VW Classics

vwdub There was a small VW show not too far from home yesterday so I decided to venture out for an hour or so and check things out. I was immediately drawn to these cool VW classics,with their sleek lines,cool colors and unique design. If I had hit the lottery, I might just buy one because they really are the epitome of cool and laid back, but after talking to two owners, I realized there won’t be any sitting in my driveway anytime soon. I asked what would something like this sell for? I silently guessed maybe $40,000, and was quickly flabbergasted when one owner told me $125,000,and the other said $150,000 for theirs. I would have the thing roped off if it was mine,and the one owner told me they have had kids climb all over it at shows till they quickly tell the parents what its worth. they really do make a statement with their sweet style and design. Some had safari windows that are basically a flip out front windshield, which I was told were a necessity in south America where many of these originally were located. The safari window allowed air to blow through because it was like an oven inside.

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. 

Illuminating History

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This is my second attempt at shooting this location,which is a local historical society.This time we got just enough snow to cover the grass so I went for the shot in case we get no more snow this year. I took my own luminaries along to add a little seasonal cheer.I drove by the location two hours before and nothing had been shoveled but when I returned the walkways were done but that was okay.Numerous cars slowed to look and several people walked by and asked what the special occasion was and I said just a photo shoot going on,and they all said how beautiful it was with the luminaries.Tomorrows post will feature a second shot I did after this one from up the sidewalk looking the opposite way.Special thanks goes to Cynthia for turning on lights inside for the shot.

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.

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.

Fonthill Castle

 

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This place is known as Fonthill castle and is located in Doylestown ,Pa.I photographed this amazing location at sunrise recently.Built between 1908-1912, Fonthill was the home of Henry Chapman Mercer (1856-1930). Archaeologist, anthropologist, ceramist, scholar and antiquarian, Mercer built Fonthill both as his home and as a showplace for his collection of tiles and prints. The first of three Mercer buildings in Doylestown, Fonthill served as a showplace for Mercer’s famed Moravian tiles that were produced during the American Arts & Crafts Movement. Designed by Mercer, the building is an eclectic mix of Medieval, Gothic, and Byzantine architectural styles, and is significant as an early example of poured reinforced concrete. It almost felt like I was visiting Europe when I was here.

The Gazebo

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This scene is part of the estate of the late Dr. Richard Vanselous Mattison. Some people loved him, more hated him, but everyone agrees his partnership with Henry G. Keasbey made Ambler what it is today. Richard V. Mattison was the man who put Ambler on the map. Originally, he opened up a small pharmaceutical laboratory in Philadelphia, then moved it to Ambler. Mattison experimented with the insulating properties of asbestos and opened up a plant in Ambler. By 1914, Keasbey and Mattison had become the largest supplier and manufacturer of asbestos products. Located down the street from the Ambler train station was the Century Asbestos Shingle Factory, one of Amblers most important factories. Keasbey and Mattison produced a wide range of products, from headache and stomach relief products to asbestos insulation products. They shipped their products all over the country. At one point their slogan was “Lest we forget-the BEST in asBESTos.”
Mattison owned a 400 acre estate that he remolded after the Windsor Castle in England. His estate was known as Lindenwold and included a lake, gardens, gatehouses, and elaborate stone walls. Keabey and Mattison’s top executives lived in elaborate stone houses on what was known as Lindenwold Terrace. Mattison was also responsible for building homes for his other employees and still stand today on Mattison Avenue.
To honor the memory of his daughter, Esther Victoria, who suddenly died at the age of four, Mattison built Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church. The church was consumed in a tragic fire in 1986, but the congregation promised to restore it.
In addition to bringing a new culture to Ambler, Mattison pushed for the incorporation of the town. He introduced street lighting, built Ambler’s first water system, opera house, and participated in town matters. shown is a stone wall with stone statues and the picturesque gazebo located along the lake. I got special permission to enter the property and shoot a few photos.

 

Mary Baker Eddy

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This monument was completely in the dark until I illuminated it with flash. Doing so allowed the texture and inscriptions to reveal themselves. I must thank my friend Morrie who helped keep my camera dry under an umbrella while I moved around the structure with the flash.

Often, monuments and mausolea are designed by the same architect who designed other residences for the family. The Mary Baker Eddy monument does not follow that mold, instead, it was the result of a design competition. Egerton Swarthout, a New York architect, won the competition in 1914, with a tholos form design of a circular colonnade consisting of 8 columns each 15 feet in height. Swarthout omitted a roof because he felt there should be “nothing between the grave and sky but flowers”.

Originally, the architect specified the monument be constructed of Colorado or Vermont white marble. As an acknowledgement to the harsh New England winter, Bethel, Vermont, white granite was substituted because it withstands the elements significantly better than marble.

The Mary Baker Eddy monument has been acknowledged as one of the finest examples of the granite carver’s craft. Among the details incorporated into the design are the wild rose, which was Mrs. Eddy’s favorite flower, the morning glory, which opens to the light and closes to the darkness, the lamp of wisdom and a sheaf of wheat.

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?

Winter Retreat

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The plow made a pass by this old homestead leaving a trail that was quickly covered by heavy snowfall.The lanterns illuminate the landscape as evening falls and another winter storm draws to a close.Everyone has gone to bed in anticipation of morning chores that await.

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.

 

Cemetery shadows

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I photographed this cemetery scene last evening as the sun set on another cold day. This shot was only possible by shooting two exposures because the flare was too overbearing,so I blocked the top half with my hand as I captured a flare free bottom of the shot, and then I had to wait till the sun was right on the horizon to get the second part of the shot. The only thing that is less than perfect is the fact that the sun set to the right of where it was when it cast the shadows,and unfortunately there were little if any shadows when it got low enough to capture it properly,so I had to use the two images I did.

Dashing Through The Snow

 

red-sleigh-ridersThis pair of Amish sleigh riders are zipping down the road in rural Lancaster county on a day that saw temperatures hover around five degrees. Judging by the fact that you can only see their eyes,its safe to assume it was a bit brisk in the old red sleigh.Next time you complain about your car not heating up quickly enough in winter,think of these two.

 

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.

To The Rescue

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For some reason I like to photograph old items from the past and when I do,I get to wondering about the history behind them. I found this old rusty tow truck for sale in a parking lot and it clearly had seen some mileage,but with a little searching on the net for the name emblazoned on the door,I did find the truck was originally owned by a gentleman named Edward Graf who had his own garage and was a certified mechanic. He was a life member of a fire company and from what I found at least one son has followed in that proud tradition and that’s why my title was aptly picked. This truck certainly came to the rescue of many motorists over the years and that ties in with serving in the fire company as well. I light painted the truck with my flashlight.

 

Light in the Storm

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This is an exterior shot I did at the church I posted yesterday. I actually drove many miles in a raging snowstorm to shoot on this particular evening and it was quite an undertaking shooting in heavy blowing snow. I used an umbrella as best as I could but the camera was rather wet till I finished. Driving home was a nightmare and even seeing the road was pretty tricky at times. Still nothing ventured,nothing gained.

Inspirational Architecture

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This church sanctuary is perhaps the most elaborate undertaking I have ever decided to capture photographically. I first drove past the church on a trip and I was so impressed with the exterior,I decided to inquire if I could possibly see the inside and make an attempt to capture its grandeur? The church secretary coordinated my visit to allow ample time to shoot uninterrupted one afternoon and with the help of my good friend Morrie, I was able to pull it off. When people say it’s a small world,I now believe it because halfway through the shoot,the Rector comes in to say hi and I told him where I was from,and after some more conversation we both realize he was the pastor who had officiated my wedding almost twenty-five years ago.

This has to be the most beautiful church I have ever been in and the details are just amazing. From the arched walls to the wood ceiling to the stained glass and lights,everything reminds you of a time when things were built with great pride and workmanship and I feel blessed to be given the opportunity to capture it. The church is St Luke’s in Lebanon,Pa and for those interested in photography,I lit it using available light along with a tiny monster flashlight from Nitecor that really puts out the light in a small package. The light helped me bring out the roof detail among other areas in deep shadow.I also used my newly purchased wi-fi device called the camranger,which hooks to your camera and sends wireless images to a tablet,so I can now walk around lighting things while seeing the result right on my tablet in my hand and never needing to go look at the shot on the camera or laptop. You can change shutter speed and practically everything else on your camera remotely.

I was wrapping up the photo session and several times during the shoot I mentioned how I wish we could light the candles that were set up for Christmas,and literally a minute before I was ready to tear down the tripod, the organist comes in and nonchalantly says would you like the candles lit? I said absolutely and that extra touch just added to the shot.

The Historic Smithton

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Todays photo of the day features the Historic Smithton Inn located in Ephrata ,Pa. Innkeepers Dave and Rebecca Gallagher have painstakingly restored this beautiful property and it now functions as a highly rated B&B welcoming guests from all over the world who are visiting quaint Lancaster County. This year marked the 250th anniversary of the inn and the owners have hosted many events over the past year,which have benefitted many charities. Of all the folks I have worked with doing photos,Rebecca has been one of the most appreciative,which makes my efforts easier. I probably spent close to three hours bringing this image to completion and it included dozens of images.

The middle image is the starting point with no light added and the top image is after adding light from various angles. If you notice,the lamps were not lit when I got there,so I used a spotlight to light them and the ground below them.Most other areas were lit by flash.Take special note of the unique three-dimensional design on the wall shown up close in the bottom photo. I have no idea how that was done,but it is very unique.