Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Near Infrared

I have a near infrared filter.  This allows me to take some interesting pictures in that I can use it as a neutral density filter or just by using it to get those other-worldly images due to the color.  Today I used it as a neutral density filter, getting nice soft water effects with slow aperture speeds.
I'm not going to get into the way it works or all that you can do with a near infrared filter, but look for an upcoming  post that does indeed get into all that.

Stream of Brick
This stream is missing much of what makes a stream a stream...water.  If I really wanted to show how a near infrared filter could be used like a neutral density filter, I would have waited for the water to rise.  The addition of bricks to a stream make up for the lack of water.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day at the Beach

Today we went to the Delaware Bay with our friends from yesterday's wine tasting adventure.  We were on the beach long enough to see some young sea turtles as well as a large amount of breeding horseshoe crabs.  My friends were there a little over a week ago and said the beach was entirely covered with the horseshoe crabs...there weren't nearly as many for us to see today.  We then made our way to Bombay Hook which is a national wildlife refuge close to the Delaware Bay in hopes of seeing some more animals.

Horseshoe Crabs
The female horseshoe crab is about the size of one and a half males.  A bunch of the males would climb on top of one female and they would all attempt to fertilize her eggs.  The eggs looked like tiny green tapioca balls.

Great Egret
There were tons of birds.  Sandpipers, grackles, bald eagles, plovers, terns, cormorants, herons, and egrets.  This is a great egret, but snowy egrets were just as abundant today.

Fiddler Crabs
One of the trails took us down a little boardwalk where we saw sandy banks covered in hundreds of tiny holes.  Fiddler crabs kept popping in and out of them.

 Otter Tracks
The banks that were covered by fiddler crabs were also home to these tracks.  These tracks belong to the only mammal left on our "must see" list that we thought we had a chance of seeing today.  The otter.
At least we know where to spend a lot of time waiting for them next time.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Wine Tasting

My wife and I don't do much drinking.  We actually don't really do it at all.  Since we got together six years ago, I have had one beer, about one glass of wine, and a couple mouthfuls of vodka.  She has had less than half of that.  We do, on the other hand, do free things.  So when we were notified that our also not so big on the drinking but big on the free things doing friends were going to a free wine tasting (at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire) , we opted to join them, figuring the free side of it negated the fact that I'd be drinking.  I can now say I have had about one and a half glasses of wine in the past six years.

 Fill 'Er Up
Our little group are real connoisseurs when it comes to wine.  We use terms like motor oil to describe the essence of fine wines and flock to the booths that have slushy wine because it's a slushy...it's gotta be better than the regular thing.  

Subtle Colors
I won't lie, some of them were very good.  The blueberry wine was quite delicious.  I tried to emulate it's subtle blues in this image.  

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Longwood Gardens

We went to Longwood Gardens with some friends of ours today.  Its a rather nice, rather massive garden about an hour away from where we live.  It was fun.  I took pictures.  It's late now, though, so I'm not going to do much more explaining of the day, the things we saw, the history of the place, or the things I photographed.  Hopefully the quantity will make up for the words I am without.

This is some part of some flower.  I only know that it is a lily because it was in a massive room labeled as a lily display.

Not Sure
Someone help.  I really should know this one.  It looks ridiculously familiar, but I just don't recall what it is.  It reminds me of a Jack In the Pulpit.

These edges are edges of some type of cactus.  I sure know my plants.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Lost Colony

I got a little taste of the farm life I so badly want.
In an attempt to make some extra money to make the move to Ireland a little less painless, my wife and I have been doing some odd jobs.  Her grandmother has been great and has allowed us to clean their church as well as help around on her farm.  Today, while my wife sold strawberries and after I hacked away at a field of asparagus, I wandered around with a camera.  Following a little path next to some wooded land, I stumbled upon a lost colony.  There were about six or seven bee boxes, crawling with bees.  I had no idea that her grandparents raised bees.  I questioned her grandmother about it, hoping we could get some honey, (her grandmother would not even know how to harm a bee, so I would be fine with taking their honey) but she told me she lets some guy use her land for his bees.  Sadly, she doesn't even get any honey out of the deal.

Little Boxes
 Here are some of the brightly colored hives in an area that I would not have expected them.  The colored boxes remind me of something...I'm thinking Sesame Street.

Hive Mind
There is something militaristic about the swarming of bees and the letters and numbers.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Back Roads and Church Parking Lots

The back/country roads of Ephrata and surrounding towns are littered with little churches.  In the parking lot of one of these churches, there sits a pile of junk.  Down the road from said pile is a little one roomed barn/shed/garage.

Pile O' Junk
A couple planks of termite ridden wood, a candle holder with a cross on it, and an ancient piece of farming equipment with a blanked draped on it.  That is what makes up this pile of junk.

Floating Window
I was amused by the little one roomed building.  The walls were very white and I knew if shot correctly, it would be near impossible to make them out.  The end result would be some vegetation with what appears to be a floating window above it.  All I did out of camera was add a little extra overexposure and some extra dark tones.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Odd Graffiti

I've been biking a lot lately.  Mostly up and down Ephrata's Linear Park.  About a week ago, as I was passing one of the walls that isn't covered by vegetation, I happened to notice a single word (and smiley faces) that someone had spray painted onto it.  I had to do a double-take.  The single word was Zimbabwe.  I didn't do a double-take because I have some problem with Zimbabwe, but instead because it is just not something you would expect on a wall in Ephrata, graffiti or otherwise. 
Today, while riding past, I noticed that someone had gone at it with cleaning equipment, and if they were to do so again, Zimbabwe would disappear.  Thus, I grabbed my camera.  I must help Zimbabwe stick around in one form or another.

Whoever wrote it was definitely happy.  Two smiley faces for Zimbabwe.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

For School...Again

Another part of my current photography project for NYIP became today's photo of the day.  Basically, I had to take two images of the exact same still life/setup, the only difference being one of them had to incorporate a makeshift reflector board for some additional side-lighting.  Though it didn't have to, mine became a product shot for Tiffany & CO. glassware.  I got some beautiful glasses from my grandparents when my wife and I got married, but we don't do anything that justifies the use of awesome glassware.  So today, their existence was justified.

With my awesome photographic talent, I can sell you any product.  So yes...yes you are.
Go buy some expensive glassware so you have something to put your thirst-quenching water in. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Camera At Night

My wife and I were walking home through town at a late hour.  Things always look so different at night.  I decided to capture those differences.

Stairs at Night
The shadows are creeping up these old steps.

Alleys at Night
The graininess adds something to the photo.  Profound statement right there...it's late.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

For School

I am currently attending the New York Institute of Photography.  So far it's going rather well and I'm rather enjoying it.  My hope is to get through the program before I move to Ireland, and at the rate I've been going, that really shouldn't be a problem.  I just have a few photo projects to work through...The one I was working on today ended up getting me today's photo. 

I'm pretty sure this bird statue thing is supposed to be a kiwi.  Like all kiwis, it is cute, unlike most kiwis, it is also deadly.  

Saturday, May 21, 2011


My brother is free from college...for now...so my wife and I met up with him and his girlfriend for a rather nice picnic and some meandering around a quarry.  It was such a nice day today.  We almost told them no when they asked if we wanted to join them...we had just gone on a 30 mile bike ride and would have happily sat down and relaxed for awhile...but instead we told them we would meet up with them.  I'm quite glad we did, it's always fun to hang out with him, and more and more I find his girlfriend to be quite interesting, fun, humorous, and a fantastic match for my brother.  Also, she promised to take me spelunking in upstate New York.  That won me over.

A Girl
This is my brother's girlfriend.  I didn't ask if they minded being posted all over the internets, so I made sure to choose photos that don't show faces. 

  A Boy
This is my brother.  I was trying to get some abnormal angles for both shots...I did better with this one.  The angle makes him look like some giant standing on his own personal island.  Very Gulliver-esque.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Linear Park

Ephrata, the town in which I currently reside, has a nice little walking and biking path.  They call it Linear Park.  Much of the trail is currently covered with pretty little yellow petals.  Observe.

 Linear Park
This photo seems to continue yesterday's photo for Fall idea.  Though it appears otherwise, this really was taken today.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ode To The Best Season

Sometimes Summer annoys me.  Were I back in elementary school, I might feel otherwise.  But I'm not.  I work right through the summer.  So really, it just makes me hot and sweaty. 
Summer isn't even yet to really hit, but I know it will, and I know I'll have high electricity bills because of it.  So here is a picture for a better season.  The best season.  Fall.

Ode To The Best Season
Yes, the colors were altered.  But hey, when it isn't Fall, leaves rarely have that beautiful, dried red look that you see here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thunder Clouds

These stormy clouds were making their way into the sky as I was getting home from work today.  I'm yet to hear the booming thunder that I know they are capable of creating, so I suppose by now I'm safe.

Bombs Bursting In Air
 The crazy contrasting lights and darks add a dramatic element to this already intense group of clouds.

Attempting Heartsy

This is not my photo post of the day.  I will be doing that later. 

Right now, I am being considered as a featured deal on Heartsy.
If you would like to help me become a featured deal, go to this link and click on the yes, definitely button. 

It would be extremely appreciated!  many thanks!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Urban Alphabet

Today I stumbled upon the next three letters for my urban alphabet project.  DEF.  I now can write a few words.  I'm no longer limited to cab.  Feed, deaf, and bead are just the tips of the proverbial icebergs.

Urban Alphabet
I'm 23.07% of the way there! yay.

Monday, May 16, 2011


I frequently come across this building just as the sun is in line with the blue windows.  The ceiling itself is normally a whitish-yellow color but gets pretty bright when the sun shines through the windows and onto it.  The cross bars and piping and whatever else is up there become overly saturated with color and this is the result:

Complimentary Colors
 Any time I saw the ceiling in this stage of lighting, I always got mad at myself for not having my camera.  Knowing I would witness the colors playing their games on the ceiling today, I brought it.  I flipped the image upside down to get a more dramatic look.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

In Celebration

I sold three canvas prints this weekend.  All three were to the same person and all three were from one day that I went outside to take my daily picture.  I did not intend to sell the photos when I took them, nor did I think, when I put a print of one of them out at my last craft fair, that someone would like it so much that she would want all three.  Pretty big prints of all three, might I add.
So to celebrate this successful weekend, I went outside today and took a picture of some raindrops that were collected by some leaves.  Maybe something will come of this photo as well.

Layered Leaves
The shadows that the different layers and folds create remind me of a conch shell.  The water droplets may have been a part of the reason why I first thought of something ocean related.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Self Portrait Series - Fingers

Here is the next photo for my self portrait series.  It is a finger.  Or fingers.  We shall see if I decide to do one photo per finger.  If so, then this is the photo for my left middle finger.  Remember that.

G Chord
One of the things my fingers find themselves doing frequently is grasping guitar necks, positioning themselves on frets, and plucking or strumming the strings. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

And For Today

Just some light bulbs at my friendly flea market.  That is all.

Three Ideas
All I can think of now that I used the word idea is the lyrics to the Vandals' song I've got an idea for a movie.  Check it out it's about a boy who gets his fingers caught in a bottle of Mr. Pibb.

For Yesterday

Apparently Blogger had some problems yesterday.  Once I got off work and went to log in, bam, nothing.  I tried every so often and had the same results each time.  So, today you will get yesterday's and today's post.  Hurray.  Two for one Fridays!

Where's The Quartet?
Nothing in a deteriorated state can escape my eye.  Here's a barber shop pole.  The reason that they look the way they do is because in medieval times, barbers were also surgeons.  The pole represents the bloody bandages that would have been wrapped around it.  It is mostly an American thing to have blue incorporated into the pole as well as red and white. 

Self Portrait Series

I decided to try to continue one of the series I started the other day.  The series is a grouping of photos of different parts of my body with something significant attached to that part, be it conceptual or physical.  Today's is based off of my constant urges to be moving.  Whether it is hiking, biking, running, or traveling to a different country, I'm not one to ever really stop moving.  If I stop moving physically, my mind picks up where my feet left off and keeps on going.

Idle Will Kill
I tried to capture the image in a way that exemplifies the idea of motion or "going."  I toyed with using a slow shutter speed to actually get good blur, but I feel this image resulted in a better representation of something starting in one place and ending in another.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Car

I am not a big car person.  They can look pretty sweet, that's for sure, but I don't feel like I need a special car that looks a certain way or does a certain thing.  Actually, I am trying to get rid of my current car, and have little to no desire of ever getting another one.  We shall see how that goes.
That being said, I was around some pretty nice looking cars today.  Here is one that is apparently a pretty desirable vehicle.

Cadillac CTS 4
I certainly won't say this isn't a nice car.  It looks pretty sweet.  If someone wants to give me one, I swear, I will not turn it down.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ideas for Series

I came up with two new series ideas today.  One isn't really mine, I've seen it all over the place, in fact.  The other is mine...as far as I know.  The first is an urban alphabet of sorts.  Basically, I find different things that you might come across in a city that resembles a letter of the alphabet.  My intention is to get the entire alphabet, as well as 0 - 9.  This then allows you to write out a word or name or what have you with your hometown, or whatever city you chose to do it in. 
My second series idea was to create a self portrait.  My desire is to, from time to time, take a picture of different body parts and then create a collage from those single shots.  In addition to just having these separate shots to piece together, I also will be shooting each body part in a situation or with an object that relates to that body part as well as exposes something about me, such as an hobby, an interest, a characteristic, or whatever.  The final collage will be both an actual portrait of me as well as a less physical, more metaphorical portrait of me.

Urban Alphabet
This will be an urban alphabet from the quaint little town known as Ephrata.  The first three letters of the alphabet are shown here.  Limited to these letters, I can create the abbreviation for "already been chewed", a necessary abbreviation for the younger generations, as well as the word "cab."  That's about it.  Once I build my repertoire, the possibilities will be endless.

My Left Hand
This photo shows not only my left hand, but also my love for the outdoors.  I am grasping a tree in the photo, but it looks enough like a rock that the image can be taken as pretty much any nature related physical activity...rock climbing, hiking, climbing a tree....anything.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

So It Goes.

Today's post is a game.  Someone, anyone, know what book this phrase can be found in.  It's one of my favorite books of all time.  By one of of my favorite authors of all time.

 So it goes.
In my copy, it is found on the bottom of page 214.  Maybe that will help...go to the library and check every book's 214 page.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Ridley Creek State Park

Today was my wife's birthday.  She requested a fun day somewhere.  I found a place not too far away that seemed to have the historic stuff that she likes as well as the outdoorsy nature stuff that I like.  It was Ridley Creek State Park and it was awesome.

Mansion at Ridley Creek State Park
This mansion is currently the state park office.  The grounds directly surrounding the mansion have tons of little paths.  One of which will lead you to...

Door to a Greenhouse
There is a pretty old, rather run-down greenhouse quite close to the mansion.  A gate led us to this door.  This door led us to...

Dilapidated Greenhouse
 Branches from plants that were not supposed to be in this greenhouse have broken through the glass and are winding their way across the ceiling.  The plants seem to be doing better than the building is.

Friday, May 6, 2011


My wife put some pretty wildflowers in a pretty mason jar.  I needed to find something worthy of being photographed.  The events converged and this is the result...

Not so Wild Anymore
These wildflowers are now tamed flowers.  I love the soft background and the contrasting definition of the petals.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Strawberry Patch

Today was my wife's last day of college.  Within just a few months, she will be going to grad school.  In Ireland.  I get to go with her.  I thought this was deserving of a gift of sorts.  We have been talking about getting a plot of land to grow some fruits and vegetables on for the summer.  I figured, in case we don't get one, we should have something regardless.  So I purchased some strawberry plants.  As well as a little makeshift planter.  And I gave it to her.  She was quite pleased.

From Within The Strawberry Patch
Sadly there are only two strawberry plants.  Few things look more awesome than a row of strawberry plants disappearing into the distance.  Never ending strawberry shortcake.  Glorious.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I remember being a child and looking through my mother's cookbooks and thinking all the food looked horrible.  I don't know if it was because she had specific cookbooks, ones that were for easy and quick meals, or if it was all the fault of food photography.  Perhaps it was a mix of both.  Either way, when I filled my bowl with tonight's "casserole" version of stuffed cabbage, I couldn't help but think of those cookbooks...  I suppose it isn't a good thing, but the fact that it brought back those memories was reason enough for me to take a picture of my dinner and attempt the style of those ancient cookbooks.

Stuffed Cabbage
I guess it's near impossible to make something like this look good, but it was page after page of dishes that looked just like this.  For me, that would be awfully discouraging.  I like it when my food looks good as well as tastes good.  

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Earth

I had pretty decent pictures of an earth mover today.  I wasn't satisfied with them for some reason.  It wasn't about the quality of the pictures, they were fine pictures, I guess I just wasn't feeling like the landscaping, development developing, forest destroying machinery should be today's subject.  So instead, let's take a closer look at the dirt, and the cracks that appear when the earth is pushed around.

Cracks Appear
This dirt is too packed.  It's unnatural.

Monday, May 2, 2011


There are a bunch of alleys around my house.  A bike ride down them will result in sights such as the following...

Paint The Walls
Here is my attempt at an "urban art" stylized image.  A can of paint was slowly emptying itself into the streets and down the wall.

  Pile O' Bricks
Nothing more than a pile o' bricks.  Except for the interesting pattens in the wooden planks, in the way the wooden planks are positioned, and in the shingled wall.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Craft Fair to Benefit Mental Health

My wife used to go to Ursinus College.  She still has friends there, so when we found out they were doing a craft fair, I had the necessary connections to get me in on it.  It was my first craft fair, my first "exhibit," and I feel I did fairly well.  My actual profit after what was taken out for donation, the time that went into each piece, and the cost of the supplies came out to about what I would make for the same amount of time at my actual job.  My actual job doesn't let me talk to everyone that stops at my cubicle about photography for 20 minutes.  So yeah, I think it was a success.

Lining the Walkway
Stand after stand, beautiful handmade items and even some homemade baked goods lined the walkway at Ursinus College.

My Neck of the Woods
The picture isn't anything special, but I figured I should document this momentous occasion.  The momentous occasion being the point in time when people got to put a face to the beautiful work by next2hector. Ha.