This was a day that had on and off showers and of course it was all dry when I got here, so I set up and started lighting the trees and praying it would start to rain before it was dark. Without the wet macadam to reflect the lights, this scene did not excite me but sure enough rain arrived just in time to add some shimmering reflections of light to the beautiful local library.
A normal bustling street is now devoid of people, an eerie calm surrounds you as you feel like the last person on earth. Similar scenes are playing out across the globe as we all deal with the coronavirus threat. The flowering trees with their heavenly scent take your mind off the fear swirling in your head for just a moment, then in the distance you hear someone sneeze and you make a bee line to your car and hit the gas to get out of town.
The owners of this property were kind enough to let me try and capture this spring scene, complete with a magnificent pink flowering tree at center stage and a lovely old inn in the background. The current owners have taken what was once a neglected property and transformed it into a real gem that now stands as an example of what can be done when the effort is put forth.
Hello again from Lancaster county, Pa. I have been battling depression for a while again and my desire to do much of anything enjoyable is practically zero. This image is the first in a long time that I was actually glad I made the effort to go shoot. I envisioned shooting this in the rain to get the colors reflected on the wet street but at first there was barely a trace showing up. So I decided to start lighting things with my flash and after my first shot, I knew I was going to create something nice. You have to get the angles just right to get the colors reflecting on the wet street from the flash but what a difference after doing that. It was raining the whole time so I had an umbrella over my tripod/camera and another trying to keep the flash dry.
This is the only shot I did this year during the Fire and Ice festival held in Lititz, Pa. My enthusiasm to go out shooting has been very subdued the last six months due to my medicine but on the upside the negative thoughts I was being bombarded with on a daily basis have become pretty quiet and I have been more social in general. So while I still do enjoy shooting, my creativity seems to get dialed down as well and while I wish I could post photos more often here, It can be a struggle to get motivated to go out, so my apologies for the infrequent shooting right now.
I was shooting the opposite direction here and at the last minute I heard the horse trotting up the farm lane behind me. I had no time to think about composition or exposure and fired away hoping I got something before they were out of sight. This frame was decent thanks to the horses breath being backlit by the sun
This is the last shot of the night from the last snowstorm and was taken around 11pm. I am actually standing with my tripod in the lane of travel on a busy highway and had to keep my eyes open for the occasional car. I noticed a janitor looking out the windows wondering who was driving the vehicle in the lot, so I ran up to the window and asked if there was any chance of turning on the sanctuary lights and he was more than happy to do so.
This property has always been a favorite of mine and as I drove by last week, I noticed the barn was illuminated with spotlights and the trees were wearing a heavy coat of fresh snow so I turned around to try this shot. I have my tripod on the sidewalk across the street and despite traffic being fairly light, I had several motorists drive by who were maybe a foot from the curb and were so kind as to splash slop at me. I quickly countered by getting a golf umbrella and used it to completely shield myself from their pitiful driving abilities. I did use their headlights to my advantage to help light the snow in the middle of the road. This night was very calm and was a night to remember.
This is another image I captured during last weeks storm and till I was done shooting at 11pm, my feet were numb and my fingers not much better. The reason for freezing was not because of bitter cold but the fact that I had no real intention of shooting anything, so when I headed out to get a photo for a local church activity, I had on two light sweatshirts and my choice of shoe that night was none other than a loafer. Well after finishing up my photo shoot and heading toward home, I started seeing great shots here and there and was basically too lazy to drive several miles to get warmer clothes. My jeep has an awesome heater and that helped between locations but the above image was one of several I took here and I was basically standing in about 5 inches of snow for close to an hour, in loafers no less. The cool result is thanks to pure white LED’S in a parking lot on the left and clouds blowing by rather quickly during a couple second exposure.
I found this snow covered scene just in the nick of time because about 10-15 minutes after I shot this I noticed the sun starting to get covered by fast moving clouds yet it was totally calm around this gazebo. It was shortly thereafter the wind came whipping through here and blew two thirds of the snow off everything and that was all she wrote for photos. I can’t complain because the snow did hang on for a good 12 hours, which I thoroughly enjoyed shooting. This scene is located atop a high spot near here that affords a great view of the surrounding countryside in all directions.
This past week we experienced our first snow of the season here in Lancaster county and even though it was only 4 or 5 inches, it clung to trees nicely and provided around 12 hours of opportunity for great photos before the wind and warm temps obliterated it. I sit typing this tonight after we had temperatures in the mid-sixties today and while it was nice to wash the truck, I would rather have more snow.
I visited a long time friend this past week who lives in Manheim,PA and when I drove through the town square I was struck by how charming it was so I decided I needed to come back and try and get a shot before everything got taken down. The bottom image was my first attempt and was taken the next evening after my visit and to be honest I thought this would be it. That all changed when I was heading out and looked back to see the top image in my rear view mirror. I knew it was supposed to continue raining all night and through the morning so I set the alarm for 5:30 am and headed over hoping that morning traffic would not make it impossible to get the shot. If you look at the top image, you can imagine what having one car parked in the foreground would do to the shot. All the reflections in the wet street would be blocked, so when I saw it was clear I quickly got set up and started shooting so I would have something at least. To my surprise no one parked in front and before long the black sky started to brighten as daybreak inched closer and the shot I envisioned came to life. I hate pitch black skies and if I had shot in the dark, you would not even see the trees that stand out against the blue sky. For the bottom image I used a polarizer to cut glare on the wet brick and because of that the reflection of the tree really popped against the backlit brick. Maybe next year I can get lucky and have a snowy version of the square. Here’s wishing everyone a Happy New Year! Continue reading
Here is a little slide show of some of my winter images that I made for a Christmas post here. click on the link below. Merry Christmas, Don
I have been fairly active shooting scenes relating to Christmas in the town of Lititz, Pa but not as on the ball posting them, but hopefully this will be the start of sharing new images. This shot features the window of the Atlas general store which has a cool display of what appears to be rolled paper made into trees.
I passed this farm last week and the sheer number of round bales sitting in the fields was probably the most I have seen on one property over the years. This shot is okay but because the farm sits in the valley, it was next to impossible to get a good vantage point. The hill in the background had even more than this field but after I hiked up there thinking I was going to get this amazing shot from the hill top, I quickly realized looking down the hill was a huge let down because the upper bales blocked most of the lower bales. I think I need a drone for shots like this.What you see in the photo is maybe a quarter of the fields with bales.
This is a lovely Christmas display in the town of Lititz that is Known as the Laurel Avenue lights because it is located on Laurel Ave. Its interesting how I ended up here doing this photo and it all started when I was at a community carol sing in the town park over the weekend and the bandshell there had some Christmas trees set up which I thought looked nice. It was very full and I thought I would try after everyone left, so that is what I did. I hate to admit it but I had unbeknownst to me, bumped a switch on the camera that turned vibration reduction on. Normally thats a good thing but on a tripod, the thing tries to activate and what happens is the image moves from one frame to the next. With some serious effort, I might have been able to use it but I decided I would return the following night.
So the following day was Saturday and I arrived well before sunset to get the angle and make sure everything was plugged in, but as I get to the bandshell, I see it now has a chain with no trespassing signs attached running around the whole perimeter. I had talked to the park coordinator the night before so I hoped for the best and carefully took the chain down. At one point I notice a guy that seems to be watching me and he is on his cellphone and I start thinking here we go, there is going to be trouble. No more than 5 minutes later a van comes driving right up to the bandshell and no cars are supposed to be in this area normally. I basically wait to get yelled at but to my surprise the gentleman actually helps me get the lights turned on, and he is in charge of coordinating this. We chat a bit and he says he needs to get home to get his display ready for the visitors. He invited me to come see it and I said I will swing by and when I pulled up, I knew immediately I wanted to do a shot.
Everything is on controllers with music playing and there is a screen that plays Polar Express and another movie that slips my mind. The owner Rich told me of the challenges that the local wildlife has been putting him through with chewing wires completely in half. With all the miles of cord, he had one critter that chewed the same wire twice after it was repaired. In the short time I was there, it was a constant flow of appreciative visitors.
This is one of my favorite local Churches, but its very hard to get a great shot because there is a hideous telephone pole with transformers just to the left and they are nearly impossible to avoid and the other tough part is the steeple is so high above the rest of the structure it requires a very wide shot which ends up with too much empty sky. I rarely cut a building like this but did so to keep the ginkgo visible.
I was headed out to do an event photo when I drove past this feed mill and thought to myself I need to try a shot there some day. Fast forward 45 minutes in time and I am heading back home as the sun was setting so I decide to grab a shot. Pretty sure they all felt like I did in the sense they all wanted to get home and relax after a hard days work.
What you see here is a sea of gold thanks to the beautiful Ginkgo tree. The Ginkgo is a very unique tree and it has been said to have the most synchronized leaf drop of any tree and I have witnessed this myself many times were the tree is completely golden one day and the next day all the leaves are on the ground. This tree was at Linden Hall in Lititz,Pa and I literally shot the tree in complete foliage on a Friday and it looked like this on Saturday. I literally got them at their best color long before any fading could occur. I will have a couple angles from this location this week. Unfortunately one thing I could do nothing about was the banner tied to the pillars. The light shining toward the camera was from a street light that I hid with a pillar.
I took this image last week and all the leaves are gone now but there was a real chill in the air that hinted at Winter’s impending arrival. On this night,this solid old farmhouse with it’s thick walls and a warm fireplace crackling in the background would be a great place to just snuggle up with a book, the family dog, or your spouse perhaps? I suggest you stock up on your favorite tea, hot chocolate or cider now because old man Winter is chomping at the bit. If we are lucky, maybe it will be a brutally cold winter that kills all the stink bugs and lantern flies and their eggs.
In a world of ever increasing gadgets and technology, I find that there seems to be more and more of a disconnect between people and simply saying hello to your neighbors has now been replaced with mind numbing texts and social media postings about absolutely nothing of significance. The term social media is about as far from reality as you can get. Their are a lot in the latest generation that will grow older realizing they have wasted much of their life accomplishing nothing of any substance.
Todays post reminds me of when I was young and instead of wasting time on the phone, my grandpa would take me to the farm shown above and we would cut and load firewood together on weekends. I have heard it said that most people will not remember you for what you accomplished, but rather how you made them feel and I believe that is true. This image resonates simplicity and calm, and I fear the generation coming up will never have those personal interactions that create memories for a lifetime.