Toddlers pulling Toddlers?


This is exactly the type of trailer I used to haul my daughter around in while it was attached to my bike, but if the kid is only riding a tricycle that is pulling this,then how small are the passengers?  Wish I had gotten to see it because I am sure it would have been interesting.

Winter Trek


An Amish buggy makes its way along a picturesque road in Lancaster County,Pa. The temperature was 12 degrees when this was shot so you can imagine they were bundled up. The were using 4 hoof drive so no chance of getting stuck.

Steel History


If you have never been to the Bethlehem Steel plant to see the facility, I would highly recommend a visit. The minds that created this monstrosity must have been very intelligent,and to see it up close on the catwalk leaves you speechless. The intertwining of pipes, walkways, conveyers and everything else that was needed in the process is just amazing. I spoke to a lady who worked here in its heyday and she said she would come to work and there would be limos lined up with all the big shots arriving at the plant. I asked her about its demise and she said the reason was everything from the unions to cheap foreign steel coming in to other theories tossed about over the years.

The High Ground


A small corner of this Bethlehem cemetery includes several crosses.The sun was setting behind this scene when I drove past here and I stopped at the bottom of the cemetery to get a shot. The problem was it was surrounded by a 7 foot wall and the gate was locked,so I had to drive around the block to find the open entrance. I hurriedly drove up the lane and jumped out to get the shot before it was gone, but the strange thing was after this shot was done,I went up the hill toward my truck and did a second shot and I am alone in this place and at least a hundred yards from any house and I hear a voice that sounds like it is on the other side of my truck. It was so clear that I walked around my truck twice looking for the person? no explanation for that one but it left me wondering what I heard.

The Smithton


This B&B is called the Smithton and it was reflecting nicely in the wet roadway on this early January evening. Adding a bit of flash to the building helps reflect more color onto the roadway,which is an absolute nightmare with traffic around supper time,so its lucky I could even pull this shot off. I had around 10-15 seconds to shoot between light cycles on the traffic signals at the intersection just to my right.

Rusty Gold


This image was taken along the catwalk at Bethlehem Steel. The peeling paint,rusty metal and the various shapes and lines all overwhelm the visual senses. One can only image what this facility would be like in full operation but it sure is neat to look at in its abandoned state.

Nautical Time Conundrum

snake-hill-full-moon snake-hill-full-moon2

I admit it,I can never keep nautical time straight in my head,even though I get the basic concept.My point is I was all excited to capture the full moon last night because I had checked the moonrise time and thought it was just before sunset,which is the perfect time,because you still have ambient light around so it is not a bright moon against pitch black. I get to this spot about 445 which according to my calculations would be just the time the moon would appear. There were clouds around so I called a friend who was out as well to see if he saw the moon yet? He says no I am still at home,moonrise is not for another hour? Well I knew that would be getting into the dark time but figured what the heck,why not hang around? I use photo ephemeris to see where I need to place my tripod when the moon comes up in any given location, so I first set up with the barn image to get the moon in the shot,and the second image was taken as I was walking to my truck in the dark. I could barely guess at focus and this 15 second exposure captured all kinds of color in the sky around the moon,which I was pleased with. One problem with these shots is they are relatively long exposures and the moon is constantly moving,even in a one second exposure it will easily blur,so these look more like a sunrise than a moonrise.

Star of Bethlehem


This star is laid in the street in the middle of the historic district in downtown Bethlehem. I was hoping to get a photo before sunrise and knew there was very little traffic at 6am, but also did not want to get yelled at by some passing car. I set my exposure,picked an angle and then made a dash to get the shot in about a minute. No cars came but there was actually a police officer eating breakfast in a shop directly to my right and I am pretty sure he saw me but he never came out. Maybe he figured if anyone is crazy enough to set up a tripod in the middle of the street,if they get run over,its their problem? Seriously I found most folks in town were very accommodating and I even asked a bellhop if I could move a small sign at our hotel and he said of course.

Dawn in Bethlehem


This was the last image I captured in Bethlehem on a cold winter morning. This street was non-stop traffic the evening before but getting up before dawn allowed a car free shot. this was shot just before the lights turned off for the day, and was about at the point where the mood was almost gone.

Warm up the Stove




This is the image I was shooting when the folks came home yesterday at the luminary location. It was brutal outside but I had my tripod on my truck roof and could fire the camera from the relative warmth of my truck using my tablet. I can tell you one thing it is a little dicey walking on a vehicle roof when your boots are covered in snow and the roof is nice and shiny. I almost went down a couple of times and ended up taking little baby steps while I was up there. The sun went down in the perfect spot and the sky had glorious color. This buggy came out of nowhere and because I was parked facing away,I barely noticed the buggy turn in the lane and managed to get three shots off before it was too far down the lane.

Cozy Country Living


This image was captured last evening when the temperature was a balmy 19 degrees, but there was a good wind blowing and it felt at least ten degrees colder. I went out the other morning in the snow,which was basically the first of the season and ended up driving past this location and when I saw the star on the barn,I thought it would make a neat photo. I parked along the road and went up in the field on the right and was there shooting about 45 minutes as sunrise drew closer. The next thing I know a car comes out the lane,stops and asks what I was doing standing in their field?  I explained the situation and that I thought knocking at 615am might be a bit early, hence the conversation we had, which was a little tense considering I was in their field.

Well I left soon after and kept thinking about the situation and decided the least I could do was give them a matted print of the shot I took and hope they would forgive me, and so I dropped the photo off last night and I took my box of luminaries along just in case things worked out and they knew I was not up to anything but photography. When I stopped, only the sons were home and said their parents would not be home till after dark,so I left the photo,bid them goodbye and figured that was the end of it.

There is a one room school nearby and sunset looked promising so I decided to set up and shoot that as my evening photo and after the sun had set, I notice a car slow up and go down the lane. It was not long till a car came out the field and I was sure I was going to get told again to hit the road, and to my surprise the gentleman could not have been any nicer and explained the situation from the other morning, and without going into detail, it was understandable the reception I got. I mentioned to him that I brought my luminaries along but it was getting to the point of being too late for a shot,but he said if I wanted to try,I could. Well I made a mad dash to position them and one of the sons actually came out to help me light the candles,which definitely helped. In the end I did manage to capture the shot,despite my hands hurting so bad I wanted to scream and that was with hand warmers too, and thankfully I was able to apologize for my initial visit and things worked out. I did also hit the barn with a little flash because it is really in deep shadow and I blasted a little flash toward the camera to bring out some of the detail in the snow. This is one of those photos I can guarantee I will remember the bone chilling cold every time I look at it, because my fingers were screaming on this one.

Christmas in Bethlehem


This is an early morning shot I did in Bethlehem,Pa and because we stayed at the hotel on the left,I could sleep a tad bit longer than usual. I did a shot the night before here in this spot but it was non-stop traffic,so the lesson here is get up early and miss the crowd. For this precise angle,I actually moved my truck from the hotel lot to this spot on the street so I could guarantee the view was unencumbered by other vehicles and I shot from my truck roof to get the slightly elevated perspective. The hotel was gorgeous inside and we really enjoyed our short stay here, and the old street lights added a wonderful ambiance. As we ate breakfast in the hotel, we enjoyed looking at all the celebrity photos on the wall that had stayed here, and they included everyone from John F. Kennedy to Bob Hope to Frank Sinatra. I joked to my daughter that I was going to buy a frame like they had on all the photos and next time we visit,I was going to exchange a photo of me with one of the framed celebrities and see how long it takes for anyone to notice.

Packer Memorial Chapel


I spent a day in Bethlehem, PA recently and went wandering around looking for photos. I decided to head up the hill because I noticed a few church steeples and low and behold I come across this stunning church. It was built in 1885 and was donated to Lehigh university by Mary Packer in memory of her father Asa Packer. Asa was a pioneer in railroad construction and founded the university. There is so much detail in this place,and it is stunning in my estimation.

Worlds Fair 1893


This beautiful antique Russian sleigh was generously loaned for display at the Ironmasters Christmas event which is held every two years. I have been blessed to be given access to shoot different displays at this mansion event over the years and when I saw this sleigh, I could not stop thinking about trying to capture it somehow. This Russian sleigh is one of a kind and obviously the owners are very protective of it and that is why it was displayed inside the one building which made it next to impossible to capture, but after reassuring the owners it will remain anonymous they agreed to let me try to photograph it after the show was over and they were ready to load it up. It seems as I get older I have come to appreciate things that I consider works of art that were made by skilled craftsmen and when I compare what we do today to those of olden times, we fall miserably short for the most part.

The sleigh was made by Brewster and Company of New York in 1893 and was made specifically as an exhibition piece to showcase the company’s skill at the Worlds fair in Chicago that same year. The Brewster company had an international reputation for making some of the finest horse-drawn vehicles and were in the London exhibition in 1862 and the Paris exhibition in 1878 as well. This particular sleigh was made for the Columbian exhibition in 1893 and was awarded a prize. It was later purchased by Albert Moore of Philadelphia for $2,500 dollars and it weighed 515 pounds and was trimmed in pale green silk plush. Old archives also list it as having arctic fox foot rugs, bear fur edges and carved dolphins,which to me look like dragons,but it was explained to me that was their perception of dolphins back then.

The entire body is carved to resemble a shell with cattails and it took 6 months to build,with the carving taking five months alone.If I recall my conversation with the owner correctly,I believe he related to me this sleigh was found in an outside garden basically being consumed by mother nature. It was meticulously restored to its original state and is once again a true one of a kind work of art. I wish it could have been captured without its rug base but that is permanently attached to facilitate easy moving. If you notice there is a screen material to see out the front and there was a driver who sat behind the royalty or distinguished passengers at the back of the shell area. I can picture this coming down some snowy wooded lane outside St Petersburg as the castle reveals itself in the distance. I am sure this could be created today,much like it was back then, but then folks would have to put down their all important smart phones and stop relaying every nuance of their self-absorbed lives on Facebook,so for now I guess we will just have to appreciate what is possible by seeing what people from the past did when they committed time to their God-given abilities and devoted their efforts to something of value. I know I am getting old when I rant about technology and its effect on our society.

For the image,I blasted my flash out the window to get the light on the ground and then used my deer spotlight to light paint the sleigh. This building is where the sleigh was displayed and this was shot just before it got loaded on the trailer,and the owners were very understanding of my passion to shoot this thing and gave me ample time to accomplish my goal.

Lantern Light


This is the Historic Ephrata Cloister, and every year around Christmas they offer lantern tours of the site. I stopped by to see if they would consider letting me do a shot with the lanterns sometime and because it was at least an hour till the tour was starting,they said I could do a shot right away if I wanted. I was under the gun to quickly get set up because the sun had already set and it was getting dark quickly. All the lanterns were sitting by the visitors center so I had to position them along the path and light them as well in a few minutes time. I set my camera up, and decided to use my tablet to operate the camera on what is called live view, where it opens the shutter and gives me a live shot of the scene,so I just looked at my tablet and positioned the lanterns where I thought they looked good from the camera position. Anytime you have light like this,you have to shoot at the right time so you can hold detail in the bright flame and match the ambient light. There is a period of time that lasts maybe five minutes where everything is balanced,but it does not last long. Would love to do this shot in the snow sometime,but there was just enough moisture on the walkway to give a little reflection of the warm lanterns to give a nice result without snow. The two lamp posts were also dark because they have some sort of electrical problem and the grounds keeper said they have no idea where the problem is, so all the old posts are out right now. I lit the posts with flash to bring them to life and save the day.

A Study in Modes of Transport


This Hot Air Balloon was out in the middle of the day recently,which is very unusual,so my guess is there was a young pilot in training.The reason I came to my conclusion is because they came down almost touching the ground to the left of the road here and then took off again. It was a perfect spot to land but they climbed and did this manuever several times across the valley here. I got all excited when I saw they were coming low ,and when this Mennonite buggy stopped at the stop sign,I knew I had a shot. He actually went left at the intersection but he must have been worried the horse was going to get spooked because he sat here a good minute or so. The Mennonite girls on the bicycles had a great view because the balloon was about ten feet over their heads as it drifted over them. Just another day in Lancaster county,Pa.