Steaming Out Of The Past

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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. 

A Warm Seat Awaits

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Actually a warm seat awaits across the street at the Tomato Pie Cafe in downtown Lititz ,Pa. I photographed this ice sculpture yesterday and thanks to a stretch of bitter weather, it is still hanging around from last weekends fire and ice festival. The cafe recently added sunday hours and judging by all the footprints in the snow,it seems half the town was headed there. I light painted the scene to add some texture to the snow on an otherwise overcast and flat light morning. I would have preferred fresh untouched snow but folks must have been out and about saturday night leaving all the tracks so it works for a cool shot. This was the first day temperatures climbed to the freezing mark and seemed downright balmy while I shot this.

Beautiful Shapes

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This home is another gem from the town of Lititz,Pa. It shows what real architectural style can look like and what is lacking in todays cookie cutter home construction.The wrap around porch is amazing, the dome is super sweet as is the peak on the left. Seeing the reflection in the wet road made me stop to get this shot on Christmas eve as I headed home from a family get together.

All is Calm

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All was calm on this rainy night in Lititz ,PA as I looked for subjects reflecting in the glistening wet road. These old homes along the main street looked inviting with their christmas trees and lovely door decor. This town is such a neat place to walk at night and soak in the ambiance of a close-knit community.

A Night in Paris

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This image of the Bulls Head Tavern in Lititz ,Pa reminds me of paintings I have seen of Paris that show street scenes bathed in luscious light reflecting the warmth within on the rain-soaked streets. Painterly is the word that comes to mind and the contrast was pretty extreme so it’s a minor miracle I got something decent. Would have been better when the daylight was fading but thankfully it was still pouring and the reflections were great,even though I had to stay under my umbrella to shoot it. The bonus element in the scene that I like is the original 1963 london cab which one of the owners parks out front on many nights.

The Glorious Poinsettia Tree

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Residents in the small town of Lititz,Pa have many unique traditions that make the community special and one that I find particularly beautiful is the Lititz Moravian Church’s Annual poinsettia tree that is set up on thanksgiving weekend in preparation for the first Sunday of advent. The tree features one hundred poinsettias given in honor or remembrance of someone and stands approximately twelve feet high. The beautiful tree is only up a short period because it cannot be watered in the sanctuary.

I remembered this is the time of year the tree is assembled so I headed over to see if there was any chance I could have access to taking a photo and I was pleasantly surprised by the gracious reception shown by the Pastor to my request. I essentially was given full access to do something for an hour and these two shots are what I accomplished. The well-known Moravian star is hanging at the front but was real tough to incorporate in my composition and was unlit at the time,so I never thought about including it till I decided to light it with my spotlight,but by then I was locked into my composition. The entire sanctuary was dark for my shots and I wished the lights could have been turned on but I forgot to ask about that,so I made due with my spotlight to do everything you see here.Even the lantern in the top photo on the upper left was lit using my spotlight ,and I think it looks like a real candle in there.I feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to capture something so beautiful. Maybe someday those who view this image will get the chance to see this display in person.

Giving Thanks

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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.

There She Stands

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Today marks the Thirteenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on our country on september eleventh of 2001. For me, like countless others, this day is permanently etched into my mind and like most I remember the exact moment it unfolded. For me it was a crystal clear fall day out in the country photographing blue morning glories on a farm, when the radio began to crackle with hints of something unspeakable. I recall driving as fast as I could to get to a television and being glued to it for days. Take a moment today to think of and pray for those who were lost that day, and especially their families who were left to cope with such heartbreak.

Every anniversary of this event, I find myself watching the documentaries on television and each and every time I am instantly taken back to that moment and overcome with a sense of deep despair, and I can’t begin to imagine the heartache for those who never got the chance to hold their loved ones again. I have never been to the twin towers memorial, but I have been to the Shanksville crash site in Pennsylvania and while it is not an over the top memorial, I can definitely say it is a place of quiet reflection that really hits you. I felt this Angel statue from a cemetery in New York was a fitting image for today. It is among my favorite infrared images that I have shot. If you have a moment and care to hear Michael W. Smiths tribute song  to 9-11 called ”There she stands”, I posted a link here.

Michael W. Smith – There She Stands – YouTube

Summer Flight

balloon-near-blue-ballThis hot air balloon finally got to a spot low enough that I could include some of the farm landscape below it.Hot air balloons can be a bit of a challenge to shoot,especially on an evening like this when it was slightly breezy, because they cover so much ground that keeping ahead of them and putting yourself in the right spot for a shot becomes tricky. The crew landed in a farm field shortly after this shot was taken.

Husband and Wife

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Nestled at the base of a giant maple tree are the graves of this husband and wife. Her stone reads-“her example is our inheritance” and his reads, “the master called and found him”. I wonder if the tree was planted since they were buried or just happened to grow from a seed that landed there?

The Enveloping Freeze

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Finding any body of water around the area that is not completely frozen over has been a bit of a challenge this winter. This partially thawed farm pond was a bit of a surprise with temperatures in the single digits.It must be a spring fed pond to stay open at this point in the season and the temperature at daybreak was a crisp minus 5 degrees.

Winter Zen Moment

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This image features a local farm-house and a gazebo the owners have positioned across the street to relax in. I waited till dusk to capture the glow of the gazebo lights against the cold of the night. I used my flashlight to bring out the stairway path in the snow  as well as the snow texture in the foreground. I once again used my camranger wi-fi device with my tablet  to fire the camera and review the images,all the while from a camera that was close to a hundred yards away. I could not dream of pulling a shot like this off without that device. It does have a slightly slower transfer rate to the tablet at this distance,but that’s still pretty impressive.

I Had A Dream

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Every winter I find myself thinking of different images that I would like to create or hopefully find somewhere to shoot. For years I had this dream of getting out after a heavy snowstorm and building some nice snowmen,dressing them in colorful accents and placing them in the perfect scene.Well this exact scenario came to fruition recently thanks to a family that decided to get out and spend some quality time together in the snow. My wife was headed to work one day and called me to say I needed to check out five well done snowmen she had seen, to which I said yeah right.Upon further consideration I thought I better at least look and see if her suggestion was worth a shot and to my surprise it was absolutely perfect.

Not only did this family of five create one snowman for each family member,but they added colorful accents,had them positioned nicely,and even kept the ground covered in snow so no ugly grass showed. Add to all that the fact that the house was glowing with warm illumination and the trees were adorned with snow and I had all the elements to make a picture perfect moment.When I pulled into the driveway and rang the doorbell,no one was home and I was only 30 minutes from needing to set up for the shot so I visited a few neighbors who kindly gave me a work number for the owner and thankfully he said go for it and he would be home in a little while.Its not everyday someone calls you to shoot a snowman photo,so I am sure he thought this seemed a bit strange.I lit the scene with my flashlight to bring out the details and make them stand out in the scene. Many thanks to mom,dad and the three girls for your ambition and creativity.

Sunset at Suppertime

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This spot is a recent find I made and one I hope to work more in the future. The snow was very textured,possibly from strong winds at some point.This is an Amish farm and I think the light in the house is from a propane or kerosene light lantern.This snow was extremely hard to traverse because it had a hard crust that you would break through and sink eight inches with each step. I also got zapped twice on the electric fence going in and leaving this field,which my friend thought was hilarious. When I stopped to ask about taking photos,I was greeted by a large dog that appeared friendly as I called him over,and then after I was 6 feet from the car,he started growling pretty good and seemed like he was ready to rip into my leg,and thankfully the owner came out and the dog calmed down.

Think Your Cold?

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I refer to these two figures as the guardians because they are at the entrance to this small plot in a local cemetery. A recent windy snowstorm had them  accented in a dusting of white. I used my flashlight to brighten up the details and bring out their unique character.It was around 8 degrees this morning,so it’s no wonder they have their arms crossed to keep warm.

A Quiet Evening Walk

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This is the cemetery statue for Augusta Bitner who lived from 1884-1906. It is located in a cemetery right next to a city and I found the contrast between the still park and the lit buildings just outside the fence interesting and worth shooting. Rumors have it that she has been seen roaming the cemetery on the anniversary of her death.I found conflicting stories on her demise that range from typhus to falling down steps and dying after having an argument with her parents about her imminent wedding.All I know is she remained still the entire time I was there,which included a visit from two police cruisers checking out what I was up too. I showed them the photo on my tablet and after they asked me if she moved at all,off they went.

 

Winter at the Cemetery

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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.

The Chocolatiers Imagination

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Lititz Pa earned the distinct honor of being named Americas Coolest Small Town this year, and there are a variety of reasons for this accolade. From the small town charm, to the businesses that are an integral part of the community, to the residents that take pride in their town, lititz is one unique place that beckons visitors to return over and over.One of the attractions that draws visitors to Lititz is Wilbur Chocolate,which is famous for Wilbur Buds as well as countless other confectionary delights. The amazing display shown above is thanks to the creative genius of Chocolatier Kathy Blankenbiller of Wilbur Chocolate. Kathy spent countless hours making this masterpiece of nursery rhyme characters for the annual Lititz Chocolate Walk held on Columbus day weekend. It is currently on display in the Wilbur chocolate store,and is showcased against a backdrop of antique chocolate making items.

Kathy says the entire thing is edible and includes modeling chocolate,royal icing,licorice,Rice Krispie treats and more,and depicts at least 13 nursery rhymes plus a few jokes thrown in.I saw the dazzling display when visiting the store and inquired if I might record the masterpiece and the fine folks at Wilbur were very accommodating in allowing me to undertake this project.I cant wait to see what next years creation might be,but you can bet with attention to detail like this piece exhibits,it will be inspiring.

The Lane Home

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This snow-covered stone wall frames the lane leading in to this rural home. I looked out my bedroom window in the early pre-dawn light and had an inclination the sunrise would be good,so I bundled up and headed out in search of a scene to capture. I passed this place,hit the brakes and backed up to capture the gorgeous light on the landscape.

Gingerbread Creation

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Every year the folks at RLPS Architects in Lancaster,Pa create an amazing themed gingerbread display for the public to enjoy. This year the theme was Italian Ice and this is one of a few images I was lucky enough to be able to shoot. You can’t take all the detail in on one visit because it is amazingly detailed and took 2000 hours to complete.Make sure you visit lefever photo under my artists that inspire tab. He is the primary photographer for this creation and most certainly will have amazing images.

An Illuminating Path

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Lanterns mark the path for guests on their way to hear a chorus sing at the Historic Ephrata Cloister. Thankfully, snow had fallen the day of this event and made a perfect setting for the glowing candles in these lanterns.

Glaze of Ice

 

Icy-snow-tree-sunsetOpportunities like this don’t come along very often because freezing rain on top of snow is not that commonplace. The glistening coating makes for a lovely canvas for light to reflect and shimmer across the surface. I had plans for a cool shot after sunset but the sun disappeared behind a cloud bank shortly after this image. A light snow also came last night which has ruined the chance for more images like this but I have no complaints because we finally are having a winter with snow again.

 

A Warm Respite

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This image is from this weekend and features the amazingly beautiful St Luke’s Church in Lebanon ,Pa.  You would never know it from this photo,but there was a raging snowstorm dropping lots of snow all around me. This side entrance gave me a little cover while I was shooting but I had to continually clean snow off my lens and laptop the entire time. The ride home was about twenty miles and more than once I had to slow to a crawl just to see the road in front with the white out conditions.

The entire entrance,including the lantern were lit using my deer spotlight and without the lit shining,I felt it would not have the warmth I was after. This image took me about 40 minutes to do and I hope to be able to photograph the sanctuary as well,which is stunning. I used a 17 mm to get this wide view but could have used even wider if I had it,plus I lost a little angle when I corrected for the tilt. They sure don’t build them like this anymore. The bottom image shows the general conditions I saw when I began photographing the scene.

Winter Wonderland

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A fresh snow blankets the sleepy little village of Lititz,Pa on a quiet night. These poor snowman and santa are trapped behind glass and wish they could get out to frolic in this winter wonderland.

Dashing Through The Snow

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Finally found some time to visit Lititz,Pa again to capture some more shop scenes in the downtown area. The first scene that caught my eye was this set of reindeer,complete with illuminated red noses and a sleigh with christmas packages behind them. I had to rush a bit because they put the reindeer away at closing time,which is just the time the light gets good. A few pops of the flash added a bit of interest to bring the scene to life. This was shot saturday and then it snowed on sunday,which would have added to the shot but this turned out pretty good despite no snow.