A Lovely Winter Storm

This past week we experienced our first snow of the season here in Lancaster county and even though it was only 4 or 5 inches, it clung to trees nicely and provided around 12 hours of opportunity for great photos before the wind and warm temps obliterated it. I sit typing this tonight after we had temperatures in the mid-sixties today and while it was nice to wash the truck, I would rather have more snow.

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

Lititz Christmas Window1


I have been fairly active shooting scenes relating to Christmas in the town of Lititz, Pa but not as on the ball posting them, but hopefully this will be the start of sharing new images. This shot features the window of the Atlas general store which has a cool display of what appears to be rolled paper made into trees.

Bales and more Bales

I passed this farm last week and the sheer number of round bales sitting in the fields was probably the most I have seen on one property over the years. This shot is okay but because the farm sits in the valley, it was next to impossible to get a good vantage point. The hill in the background had even more than this field but after I hiked up there thinking I was going to get this amazing shot from the hill top, I quickly realized looking down the hill was a huge let down because the upper bales blocked most of the lower bales. I think I need a drone for shots like this.What you see in the photo is maybe a quarter of the fields with bales.

Laurel Avenue Lights

This is a lovely Christmas display in the town of Lititz that is Known as the Laurel Avenue lights because it is located on Laurel Ave. Its interesting how I ended up here doing this photo and it all started when I was at a community carol sing in the town park over the weekend and the bandshell there had some Christmas trees set up which I thought looked nice. It was very full and I thought I would try after everyone left, so that is what I did. I hate to admit it but I had unbeknownst to me, bumped a switch on the camera that turned vibration reduction on. Normally thats a good thing but on a tripod, the thing tries to activate and what happens is the image moves from one frame to the next. With some serious effort, I might have been able to use it but I decided I would return the following night.

So the following day was Saturday and I arrived well before sunset to get the angle and make sure everything was plugged in, but as I get to the bandshell, I see it now has a chain with no trespassing signs attached running around the whole perimeter. I had talked to the park coordinator the night before so I hoped for the best and carefully took the chain down. At one point I notice a guy that seems to be watching me and he is on his cellphone and I start thinking here we go, there is going to be trouble. No more than 5 minutes later a van comes driving right up to the bandshell and no cars are supposed to be in this area normally. I basically wait to get yelled at but to my surprise the gentleman actually helps me get the lights turned on, and he is in charge of coordinating this. We chat a bit and he says he needs to get home to get his display ready for the visitors. He invited me to come see it and I said I will swing by and when I pulled up, I knew immediately I wanted to do a shot.

Everything is on controllers with music playing and there is a screen that plays Polar Express and another movie that slips my mind. The owner Rich told me of the challenges that the local wildlife has been putting him through with chewing wires completely in half. With all the miles of cord, he had one critter that chewed the same wire twice after it was repaired. In the short time I was there, it was a constant flow of appreciative visitors.


Autumn Church

This is one of my favorite local Churches, but its very hard to get a great shot because there is a hideous telephone pole with transformers just to the left and they are nearly impossible to avoid and the other tough part is the steeple is so high above the rest of the structure it requires a very wide shot which ends up with too much empty sky. I rarely cut a building like this but did so to keep the ginkgo visible.

End of the Work Day

I was headed out to do an event photo when I drove past this feed mill and thought to myself I need to try a shot there some day. Fast forward 45 minutes in time and I am heading back home as the sun was setting so I decide to grab a shot. Pretty sure they all felt like I did in the sense they all wanted to get home and relax after a hard days work.

A Carpet of Gold

What you see here is a sea of gold thanks to the beautiful Ginkgo tree. The Ginkgo is a very unique tree and it has been said to have the most synchronized leaf drop of any tree and I have witnessed this myself many times were the tree is completely golden one day and the next day all the leaves are on the ground. This tree was at Linden Hall in Lititz,Pa and I literally shot the tree in complete foliage on a Friday and it looked like this on Saturday. I literally got them at their best color long before any fading could occur. I will have a couple angles from this location this week. Unfortunately one thing I could do nothing about was the banner tied to the pillars. The light shining toward the camera was from a street light that I hid with a pillar.

A Good Night For Snuggling

I took this image last week and all the leaves are gone now but there was a real chill in the air that hinted at Winter’s impending arrival. On this night,this solid old farmhouse with it’s thick walls and a warm fireplace crackling in the background would be a great place to just snuggle up with a book, the family dog, or your spouse perhaps?  I suggest you stock up on your favorite tea, hot chocolate or cider now because old man Winter is chomping at the bit. If we are lucky, maybe it will be a brutally cold winter that kills all the stink bugs and lantern flies and their eggs.

Back to Basics

In a world of ever increasing gadgets and technology, I find that there seems to be more and more of a disconnect between people and simply saying hello to your neighbors has now been replaced with mind numbing texts and social media postings about absolutely nothing of significance. The term social media is about as far from reality as you can get. Their are a lot in the latest generation that will grow older realizing they have wasted much of their life accomplishing nothing of any substance.

Todays post reminds me of when I was young and instead of wasting time on the phone, my grandpa would take me to the farm shown above and we would cut and load firewood together on weekends. I have heard it said that most people will not remember you for what you accomplished, but rather how you made them feel and I believe that is true. This image resonates simplicity and calm, and I fear the generation coming up will never have those personal interactions that create memories for a lifetime.

See the Potential

This photo was taken last week as I was driving around in search of autumn images. This image was 30-50 feet off the road and what appears to be a large pond in the foreground is actually a 15 foot puddle of rain runoff. To further complicate things, there were two discarded orange traffic cones tossed in the middle of the “pond” that were impossible to reach without getting soaked. I decided it had enough potential to shoot and I would try to clone the cones out in photoshop if possible. Well it was easier than I envisioned and it turned out lovely, but without a keen eye and the ability to see the potential in a small puddle, it would never have come into being. Looking at your subject from different angles and heights, wether high or low can really bring an image to the next level.

We Salute our Tourists

Not much surprises me these days but being given the finger by this Amish boy who was hauling pumpkins with his younger sister made me do a double take. I was simply driving the backroads when I rounded this bend and saw a wagon of pumpkins headed my way. I pulled over to watch it pass and we each nodded to the other and I snapped a few frames as it climbed the hill. As I was ready to leave, in the rear view mirror I see another wagonload heading my way. Once again I waited and took a few shots of this crew heading up the hill,and all of a sudden he turns and flips me off. I wondered what pop on the first wagon might have thought about that. Times, they are a changing. Maybe its the new welcome to Lancaster,county gesture?

Ripples and Reflections

I drove by this spot and saw there might be potential if I could get down in the water itself. I gingerly crawled down the hill on the right and stepped in wearing only muck boots which are about a foot high and on my 9th or 10th step I was in water that was 12.5 inches deep, so I walked faster, got a little wet and that was that. I slapped a polarizer on the lens which brought out the blue sky and also helped the ripples to show as well. I like the way the ripples kind of fade away were the warm reflection begins.

Country Road Color

Morning sun illuminates a pair of trees that have reached peak color along a country road in Lancaster county. When I first saw this, there was a nice big circle of fallen leaves on the road as well, but till I turned around to try and park off the road, the family was already hard at work with backpack blowers cleaning up.

My Autumn Display

Todays post features my property which is located along a rails to trails path. For those who are not from my area, I have built what has affectionately become known as the Gnome village. It is a hillside display of hand built buildings that function as the backdrop in which the gnomes reside. It has become somewhat of a destination for trail users looking for a place to let their imagination run wild as they check what the gnomes are up too and how things might have changed from month to month. Last year my issues with depression found me with zero desire to decorate for fall, which by the way is my favorite time of year. Sensing that my ability to keep up my old pace is waning, I felt it was time to do an autumn display again. The hill leading down to the trail presents some real challenges and keeping things in place takes extra planning. I am proud to say that this years layout was done all by myself and has gotten a lot of appreciative comments. If you are on Facebook, you can see more of my village at https://www.facebook.com/railtrailgnomes/

The Race is on!

I was out shooting when I spotted this tractor and baler working a field, so I climbed a ten foot bank across the road to hopefully get a good perspective. Well sometimes what you visualize does not pan out and this was the case here. As the machinery kept working toward the edges of the field, I began to realize it was going to block all the bales laying scattered behind him that I also wanted in the shot. About the same time frustration was setting in, I heard this buggy coming down the road and thanks to my high vantage point, everything came together after all.

A whirlwind Night

For the past 34 years I have had to try and capture the local town fair where I live as part of my job. I put way too much pressure on myself to deliver good shots and I have missed out on family time there because of this. Well this year I decided to ride my bike out on the last night to just relax and shoot a few frames for myself. I strapped all my photo gear on to avoid the parking/traffic nightmares and I had two possible shots I wanted to try and the one shown here was my main goal. I got there at dusk to set up and wait for lower light and I chose a wide angle to avoid all the junk piled around. I wanted to play around with motion and color and this ride was very colorful.

I literally just finished setting up my tripod and doing two test frames when this younger mom comes up to me and nicely asks what I am shooting?  I respond nicely some time exposures to get motion blur. Well suffice it to say the conversation quickly went downhill when she told me she is not comfortable with me taking a picture of her kid and then says she does not believe me and wanted to see the images on my camera. Well since I only had two test shots taken and wasn’t in the mood to be interrogated, I told her forget it, thats not happening. She walked away but could not let it go and for the next ten minutes she kept pacing back and forth with her phone to her ear. I figured she was trying to get the police involved and finally a fair worker stopped to check and all was good. The crazy thing was there was a whole crew of models and photographers roaming the midway with soft boxes etc to shoot various scenes and no one bothered them at all. It seems these things always happen just when the light is getting good and then I end up being distracted when I need to stay focused. I am pleased with the swirling motion of color and light despite the drama.

Infrared Lane

For me, shooting infrared can be a challenge because you sort of have to guess if a certain shot will be great or not so great in infrared because you can’t pre-visualize what the infrared spectrum may be imparting on any given landscape. I hoped this gravel lane with the patch of green grass in the middle would be good and I feel it is a critical part in making this shot appealing.