2019 Draws to a Close

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

The Pharmacy

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ephrata-royers-sign

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.

A Painterly Reflection

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This is another image I captured after looking for water collecting in fields this spring. This old mill sits right along the road and with just a short walk down the bank here,I was rewarded with the morning sun creating this lovely reflection in the ice.A barn across the street adds to the composition in this country scene that would make a gorgeous painting.

Lobster Buoy Collection

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This home in Rockport Massachusetts beckoned me to capture its unique seacoast charm after I noticed the many old lobster buoys adorning the entrance. As I was speaking to the owners wife,she told me her husband had collected these authentic buoys along the shoreline years ago and this quaint scene had been featured in magazines more than once.

Almost Spectacular

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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.

Majestic Trees

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This is a stream located along a quiet country road in Lancaster County,and it includes a farm at the end of the stream and several majestic old trees. This is not the first time I have attempted to photograph this lovely setting but it is the first time I had the opportunity to use my new flashlight to add some interesting light to help accentuate the lay of the land. One reason this spot appeals to me is because the trees are against the clear horizon,so they stand out nicely and do not blend in with the land. It was around 4 degrees when I photographed this,which took close to an hour or more to capture.One thing that puzzles me is how the temperature actual drops after sunrise on days like this. It was 11 degrees when I left home and after the sun came up,it dropped to 4 so go figure. I photographed the farm located beside this stream the night before and that image is awesome but the owners asked me not to post that,so I agreed not to show it here unfortunately.

The Old Church

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I photographed this old church in Lititz,Pa on a recent cold winter morning. This church is located beside the linden hall girls school and the church was built by a father in memory of his daughter. I used flash to create light and shadow to accent the details.

Streets of Gold

 

This colorful store in Lake Placid caught my eye as I headed toward the countryside for sunrise shooting. It was raining at the time,so the walkway was shimmering in golden street light which added to the appeal. I added some flash to the store fronts for added kick and enjoyed the stillness of the lonely street.

The Blacksmith Shop

This is a wall mural on the side of a small shop in a local town. I have no idea why this subject was painted but the artist is Wayne Fettro,who seems to do a lot of this type of work. I decided some light painting was in order to showcase the work.It took about 10 different flash pops to do everything.

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.