Friday, February 29, 2008

A Change of Pace

Last Saturday morning my wife & I left our snug little Pennsylvania home and began rolling south at 3:00am. With a breakfast & fuel stop in Rocky Mount North Carolina, another fuel stop in South Carolina and a couple of rest stops thrown in we arrived in Lakeland Florida at 7:45pm. When we left we had two inches of fresh snow on the ground with a freezing drizzle falling. Upon arrival we were greeted with shirt sleeve weather even though it had been dark for nearly an hour.

Monday morning Chad & I visited Lake Parker where this shot was taken as the morning mists were rising from the lake. My future post will be of some of the many images I captured on this amazing vacation. Upon arriving home this afternoon and downloading my memory cards I found that I had returned with some 1400 images.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Frosty the Dogwood

With a couple of chilly months to go I don't expect I will face a shortage of Frost Photos for quite some time.
I expect to be back to posting regularly by this weekend.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Eclipse Questions

Viewing this photograph brought questions to my mind. Questions such as why does the moon have a place for a stem, such as a fruit? Why does it have lines radiating out from this spot like the sections of a cantaloupe? Why is the Earth’s shadow so ragged and uneven?

The “stem” apparently is a crater but the longitude lines certainly do puzzle me. As for the Earth’s ragged shadow I would surmise that it is caused by our polluted atmosphere. But still one question remains;

Where is the Man in the Moon?

Photo captured with a Canon 30D, 400mm lens, F11 @ 1/125 sec. ISO200

Thursday, February 21, 2008

SkyWatch Friday, Eclipse

Perhaps the Total Lunar Eclipse will be the most frequently posted subject today but I will risk being showed up by those of you who are more accomplished shutter bugs.

With a brisk wind blowing and the thermometer hovering at 18deg F (-8C) I was very pleased to capture this image.

I am extremely pleased to have had this photographic opportunity. It snowed here all day and I felt certain that this event would transpire behind a cover of clouds. Thankfully the skies began to clear at dusk and by 9:00pm this moon was shining brightly in a cloudless sky, perfect for the approaching show!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Snowy Teasel

Beautiful to the eye but prickly to the touch

Teasel provides photographic opportunities year round.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Rushing Thunder

While waiting for the traffic light to change during my evening commute I heard the rushing roaring sound of a freight train. A glance in the side mirror revealed the train crossing over the bridge behind. Recognizing this as a “Chadesque” photo-op I readied my little Canon S2 IS and aimed it into the mirror.

Later I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of this image while viewing it on the computer.

If you haven’t checked out my son Chad’s photoblog click here, you’ll be glad you did.

Monday, February 18, 2008

New Leaves in Mid Winter

Imagine my surprise at finding new leaves in the middle of our Pennsylvania winter. Nestled in a well sheltered hollow with a good southern exposure, I found these tiny leaves growing on a Multiflora Rose.

Multiflora Rose, once recommended for planting as a living cattle fence and also used as crash barriers in the medians of divided highways, is now considered a noxious invasive alien plant species.

Although the Multiflora Rose has fallen from favor, I enjoyed finding this token of the season of new life just around the corner.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Cattail Seedhead, another View

Congratulations Photowannabe Sue
Once again you are the one with the correct answer!

As I was wandering about the Meadow Grounds Lake Saturday morning I found a cattail (bulrush) seed stalk which had broken over. Taking the seed head in my hand I began rolling it and was amazed at the soft furry texture of the seeds and their filament wings.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Skywatch Friday, Valentine Sky

After the sun set and darkness began to envelop the countryside, the western sky took on a beautiful red hue. The perfect end for a cold Valentine’s Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Death of the Family Farm

Husking corn was rare in our area when I captured this photo of my mother and grandparents during the mid 1970’s

Civilization is in a state of perpetual evolution. As knowledge and technology change, so do governments and occupations. During the sixties the viability of the traditional small family farm passed.

The Pennsylvania Farmer Magazine was delivered monthly to our mailbox. Frequently the editorial column would focus the wrath of the failing farmers upon the favorite whipping boy, the Middleman. At the time, as an adolescent, the identity of the middleman was quite unclear to me. Only later did I come to understand the propaganda value of creating this scapegoat for farmers to focus their anger upon, instead of on the real issues driving the farmers to expand or fail.

Looking back to the 1800’s and very early 1900’s the small, nearly self sufficient farm, was a model of success. Livestock provided the milk, eggs and meat required to feed the family. A large vegetable garden along with a small orchard provided the family with both fresh and canned fruits and vegetables. Many farms raised sheep to provide wool and meat as well. Any overabundance was traded with the neighbors or traded to the local store for goods or services that could not be produced. The farm family in reality required little that could not be produced on the farm. Energy consisted of muscle power, both human and draft animals. Land that was unsuitable for farming was allowed to grow in timber providing lumber and firewood.

As technology improved, no longer was the farmer limited to the small amount of acreage he could till with his team of horses. With the tractor, not only could the farmer maintain more acreage, he needed to if he were to survive. With this increased technology came other increased cost; gasoline, diesel, electricity, telephone, insurance, fertilizer, and let us not forget taxation.

As the farmers productivity increased so did the distance to market along with an ever increasing requirement to deliver a more consistent processed product.

This is where the infamous, much maligned “Middleman” entered onto the scene. Who you might ask is this Middleman?

He is the trucker, the butcher, and the cashier at the local grocery store. He is the man at the feed mill who buys grain and then grinds and formulates it into livestock feed. He is the Kellogg’s who processes the corn into cornflakes; he is General Mills who turns oats into Cheerios. In short, the Middleman is everyone involved in moving the farmer’s product to market. Was the Middleman responsible for the demise of the family farm? In my humble opinion I say no!

Ultimately technology was to “blame” for making the remaining farms larger, more productive and more efficient while operating on slimmer profit margins. Because of farming improvements our country has been blessed with some of the cheapest food on the face of the earth; the cost was the loss of a way of life; The Small Family Farm.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Empty Barn

This barn sits empty, a reminder of the days when the family farm was a viable business endeavor.

Our area was once a thriving agricultural community made up of hundreds of small family farms. Some milk cows, laying hens and a few hogs could provide a subsistence living and a small profit for a family working fifty to one hundred acres of cropland and pasture. During the 1960’s the death knell began sounding for the small family farm.

I well remember these years as Dad and Granddad sat at every meal talking about the prices for their milk and eggs falling; while the price of feed and supplies continued to climb. It seemed as though this was the only subject worthy of discussion for breakfast, dinner and supper. Although other subjects were brought up, talk would always return to the “Middle Man” taking all the profits. As a child I didn’t understand who this mysterious “Middle Man” was, only that he was a bad man and the cause of the monotonous meal conversations.

At the time I did not realize, I was witnessing first hand the death of the small family farm and the pain it was causing to those who were trying to hold on to the old ways.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Snow Plow

A selection of Pennsylvania winter photographs would not be complete without a capture of a PennDot (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation) snow plow.

In the days of my youth it was not uncommon for snow to block the roadways for days, bringing travel to a standstill while road crews worked around the clock. Today with much improved equipment only a snowfall of three feet or more accompanied with strong winds is capable of getting ahead of these powerful machines.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Stripes, but no Stars

Hanging like flags from the top of a small bush, the stripes on these dead leaves caught my attention.

Enduring the cold dreary days of winter is made much easier by searching for treasures such as this that are not available at any other time of year

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Sky Watch Friday, Heavens Aglow

As the storm moved by,
The clouds glowed beautifully during the morning sunrise

The sky quickly returned to a leaden gray and remained dreary until late afternoon.

A moment in time captured digitally; otherwise this moment of color would only have been a memory, soon to be lost among the clutter of my rapidly aging mind.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Icy Lane

The beautiful ice formations I have been sharing these last few days were all found along this road.

My wife was particularly drawn to this photograph and found the scene “inviting”. As pretty as it was I knew it was not wise to venture far from the main road for my car could easily have become stuck.

This final post will conclude the “Icy” series. Today we experienced temperatures nearly 60 deg. F. Although this temperature is unusual for our area, it is far from a record. With the strong cold front now approaching, we will be returning to more seasonable temps by morning.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Icy Buds

Mountain Laurel buds encased in Crystal

The ice storm transformed the appearance of my surroundings. What previously was mundane and unattractive had become amazingly beautiful.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Icy Power

If the storm resulted in any power outages, I was unaware. I marvel how electricity can flow through these cables without any outward sign of the power rushing within.

I captured this image with a Canon 30D using a 100-400 L IS lens

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Icy Trails

Saturday morning found me on top of Sidling Hill Mountain.
Friday’s ice storm had passed by leaving a thick coat of ice everywhere.

Today the temperatures soared into the upper 40’s F and now only photographs and memories of this ice storm remain.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Icy Blue

Coated in ice and shrouded in fog, Sidling Hill Mountain as seen from in front of our home.

I captured this image with my Canon S2 IS using the full power of its zoom. The lens on the S2 is a 6mm-72mm. With the tiny image sensor it employs the S2 gives the same effect at 72mm as a full frame 35mm camera gives with a 420mm lens.

Although this high of magnification is seldom used in scenery shots; in this case it gave me great results.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Ice Storm Accident

This morning I awoke to find the temperature below freezing while a light rain coated everything in a glistening layer of ice. Mornings like this cause me to dread my commute while at the same time they make me thankful for the 4X4 sitting in my driveway.

I had a safe commute but all were not that lucky. While waiting for emergency crews to clear the road from a multiple vehicle accident I found time to play with my traveling companion, my little Canon S2.

The rains continued throughout the day and by evening mountainous areas were beautifully encased in ice, but that must wait until my next post