Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ghost Sign

After a devastating fire that completely destroyed the 3 buildings that comprised Bowman's Sporting Goods Store in Patton, PA in November 2008, a piece of advertising art that had been hidden from sight for over 75 years has come to light. Unfortunately this discovery may soon pass from sight once again in the near future. I tried to do a little research on this find but some of Patton's history is not well documented.

There aren't a whole lot of ways to photograph something like this so I divided the 12 x 24 foot wall painting up into small frames so that you could get to see some of the art details. The ad is for Wrigley's P.K. gum and goes back to 1923.

This is what remained of the sporting good store after the fire in November 2008.

When the ATF, state fire marshall and the insurance company were done with their investigation of the blaze, the clean-up of the area was begun and this picture of early Patton history was revealed. Largely still intact after the fire and clean-up the sign is still in amazing condition. However, several parts of the work is damaged or possibly missing. The words "After Every Meal" are just barely readable under the yellow line at the top left hand side. The yellow border with it's black outline is approximately 8-3/4" wide. According to my research a merchant's name might have also been painted on the wall as payment or incentive to allow the ad to be placed.

I'm not sure what this P-450 means. It could have something to do with the pattern used to do the layout. If I'm wrong, someone will let me know. The number is on the left hand side of the art, next to the red arrow.

The body of the man is red and approximately 30 inches wide.

Most of the letters measure 4" wide, including the border.

Close-up of some of the text.

This is the word LASTS.

The bottom of the P is 11-3/4" wide.

It looks like there were several layers of paint on signs done on the wall.

Paint Scales.

Back in the days of the wall dogs, as the sign painters were called, they would mix their own paint on site by mixing white lead, linseed oil, pigment and dryers.

Thos. Cusack Co. was started in 1875 by Thomas Cusack and incorporated in 1903. The Cusack Company went on to control 20% of all outdoor advertising and with several branches across America, Mr. Cusack would go on to serve in the 56th Congress as a representative from the state of Illinois and later, after moving to the Buffalo, NY area, he went into banking.

Built in the 1920s the former McCrory's 5&10 is now the Ti-De Laundry located on Magee Avenue in Patton, PA. The owners have told me this wall will be steam cleaned in the next 90 days by order of the insurance company.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It's Sprang Sprung Spring

One of the sure signs that spring is finally here is that the fur-bearing animals are coming out of hibernation and starting to stretch their legs after what seemed to be a long, cold winter. The geese are flying overhead on their way north, and the purr of motorcycle engines can once again be heard across the ridges.

Speaking of fur-bearing animals, we spotted this opossum out searching for something to eat in the middle of a sunny afternoon. These are four of the shots I took while it was grazing on the seeds that had been thrown under the bird feeders all winter long.

Looks like this guy's (gal's?) left ear was damaged in a fight.

The town of Loretto and Saint Michael's Church as seen from Cafe Gubbio on the campus of Saint Francis University in Loretto, PA.

A serpentine sidewalk, done in mostly black and white, on the campus of Saint Francis University.

Around this area there are a number of small, unmarked graves and family cemeteries from the early pioneer days of the mid-1700s. This sign is one that marked the location of one of the graves. It has been knocked down over the winter and hopefully it will be uprighted again soon. Otherwise, this photo might be all that remains of this piece of history.

What we have here is the seldom seen female Red-bellied Woodpecker tossing a sunflower seed into the air. I don't know why, I just take the pictures.

Now that the weather has changed, the Pine Siskins, for the most part, have headed back north again. The one shown here stopped in to say goodbye and thank us for providing sustenance throughout the winter.
Yeah, right!
Just another casualty of the windows that I picked up and held until it could get its bearings and fly away.

A close-up of the same Pine Siskin while it was in my hand.

Only in small town America would you see a sign like this sitting along the sidewalk. Sponsored by Hastings Borough and the Cross-Cut Church the evening includes a double-feature, free pop-corn and drinks for the children.


These happy faces include our daughter (front right) and four of her Honors House roommates who were among the students who received recognition for their achievements during the First Annual School of Humanities, Behavioral Sciences and Education Academic Recognition Program on Sunday, 15 March 2009 on the campus of Saint Francis University.

These tulips were part of the centerpiece on the tables during the Recognition Program.

Red Squirrel climbing a tree beside Glendale Lake.

The Office at Prince Gallitzin State Park now sports a wind turbine generator and solar energy.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bottle Art

This week I've decided to go back and do a little photography that tends to lend itself to the artsey, creative side of life, for a change. I'm tired of football and basketball. Besides it's spring and seeing that this is a time for renewal I've decided to renew my own energies this week and create photographic images rather than just shoot photographic images.

Water Bottle 1

Concert Goers

Blu Muse

Jelly Bean

Ruby Waters

On the Point


Untitled Bottle

Bar Maid

To do this process I've gone as basic as I can. I used a $179 Fujifilm FinePix S5700 7.1 megapixel digital camera which has a 10x optical zoom lens with macro and supermacro capabilities. A $1 bottle of water, PhotoShop and my imagination were also involved in the process.

The process is relatively easy. All I did was look at the world through the bottle using my camera as my eye. On three separate days, I shot approximately 60 pictures to produce these nine. In the process I've learned that bright colors tend to make the work bolder, and that large objects behind the bottle produce the most interesting effects.

The bottle has many design features that provided the opportunity for this experiment. The first example shows the bottle upside down with a building in the distance. Turning the bottle on its side (see Mirage) or even shooting through the bottom portion of the bottle rather than just the top area (see Bar Maid) produced different effects. This is because the bottle isn't smooth from top to bottom but it has bumps, grooves and other features that add to the effect of what we see of the objects in the backgrounds.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

I can See the Light

With the exception of the first three photographs, all this week's pictures were shot, more or less, for two of the local papers.

We still haven't come up with a suitable name for the black cat. But after watching it walking, or should I say prancing its way down a path into the yard with a gray squirrel held tightly in its teeth, I'm leaning toward calling it Pan-Thor. I shot this picture right after the cat woke up from a nap on the log.

The next two frames show a drop of water about to fall from an icicle shot at 16/100th of a second. The little thread of water that is still holding the drop to the icicle will itself become a drop of water, but 50 times smaller than the first drop.

Same as above, but different.
Actually, what I did here was invert the positive.

Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent means that the local fire companies and churches sponsor their annual fish frys on Friday nights until Easter. The Spangler Fire Company has been doing this for a number of years now and with their new Contres-Greer Social Hall kitchen running at full bore they served over 900 dinners this week.

Gary "The Codfather" Talerico takes a break from running the frier and lends a hand to Bob Bradford and Jim Lutch as they soak and bread fish.

The huge Contres-Greer Social Hall was filled to capacity as the community came out to support the fire company and enjoy a meal with friends and family celebrating the start of their Lenten season.

After leaving the gourmet fish and chicken meal prepared by the Spangler Fire Company we headed down to the Northern Cambria theater district, better known to the locals as the Northern Cambria Elementary/Middle School, for a wonderful presentation of Oscar Wilde's short play called The Happy Prince.

"Play director, seamstress, set designer, jackie of all trades" Bonnie Resinski helps Owen Baker get his make-up right.

Katelin Fox who portrayed the maid of honor works on her make-up backstage in the dressing room (aka school cafeteria).

Ashley Back, a professor.

Getting in some last minute vocalizations before the curtains open.

Scene 1, Act 1

The Happy Prince and The Swallow.
Kevin Zedack and Kylie Laney.

These are the rich folks.
Ashley Farabaugh and Owen Baker.

Her Honor, the Mayor - Breanna Powers
The Vendor - Jessica Sodmont

Bonnie and the Sound Crew
Robbie "Soundman" Bailey and Noah "Ark-man" Kelly

Scene Change
Emily Maines and Ian Powers, Mayor's Guards

I don't know one angel from another so here are Kyleigh Davis, Kayla Sherry and Cheyenne Gaston.

Final bow before the curtain closes.

Admiral Robert E. Peary was born in Washington Township (now Cresson Township) 152 years ago. To commemorate Admiral Peary's century-old discovery of the North Pole on April 6, 1909, an event was held at Prince Gallitzin State Park. Sponsored by the Cresson Area Historical Association, the dog sled festival provided visitors with an opportunity to learn more about Peary and dog sledding.

With no snow on the ground for the dog sleds, this young lady gets a ride on a three wheel trail sled that is normally used for training.


A short, two-man, hand-made snow sled.

Twins, Jason and Katie Plucket, from Altoona learn about the nomenclature of a three man sled. This sled differs from the one in the previous picture in that it allows two people to stand on the elongated runners.

Nick Thomas, who grew up in Hastings, now an Environmental Education Specialist at the Bald Eagle State Park in Howard, PA, returns to his old stomping grounds at Prince Gallitzin State Park to provided demonstration on various ways to make fire without matches and other woodmen's lore. Here Nick is making hot embers with a stick, a piece of rope and a small block of wood.

Once he has the embers he wants, Nick wraps them up in some wood shavings and blows lightly on them until he gets a flame. Altogether it took Nick less than a minute to go from nothing to fire, but he said it took a lot of practice to get to this point.

As I left the park I stopped to take this shot of the Canadian Geese sitting on Glendale Lake. Earlier in the day there were also some Snow Geese sitting on the ice.

The last two shots for this week were taken at a basket auction fund raiser held at the Hastings Memorial Building for a local automobile accident victim.

Barb and Leo Cloud, of Hastings, PA check out the baskets on display while making their choices.