Thursday, August 27, 2009


For the next several weeks we are going to be using 35 mm slides that I've had converted to digital to populate the blog as we get ready to go into some home improvement projects around the house. All of this work was shot between 1971 and 1982. There will be several shots of me that were all done by my wife, Barbara.

South Philadelphia, 1971, shot in my home dark room while I was attending Antonelli's School of Photography.

Atco Raceway, Atco, NJ, 1974.
I have no idea why I would drive from Philadelphia to Atco, NJ except that I might have been homesick for the York US 30 Dragway.

Armor All/Revell Jetcar lights up the engine on a very cold March day at Atco, NJ.

Cassidy Brothers funny car. As far as I know, Atco was the closest drag strip to where I was living in South Philadelphia. It gave me a sense of being in familiar territory while living in the big city.

I believe this is the tugboat Aileen Sanders heading down the Mississippi River. We looked this up online but haven't found anything, yet. It just goes to prove that you can't just type anything into a Google search bar and expect to get results. We were watching this as we drove up to the ferry landing to cross into Kentucky from Tennessee in November 1975.

After watching the tug and barges go by, the ferry finally showed up on it's upriver trip back to Tennessee from Kentucky. As you can see there was only room for about 9 or 10 vehicles on this ferry.

Seeing that I was the experienced photographer and it was my camera, it was decided that my then co-habitator would load us on to the ferry.

We were the only vehicle on the ferry for the return trip. Barb stands by our VW late model 1960s VW delivery van Type 2 / T2 which was actually capable of about 90 mph uphill.

My now wife, Barbara, took this picture of me standing on the front of the ferry deck as we crossed the Mighty Mississippi River on our way to an unplanned night at Mammouth Cave, KY.

Billy Joel, shot in the studios of Service Electric TV 2 in Allentown, PA, prior to a concert in Northampton, PA. Service Electric is recognized as the oldest cable TV company in the country and it was one of the first to do it's own news and sports programs, just like the big stations did.

Dolly Parton, standing outside the star's dressing trailer before a performance at the Allentown Fair. This is just a teaser. We will post more photos of the performers who were at the fair in Allentown, PA in the early 1970s over the next few weeks.

For anyone out there about my age (63), you will probably remember Reverend Ike, the pie in the sky preacher from New York City. I shot this portrait of the good reverend outside of the Metropolitan Opera where we were headed to see Tosca as part of a field trip from Lehigh County Community College, where we were going to school at the time.

Al Unser takes a break after running a few laps at the Pocono International Raceway at Long Pond, PA in June of 1974. We will have more photos to post from Pocono in the next few weeks.

Old 972, seen here, started out it's life on the Canadian Railroad back in the days of steam, was later sold to a gentlemen in York, PA (my hometown) where it was used along the Ma and Pa Lines (I think). It is shown here at Mauch Chuck, also known as Jim Thorpe, PA, pulling tourist passenger trains through the Lehigh Gap. Today this old steam engine now rests in pieces in a back lot at the Strasburg Railroad Museum in Lancaster, PA.

Unfortunately, we didn't get to ride 972 because the engine had slipped the track at a switch just behind the train station. If you look closely, you can see the big back wheel inside the rails.

Hang gliding along Route 222 between Trexlertown, PA and Kutztown, PA, looking west towards Kutztown. In the summertime this hill was used by hang glider and kite flyers, in the winter it was used for sledding, tobagganing (we did some of that) and skiing.

Outlaw Radio, Social Networking 1970s Style.
This CB home base was so illegal you were always in constant fear of the FCC knocking on your door. Which was really crazy, because there were more of us than there were of them. On the left hand side is a Royce 640 single side-band transceiver using a D104 lollipop microphone with a chicken choker and a Pal VCO tuning monitor which allowed the operator of this station to go above legal frequencies and in between frequencies, as well. On the right hand side is a 175 watt Firebird linear amplifier which did some serious enhancement for the 5 watts of a legal CB radio. For the price of the radio alone today you could buy a really nice computer.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

90 Minutes

This past weekend the Patton Volunteer Fire Company held it's first jubilee in 9 years. Altogether I'm using 19 photographs that I shot in 90 minutes on Friday while shooting for Mainline Newspapers and my blog.

I shot my first picture of the afternoon at 5:39. The streets were just starting to fill up with classic hot-rods and farm tractors that were to be part of the fire company's cruise-in night during the jubilee.

At 5:46 this nicely turned out 1948 Plymouth Deluxe came up the street looking for it's parking spot.

Sparky the Fire Dog and Smoky the Bear posed with some of the area kids at 6:04.

Jim Link backed his 1954 John Deere Model 10 up against the curb around 6:04.

Sparky the Fire Dog took a ride on this little Farmall A Model at 6:15.

Even though the volunteers were looking forward to a relaxing weekend, they still had to make plans to have stand-by crews available to assure that service would be provided to the community. At some time around 6:20 or 6:25, the Patton fire whistle went off and the assigned response team sprang into action leaving the others behind to continue to get everything setup for the weekend in front of the company's station house.

6:37 -- They were responding to this motorcycle accident along McGee Road, East Carroll Township.

6:37 -- After getting off the fire rescue unit, these two firefighters responded immediately to the victim of the accident to assess the situation and provide comfort and first aid.

6:37 -- Patton Borough police officers responded directly to the accident and secured the scene before the arrival of the Pennsylvania State Police.

6:38 -- Luckily, the Patton Fire Department has a trained EMS individual, who is also a firefighter, who is able to give medical care to a victim prior to the arrival of the ambulance and the EMTs.

6:41 -- Once the EMS personnel were on hand, and had further stabilized the patient, they prepared him to be loaded into the ambulance.

6:42 -- While the EMT personnel were at work, a Patton policeman checked through the motorcycle operator's gear in search of anything that would help identify the rider.

6:48 -- Once the patient was loaded into the ambulance, he was transported a few hundred feet up the road where the crew awaited the arrival of the STAT MedEvac helicopter.

6:56 -- The pilot make several passes over the landing site to check for wires and trees.

6:58 -- Once he was satisfied with the landing zone, the pilot prepared to put the chopper on the ground.

6:59 -- Once on the ground, the helicopter's medical team unloaded their own gurney and headed across the yard to the waiting ambulance for the patient transfer.

7:05 -- After securing the patient for transport to the MedEvac unit, the medical nurse loaded his gear back onto the helicopter.

7:08 -- The second medical team member, with the help of the firemen and EMS crew, moved the accident victim to the rear of the helicopter.

7:09 -- After everything was checked out and secured, the medical team loaded back into the helicopter and ...

it's off to the trauma center at Altoona Regional Medical Center at 7:10.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Staycation -- The latest buzzword in post financial meltdown America.

It works for me because it's my favorite. We spent all last week hanging around the homestead, practicing what it will be like when my wife is finally able to retire from Saint Francis University. Except for a few runs to Carrolltown to shoot the Firemen's Jubilee, all of the photos in this week's blog were shot around the house. I focused (no pun intended) on bugs I haven't taken notice of before. It would really be nice to have a camera that would allow me to get even closer to my targets.

Playing with fire is not always a bad thing.

It's true...where there's smoke there's fire. The smoke is coming from smoldering pine needles.

Carrolltown Firemen's Jubilee

Tootsie Roll Pops on a display stand.

These are some of the prizes at the pick-a-ticket stand at the Carrolltown Fireman's Jubilee.

I shot this just because I liked the way the light was hitting it.

I was at the Carrolltown Firemen's Jubilee to take pictures of the crowning of the Fire Queen and her court on Friday night for the Star-Courier when I shot this picture of a baby and her bottle. She happened to be sitting with her mother, who was one of the judges.

The 2009 Queen and Court
Carrolltown Volunteer Fire Company

Shot in a window in our family room, left is right and right is left. On the left is a photograph of leaves in an icy slush published on the blog in Nov 2007, on the right is the top shelf of one of our book cases which holds some red storage boxes for small cookbooks.

One of the positive aspects for just staying home for vacation is that I had time to go around the yard looking at insects and other creepy crawlers that live here also. Over the years visitors to the blog have asked me how I know so much about the birds, snakes and bugs that I shoot. I try to tell them that I'm a polymath, but they just laugh. Actually, I use several different books and a few websites. My favorite book on insects is published by the National Wildlife Federation titled Field Guide to Insects and Spiders of North America. To id birds in Pennsylvania I rely on Birds of Pennsylvania, a field guide by Stan Tekiela. The reason for using these two book is because they use photographs rather than drawings or paintings.

A more general book for identifying birds is Birds of North America, published by Golden Press. In fact, the Golden Press line of books is fairly cheap when put into perspective and they are a good resource for kids. I think we have 12-13 of them. When it comes to wild flowers and such we use the Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Flowers (Eastern States). This is a 2 book set, one for the right coast and one for the other coast.

Measuring about 1/4 inch the Ambush Bug is easy to overlook in a garden where I found these two sitting on a Black-eyed Susan. The male, which is smaller than the female, is often found riding on the back of the female. When I first saw these two, it was hard to see that there really were two of them.

Net-winged Beetles are all over the place and easy to find.

Soldier Beetles mating on a Coreopsis.

As far as I can tell, this is a female Scorpion Fly. The male has a scorpion-like tail.

A Garter Snake makes it's way across our sidewalk. Lucky for me that my family enjoys wildlife.

I found two different kinds of Robber Flies this week. You can see the difference in the tails. This one is dining on a moth.

Robber Flies catch their food "on the fly", as it were. They use their proboscis to inject their kill with an enzyme which liquifies the inside of the bug and allows the robber fly to suck out the juices, leaving an almost complete body structure behind. This Robber has landed on a brace that holds the satellite dish in place and is feeding on a fly. Suction cups on the bottom of the feet allow the fly to land almost anywhere it wants to.

Seeds of a petunia explode from the calyx of a dead flower. The seeds are easy to harvest and use for next year's planting. They are pretty small, not much bigger than the period at the end of this sentence.
My last two frames this week are of the same pink Gladiola, shot at different angles and using different filters and settings in PhotoShop.