Beauty by the Mill

This old mill is now a private residence and the home to the left of the flowering trees is very tastefully decorated with numerous nice touches and places you just want to sit and enjoy a tall glass of lemonade. I will be sharing a shot soon including the house which is visually just perfect sitting beside the old mill. The flowering trees are what caught my eye and with an old victorian home and a mill on either side, it was too hard to resist.

The Pumpkin Patch




Welcome to the pumpkin patch,one of Lancaster counties many farm stands. This stand is one of several where we went for a good selection for our house display this year. I bought the biggest one they had here and it was almost 50 bucks,and it is self-serve here. They must sell wholesale as well because there was a truck at the barn and the driver must have had a good laugh watching me because it took me 5 tries to get it on the wagon.The first four involved tipping the wagon and trying to right it with the pumpkin leaning against and then finally I found a board and rolled it on the wagon. it easily weighed 150 pounds plus but is very awkward to lift. Many times two guys will use a burlap bag and double team them but no one was around.The bottom photo is part of our finished display along the rail trail where we live. the whopper is the one on the left and it is almost twice as big as the nearest one.The cat on the fence is one of three we cut out from templates on Martha Stewart and the bed was found for free at the curb. It is hard to get a great shot because our display is on a steep hill that goes down to the trail. Also the welcome pumpkin is done by the farmer using a nail to scratch the skin and it heals like that by harvest time.

Autumn Flowers Await



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.

Flowers behind Glass


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.

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.





Where is the tree?


This is the third cicada shell that I found this year in a strange location. These insects usually climb trees and hatch from there as they hang on the bark, but this one seemed to prefer greenery instead. The hibiscus was 10 feet from the tree,so maybe he was too tired to keep going.  Not sure how the pollen got on him, but it was windy the day before. Their jagged legs are perfect for clinging. I only wish I had seen him hatch from here.they usually can be seen on the move around dusk as they seek out their spot to open.


Mansion in bloom

As promised, here is another image taken at the Watt Mansion featuring hydrangea in bloom.Recent severe hot weather has taken its toll on these lovely plants and we are in need of a good soaking rain again. A few flash pops helped light the shaded blooms.

Sorry for the error on calling these hyacinth in my original post. Thankfully a friend pointed out my brain freeze.

Old World Charm

My photo for today features a home that has been lovingly restored by current owners Steve and Kathy, and they have done an outstanding job both inside and out. The exterior features a gorgeous wrap around porch that has been painted in subtle shades of green and burgundy, and is a great place to sit and enjoy fresh lemonade while relaxing on one of several rocking chairs. The stunning hydrangea in shades of blue and lavender provide a visual feast for the eyes and were the reason I stopped to photograph this spot. I light painted much of the scene to help show the details,and despite picking the worst breezy night to try this, I managed to get most of the plants still. According to online resources, hydrangea color is affected primarily by the presence or absence of aluminum compounds in the flowers. Adjusting soil ph will yield blue to pink possibilities.

The Wrap around porch

This lovely home is known as the Gonder Mansion, and is included on a local ghost tour in the area. It is a Victorian era Queen Anne style mansion built in 1905 by big wheel Benjamin Gonder, and was the home for him and his wife mary. It’s said to be haunted by the spirit of a woman who committed suicide – Annie, Benjamin’s loco sister who lived on the grounds but was shunned by the rest of the family because of her mental condition.  It’s reported that the sounds of music and crazed laughter can be heard throughout the home, and her misty form has been reported haunting its corridors. She moved into the mansion in death after being forbidden to step inside the home during life. I did a small bit of light painting to highlight the gate,wall,and bushes at dusk to add my own touch to the beautiful home. The wrap around porch looks like a great place to sip cold lemonade on a summer day. I shot this from my truck roof using my laptop in the hopes of offering a better perspective.

The Fragrant Path to Ivy Manor

This is just one of several images captured over the course of several hours this past weekend. I saw this scene while I was riding bike the night before and knew I had to get back soon to capture it. The driveway was even more pristine looking when I first arrived, but several vehicles came and went shortly after I got there, and made marks in the lovely pink carpet. Thankfully wind helped bring down more petals to help cover things up. I could not seem to break myself from shooting various angles, in part because the home seemed to go perfectly with the fallen flowers, and the sea of pink under foot was something quite amazing. The owner asked if I had A.D.D, because I was there so long, but I loved every minute of this location. Once again, generous homeowners were very agreeable to let me wander the property, which made all the difference. It is not really called ivy manor, but I named it that because it reminds me of something from Europe. The Cotswolds in england are among one of the places I desperately want to visit sometime in the future and this image sort of has that cottage look.

The Artistry of Nature

I had no intention of going out to look for photos yesterday, but plans changed and the opportunity arose to go out for a bit. I originally spent a few hours up the street from this location shooting a home that had blossoms covering the ground from a beautiful flowering tree that was dropping its blooms. Before I headed home, I took a stroll down the street and noticed this serene scene that was begging to be photographed. I asked the owner to walk in his yard, and he graciously said yes. The home across the street is a bed and breakfast called the Smithton Inn and it was built in 1763, and thanks to the efforts of its new owners, it is a wonderful place to stay for folks visiting the area. This yard had gorgeous flowering trees in purple,pink and white over the last weeks and I never shot anything, but something about the carpet of pink beckoned me to give it a whirl. The wrought iron furniture in white circling the trees added that touch of detail that brought it all together.

Romeo and Juliet

This image was taken last evening at my mother’s house when I stopped for a quick visit, and thankfully I had my camera gear along. I always try to come up with an appropriate title for my photo each day, and although this particular one may leave you scratching your head, it’s what I decided on. First,let me say this image is exactly how I spotted it, and although it had just begun to rain, I still grabbed the tripod, camera and a huge umbrella and got set up. As I was working on the image at home, I was listening to a song by the same title, and that’s when the title landed in my lap. I knew the subtle colors had a delicate feeling and were almost like male and female colors.  This image is so soft and relaxed, yet it grabs you to look at it and appreciate its beauty. So perhaps these flowers belong together, complimenting one another in muted tones. I found it interesting that the blue flowers held the rain drops,but the pink repelled them.

Bleeding Heart blooms

The bleeding hearts are beginning to get toward their prime in our garden and a light rain shower provided the perfect complement with glistening beads of water. I set up some wind barriers on two sides to keep movement to a minimum at slower shutter speeds. I like how the plant seems to open in stages, as evidenced in this image.

The old homestead

This is another image from my early sunday photo adventure. Winds were a bit more than I was hoping for, so unfortunately I had to up my iso to 800, which I never like to do, but it got me in the thirtieth of a second shutter speed range, which obviously was better than using anything slower. I passed this location and turned around for a better look, and because it was around 7am, I figured it was too early to knock at the door, but luckily the owner came out at that moment as she was headed to a local antique center for the morning, so she kindly allowed me access.