The Historic Ephrata Cloister

This is known as the Schoolhouse at the Historic Ephrata Cloister and it is the site of the earliest settlers in our area. The two things that stick out in my mind about the place are they used wooden blocks as pillows, and the second is my hair raising experience while shooting here one late night. I was in the main area of the site snapping photos under a full moon around 10 at night. No wind, no one around, and the wooden screen door just around the corner from me slams!!! A chill went up my neck but I decided to look and of course no logical explanation to be had. I didn’t hang around for any more “activity”. I did remove some obnoxious power lines that were a total eyesore.

The Light Reveals Itself

For shots like this I will often try to position myself where part of the subject is used to block a portion of the sun. The reason for this is because with the full sun shining into your lens, you have to deal with a lot of image degrading flare. The next time you take a photo where you have a dark subject on the bottom half of your shot and bright sky on the top half, take your free hand and shade the shot so you block the sky and watch how the lower part of your shot will often look much more detailed with more contrast. You are simply blocking the light that is bouncing around and hurting your image. That’s one reason lens hoods are beneficial, yet all the time I see folks with the lens hood on their lens but placed backwards because it fits in their bag better.

Robert Fulton Birthplace

This is the birthplace of inventor Robert Fulton(1765–1815). Fulton is best known for the development of commercially viable Steamboats as a means of transportation. The house was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1964. There were no lights on in the house but a few blasts of my flash through the windows and voila you now have an inhabited house!

Sing Me A Song

This hand painted piano was part of a county program to provide musical opportunities for those just out walking in town. In all my trips to this town, I had never seen anyone playing it? That was until the night I took this photo and after I finished it got dark and I decided to walk around town a little while before returning to my vehicle. As I approached the area I could hear a very talented young lady playing a few songs for her friend/audience of one. I hopped in my truck, rolled the window down and listened to her play three more songs before her concert was over. It was a trifecta of art that night, with me getting an artistic photo, the young girl who painted it being mentioned and the musical artistry that filled the night air.

Hauling the Harvest

Another quaint fall image I captured in downtown Lititz,Pa this autumn. A local business owner got permission to park his classic old truck in the park with fall decor and allowed families to get pictures in it. For me the trucks contents were lacking a contrasting color so I literally gathered up all the purple mums we had at home and hauled them here to jazz things up. Mine are the five purple and two of the yellow

The Funeral Home

I was asked to shoot some scenes in a local community and driving around I came across this amazing architectural gem. It is a funeral home and the owners were generous enough to allow me to see what I could capture. I added lighting across the bushes and landscaping and illuminated a portion of the yard. The two upper window areas are really neat features.

The Artistry of Iron

I often wonder how people a hundred years ago created things with such precision and only basic tools to make the item? I have always enjoyed the graceful flowing curves found in wrought iron fences, gates etc and this one at the entrance to a cemetery looked gorgeous with the autumn color behind it and the sun peaking through. If only you could have seen the position I was in to capture this, because there is literally a tree the same size as the one shown behind me and I am jammed up against it sitting on my legs two feet from the fence. I used my widest angle lens to barely fit the two swirling shapes. After five minutes in that position I could barely stand up reminding me how much of an old geezer I am becoming. As I was ready to finish up I got the brilliant idea to close the gate for another view! Only problem was the gate on both sides had long ago been encapsulated into the base of the trees and it’s days of closing were long passed.

Light Pierces the Darkness

This is the same Church I posted the other day and I incorporated the Cemetery Fence into the composition because the wet blacktop helped create separation. I really hope to shoot a similar angle with fresh snow covering the parking lot this Winter! This is one I just could not believe how the sun was in the perfect spot as we headed toward sunset. Now that I think about it, I actually drove here because the sky before sunset looked like it was going to be a winner. I was there an hour before sunset and was so excited about the sky, but with every minute that went by, the sky got clearer and clearer and then a few stray clouds appeared and that was good enough for me.

Synchronized Horses

I saw this old stone home with the colorful fall foliage around it and pulled over to get a shot, and as I was about to pack up I heard the familiar Lancaster County clip clop of a horse and buggy coming. Ended up with about four buggies going past but this one in particular stood out because not only was it being pulled by two horses but they were in what appears to be perfect synchronized strides? I have never seen anything quite like it before.

A Glorious Sunset

This Church is a new find for me and I really hope to get a beautiful winter sunset shot here. It is great in the sense it stands out from the sky behind it and the big old tree is a bonus. Hoping for a deep snow that does not get plowed right away. The sky on this evening was just perfect thanks to the clouds emanating out in all directions.

Autumn Light

Been quite a while since my last posting here and while I have been out shooting, I have been short in the enthusiasm department! This particular scene was one I went to shoot in overcast light and I had time constraints to factor in as well. After 20 minutes doing overcast shots, all of a sudden the sun came skimming right across the shot bringing it to life, and of course I had less than five minutes left to get what I could before the appointment I had. A neighbor was generous enough to leave me in their yard which helped make the road almost disappear in the shot.

That’s Plum Fantastic

Amish family siblings set out along a back road in Lancaster County wearing a lovely shade of purple. I really have no idea why they dress alike or how they decide on the colors but I cannot recall ever seeing a family wearing different colors while out as a family. Maybe it basically is to conform and not be so worldly by expressing to much individuality?

Tunnel Vision

Sometimes I can see the weather starting to bring all the pieces together for a dramatic sunset and this evening was one such instance. I noticed some cool clouds covering most of the sky except toward the horizon where it was a mix of clear and some cloud streaks. This scenario is what you look for in the hopes the setting sun lights the whole cloudy sky dramatically. Now to the tunnel vision, I set my tripod up in a field way to the right of this image viewpoint and was looking directly at the setting sun behind the farm. Things were getting better and better and I was fixated on the developing shot before me when all of a sudden I noticed the grass being illuminated by the sun and the sky was looking nice as well. I left my tripod set up and ran to get a second camera to capture this fleeting moment which reminds me of a painting. I did get my shot from the original spot and it is nice, but the sunset never really reached its full potential and that’s how it goes sometimes.

Spring Paints a Lovely Canvas!

This local field was just popping with this purple flower which might be a weed but I am not sure. At certain angles it would appear almost without color but with right angle of sun and a low perspective, this section was just beautiful and very colorful. There is a main road just to the right but it seemed barely a single soul even glanced at the natural spectacle.

Welcome Home!

Sorry to post a winter image this far into spring but I just remembered I had been waiting to post this and just plain forgot. I had photographed the previous home of the family who now resides here and they reached out to ask if I would consider capturing their new home? I said sure and when they told me the address I instantly got excited because I knew I had been here with a fellow photographer who was hired to capture the beauty of the architecture and gardens. He said I could come along and do some shooting if I was interested. Well that was over 20 years ago and the place is so gorgeous it left a lasting impression on me. The new owners have already begun addressing issues that needed attention and the home is in good hands now. I was quite happy with the way I infused light into certain areas to make a very pleasing image that says welcome home, come on in and warm yourself by the fireplace.

Super Moon Spectacle

I found this field of mustard the other weekend and the first shots I did were looking the opposite direction during daytime. I knew a Supermoon was coming in the next few days so I used an app called the photographers ephemeris that shows you any location you enter and where Sunrise, Sunset, Moonrise and Moonset will happen within that location. I entered the address here and it showed the moon rising right behind the barns. I was eager to arrive and get my shot composed before the moon began to appear. Now even though you have a good idea where it will appear, I find it hard to get an exact pinpoint location on site instead of looking at the app. I started out much farther to the left and kept waiting and waiting and finally walked along the fence to see if it was possibly rising behind the barn and sure enough, that was the case. One very important factor in getting these shots is the balance between when the sun is setting and the moon is rising. On this evening the moon was rising about 15 minutes before the sun was setting and this helps greatly by allowing the ambient light to be extremely close to the bright moon. By doing this exact shot the next day, you would be looking at the moon rising under pitch black skies a couple hours later. The other thing I see are gigantic moons in scenes that are obviously not where the moon was. The only way to make the moon look very large in relation to the subject naturally is to find a subject at a great distance from the camera and by using a strong telephoto you can compress things and make the moon look huge in the background.

Springtime Reflections

If you follow my blog, you know I enjoy capturing images on rainy evenings. Two simple reasons and they include the fact that no one else is usually outside getting in the picture and the added reflectivity brings an extra element to the scene. This particular night my gear was being very finicky which made holding a tablet, flash, remote and umbrella a veritable disaster! Sometimes rain seems to interfere with the wireless image transfer to my tablet, so dropped connections, images taking minutes to download etc etc were all happening this night. Out of frustration trying to juggle everything, I ditched the umbrella and till I got the shot there was barely anything left dry on me. By adding some extra flash to illuminate things I was able to get the colorful trees to reflect on the driveway which I found nice. This is the Moravian church in Lititz,Pa. Just imagine if the sanctuary lights had been on!