Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sky Watch Friday, Pastel Sunset

With a storm front moving in the evening sky displayed a beautiful palate of pastel colors

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Summer Flowers

The Fulton County Courthouse and a red petunia combine to create a colorful reminder of the beauty of the summer season.

In the middle of winter I find myself anticipating the more pleasant days ahead.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Walking Alone

My Saturday morning photoshoots are typically solitary adventures. They usually consist of a combination of driving and walking. The time spent on foot seems to decrease along with the temperature.

On this day, with a new snow covering the ground, I paused to look back. Only my solitary line of footprints marred the delicate snow. It is a privilege to enjoy such beautiful scenes but to do so one must rise early, step out into the chilly morning air and immerse themselves in the surrounding beauty.

As I capture the images that capture my attention, somehow the air does not seem so cold.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Boat Ride, Anyone?

Saturday was not a good day for a boat ride on nearby Raystown Lake

I captured this shot of the floating dock at the Weaver Falls Access Area. In the warmer months the dock is bustling with activity but on a cold winter morning not another soul was to be seen.

My eye was drawn to the lines created by the empty dock

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Road of Water

With ice rimming the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River, it resembles a highway cutting through the Pennsylvania Mountains.

In times past the Juniata was an important water route for early explorers. Beginning along the Allegheny Front in Bedford County the river winds through the mountains until it reaches the Susquehanna River. Raids were very common at numerous settlements along these shores during the French and Indian War.

As I stand in the early mornings light admiring the Juniata near Saxton Pennsylvania, in my minds eye I can see the canoes of an Indian war party slipping silently along in the icy waters

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Snow Capped Peaks

With no high rugged snowcapped mountains here in Pennsylvania, I searched for snowcapped peaks on a macro scale.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sky Watch Friday, Looking West at Sunrise

Once again I turned my camera away from the rising sun to capture this image. The promise of a beautiful sunrise was thwarted by a heavy cloud formation in the east. As the hidden sun rose, the band of clear sky to the west began to glow with subtle yet beautiful colors.

Soon the entire sky was clouded and the day took on the somber tones of a cold dreary winter day. Thanks to the western sky, my morning shoot was not a total loss.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

River of Ice

Not really a river but rather a stream running across a previously drained lake bed.

As my photographic excursions have been highly limited lately I have been reviewing my archives from last winter. The Meadow Grounds Lake was lowered by the Pa Fish & Boat Commission during November of 2006 for assessment and repairs to the breastwall. This action exposed land that had been under water since the early 1960’s providing a unique photographic opportunity.

During this past summer the assessment was completed and the required materials were delivered. The repair work was to be completed by the end of the year but as yet no work has begun.

The current lake level precludes the launching of anything but the smallest of boats. According to a newspaper article quoting officials the complete repair will only cost around $15,000. I wonder if the boating public will once again be denied the use of this lake during 2008 by an agency who is only too happy to sell one the required boat registration and fishing license.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Stone House

The stone structure appears strong but with the holes in the roof the future of this house is questionable.

Again I used Photoshop to achieve a monotone effect in this photo.

I have been working lately with a few hundred old family photographs that we borrowed from relatives. Scanning and restoration has been both time consuming and very rewarding. I was inspired by those old photographs to create the effects you see here.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Dilapidated Shed

The old shed leans as its timbers ever so slowly give way to the incessant demands of gravity

From the holes in the roof and the trees growing in front of the door it is obvious that no one has used this shed in years. Surprisingly, to the right just out of the frame is a house; not quite as decrepit and still occupied.

I reduced the saturation and toned this photograph to achieve the effect you see here.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Paula in Pink

This cute little “package” shown here is the daughter of our good friends Paul & Sindy. I shot this image as they were getting ready to leave. We loved Paula’s pose with her finger across her mouth, but the background left much to be desired.

A few minutes in Photoshop delivered much more acceptable results. I created the background layer by setting the colors to two different shades of pink from her coat and then applying “filter” “render” “difference clouds”. Afterwards all that was necessary was to remove the background around Paula and lightly fade her outline using the eraser tool.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Marsh Grass

The cap of fresh snow bows the head of a stalk of marsh grass

In a few short months the lush greenery of spring will abound; but for now I am content with photographing the subtle beauty of winter.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sky Watch Friday, A Frontal Change

The dramatic display of a rapidly moving cold front

This image was the result of following the advice of many of you, my blogger friends, to always keep a camera handy.

Now that I have graduated to shooting a DSLR for my serious work, I keep my little Canon S2 IS handy in my work car. Although most commutes are uneventful; on this evening as I was returning home, the sky became awesomely beautiful. As scenes such as this do not last long ,I quickly wheeled into a side road and continued on to the nearest hilltop which provided visibility without interfering power lines.

Sometimes photographs can be planned afore time, but when dealing with nature it always pays to be prepared.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Looking the other Way

So often during a stunning sunrise I find myself with camera aimed into the source of the wonderful light. To capture this photograph I turned my back to the sun capturing the red light of dawn gently caressing the new fallen snow.

Although I have no qualms about using photo-imaging programs to enhance a photograph, in this case no adjustment was needed. I felt the camera faithfully recorded the scene as I remember it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Icy Dawn, Twenty Minutes Later

This photo is of the same scene featured in yesterday’s post. It was captured twenty minutes later as the sun broke through. The partly cloudy sky provided me with the dramatic spotlight effect.

I used a focal length of 35mm for this photograph whereas yesterday’s scene was shot with a 105mm. Both shots were made with an aperture of F/22. The current Country Captures header was also shot from this same position but at a different angle that morning.

Please allow me to apologize for not commenting on all of your blogs more frequently. With my current work schedule, my ever growing list of blogger friends and other projects I have on the go; I can only get to a few of you each day. Never the less, all of your visits and comments are very much appreciated.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Icy Dawn

Staying between the warm blankets is so inviting on a cold winter morning but to capture natures beauty one must rise early and be on location before the new day’s sun crests the horizon. With temperatures hovering in the teens I waited for the sunrise.

This image was captured shortly before the dawn’s first rays reached the mountain beyond.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Flash Diffuser Experiment

Recently I found a link on John Robert’s blog for making a homemade flash diffuser. As anyone who has tried to get by with only the pop-up flash on their camera knows, there are many times when it does not produce the desired results. After reading the instructions I felt that perhaps this would be useful for close-up shooting. I then made diffusers from both white and clear material.

The diffuser is fashioned from the side of a gallon milk jug. The rig does look a tad ungainly but fashion never has concerned me; only results count.

This shot was made with the diffuser. Note the overall lighting and detail in the lens mount area.

The same shot, this time without the diffuser. I find the lighting to be harsher with less detail in the shadows.

Whether I will ultimately find this diffuser to be a useful tool remains to be seen but at least I have no trouble justifying the cost!

For more complete instructions on making this gizmo click HERE

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Impatient Blue Jay

Ready to drop like a missile onto the birdfeeder below this Blue Jay waits its chance to find a spot among his brethren.

I was a split second too late to capture the perfect frame

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sky Watch Friday, Sunrise Service

Although I felt “sick as a dog” with a bad cold the promise of a beautiful sunrise forced me up before the dawn to travel to a nearby country church.

The sunrise did not disappoint and the church provided framing for the gorgeous awakening of the day.

Tiny Tufted Titmouse

The Tufted Titmouse is one of the most common birds to visit our winter bird feeders. They are not picky eaters and are easily attracted. This bird is feeding on cracked corn spilled from the feeder above.

Here it is seen working diligently pecking at a corn grain. Note how it grasp the kernel with its feet while hammering away, breaking it up into edible pieces.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Natures Collage

While I was photographing woodland birds a few days ago I paused to take notice of this of this empty hickory nut hull lying upon the forest floor. The warm earthy tones of the empty hull and the fallen leaves combined with the morning sunlight created beauty far beyond that of any one of its individual components.

I’m well aware that this composition violates the “rules” by having the main subject centered. After reviewing all of my shots of this subject I found myself always returning to this one. Of course what are photography rules made for except to be broken :)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


On one of my recent morning photo-adventures I happened upon this old dilapidated house. Allowing my mind to wander I tried to imagine what it was like the first day its new owners moved in.

The house would have been a pretty white clapboard house with a large stone fireplace and a shiny tin roof. The interior plaster walls were probably covered with pretty wall paper, upstairs as well as down. The front porch would have been an inviting place to sit on those long summer evenings while neighbors passed by, perhaps stopping for a chat before going on to their way. The summer kitchen attached to the right of the house would have provided relief from the heat of the wood fired range.

The C&O Canal is only a short walk behind the house. There one could have watched the mules pulling the barges and perhaps traded fresh fruit and baked goods with the folks operating the canal boats.

What was once someone’s pride and joy now stands empty; rust, rot and decay will soon erase it from the landscape.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose…. (Ecl. 3.1). The season for this house has passed but it still possesses a certain beauty in its desolation.

Monday, January 07, 2008

And the Winner is...Landscapes!

For the past week I have had a poll in the right sidebar asking you to vote for your favorite Country Captures content. With a total of seven votes Landscapes won with a total of four, followed by Birds with two votes and Animals with one.

This shot is Fulton County Pennsylvania’s Great Cove. The photograph was taken from the Texas Eastern Pipeline looking towards Tuscarora Mountain.

Thanks for voting and please participate in todays new poll

Sunday, January 06, 2008

No Snow, No Problem

A Warfordsburg area farmer, intent on decorating, was not deterred by the lack of snow

Saturday, January 05, 2008

With Heads Bowed Down

Even bowed down in death, the snow-capped thistle heads hold promise of life beginning anew.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Mystery Revealed!

I love all of the good guesses and I must say they were all very good!

Photowannabe however came extremely close. Sue was the only contestant to see the ice!

The Meadow Grounds Lake is in the process of freezing over. A few yards from shore I noticed this hole in the thin ice. I assume it was caused by a spring in the lake bed creating an upwelling of warmer water. As the waves rolled across the open water and ran up against the ice sheet they caused water to well up through this hole and then recede as the wave passed by.

So as you now see, it was totally natural, soon the lake will be completely frozen and the ice was too thin for me to approach closely.

Today’s photograph is of the same ice hole with the wave receding.

Thanks everyone for your comments. I must admit; if I had found this photo on one of your blogs I would have been totally stumped :)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Can you guess what this Country Capture Mystery Photo is?

Here are a few clues;

1. It is all natural, in no way manmade.
2. The conditions that make such an image possible only exist for a short time
3. Shooting this image required a telephoto lens as I could not approach it closely

There you have it folks! Please leave a comment with your best guess :)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Downey Woodpecker, it’s an Upside Down World

With outdoor photography it is often best to follow this little Downey’s example. Often the mundane appears quite different when viewed from an unusual angle

Happy New Year ! ! !

May we all approach 2008 from a new angle