Amish. The Long Way Home.

Late last September, after a shoot in Harrisburg, I decided to take the long way home through Pennsylvania’s Amish country. Despite having lived in PA on and off since 2001, I hadn’t visited this storied step back in time since I was a kid. With no real frame of reference, I typed the one restaurant I remembered from when I was ten into my GPS and set out for the Good and Plenty. The 45-mile journey would take me through the heart of Lancaster County and into the warm and welcoming past.

I never did make it to the Good and Plenty. The landscape was so inviting and accessible, I decided to pull off the highway and ramble through the farmland. Like John Muir supposedly once said, “Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence.” While I may not always live by this philosophy, when the opportunity presents itself, I go for it.

I came across all you would expect to see in Amish country: children innocently riding scooters (they’re not allowed to ride bikes), horses pulling families slowly and deliberately down a country road and livestock lazily grazing in the late summer sun. I wandered through fields of corn that were indeed as high as an elephants eye, came to a clearing that was swarming with more bugs than there are stars in the sky and watched a hot air balloon softly sink below the distant tree line. The one oddity that caught my eye was the horse and buggy only section at the gas station. Although It was fully equipped with a garbage can and shovel.

It was nearing dusk and I had no idea how far I was from home so I hopped into my car and set the GPS for Philly. Turns out I was only 68 miles away. After about five miles on this single lane “highway” I was met with a road closed sign and was forced to reroute. I circled around to investigate and discovered the reason for the closure of this bustling thoroughfare was a parade. Guess John Muir was calling again. It took a few more loops but I finally found a parking space next to a few horses tied to a fence.

I walked the few blocks down the road towards main street and tried to blend in. This was no easy task with a giant camera dangling from my neck. I was clearly an outsider there acting as a voyeur. I’m usually not shy or apprehensive when it comes to shooting strangers in a strange place but I didn’t want to come off as if I was on Amish safari. I was genuinely excited for this parade and just wanted to document the experience. That however can easily be construed as exploitation.

The crowd was about twenty percent Amish, five percent minority and seventy-five percent civilian white (as in not Amish.) I posted up near a family who clearly claimed their spots much earlier in the day. I’m pretty sure they had eaten breakfast and lunch there and were just moving on to dinner. A friendly gentleman wearing an Eagles hat to my right who was not with the group pointed out that I was facing the wrong way and to get my camera ready because the parade was set to kick off any minute. He asked where I was from and when I told him Philadelphia he gasped. He’d lived in this town his entire life and had never been. Need I remind you I was less than seventy miles away? He asked if it was difficult to park downtown and what Reading Terminal Market was like. I told him he should come see for himself. This he took as an invitation to meet up. We exchanged emails then a parting handshake. I’m still waiting to hear from him.

The parade finally began. The Grand Marshall’s Dick and Jean Risk kicked off the festivities followed by generations of tractor drivers and the Lancaster County Alternate Dairy Princess. The last glints of sunshine were fading fast so I turned my camera on the crowd for a few final shots before heading home. As the golden hour turned to dusk I drove off but not before stopping to get a few more shots to properly close out my day. I guess the beauty of living in Pennsylvania can be summed up by the fact that you can spend the day shooting portraits in the middle of a “city” then stumble upon an Amish farmer plowing a field by horse at sunset. 

I also feel this post might best be enjoyed while listening to this song by PHOX. The whole afternoon had a rather slow motion sort of feel to it.

Rather Long Cape Cod Gallery

The outer cape (wellfleet, truro and provincetown) has a certain romantic majesty that for me never seems to fade. This may have something to do with the occasional day dream I have of working as a lowly deck hand aboard an 18th century whaling ship. I’ve made the trek out to Truro countless times over the better part of the the past decade to visit Tasha’s (my wife’s) family and each time I come away feeling humbled for having the privilege of experiencing such a monumentally magical land (and sea) scape. so here’s a rather long gallery featuring eighty photos from my latest trip which took place this past late August/ early September.

 

 

Forbidden Trail/ Devil’s Pool/ Wissahickon Creek

Natasha and I went wandering through the Forbidden Trail along the Wissahickon Creek the other day. We climbed steep slippery slopes (stairs provided to aid hikers), encountered threatening wildlife (some dog playing in the water) and forded the deep rushing whitewater river (wading up to our ankles to cross back to the side of the creek our car was on) All in all a lovely wander.

Walking the Forbidden Trail Walking the Forbidden Trail Walking the Forbidden Trail Walking the Forbidden Trail Walking the Forbidden Trail Walking the Forbidden Trail Walking the Forbidden Trail Walking the Forbidden Trail Walking the Forbidden Trail

Destination Frankford – Rediscover

On May 24th I participated in a photo show at a pop up gallery in the Frankford section of Philadelphia. The temporary gallery space is called Destination Frankford and the theme of the show I contributed to was Rediscover. The opening was great and the photos alone from that day necessitate their own post which is soon to follow. Leslie Kaufmann who is at the helm of the project really is a visionary and has accomplished something quite spectacular. Please visit the Desintation Frankford website for more info. The third and final show in the series is opening tomorrow and will run through July 26. It revolves around the theme Reanimate and features work by the Philadelphia Sculptors.

Here’s my bit

“The idea of trying to rediscover Philadelphia, which has such a rich history, was initially stifling. I attempted to flesh out a series that explored the physical change that the city is currently undergoing. It’s hard not to notice all the new condo developments popping up overnight like weeds in the summer time. What I ended up focusing on was not change but the ordinary surroundings in which I weave through on a daily basis. I focused on the often-ignored scenery that I pass by on my way to work, the store, bike riding and so on. I brought that backdrop to the forefront and at each location found a piece of scrap wood that I would use to present my image on. This not only allows for a visual representation of where I’ve been but a physical one as well. I ended up discovering the weird yet pedestrian environment I generally ignore and used gave new life to what would most likely end up as rotting garbage. ”

Check out the images below, before they’ve been transferred and the final product. The transfers don’t photograph too well but look killer in person. I printed them 11″ x 17″ and cut the wood i found down to fit.

Destination Frankford

 

Destination Frankford Destination Frankford Destination Frankford Destination Frankford Destination Frankford Destination Frankford Destination Frankford Destination Frankford Destination Frankford Destination Frankford Destination Frankford Destination Frankford Destination Frankford Destination Frankford Destination Frankford

glimpse of virginia

spent the weekend in amherst/lynchburg virginia. took some pretty pictures.

VCCA

Freezing in Philadelphia

IT’S FREEZING!!!!

Philadelphia saw record low temperatures early in the second week of January as the Polar Vortex dipped down from the North Pole causing the mercury to fall into the single digits. Philadelphia saw record low temperatures early in the second week of January as the Polar Vortex dipped down from the North Pole causing the mercury to fall into the single digits. Philadelphia saw record low temperatures early in the second week of January as the Polar Vortex dipped down from the North Pole causing the mercury to fall into the single digits. Philadelphia saw record low temperatures early in the second week of January as the Polar Vortex dipped down from the North Pole causing the mercury to fall into the single digits. Philadelphia saw record low temperatures early in the second week of January as the Polar Vortex dipped down from the North Pole causing the mercury to fall into the single digits. Philadelphia saw record low temperatures early in the second week of January as the Polar Vortex dipped down from the North Pole causing the mercury to fall into the single digits. Philadelphia saw record low temperatures early in the second week of January as the Polar Vortex dipped down from the North Pole causing the mercury to fall into the single digits. Philadelphia saw record low temperatures early in the second week of January as the Polar Vortex dipped down from the North Pole causing the mercury to fall into the single digits. Philadelphia saw record low temperatures early in the second week of January as the Polar Vortex dipped down from the North Pole causing the mercury to fall into the single digits. Philadelphia saw record low temperatures early in the second week of January as the Polar Vortex dipped down from the North Pole causing the mercury to fall into the single digits. Philadelphia saw record low temperatures early in the second week of January as the Polar Vortex dipped down from the North Pole causing the mercury to fall into the single digits. Philadelphia saw record low temperatures early in the second week of January as the Polar Vortex dipped down from the North Pole causing the mercury to fall into the single digits. Philadelphia saw record low temperatures early in the second week of January as the Polar Vortex dipped down from the North Pole causing the mercury to fall into the single digits. Philadelphia saw record low temperatures early in the second week of January as the Polar Vortex dipped down from the North Pole causing the mercury to fall into the single digits. Philadelphia saw record low temperatures early in the second week of January as the Polar Vortex dipped down from the North Pole causing the mercury to fall into the single digits. Philadelphia saw record low temperatures early in the second week of January as the Polar Vortex dipped down from the North Pole causing the mercury to fall into the single digits. Philadelphia saw record low temperatures early in the second week of January as the Polar Vortex dipped down from the North Pole causing the mercury to fall into the single digits. Philadelphia saw record low temperatures early in the second week of January as the Polar Vortex dipped down from the North Pole causing the mercury to fall into the single digits. Philadelphia saw record low temperatures early in the second week of January as the Polar Vortex dipped down from the North Pole causing the mercury to fall into the single digits. Philadelphia saw record low temperatures early in the second week of January as the Polar Vortex dipped down from the North Pole causing the mercury to fall into the single digits. Philadelphia saw record low temperatures early in the second week of January as the Polar Vortex dipped down from the North Pole causing the mercury to fall into the single digits. Philadelphia saw record low temperatures early in the second week of January as the Polar Vortex dipped down from the North Pole causing the mercury to fall into the single digits. Philadelphia saw record low temperatures early in the second week of January as the Polar Vortex dipped down from the North Pole causing the mercury to fall into the single digits. Philadelphia saw record low temperatures early in the second week of January as the Polar Vortex dipped down from the North Pole causing the mercury to fall into the single digits.

Gus Gus

 

 

 

 

I was sitting by my friends parents pool in Wildwood, NJ with the wife and a a friend when out of nowhere something splashed down into the water. that something was this baby cardinal. we jumped into action, scooped him up and set him on the ground so he could dry off. After hours or mind numbingly watching the bird come back to life it started hopping around. the mama and papa cardinal started flapping wildly trying to inspire little gus-gus to fly but the poor little guy or gal just couldn’t muster up the strength. he did however make a strong effort and flapped around the yard. My friends father’s paternal instincts then kicked in and he picked up the stressed baby bird and carefully placed him in the tree we think he fell out of. We went to bed and and the next day couldn’t find him anywhere. We could however hear his little chirp so assumed he made it home safely. live long and prosper gus-gus. 
gus_gus

Snarl

I believe american snarling snaggle tooth is the breed.


Flight Path

birds flying through midtown