Saturday, January 17, 2015

Forgotten and Abused

A 1940's dairy farm in southern Cecil County, now stands abandoned and decaying along a little traveled county road. In it's day it must have been lovely, boasting a beautiful roof line, sliding doors and many windows. The original property included 397 acres mixed with wooded areas, open fields and sloped land graced by sandy-banked streams.  
This was a working dairy farm prior to the mid 1940's when a large corporation acquired ownership of the property and began using portions of the property for the disposal of waste explosive materials and munitions. From 1948 -2008 the property was again privately owned and reverted to a working farm with the fields being planted again. In the 1950's a small parcel was leased to a the Thiokol Corporation for testing and recovering rocket motors. 12 years later, an explosion at the testing facility led to it's abandonment. 
In subsequent years, hazardous waste was legally stored in the barn and a chicken coop. In 1992 the EPA ordered the removal of hazardous waste along with several tons of contaminated soil. 

Fast forward to 2015 and this property is still ground water use is permitted and there is still elevated levels of contamination in the soil. 
Conclusion...I think I might have to throw away the shoes I had on today. How sad that this once majestic property and buildings are now ruined. Evidence of looters, drug users and hobos lay inside these walls and gave me a creepy feeling. It was sad. Loved seeing a few small evidences of the original use of the dairy barn. See for yourself.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Snow Flake Miracles

We had some snow this week and it was the fluffy kind...the kind they really love at the ski resorts but also the kind that we rarely get here in the Mid Atlantic.  I have learned that this type of snow is often called Champagne Powder. The scientific name of this type of flake is called a Dendritic which means "tree-like". Really nicely formed Dendrites are plate-like snow crystals that have branches and side-branches. 

I ventured out with my 100mm macro lens, a really warm coat and boots and my tripod, to try and capture these miraculous little crystals. I threw a black scarf on my deck rail and waited a minute or two. The great thing was that the temperature kept the flakes from melting and the there was almost no wind, they stayed put for me. Granted, even the lightest touch of wind caused the fakes to move, and any movement at that magnification will cause a problem. 

Did you know that even the pros can't take a shot that has the flake in focus from front to back? Unless you get the flake to lay flat and you can shoot directly downward and not move your camera, you aren't gonna make it happen. I am definitely still learning about all aspects of photography and so I don't really understand all of the techniques that can be used to capture the perfect snowflake image. Some people turn lenses around backward and tape them to the camera to create a macro technique. Some set up a piece of glass and rest the camera, lens facing down, and shoot through to the snow flakes that they have placed under the glass. Lots of ways to do it, I suppose. 

I do know that when you see an image that is perfectly focused across the entire flake, and it includes beautiful prism colors and crisp detail with no visible fibers from the background item used to catch the flake, the photographer has done some tricks in his photo processing software. Often 30-40 images are taken of the same snowflake, with the camera at every possible slightly different angle and then combined and layered so that all of the flake is in focus, or appears to be in the final product. Then all of the background fibers are erased from the file so the flake seems to be perfectly framed on a black background.

Now don't get me wrong...I love to see those images of snowflakes, no matter how the artist arrived at this final product. I appreciate the hours spent doing this magic because it gives us a chance to see something God created..something from the part of world that is invisible to the naked eye. That's cool! No matter the process, it is art. It's beautiful and magical. It was so interesting to test my ability and equipment to see if I could produce something beautiful. I loved opening my images and scanning the frame and finding all the lovely shapes!

Every snowflake is unique, but they are grouped in families based on conditions like temperature and moisture when they form, and there are lots of similarities within the families. The chart at the bottom of this post is pretty "cool", so check it out. 

Here are the images I captured. Not perfect, but I feel pretty happy with what I was able to do! No extensive editing was done. Just pumped up the contrast and sharpened a bit. I love the mystical aspect of these I was peeking inside another world. Well, I guess I kind of was.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

American Beauty

This child is truly a beauty in every sense of the word. She has such a sweet spirit and a way about her. She belongs to my daughter-in-law's cousin and I think of her as family. You have seen her before and enjoyed pictures of her family (her Daddy, Matt and her Mommy, Kelly have thrilled my camera and graced this blog for a couple of years now). Lexi is growing up...2 1/2 years old and quite the little lady in this, her 2014 Fall Mini Session. When I uploaded these images and started sorting them I was stunned (as always) by her beauty, and a little surprised at the grown up look I saw. Yikes! Stop the clock! One thing is for sure, no matter how many times I photograph her (and let's hope I get to keep that up), I will never tire of those baby blues. You feel the same, I'm sure. 

(Cousins. I know you recognize that red head.)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Fall 2014

Fall is my favorite. The colors, the food, the weather, everything about it is okay with me. We are blessed to live in a spot where we can walk in the woods and in the fields and explore without ever leaving the property. The leaves fall and we never rake them unless someone needs to make a pile to jump in. We blow them off of the lane and sidewalk, but other then that the leaves are left alone. 
The girls were cute this year, old enough to get outside and really play. Here is a little sample of the hundreds of pictures I took.