The Skilled Craftsman

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Lancaster county has countless skilled craftsmen that still take pride in their work. From woodworkers who build custom furniture, to master leather craftsmen who supply the local community with leather goods, to those who work with various metal products,a rich heritage of doing things by hand still exists today. I recently was in search of a piece of copper for a project and a friend directed me to a small shop he knew of out in the countryside. I pulled in the driveway of the address I was given and the small building in front of me gave no hint of what I was about to see. As I walked in the dark unlit interior, I was immediately drawn to a beautiful copper train that was being built one piece at a time for a customer. The level of detail was amazing and spoke to the skill of the metalsmith who was building it. After a brief conversation, I decided to ask if he would consider allowing me to come back one evening and photograph it? The answer was sure,but he told me the train was being picked up that night and an immediate feeling of missing a chance to record something special came over me. He did tell me he was making another two trains for this customer and maybe in the future,I could try a shot? We got each others phone numbers and I headed off thinking about the missed opportunity, but to my amazement, the phone rang that evening and he told me it would be here for another day, and if I wanted to come back,he would be there all evening.  I immediately said yes and gathered my gear to head over. All the way there, I worried I was not going to come up with a way to capture the train because it is actually a weathervane and has a tube and support attached and it does not just sit on a table. The owner was very patient with me and was more than happy to move things around to get the right setup for the shot. My final composition shown above included the recently finished copper train, with the very first copper train that has been treated with a patina to give it an aged look in the background. I wish I could recognize the man who built this train, but in the interest of privacy ,all you need to know is that he is just one of Lancaster counties many skilled craftsmen.There is no electricity here or fancy tools, just talent and hard work and I was certainly impressed.

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.

Work,then Play

amish-tractor-scooterCaptured this Amish youth heading down the road on a tractor and upon closer examination,you can see he is hauling his transportation with him on the back. The two-wheeled scooter is the transportation of choice for Amish youth,as bikes are frowned upon. Last year I spoke to an Amish guy who I noticed coming up a hill at a rather fast pace,and it puzzled me how he was doing it? Turns out he had an electric motor added and it was all hidden on the frame. It intrigued me enough to think about buying one since he said it ran about $400 for everything. Well in the year since he got his,price went up to near a $1000 so I will stick with the bike for now.

Toe to Toe

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This scene is one I have seen played out countless times over the years, but only recently did I decide to capture it. I never gave it much thought till I stopped and evaluated my image, and it is not too hard to imagine that this could potentially turn ugly if the puller in front slipped, and the pusher did not stop soon enough. Maybe its the way he is leaning to go up hill that made me pause,but she can’t be more than 4 feet in front,but she still has ten toes,so they have a system.

Personally I am getting more frustrated every day with the direction I see our country headed,but maybe old age is just making me more irritable.Here is one example in contrast to the Amish. Our local elementary school has now decided that they are removing all the swings sets because they are a liability issue. For over 200 years,children have been able to handle this dangerous item, but now we must protect them from this danger. Life is meant to be lived and taking responsibility for our choices and the results of those choices is all part of it.I say If you want to mow your grass in bare feet, have at it,because its your decision. these siblings really are going toe to toe in their chores together as they get a firm lesson in team work.

Mechanized Steel Army

 

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Sometimes I think I just like to hear the camera shutter fire,and really have no clue why I chose to shoot this,but it strikes me as some sort of mechanized squad,ready to do battle. I can’t quite figure out what the contraption on the front is for unless it attaches to a dozer or something?

 

Take a Bite

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This digger could take a serious bite out of almost anything it dug its teeth into. I lit this in overcast conditions with a flash and the bucket alone was lit with one series of eight flashes on multiple exposure on my camera. I set the shutter speed to the highest allowable on my camera at a 250th of a second and set the camera to record 8 exposures on one frame. Eight shots were just on the edge of possibilities because each ambient exposure built up on the frame as I shot,so you have to watch for overexposure when you do that many on one frame. My usual technique is to overlay separate frames,but multiple exposure allows flash to build up on the frame with each blast,so you effectively can make your weak flash more powerful.I wish they used this thing to give you a scoop of mulch for landscaping,although my trailer tires would explode when it dumped the bucket.

Feed Mill Pelletizer

Once again I was trying my light painting technique in the old feed mill. This time I was photographing what I think is called a pelletizer, which makes feed pellets and the two images show the machine in a closed, and then open position.The bottom photo shows the machines main part,which has a series of holes that form the hardened pellets. The room was very warm so I assume some heat process is involved as well. To do the two images,I first completed the scene with it closed and then simply opened the door for the next part of the shoot. Then I brought that image on top of the first and blended them.