Saturday, September 29, 2007

Temple Trip

Even though Jeanne and I were at the temple in Washington, D.C. just last week, Annie and Kelly and Valarie and Perry were going Friday, so we went along. It was a bit of an exercise for me. The Raleigh's drove their Pilot, and when I got out to the car, Jeanne was sitting in the third seat, so I got back there with her. Sometimes cramped, restricted quarters can make me antsy, but I wanted to sit by Jeanne and like to (under some circumstances) test where I am with my claustrophobia. It went well. The travel time was exceptionally long, almost 3 hours. There were several fender benders along the way that slowed traffic. Perry and Valarie introduced us to a new route, taking 70W from 695 to 29S to 495. I liked it and will do that from now on. The temple is a great place. It is a refuge, a safehaven that provides refreshment and is always worth the drive. While climbing the stairs to the dressing room the impression came that I was in the right place at the right time. The pictures are my first attempt at night-time photos utilizing a tri-pod. First attempts typically are a bit wanting as are these, but the beauty of the temple is still apparent.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Thomas Project

I love taking pictures. I'm new at it and have much to learn. All of my portrature work has been done outdoors due to fear of the studio and lack of equipment. Maybe one day?! The Thomas family has been a wonderful addition to our Lancaster 2nd Ward. Andrea has been a director level executive at Hershey Foods but recently took a Senior V.P. position at Wal*Mart so the family is moving to Arkansas. I tought it would be nice if they had some pictures from PA before they left. It was a beautiful Sunday evening at the formal gardens at Masonic Homes in Elizabethtown, PA, the 23rd of September. I just wanted to be nice (can't charge for Sunday work) but they were the nice ones when they ooohed and aaaahed about how "good" the pictures were. Their last portraits were taken by some world famous photographer in Texas, so, they were just being nice! They did make a contribution to the Charitable Foundation I chair, so that was extra nice. They will truly be missed.

Leola Part II: Sqeemish About the Amish

Though I've taken many portraits, I've never taken pictures of the amish. I can remember traveling through PA as a boy with my family and driving through Amish country. At the time (in the mid-'60s) it was obvious the Amish wished not to have their picture taken. Perhaps that's changed some. There have been movies about the Amish (Harrison Ford was in 'Witness'), we have a picture book of Amish country with many pictures of Amish. Still, I felt ill at ease taking pictures. I used an f2.8, 80-200 lens to capture most of the shots and in most cases stood in the shadows shooting into bright light. It was somewhat difficult to capture the real beauty of the people but it felt good not to be "in their faces." Perhaps most striking about the Amish was that families obviously entrusted their livlihood to teenagers. very young people with the huge responsibility to take their produce to auction and get a good price so the family can live another day.

A Morning at the Market

Sometimes in the susquehanna Valley fall comes fast. (Of course, sometimes it doesn't.) I've really only lived in one place with wierder weather than central PA; Berlin, Germany. This year we had a fall preview on the 20th of September. The morning was pleasantly cool after several hot, muggy days. the air was fresh and clean. It smelled delightful and inviting, even though we were in the middle of Lancaster County farm country. Jeanne and Annie had been telling me all summer that I needed to go to the Leola market to take some pictures, so I set aside some time and went with Jeanne. There was a little morning mist filtering the sun, exaggerating the colors, so nature provided everytyhing except a finger to actuate the shutter. The experience was not dissimilar from eating a fine meal at a new restaurant with wonderful company. All the senses were stimulated, beginning with the eyes - the colors were simply incredible. There were mums everywhere, pumkins, gourds, tomatoes, fruit and even corn stalks. All in the spirit of fall. Of course, pictures can't describe the sounds, particularly the Pennsylvania Dutch and thick Mennonite accents filling the air. Belching tractor motors and clopping horses hoofs moving product, loaded on wagons of every sort, into the auction area. Auctioneers voices, amplified by low quality speakers, and the ever present wailing of PA's summer bugs. Sights, sounds and smells. I did touch a couple of horses but refrained from tasting any of the produce. I guess I erred by saying "all the senses were stimulated," but four out of five isn't too bad.