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IN THE FIELD: OLEY VALLEY COMMUNITY FAIR

October 16, 2018 2 comments

A few weeks ago I paid a visit to the Oley Valley Community Fair. This fair has been a community tradition for 72 years.

First a bit of history…

The Oley valley is a fertile farming area in southeastern Pennsylvania where all sorts of livestock is raised and crops are grown. The valley encompasses several townships. In fact the history of the Oley Valley goes way back to the first German settlers of the early 1700’s. The township of Oley was formed in 1740 and in 1983 the entire township was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Daniel Boone was born in the valley. His family had a small farm where he lived until his early teens.

There are some neat old homes in fine condition in the town of Oley and many historic farmsteads in the valley.

Now back to the fair. I visited on the second day of the fair just as the gates where opening. Good thing I did because several exhibiters I was chatting with, mentioned that in a few hours mobs of people would descend on the fairgrounds.

 

There were several buildings/exhibit halls filled with baked goods, home canned goods, quilts, crafts, photography, examples of veggies, fruit crops, and all sorts of plants and flowers, all grown or made by adults as well as children. Local business were represented in yet another building. Outside in the fairgrounds, tractors and farm equipment were on display as were other forms of recreational equipment such as boats and all terrain vehicles. Open air buildings and tents housed exhibits of sheep, goats, pigs, cows, and rabbits to be observed and even petted if you wished. Ribbons and some cash prizes were awarded for the best of the best. 

There was a bandstand where one could sit and listen to various musical groups while resting one’s feet. Food is another big thing at this fair. I seriously doubt you could go hungry. The amusement rides and the tractor pulls were a big draw along with the antique and classic car show. I missed the really big tractor pulls which were held the day before, but it was still fun to watch the smaller ones. And by the way, what is a community fair with out a pumpkin growing contest? Well I have to admit I have never seen in person so many huge pumpkins. The winner was a huge 799 pounder. 

It was a great day for meandering around the fairgrounds and I am looking forward to visiting again next year. Maybe I’ll even try some of the famous French fries…it was a little early in the morning this time around.

 

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IN THE FIELD: A MONTH APART ll

October 14, 2018 Leave a comment

So far this year this country has seen the whole gamut of weather. Good and bad. Some areas have had a relatively normal spring and summer. 

Other areas not so much. There have been forest fires, tornados, rain, flooding, hurricanes, and in much higher elevations some snow.

Where I live we have seen more good than bad. Although, we did at times have an over abundance of rain and when the rains finally cleared out, we received a fair amount of sunshine. So most farmers crops grew like weeds.

Back in late spring and early summer I had taken a few photos of a nearby farm. I posted them a few entries ago. The first photo showed the fields ready for planting and the second photo showed that corn and soybean crops had been planted and were growing nicely. The photos in this post were taken in mid August and then again in mid September. In the second photo the corn, which is about seven feet tall, is ready to be harvested and the soybeans which are the green plants in the foreground will be ready to harvest any day now. 

I wonder what comes next…fallow fields or maybe winter wheat. And then snow. Time will tell.

 

 

 

IN THE FIELD: Uh Oh

July 22, 2018 7 comments

 

Summer storms. 

A few days ago a strong line of storms were predicted to blow through the area. As the day progressed, huge cloud formations began to build. And sure enough, my phone and iPad started going nuts with audible weather alerts and messages of impending doom. I.E. Heavy rain, lightning, flash flooding, possible hail, and strong winds which could lead to mesocyclone winds and even tornados. 

I looked out the front windows and judging by how the trees were now bending over from the increasing winds, and the skies were really darkening, a nasty storm was brewing. And it wasn’t far away. Then a quick peek out the back window revealed what was really in store. I literally said out loud…“uh oh”.  

Not knowing how much time I had before the skies let loose, I quickly grabbed the camera and went outback to get a few shots of the stormy clouds. It was really windy so I figured by going out back I would be sheltered from the wind and all the debris that was flying around. Well at least somewhat sheltered.

It was quite easy to see the rotation of the clouds…right above me. I mean the clouds were really spinning. That’s probably why the last alert I heard and read before going outside was a tornado warning.

I was only outside long enough to get a few shots. As much as I enjoy inclement weather, that was long enough. The experience was pretty exciting and rather scary at the same time!

White Balance: cloudy

ISO: 640

Shutter: 1/50

 

 

 

 

 

INSPIRATION AND ASSIGNMENTS: LOOKY WHAT I SEE

June 30, 2018 4 comments

 

Most of the subject matter I photograph falls into the “nature” category. Flowers, trees, scenics and everything in between are typical subjects. There are times when architecture even comes into play.

While out shooting these “typical” subjects, I am always on the lookout for something fun, different, or the unusual.

Images that don’t have a specific category on my computer yet, and could be classified as unusual, or different or fun, are stored in a folder I have named “Abstracts”.

Here is a photo that has just been added to my abstracts folder. I would bet that most folks have seen this a time or two.

 

 

 

 

IN THE FIELD: A MONTH APART

June 19, 2018 12 comments

 

In this part of southeastern Pennsylvania there are small towns and communities surrounded by farms. Interspersed among these farms are more farms. Corn, soybeans and wheat are the primary crops grown here. Most farms also raise various grasses which are grown for hay. Dairy farms are also prevalent. Whole milk and some wonderful cheeses are produced and sold in small co-ops. Organic veggies along with grass fed beef and pork can also be found in these small stores. And the eggs, oh the eggs…yummm!

On the way to and from work I often see folks out working the fields. And yes, they are up before sunrise. Watching the transition from fallow fields of late fall and winter, to lush crops of early spring and summer, for me, is a sight to see. Man and nature working together to the best of their abilities.

The farm in these photos is quite close to where I live. Literally about seven minutes away. I will be visiting from time to time to document the changes through the seasons.

These two photos were taken about one month apart this year. The first was taken on May 1 and the second on June 5.

 

INSPIRATION AND ASSIGNMENTS: TREES A SECOND APPEARANCE

June 9, 2018 4 comments

I enjoy living in an area where there are distinct seasons. The scenery changes often enough and sometimes rapidly enough to have different visuals almost on a daily basis.

The photo of the lone tree illustrated in the previous post was taken on June 5 of this year. The photo of the same lone tree in this post was taken on May 1 of this year. 

And in a few weeks time, the corn that has been planted in the foreground fields will be so tall that the tree will not be visible from this same vantage point.

Ya know…looking back, I wonder if I should have reversed the order of photos/posts. Oh well.

 

 

 

 

 

INSPIRATION AND ASSIGNMENTS: TREES

June 5, 2018 8 comments

I have a special affinity for trees and it doesn’t matter what species of tree I may be looking at. To me they are all special. I honestly think my love for trees started when I was a young boy. My parents planted a Scarlet Oak in the front yard before I was born. Scarlet Oak trees are pretty fast growers and by the time my younger sister and I were able to climb nearly to the top, it was already taller than our house. Granted, it was a ranch style house and we were still youngsters, it was still big to us! My sister and I spent many a day playing in the tree. Mom always knew where to find us. Oh, by the way, the tree still stands in the front yard of our childhood home. It’s at least 60 feet tall now. Maybe taller.

Now several (well, many) decades later my love for trees continues. Whether it is through photography, woodworking or just visual enjoyment. And lately I have been doing a little exploring around the community where I live. Looking at trees. The area is nestled in a wide valley, surrounded by small and a few not so small family run farms. This area has been farmed for hundreds of years and most of the farms have been handed down over many generations. Though sparsely populated, in town there are two gas stations, a grocery store, a couple of small eateries and a few small shops. And tree lined streets. Yup, there are two.

Back to the trees…

Dotted among the farmland and rolling hills carved out by glaciers centuries ago, are groves of trees that have been untouched for a couple of hundred years. And then…what I find puzzling…are the lone trees some farmers leave to grow in the middle of their fields. 

Maybe they let them grow out there in the middle so some shade is provided for relief on a hot summer day. Or maybe, just maybe, the farmers leave the trees in the middle of their fields just because. I like that reason the best. 

Ya know…I would think that farmers are pretty well-read. So the quote that follows may be familiar to them. Just because…

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a

green thing that stands in the way. Some see Nature all ridicule and deformity, and some 

scarce see Nature at all. 

But to the eyes of the man with imagination, Nature is Imagination itself.”

William Blake

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