I photographed this local scene tonight and until I was finished, I was drenched. A constant downpour all day made things a little difficult and I was too busy trying to light this, to worry about an umbrella! Camera had an umbrella, but not the guy in charge. This is downtown and you would not believe how frequently cars were occupying the space between the tree and lamp post. It was an exercise in frustration because I would shoot a few shots, then a car would park smack dab in the middle for a few minutes, then leave and quickly be replaced by yet another car. Would be nice if the inside were lit up but you cant have it all.
There was a small VW show not too far from home yesterday so I decided to venture out for an hour or so and check things out. I was immediately drawn to these cool VW classics,with their sleek lines,cool colors and unique design. If I had hit the lottery, I might just buy one because they really are the epitome of cool and laid back, but after talking to two owners, I realized there won’t be any sitting in my driveway anytime soon. I asked what would something like this sell for? I silently guessed maybe $40,000, and was quickly flabbergasted when one owner told me $125,000,and the other said $150,000 for theirs. I would have the thing roped off if it was mine,and the one owner told me they have had kids climb all over it at shows till they quickly tell the parents what its worth. they really do make a statement with their sweet style and design. Some had safari windows that are basically a flip out front windshield, which I was told were a necessity in south America where many of these originally were located. The safari window allowed air to blow through because it was like an oven inside.
I must admit I do not know exactly how this contraption works but I believe it is a threshing machine used to separate grains from the stalk. It was being demonstrated at the threshermans reunion this past week.I shot this with flash at dusk when everyone was watching other events. Old machinery can be quite amazing in its intricate design and construction.
A group of Amish spectators watch an old steam engine competition at the Rough and Tumble reunion. This event featured the tractor team navigating an obstacle course,and just a few feet ahead they stopped and blind folded the driver and the guy sitting on the back got off and connected ropes to the drivers arms and controlled the tractor direction by tugging on the ropes much like controlling a horse.
I spent two hours this week at the Rough and Tumble historical associations threshermen’s reunion in Lancaster county,Pa. This event features all kinds of old steam engines and rusty iron machinery from the past. To see these incredible machines in operation is something to witness and their whistles are a whole other story,and after standing right beside one when the whistle blew,I can tell you it is something you wont soon forget. These two beauties were lined up at dusk and even though I came upon them later than I would like,there was still enough color in the sky to try a shot. The engine in front is a 1913 Frick Eclipse steam tractor owned by Jim Wright and the one behind is a 1912 Aultman Taylor steam tractor owned by Gary and Russel Bingaman.
Headed to Cape May for a day to shoot the many Victorian homes that make the town such a popular destination year round.Even though there was no snow to be found,the town was still dressed in its Christmas best and was very neat to see. This place is located right in the downtown and is referred to as “The Abbey” and If Senator John McCreary were somehow to return to Cape May today, he wouldn’t have much trouble recognizing his summer residence. Standing proudly at the corner of Gurney Street and Columbia Avenue. A Scottish immigrant who made his fortune in coal, McCreary was one of many wealthy Philadelphians who chose to summer in Cape May. With the arrival of the railroad in 1863, Cape May became a popular resort for the upper classes. These visitors did not, however, stay in the huge hotels that Cape May was famous for at the time. Instead, they built huge wooden homes, “cottages” and “villas” where one family could retreat in privacy. I photographed the home from across the street and included an arrangement with a bow that was situated on a pillar at a church. I saw on the net that the average rental price at this home for a week in peak summer is $12,500, so I most likely will not be seeing the inside anytime soon. In contrast,I slept overnight in my truck there and was as cozy as most people in the fancy houses right next to me and I shot this at daybreak while everyone else was still sleeping.
This set of images were taken in the small town of Lititz,Pa in the area known as the Moravian Church Square. It is a gorgeous section of town that includes numerous old buildings and is right along the main street. This year I spotted a dazzling yellow Ginko tree on a friday night and took a shot or two before it got dark.I called a friend to tell him he might want to check it out,and he did just that on the next day.I called him to ask if he got anything and he said all of the leaves were off,to which I laughed and said there is no way all the leaves fell off overnight. He insisted it was true so on Sunday morning I headed over at sunrise to see,and lo and behold he was telling the truth. I was busy getting more photos in the pre-dawn light when the caretaker strolled by and said he was lighting the church and hoped that would not be a problem,to which I said go for it. The added illumination inside took the stunning scene to a whole other level in my opinion,and I was very thankful not only for the beauty before me but the ability to appreciate it and capture it. I joked with the care taker about the leaves not being cleaned up because he is a very efficient worker and keeps the property well maintained and he said the parishioners love to walk down the golden path as they arrive for Sunday worship so he leaves them lay an extra day.
If you ever get the chance to visit the Mercer Museum in Doylestown,Pa,take it because it will blow your mind.This place is a time capsule featuring items from past times that were saved and displayed by a man on a mission who had a great vision to save history for future generations.It is several stories of thousands of items one may never see anywhere else.Shown in this photo on the lower left is an 1800 fire engine pumper that is just one small part of the collection and hangs by huge chains from the second story concrete walls. I had to hand hold everything,and bracing your camera for 1 second exposures can be a bit challenging.
Henry Mercer was a gentleman anthropologist. On a cruise up the Ruhr in early adulthood, Mercer was impressed by the eclipse of artisanal culture by industrial production, and resolved himself to preserving artifacts of pre-industrial life. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Mercer collected pre-industrial tools and other implements of the past. He believed that the story of human progress and accomplishments was told by the tools and objects that people used and saw these time-honored crafts slowly disappearing from memory.
Mercer personally designed plans for a museum to house his collection, six stories tall and cast of poured-in-place concrete. Mercer’s museum was completed in 1916. In addition to tools, it displays furnishings of early Americana, carriages, stove plates, a gallows, antique fire engines, a whaleboat, and the Lenape Stone. The Spruance Library, which houses the Bucks County Historical Society’s archive of historical research materials, is located on its third floor.
This place is known as Fonthill castle and is located in Doylestown ,Pa.I photographed this amazing location at sunrise recently.Built between 1908-1912, Fonthill was the home of Henry Chapman Mercer (1856-1930). Archaeologist, anthropologist, ceramist, scholar and antiquarian, Mercer built Fonthill both as his home and as a showplace for his collection of tiles and prints. The first of three Mercer buildings in Doylestown, Fonthill served as a showplace for Mercer’s famed Moravian tiles that were produced during the American Arts & Crafts Movement. Designed by Mercer, the building is an eclectic mix of Medieval, Gothic, and Byzantine architectural styles, and is significant as an early example of poured reinforced concrete. It almost felt like I was visiting Europe when I was here.
I photographed the restored Ambler movie theatre while visiting Ambler last week.I used my nitecor flashlight to reveal the rich color and detail of the place.The Ambler Theater was opened by its owner Warner Bros. on December 31, 1928, with the movie “Our Dancing Daughters” starring Joan Crawford. An exuberant Spanish Colonial style architecture was employed to create a magical facade with Terra cotta, spacious lobbies (entry lobby, main lobby, vestibule lobby, then foyer), an ornate auditorium with 1,228 seats, and a Gottfried pipe organ (which is long gone). The builder, Phillip Harrison, previously built the Seville (now Bryn Mawr) and Lansdowne theatres, which may explain the Spanish Colonial similarities. Prior movies in Ambler had been shown in an opera house, a second story Civil War era theatre.
Due to the competition from TV and the multiplexes, the Ambler was no longer viable to continue as a for profit theatre with mainstream movies and ceased showing 35mm films about 1969 to 1970. By this time the auditorium’s side walls and front part of the ceiling were draped over. From the 1970’s until 1997 the Ambler was operated as a Christian cinema, showing films in 16mm including The Robe. The Ambler closed again, waiting re-use. The Christian group sold the theatre in 2001 to businessmen, who in turn sold the theatre to the nonprofit: Ambler Theater, Inc.
The non-profit organization devoted two million dollars to renovations. Paint colors were chosen to match the original colors. No original carpet was found, so carpet was replicated from photographs with the appropriate colors selected. As the original ticket booth was long gone, a cheap modern ticket booth was removed and replaced with a retro style ticket booth. The ornate new ticket booth took its inspiration from the auditorium’s organ lofts.
Built in the former rear of the orchestra seating area are two ‘black-box stadium seated auditoriums, equipped with digital surround sound. One auditorium has 150 seats, the other has 110 seats. The Ambler reopened February 28, 2003, with those two auditoriums showing the movies Nicholas Nickleby and Real Women Have Curves.
As the original 30 foot towering vertical neon sign had been demolished in the late 1960’s, an exact replica was constructed by Bartush Signs and funded in part by a Keystone Grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. The neon tower was installed in September, 2005 and officially lit on October 21, 2005.
Renovation of the original front section of the auditorium began March, 2007. It reopened October 5, 2007 with the film Into the Wild. The original proscenium arch opening hosts the large movie screen (30 feet wide for ‘scope films), ornate decoration on the side walls, and organ lofts. This auditorium with stadium seating for 280 people has a ceiling with what looks like wood beams, but in reality they are made of plaster.
Recent renovations have restored the marquee to its original 1928 majesty complete with neon trim and chaser lights. Additional fundraising is being undertaken for more renovations, including restoration of the facade.
This is an interior view of the Lindenwold castle located in Ambler,Pa.I took a few days off to seek out some photo subjects and stopped at the castle to see if I could snap some images.At first a friendly staff member escorted me to shoot yesterdays image outside but when we came back to the castle,she said I could photograph the upstairs by myself if I wanted.I was surprised by the offer and quickly jumped on the chance. The place was amazing and I could only imagine the elite figures from times past that gathered here to socialize. Off to the left is what she told me was called the blue room,which contrasted with the rich wood throughout this room. Dr Matteson’s fortune was made primarily by his work with asbestos.
This scene is part of the estate of the late Dr. Richard Vanselous Mattison. Some people loved him, more hated him, but everyone agrees his partnership with Henry G. Keasbey made Ambler what it is today. Richard V. Mattison was the man who put Ambler on the map. Originally, he opened up a small pharmaceutical laboratory in Philadelphia, then moved it to Ambler. Mattison experimented with the insulating properties of asbestos and opened up a plant in Ambler. By 1914, Keasbey and Mattison had become the largest supplier and manufacturer of asbestos products. Located down the street from the Ambler train station was the Century Asbestos Shingle Factory, one of Amblers most important factories. Keasbey and Mattison produced a wide range of products, from headache and stomach relief products to asbestos insulation products. They shipped their products all over the country. At one point their slogan was “Lest we forget-the BEST in asBESTos.”
Mattison owned a 400 acre estate that he remolded after the Windsor Castle in England. His estate was known as Lindenwold and included a lake, gardens, gatehouses, and elaborate stone walls. Keabey and Mattison’s top executives lived in elaborate stone houses on what was known as Lindenwold Terrace. Mattison was also responsible for building homes for his other employees and still stand today on Mattison Avenue.
To honor the memory of his daughter, Esther Victoria, who suddenly died at the age of four, Mattison built Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church. The church was consumed in a tragic fire in 1986, but the congregation promised to restore it.
In addition to bringing a new culture to Ambler, Mattison pushed for the incorporation of the town. He introduced street lighting, built Ambler’s first water system, opera house, and participated in town matters. shown is a stone wall with stone statues and the picturesque gazebo located along the lake. I got special permission to enter the property and shoot a few photos.
This is a little vignette from a small general store at a historic site. I chose to focus on the old cash register because of its ornate quality and because it was one of the focal points in a general store in the old days.They sure don’t make them like this anymore.I light painted this scene with my led flashlight.
This group of model A enthusiasts took a driving tour through the back roads of Lancaster county recently, and one of their stops included the historic Resslers Mill,which is the setting they are driving past in this photo.This group of cars belong to The Susquehanna Valley Region of the National Model A Restorer’s Club (MARC). The purpose of the club is to encourage members to acquire, restore, preserve and exhibit the Model A” Ford.
This pair of Amish sleigh riders are zipping down the road in rural Lancaster county on a day that saw temperatures hover around five degrees. Judging by the fact that you can only see their eyes,its safe to assume it was a bit brisk in the old red sleigh.Next time you complain about your car not heating up quickly enough in winter,think of these two.
I headed out to a local cemetery to try some light painting this past weekend and once again temperatures in the single digits tested my dedication to the craft. The sunset was nice and the colorful sky in this image is part light from sunset and the city nearby,which gave a neat effect. I used my nitecor flashlight to illuminate the chapel,trees,snow and tombstones. I always am on my toes when I am alone in places like this because I have seen homeless sleeping here,but not with the temperatures we have right now. I was also worried the gate might be closed when I went to leave but thankfully that was not the case.
For some reason I like to photograph old items from the past and when I do,I get to wondering about the history behind them. I found this old rusty tow truck for sale in a parking lot and it clearly had seen some mileage,but with a little searching on the net for the name emblazoned on the door,I did find the truck was originally owned by a gentleman named Edward Graf who had his own garage and was a certified mechanic. He was a life member of a fire company and from what I found at least one son has followed in that proud tradition and that’s why my title was aptly picked. This truck certainly came to the rescue of many motorists over the years and that ties in with serving in the fire company as well. I light painted the truck with my flashlight.
I was pretty happy with my result on this image featuring an Antique store called the Moravian House in Lititz,Pa. The hardest aspect was getting the word antiques on the window to glow and stand out.The shop owners remembered me from the past and gladly left me inside to fire my flash out through the letters from behind. This can be a rather complicated process to get the look I want,and changing camera white balance and getting the flash at the right angle help me get the color the way I envision it.
This was just a quick grab shot on my new england trip,and the owner came out while I was snapping the shot. He proceeded to tell me it was an Irish Victorian home and had hundreds of four-leaf clovers everywhere in the construction. From door panels to fireplace inlays and everywhere you could imagine,there were four-leaf clovers. Done in infrared,it takes on a bit of a spooky appearance to me.
This is an old mill I photographed in Weston Vermont on my fall foliage trip. Thankfully it was not overrun by tourists and we had the place all to ourselves. I shot it in sun about an hour before and thankfully my friend was patient enough to drop me off for another shot after sunset. The Vermont country store is a stones throw away,so my buddy went there to shoot while I was here. I took my hip waders along and without them,I never would have been able to access this vantage point. Crossing streams that are around a foot deep is always nerve-wracking when you are carrying your gear along.
I passed this display on my travels and just had to return and shoot it. This is the result of many pops of my flash,and several ambient exposures. The main ball on the carriage is covered in plastic, which at first kind of made me wish it was off,but after dusk,the plastic helped with the glowing effect,so it all worked out. The owner told me this setup cost $17,000, and they are going to do tourist rides and weddings, using a real horse of course. It supposedly was in a popular TV series based in New York City. I am sure many cinderella’s will be drawn to take a ride.
While this looks like two steam tractors racing,it actually is a competition to back up and hook up to something. This was shot at the rough and tumble reunion in Pennsylvania and the event includes all kinds of powerful machines from the past. You should see the drivers work the steering mechanism on these things,as it’s a real workout.
This was my third subject to light paint on the evening I was allowed to shoot at the air show. It is a lovingly restored and highly polished C-47 named Miss Virginia. A moon rising in the background added an extra detail to the shot. According to web sources,this restoration took over 7000 hours and the aircraft was named Miss Virginia to honor both the military and the state of Virginia. Miss Virginia was the name of the P-38 lightning that shot down Japanese Admiral Yamamoto in 1943.
Our local airport was the sight for a community event showcasing numerous airplanes and flying machines in a celebration of flight this past weekend. I am not a big fan of plane photos with a ton of people standing around,so I inquired whether there was any chance to come out after the show closed and do some light painting images of planes on the tarmac. Thankfully,I spoke to one of the gentlemen in charge and he was willing to trust me and allow me to give it a whirl. I returned later than I had hoped to,and that forced me to make quick decisions about what I could shoot in a short time frame till it was pitch dark out. The sunset was a huge disappointment for my background,but I lit the plane with about twelve pops of the flash at various angles and this was the result. Special thanks to Austin for the opportunity to shoot these special vehicles.
The plane shown above is the only restored flying B-24j in the world and is owned by the Collings foundation. Read more about it at http://www.collingsfoundation.org
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.