Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Our Last Farewell, Goodbye

Goodbye to America, more specifically the east coast, more specifically Pennsylvania, more specifically Lancaster County, and most specifically Ephrata.  You will be missed.

Ephrata.  At The Crossing of Main and State
 Night time in Ephrata.  Goodnight. Goodbye.

I will be on a plane at this time tomorrow night.  I will be in the process of getting on that plane for the first half of the day.  The next time I will be posting will be when I am settled in my Northern Ireland apartment. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Not Much Time Left

With just two days until we leave for Northern Ireland, my wife and I have very little time.  We went for an extremely quick bike ride today, though, and I grabbed my camera...thinking it might be my only chance for a picture of any interest...

Biking at Warp Speed
What looks like traveling at a great speed is really just a pretty slow speed on a bicycle.  Apparently motion lines/blur can be deceiving.

 Holding the Walls Up
These ladders appear to be holding up the walls of an old building.  They are not.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Farewell To Middle Creek

My internet keeps dying so I'm going to make this quick and hope I am actually able to post today...

This is my farewell to Middle Creek, my home away from home.  This upcoming year of overseas traveling will be the longest amount of time that I will have gone without making an evening drive or weekend bike ride to this wonderful little place filled with wildlife and great hiking trails.  Longest sentence ever.  Tonight was a nice farewell...we saw some beautiful stars over the water and a mink bounding past on the little driving loop.

Dipping into the Water
It looks like the Big Dipper is dipping into the water.  The evening clouds really helped keep this picture from being too standard.

Golden Fields and Purple Skies
The way my car's headlights lit up just the field allowed me to get an interesting contrast between the sky and it.  The end result seems like a painting of sorts.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ode To Irene

Disclaimer: My wife and I are very lucky to have been in an area that was not hit terribly hard by Irene.  Don't get me wrong, just driving around you will come across some wreckage...and last I heard there was at least one death related to the hurricane in our area...but really, it was just a bad storm that created significant flooding in our area.

So I shall do something slightly different today...I'm going to let Neil Young take control of this post...let his song loop in your head as you check out the interesting side of nature's awesome power.

"Like A Hurricane"

Once I thought I saw you
in a crowded hazy bar,
Dancing on the light
from star to star.
Far across the moonbeam
I know that's who you are,
I saw your brown eyes
turning once to fire.

You are like a hurricane
There's calm in your eye.
And I'm gettin' blown away
To somewhere safer
where the feeling stays.
I want to love you but
I'm getting blown away.

I am just a dreamer,
but you are just a dream,
You could have been
anyone to me.
Before that moment
you touched my lips
That perfect feeling
when time just slips
Away between us
on our foggy trip.

You are like a hurricane
There's calm in your eye.
And I'm gettin' blown away
To somewhere safer
where the feeling stays.
I want to love you but
I'm getting blown away.

You are just a dreamer,
and I am just a dream.
You could have been
anyone to me.
Before that moment
you touched my lips
That perfect feeling
when time just slips
Away between us
on our foggy trip.

You are like a hurricane
There's calm in your eye.
And I'm gettin' blown away
To somewhere safer
where the feeling stays.
I want to love you but
I'm getting blown away. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Rain Begins

We got hit with some rain this may have been the beginning of Irene, or it may have just been some regular old rain.  Around 5:00 pm the real rain started.  It hasn't been crazy heavy, and it's been off and on, but it seems like we may have a good bit of falling water ahead of us.

Falling Water
Here is some pretty falling water.  This was taken just as Irene made her presence known in my mother's pool.

Staying Inside
The rain has kept us inside today.  This cute kid was made tired by the incessant raindrops that kept beating themselves against the window panes.

Friday, August 26, 2011


While walking in and out of my house, a few people mentioned something about a massive spider.  It was only this evening that I bumped into it.  It was right outside of our door and was barely illuminated by unnatural lighting.  Ive never seen a spider like this, slightly orange and extra hairy...any ideas?

It was probably a good inch and a half long and had about a three foot web...this made it quite hard to get in and out of the house without getting web on you.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Quantity Over Quality

Getting home from work late as well as intending to continue the attempts of emptying/cleaning an apartment got in the way of putting much time into today's photography.  So I gave myself 15 minutes and went for a walk.  Nothing that I came up with is anything special, but I figure if I post three pictures, the quantity over quality rule makes everything a-okay!

Positive Graffiti
Apparently some punk was feeling that the world wasn't out to get him on the day that he signed the wall with x's and o's.  Or perhaps he just doesn't know the rules of tic tac toe.

Balancing Act
I only like this photo because of the clutter in the bottom left of it.  It helps to balance the photo, having a natural thing (birds) on the opposite side of the clutter.

Bicycle Built For Two
My wife's bike and my bike had to spend some time together, chained up.  Here they are, making the chained life appear to be a pleasant, perhaps even loving one.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

For Sale

This drum set served me well.  I have had it since I was 13.  But now, trying to make some extra money, I must get rid of it.  I haven't really used it since 2007, anyway.  So I slapped a big "for sale" sign on it, wrote on all the band names my friends and I cycled through while I was the drummer, as well as a nice sized "BUY IT."  It is now sitting in my mother's front yard.  Currently I don't have a front yard, so we had to put it at her place.  We shall see if it sells...

Bang On The Drums All Day
My band never played many covers.  We were doing original songs since we started playing together.  Trying to remember a few that we did play frequently, I came up with " I got no" by Operation Ivy, "Against the grain" by Bad Religion, and "Mickey Mouse is dead" by the Subhumans.  Man, we were awesome.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Going With The Train Theme

In that yesterday's photo was a caboose, I thought I could keep the theme alive and do another train related photo.  So have some oil tankers.  They have been sitting in the woods by some old train tracks near my brother found them fairly recently and showed them to me.  Now I shall show them to you.

Tankers in the Trees
I don't know when these were last used, but I doubt it was very recent, whenever it was.  The weeds and bushes have grown around them, making it seem like it has been years, many years, since they've been touched.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ephrata's Caboose

Train tracks used to run through Ephrata, PA.  There are still signs of just have to be observant....most of the time.  Sometimes you can just look for the massive thing in the middle of the town, which happens to be hard-to-miss and bright red...

The Reading Railroad
A soft, toy-like look lends itself nicely to the nature of the caboose.  The bright colors in the photo make it look like it should be part of a model railroad.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

America and Her Pasttimes

In these last few days, I have been wanting to do America, Pennsylvania, and Lancaster County related things.  That meant today was baseball day.  My brother, wife and I grabbed the necessary equipment and went to the nearest diamond.  Just as the first ball was hit, my wife took a photo of my brother and I, and a crazy thunderstorm started.  We kept playing for a while, but could only move so well in rain soaked clothes.  We then made our way back to my mother's pool for some swimming in the rain. 

Polaroid Baseball
My wife took the Polaroid.  Though that may not seem legal, I feel I can justify it.  It was with a Polaroid camera, obviously, and thus had no manual features.  I told her where to stand.  The end result would have been the same, save for the fact that it would have been her hitting the baseball instead of me.  Also, I took a photo of the Polaroid picture.  So I still did take a picture...and this is that picture.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey

Some friends, my wife and I went to the Adventure Aquarium today.  I think the decision to go was made based off of the fact that we learned they have hippos.  That was good enough for us to make a trip to New Jersey, get a hotel, and then wake up and drive through the city to find it.  It was actually a very nice aquarium with much to do and see...and much to touch.  It was actually very hands-on friendly, with all sorts of animals within our reach.  Sea cucumbers, stingrays, jellyfish, and lobsters were all subjected to our poking and prodding.  Though we could not touch them, a good part of the decision making process included the fact that they also have penguins... 

This guy was so cute.  As angry as he may look, no one who is constantly dressed in their best and looks this good can actually be mad.

Ghost Fish
These fish, which look like tuna to me, appear to be see-through and were moving through the water like a bunch of ghosts.

This frog looks like the Hypnotoad from Futurama.  All glory to the Hypnotoad.

The Jaws of Jaws
This was not set up as an isolated item at the aquarium.  There were things behind it and reflections on the glass in front of it.  I wanted to try to see if I could make that all go away...I seem to have succeeded.

This lobster/similar-to-lobster-creature was waving his arm things all over the place.  The lighting was pretty sweet, what with the dark cave that he was emerging from.

Abstract Fish
I noticed that this fish matched the hue of the water and that his long body looked like the little waves right above him.  The whole setup resembled an abstract image.

But(t) I Want To See Their Faces!
Everything about these hippos are awesome.  Yes, even their butts.


I was supposed to craft a post consisting of an explanation for my lack of a legit photo on Friday the 19th.  I didn't have a chance to do so while at work, and as soon as I got home from work some friends and I immediately left for a weekend trip.  We headed to a hotel for the night and then woke up this morning to go to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ.  It was quite fun.  Though it was right before we were getting ready for bed that I realized i was yet to take a photo.  This is what I came up with...

Single-Serving Products for Single-Serving Friends
I told the guy at the front desk that I forgot my cosmetic bag of essentials.  This may or may not have been true.  I may or may not have a cosmetic bag.  This is what he gave me.  

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I've Lived Behind All Of Them

As the remaining days of living in this country decrease, my desire to photograph things that relate to living here increases.  This time it's things that pertain specifically to me.  I decided to take a picture of every door that I have lived behind since my family moved to Ephrata, PA about 22/23 years ago (yeah, I have lived in one town for that long...though I've lived in five different building in that one town).  I didn't photograph bedroom doors,  but I did include both the Royer's Building door (which is an apartment building) as well as the single apartment door that I lived behind inside of that apartment building.

It is rather crazy to think of the people that I have lived with in each building, and what it is that they are doing with their lives now.  It is even more crazy to actually really think about it: I realized that I work for the same company as half of the people that I have lived with (that I am not related to); none of the people that I have lived with currently live more than 20 minutes away; I have known everyone I have ever lived with for at least ten years; and really, the people I have lived with (with just an addition of maybe two people) are the only people I really care about seeing before I leave the country for a year. 

Here are those doors, in chronological order...

One Door To Another
The first one was the house my parents had built for my family to live in.  I spent 17 years there.  That one was a home.  After I started college, I decided to move out and live with two close friends, with my then-girlfriend/now-wife coming and going due to her own college life.  We lived in the Royer's Building, apartment 211 (the front of Royer's is the second picture, our apartment door is the third).  This is the building I was living in when I came up with my name for my photography project (the only empty space in the apartment building parking lot was always next to a guy whose license plate said HECTOR...and thus next2hector...the place I would park).  That apartment was so much fun.  We lived above a Chinese restaurant and I recall one night everyone really wanted to get food from it.  The only problem being that we had walked to our local Wal-Mart and though it wasn't too far away, it was ten minutes before the restaurant closed.  I was the chosen one that had to run all the way there, order everyone's food and wait for it to be made by disgruntled employees that had already cleaned the kitchen.  Also, our Christmas tree was covered in left over Halloween decorations from a dollar store since we were all poor.  It was the best we could do...also it was pretty rad.  Those two friends went to Japan for a little over a month and my wife and I decided instead of paying double for rent, we would move in with two other close friends (door four).  While living behind door four, we got engaged and while planning for our wedding decided we wanted to get our own place...enter door five...a tiny two story apartment with a single room on each floor.  The downstairs was a kitchen and a living room in one, and the upstairs was a bedroom and tiny bathroom.  The cost for heating the place was too much in the we turned the heat off.  We had a winter of ice cold showers and electric heaters under the blankets in bed with us.  We somehow survived and in doing so collected some awesome "early married life" stories. Soon, we started making a little more money.  And we got a cat.  So we needed more space...there was more space behind door six, so we made it our own.  We found out that we would be moving to Northern Ireland from behind this door and we have been slowly moving things out of door six since.  We are almost done with the moving.  We are almost ready for door seven.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

From The Windows

Today I decided to use some nice window lighting to my advantage.  I am soon out of this country.. and in going, there will be some things I'll be leaving behind.  Things I really don't want to leave behind but must.  One of them is my Black Beauty Epiphone electric guitar.  Even though my acoustic is my preferred guitar, the electric has treated me quite well and I will greatly miss her.  I shoved her between two windows and let the natural light work its magic...

Black Beauty
Three fantastic pickups and a similar look to Neil Young's "Old Black."  Can't go wrong with that.  Now I just need an old Bigsby tremelo...

Take A Seat
This was taking place of my guitar while I was trying to get a good understanding of the lighting.  It didn't turn out too terrible, in fact, I kind of like here it is.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

At The Farm

A friend, my wife, and myself went to a coworker's farm today.  The farm and the land it is located on is massive...and then, on top of that, her house is insanely nice.  There were many animals to see, all of which were quite willing to provide me with many photo opportunities.  Here are just a few of those animals...

For fear of getting it wrong, I'm not going to attempt the types of animals...there were too many types of each animal, making it difficult to remember.  This is a dog.

This is another dog.

This is an alpaca.

This is a donkey.

This is a horse.

 This is a parrot.

This is another well as my favorite shot from the farm.

I think this is a parrot.  I think.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Depending on which way you are going on Ephrata's Linear Trail, today's photo could be considered either the entrance or exit.  Anytime I want to go for a real quick bike ride, this is always my destination.  It is such a nice little trail, filled with friendly people and dogs, and it is (mostly) surrounded by trees...not something that can be said of most of Ephrata, PA.  Getting off the trail today, the clouds looked nice and dramatic behind these buildings, one of which was at one point in time a mill, all of which are rather old.  I took the photograph and edited it just a tad to get that old postcard-like look...

  A Picture Perfect Postcard
If you look close enough, you can see Ephrata's derailed caboose.  It's the red thing above and to the left of the white sedan in the middle-ground.  There is a pole in front of it.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Water Sculptures

Canoeing down a creek and talking with friends about getting a hotel (with a pool) made me want to go swimming.  So this morning I went to my mother's house for what I hoped would be a swim in the rain.  It was supposed to rain all day, so I thought I had a such luck.  While swimming I realized I had more control with water droplet/splash photography while in the water as opposed to yesterday's rock tossed into water from the creek bank method.  I grabbed my camera and carefully took pictures with one hand while squeezing water into the air with the other.  There were no time/sound/light triggers or special lighting for these shots...I'll leave that to the people that do these types of shots a lot.  I probably wont be doing this again for a long time.  I got a few shots that (kind of) resemble things, and a few that are just abstract-esque water droplet shots...

 Drinking Fountain
This abstract water shot has the water flowing in what looks like the path of a drinking fountain.  The shallow depth of focus adds a lot to this photo, making it look like the further out of focus stream is just a reflection of the closer in focus one.

The in focus droplets of water remind me of some alien spaceships that are gathering around the mother-ship deep in space.

Dancing Water
And the last of the abstract this one, the water appears to be dancing.

Water Buffalo
Here are the ones that I think actually look like things...this one is definitely a buffalo.  The head is on the right can see it...right?

The Owl
Okay, this one might not be as obvious...but I see an owl.  Anyone else?  

The Angel of the Lake
And last but not least, an angel.  It is facing the right...the face is out of focus, the closer wing isn't.  yes?

What do you fine folk see?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Quite The Adventure

My brother, wife and I went on an adventure last night.  Around 6:00pm we had our mother drop us off in Swatara Creek, a creek about 45 minutes away from us, in a canoe.  We had all the necessary things for an evening of canoeing, a night of camping, and then another half day of canoeing packed into it.  We paddled for a while, going at what seemed like a fairly impressive clip, speeding past people in kayaks and tubes.  A little bit of fishing happened, a little bit of storytelling happened, a little bit of rope-swinging happened, and a little bit of canoe rocking that ended up with us taking in a good bit of water happened.  Also we passed under a tree at one point in time and ended up with a good few spiders crawling all over us and the canoe.  It was quite fun.
Every so often it would get rather shallow and we would get out to pull it over the rocks.  This was fine until we decided that we would be continuing to kayak after it got dark.  The full moon was a magnificent source of light and the big dipper was a great guiding constellation, but even so, when the water was shallow, it was awfully hard to guide the canoe over rocks without slipping or hurting your feet.  We passed an island that was dense with trees.  So dense that the moon was unable to shine through and be the source of light that it once was.  It also caused the water to be too shallow for a great distance, causing us to have to pull it rather far...the island was giving some of the crew members an eerie and unsettling feeling, so we got out of there as fast as we could.  By this point in time, everyone just wanted to find a place to camp, we kept going, our standards for camping spots as well as morale dropping.  This was around 9:30ish, things were getting awfully surreal.  Rounding a bend, we noticed some lights on one of the banks.  We realized it was a town of sorts.  We beached the canoe, left almost all of our stuff there and paraded through dense trees, bushes, and much poison ivy.  We came to a six foot wall that we had to scale...which was the wall of an old disgusting junkyard.  Trying not to get tetanus, we made our way through the junkyard, over a major highway, and to the doors of a tavern from 1804.  After trying oh so hard to get a couple of waitresses to understand that we were traveling by canoe and there smart phones were really not helping, we mostly gave up.  We called out mother and tried to get her directions to a place that we had no clue about its whereabouts.  We then had to get a canoe through all that poison ivy, weeds, trees, and bushes, and over a six foot wall.  Somehow we succeeded in getting it over, got picked up, then went to a diner at 2:00am.  A truly awesome experience.  Crazy and surreal, but awesome.  There are few things that I have done that I enjoyed more than canoeing almost blindly down a creek in the dark, relying solely on the moon for guidance, stars scattered all over the sky.

Not Swatara Creek
This isn't Swatara Creek.  I did not bring my camera.  It was probably for the best.  But I figured with an adventure like that, I could get away with taking a fairly standard picture of a creek.

Here is something a little more interesting than just a picture of a creek.  Only a little more interesting.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Green Dragon

I was going to post a time lapse video of the sun rising at the Green Dragon (our local flea market).  The file was too bid and I don't have time to figure out how to compress it...this was my first attempt at a time lapse video.  I'm heading out for a canoe trip, so I will have to use the other pictures I got from the Green Dragon this morning.

While shooting my video, a guy on a bike rode up.  It was this guy, a good friend of mine.  He was biking back from work.

I told him we should get breakfast at the Green Dragon (it was 6 in the morning).  He agreed.  On our way to food we passed this.

Jake and Leona's
This is where we ate.  It was good food.