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.
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.
Headed to Cape May for a day to shoot the many Victorian homes that make the town such a popular destination year round.Even though there was no snow to be found,the town was still dressed in its Christmas best and was very neat to see. This place is located right in the downtown and is referred to as “The Abbey” and If Senator John McCreary were somehow to return to Cape May today, he wouldn’t have much trouble recognizing his summer residence. Standing proudly at the corner of Gurney Street and Columbia Avenue. A Scottish immigrant who made his fortune in coal, McCreary was one of many wealthy Philadelphians who chose to summer in Cape May. With the arrival of the railroad in 1863, Cape May became a popular resort for the upper classes. These visitors did not, however, stay in the huge hotels that Cape May was famous for at the time. Instead, they built huge wooden homes, “cottages” and “villas” where one family could retreat in privacy. I photographed the home from across the street and included an arrangement with a bow that was situated on a pillar at a church. I saw on the net that the average rental price at this home for a week in peak summer is $12,500, so I most likely will not be seeing the inside anytime soon. In contrast,I slept overnight in my truck there and was as cozy as most people in the fancy houses right next to me and I shot this at daybreak while everyone else was still sleeping.
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.
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.
This snow-covered stone wall frames the lane leading in to this rural home. I looked out my bedroom window in the early pre-dawn light and had an inclination the sunrise would be good,so I bundled up and headed out in search of a scene to capture. I passed this place,hit the brakes and backed up to capture the gorgeous light on the landscape.
This was just a quick grab shot on my new england trip,and the owner came out while I was snapping the shot. He proceeded to tell me it was an Irish Victorian home and had hundreds of four-leaf clovers everywhere in the construction. From door panels to fireplace inlays and everywhere you could imagine,there were four-leaf clovers. Done in infrared,it takes on a bit of a spooky appearance to me.
Fall foliage across the eastern U.S. has been a major let down this year, but lately a few colorful trees have been popping up here and there. This lovely scene was one I initially wanted to shoot for just the fall trees on the property I am standing on,but as I looked for angles, I was drawn to this beautiful Victorian Bed and Breakfast across the street. There is actually a fairly heavily traveled road in front of the wall but the leaves in the elevated yard hide it perfectly. I waited till dusk till the home had lots of activity and illumination inside and then captured this image. The trees are in various stages of coloration and frame the shot perfectly. This bed and breakfast is located in the tiny hamlet of Bird in Hand in Lancaster county,PA and is called the Greystone Manor Inn. The property is beautifully landscaped and the wall on the left includes spectacular flowering baskets throughout the spring and summer.
This corner in mount auburn cemetery was covered in freshly fallen leaves,and the fence surrounding this plot featured ornate axes which stopped me in my tracks as I came upon it. Slightly foggy conditions and a fresh rain had everything saturated and glistening for a picture perfect moment. The cemetery uses street signs that have an appeal to them which adds to the unique feel you get here.
I just returned from a four-day trip to shoot fall foliage in new england and this is the first image I am sharing. The foliage was a disaster but my friend Morrie and I took a day to shoot in Mount Auburn cemetery in Massachusetts. The place did not disappoint and this image features the Bigelow Chapel,which is a centerpiece of the cemetery.Originally built in 1846 in a Gothic Revival style, Bigelow Chapel is a central structure illustrating the Mount Auburn Cemetery’s importance of linking a network of building landmarks to the landscape. The Chapel, constructed of Quincy granite, has served as a non sectarian chapel for funeral and memorial services. The building has had a full history of renovations, beginning with a complete dismantling and rebuilding just nine years following construction due to structural problems, a complete interior remodeling in 1923, and the addition of a crematory annex in 1970. The only regret I had was not being able to see the place lit inside to show off the stained glass. I light painted the scene with about ten pops of the flash. This cemetery is very large and well maintained,and while we were there a maintenance crew carefully raked the stone walkways free of debris,which surely must be done everyday in the fall. We were also told not to park on the grass at the road edge because they are very particular about keeping things perfect.
I passed this display on my travels and just had to return and shoot it. This is the result of many pops of my flash,and several ambient exposures. The main ball on the carriage is covered in plastic, which at first kind of made me wish it was off,but after dusk,the plastic helped with the glowing effect,so it all worked out. The owner told me this setup cost $17,000, and they are going to do tourist rides and weddings, using a real horse of course. It supposedly was in a popular TV series based in New York City. I am sure many cinderella’s will be drawn to take a ride.
This local home is one I have always considered to be a true masterpiece. It was built in 1905 by Benjamin Gonder and the architectural detailing is magnificent. I was driving by recently and noticed this patch of flowers along the driveway entrance. The blooms were calling out to me,so I bravely knocked at the door and was met by the owner who graciously allowed me on the property. I said I wanted to snap a few flower pictures and as usual I spent more than an hour at it.
Whenever you meet someone new like this,there is always a bit of uncertainty on their part about who this person is and are they legit. The owner came out after an hour because they wondered how long a snapshot takes? I reassured her that with me,it can be pretty involved to get it all right. She then offered to allow me to go take a peek out back and possibly shoot the rose garden,which was absolutely stunning and that will be a post for another day. For this image,I waited till dusk for the interior light to show,and then lit the plants with flash. As I recall, the owners referred to themselves as the caretakers,which I took to meaning that some homes are so special that they are really something unto themselves and are not owned but cared for, but I might have that all wrong too.
Tried another location for the sleigh I borrowed recently, and this time I wanted to show the beauty of the sleigh from the back.This old farmhouse has been lovingly restored by the current owners, and I thought it created another scenic backdrop for the sleigh. A lovely sunset kicked off the photo shoot and then I proceeded to light paint the sleigh,buildings, and even skim some light across the snow to reveal texture. A street light behind me cast some terrible shadows across the snow,so by lighting the snow I overpowered the street light to help pull the shot off.The sleigh was one of the first areas I lit and thank goodness for that, because three separate times I had to pick up packages that got blown off in about 15 mph winds. Would love to have a good horse to pull me as I take a ride in this thing instead of just hauling it on a trailer.
I ran the sleigh photo idea by the owner a year ago and they were excited about it,but the day I shot this,I could not get a hold of them,so they were surprised to see the sleigh in their yard and me hard at work photographing it that evening as they came home from a brief vacation. All in all I am very happy with the result of this little escapade with the old sleigh. Now lets see whats in those packages.
Yet another scene from the Dickens gingerbread display this year. The ice spins with the skaters on top and to see the myriad of cords and plugs under this display,you would think you are watching Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation. The town is full of street lights,and various items needing power.This was taken with a 17mm in pretty close to show the tiny skaters better.
This little vignette is one from my series on store windows in the quaint town of Lititz,PA. Each year at Christmas the shops in town create unique window displays that I find appealing and this one with the old blocks, the bear, and the santa caught my eye. I lit the scene with a flash at various angles to highlight certain items. The shop is called days gone by,hence my title.
Another highly detailed confectionary creation from the Dickens village gingerbread. The main establishment is titled hark the Harrods and one can look at all the details in amazement at the amount of work the architectural firm puts into this Christmas creation. The paper spirals near the top actually spin creating the effect of smoke rising from the chimneys.
This is yet another display from the historic mansion Christmas event. This display was created by a local bakery and the tree is adorned in fresh gingerbread ornaments that include snowflakes,trees and ginger bread men. There appeared to be other food items on the tree but I was not exactly sure what everything was.The left window sill features gingerbread houses and various other items round out the composition.The first exposure was done capturing the exterior light and then everything was lit by a hand-held deer spotlight in a very dark room. When you do this technique,you must be careful not to kick or bump anything as you light things or you get registration problems.
This was the only shot I did this year alone in the mansion,which can be a little spooky in the dark as you hear every sound in the old structure. Thankfully the strong smell of gingerbread filled the room and kept my mind from being distracted by noises. If only I would have had a big glass of milk,I might have been able to sample the bakery delights.
The Christmas season is one of my favorite times of year,so I look forward to any opportunity that comes along to photograph Christmas related subjects.Homes adorned in festive decor always draw me in for a closer look and memories of times with family gathered together on a cold winters night leave lasting impressions. Wether it is enjoying grandmas cookies or seeing relatives again,Christmas is hard to beat for me. A simple photo like this one can trigger cherished memories from the past and reliving those glory days in one’s mind can be very special.
The scene above is done using a tripod and multiple exposures utilizing my spotlight. It is one of several rooms decorated in an old mansion,which allows visitors to come and enjoy the decorations which are done by volunteers from various groups and individuals in the community and runs for two weekends in early December.The organizers are gracious enough to give me a key and let me come in to shoot anything that catches my eye.This was shot this past saturday long before the sun rose,so we did not have to contend with light shining in the windows. More scenes will come as I work on them. My friend Larry has a shot on his blog from another room. He is listed on my artists I admire section at Lefeverphoto. He chose an extremely tough room and did a stellar job.
This figure kneels at the grave of someone named Pidgeon,who is buried in this magnificent Victorian era cemetery that is full of highly detailed statuary.The only info I could find was that the monument cost $2,350 dollars and shipped in october of 1898. It mentions eight stone cutters,a polisher,a statue cutter,and letter cutter. I shot this in infrared on a sunny day,which turns the foliage a dreamy white. I lit the statue shadow areas to show a bit more detail.
This is the mausoleum where Methodist bishop Matthew Simpson is buried.Though based in Philadelphia during the Civil War, Methodist Bishop Matthew Simpson (1811-1884) traveled the country during that time giving speeches in support of the Union, emancipation and President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was thankful for the Bishop’s support.After Lincoln was assassinated he delivered the eulogy at his burial in Springfield, Illinois. At that time few people traveled as widely as Bishop Simpson did and his reports on public opinion were a valuable resource to the President. The mausoleum reminds me a little bit of a miniature church to some degree.
This image is part reality,part imagination. The barn and lamp-post were part of this scene yesterday and they were coated in a light dusting of the seasons first snow. I have always enjoyed the paintings of Thomas Kinkade for their dream like quality and I also like the effect of warmth in a cold setting,so I added some warm light to the scene to invite the viewer into the scene and maybe take a peak in the window of the wood shop to see what the craftsman might be making. The gentleman who owns this barn made the unique doors,which if I recall correctly have a passage from the Bible carved in them. I noticed there are icicle lights on the roof line,but unfortunately they were not lit,so Hopefully we will get more good snows and I will remember to return.
This is another flash light painting exercise where I attempted to bring out the detail in the statue. The sun was shining through the tree,but was basically backlighting everything. I shot the first exposure with the silhouetted statue and sun,and then the sun moved behind the leaves and I started with the flash portion of the shoot.The off camera flash is mounted on a six foot pole for better positioning but the statue is pretty high,so it’s not the perfect lighting scenario.
They asked for so little,but gave so much.More than just friends.This is the epitaph that one pet owner had etched in stone in memory of a beloved cat and dog.I assume the pets are buried here just feet from magnificent mausoleums housing their owners. I was not particularly dazzled by the carving work on the cat,but it may be a hundred years old and simply be weathered. You never know what you might come across in these acres of granite.
This image of the three crosses caught my eye because they were under the canopy of this beautiful tree. This cemetery has numerous grand old trees,many of which I do not know their type.For those looking for photo tips,take note how I framed the tree without overlapping the branches and stones.Picking the right lens for any given situation allows you to visually pull off the shot you envision,and little details like that can be a huge advantage.Here are a few quotes relative to my image. From the Bible,
“And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9).”
This pair of images exemplifies what you can do with a small flash,a tripod and a little time. The top image is the result of about 10 different flash pops on separate exposures,all done at various angles to light the subject and bring out the texture. The bottom image is no flash added. This technique would be considered painting with light,which is essentially using a flash like a brush to bring your subject to life . I definitely prefer the top image of the two,because I feel it shows the sculptors work in a way that showcases his talent.Having wireless flash and remote camera firing is a must with this technique so you can move around your subject and operate your gear at a distance.
It has been a while since I have done any cemetery infrared shooting,so both myself and a good friend went out yesterday to explore a new destination. Lovely weather in the low sixties provided the perfect opportunity to look for compositions amongst the grandeur of this Victorian era cemetery.This image was captured with a converted Nikon D200,which only captures infrared now. I spotted these ornately detailed urns which were sidelit by the sun,and the mausoleum in the distance rounded out my composition. I am always amazed by the sights you see in these old cemeteries. I will share more from this trip in the month ahead.