Keep Your Eyes Open

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I went to an event last friday evening thinking I was going to get to photograph the most stunning Russian sleigh I have ever seen, but it turned out they put it inside to protect it,which makes sense,so a shot was not possible. Anyway,I left there kind of dejected about it and on the way home I passed this little scene and decided to do a shot here. Well I knocked and asked if they minded and they were fine with it,so I asked them to turn on some interior lights and they obliged. After getting so far with  it,I wished the church lights were on,and so I knocked again and it turns out it was the youth pastor living here and he offered to make my wish come true. The only thing he could not do was get the large stained glass window lit,so in frustration I shined my bright flashlight on it and amazingly got it to show its color. I would not have guessed it would work but thank goodness I tried.

First Light

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This old ivy covered tree caught my eye as I drove by, so I came back in the evening, asked permission to go in the yard and then lit it with my flash.The owner was an elderly lady and she could not figure out why anyone would want to photograph the tree? I am pleased with the result I got with a few pops of the flash,and I thought the contrast of the green ivy and fall foliage made a nice scene.

Pumpkin Wagon Train

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Sometimes I think I have someone directing my photographs and this is an example of that. I was out looking for fall images when I crested the hill and this scene was right there in front of me.You can call it coincidence if you want but they were in the exact composition I wanted and literally a minute later they were done and heading back the farm. They all were laughing as they were hard at work and I was snapping pictures. This is just outside a little town called Farmersville in Lancaster county.

The Pumpkin Patch

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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.

In Memory

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Well I decided to make a trip down to Nickel Mines tonight and do a little personal tribute to remember the little girls who were lost. Upon arrival I noticed the five white roses someone had left on the post at the site and after I snapped that image,I went up the road to capture a beautiful sunset that was very nice,especially after nothing but rain for days,and the bottom photo is me releasing five sky lanterns at the site. The lanterns climbed gently into the sky and burned bright for a nice long time,and I was glad I went.

A Day Like No Other

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Today marks the 10th anniversary of the Nickel Mines tragedy here in Lancaster county and it is something that still cuts me to the core today as I pass by the site often while out taking photos.This image is one of my favorite cemetery images that I have taken and captures just how many are feeling today. I have come to know the coroner who had to visit this scene of untold tragedy and her journey to find a sense of normalcy has been a long one but thankfully she has gotten help and is coping with what she saw that day. Today say a prayer for those touched by this tragedy from the police and emergency personnel who responded to the family’s who lost five precious little ones.

The Whole Crew

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If I didn’t know better,I would think this father wanted me to take a picture of his boys working in the field. I was a good distance away at the side of the road and as they got closer,dad loaded all the boys on the horses and kept coming forward and he actually has a smile in this shot. Hard to say if the scenario I described was real or imagined but it sure seemed to be the case. Still I really like the unique image I got here.

Summer Bouquet

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I came upon these Amish girls scooting along a country road and noticed there was a patch of flowers ahead,so I made my way up the road and waited till they passed that spot.The dresses were colorful and so were the scooters and the whole scene was very summer like. My only regret is that I did not turn and get a shot of them approaching because you could have seen the little girl in front of the oldest girl as they rode the scooter together.

Almost Heaven,West Virginia

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This past weekend a good friend suggested we head to West Virginia to catch some fall foliage and I am so glad we did.I normally like to head to New England in the fall but the forecast was for lackluster color there this year so heading south sounded like a great idea. We only had two days and our main destination was a place of natural beauty called Dolly Sods. On the way there I spotted this lovely red barn with fall foliage as a backdrop,so we stopped and I asked if I might be able to snap a few shots? The owner was very gracious and obliged my request and as I walked out the path to the barn I saw this old wagon sitting in the field and decided to take a shot. I think the composition is just right and the foliage was a perfect complement to the red barn. For those who don’t get the title, it is a line from an old John Denver song that I jokingly was singing on the trip. We had a great two days of shooting but man do they have steep hills in that state and when I was in my early twenties I drove truck and on one trip the truck blew up in West Virginia and we were stuck there for days and I remember feeling like we were in the most remote place on earth, which is not the case but some of the valleys make me feel that way. This photo was taken in what I would say was one of the more open valleys that we came across.

Star Light,Star Bright

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This Lancaster county homestead is a real gem, complete with a star on the barn and candle light in each window. I was on my way to shoot a sunrise when I passed this spot and saw the reflection in the stream.Needless to say this became my sunrise shot, and the full moon was an added bonus as it headed for the horizon.I wish the moon would have shown up in the reflection but when it did,the moon in the sky was behind the house,which was a bit puzzling to me.I had to sink my tripod into a muddy stream bank to get the low angle but it was worth the effort.

The Distlefink

 

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A distlefink is a stylized goldfinch and it appears in Pennsylvania dutch folk art.It represents happiness and good fortune to the Pennsylvania german people.It is a common theme on hex signs and fraktur.The word distlefink literally means thistle finch. I shot this large version which welcomes visitors to the Berks county history museum from both sides. It is in desperate need of a repaint but it still made a fun subject to light paint.The biggest problem I had was avoiding three groundhogs that made their home under the bush and kept coming out after dark, but a little blast from my flash and they would high tail it for a little bit.If you look real hard at the top photo,in the lower right corner you can barely see one of the groundhogs in the grass and I only just saw it was there as I was working on this post.

 

 

 

Seen It All

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Just when I think I have seen just about every crazy sight in Amish country, along comes someone doing something even more interesting than the last. This road is a well-traveled thoroughfare with cars coming at a pretty regular pace,so imagine my surprise when I am coming up the road and I see what appears to be an Amish man moving a large shed with a tow motor? He was along the side of the road but he was having difficulty and kept getting off the tow motor and walking to the other end,which I could not see. I pulled over to watch because it seemed like it was a disaster in the making, and at one point he got it going again and was now in the lane of travel. All of a sudden it starts to rotate and suddenly I see a second tow motor on the other end. Imagine trying to move something where you can’t see the other end, or what the other guy is doing. They had no walkie talkies,no yelling,no nothing but fly by the seat of your pants and cross your fingers.The photo shows them blocking both lanes and amazingly no one came during the time they were doing this manuever. They got it into a narrow driveway on the first try which really amazed me.I was waiting for the whole shed to roll over and block the entire road, but they pulled it off.

B-25 ”Panchito”

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This is a shot I did at sunrise at the Lancaster Airports community days this past weekend. In the foreground is the Delaware Museum foundations B-25 Panchito and in the distance is the C-123-K Thunder Pig. I used multiple flash pops to light the plane in the pre-dawn light until the sun came up. These shiny planes are a real challenge to light and it was good practice for me.

Wheels of Progress

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I must admit I do not know exactly how this contraption works but I believe it is a threshing machine used to separate grains from the stalk. It was being demonstrated at the threshermans reunion this past week.I shot this with flash at dusk when everyone was watching other events. Old machinery can be quite amazing in its intricate design and construction.

Obstacle Course

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A group of Amish spectators watch an old steam engine competition at the Rough and Tumble reunion. This event featured the tractor team navigating an obstacle course,and just a few feet ahead they stopped and blind folded the driver and the guy sitting on the back got off and connected ropes to the drivers arms and controlled the tractor direction by tugging on the ropes much like controlling a horse.

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.