This local pharmacy has been an anchor in the local business community for years and since I was doing a little photo series on shops in the town, I felt it was a definite choice for photographing. I went inside to see if they would like a shot done and I asked if I could add some garland above the one sign to give it a little more seasonal feel? They said certainly,and I set out to capture the top image on a very nice December evening. I really wanted to do a shot of the entrance as well because it has this neat old curved metal sign that been there since the 1930s and has eye-catching orange lighting behind it. The employees were all very helpful and I was told the sign could be set to stay illuminated all night so it was ready to shoot at dawn the next morning and they would also leave a few inside lights on as well to look like they were open, and as we were talking the pharmacist said yeah the weather looks like it will cooperate as well. I went to bed thinking how I was going to do the shot and when I woke to my alarm at 530am, it was pouring outside. I knew it was going to be a treat trying to get this in the pouring rain and the following describes the ordeal.
I brought an 8 ft ladder, and on the top of it I thread a steel pipe that goes up another 6 feet and then I mount my camera anywhere I want along the 6ft pipe. I recently bought some inexpensive plastic camera bags that are made specifically to protect your camera and lens while shooting in the rain and that is how I started the shoot but I noticed the image on my tablet had rain drops on it and realized the rain was blowing onto the front of my lens, so I now had to strap my umbrella to the steel post as well to keep the front dry.Now the thing about this whole angle you don’t realize, is that there is only ten feet from the pharmacy door to the street behind me and my ladder is literally sitting on the very edge of the curb as far as it can go. So my camera is about 12 feet off the ground with an umbrella strapped tight above it and on top of that I must climb the ladder,try to compose and focus at that height and not fall to the ground,all in the pouring rain. This was shot with my widest angle,which is a 17mm and it was just able to get the composition with the decorated street light and the sign. It is a minor miracle this even turned out because even with the umbrella,it was still getting rain on the lens occasionally which meant I had to climb the ladder,dry the lens off and pray that I did not shift anything while doing all of that.To my surprise all images were in register from the shoot.I love rain and the reflections it provides but I still have not come up with a foolproof rain shooting strategy. The sign also posed serious challenges because it picks up every reflection of light,color etc and the blue light from early morning was what I liked in the end. I tried lighting the letters with my flash but I found out chrome doesn’t play nice with flash and there were very few angles that the added flash looked decent on,so in the end I just waited till the ambient light matched the sign light and was as balanced as possible.
This old farm-house sits right along the road in rural Pennsylvania and I am actually at the very edge of the road to get the shot in the bottom photo. Ginko tree leaves turns the most vivid yellow in fall and I was fortunate enough to pass on the day most of the leaves had fallen off which naturally caught my eye. Everything seemed to come together,from the bushes dusted with fallen leaves,to the japanese maple in red,to the lanterns illuminated and the rustic home as a backdrop for it all. The middle and bottom image are what I saw at midday when I stopped to get permission and the top image is what I envisioned in my mind.
I don’t know how other photographers feel about things,but I can tell you there are scenes that I see that just captivate my imagination and stir the soul and this scene had me on pins and needles as I had to wait several hours to shoot it that night. I worried the owners would mow the yard,or perhaps high winds would blow everything away,and on and on my mind raced in anticipation of spreading my creative wings that night. I was so focused on figuring out a composition in the afternoon,I never even saw the lantern hanging right by my head,so when I arrived later and saw it light up,I immediately knew the angle I was going to shoot.
The ivy covered trees,foliage in full regalia,lanterns aglow,a beautiful home, it was a scene straight out of a dream.I light painted everything you see in the top image,from the leaves on the ground to the trees and ivy to make them pop with life. That one shot took me about an hour to do as I moved around with my portable flash.
This beautifully restored property is the home and office of Doctors Joel and LuAnne Yeager,a husband and wife team who compassionately care for each and every patient in much the same way as they have given to restoring their 1825 farm-house and barn. Their office located behind the house is in a 100-year-old renovated barn,which is a setting unlike any other.The following is from their website,
In the spirit of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10 who brought his wounded and vulnerable friend to “an inn” for healing and refreshment, we seek to provide an alternative to modern society’s hectic lifestyle in a place of quiet tranquility known as The Doctor’s Inn.
This light painting effort from my shoot today includes some of the tools doctors used in days gone by, and reminds me that I am happy to be living in modern times. This small grouping of medical items came to me courtesy of the local historical society, who I have been working closely with to highlight some of the pieces in their collection. The doctors bag is well-worn and one can only imagine the stories it has seen, while the smaller cases still hold pills that would have been prescribed at the turn of the century. The round device in the foreground was used to heat the clear glass domes which, when applied to the body would draw blood out through a vacuum effect, curing the patient of whatever malady they had, or so they thought. The tiny metal device near the glasses would slice the skin with a series of very sharp blades. The two remaining items are what I believe are an early microscope, and a syringe.
The photograph of the doctor was added after my shoot, and was photographed in a locked display case. it was downsized from the larger photo, and I added it because I just felt its nice to see the people who made a difference in their communities and this doctor was one such person. He is Doctor John Franklin Mentzer, born in 1862, and it was said his service to the community could hardly be equaled. He was a Physician, a postmaster during President Benjamin Harrison’s term, Was director of a trolley company, and was a county treasurer as well. In 1904 and 1908, he was a county delegate to the republican national convention, which nominated Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Howard Taft. He died in 1958 at the age of 96.
One important point for those wishing to try this type of image, is you absolutely cannot bump anything during your light painting, or you will not have registration between the various pieces. I bumped the microscope about a half hour into shooting the scene, and thankfully I had that half of the shot already captured. This technique takes a certain amount of dedication to your photography, but I thoroughly enjoy the creative process it entails.