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Posts Tagged ‘architecture’

IN THE FIELD: Further Explorations Needed

December 9, 2013 21 comments

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Last week I was out exploring a small town not far from where we live. I have driven through the town in the past, mostly as a shortcut to get to somewhere else, but never took the time to stop.

I walked up and down a few streets and not only discovered a wealth of photographic opportunities, but found an interesting town whose history goes back to the early 1700’s.

In the center of town is a hotel built in the late 1800‘s. It has been converted into multiple storefronts, one of which is a cooking school open to folks of all ages. Several old bank buildings decorated for the Holiday season also stand proudly in the center of town.

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There are restaurants, a brew pub, small shops, and businesses, and even a bed and breakfast lining the main streets. Many of the older homes and buildings have stained glass windows and ornate iron work adorning the facades.

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I’m glad I spent some time wandering the streets. I found all kinds of interesting subjects and look forward to some more snooping around town. I even got to see the Statue Of Liberty!

 

 

IN THE FIELD: New Discoveries

November 19, 2013 12 comments

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Now that we are pretty much settled into our new home, I’ve had a chance to get out and do a little exploring. My last post featured the view from our backyard at sunset on our first night, which showed a church steeple on the distant horizon. And yesterday, I found the church. Turns out the original church was built in early 1700’s and has gone through renovations and expansions over the last couple hundred years.

We now live closer to civilization where running errands is not an all day affair as it was in the past. And at the same time we are still in a rural area with plenty of elbow room. So I’m pretty sure I will be able to make many new discoveries in our new locale.

I can’t wait to see what’s out there!

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IN THE FIELD: Exit Stage Left

September 24, 2013 26 comments

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While I was stopped at a traffic light the other day, I looked to my right and happened to notice this doorway on the side of an old restaurant. It was in the middle of the wall with no steps leading down to the ground. Huh?

Luckily I was able to get a quick shot off just as the light turned green. As I was looking at the photo on the computer, I could see the outline of a set of steps on the side of the building. Why the steps are gone and the door remains functional, is a mystery.

Lately I seem to have developed the ability to discover objects with no clear meaning. Fences that do not enclose anything, signs that make no sense no matter how many times you read them, and doorways that lead to nowhere.

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IN THE FIELD: Following My Own Advice

July 17, 2013 30 comments

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Whenever I am out and about just doing stuff, I always have my camera with me. And there are times when I will drive by a good photo op and say to myself “I should go back and get a shot of that.” But for some silly reason, I don’t. I rationalize that I’ll go back another day.

There is an old farmhouse just outside of town that has been lovingly restored to it’s former glory and converted into office space. It is one of my favorite stone buildings in the area, and this year the owners outdid themselves with their plantings. It’s a beautiful sight from the road seeing all the color in the gardens with the Pennsylvania stone as a backdrop.

And yes, I did drive by this site the other day. And almost decided not to stop. But this time I did. I went inside and asked permission to photograph the gardens and their response was “go right ahead.”

Had I waited until another opportunity presented itself, all these wonderful blooms may have been finished. And then I would have been kicking myself until next summer.

So, my advice is, if you see something worth preserving photographically, don’t wait for another day…it may be too late. Unless you like kicking yourself.

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IN THE FIELD: First Step Is a Doozy

June 18, 2013 22 comments

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This is one of the doors on the side of an old train station that last saw commuter rail service in 1981. The station is now occupied by a catering company and the building is often used for wedding receptions. What attracted me to this scene were the colors used in the door and the striped awning contrasting with the stone wall.

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IN THE FIELD: What Is It?

June 14, 2013 21 comments

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The majority of my photographic adventures take place in the great outdoors…where I come across scenic vistas, small towns, wildlife, flowers, and natural wonders.

Recently, I was photographing early 20th century architecture in a nearby small town. I went inside the local library that was built in 1902. I had a feeling I would find some great shots of the moldings, windows and structural details that were used during that time period.

I did discover carvings, ornate columns, a huge fireplace with an extravagant mantle, and many other details inside the library. But…there were quite a few folks studying and doing research. It was a little awkward trying to get some shots and not disturb anyone, so I decided to come back another day when it wasn’t so busy.

As I was walking down the steps to the foyer, something told me to stop and look up. And that’s when I saw this hanging entrance light. It’s made of metal bands and tiny light bulbs.

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IN THE FIELD: Revisiting Familiar Places 2

May 12, 2013 16 comments

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In the previous post I mentioned how revisiting familiar places often will bring new discoveries. I found a few more during my latest visit to the Hopewell Furnace Historic Site.

I couldn’t tell you how many times I have walked past this doorway to the company store. But I never experienced what I did that morning.

As I peered into the room, the early morning sunlight was streaming through the old window. It may have been the time of day, or the time of the year, but the aged wood was aglow with golden light.

Ambient light from the window was the sole light source in this photograph.

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IN THE FIELD: Revisiting Familiar Places

May 8, 2013 22 comments

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I’ve been there before. There is nothing I haven’t seen. Been there…done that…don’t need to do it again. 

Ever had these thoughts rolling through your mind?

When revisiting a familiar location or even one that has become a favorite, there are several things I like to do to keep it fresh. And to avoid falling into the been there, done that trap.

Sometimes I will limit myself to using only one lens. Or if using a zoom, I will restrict myself to one focal length. Another method is to use my tripod only at a low height. This can get hard on the knees, but a fresh perspective almost always reveals something new. These aren’t hard and fast rules I follow, but guidelines I use to get the creative juices flowing.

One of my favorite places to revisit is the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site in southeastern Pennsylvania. It is an old iron making furnace that was in operation from 1771 until 1883. And was one of 20 or so furnaces in operation in Pennsylvania during the 1700’s and 1800’s.

I have been there many times, in good weather and in bad. But I always hope each visit will bring a new discovery. Because I understand the light and weather will most likely be different from my last visit.

On this particular spring morning, it was sunny and the temperatures were cool. So I spent a good part of the shoot outside photographing the buildings and old equipment used in the iron making business.

As the morning progressed, the temperatures quickly rose to what felt like summertime. I soon realized I was way over-dressed for the occasion. Knowing it always feels cooler inside the old restored buildings, that’s where I headed.

This is part of the old blast furnace. While I have been inside this building many times, I never witnessed the sunlight pouring down the chimney as it was on that morning. This photo was taken only with the available light in order to capture the golden color. Because of the long exposure needed to capture the light in this situation, the use of a tripod was an absolute necessity.

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IN THE FIELD: Colonial Architecture

April 23, 2012 18 comments

Older homes inspired by a traditional colonial style is one of my favorite types of architecture. The houses have character, functionality, and individuality as compared to the cookie-cutter houses we see more often than not today.

While on a pre-scouting excursion, I was able to capture a series of images featuring a colonial styled house, rather than the garden I will be shooting later in the season. I do have some overall photos of the home, but I feel that this small portion of the front of the house tells a more informal story. Since the sun was directly behind me, I had to stand off to the side a bit and crouch down, so not to cast a shadow on the wall.

To me, the warm colors of the locally-quarried stone for the foundations and walls is cozy, inviting, and fits the wooded landscape. Functional wooden shutters add to the authenticity. As do the true multiple light windows. The window aprons and trim work from the older buildings have a distinctive appearance and level of craftsmanship not always seen in modern construction. A small detail, but one I feel is important to the overall aesthetics of a dwelling. The walls in older homes are typically thicker and have deep window sills. And as you can see in this photo, a rather large jardiniere is placed confidently in the window. They sure don’t make windows sills that wide in a typical new home!

This house was built in the early 1940‘s, and it illustrates many of the traits I find attractive. Although there is still work to be done, the present owners have done a wonderful job restoring and maintaining the home.

 

INSPIRATION: Here Today Gone Tomorrow

January 30, 2012 31 comments

I had driven past this old shed for many years and often wondered what it may have been used for. It sat out in the middle of a farmers field with nothing else around it, braving the elements of all the seasons. Each year it would lean over a little bit more and the paint would become more weathered. I never saw any human activity there or even any machinery stored inside. It was just there.

Late one winter afternoon, I was driving by the old farm and shed, the wind was blowing fiercely. Snow was drifting and covering the roads that were clean and dry a few hours before. It was the pre-curser to a storm that followed later that night. I had my camera with me and wanted to capture the stormy weather and the shed standing up to the impending storm.

Sadly, last spring the old shed was torn down and a community of new homes took it’s place.

I am glad I was able to take this photograph before this old shed vanished. It was the inspiration for me wanting to capture and preserve the images of older buildings and structures in the area I live. They may not be there tomorrow.