As we inch closer to spring the weather can be a bit sporadic in nature. In the last two weeks we had a snow bomb cyclone that dropped several inches of snow, then two days later it’s 60 degrees and all melted, and just before all that we had some really thick fog that provided some photo ops such as this shot that witnesses the sun finally piercing through.
This is known as the Schoolhouse at the Historic Ephrata Cloister and it is the site of the earliest settlers in our area. The two things that stick out in my mind about the place are they used wooden blocks as pillows, and the second is my hair raising experience while shooting here one late night. I was in the main area of the site snapping photos under a full moon around 10 at night. No wind, no one around, and the wooden screen door just around the corner from me slams!!! A chill went up my neck but I decided to look and of course no logical explanation to be had. I didn’t hang around for any more “activity”. I did remove some obnoxious power lines that were a total eyesore.
This is Moravian Square in Lititz, PA and with a little accent flash I was able to make the yellow leaves pop. My goal was to add some light that enhanced the shot but still looked natural. I was very pleased with my result.
This field of sunflowers was a mile from my house and the great thing about them was they were shorter than they had been other years. A short little step stool added another 2 feet to my height and that provided this stunning view toward the sunset.
I often wonder how people a hundred years ago created things with such precision and only basic tools to make the item? I have always enjoyed the graceful flowing curves found in wrought iron fences, gates etc and this one at the entrance to a cemetery looked gorgeous with the autumn color behind it and the sun peaking through. If only you could have seen the position I was in to capture this, because there is literally a tree the same size as the one shown behind me and I am jammed up against it sitting on my legs two feet from the fence. I used my widest angle lens to barely fit the two swirling shapes. After five minutes in that position I could barely stand up reminding me how much of an old geezer I am becoming. As I was ready to finish up I got the brilliant idea to close the gate for another view! Only problem was the gate on both sides had long ago been encapsulated into the base of the trees and it’s days of closing were long passed.
An Amish clothes line provides a colorful backdrop to the families flower garden.
Amish family siblings set out along a back road in Lancaster County wearing a lovely shade of purple. I really have no idea why they dress alike or how they decide on the colors but I cannot recall ever seeing a family wearing different colors while out as a family. Maybe it basically is to conform and not be so worldly by expressing to much individuality?
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.
This is the Hunsecker’s Mill covered bridge in Lancaster county and it is the longest single span bridge in the county at 180 feet. It has always been painted in some drab shade of gray or brown as long as I can remember and because of that I never really got too excited about it. Most of our local bridges are red, one is white and then this. Here are a few facts, it was built in 1843 at the astronomical cost of $1,988 dollars, and got washed away and destroyed in 1972 by hurricane Agnes. In 1973 it was rebuilt at a cost of $321,302 dollars which is like 166 times more. It is quite common to hear car horns beep as they go through and I have heard it is for good luck or to let oncoming cars know you are in there. The fence was not always here but I like the addition of it as it leads the eye right into the bridge.
I was driving looking for photos recently when I came down a hill and saw some Amish buggies heading out from a farm on the road I was ready to turn onto. I had heard that Tuesdays are a traditional wedding day and this was in fact a Tuesday so I thought this will a happy occasion. So I drive by carefully and just as I approach the main entrance, this crew of Amish young men come barreling out the lane onto the road pushing this giant wagon that they use to haul chairs, benches and what not to various farm gatherings. I had to stop for them and then a little voice said there is a photo op right in front of you! Since I was stuck there I put it in park and opened my door to get a good angle and I took several quick bursts as they moved down the road.
So I was almost done when I heard a voice 30 feet behind me say, ”okay lets move it on now”? I usually stand my ground when someone thinks they are going to force me to listen to their orders but this guy was different and asked in a nice friendly tone. I gave him a puzzled look and he informs me there was a funeral here today? I said I thought it was a wedding and he said I thought that might be the case. I said sorry and made a hasty departure. He must have been a driver who hauls Amish around in a van because he said he never saw anything like this before. Anyway I still like the image I captured on this snowy winter day and the men were laughing as they were pushing the cart so that didn’t exactly help in my decision to shoot.
I had been looking for snow scenes recently and was traversing the back roads thinking how nice it would be to see a sleigh and to my surprise a few minutes later one came up the road. The bottom photo was my first glimpse of the sleigh and to the left of the tree is a farm lane the sleigh is about to take which leads to a country store. I was fairly confident he was heading there so I slowly made my way up the lane to the store and the middle picture shows the young lad finishing up tying the horse. For some reason at this point I decided to stop shooting and set the camera back in my bag. I glance back over and the kid is now lifting a whole rack with fresh bread from the back of the sleigh. He took the bread into the store before I could even try to get a shot. So I thought to myself he will probably be coming back out the lane shortly and I could try to get a shot again. So I parked on the road and sure enough it was only a few minutes and here he comes but he noticed me up the road and all of a sudden you would have thought he was running the Kentucky Derby as he exited the lane onto the main road! I am almost certain this horse has all four hooves off the ground.
This is among one the first Amish images I have taken since the abduction of Linda Stoltzfoos and this location might be 3 miles from her home. This heartbreaking event left its mark on many, including me and I feel for the family and their loss. I feel like I have been blessed to be able to capture the Amish in a variety of ways and have gotten a small glimpse into the way they live. Hopefully I will regain my passion for capturing our county and them after this event fades a bit.
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.
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.
Finally getting to some of my fall images and will share as space permits. This one is from a historic site nearby. A Polarizing filter really made the blue sky pop against the yellow leaves. A Polarizer does not add color per se but blocks certain wavelengths of light while allowing others to pass and used at the correct angle to the sun, it will take a pale blue sky and transform it to deep blue.
Two different results of the same subject, one kind of cheery, one kind of ominous. They put fences and gates around cemeteries because people are just dying to get in. Something interesting I noticed about the photos is when you scroll from the color to the grayscale, the angle of the fence looks totally different but it is the same image. an optical illusion I guess?
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.
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.
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.