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?

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!

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.

A Game of Cat & Mouse

I was coming down a local backroad yesterday and up ahead I noticed an Amish farm stand and there was a buzz of activity focused in one area beside the road. Luckily there was another business straight across the street where I could park unnoticed for a while. There were kids, teens, and adults all filling pots with soil that were then lined up in rows in a growing area. I may be wrong but I think they were the beginnings of fall mums because this same location has had a large crop of mums in this exact spot for several years. With that being said, I watched all the activity around the farm for photo ops and I noticed way back the lane there were some youngsters playing with this tricycle/cart setup. I was quite frustrated because they were about 75 yards away and my longest lens was still not able to reach them so I waited and hoped.

Before long they disappeared behind the barn but a few minutes later they reappeared on a lane that went around the barn in a U-shape. I watched as the came almost to the road and then rode away again and I thought well you missed your chance. I then drove to the opposite end of the lot and there was exactly one spot left and guess where it was located?  You got it, it was straight across the road from the lane they were playing in!  I watched as they came toward me and rode away and tried my best to look disinterested and on the third trip, I brought the camera up and got this image as they turned to go back. What was funny was how they were having such a good time as I snapped this image but I think it finally registered that I had a camera and then they became much more elusive. They would dart out and make funny faces and quickly retreat but they were having fun hiding and reappearing. I keep looking at the image trying to figure how three kids fit in that little trailer. It has been a long time since I took any Amish photos but shots like this remind me why I enjoy capturing moments in their lives.

Beauty by the Mill

This old mill is now a private residence and the home to the left of the flowering trees is very tastefully decorated with numerous nice touches and places you just want to sit and enjoy a tall glass of lemonade. I will be sharing a shot soon including the house which is visually just perfect sitting beside the old mill. The flowering trees are what caught my eye and with an old victorian home and a mill on either side, it was too hard to resist.

Fire and Ice festival

This is the only shot I did this year during the Fire and Ice festival held in Lititz, Pa.  My enthusiasm to go out shooting has been very subdued the last six months due to my medicine but on the upside the negative thoughts I was being bombarded with on a daily basis have become pretty quiet and I have been more social in general. So while I still do enjoy shooting, my creativity seems to get dialed down as well and while I wish I could post photos more often here, It can be a struggle to get motivated to go out, so my apologies for the infrequent shooting right now.

Lititz Christmas Window1

 

I have been fairly active shooting scenes relating to Christmas in the town of Lititz, Pa but not as on the ball posting them, but hopefully this will be the start of sharing new images. This shot features the window of the Atlas general store which has a cool display of what appears to be rolled paper made into trees.

Rainy Night Solitude

This is the old train station in Lititz, Pa which now serves as a visitors center. The large building in the back is the former Wilbur chocolate plant that closed and has been renovated into a very beautiful Restaurant, Hotel, select market shops and more. Little by little more rooms are lighting up as the project advances. This was a few days ago and I shot this in the middle of a steady blowing rain storm that was a real challenge to work in. One detail I like is the shadow that was cast toward the camera when I backlit the town clock. Because of the rain, I had very few people going into the park which made it nice to shoot.

Springs and Fall

I took this image in the Lititz Springs park and I am not exactly sure if this is the main spring or an area that holds the water from the springs, but you could see it flowing up from a few places in the area. This was taken with my 17-35 zoom at almost its widest view and I am backed up to a wall that goes around the springs from the steps on each side. This was taken on a night that was supposed to have bad storms and winds were maybe 20mph but it stayed dry while I shot. Thankfully the leaves surrounding the water were sheltered by the wall but out past the wall they were being blown all over the place. The green in the water was algae on rocks and I was surprised how well it showed up.

Nights like this are great for having the place all to yourself but I did have a crazy situation arise that  was a little sketchy. At one point across the park I could hear some teen girl swearing and it was about two or three minutes later I notice two black males around 17 to 20 years old sprinting from one end of the park to the other? It was getting much darker than my photo appears and I was taking all this activity in from the shadows wondering what was up?  All of a sudden they see me standing in this area and come running full speed till they are literally three feet in front of me. The one guy immediately starts demanding to know if I just slapped his baby girl?  I told them how long I had been there photographing and they said “some white dude just walked up and slapped his baby girl across the face” and the one was itching to whoop somebody and his most memorable comment to me was ” I believe I am about to get out of my character if I catch this dude”  They kept asking me if I saw anybody run my direction, and I said no, but the funny thing is, I did have one shot in my series that actually had a guy in it that looked similar to what they described.

Fall is in the Air

Hello again from the inactive photographer. I do miss hearing from folks here but my enthusiasm is still pretty lackluster, yet occasionally I feel a little like the old days and doing some photography. I shot this during the past week when we had 90 degrees one day and in the 60s the next day. That crisp fall air still ignites something inside and I found this harvesting shot on the backroads of Lancaster County.

Pigtails,Pumpkins and Perfect fall weather

It certainly is quite evident that my photography has taken a back seat to everything else in my life right now and my posting on here is practically non-existent, but I did capture this pair of Amish sisters helping get their roadside stand ready recently. Something I saw while waiting for this shot to come together reminded me how the Amish sometimes seem to have a different view of danger as it relates to their kids. When I first pulled off the road to decide what I might shoot, the mom, her teenage daughter and these two little ones were all working together trimming pumpkin stems and arranging things. The thing that really caught my eye was the girl with the pig tails was holding a knife with a blade that was almost a foot long? She was not just holding it, but crawling up and over piles of pumpkins with it in her hand and she would slip or trip several times and it was making me nervous just observing, but mom seemed just fine with it?

Splendid Colors

This morning includes one of those times I will remember for the missed opportunity. I decided to drive around Amish country looking for images and as I came down this road I was struck by this family heading toward me. There are actually 4 young ladies dressed in the most beautiful shade of aqua blue in this shot and mom in a contrasting pastel pink. I was at the end of a farm lane watching them come towards me and it was a one in a million view because all four little ones were walking side by side,but do you think I could raise the camera for a shot? They were all staring directly at me wondering why I was there and I just could not manage to snap a picture of them from the front, but this image of them after they passed is still kind of neat,so all was not lost.

Heritage Days4

This Amish father and his five sons caught my eye as they headed home from heritage days. All the boys were dressed identical in blue and the view from the side was amazing but right after I snapped this shot at the stop sign,they turned right and I passed them to go further up the road to try for my dream shot of them. I went about a quarter-mile ahead,found an empty parking lot with bushes to kind of hide my truck a bit and focused in anticipation out my window. After two minutes I realized they went in the lane at the farm right after the stop sign so this image is all I got.

All Decked Out

The fourth of July is a time to reflect,as well as a time to enjoy with family and friends, and one local town near me does its best to celebrate in grand fashion.That town is Lititz,Pa and it seems everyone gets into the patriotic spirit in town as the old red,white and blue proudly waves all over town. Most photos shown are from the Moravian church that has made a tradition of placing thousands of flags across the grounds in neatly lined rows,and the rest include a funeral home done very tastefully and a flag lined main thoroughfare.

A Study in Modes of Transport

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This Hot Air Balloon was out in the middle of the day recently,which is very unusual,so my guess is there was a young pilot in training.The reason I came to my conclusion is because they came down almost touching the ground to the left of the road here and then took off again. It was a perfect spot to land but they climbed and did this manuever several times across the valley here. I got all excited when I saw they were coming low ,and when this Mennonite buggy stopped at the stop sign,I knew I had a shot. He actually went left at the intersection but he must have been worried the horse was going to get spooked because he sat here a good minute or so. The Mennonite girls on the bicycles had a great view because the balloon was about ten feet over their heads as it drifted over them. Just another day in Lancaster county,Pa.

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.

Home for Fall

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This is the same place I posted the other day,but this was shot at dusk for a more alive feel. To shoot this image I started with a base exposure before it got dark,then I started to light the various aspects of the shot with flash. This home used to be a neutral tone and the owner had asked me to try another shot since he had painted it this more intense hue.I finally decided to give it another go after I saw the carpet of leaves surrounding the place. At one point the lady of the house came out and I mentioned that turning some lights on would give it a much more inviting feel and much to my surprise she went and turned on every room light,which looked awesome.One complication I had to deal with was the doggone street lights came on halfway into the shoot and totally complicated things but I pulled it off despite that.

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.

A Day Like No Other

cemetery1

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 Skilled Craftsman

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Lancaster county has countless skilled craftsmen that still take pride in their work. From woodworkers who build custom furniture, to master leather craftsmen who supply the local community with leather goods, to those who work with various metal products,a rich heritage of doing things by hand still exists today. I recently was in search of a piece of copper for a project and a friend directed me to a small shop he knew of out in the countryside. I pulled in the driveway of the address I was given and the small building in front of me gave no hint of what I was about to see. As I walked in the dark unlit interior, I was immediately drawn to a beautiful copper train that was being built one piece at a time for a customer. The level of detail was amazing and spoke to the skill of the metalsmith who was building it. After a brief conversation, I decided to ask if he would consider allowing me to come back one evening and photograph it? The answer was sure,but he told me the train was being picked up that night and an immediate feeling of missing a chance to record something special came over me. He did tell me he was making another two trains for this customer and maybe in the future,I could try a shot? We got each others phone numbers and I headed off thinking about the missed opportunity, but to my amazement, the phone rang that evening and he told me it would be here for another day, and if I wanted to come back,he would be there all evening.  I immediately said yes and gathered my gear to head over. All the way there, I worried I was not going to come up with a way to capture the train because it is actually a weathervane and has a tube and support attached and it does not just sit on a table. The owner was very patient with me and was more than happy to move things around to get the right setup for the shot. My final composition shown above included the recently finished copper train, with the very first copper train that has been treated with a patina to give it an aged look in the background. I wish I could recognize the man who built this train, but in the interest of privacy ,all you need to know is that he is just one of Lancaster counties many skilled craftsmen.There is no electricity here or fancy tools, just talent and hard work and I was certainly impressed.