Reflecting on History

We have been having more than our fair share of rain this year and thankfully I had a little glimmer of enthusiasm to go shoot something in the rain this week. To look at this scene, one would think it is along a quiet street but it’s not and I shot this at what was most likely the busiest time of the day. I had quite a few 2 to 8 second exposures that were ruined by cars whipping by, but there were a few rare moments when it was clear. If you look close you can see a road going between the two buildings and while I was over in that section lighting the large pine tree and the building, I was standing on the road and had to jump on the sidewalk more than once when a car would come turning off the main road in a hurry. One thing for photographers wanting to try shots like this is you must blast the subject with too much light if you want to get a decent reflection in the rainy street because even though the building is overexposed, the reflection is perfect. You simply shoot a separate exposure for the building with your flash dialed down. Also my camera was sitting just in front of my truck on a tripod with an umbrella over it and cars flying by three feet away so that had me a little worried.

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.

From Sunrise to Sunset

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This is one of those scenes that makes me want to go back over and over again because of the unique situation and the possibilities it presents. I started the day many miles away trying for a sunrise shot and when that fizzled out,I just started driving and looking and this scene caught my eye as I drove by. The sun was just starting to illuminate the farm in the bottom photo at sunrise and the ice was reflecting the color nicely. We recently had heavy rain and snow melt which filled this farm field that is usually dry. After thinking about the image all day I decided  to return for a go at sunset.

The top image was captured at sunset as I stood in freezing water in my hip waders for almost 30-45 minutes. My friend was along and he bailed after 15 minutes but I knew what I wanted and that required waiting.The reason I had to wait is because I love when buildings are lit inside and have the lived in feel,and the lights from the windows would not start to record till it was pretty dark. I learned on this shoot that even if your eye can’t detect there are lights on,your camera can,and as I was shooting this the two brightest windows were clearly lit but as I stood in the water I kept thinking I wish they would turn more room lights on. well as my exposures started to get into the 30 to 60 second range,I started seeing there were actually lights on in other rooms but it took the long exposures to pick them up. As I finished in the dark and had to walk through the foot deep water, I kept thinking I hope there are not any huge holes I can’t see that are more like three feet deep.

Each image has its own unique qualities from the frozen reflection to the melted one later in the day,and although I really like both images, I would pick the sunset one with the lights on as my favorite. The sky light up to the left of the top image as sunset was unfolding and the color this night was unbelievable but it was way out of my frame and I was already committed to this image,so I just stood there in awe of the display.

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.

All is Calm

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All was calm on this rainy night in Lititz ,PA as I looked for subjects reflecting in the glistening wet road. These old homes along the main street looked inviting with their christmas trees and lovely door decor. This town is such a neat place to walk at night and soak in the ambiance of a close-knit community.

The Enveloping Freeze

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Finding any body of water around the area that is not completely frozen over has been a bit of a challenge this winter. This partially thawed farm pond was a bit of a surprise with temperatures in the single digits.It must be a spring fed pond to stay open at this point in the season and the temperature at daybreak was a crisp minus 5 degrees.

Bridge to Frozenville

 

bridge-snowstormWe have been bouncing back and forth between temperatures than can reach 40 one day and then plummet to single digits the next,and while I like a good hard winter,it has been a little painful going out shooting lately. On this day I left the house at five in the morning and the temp was a whopping 1 degree,but as the morning progressed and winds picked up, the wind chill went to minus 18,and there were several times I could not feel my fingers as I controlled the camera from my tablet.I wore gloves with hand warmers,but changing camera settings is a bit tough with thick gloves,so they came off at times and that proved very painful and I could see my finger touch the tablet screen but could not feel it.Being near water did not particularly help keep me warm either but memories like that get etched in your brain for posterity and every time I look at this image,I will be transported back in time to feel all the cold again.

 

Glaze of Ice

 

Icy-snow-tree-sunsetOpportunities like this don’t come along very often because freezing rain on top of snow is not that commonplace. The glistening coating makes for a lovely canvas for light to reflect and shimmer across the surface. I had plans for a cool shot after sunset but the sun disappeared behind a cloud bank shortly after this image. A light snow also came last night which has ruined the chance for more images like this but I have no complaints because we finally are having a winter with snow again.

 

Motif Number One

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Rockport Massachusetts was one stop on my brief new england photo trip and shooting this classic scene was among my goals. I learned something new about this spot after hearing a term mentioned by three separate people in about an hours time. This place is referred to as motif number one,and is located on Bradley Wharf in the harbor town of Rockport, Massachusetts.It is a fishing shack well-known to students of art and art history as “the most often-painted building in America.”  It is even listed on my atlas as motif one,which surprised me. It s very interesting to watch the fisherman stand in these little boats in the foreground to paddle out to their fishing boats in the morning. Super storm  Sandy undermined one wall at the harbor but they escaped with much less damage than most. Our motel owner said the water came up to the ice machine there and the motel sits about 40 feet or more above the ocean and they stayed for the whole storm.

A Zest For Small Town Life

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This is the time of year I really enjoy shooting store windows in the town of Lititz ,Pa. Lititz has a small town feel that just takes you back to a bygone era,and the stores get all decked out for the coming holiday season,which makes for a delightful evening walk through town. My favorite time to take photos is right around dusk,just as the shops are closing for the day.The quiet of nightfall in this sleepy little town is only enhanced by music emanating from the town square and with a little imagination you feel as if you were just transported to a Charles Dickens novel.This pair of images are of a store called Zest,and the owners always do a stellar job of decorating the windows. Light shining out from the store illuminates the freshly fallen leaves as the cool blue of dusk begins to envelope the street. Many stores are beginning to transition to the Christmas season,so hopefully I will find some unique subjects to share.

Weston Mill

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This is an old mill I photographed in Weston Vermont on my fall foliage trip. Thankfully it was not overrun by tourists and we had the place all to ourselves. I shot it in sun about an hour before and thankfully my friend was patient enough to drop me off for another shot after sunset. The Vermont country store is a stones throw away,so my buddy went there to shoot while I was here. I took my hip waders along and without them,I never would have been able to access this vantage point. Crossing streams that are around a foot deep is always nerve-wracking when you are carrying your gear along.

Stately Trees

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Mount Auburn cemetery is as much a cemetery as it is a garden and park and this view down one of the avenues reflects its beauty. Graceful old trees and plantings are done in a way that inspire the visitor to linger and enjoy the scenery. Mount Auburn is considered the pioneer in garden cemeteries and inspirational views are around every corner. Fall color begins to emerge in this image captured under my umbrella in a rainy moment.

Autumn Flowers Await

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Each year around this time I find myself scanning the landscape for fall displays to photograph. I passed this farm stand on my travels and stopped to get permission to try a shot. The owner was more than willing to allow the endeavor and said to stop anytime. I decided to try a shot before sunrise this past weekend and assumed I would be there in the dark all by myself for a while, but to my surprise and delight,work was already under way in preparation for customers when I arrived. The owner was washing the driveway down,and to be honest I was originally going to crop the building on the right off my shot,but when the wet surface reflected the stand light,it seemed time to change my plan. So with sunrise still an hour away,I began to compose and fine tune things before the light got good.

The gorgeous sky lit up first and lasted maybe 5 minutes,but that was more than enough time to capture it and the expanse of mums that stretch toward the barn. While I was waiting for the light to begin shooting, the owner pulled up with a large produce wagon pulled by two horses and he backed that wagon into the second door as easily as driving a car,which really impressed me. Between the sky,the reflection, and the mums,I was very happy with my result. The bottom image is the angle I originally wanted to shoot for comparison and you can see the horse and wagon sitting in the field on the left.

Glistening Terrain

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These two images were shot on the same evening,so I figured I would share them together. Heavy rains were punctuated by brief times of no rain,which kept the roads glistening and a bit reflective,which I used to my advantage in getting the shots. I actually went out for lightning,but it did not flash once all evening.One trick I use when leaving my tripod and camera set up in rainy weather is to put my trucks rubber floor mat over the gear to keep it from getting wet. That works in all but the rainiest or windiest times.

Roadway Reflection

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This early winter scene was made possible by a large puddle on the road,allowing for a reflection of sorts.This was hand-held and had to be shot rather quickly because of cars zipping along the road.I did not feel like having either myself or my camera take a bath,so I got as close to the water as possible and snapped. Nothing spectacular,but not bad considering. Warm temperatures helped to put a little fog in the air as skies cleared.

Tomato Pie Anyone?

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This is another light painting session in the town of Lititz,and features the Tomato Pie restaurant. Rain started moving in mid morning on a recent sunday and I decided to take advantage of the resulting reflectivity on the road and shoot this scene.This normally busy road is fairly quiet on a sunday,which I needed to be without cars. My camera got fairly wet during this session and walking back to the camera every so often to check results was a nuisance, but when you are alone,that’s what you do. My camera was across the street about fifty yards away,and I used a wireless remote to fire the camera and radio poppers to fire my flash,which I carry on a pole to light whatever I want,which was pretty much everything from the sign, to the buildings and tree. Shooting in subdued light allows the flash to overpower the ambient and give you the lighted parts you need. By the way,I have never had Tomato Pie,but I hear it is quite delicious at this establishment, but I think I will stick with apple pie myself.

Full Moon Rising

Today was full moon, and It reminded me of a shot I took last month during full moon. As a photographer, I make every effort to plan ahead as much as possible, and by using a free program called – The Photographers Ephemeris, which uses google earth to show you sun/moon locations, I previewed a few potential places I wanted to shoot to see if the full moon would be in the right spot. This farm, complete with a flooded field yielded the perfect opportunity. The key to capturing such an image is to shoot when moonrise happens right at sunset, so exposure can retain detail in the moon and the landscape. It’s a fleeting few minutes.The glow on the water is all real, and a slight breeze almost ruined my shot. Instead of rushing around back roads, I arrived, set up my tripod, aimed exactly where the program said the moon would rise and simply waited for it to appear.The accompanying buggy shot is taken from the same location a few days later. The water just sits here from the summer floods and has covered the road numerous times. I made over two dozen trips to this spot, which is approx 15 miles away to capture this unique double horse-drawn buggy image. A link to the Sun/Moon tool is in my blogroll. Try it on your home address to see its accuracy.