Monthly Archives: February 2021
A Heart for Art
This is the second image I have to share from the Lititz Ice Festival this year. It features a beautiful double heart sculpture and I have yet to figure out what is between them? Looks like a dog bone to me but I am sure it is obvious to all except me? The shop is named Purple Robin Reserve and is a very popular one in town because it showcases the works of 150 talented local artists in a multitude of genres. The two hand drawn chalk signs were sitting there and helped balance the shot with the store window just behind. The owner is always very accommodating in helping me get the shot, and for this one she lowered the inside lights so I could keep the carving as the focal point. I used flash to get the colors to pop in the ice but I am not at the point yet of knowing what angles yield the best results, but I am finding that lighting colorful items behind the ice and not the ice itself can do wonders.. If I can find the enthusiasm to follow up, the owner may include some of my work for sale here but time will tell I guess.
Let’s Jump Right into it!
For the last several years, the quaint little town of Lititz has been holding what has become affectionately known as the Fire and Ice festival. Well thanks to good old Covid 19, this year’s event was scaled back with no displays of fire, no food trucks, and the event spread over two weeks to keep crowds from gathering. The opening night featured a couple dozen ice sculptures throughout the downtown and the two ice girls jumping rope were among several sculptures that were real crowd pleasers. the next week will highlight a few I captured during this chilly event.
Your Tee Time Got Canceled!
These golf carts are encased in a fresh layer of new snow and will have to sit idle for a little while before spring begins to break Winter’s icy grip. I suppose you could play a round but finding your ball may be a little time consuming. That idea is about as stupid as the time I was invited to play in a one club tournament! That’s right, you pick one club to use for all your shots, including putting! I picked a driver which turned out to be poor choice for every shot other than your first one.
Red,White, and Blue
An Opportunity Missed
I was out looking for snow related photos when I started driving down a local back road when I came around a bend in the road and a horse and buggy was getting ready to pull onto the road from a farm lane. I would say I am ready to shoot 90 percent of the time with shutter speed and aperture already set for the light but this was one time I came up short. You see I stopped on the road about 50 yards before the buggy and waved to let him know he was good to pull out. As he gave the reigns a pull, the horse went straight up in the air on his back legs and it looked like the Lone Ranger’s horse Silver. It was a perfect side silhouette of the horse and buggy and to make matters worse the horse repeated this rearing up activity at least 4 times! I was racing to get the camera off the seat as I watched this unfold through the windshield. So I finally aim the camera as he is raising up again and guess what I hear? If you guessed the cameras self timer, you would be correct. It was still set from the night before and of course in the 5 seconds it took to turn it off there was another family member grabbing the reigns up front to walk him out onto the road and he never did it again. This shot taken a mile up the road was my attempt at consoling myself for missing such a great opportunity.
Shoveling the Lane at 80?
The distance from the farm out this lane to where this gentleman is shoveling is well over a football field in length. Now imagine you are 80 plus years old and have to do this all by yourself in single digit temperatures with a small shovel because your grandchildren are busy keeping warm by the fireplace? Now that you imagined that, lets get back to reality, he lives to the right where the fence is and was more or less taking his shovel for a walk. I originally stopped here because I noticed a snowmobile with its lights on down at the farm. I was hoping for a more exciting shot but at least they did come out. This is a horse and buggy farm, but I guess these are considered acceptable?
Soak in the Calm
On a snowy night such as this, there is a calm and quiet peacefulness that helps refresh the soul from the constant deluge of non-stop intrusions into our lives. From answering emails constantly to having to rush everywhere we go, to having to go on Facebook every day so everyone can see how exciting your life is and what your latest selfie looks like, I personally think we may be coming down the home stretch my friends! I am not here to preach to anyone and I actually just deleted some bible scriptures I was going to share that directly relate to what we see happening and instead want to just say Pray for our country, our leaders, and the very soul of our nation. I will try and be more lighthearted with tomorrows post.
From the Cradle to the Grave
A couple days ago I shared the image of the Amish men pushing the large cart down the road after a funeral was over. Well this image was taken a few feet up the road as one of the visitors maneuvered his horse into position to hook up to the buggy. For all I know he could have been the preacher who conducted the service.
Now upon closer inspection you can see that up on the hill the kids attending the one room school are having the time of their lives during recess with a good old fashioned snowball fight. So in this one image you have both the playful children enjoying some innocent fun and a stones throw away, a funeral service is drawing to a close. The kids represent the cradle and the elderly man the grave. All I know is when I look at this image, I keep waiting for the horse to send a hoof into this guy!
Hunsecker’s Mill Covered Bridge
This is the Hunsecker’s Mill covered bridge in Lancaster county and it is the longest single span bridge in the county at 180 feet. It has always been painted in some drab shade of gray or brown as long as I can remember and because of that I never really got too excited about it. Most of our local bridges are red, one is white and then this. Here are a few facts, it was built in 1843 at the astronomical cost of $1,988 dollars, and got washed away and destroyed in 1972 by hurricane Agnes. In 1973 it was rebuilt at a cost of $321,302 dollars which is like 166 times more. It is quite common to hear car horns beep as they go through and I have heard it is for good luck or to let oncoming cars know you are in there. The fence was not always here but I like the addition of it as it leads the eye right into the bridge.
Tracking into History
This is one of those nights that just about everyone hurries to get home before they become stranded on some drifted back road. Having a Jeep, 4wd and great snow tires takes a bit of the anxiety out of winter driving. The older I get the less I enjoy winter weather driving or maybe it’s just dealing with drivers who have no clue how to navigate. I was behind a guy heading toward a hill and as he gets ready to start up it, he decides that momentum is his enemy and slows to a crawl? Needless to say he got halfway up and had to back down. When I look back to my youthful days of driving I will never forget taking my girlfriend, who is now my wife to go shopping in a small snowstorm. I owned a brand new rear wheel drive Monte Carlo which was exactly like the one I show below and believe me it was cool back then but now it looks like a grandpa car to me. Back to the story, we did some shopping and got in to leave and to set the visual for you, the parking lot was ever so slightly inclined and at the top of this tiny incline was a stop sign before entering the highway. We got in a line of cars to exit and one by one they all drove up the snowy incline and off they went.
Well guess who did not make it in their rear wheel drive Monte Carlo? I must have made ten attempts and had to reverse and try again over and over, all the while cars were blowing their horns to get moving. I was literally at number 10 on the anger/frustration scale when my “passenger” says “you are not going to make it,so turn around and go out the other exit”! When I was young we would go out in the snow just to slide around the roads and one of my good friends who was a touch crazier than me invited me to go cruise around. We came by our high school, turned onto the road in front of it and he floors the gas pedal and we proceed to slide onto the sidewalk and take out a large light post.
So tracking into history simply means my truck tracks are the only ones leading in to this historic site located in my area. The three lamp posts have very white bulbs which are not the best for conveying that warm feeling but in this scene they really seem okay. For all I know this could be my car because I had those exact wheels,same color and it had a removable t-top and a stereo the neighbors claimed they could here me coming 3 blocks away.
The Peaks and Valleys
That title would be appropriate for my first photography book since it’s what it is like dealing with depression. I guess when you get right down to it, that is pretty much the story for everyone except the few that either never had a peak or those that never have a valley either. This image caught my eye because of the way the sun was lighting the peaks on the house and the barn. I took this image from the side of a main road where the speed limit is 55mph. Now to clarify when I say from the side, what I mean is five feet from the lane of travel and nowhere to get any farther. So in the 5 minutes I snapped a few shots, I had three tractor trailers blow by and numerous cars going well over 55. It’s all in a days work for the dedicated photographer.
The following story has nothing to do with this photo, but I remembered a crazy roadside incident I had many years ago. I had a concrete company ask me if I could get a few photos of a precast section of wall they installed along a major highway. I rode along in his truck which was outfitted with warning flashers and we pulled to the side of the road which seemed fairly safe. There was a concrete wall beside us about three feet high and maybe 10 inches wide on top, kinda like a balance beam width. I told him I was going to hop up on that wall so I could see over the traffic to the other side of the highway where their installation was. I was up their shooting for several minutes when my driver got out and walked around to see how it was going? He leaned on the wall and almost immediately put his arm behind me and said you might want to get down? When I turned to look why, there was nothing but a straight drop down of at least 50 feet to the ground below. Needless to say my heart almost skipped a beat as I thought how I was so carefree balancing up there! The thing that was so deceiving was there was a rock wall behind the barricade but there was a huge 10 foot gap in between of nothing. We will call that a peak since I lived to share that story.
A Slight Miscalculation
I was driving looking for photos recently when I came down a hill and saw some Amish buggies heading out from a farm on the road I was ready to turn onto. I had heard that Tuesdays are a traditional wedding day and this was in fact a Tuesday so I thought this will a happy occasion. So I drive by carefully and just as I approach the main entrance, this crew of Amish young men come barreling out the lane onto the road pushing this giant wagon that they use to haul chairs, benches and what not to various farm gatherings. I had to stop for them and then a little voice said there is a photo op right in front of you! Since I was stuck there I put it in park and opened my door to get a good angle and I took several quick bursts as they moved down the road.
So I was almost done when I heard a voice 30 feet behind me say, ”okay lets move it on now”? I usually stand my ground when someone thinks they are going to force me to listen to their orders but this guy was different and asked in a nice friendly tone. I gave him a puzzled look and he informs me there was a funeral here today? I said I thought it was a wedding and he said I thought that might be the case. I said sorry and made a hasty departure. He must have been a driver who hauls Amish around in a van because he said he never saw anything like this before. Anyway I still like the image I captured on this snowy winter day and the men were laughing as they were pushing the cart so that didn’t exactly help in my decision to shoot.
Fresh out of the Oven
I had been looking for snow scenes recently and was traversing the back roads thinking how nice it would be to see a sleigh and to my surprise a few minutes later one came up the road. The bottom photo was my first glimpse of the sleigh and to the left of the tree is a farm lane the sleigh is about to take which leads to a country store. I was fairly confident he was heading there so I slowly made my way up the lane to the store and the middle picture shows the young lad finishing up tying the horse. For some reason at this point I decided to stop shooting and set the camera back in my bag. I glance back over and the kid is now lifting a whole rack with fresh bread from the back of the sleigh. He took the bread into the store before I could even try to get a shot. So I thought to myself he will probably be coming back out the lane shortly and I could try to get a shot again. So I parked on the road and sure enough it was only a few minutes and here he comes but he noticed me up the road and all of a sudden you would have thought he was running the Kentucky Derby as he exited the lane onto the main road! I am almost certain this horse has all four hooves off the ground.
This is among one the first Amish images I have taken since the abduction of Linda Stoltzfoos and this location might be 3 miles from her home. This heartbreaking event left its mark on many, including me and I feel for the family and their loss. I feel like I have been blessed to be able to capture the Amish in a variety of ways and have gotten a small glimpse into the way they live. Hopefully I will regain my passion for capturing our county and them after this event fades a bit.
It All Came Together!
I came across this farm scene after our last heavy snow and took a few handheld shots before I noticed the Amish farmer watching me from a small shed off camera. What made me notice him was every time I fired off a series of 5 shots, I would immediately notice a whistling sound that mimicked my shutter firing. I figured it was his way of showing me was not happy. After about ten minutes I notice him heading my way so I simply packed up and off I went. Then this evening I decided to see what sunset was like at this farm, so I pulled off the road and set up and again I see the farmer heading out.
Well it was starting to get better by the minute and I decided I was getting the shot with his approval or not. As he approaches he says “nice Jeep” and proceeds to have a nice conversation with me which was great. I told him I will give him a print, which brought a smile to his face. The long curving round things are plastic wrapped hay or grain for farm animals and normally I hate them, but with a coating of snow and their graceful leading lines, I found the whole scene rather appealing, especially with the beautiful sunset I was blessed to get.
A Time for Peaceful Reflection
Last nights snowstorm left the landscape covered in fresh powder and I thought the lamp posts were a nice contrast between warm and cold. This spot was untouched by any footprints and I was glad the rest of the world was at home hunkered down. The snow was blowing hard the whole time and although I was using an umbrella, it was very hard to keep snow off the lens.