Chandelier Assist

I cannot definitively say this is a racoon hugging a tree stump but its my best guess. This sculpture was part of the Ice Festival in Lititz and I knew as it got darker the light from the Chandelier was going to help bring some internal color out. Another cool sculpture of ice to celebrate Winter activities.

The Old Factory Comes to Life

This is another shot I did on New Year’s Eve in Lititz, Pa.  It is the former production factory for Wilbur Chocolate which moved manufacturing locations and thankfully someone had the vision to revamp it into luxury condos. Just behind me is the Wilbur Chocolate retail store that still offers Wilbur Buds and other goodies. I already had two angles captured of this building and was ready to leave when the rain got heavier and started puddling and providing lots of reflective possibilities. The camera was fairly low which put it in the splashing rain zone which added to an already challenging shoot. The bottom photo is my attempt at creating a more painterly look like a painting on canvas. I have two more angles to share from here. One little bit of luck was the fact that I went back to shoot some more two days later and three quarters of the front had white tents set up for outdoor dining so I caught a break on that one.

The Nightmare Car

This is another image that I shot this year as Christmas was rapidly approaching. It was absolutely pouring this cold and raw evening, yet I did my best to suck it up and get the shot. I thought this might make a nice shot but until I got parked, I was a block away so I carried only what I felt was necessary.  That included my camera, tripod, tablet, umbrella, flash. Not included was an umbrella for me, gloves, because it would be ten minutes at most, or my rain jacket. I start setting up and I am delighted the two parking spaces straight in front are clear. So I get my tripod set, umbrella attached to tripod, I mount the camera and start my tablet up and out of the corner of my eye I see a car pull in to the left spot to which I thought “well no stores or restaurants are open so this will be short. I shot a few exposures every few minutes as it got darker and before you know it I was approaching the one hour mark waiting on this car to leave. My hat, the hood over the hat, my jeans and who knows what else were soaked and my hands were starting to really ache. Not too long before I was calling it a night, this dude comes back to the car and 30 seconds later I was heading to my car.

I don’t know when its considered frostbite, but I turned my heat on to warm up and my hands were aching so bad as they slowly warmed up.  I remember hearing how intensely painful extreme frostbite is. To think a block away I several sets of gloves sitting ready and I could not move and risk my tripod walking away.

Mail Pouch Barn

I happened to drive by this nice Mail Pouch barn a week or so ago and the fall foliage was at it’s peak so I knew with all the windy days we have had, I better get on trying to capture it while it lasted. This is actually an evening shot and with a little blast from my off camera flash, the leaves revealed their lovely fall hues. I do have a few more from here on sunny days that I hope to share soon as well.

Grab some Popcorn, it’s Storytime

Folks say they enjoy reading about my photography escapades so here is one that happened to me recently involving this scene that I took notice of earlier in the day. First thing is the end of this story includes the most unbelievable bit of timing I have ever had!   This particular day I noticed this gorgeous tree by the church and knew I needed to be elevated because I was looking uphill quite a bit. I park, walk up to a house across the street that has a yard that would fit the bill. I rang the bell to ask if they would allow me to stand in their yard and no response from inside, which I assumed meant everyone is at work?  No Problem, the work day ends and I head out to shoot this spot and of course I stop to inquire at the house because all the lights are now on.

I rang the doorbell once and because the TV seemed loud I gently knocked on the wooden door as well? No response whatsoever, so I move to plan b which is to put my tall tripod on my truck roof and get my elevation that way. I am busy across the street lighting things when I see a guy who appears to be writing down my license plate?  After he does that he starts heading my way and the first words out of his mouth are “why have you been pounding on my door all day”?  I said if you call ringing your doorbell twice, pounding, we might have a difference of opinion. I explained wanting to get permission to stand in the yard, and my tripod was on my roof in plain sight for him to see and he says “well I called the cops twice already tonight” I said “for what” and he goes off about his daughter was home and she was terrified!

I calmly explained all I wanted was permission and he cooled off and said I could now stand in his yard if I wanted. Like that was an option after all the overblown action he took. So I get home later that night and my daughter asks, were you taking pictures on some guys porch? She said the cops called to talk to me? So the next day comes, I check Facebook and notice there are several people contacting me on messenger? They say I need to check this Facebook page that has security cameras from around town because this guy posted me ringing his bell to see if anyone knows this guy that he thinks is breaking into his house?

Okay now I am ready to take some sort of action because this idiot is making claims that could affect my reputation. Recapping, I rang his doorbell twice, knocked and was holding my camera the second time I stopped, all of which he reviewed on his porch camera and he still does not have the common sense to process what he sees? Lucky for him he had the brains to take the video down in a timely fashion. It seems people are getting more ridiculous every day and logical thinking is non-existent!

If by chance you stayed along this far, here is the unbelievable timing part of this story. There was one lone white car parked to the right uphill from the one lamp post, and I think I was there almost an hour and a half shooting and waiting for the cars owner to hopefully show up and get it out of the shot. Couple neighbors walked by and said it did not look familiar to them so I waited another 10 minutes till I had an appointment. Are you ready for it? I walk across the street to my truck, not a soul in sight, I reach up to grab the tripod legs to get the camera down off the roof and within 5 seconds of me moving that tripod, I hear the car horn beep and the doors unlock ?  It was a mailman who just got off of work and within 30 seconds that car was just a bad dream to me. All I could do was laugh how utterly unbelievable this unfolded. Oh and yes I did end up Photoshopping that car out of the shot!

Autumn at the Historical Society

I just caught this foliage before wind and rain literally stripped the tree bare the following day. Years ago I was photographing in here at night and a couple ghost stories were shared, then I went up to the second or third floor, only to walk by a room, glance in and see a figure of a woman in an old dress, which about stopped my heart. Turns out they had a dressed mannequin up there. It would have been nice to mention her! This building houses the museum for the local Historical Society.

The Bakery

This is Zig’s bakery in Lititz, Pa and the area I found myself as the skies started lighting up. I have never been here before so I ran around aimlessly trying to find an angle and the only small puddle in the lot was what I settled on. To complicate matters my tripod only goes as low as a foot or so, so I was forced to set my camera on the ground and put a water bottle and towel under the lens to get the angle right. The lower photo shows the sky after it had peaked but was still very beautiful. We have had several amazing sunsets in the last week, and this was the only one I had my camera along to capture.

Just a Matter of Time

Hello all, been quite some time since my last post here but thankfully I was motivated enough to go out for a fall shot or two. This photo is the result of persistence and timing. Let me start by saying I was on my way to work the preceding day and saw these lamp posts lit up amongst the fall foliage so I pulled in, got my gear out,set my tripod up and as soon as my camera hit the tripod, the lamps all went out? I laughed to myself on the impeccable timing, and then wandered around to see if there was a sensor controlling them. I did not find one so I knew I was coming back that evening and I did get a few shots but it was a little breezy and less than ideal. Fast forward to the following morning and I headed here long before sunrise because there was a heavy fog and I was eager to capture something.  I  experimented for a good hour until the ambient light started to increase and that was when I captured this shot. All of a sudden on the other side of the bushes I heard a literal army of backpack blowers headed my way. There were 3 or 4 guys with backpacks and one guy pushing a rolling blower that was really moving leaves. The crew noticed me and graciously left me continue for 10 minutes and then within a few minutes, the entire yard and parking lot were completely bare. The one gentleman told me the tenants fuss like crazy if there are leaves laying around. So I got the shot thankfully and hope you like it.

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.