Saturday, April 30, 2011

More Mandolins

I am excited.  I am doing my first photography stand at a craft show tomorrow.  Hopefully it goes smoothly and is slightly profitable.  If not, oh well, I shoot for myself...if other people enjoy it and want to give me money for it, great.  At least I have my mandolin project, which will be monetarily beneficial.  You will probably see a few new mandolin photos as my daily photos as I try to get exactly what my buyer is looking for and since I will have my brother's rather nice mandolin for the next week.  Here are today's quick ones.

F Style Mandolin
Beautiful instrument.  Fairly standard positioning.

Angled Mandolin
A much less conventional angle.  Not sure if I like it, but different can be good.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday is Green Dragon Day

Friday is a great day to bike to work.  At 6:00am the Green Dragon (a massive Farmer's Market) is starting to come to life.  It's rather awesome to bike past it and witness the erection of stands and the laying out of produce and baked goods before the sun even rises.  I've decided that since I will be biking to work every day, I will wake up 10 minutes earlier on Fridays and stop for a breakfast of some sort, be it an apple, a sticky bun, or some quinoa salad. 

My wife and I made our way to the Green Dragon once we got home from work.  We ate some delicious food and I got my picture of the day. 

Friday at the Dragon
An old woman barters over some fresh produce at the Green Dragon, located in Ephrata, PA.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Local Produce All The Way

I got my car inspected today.  While paying, I added a bunch of home grown asparagus to my bill.  Thus is the awesome nature of the area I live in...Lancaster County.  They had asparagus on the counter, in a bucket, for could I refuse?  I couldn't.
The fact that a car shop had some of their own vegetables for sale with their vehicle services made me think that my favorite farm stand might be open.  It was.  I picked up some cabbage and strawberry rhubarb jam and my wife got an apple.  It is a wonderful little stand and I rejoice in the fact that it is open.  I will be giving them more business than I give anyone else for the next five months.

Wanted: Newspapers
This picture is more of a documentary shot.  It isn't supposed to be anything special,  just an image that marks the first day that I got to go to my favorite produce stand in 2011.

Skids and Spokes
I have a hard time not photographing bikes, regardless of their location.  But a bike surrounded by skids of produce, now that is pretty awesome.  Id like to imagine there is a forklift attachment for a bicycle and that is the method that is used to move produce around the stand.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pepper Grayscale Study

Three delicious sweet peppers.  A yellow, an orange, and a red.
Once these three peppers were converted to the grayscale, where they fall on the scale becomes visible.  The red, the one all the way to the left is much farther from the orange (middle) then the orange is from the yellow (right).  Also, I would have thought that yellow would have been closer to absolute white than orange is.  Unless my photograph didn't convert properly, or the lighting ruined something, I was wrong, and orange is actually closer.

Pepper Grayscale Study
I wonder if we would be as inclined to eat fruits and vegetables if they were just shades of gray.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I've been spending my free time preparing for my upcoming art show.  It is drawing nearer and nearer and I keep thinking of things I need to do for it.  This meant that it was awhile before I picked up my camera to consider today's photo.  It was dark by the time I finally did, but thought that maybe some night shots might turn out decently.  And so I went outside and meandered.

Follow the Stars
I didn't use a star filter on this shot.  Apparently a long exposure will result in starry lights.  I like the path that the three lights create.

Stoplight Shingles
A nearby stoplight caused a wall of shingles to light up.  I didn't really like this photo too much but my wife seemed to.  It reminds me of a peacock's tail.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Commisioning a Symphony of Mandolins

I was commissioned to create a canvas print of a mandolin.  I don't have the beautiful mandolin that will be used for the final photo, but I do own one.  I used mine as a stand-in, hoping that I could get a good understanding of the curves and lines and how best to work with them.  Here is the first attempt.  Hopefully the purchaser finds it suitable for just that - a first attempt.

The Lines and Contours of a Mandolin
The way the curving accented sides of the mandolin end in darkness makes it appear that the darkness and the mandolin are one and the same.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Vegan Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

This delicious soup was my addition to Easter dinner at my mother's house.  I also made a garlic and lacinato kale dish, but that was just a quick three minute side.

Vegan Creamy Sweet Potato Soup
I used fifteen pounds of potatoes.  There was maybe one bowl's worth remaining.  I'll consider it a success.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Midnight Mist

Apparently having rather busy weekends gets in the way of posting pictures...also taking them.  Luckily I had my camera with me while driving around with my wife, brother, and his girlfriend.  I shot this photo with a long shutter speed, partially to blur the outside world (I was in a moving car (hoping the extra blurry effect would be interesting)) but more so because it was late at night and without it I would not have been able to get an image at all. 

Midnight Mist
It might not be anything special, but the minimal amount of defined subject makes for a style rather different from my usual style.  The trees were lost in the dark mist to begin with.  The long shutter speed made them even less defined.


It's late.  I took this picture after midnight, but it still counts for my 4.22.11 picture.
Here is my brother and his girlfriend.

How Nice
How nice?  So nice.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ode to Scruggs

Today's photo is a banjo.  The accordion from the other day got me into the instrument photography mood.  Nothing special today, just an isolation with some color alterations.  Enjoy.

Ode to Scruggs
 Earl Scruggs is known for a certain three finger picking style.  I don't know how he would feel about this modern-ish looking banjo, what with his back country, blue grass background.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Where Have all the Flowers Gone?

...young girls have picked them every one. 
A nice bike ride led my wife and I to a field with many a wildflower.  My wife picked a few and knelt down to tie them together.  She then proceeded to tie the tiny bouquet to the handlebars of her bike.

The Tiniest Bouquet
I had a hard time trying to decide if this should be in black and white or color.  The obvious choice for flowers is color, but I really like the simplicity of the photo and I feel like the black and white adds to that simplicity.

I Brake for Flowers
I couldn't let both photos be in black and white, and wouldn't have.  This photo is definitely better in color.  I am intrigued by the bokeh underneath the hand brake.  It looks like motion blur, but it definitely is not. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

For Eugene

I've been listening to a lot of Gogol Bordello as of late.  They are a fantastic gypsy punk band, and I would recommend them to anyone.  Even those that are fans of neither gypsy nor punk music.  They create such a unique sound that I feel it is impossible to categorize them and thus, really feel that they deserve a listening to by everyone and anyone before judgments are made.
I figured that with listening to so much of them lately, I should do a picture in honor of them.  I have an old accordion laying around and, well, there are few better things to photograph while listening to the wheezing sounds of an actual one.  The beautiful wheezing sounds, mind you.

Accordion Isolation
I've done detail shots of this accordion before, but felt that this time, the whole thing needed to be in the image.  I love the way the slightly open and curved chambers blend and disappear into the black background.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mushroom Forest

Today's subject became part of a delicious spaghetti dinner.  There are few better spaghetti sauces than ones that are a combination of every vegetable you have laying around.  And so the mushrooms I had sitting in my fridge doubled as my subject and my dinner.

Mushroom Forest
At the risk of sounding like some Mario level, I shall call this photo Mushroom Forest.  This image is worth two extra lives.

Mushrooms Before Swine
...Or at least mushrooms under swine.  It didn't take long for Confucius the Pig to make his way into one of my photos.  Here he is playing "King of the Mushroom."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Vegan Garlic and Herb Knots

My wife and I did some baking today.  She is the master baker in the house, but I am the master creative force behind her amazing baked goods.  So really, we are nothing without each other.  I knew exactly what I wanted, and I knew what ingredients would provide the flavor for that.  My only issue was the lack of knowledge on how to make a good dough for rolls.  Enter wife.  She made the dough, I threw in the necessary herbs and garlic, we waited for it to rise, then we weaved the dough into braids and knots and baked them.

Basket of Deliciousness
These garlic and herb knots and braids tasted even better than they looked.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Confucius the Pig

I've been toying with the idea of a series that would be based around a single figurine making its way into many different scenarios and environments.  The only thing really holding me back was the lack of an awesome figurine.  Today, while chopping up some mushrooms for lunch, I looked over my shoulder and saw the perfect thing for the series.  I apparently had missed this little guy every time I searched my house for something awesome.  Maybe I just never checked the kitchen, it seemed like a reasonable assumption to assume nothing awesome would be found there.  I was wrong.  Today, I present the subject of many future photographs... 

Confucius the Pig
This little pig is filled with wisdom.  He is an awfully photogenic swine, what with his quizzical expression.

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Study Of Energy Transfer

My friend and I decided to go run amok with a camera.  He is a ninja, so we ended up doing some high speed shots of him doing ninja-like things.  Here is a study of the motion required to send a rock through the air at warp speed.  It is easy to see in each frame where the energy is building up and where it is being transferred to.

Truly Ultimate Power (a Study of Energy Transfer)
Note the 6th frame, the frame right before the release of the energy/rock.  It is the only frame that the ninja appears tense in.  Every other frame is either the fluid motions leading into the release or the continued fluid motions of the spin after the release.  It is in a single split second that all the pent up energy from the spin is dominated by the ninja and then let loose.

Dominated Energy
A larger image of the ninja exposing his truly ultimate power.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Vegetation by Bicycle

Warm weather and a free afternoon had me hopping on my bicycle and riding all over town.  I rode down a bike trail and then made my way through the park.  Today, some odd plants and some fungus caught my it can catch yours too.

 Mini Weeping Willows
I don't know what kind of plant this is.  I've never seen anything like it before.  It reminds me of fireworks or a mini weeping willow.  Someone help me! What is it?  I did learn something though, in searching for the type of plant that this is, I found out that there are dwarf weeping willows.  I will purchase one.

Soft Buds
Again, not sure what it is, but the background colors and the softness of the buds themselves compliment each other wonderfully.  A plant's ability to defy gravity has always fascinated me.  Some plants and flowers look so dainty and weak, yet they are able to take on such an intense force of nature.  Most impressive.

  The Fungus Among Us
Growing out of the side of a massive tree, this fungus resembled a spiral staircase.  My desire to attempt to ascend it was great. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Facing the Wall

I frequently try to get my wife to give me ideas for my daily photo project.  She has helped me with some of my favorite projects, so I know it is in my best interest to pose the question from time to time.  When I did so today, she hung a piece of paper on the wall and stood in front of it. 

Portrait of My Wife
I added a chair and some work lights to create a good representation of my wife; a girl that is transfixed by words on paper.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rainy Day Windshields

Rain drips down the windows, through the gutters, and into the cracks in the sidewalk.  It also drips down the windshield of my car, providing me with an interesting photo opportunity.  After focusing on the droplets of rain and not the trees and houses behind them, a foggy, abstract image popped into my viewfinder.

Rain Drop Nebula
The colors and patterns have an almost nebula-like quality to them, reminding me of a photo from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Reptiles and Birds

Fantastic weather today.  I was told it reached 86 degrees.  So of course my wife and I made our way to Middle Creek.  We created some delicious sandwiches, threw our bikes on the back of my car, and made our way to the wonderful wildlife management area.  We saw tons of Great Blue Herons flying around building nests, and then when our gaze fell from the sky back to the earth, we found a cute little Eastern Painted Turtle.

Roosting in the Trees
Though it isn't the best picture of herons, this should give you an idea of what all the trees surrounding the lake look like.  Back and forth these big birds fly; straw and branches hanging from their beaks.

This Eastern Painted Turtle had no desire of coming out for my wife and I.  Perfectly content right where he was, at least he provided me with easy photo opportunities.

Abstract Shell
In that the turtle wasn't going anywhere, I had the chance to get some nice shots of his shell.  The nicks and scratches add to the image while the shininess allows for different hues throughout it.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

And Finally...Today's

The composite image that I created for Saturday's post made me want to do one for today.  Sadly, I know of no other engravings on par with that one.  At least not within walking distance.  My bookshelf seemed like something that could benefit from being "panorama-ed."  I was wrong.  What I came up with looks fine, but it is definitely nothing special.  And thus, I reached for my backup.  When all else fails, take a photograph through the viewfinder of another camera.

Used Books
 I would use this as my banner if I had a used bookstore. These are not for sale.

A Handicap
For those who read really fast, too fast, we have introduced a new method of keeping you going at a more reasonable speed.  All words will be reversed and the ending is instead at the beginning and vice versa.  It's not impossible to read this way, but it will definitely slow you down.  As a side note, that is indeed a beautiful pile of Mister Kurt Vonnegut Jr. sitting right there.  So this story reversal thing...the character in Galapagos begins the book by crawling out of the ocean? that how it would work?  

For Saturday, the 9th of April

Saturday was a good day.  We went hiking on a part of the Appalachian Trail that my wife and I only recently realized the awesomeness of.  The AT goes right through an area that was once a CCC camp, but also a POW camp for Germans and Japanese during WWII.  I did a post on this awhile ago, so sift through my posts if you want more info on this very interesting area.  We found some new stuff this time, such as a big cement star in the ground and a tiled floor (just in the middle of the woods) but more importantly, we found a bridge that had been carved into by someone while it was the POW camp.

POW Engraving
I created a composite image from a couple shots of this engraving on the side of a bridge.  I didn't want to use a wide angle and just crop everything else out because I didn't want sacrifice detail or quality.

My Attempt to Decipher
Much of this makes sense.  The date was May 25, 1945.  The engraver was Lt. Momberg.  The area that this was found in was, at the time, a POW camp for German and Japanese soldiers.  But much of this does not make least not to me.  I don't know if Treu(g)or(y) Ovenccl is the rest of his name or something else entirely.  The 35 and 07 mean nothing to me.  And the part in the bottom right seems to have parts that faded away.  I know that Kassel is a town in Germany and that Alt(e) would insinuate age.  So perhaps he was born in Kassel and was 56 at the time of the engraving.  The part between alte and 56 is the hard part, so I'm not sure if it is listing an age or if the word is actually altemeter/altemeiter, which is the altitude guage on a plane.  Another possibility is Alte Meister which, oddly enough, is in Kassel, Germany.  That would seem to make the most sense.  But Alte Meister is an art museum (from what I can tell).  Why that would be engraved with the rest of this information makes little to no sense to me.  

Fountains of Slag
I can't go to this place without taking pictures of slag.  I find it to be fascinating and beautiful.  No wonder it was used as a decoration on this fountain.

See!  I can't even limit it to one photo of slag.  I love this stuff.

A Phoenix From the Ashes
Our fire was going out.  Only a few glowing embers were remaining, so I attempted some long exposure shots with added motion to make tiny embers become something much bigger.

Long Exposure of a Brother
The night sky was a cloudy one.  There was no hope for star-gazing, so my brother and I did some long exposure shots.  No matter what you attempt, they always come out as bad attempts at dramatic, dark images.  Here is my brother looking...well, dramatic and dark.

For Friday, the 8th of April

I was horrified on Friday.  We went camping and I didn't have much time to take my daily picture what with getting there late in the evening and getting everything set up.  When I finally had a minute to put towards it, I took an easy route.  We weren't really family had all got a trailer in the middle of the woods...and there was a basket of fake flowers in one of the rooms.  I decided that I'd try a simple isolation shot of some of the flowers.  I aimed, focused, and clicked.  The camera fired away, and then a big "NO CARD" message showed up!  Argh! I forgot my memory card at home.  I got pretty annoyed because I knew there would be many good photo opportunities on Saturday, and now I'd have to run back home in the morning to get my cards.  Next morning I woke up and laughed at myself.  Even though the memory card was at home, I had my whole camera bag with me and had about another 30 gigs of cards in the bag.  ugh.  So I grabbed one, loaded it and shot Friday's photo just as I would have on Friday.

Isolated Flowers
I wanted a very minimalist approach to this isolated shot.  The black and white definitely helps with that, it also makes these fake flowers look a little better.  A little.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Royal Reversed: A Typewriter Through The Viewfinder

I have some "housekeeping" notes.  First, I realized that some of my photos were coming out dark on other computers.  I only recently realized this when I saw my site from my work computer.  In the next few days, I will upload better versions.  Feel free to let me know which seem to be especially bad.  Second, I will be camping immediately after I get home from work tomorrow until Sunday sometime.  If I have time on Sunday, I might upload Friday, Saturday, and Sunday's.  More likely though, I'll get to it on Monday.  If you are very upset about this...ha...feel free to check out this on any of those days in order to get your 'me' fix.  If you find today's picture at all enjoyable to stare at, look specifically for the typewriter photos on the site.  There are eight total, but seven of those belong to my "Typing on Jetsam" series, probably my favorite series that I have done.  Check it out.

Royal Reversed: A Typewriter Through The Viewfinder
This is a beautiful, old typewriter.  My wife is pretty sure that it is very similar to, if not the same model as the one that Radar uses in the television show M*A*S*H.  My wife also said that all the typewriter buffs out there will be frustrated by the fact that the word ROYAL is backwards.  I responded with the fact that all Through the Viewfinder buffs would call me out on faking TTV if it wasn't backwards.  I did not fake it.  I used my Kodak Duaflex IV to take the photo.  

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pictures of Nephews

My wife and I were supposed to babysit my sister's kids tonight.  My wife was called into a pretty important, spur of the moment meeting this evening, stopping her from being able to do so.  So, I watched two kids, both under four, by myself.  It actually went a lot better than it could have, but still, they are crazy.  My intention was to get some good shots of the both of them while my wife actually kept them from being destructive...she failed me and my photo hopes by not being there.  This meant that instead of getting some shots of both kids, I only got a few shots, and I only got one of the two.  The younger of the two is much slower, allowing me to jump from behind the camera to whatever was about to be knocked over and then back behind the camera for another shot.  I wouldn't have had the same luck with the faster child.

Dark Eyes
This kid allowed me a few seconds of motionlessness.  Only a few.  At least he actually looked at the camera during those few and far between seconds.

The softer colors work well for children.  Harsh colors and sharp edges conflict with their so called "innocence".   I wasn't as much a fan of this shot as my wife seems to's a tad too centered for my liking. But hey, he's cute.

I think the best shots of children are taken when they are busy doing something besides posing.  A nice 85mm lens will catch the emotion of the situation without having to include the slobbery sippy cup or the stained and shredded stuffed animal they've had forever.  Sometimes I disregard this entirely.  That stained stuffed animal might be their favorite toy and should definitely be a part of the photo.  

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Farmer's Market

Being in the middle of Amish Country has it's perks.  One of these perks is the Green Dragon, a pretty nice sized farmer's market filled with tons of fruits, veggies, and all the jerky you could ever want.  Though I may want a ton, as a vegan, I tend to be there for the produce.  Until I can have my own garden (which may be sooner than I thought), I will be frequenting this marvelous market more and more as it gets warmer.  Stay tuned for the Green Dragon in the summer, populated with all sorts of people and merchandise.  These pictures are quite the opposite though...the Green Dragon in the middle of the week, void of all life and products.

The Green Dragon, on any day but Friday, has been likened to a dismal Soviet marketplace.  Come Friday, it's an entirely different story.  It's filled with merchants by 6:00am.

Tables to Spare
I intend to snatch up one of these tables this summer.  I shall fill it with some of my photography and who knows, perhaps I will strike it rich off of the unassuming New Yorkers.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Junkyard or Graveyard

There are so many places within a 10 minute drive from my house that have antique fire trucks.  By this I mean two...or at least two that I know of.  The one I stumbled across today was hiding pretty well in a junkyard.  There were so many antiques there that I will definitely be going back.  An infrared photo would work really well, capturing the more mysterious side of scrap metal that has been docile for many decades. 

Put To Good Use
I'd like to imagine that this fire truck was put to good use.  I feel it's a safe assumption due to all the rust.  A fire truck has a pretty good excuse for getting rusty.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Now it's Spring

It's official.  It's Spring.  I was dive bombed by Tree Swallows today.  This means that Tree Swallows have finally returned to the area...which for me is like seeing a Red-Breasted Robin.  These are high on my list of favorite birds, what with their crazy air acrobatics and angel like under-wings.  Getting within a few feet of their nests will cause them to tweet with anger as well as dive bomb you with what seems to be fearlessness.  Hold your ground and you will see that they aren't as brave as they appear...they veer off quite quickly.
Today was the first day that I got to see some of these cute little creatures.  As my wife and I were standing there watching them, we got an extra treat, a beautiful Bald Eagle was riding the thermals to a pretty impressive altitude.  Sadly, my 50mm lens did not do the eagle justice.  So today I only have one bird to show you...

Fearless Tree Swallow
These birds are known to fight each other for feathers that are falling through the air.  It is unknown why they do this, though surmised that at breeding time it is for building the nest, while at other times it is for nothing more than sport.  

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Any day that brings even the slightest warmth to the outdoors has me jumping on my bike and pedaling away.  Today was one of the those days, emphasis on the "slightest" part.  My wife and I rode around the block a few times and then, since her bike is so much nicer looking than mine, I took some pictures.  This time the photos were taken while her bike was leaning against our shed and I was standing on solid ground.  This differs significantly from my bike pictures from a few days ago...Though those were a testament to my obviously amazing balance.

 Something Is Missing
This picture would be awesome if there was a box filled with vegetables on the metal bars.  Or a suitcase clamped on.  Or a couple small boxes, stacked, and tied on with old twine.  I rather like the bokeh created from light shining off the metal chain in the bottom left corner, though.

Take a Seat
Hop on and enjoy the ride, these shocks will keep you from bouncing all over the place, even on Pennsylvania roads. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Change of Events

I woke up to snow.  Lots of it.  Far too much of it for the first of April.  But I am extremely glad that it didn't accumulate to anything, turned to rain, and although it made my worldview flip upside down, birds sang while it fell.  The rain that it became ended up making it feel much more like Spring.  A feeling that I hope becomes a constant for at least the next two months.
Driving home from work in the pouring rain was so much better than driving to work in the falling snow. It really threw a positive twist on the day, so I decided I should indulge in the Springier weather.  So, plant pictures it is.

 Diamonds Last Forever
Regardless of how annoying all ring advertisements are, this photo reminds me of one.  I'm sure it has to do with the fact that the main focus is that of a very diamond/pearl-like thing.  Also, the bokeh in the background probably plays a big part.

This isn't bamboo.  It just has what looks like the right width and curvature.  Of course the physics are all wrong...those droplets would not be able to just rest on it the way they are.

Though they are all within three inches, this photo seems to have a good representation of foreground, middle ground,  and background.  The colors remind me of a summer sunset.