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.

Work,then Play

amish-tractor-scooterCaptured this Amish youth heading down the road on a tractor and upon closer examination,you can see he is hauling his transportation with him on the back. The two-wheeled scooter is the transportation of choice for Amish youth,as bikes are frowned upon. Last year I spoke to an Amish guy who I noticed coming up a hill at a rather fast pace,and it puzzled me how he was doing it? Turns out he had an electric motor added and it was all hidden on the frame. It intrigued me enough to think about buying one since he said it ran about $400 for everything. Well in the year since he got his,price went up to near a $1000 so I will stick with the bike for now.

Mechanized Steel Army

 

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Sometimes I think I just like to hear the camera shutter fire,and really have no clue why I chose to shoot this,but it strikes me as some sort of mechanized squad,ready to do battle. I can’t quite figure out what the contraption on the front is for unless it attaches to a dozer or something?

 

Take a Bite

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This digger could take a serious bite out of almost anything it dug its teeth into. I lit this in overcast conditions with a flash and the bucket alone was lit with one series of eight flashes on multiple exposure on my camera. I set the shutter speed to the highest allowable on my camera at a 250th of a second and set the camera to record 8 exposures on one frame. Eight shots were just on the edge of possibilities because each ambient exposure built up on the frame as I shot,so you have to watch for overexposure when you do that many on one frame. My usual technique is to overlay separate frames,but multiple exposure allows flash to build up on the frame with each blast,so you effectively can make your weak flash more powerful.I wish they used this thing to give you a scoop of mulch for landscaping,although my trailer tires would explode when it dumped the bucket.

You’ve Got Mail

 

mailThis little scene features the porch at the Lititz historical society. The antique mail cart sits on the porch during the holiday season and society members fill it with wrapped packages and greens. I added multiple flash pops to various area to highlight things and the Moravian star was lit by flash with a snoot on it to avoid shadows on the ceiling.It might look better if it was actually turned on,but its the best I could do at five thirty in the morning. I liked the warm interior and the cool blue of dawn. I have no idea how old this cart is,but it must go way back in time.

 

Steamroller Fun

 

 

This is another example of experimenting with deer spotlights on a subject. Admittedly,I still need more practice to master this technique,but each try proves to be fun. The top photo is no spot light and the bottom is the result of about twenty separate twenty-second exposures at f11 using the spotlight. I used a wireless remote to fire my camera and also use a laptop to review what I did on each exposure to keep track what was lit already and as a reference if I need to shine the light at a different angle for better effect. Doing that also keeps you from touching the camera and creating registration problems. My spotlight has a diffuser and a snoot to keep the camera from being able to see the light source as I stand in the scene. The steamroller has the name Fordson on its radiator grill.