Train Daredevils

This motel is entirely made up of cabooses and as luck would have it,the little boy and girl poked their heads out just as I was composing the shot. At the time I did not notice the boy had no underwear on,so I had to clone out a tiny protrusion. Looks like they are headed down the tracks.

The Rabbit Lodge

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This scene is one I decided to shoot this past weekend after we had a light snow pass through the area. This neighborhood has some very nice older homes and some include architectural elements that appeal to me for photos. This scene is right along the road,so I could shoot it from the street. The old dilapidated shed with lanterns that have been dark for years beckoned me to add some light to bring them to life. I placed a flash behind the lanterns to light them and then lit the snow and shed to show the details.The bottom photo shows my starting point and the top my final result. The title refers to the three rabbit tracks heading toward the shed.

Flowers behind Glass

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This close up window scene was captured at a state historic site,and I utilized flash to add some light to the scene inside.The flash also helped reveal the window texture,adding another detail. Everything was lit from outside by carefully directing the light.

Historic Lantern Tours

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This image was taken after yesterdays shot as I headed home and noticed the local historical site was conducting lantern tours. It was shot around eight o’clock at night and had I been able to get there at dusk,it would be even nicer. Again,the full moon lit up the sky like I have never seen before and actually allowed me to get color in the sky after dark.The lanterns sit waiting to be picked up by tour participants who go building to building at the Ephrata Cloister learning about the past. A fresh snow earlier in the day made for a very special night for guests.The Cloister is one of Americas earliest religious settlements and was founded in 1732.

Full Moon Illumination

 

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This image was taken at the location of the first sleigh image I posted recently and after loading the sleigh on the trailer,I decided to shoot one more image. Strong winds were forecast during the overnight hours,so I knew this shot would be gone by morning. This was shot after dark but thanks to a full moon,the sky was brighter than normal,and with a bit of flash added to the tree,the snow showed up nicely.I still make stupid mistakes when light painting shots like this and in this instance,I used a shutter speed way too slow,because I had it in my head I wanted a good ambient exposure,when in fact what I should have done was gone with a fast shutter speed,so all I was capturing was the flash on the snow.When you go to layer your flashed snow frame and the sky is also bright,it will brush in along with the snow and that is not what you want.

 

Next stop on the Sleigh Tour

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Tried another location for the sleigh I borrowed recently, and this time I wanted to show the beauty of the sleigh from the back.This old farmhouse has been lovingly restored by the current owners, and I thought it created another scenic backdrop for the sleigh. A lovely sunset kicked off the photo shoot and then I proceeded to light paint the sleigh,buildings, and even skim some light across the snow to reveal texture. A street light behind me cast some terrible shadows across the snow,so by lighting the snow I overpowered the street light to help pull the shot off.The sleigh was one of the first areas I lit and thank goodness for that, because three separate times I had to pick up packages that got blown off in about 15 mph winds. Would love to have a good horse to pull me as I take a ride in this thing instead of just hauling it on a trailer.

I ran the sleigh photo idea by the owner a year ago and they were excited about it,but the day I shot this,I could not get a hold of them,so they were surprised to see the sleigh in their yard and me hard at work photographing it that evening as they came home from a brief vacation. All in all I am very happy with the result of this little escapade with the old sleigh. Now lets see whats in those packages.

A Christmas Memory

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This winter scene came to be thanks to the generosity of the homeowner, the sleigh owner, and my crazy desire to live in the past. The red sleigh was loaned to me by a kind lady who I have done photos for,and the property was made available for my idea by a generous gentleman who entertains my wild photo ideas. The two photos represent my vision for the shot,with the top being the final shot and the bottom was my pre-planning stage to decide where to place it.

This property is an ideal backdrop for the sleigh and the building on the left was actually hand-built by the owner and his son several years ago. I put a light on a stand in that building to shine light out the window across the snow toward the sleigh and lit everything else with flash. From the light illuminating the sleigh to the shadows on the roof from the pine tree,I had to light every element. The old lantern was provided by the property owner as well,and the fancy gift packages and decoration on the sleigh was courtesy of my wife.

The tricky part in doing something like this is knowing exactly where you are going to place the sleigh,and if you look closely at the bottom shot you can see two yellow stakes at the runners leading edge,which were my target spots on the snowy night. I placed a stick in the ground to mark my shooting location and had to walk very slowly as I pulled the package laden sleigh into position.One of the annoying things I had to deal with on this night was the fact that it was still snowing as I started to get the sleigh off the trailer,so I had to keep a tarp over it and try and set packages in place on the sleigh with a tarp on top of it. Thank goodness the snow stopped just in time to let me finalize everything or else I would have had to scrap the shoot. I will definitely remember this night and the fun I had doing this shot.

A Warm Welcome

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This is an exterior view of the old farm-house were yesterdays music room was photographed. After I wrapped up picture-taking inside,I rushed outside to try and get this luminary shot before it was too dark to balance everything. I lit the fence,Christmas wreath, and ivy with flash as daylight quickly faded. The property was all aglow with dozens of luminaries lighting the way for arriving guests.

Symphony of Sound and Color

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This past weekend I had the pleasure of being welcomed into this home to photograph this room just prior to a large get together. The owner has an amazing flower shop next to the home and while I was there recently,he invited me in to his home for a brief tour and I immediately fell in love with his sense of style and decorating tastes. I asked if I could photograph what I refer to as the music room some time ,and he said sure and that I could do it on the night of the party if I wanted. Well I photographed this right at the edge of when I needed the light to be low enough outside and when the guests were starting to arrive,but I pulled it off. He then invited my wife and I to stay and eat and enjoy ourselves,and needless to say it was a night to remember.

If you notice the large harp in the room,that was there thanks to me telling the host about this young lady Who had played at our home a few years ago,and she is not only an amazing harpist,but she sings like an angel to boot. I parked myself in the corner chair and let the music resonate around me in this glorious setting. From the Baby Grand piano to the antique stained glass to the gorgeous tree, everything came together in this one moment in time. Hopefully I can post a few more vignettes from the property soon, and to our gracious host,may I extend our heartfelt thank you for such a wonderful night.

Days Gone By

 

 

lititz-old-toysThis little vignette is one from my series on store windows in the quaint town of Lititz,PA. Each year at Christmas the shops in town create unique window displays that I find appealing and this one with the old blocks, the bear, and the santa caught my eye. I lit the scene with a flash at various angles to highlight certain items. The shop is called days gone by,hence my title.

 

 

Its Christmas Time

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This image of a store display in the small town of Lititz Pa is just one more challenge I set for myself taking photos. I love the various scenes you see around Christmas time in this town and window decorating contests keep shop owners busy at this time of year. The challenge was to capture something half decent,while having to do everything from the sidewalk outside and while the store was closed and dark. Reflections everywhere on the glass from street lamps,traffic and other businesses was my first challenge and trying to light things was my second challenge.

The clocks were lit by flash at various angles through the windows,all the while blocking reflections bouncing toward the camera. A wide-angle used up close allowed me to compose the shot and achieve some balance and allowed me to see several clocks in the store.This was shot at five thirty in the morning so I had time to experiment without bothering anyone.The one thing I wish were different is the dark area in the bottom middle. There were various items piled on the table,which did not look good lit,so I left them in shadow.

A Delectably Delicious Tree

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This is yet another display from the historic mansion Christmas event. This display was created by a local bakery and the tree is adorned in fresh gingerbread ornaments that include snowflakes,trees and ginger bread men. There appeared to be other food items on the tree but I was not exactly sure what everything was.The left window sill features gingerbread houses and various other items round out the composition.The first exposure was done capturing the exterior light and then everything was lit by a hand-held deer spotlight in a very dark room. When you do this technique,you must be careful not to kick or bump anything as you light things or you get registration problems.

This was the only shot I did this year alone in the mansion,which can be a little spooky in the dark as you hear every sound in the old structure. Thankfully the strong smell of gingerbread filled the room and kept my mind from being distracted by noises. If only I would have had a big glass of milk,I might have been able to sample the bakery delights.

Most Wonderful Time of The Year

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The Christmas season is one of my favorite times of year,so I look forward to any opportunity that comes along to photograph Christmas related subjects.Homes adorned in festive decor always draw me in for a closer look and memories of times with family gathered together on a cold winters night leave lasting impressions. Wether it is enjoying grandmas cookies or seeing relatives again,Christmas is hard to beat for me. A simple photo like this one can trigger cherished memories from the past and reliving those glory days in one’s mind can be very special.

The scene above is done using a tripod and multiple exposures utilizing my spotlight. It is one of several rooms decorated in an old mansion,which allows visitors to come and enjoy the decorations which are done by volunteers from various groups and individuals in the community and runs for two weekends in early December.The organizers are gracious enough to give me a key and let me come in to shoot anything that catches my eye.This was shot this past saturday long before the sun rose,so we did not have to contend with light shining in the windows. More scenes will come as I work on them. My friend Larry has a shot on his blog from another room. He is listed on my artists I admire section at Lefeverphoto. He chose an extremely tough room and did a stellar job.

The Peterson Path

I like to give a little story or background on my photos,but I cant seem to nail down any specifics about who is buried in this mausoleum? I did find out it was built in 1912 at a cost of $9337 dollars,and is blue westerly granite.Shot in infrared with a Nikon D200 and 17-35 wide-angle,which is not so wide on that camera body.

Let The Sun Shine

 

This is another flash light painting exercise where I attempted to bring out the detail in the statue. The sun was shining through the tree,but was basically backlighting everything. I shot the first exposure with the silhouetted statue and sun,and then the sun moved behind the leaves and I started with the flash portion of the shoot.The off camera flash is mounted on a six foot pole for better positioning but the statue is pretty high,so it’s not the perfect lighting scenario.

 

Working Late

 

 

 

This old Dodge has been part of a local fall roadside stand for several years and this year I finally set aside a night to photograph it. The truck bed is full of mums and a wide variety of colorful mums fill the foreground for customers to pick from. Let me explain how the shoot went.I arrived an hour before sunset so I could set up the tripod,fill in any empty holes with flowers if needed and start my laptop to fire the camera. First the laptop took 5 minutes to let me log on,then my camera control software would not recognize that my camera was attached. After no less than 6 restarts,the sun was now below the horizon and I was now ready to drive over my laptop.

Next the sky lit up in an area Not included in my frame,so I recomposed and shot the image. Now I was ready to give up on light painting the scene because of the laptop snafu,but I gave it one last try and unbelievably the thing works. So for the next hour I used my spotlight and a flash to light the truck, flowers,and scene and this was my result. Lighting a black truck is a real challenge but thanks to the generosity of the owners in allowing me to work the shot,I had enough time to pull it off.

 

 

 

 

The Rio Grand Caboose lodge

These old cars were part of a car club that was out touring the farm country,and I happened to spot them parked at a motel that is totally comprised of train cabooses. Each guest spends the night in his very own caboose, which come in every color under the sun. The evening was basically pouring rain,but after shooting under an umbrella for 30 minutes,the rain stopped and I began lighting the scene with flash. I thought the two modes of transportation complemented each other and harkened back to a simpler time.The yellow caboose is the Rio Grand.