Almost Spectacular

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This early morning image had all the earmarks of becoming a spectacular shot and although it turned out very nice,it could have been much better. the sky was just filled with clouds that would have lit up at sunrise but for some reason it kind of fizzled just when I was getting excited about the shot. I had to find the farmer in the barn as he was milking cows to ask if I could go on the land and he was more than happy to oblige. One funny thing that happened several times in the last week is me getting shocked as I climb over the electrified fences.Each time I gave them a cursory couple touches with the hand and each time nothing,until I start climbing or going under the fence and sure enough I get zapped. It kind of helps you get over the fence a little quicker.

A Gift From Above

 

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This brand new chain saw carving was just finished in the last few days and showcases the artistry of Dean Fox, a man with a unique gift and the vision  for seeing something special within trees that are past their prime and destined to come down. This angelic figure was carved from a large tree that had died and church members decided to have this done with the large remaining trunk. One church member commented to me that the tree had a huge lean to it,but with the artists skill,it now appears straight.Thankfully a church member met me this evening to turn on the sanctuary lights,which I felt was important to bring the photo to life. The fresh lacquer gives it a strong golden glow,but that will fade over time.  The bottom photo shows the artist in the beginning stage of carving with his chain saw. John 15:5-I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

 

 

 

Autumn Flowers Await

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Each year around this time I find myself scanning the landscape for fall displays to photograph. I passed this farm stand on my travels and stopped to get permission to try a shot. The owner was more than willing to allow the endeavor and said to stop anytime. I decided to try a shot before sunrise this past weekend and assumed I would be there in the dark all by myself for a while, but to my surprise and delight,work was already under way in preparation for customers when I arrived. The owner was washing the driveway down,and to be honest I was originally going to crop the building on the right off my shot,but when the wet surface reflected the stand light,it seemed time to change my plan. So with sunrise still an hour away,I began to compose and fine tune things before the light got good.

The gorgeous sky lit up first and lasted maybe 5 minutes,but that was more than enough time to capture it and the expanse of mums that stretch toward the barn. While I was waiting for the light to begin shooting, the owner pulled up with a large produce wagon pulled by two horses and he backed that wagon into the second door as easily as driving a car,which really impressed me. Between the sky,the reflection, and the mums,I was very happy with my result. The bottom image is the angle I originally wanted to shoot for comparison and you can see the horse and wagon sitting in the field on the left.

The Last Airbender

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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.

Looming Large

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Did you ever feel like you had a cloud hanging over you?  Well this particular afternoon found me in that situation,after a storm front came through,huge billowing clouds were seen hanging somewhat low in the sky and this one cloud seemed to be looming large over the farm and the resulting image turned out to my liking. Growing sweet corn is making it more difficult to see into the landscape in many places,so climbing on my truck roof will become more commonplace.

 

The Waiting Game

amish-farm-fenceThis farm and fence shot proves that a mediocre scene can become a winner with the right light. I have driven past this spot dozens of times and never gave it a thought before,but late evening sidelight and a dark sky behind the barn made me pull over on this occasion. I liked the leading line of the fence but hated the empty road,so I decided to sit till dark if necessary to get a buggy or something interesting passing by. Well I sat and sat,and thought you got to be kidding me that no buggies are out tonight,and an hour in this lone buggy came trotting by just as the youngster was coming to feed the horses. He looked so serious,I thought he was going to say get lost,but he merely fed the mother and colt.

One thing I remember about this evening was the group of Amish kids at the farm behind me who were watching me from behind the raspberry bushes and when I would turn they would duck,as if I had no clue they were there.Finally one got brave enough to move closer and smile and wave.They are always intrigued by the camera on the tripod and must have wondered what this idiot saw that was worth waiting so long for.It was the only shot I got that night but was well worth the drive in my opinion.

Schools Out

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This is a typical one room school in Lancaster County ,with the one exception that it still has a nice white fence around it. Many schools have been encircled with chain link fence or something similar after the tragedy at nickel mines a few years ago. As a photographer trying to capture the uniqueness of the landscape,it is much harder to get a shot like this anymore. Storm clouds in the background are what I had been following  and when I spotted this foreground,I had to stop. A lovely farm is located a short distance away.

Lincoln Slept Here

 

_mountian-springs-flowers2-copyThis is the only remaining structure left from the mountain springs resort built in 1848 and the rest was torn down several years ago ,with this part being restored. It sits on a steep hill and the large expanse of coneflowers made an impressive foreground so I made an attempt to capture the scene.The hill falls away fast,which necessitated me placing my tripod at maximum height and using my laptop to gets things lined up correctly. I started shooting about an hour before sunset and held in there till the sky started to light up with an amazing sunset. I almost wished I had gone with a wider shot because the sky was even more dazzling to the left of my composition but I was too locked in at this point. The shadows on the back wall of the porch are from my big flash,which I used to add detail under the roof line and I experimented with different angles till I got the shadow to fall on the wall between the windows,which shows the woodwork detail. Several presidents including Abraham Lincoln stayed in this building,so its kind of neat to capture it today.

 

A Great Evening

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I never post this many shots at once,but I wanted to show the different images I captured at one location on a stormy afternoon. I had been hanging out with friends one sunday afternoon and right near supper time these amazing clouds started moving in so I grabbed my gear and headed out. The top image is what I was after and I barely got the shot because the sky was changing so fast and the time between the first and second image is around ten minutes. After the storm blew over and poured down buckets of rain, I decided to try and get ahead of the storm and drove about twenty miles to get to the leading edge of the storm and gave up because I was getting into an area that was not very scenic. Next I turned around to head home and as sunset got closer,I decided to retrace my route and as I got back to the farm again,rain was stopping which left the road glistening and reflecting the colorful sky. The last shot was taken very close to the spot I shot the first image from, and all in all turned out to be a great afternoon of shooting.

Days End

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This image was the only one I got this evening after heading out in search of storms. Wicked weather had just left a trail of destruction about a half hour before I came into this area,so I just drove around watching thunderheads forming. I saw the setting sun lighting these clouds and this farm came to mind as being in the right position in the foreground,so I made a bee line to get here and just made it before the light faded.

No Place Like Home

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This local home is one I have always considered to be a true masterpiece. It was built in 1905 by Benjamin Gonder and the architectural detailing is magnificent. I was driving by recently and noticed this patch of flowers along the driveway entrance. The blooms were calling out to me,so I bravely knocked at the door and was met by the owner who graciously allowed me on the property. I said I wanted to snap a few flower pictures and as usual I spent more than an hour at it.

Whenever you meet someone new like this,there is always a bit of uncertainty on their part about who this person is and are they legit. The owner came out after an hour because they wondered how long a snapshot takes? I reassured her that with me,it can be pretty involved to get it all right. She then offered to allow me to go take a peek out back and possibly shoot the rose garden,which was absolutely stunning and that will be a post for another day. For this image,I waited till dusk for the interior light to show,and then lit the plants with flash. As I recall, the owners referred to themselves as the caretakers,which I took to meaning that some homes are so special that they are really something unto themselves and are not owned but cared for, but I might have that all wrong too.

The Kings Palace?

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Is this the palace of an Arabian king, a temple along the Nile river, or the final resting place of some middle eastern ruler? Well none of the above,it is actually the home of Sight and Sound Theatres,which is the largest faith-based theatre in the country and it is in Lancaster county. Their live recreations of Biblical stories are unparalleled,and years ago I saw their production of Noah,which included countless live animals and a huge ark. Google it to see the stage. Shot both images in infrared and the sky in the top one is awesome in my opinion.

Changing Seasons

 

 

As the sun rises on an autumn morning,this leafless tree stands as a reminder that winter is not far away. This is one of my favorite times of the year, when leaves fall all around you and a chill is in the early morning air. A time when frost coats the landscape and the rising sun brings welcome warmth to those seeking out the changing of the seasons.

 

 

Morning Chores Begin

 

A new day begins on an Amish farm as the sky overhead begins to light up from the rising sun. A light in the barn signals the beginning of the first cow milking session,which must be done more than once a day.The field in the foreground was filled with corn last week,but as fall approaches,the harvesting becomes more frequent across the landscape.

 

Tobacco Rows

Went out sunday morning because the weather was unsettled and I was hoping to find something interesting. After a bit of driving,I came upon this partially harvested tobacco field which had nice curved lines leading your eye to the farm. Started out at ground level but decided the higher perspective from my truck roof might be beneficial,and in fact it was.The sun popped out briefly,adding a touch of sidelight to the scene as an added bonus.The green area on the left is uncut tobacco

The sky was falling

Last week included some strong weather systems moving through, so one evening I headed to this location to hopefully shoot lightning over the farm on the right. I arrived with basically clear skies all around and set up the telephoto to zoom in on the farm. After about an hour, I decided to call my friend who lives about 10 miles away and ask if he saw any black skies? He immediately said the sky was black and winds were howling, but I said yeah right,because this vista offers a view for miles and it was clear. About two minutes later the sky went real black and These amazing clouds rolled in fast. It got so ominous that I feared getting out of my truck to get my camera and tripod,but I made a mad dash anyway. The sky literally looked as if it were coming down on me, and can’t remember seeing anything like it before. This wide-angle shot was out my window and was the best I could muster in short order. Lightning barely made an appearance through the whole event.

Passing Storm

This was shot the same evening as the thunderhead image from yesterday and was pure luck to get the lightning bolts. The evening looked like it was done storming, but as I started the truck to head home, I noticed a flicker off to the right. I set up my tripod just outside my driver’s side window, and hit the shutter every 15 seconds or so in a mini burst. The bolts were very infrequent and miles away, but I happened to get these two on one shot. As mentioned before, daylight lightning is very hard without a lightning trigger, and this image was shot at f32 at a third of a second. I never stop down that far because image quality degrades at small apertures,but my only other choice would be a neutral density filter and with a 400mm lens,quality would drop as well. I captured a couple other bolts,but they were blurred due to me pressing the shutter too hard. There was actually a mini rainbow that appeared off camera for about 15 seconds as well, but disappeared before I decided to shoot it.