of it I thread a steel pipe that goes up another 6 feet and then I mount my camera anywhere I want along the 6ft pipe. I recently bought some inexpensive plastic camera bags that are made specifically to protect your camera and lens while shooting in the rain and that is how I started the shoot but I noticed the image on my tablet had rain drops on it and realized the rain was blowing onto the front of my lens, so I now had to strap my umbrella to the steel post as well to keep the front dry.Now the thing about this whole angle you don’t realize, is that there is only ten feet from the pharmacy door to the street behind me and my ladder is literally sitting on the very edge of the curb as far as it can go. So my camera is about 12 feet off the ground with an umbrella strapped tight above it and on top of that I must climb the ladder,try to compose and focus at that height and not fall to the ground,all in the pouring rain. This was shot with my widest angle,which is a 17mm and it was just able to get the composition with the decorated street light and the sign. It is a minor miracle this even turned out because even with the umbrella,it was still getting rain on the lens occasionally which meant I had to climb the ladder,dry the lens off and pray that I did not shift anything while doing all of that.To my surprise all images were in register from the shoot.I love rain and the reflections it provides but I still have not come up with a foolproof rain shooting strategy. The sign also posed serious challenges because it picks up every reflection of light,color etc and the blue light from early morning was what I liked in the end. I tried lighting the letters with my flash but I found out chrome doesn’t play nice with flash and there were very few angles that the added flash looked decent on,so in the end I just waited till the ambient light matched the sign light and was as balanced as possible.

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6 responses to “The Pharmacy

  1. I LOVE your photographs!!! As soon as I opened this email, I recognized Royers as the drug store down in Ephrata. I love that city when my kids were young and we would spend an afternoon shopping down there. I used to live in Muhlenberg Township, north of Reading, but enjoyed visiting all the cities including LItitz. Lancaster County has so many memorable stops! Just thought f it, did you ever shoot at Green Dragon?

    I live in Florida for the past twenty years, so really appreciate y our photos bringing me such good memeiries! I love the vivid colors in your works! YOu spend a lot of time preparing for these shoots but it shows! Thanks for sharing!

  2. WOW! What great photos of our amazing down town pharmacy. What a great job you have done again. Hope you and your family had a very Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year !

  3. Wow! I love that you so often describe the process you go through to get these beautiful shots! I would have had no idea of all the effort that’s involved when I admire these photos, and it’s so interesting to get all your stories behind the scenes. That’s one reason I always read your blog; not only are the photos just beautiful, but the stories you tell along with them are fascinating.

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