Sometimes I can see the weather starting to bring all the pieces together for a dramatic sunset and this evening was one such instance. I noticed some cool clouds covering most of the sky except toward the horizon where it was a mix of clear and some cloud streaks. This scenario is what you look for in the hopes the setting sun lights the whole cloudy sky dramatically. Now to the tunnel vision, I set my tripod up in a field way to the right of this image viewpoint and was looking directly at the setting sun behind the farm. Things were getting better and better and I was fixated on the developing shot before me when all of a sudden I noticed the grass being illuminated by the sun and the sky was looking nice as well. I left my tripod set up and ran to get a second camera to capture this fleeting moment which reminds me of a painting. I did get my shot from the original spot and it is nice, but the sunset never really reached its full potential and that’s how it goes sometimes.
I found this field of mustard the other weekend and the first shots I did were looking the opposite direction during daytime. I knew a Supermoon was coming in the next few days so I used an app called the photographers ephemeris that shows you any location you enter and where Sunrise, Sunset, Moonrise and Moonset will happen within that location. I entered the address here and it showed the moon rising right behind the barns. I was eager to arrive and get my shot composed before the moon began to appear. Now even though you have a good idea where it will appear, I find it hard to get an exact pinpoint location on site instead of looking at the app. I started out much farther to the left and kept waiting and waiting and finally walked along the fence to see if it was possibly rising behind the barn and sure enough, that was the case. One very important factor in getting these shots is the balance between when the sun is setting and the moon is rising. On this evening the moon was rising about 15 minutes before the sun was setting and this helps greatly by allowing the ambient light to be extremely close to the bright moon. By doing this exact shot the next day, you would be looking at the moon rising under pitch black skies a couple hours later. The other thing I see are gigantic moons in scenes that are obviously not where the moon was. The only way to make the moon look very large in relation to the subject naturally is to find a subject at a great distance from the camera and by using a strong telephoto you can compress things and make the moon look huge in the background.
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!
This is one of my last winter shots for this winter. The whole house lit up part way into shooting this and was a great added bonus.
This was taken on a night when the moon was full and very bright and it is the closest I can remember for the ground and sky being as bright the illuminated buildings! I added some flash from behind the fence to create those lines in the snow..
This ice sculpture featured what I think is a Superhero Bear representing Penn State Health. The window in the back was not lit when I first set up but then I noticed green color in the ice which added a nice touch. The shop on the right is Candyology and the Edison lights in the trees are compliments of Stray Lighting in Lititz.
I cannot definitively say this is a racoon hugging a tree stump but its my best guess. This sculpture was part of the Ice Festival in Lititz and I knew as it got darker the light from the Chandelier was going to help bring some internal color out. Another cool sculpture of ice to celebrate Winter activities.
This is the second image I have to share from the Lititz Ice Festival this year. It features a beautiful double heart sculpture and I have yet to figure out what is between them? Looks like a dog bone to me but I am sure it is obvious to all except me? The shop is named Purple Robin Reserve and is a very popular one in town because it showcases the works of 150 talented local artists in a multitude of genres. The two hand drawn chalk signs were sitting there and helped balance the shot with the store window just behind. The owner is always very accommodating in helping me get the shot, and for this one she lowered the inside lights so I could keep the carving as the focal point. I used flash to get the colors to pop in the ice but I am not at the point yet of knowing what angles yield the best results, but I am finding that lighting colorful items behind the ice and not the ice itself can do wonders.. If I can find the enthusiasm to follow up, the owner may include some of my work for sale here but time will tell I guess.
For the last several years, the quaint little town of Lititz has been holding what has become affectionately known as the Fire and Ice festival. Well thanks to good old Covid 19, this year’s event was scaled back with no displays of fire, no food trucks, and the event spread over two weeks to keep crowds from gathering. The opening night featured a couple dozen ice sculptures throughout the downtown and the two ice girls jumping rope were among several sculptures that were real crowd pleasers. the next week will highlight a few I captured during this chilly event.
These golf carts are encased in a fresh layer of new snow and will have to sit idle for a little while before spring begins to break Winter’s icy grip. I suppose you could play a round but finding your ball may be a little time consuming. That idea is about as stupid as the time I was invited to play in a one club tournament! That’s right, you pick one club to use for all your shots, including putting! I picked a driver which turned out to be poor choice for every shot other than your first one.
I was out looking for snow related photos when I started driving down a local back road when I came around a bend in the road and a horse and buggy was getting ready to pull onto the road from a farm lane. I would say I am ready to shoot 90 percent of the time with shutter speed and aperture already set for the light but this was one time I came up short. You see I stopped on the road about 50 yards before the buggy and waved to let him know he was good to pull out. As he gave the reigns a pull, the horse went straight up in the air on his back legs and it looked like the Lone Ranger’s horse Silver. It was a perfect side silhouette of the horse and buggy and to make matters worse the horse repeated this rearing up activity at least 4 times! I was racing to get the camera off the seat as I watched this unfold through the windshield. So I finally aim the camera as he is raising up again and guess what I hear? If you guessed the cameras self timer, you would be correct. It was still set from the night before and of course in the 5 seconds it took to turn it off there was another family member grabbing the reigns up front to walk him out onto the road and he never did it again. This shot taken a mile up the road was my attempt at consoling myself for missing such a great opportunity.
The distance from the farm out this lane to where this gentleman is shoveling is well over a football field in length. Now imagine you are 80 plus years old and have to do this all by yourself in single digit temperatures with a small shovel because your grandchildren are busy keeping warm by the fireplace? Now that you imagined that, lets get back to reality, he lives to the right where the fence is and was more or less taking his shovel for a walk. I originally stopped here because I noticed a snowmobile with its lights on down at the farm. I was hoping for a more exciting shot but at least they did come out. This is a horse and buggy farm, but I guess these are considered acceptable?
On a snowy night such as this, there is a calm and quiet peacefulness that helps refresh the soul from the constant deluge of non-stop intrusions into our lives. From answering emails constantly to having to rush everywhere we go, to having to go on Facebook every day so everyone can see how exciting your life is and what your latest selfie looks like, I personally think we may be coming down the home stretch my friends! I am not here to preach to anyone and I actually just deleted some bible scriptures I was going to share that directly relate to what we see happening and instead want to just say Pray for our country, our leaders, and the very soul of our nation. I will try and be more lighthearted with tomorrows post.