Almost Spectacular

ville-farm-sunrise

This early morning image had all the earmarks of becoming a spectacular shot and although it turned out very nice,it could have been much better. the sky was just filled with clouds that would have lit up at sunrise but for some reason it kind of fizzled just when I was getting excited about the shot. I had to find the farmer in the barn as he was milking cows to ask if I could go on the land and he was more than happy to oblige. One funny thing that happened several times in the last week is me getting shocked as I climb over the electrified fences.Each time I gave them a cursory couple touches with the hand and each time nothing,until I start climbing or going under the fence and sure enough I get zapped. It kind of helps you get over the fence a little quicker.

Milmore Sphynx

mount-auburn-cemetery4This sphinx is a bit out-of-place in a cemetery but it still is quite impressive and I shot this image in infrared. This is Martin Milmore’s Sphinx commissioned by Jacob Bigelow in commemoration of the preservation of the Union and the end of slavery. It sits facing the Bigelow chapel in mount auburn cemetery and was carved at this site from a single block of granite from Maine, it was completed in July 1872.

The inscription on the monument:
American Union preserved
African slavery destroyed
by the uprising of a great people
by the blood of fallen heroes

The Last Airbender

airbender-movieprop

Well I found out a tiny bit more about this machine since yesterdays post. It supposedly is built around a real Tucker SnoCat from years ago,actually moves and was a prop in the movie The Last Airbender. I never saw the movie but my wife claims to have seen it,and yet most of what I find on the net shows an animated movie and she claims it was a regular movie. Anyway it is supposedly a part of the fire nation military in that movie, and if you want to buy it, I can hook you up with the owner who is currently asking $13,000. This image was shot in infrared to add a little extra drama. It would make a cool lawn decoration if you had a huge estate. The owner told me he has more neat stuff of a similar nature if I want to check them out sometime,which I hope will happen.

Looming Large

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Did you ever feel like you had a cloud hanging over you?  Well this particular afternoon found me in that situation,after a storm front came through,huge billowing clouds were seen hanging somewhat low in the sky and this one cloud seemed to be looming large over the farm and the resulting image turned out to my liking. Growing sweet corn is making it more difficult to see into the landscape in many places,so climbing on my truck roof will become more commonplace.

 

Schools Out

one-room-thunderheads

This is a typical one room school in Lancaster County ,with the one exception that it still has a nice white fence around it. Many schools have been encircled with chain link fence or something similar after the tragedy at nickel mines a few years ago. As a photographer trying to capture the uniqueness of the landscape,it is much harder to get a shot like this anymore. Storm clouds in the background are what I had been following  and when I spotted this foreground,I had to stop. A lovely farm is located a short distance away.

Lincoln Slept Here

 

_mountian-springs-flowers2-copyThis is the only remaining structure left from the mountain springs resort built in 1848 and the rest was torn down several years ago ,with this part being restored. It sits on a steep hill and the large expanse of coneflowers made an impressive foreground so I made an attempt to capture the scene.The hill falls away fast,which necessitated me placing my tripod at maximum height and using my laptop to gets things lined up correctly. I started shooting about an hour before sunset and held in there till the sky started to light up with an amazing sunset. I almost wished I had gone with a wider shot because the sky was even more dazzling to the left of my composition but I was too locked in at this point. The shadows on the back wall of the porch are from my big flash,which I used to add detail under the roof line and I experimented with different angles till I got the shadow to fall on the wall between the windows,which shows the woodwork detail. Several presidents including Abraham Lincoln stayed in this building,so its kind of neat to capture it today.

 

A Great Evening

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I never post this many shots at once,but I wanted to show the different images I captured at one location on a stormy afternoon. I had been hanging out with friends one sunday afternoon and right near supper time these amazing clouds started moving in so I grabbed my gear and headed out. The top image is what I was after and I barely got the shot because the sky was changing so fast and the time between the first and second image is around ten minutes. After the storm blew over and poured down buckets of rain, I decided to try and get ahead of the storm and drove about twenty miles to get to the leading edge of the storm and gave up because I was getting into an area that was not very scenic. Next I turned around to head home and as sunset got closer,I decided to retrace my route and as I got back to the farm again,rain was stopping which left the road glistening and reflecting the colorful sky. The last shot was taken very close to the spot I shot the first image from, and all in all turned out to be a great afternoon of shooting.

Days End

clouds-over-amish-farm

This image was the only one I got this evening after heading out in search of storms. Wicked weather had just left a trail of destruction about a half hour before I came into this area,so I just drove around watching thunderheads forming. I saw the setting sun lighting these clouds and this farm came to mind as being in the right position in the foreground,so I made a bee line to get here and just made it before the light faded.

Thomas in Amish Country

amish-watch-thomas

Thomas the tank engine made another appearance at Lancaster counties Strasburg Railroad recently and I was lucky enough to be driving by on a side road when I noticed this group of Amish boys waiting for the train to come. The entire crew of youngsters had just placed multiple pennies on the tracks as I was getting out of my car,and if you look closely at the boy in the pink shirt,you can see him looking at his penny on the tracks as Thomas approaches. I walked up behind them with my attention looking down the tracks so as to act uninterested and as the train got closer, I got into position to capture them enjoying the passing locomotive.

The Kings Palace?

sight&sound-infrared

sight&sound-infrared2

Is this the palace of an Arabian king, a temple along the Nile river, or the final resting place of some middle eastern ruler? Well none of the above,it is actually the home of Sight and Sound Theatres,which is the largest faith-based theatre in the country and it is in Lancaster county. Their live recreations of Biblical stories are unparalleled,and years ago I saw their production of Noah,which included countless live animals and a huge ark. Google it to see the stage. Shot both images in infrared and the sky in the top one is awesome in my opinion.

Next stop on the Sleigh Tour

sleigh3

Tried another location for the sleigh I borrowed recently, and this time I wanted to show the beauty of the sleigh from the back.This old farmhouse has been lovingly restored by the current owners, and I thought it created another scenic backdrop for the sleigh. A lovely sunset kicked off the photo shoot and then I proceeded to light paint the sleigh,buildings, and even skim some light across the snow to reveal texture. A street light behind me cast some terrible shadows across the snow,so by lighting the snow I overpowered the street light to help pull the shot off.The sleigh was one of the first areas I lit and thank goodness for that, because three separate times I had to pick up packages that got blown off in about 15 mph winds. Would love to have a good horse to pull me as I take a ride in this thing instead of just hauling it on a trailer.

I ran the sleigh photo idea by the owner a year ago and they were excited about it,but the day I shot this,I could not get a hold of them,so they were surprised to see the sleigh in their yard and me hard at work photographing it that evening as they came home from a brief vacation. All in all I am very happy with the result of this little escapade with the old sleigh. Now lets see whats in those packages.

Changing Seasons

 

 

As the sun rises on an autumn morning,this leafless tree stands as a reminder that winter is not far away. This is one of my favorite times of the year, when leaves fall all around you and a chill is in the early morning air. A time when frost coats the landscape and the rising sun brings welcome warmth to those seeking out the changing of the seasons.

 

 

The sky was falling

Last week included some strong weather systems moving through, so one evening I headed to this location to hopefully shoot lightning over the farm on the right. I arrived with basically clear skies all around and set up the telephoto to zoom in on the farm. After about an hour, I decided to call my friend who lives about 10 miles away and ask if he saw any black skies? He immediately said the sky was black and winds were howling, but I said yeah right,because this vista offers a view for miles and it was clear. About two minutes later the sky went real black and These amazing clouds rolled in fast. It got so ominous that I feared getting out of my truck to get my camera and tripod,but I made a mad dash anyway. The sky literally looked as if it were coming down on me, and can’t remember seeing anything like it before. This wide-angle shot was out my window and was the best I could muster in short order. Lightning barely made an appearance through the whole event.

Passing Storm

This was shot the same evening as the thunderhead image from yesterday and was pure luck to get the lightning bolts. The evening looked like it was done storming, but as I started the truck to head home, I noticed a flicker off to the right. I set up my tripod just outside my driver’s side window, and hit the shutter every 15 seconds or so in a mini burst. The bolts were very infrequent and miles away, but I happened to get these two on one shot. As mentioned before, daylight lightning is very hard without a lightning trigger, and this image was shot at f32 at a third of a second. I never stop down that far because image quality degrades at small apertures,but my only other choice would be a neutral density filter and with a 400mm lens,quality would drop as well. I captured a couple other bolts,but they were blurred due to me pressing the shutter too hard. There was actually a mini rainbow that appeared off camera for about 15 seconds as well, but disappeared before I decided to shoot it.

Thunder Heads

Actually I am not sure if these are what are referred to as thunder heads,but there were rumbles of thunder in the distance as I frantically drove around sunday trying to get a shot of these formations. I was hoping for a good lightning show,but only saw an occasional flicker from these clouds. Finding a decent foreground proved to be tougher than I thought, but I am satisfied with this one.

The Car Port

This is the side entrance to the Watt mansion. Late evening light streaming in from the right illuminates the splendid property, complete with ivy climbing the walls. An ornate car port provides a perfect place for guests or family to arrive and unload vehicles while being sheltered from the elements. They don’t build them like this anymore.

Infrared tree reflection

This was taken recently at a local park. I Shot the top image using a Nikon D70 with an infrared filter supplied from lifepixel. The camera can only shoot infrared,but it does a good job with infrared.The bottom image was taken with a Nikon D200 and a color infrared filter from the same company. It is called false color infrared and to be honest I am not sure why the color reproduces as it does.

The Wrap around porch

This lovely home is known as the Gonder Mansion, and is included on a local ghost tour in the area. It is a Victorian era Queen Anne style mansion built in 1905 by big wheel Benjamin Gonder, and was the home for him and his wife mary. It’s said to be haunted by the spirit of a woman who committed suicide – Annie, Benjamin’s loco sister who lived on the grounds but was shunned by the rest of the family because of her mental condition.  It’s reported that the sounds of music and crazed laughter can be heard throughout the home, and her misty form has been reported haunting its corridors. She moved into the mansion in death after being forbidden to step inside the home during life. I did a small bit of light painting to highlight the gate,wall,and bushes at dusk to add my own touch to the beautiful home. The wrap around porch looks like a great place to sip cold lemonade on a summer day. I shot this from my truck roof using my laptop in the hopes of offering a better perspective.

Shaft of light

This image was taken this past weekend as I drove around in search of scenic shots. The day started with clear blue skies and ended in grand fashion under dramatic clouds, which caught my attention and had me heading out to peruse the back roads. The sun stayed hidden most of the time, but as I stopped to debate shooting this farm scene, it suddenly burst forth illuminating this farm with a shaft of light, which had me scrambling for the tripod. It lasted maybe two minutes, lighting up the farm against the brooding sky.

Opposing viewpoints

This is an infrared image taken when there was absolutely no sunlight around. Admittedly, I still am not sure what produces great infrared conditions, but sometimes overcast seems to have infrared to work with. I still struggle processing these shots, because I usually shoot raw, and adobe camera raw cannot handle the infrared data because Nikon wont share the decryption info needed, so it’s either shoot jpg or shoot raw and desaturate everything,or use Nikon software,which I despise.

Thunderhead Building

This image was taken the night before last as unsettled air moved across our region. All day long I watched the skies transform from one cloud formation to another and decided I better head out in the evening to look for possibilities. This farm provided the perfect location as it sits on a small hill,and the setting sun provided the touch of warmth on the massive cloud formation. Later that evening, lightning started to make an appearance, so I set up my tripod with an umbrella protecting it, and I use a laptop to fire it from within my truck. After a few sharp bolts, I decided that even though I was somewhat safe in my vehicle, perhaps being at the highest point on the hill was not the best idea so I packed up.