Almost Missed it!

I had someone reach out to me who enjoys my photos and they asked if I would be interested in shooting something on their property? I said absolutely and stopped by to peruse the options, of which there are numerous choices. The large wreath hanging on the barn has been put up for the holidays for many many years and adds a nice touch to an already picturesque barn. I was here last evening to try and come up with a game plan if we ended up getting snow overnight. We did indeed get several inches overnight and the bonus was it stopped before dawn, so blowing snow was not an issue. So I got here about an hour and a half before sunrise and decided on the angle and then waited for things to improve. Long story short, I shot the image I planned on and one or two others until I could not feel my toes and my fingers were screaming in pain. I gathered everything up, took one step and saw the lady pull in who originally contacted me. Within a minute or so, the fountain in this pond started up and what had been a frozen mess all morning with no hint of a reflection was slowly starting to reveal a mirror image! After it got clear she yelled do you want the fountain off? I replied just give me five minutes to get the shot. In what seemed like just a minute after the fountain turned off, you could see it refreezing quickly and the reflection was starting to disappear. I didn’t have the heart to ask her to turn it on again. After shooting for nearly two hours, this little chance event left me with what might be my favorite from the morning! On another note, My Mac computer seems to have bitten the dust and I am not able to post from home right now so be patient if my response time takes a day or two. The repair place says it is listed as obsolete by Apple, so even though it most likely is a simple part, they are not allowed to even try? I even offered to pay their $100 an hour fee to trouble shoot and they refused? This forced upgrade scheme is really a ripoff in my opinion.

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 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.

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?

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.

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!

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.

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.

The Gate

Two different results of the same subject, one kind of cheery, one kind of ominous. They put fences and gates around cemeteries because people are just dying to get in. Something interesting I noticed about the photos is when you scroll from the color to the grayscale, the angle of the fence looks totally different but it is the same image. an optical illusion I guess?

Mail Pouch Barn

I happened to drive by this nice Mail Pouch barn a week or so ago and the fall foliage was at it’s peak so I knew with all the windy days we have had, I better get on trying to capture it while it lasted. This is actually an evening shot and with a little blast from my off camera flash, the leaves revealed their lovely fall hues. I do have a few more from here on sunny days that I hope to share soon as well.

Grab some Popcorn, it’s Storytime

Folks say they enjoy reading about my photography escapades so here is one that happened to me recently involving this scene that I took notice of earlier in the day. First thing is the end of this story includes the most unbelievable bit of timing I have ever had!   This particular day I noticed this gorgeous tree by the church and knew I needed to be elevated because I was looking uphill quite a bit. I park, walk up to a house across the street that has a yard that would fit the bill. I rang the bell to ask if they would allow me to stand in their yard and no response from inside, which I assumed meant everyone is at work?  No Problem, the work day ends and I head out to shoot this spot and of course I stop to inquire at the house because all the lights are now on.

I rang the doorbell once and because the TV seemed loud I gently knocked on the wooden door as well? No response whatsoever, so I move to plan b which is to put my tall tripod on my truck roof and get my elevation that way. I am busy across the street lighting things when I see a guy who appears to be writing down my license plate?  After he does that he starts heading my way and the first words out of his mouth are “why have you been pounding on my door all day”?  I said if you call ringing your doorbell twice, pounding, we might have a difference of opinion. I explained wanting to get permission to stand in the yard, and my tripod was on my roof in plain sight for him to see and he says “well I called the cops twice already tonight” I said “for what” and he goes off about his daughter was home and she was terrified!

I calmly explained all I wanted was permission and he cooled off and said I could now stand in his yard if I wanted. Like that was an option after all the overblown action he took. So I get home later that night and my daughter asks, were you taking pictures on some guys porch? She said the cops called to talk to me? So the next day comes, I check Facebook and notice there are several people contacting me on messenger? They say I need to check this Facebook page that has security cameras from around town because this guy posted me ringing his bell to see if anyone knows this guy that he thinks is breaking into his house?

Okay now I am ready to take some sort of action because this idiot is making claims that could affect my reputation. Recapping, I rang his doorbell twice, knocked and was holding my camera the second time I stopped, all of which he reviewed on his porch camera and he still does not have the common sense to process what he sees? Lucky for him he had the brains to take the video down in a timely fashion. It seems people are getting more ridiculous every day and logical thinking is non-existent!

If by chance you stayed along this far, here is the unbelievable timing part of this story. There was one lone white car parked to the right uphill from the one lamp post, and I think I was there almost an hour and a half shooting and waiting for the cars owner to hopefully show up and get it out of the shot. Couple neighbors walked by and said it did not look familiar to them so I waited another 10 minutes till I had an appointment. Are you ready for it? I walk across the street to my truck, not a soul in sight, I reach up to grab the tripod legs to get the camera down off the roof and within 5 seconds of me moving that tripod, I hear the car horn beep and the doors unlock ?  It was a mailman who just got off of work and within 30 seconds that car was just a bad dream to me. All I could do was laugh how utterly unbelievable this unfolded. Oh and yes I did end up Photoshopping that car out of the shot!

Autumn at the Historical Society

I just caught this foliage before wind and rain literally stripped the tree bare the following day. Years ago I was photographing in here at night and a couple ghost stories were shared, then I went up to the second or third floor, only to walk by a room, glance in and see a figure of a woman in an old dress, which about stopped my heart. Turns out they had a dressed mannequin up there. It would have been nice to mention her! This building houses the museum for the local Historical Society.