The Simple Life

This old mill and farm house have been maintained as they were originally in the good old days and are open to anyone wishing to see history close up. I had the opportunity to photograph this old mill years ago and it contains some really cool old machinery. The caretaker shared with me that the entire mill operation would start up with the simple pull of one lever which would open the spillway and mother nature’s water power would get the process rolling. The garden incorporates flowers and plants that would be found here.

Farm field beauty

This was a gorgeous field of flowers that the family that lives here told me was clover? I missed the reason it was here but I thought they mentioned it was simply something planted between regular crops? Whatever the reason I am glad I happened upon it and got to capture it! The complementary blue sky rounds out the shot.

Peaceful Pasture

I was traversing the back roads when I glanced over and noticed this scene. It had a very calm feel to it which I can’t explain. Maybe it was the quietness of the cool spring morning, or the faint mist in the air or perhaps the fact the horses didn’t move an inch as I found my angle? Anyway it has a serene feel to it, at least for me.

Mother’s Day Flowers

This image is one I captured at an Amish roadside flower stand right here in Lancaster County. What you are looking at is a small wagon full of Mother’s day flowers and was shot with a wide angle to fill the foreground with color. The flowering trees and red barn helped to round out the composition. The one thing that puzzled me was when the mother came out to ask if I got a nice picture? She then proceeds to say my name and she actually remembered it from 15 years ago when I had shot tulips here!

Cloaked in Mystery

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.

Almost Missed it!

I had someone reach out to me who enjoys my photos and they asked if I would be interested in shooting something on their property? I said absolutely and stopped by to peruse the options, of which there are numerous choices. The large wreath hanging on the barn has been put up for the holidays for many many years and adds a nice touch to an already picturesque barn. I was here last evening to try and come up with a game plan if we ended up getting snow overnight. We did indeed get several inches overnight and the bonus was it stopped before dawn, so blowing snow was not an issue. So I got here about an hour and a half before sunrise and decided on the angle and then waited for things to improve. Long story short, I shot the image I planned on and one or two others until I could not feel my toes and my fingers were screaming in pain. I gathered everything up, took one step and saw the lady pull in who originally contacted me. Within a minute or so, the fountain in this pond started up and what had been a frozen mess all morning with no hint of a reflection was slowly starting to reveal a mirror image! After it got clear she yelled do you want the fountain off? I replied just give me five minutes to get the shot. In what seemed like just a minute after the fountain turned off, you could see it refreezing quickly and the reflection was starting to disappear. I didn’t have the heart to ask her to turn it on again. After shooting for nearly two hours, this little chance event left me with what might be my favorite from the morning! On another note, My Mac computer seems to have bitten the dust and I am not able to post from home right now so be patient if my response time takes a day or two. The repair place says it is listed as obsolete by Apple, so even though it most likely is a simple part, they are not allowed to even try? I even offered to pay their $100 an hour fee to trouble shoot and they refused? This forced upgrade scheme is really a ripoff in my opinion.

The Historic Ephrata Cloister

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.

The Artistry of Iron

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.

Synchronized Horses

I saw this old stone home with the colorful fall foliage around it and pulled over to get a shot, and as I was about to pack up I heard the familiar Lancaster County clip clop of a horse and buggy coming. Ended up with about four buggies going past but this one in particular stood out because not only was it being pulled by two horses but they were in what appears to be perfect synchronized strides? I have never seen anything quite like it before.

A Glorious Sunset

This Church is a new find for me and I really hope to get a beautiful winter sunset shot here. It is great in the sense it stands out from the sky behind it and the big old tree is a bonus. Hoping for a deep snow that does not get plowed right away. The sky on this evening was just perfect thanks to the clouds emanating out in all directions.

Autumn Light

Been quite a while since my last posting here and while I have been out shooting, I have been short in the enthusiasm department! This particular scene was one I went to shoot in overcast light and I had time constraints to factor in as well. After 20 minutes doing overcast shots, all of a sudden the sun came skimming right across the shot bringing it to life, and of course I had less than five minutes left to get what I could before the appointment I had. A neighbor was generous enough to leave me in their yard which helped make the road almost disappear in the shot.

That’s Plum Fantastic

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?

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.

Hunsecker’s Mill Covered Bridge

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.

A Slight Miscalculation

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.

Fresh out of the Oven

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.

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.

A Return to Fall

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.

The Gate

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?