THEY ARE HERE!

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Every year when it get’s close to Spring, the Snow Geese arrive at the Middle Creek Wildlife Sanctuary on their stop over to rest & eat.  There are really thousands of them to see with more & more arriving each day.  The Game Commission of PA says’s that the count is over 170,000!

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This sight of Nature is truly a sight to see.  Thousands of Geese all taking flight at the same time!  The roar of their wings, plus the talking to each other, is a definite thing to behold.

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Photographers and all Nature lovers come from miles around to see these Geese in their natural habitat.  The Game Commission Officers that are in the area, have to turn people away because the parking and car congestion get’s way too full to handle.  The Geese always stop here every year.  I venture to say that the food supply for them is enough because they stay here for a number of weeks before taking flight further North.  The droppings from the Geese help fertilize the ground for other wildlife.

Most all the time, the Geese always stay in a “Restricted Area” where no one is allowed to be in.  Very stiff fine’s are, and will be, enforced on those who don’t obey the signs posted.  A $1000.00 fine will be levied against you.  Most people adhere to the rules, but there are some who just want to ignore what they are told.  If they are caught, hell is to pay!  Some people think that it’s fun to chase the Geese, just to see what happens.  They find out!  It’s as simple as this.  Don’t chase the Geese!  Leave them alone.

Some of the Geese choose to rest outside the Restricted Area.  They just sit there and don’t seem to fear the human presence, for some reason.  You can get quite close, but only so far.  Then they just get up and waddle away.

I took these Images with my Pentax K10d using an 80-300mm Lens.

NEW LENS

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Hello to all my followers.  I’m still here and I know I have not Posted anything in awhile, but there is not much going on right now, except this.

One of the Lens’s that I don’t have is a Wide Angle Lens.  Decided to snoop around a bit and see what’s available out there.  After looking around in my favorite place to order stuff, I found this Rokinon Wide Angle 14mm f/2.8 Lens for a very decent price.  I read a number of reviews about it and found that most all of them were good.  There were a few bad one’s, but the ratio between bad and good was not bad.  Seems you can’t please everyone.  So, I decided to order this for my Pentax.

It came in the mail yesterday.  I was more than anxious to attach it to my camera to see how it looks and feels.  It’s great, so far!  Nice clear glass and no problem attaching it to the Pentax K10d.  I did notice that it is a bit on the heavy side, but I’d rather have that.  Cuts down on shake.  The other small problem is that the weather here has been just plain terrible.  Cloudy, windy, wet, and nasty for the past few days.  This does not give me much chance to take it out for a test run to see how well it works.  I’m hoping to “get out there” very soon.  This Lens should complete my collection for a long time to come.

There is one more thing.  The Lens Cover for it fit’s over the whole front of the Lens.  This is different than my other Lens’s.  All my other Lens’s have a spring loaded “cap” that just fit’s over the Glass.  Not this one.  I like the difference.  Covers the whole Lens and not just the glass.

LIGHT BOX PHOTO’S

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Taken from my Model Collection, the 1967 Ford GT500

It took me 3 different times to photograph this Model.  Each time I did this, a terrible “yellow” tint was in the background.  I hated this.  Could not get rid of it, until I found out that you can set your camera for different types of Light.  I didn’t know that.  So, I checked it out on what I was told.  I was using my home made “light box” for the Image and also was using normal lighting from 2 different lamps that I had around the house.  The Lamps work good, but have a bad problem showing a “yellow” tint from the Tungston lightbulb.  This is where that horrid yellow comes from.

After checking on how to change White Balance on my Nikon, I set it to a brighter balance.  Then on my 4th try, this is what the camera showed.  No more yellow tint.  I, of course, did some small enhancement with Lightroom CC, but it was not much.  There is also something else.  Don’t forget to change your camera back to the original settings, or you’ll be reminded quickly.

MY PAST

Hello to all my Followers.  Remember in my last Post that I stated I would be making Posts about my Personnel side and my Life thru 70 yrs.?  Well, I’m gonna start here with this Post.  We will go way back in time to 1964.

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Ok.  Here we go.  The year is 1964.  That’s me with my Date for a High School Dance that I had asked her to go to with me.  She accepted.  Back in those day’s the telephone was the only way that you could call and ask a girl to go out with you.  No Cell phones or texting existed.  Her name is Carol.  We are both around the same age.  She is one year younger than me.  We both were Sophmores HS.   I had met her while on my Paper Route.  Her Parents were one of my customers for the Reading Times.  I used to have to go to her house and collect money for the paper every week.  Before I went to pick her up my Mother made sure that I was dressed properly, down to the Flower on my dress jacket.  Carol was wearing a Red Symbitium on her left wrist. (Not shown).  Her Father is the one who shot this Image of us together.

Me & Carol dated about 3 times, going to movies, dances, and 1 Hayride while both of us were going to Fleetwood High School.  Then after High School we both sorta drifted apart.  She went on to Collage, while I joined the US Navy to see the world.  I lost track of where she was or what she was doing over the passing years.  Coming Home from Vietnam I went to find out where she was, but I didn’t find out till later on in 1970 that she had married in 1969, and took on another last name.  That ended my quest to get in touch with her.  I was quite saddened.

For some reason that I can’t fully explain, this girl made a big impression on me.  I really did like her.  I never did go after her, which maybe I should have done.  I think that this girl was the one “that got away.”  To this day, I still think of her.  I talk with her once in awhile on the phone to see how she’s doing, but not allot.  Her memory still is in my Mind.  Places we went, things we did, and how our Lives had gone seperate way’s.  I wonder what would have happened if we married?  Would it have lasted?  I don’t know.  I do have a picture of what she is today and she looks pretty much as she does then, just older.  She has 2 kids now, and has been married to the same fella for all these years.

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Here is Carol, as of last year.  She has a 1 or 2 Degrees in Music.  Was a Music teacher at Owen J. Roberts High School.  She always did love music.  She always will.  I still do have feelings for her!  She never will leave my memory.

I can look at that Image and remember how scared I was.  I was fearful of her Father and what he might say.  He was a rather “gruff” sorta man.  I was told my Mom to “mind your manners” like she had taught me so well.  I did what I was told.  Maybe that’s why I’m still good friends with her to this day.

GREAT CARS OF THE 50’S.

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I know.  I have not Posted anything for a few weeks.  It’s that time of the year again when it’s just too cold to out there “snooping around” with my camera’s for something to Post about.  This seems to happen every year like this.  So, I thought that I’d start Posting on things that are more personal in my Life of 70 years.  There has been allot that I can reflect back on.  I’m hoping that the Followers that I still have will stay with me.

So, when the weather outside is just too cold, I do like to use my home made “Light Box.”  It’s very simple to make.  Just get a medium-size cardboard box and cut out the sides and top, leaving about an inch around the opening.  This way you have room for light fixtures to give the subject good lighting.  I use 2 Light fixtures on either side of the box.  Get some Poster paper that is the size of the inside of your Light Box.  They come in a variety of colors for you to use.  The Model car above is an example.  Shot with a Nikon D7000 using a White background.  ISO 200, f/14, AP Mode, Tripod Mounted.

This Model is an exact 1:18 scale of the 1959 Pink Cadillac Eldorado.  This Classic Car is just one of the collection that I have.  Built on the Fleetwood Body that started way back in the early 1900’s, the factory was in the town that I grew up in  .  .  .  Fleetwood, PA  The Pink Cadallic and others with different colors were known for their “plush velvet seats”, and the distinctive “tear drop rear lights”.  The Pink Cadillac was the most popular.  Bruce Springsteen’s “Pink Cadillac” is what that song is all about.

HISTORICAL PLAQUE

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A few Posts back I had tried to show what is left over from the Boat Docking area in the Union Canal.  This is a Historical plaque showing what once was.

I have been reading that I should keep my Posts short & not too long.  It say’s that most Bloggers don’t care for long winded Posts.  I will try and do so in the future.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!

1957 FORD SKYLINER

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Some of you may recall that I do have a small collection of 1:18 scale models of Classic Cars of the 50’s & 60’s.  This is just one of them.

Built-in 1957 by the Ford Motor Company, the Ford Skyliner was one of the first cars that came out with a retractable roof that folded back into the trunk of the car.  By releasing 2 small clamps inside the passenger compartment, the owner could press a button and the roof would retract & fold into the truck.  It was a nice idea, but it ended up creating problems.

There were many troubles with the roof not folding back correctly, and the owner did not have any trunk space.  On top of this was the roof would leak water when it rained because it didn’t seal right.

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In 1958, Ford Motor Company came out with almost the same thing, but a slightly different style.  Named the 1958 Ford Fairlane Skyliner it stayed into production until 1959, when then it was discontinued.  The Car still remains as one of Fords Classic Cars.

COAL REGION CHURCH

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This is St. Stanislaus Kosca Catholic Church located in New Minersville, PA.  This Church was build a bit over 200 yrs. ago by the Polish Immigrants who settled in this area.  It has had this name for many years before the Churches in the area decided to consolidate into one.  Now, it is named St. Matthews Catholic Church.  Everything has remained the same, except the name.  A number of years ago, I had the privilege of being able to see the inside of this beautiful church.  I see that not much has changed.  It’s still one pretty Church to see.

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Here is a closer shot of the Alter.  The 2 people shown are a young couple that my Wife knows.  I have no idea who they are.  The Alter is carved from Marble and the Statues are all hand made and painted.  My Wife tells me that under the Alter where the Sacraments are kept are all made of Gold.

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Here is the Manger Scene that is put in the one corner of the Church.  If I offend someone by posting this Image, I don’t really care.  Each figure is hand made and painted!

Since my Wife was born and raised in New Minersville she lived just down the street from this Church.  She attended Services here for just about 20 yrs.

If you all can remember, I have made a number of Posts about the Coal Region Area that is not far from here.  There are many different Churchs & Religions that exist from one Coal Town to another.  This is because the Immigrants people that settled around here to work in the Coal Mines, brought their Religion with them.  Most of them are Catholic, but there are others such as German, Polish, French, Lutheran, and Lithuanian.  In just one Town there can be as many as 5 different Churches.

Notice that there is no “watermark” on the Images.  This is because I did not take these pictures, so I can’t claim them as mine.

 

RETURN TO THE UNION CANAL

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The weather today was not too bad, so I decided to take my Nikon P600 out for a stroll and see what was new at the Union Canal.  It was on the cold side, but still not anywhere near freezing like it had been.  Here I tried to capture the “bleakness” of Nature during the Winter months.  Everything is bland with no color at all.

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Here is what used to be a Towpath used for the Mules/Horse’s that pulled the Canal boats down the Canal.  Now, it is a walking/bicycle/hikeing Trail.  Of course, the trees were not there at that time.

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Here is what remains of the old Canal boat holding area.  Most of it is frozen over.  Long ago, I used to go swimming here, but not anymore.  Guess you can see why.  You can still see the retaining wall of stone on the left.  There are memories here for me that you can’t see.  At that time I had no swimming pool to go to, so we used to jump in here for some fun.  Nothing ever bothered us.  Now, I can only guess what’s in here.

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This is something new that has been added.  It was not here before.  It’s still part of a walking trail, but you can only go so far.  Why?  I’m kinda wondering if something was done that made the Historical Commission of Hamburg install this warning.  I can only guess.  I have heard that the “younger generation” has been around this area building fires, drinking, then leaving bottles, trash, and cans for others to pick up.  Not sure on that.  All the time, when I see this, I never venture further for fear of getting caught and getting a nasty fine.

 

GENTEL SNOW

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The weather forecasters were telling us that the expected snowfall was only supposed to be a coating to about a inch.  Nope!  Allot more than that!  We got more than 5 inches of the white stuff!  Guess they were a bit off on that one.  Made the area look so peaceful.

LIGHT SNOW

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2 day’s ago, it snowed just enough to give some color to the old Union Canal.

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On the old Union Canal Towpath, snow was starting to melt away in the morning sun.

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With the Watershed lake and sky’s turning blue a nice splatter of white.  Just enough.

AT&T NIGHTMARE!

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Almost 3 weeks ago, we had a Salesperson come to our door wanting to give us a sales pitch about AT&T.  Without going into a big speech about this, he told us that what we had a phone provider (Verizon), AT&T was just as good if not better!  He also told us that the price of their service is cheaper than Verizon!  If we switched over we would get a NEW phone, a Galaxy S8!  Humm  .  .  .  was a bit concerned about that one, because you NEVER get anything free.  You’ll pay for it somewhere down the line in your bill.

So, after some discussion, we decided to take his offer and change over.  We did get a Samsung S8 Cell Phone, but we found out when the bill came that it was NOT FREE, as I suspected!

Ever since we’ve done this, we have had nothing but problems with our phones!  Our friends have told us that they call and can’t get an answer.  Service does not seem to work as good as he told us!  Phones go dead, at times!  I hate this.  What did we do?

I’ve contacted the Salesperson via Cell Phone and left a message on what is going on.  So far, we have not gotten a return call!  Where is this guy?  I even called AT&T Support and the Lady told me I should get in touch with the Salesperson and he should be able to repair what is wrong.  OK, I’m doing that, but no luck so far.

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This is what the Samsung S8 phone looks like.  It’s nice and does a whole lot of stuff.  More than what I’d need.  It’s not cheap, either.  About $843.00 worth of phone!  That’s a lot of money!  So, with all that, if we don’t hear from this Salesperson in the next 48 hrs. we’re going to look into changing back to Verizon!  I suspect that this might cause more problems, but I hope not!

HAVE A NICE THANKSGIVING, ALL!

COMPUTER MONITOR

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About 4 months ago, I had bought this computer monitor from my Brother at a “side walk sale” for $20.00.  He had used it for awhile but then decided to get rid of it because he got something newer.  I decided to buy it from him!

This is a Flatron 24″ Full HD LG Monitor.  I originally had in mind to use this as a game monitor but found out it’s not for use with a Playstation 2 set up.  It just does not have the input for a Playstation, that I know of.  So, then I found out that I can use this Monitor with my Laptop and have a bigger screen to view.  But, first I have to get the right connections.  This I knew nothing about.

Starting asking questions on how to do this, and found out that I have to get a connector that plug’s into your Laptop (HDMI) to VGNA(?).  I went to my favorite place to order things and found what I needed, after searching for days.  I just was not sure on what to get and what was the best.

My order arrived in just a few days.  Hoping like heck that I ordered the right thing, I plugged it into my Laptop and then into the plug for this Flatron.  It worked!!  I could not believe it!  I did something right!

Now, I have 2 screens to view, but I don’t have to.  Found out that I can shut off the Laptop screen, and just use the Flatron Monitor like I’m doing right now.  The screen on the 24″ is much brighter, but a bit on the fuzzy side.  Not sure how to fix that yet.  It comes in handy for viewing my Images from the camera and editing them.  There is another small problem.  I can’t get sound to come out of the Flatron because the HDMI Cable does not transfer sound.  That’s ok.  Why would I want sound out of 2 screens?  I’ll just use one.

THE STORY BEHIND THIS IMAGE.

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If I must “toot my own horn” this Image that I took while in Nassau is one of my much better ones!  So, there is just a small story that goes along with this.

We had taken a Cruise aboard the Carnival Ship Pride and one of the Ports of Call was Nassau.  In route to the Port, we signed up for an excursion to one of the small islands that are nearby.  The one problem with doing is is that there are going to be lots of others that want to do the same thing.  Say, more than 50+ people.  When you sign up for these things, it’s like being in a herd of cattle.  Being told and moved along with everyone else.  I’m not much of a person that can take crowds of people for very long.  They tend to get to me, and I just want to get away from all of them and do my own thing.

After being herded on a boat, we were taken to this island that has a name, but I can’t remember it.  It was a simply beautiful area to be in.  Warm weather, crystal clear water, soft white sand, and plenty of area’s to swim and sit to get some sun.  I loved it!

After doing some swimming & snorkeling in the crystal water, we wanted to get something to eat & drink.  A sandwich & a beer would be fine for me.  We found that just down the beach was a small restaurant that had what we wanted.  We ordered some food and my beer, only to find out just how expensive it was!  Just for 2 hamburgers, french fries, a Coke, and 1 beer, our total bill was over $40.00!!  Say what!  That was allot of money just for that.  I was not happy!!  We didn’t go back!!

After eating we got up to dump our trash and walking over I noticed this area above.  The Image is exactly as I saw it, but without other people in the Image.  I thought this would make a good capture.  Sorta Wrong!  While composing the shot, some other people came in and sat down as you see it.  This sorta made me a bit angry!  Well, I shot the Image with them in the frame.  I just couldn’t walk over to them and ask them to leave while I composed the Image, could I?

If it’s one thing that I dislike in Photography, it’s when people get in the way of your Image!  I hate that!  So, there is not much I could do.

So, if you go on a trip to Nassau, remember that it is one very expensive place to be in.  Things are not cheap!  Guess it’s because this area is a Tourist trap and they know it.

Oh yes, this Post is Grammarly correct using Grammarly as a guide for what I do wrong.  It does help.

CHANGING SEASON

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Fall Color at Berks County Heritage Center.

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Just a few day’s ago, I was here at this same spot, and their was hardly any color at all!  Now, a few day’s later, Nature has taken over to show Her splendor.  It’s amazing how just a few day’s can make.

OLD CHURCH

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While taking a trip down to the Lebanon Valley VA Hospital to pick up my new Hearing Aids, I stopped by this Church that I have seen from the highway a number of times in the past.  This Church had always caught my eye because it seems to stand out from the surrounding area.

This is Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church located just outside Lebanon, PA.  It was built in 1762 and probably has gone thru a number of upgrades since then.  What I like about it is the color & stone work.

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The weather was not so good for shooting Images of this Church.  It was over-cast and splattering a bit of rain, but I thought to stop by while you’re in the area.

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This is what you see from the Highway.  On a bright sunny day, the Church has a much better view than when it’s cloudy, like today.

ABANDONDED PLACES

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There have been a number of times in my past Posts when I show the Coal Region area and what History is here.  When Coal Was King it left over lot’s of places that are barren and long forgotten.  This is just one of many.

A few miles outside the Coal Town of St. Clair is an area that has nothing there but empty waste lands where Coal used to be Mined long ago.  These places are called a “Strip Mine” where Coal was dug out of the ground and then left as it was.  Just a hole in the ground that has nothing to show but trees, coal clum, junk, and an area where people can do shooting without any regard to the Land around them.  There is nothing here.  No birds or wildlife at all!  Lot’s of practice shooting has taken place here.  Shotgun shells are strun all over the ground.  No one picks anything up to throw it away.  It’s just left there.

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Here is another look at the bottom of the Strip Mine.  That’s my Brother walking thru all the junk left laying around.  You can see in the distance, where the tree line is,  the end of the old Mine hole.

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This is just a small portion of the junk you can find laying around.  Computer keyboards, TV Monitors, furniture, old car tires, refrigerators, and just about everything else can be found.  People from the surrounding area come here to dispose of un-wanted items, dumped off, and left here to waste away.  Old cars are even here.  I would not be surprised if you would come across a dead body around here!  In past History there have been reports of people gone missing, never to be found.  You, if you know the right people, could have someone dissapear!!  This person would probably never be found for a long, long time.

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This is the wooded area above the Strip Mine.  A path leads to a un-known area that I don’t know what’s there.  Never see any deer or wildlife at all.  I think they know to stay away cause there is nothing to eat for them.

It’s truly a shame that there are so many area’s like this up here.  Coal was taken from the ground years ago and then the hole was just left here.  Strip Mining is NOT a good thing!  All it does, besides harvest Coal from the ground, is leave a scar on the land.  However, over the passing years, Strip Mines, have been filled in with new ground and trees planted to give new life to the area.  Let’s hope that will continue.

GETTING BETTER!

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As I stated before, doing this Crystal Ball Photography is not all that easy.  It takes practice to learn what you can do and what not to do!

For this, I set the Crystal on top of an old Tripod and set it up the way I thought would make a good Image.  Then, using my good Tripod, I set the Pentax to Micro to get closer and used a Remote Shutter as not to blur the Image.

With a bit of correction in Lightroom CC this is what came out.  I like it, but it could be better.  I’m working on that!  Next time I’m not going to use a Tripod for the Ball.  Maybe I can use a natural setting like I see in other instructions.  I have some idea’s.

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Remember, gang, that I had told you all about this NEW Thing that I’m trying to do with a Crystal Ball?  Well, here is my very first try at doing this.  I’m finding out that it’s not quite that easy to do!

So, what you have to do here is set your Crystal Ball where you want to take an Image looking thru the Ball.  I’m told that you should use a slow ISO speed, i.e. ISO200 and a large f/stop setting, i.e. f/4.0 or slower.  A Wide Angle Lens helps a lot.  You want to focus on the Ball and what it’s showing  .  .  .  not the background.  You want a “bokeh” background, so the main subject is more clear.

I placed the Ball on top of a Tripod and set it in-line with the candle that I wanted in the Image.  Took my other Tripod and set up the camera.  Using a Remote Shutter, I pressed the button and this is what came out.  Now, there is another problem.  It’s not told to me that you have to turn the Image around because the Ball makes it up-side down!  Ooops!  Didn’t know that.  So, I put it into Lightroom CC and turned it right-side up!  There is another process you can do in Photoshop CC, but it’s a awful long procedure.  16 step’s to be exact!!  No thanks!

Since this is my very first try at this, I’ve learned that using light from another source, is not too good.  It would be much better to do this outside with the ambient light.  It’s also blurry and I’m not happy with this.  It is clear for the most part but should be better.  Oh yes, I did order a clear Acrylic Stand for the Ball.  Should be here in 2 day’s.

I’m going to keep messin’ around with this.  The more I work with it, the better I’ll get.  I’m going to read about doing this more.

STOP OVER

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Entering Port Canaveral, FL.

When our ship entered Port Canaveral, FL I expected to see a Port that was filled with Cruise Ships of all kinds.  To my disbelief, there was only 1 other ship in Port.  I also expected to see lot’s of places to see and places to do some sightseeing and shopping.   There was really nothing here like that.

The Port of Call was rather empty.  The only thing to really do was go on the shore, and sit on the beach that is near-by.  We only had 4 hours to do this, so we thought why not.

The Beach was nice, but a bit windy.  The surf was heavy and water darn cold.  I elected not to go into the water.  We stayed on the beach for about 2 hrs. then headed back to the ship.  There was really not much else to see or do.  If you do go to Port Canaveral, don’t expect a whole lot.

SOMETHING NEW!

Hello out there!  Hope all my Followers are doing well these days.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been wondering about this NEW thing that I’ve come across in Photography.  It’s photographing a subject with a Crystal Ball.  Named Refraction Photography it’s a much different way of Posting a Images.  Instead of just shooting a scene, you shoot what you see, but thru a Crystal Ball!  I’m here thinking that this could lead to all kinds of different way’s to capture something.

So, with that in mind, I decided to check this out and see what’s going on.  I went into my favorite place to order something and found what I was looking for.  I found a Crystal Ball complete with a fancy wooden stand and it’s 3.5 inches round.  It is totally clear.  Just like the real thing, but smaller.  They are not as expensive as I thought they would be.  So, I ordered one and it came in the mail 2 day’s ago.

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Ok, this is what it looks like!  Just like this, except without the clear stand.  The stand is probably nothing but an Acrylic Plastic.  Not sure yet if I want that quite yet.  I’m seeing some terrific things to do with this.  I have the camera equipment for it.  All I have to do it “get out there” and use it.  I’m excited about doing this!

However, there are a few rules that I’ve read about for this.  1.  Always wear cotton gloves, so as not to scratch the ball.  2.  Treat your Crystal Ball well, and protect it at all times.  3.  Do NOT use it for direct sunlight!  Not good!  The Sun could magnify the light and burn you if left there long enough.  4.  Keep it covered when not in use.  5.  Don’t drop it!!

I’m going to move forward on this, and see what I can come up with.  Remember, that looking at something from a different perspective changes everything.

DO YOU KNOW CORKER2?

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Do you know me?  I don’t think so.  All you see is my Images and what they are about from where I go and what I do.  Well, maybe you might be interested in what I’m like.

WHO AM I? –  I am a 70 yrs. young male that stands 6’5″ tall and weighs about 262 lbs.

AM I EASY GOING & EASY TO TALK TO? – Yes that I am.  I am a person that can easily be talked to.  I have a pretty good personality, if I must say so.  I don’t get mad real easy.  It takes a bit to push the wrong button, but if that happens all hell will break loose.

DID I SERVE IN THE MILITARY? –  Yes.  Joined the US Navy just after High School.  Served aboard the Destroyer USS Carpenter DD-825 for 2.5 yrs. stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  Had a 1 yr. Tour of Vietnam from 1966 – 1967.

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WHAT DID I DO FOR A LIVING?  –  After being discharged from the US Navy, I got a job at the Polymer Corp. in Feburary of 1969.  I was just a Machine Operator for about 8 yrs. working swing shifts.  Changing from 1 shift to another every week, about did me in!  Then went to Machinist School for 4 yrs. to learn the trade. The GI Bill paid for my schooling. Spent my remaining years at Polymer as a Class A Plastic Machinist.  Retired after 30 yrs. there.  Then I worked at a fast food place named Schells Drive In for 14 yrs. as a cook.  Then I retired for good!

WHAT ARE MY FAVORITE FOODS? – There are a number of them.  Seafood is my real favorite.  Clams, oysters, fish, scallops, and Lobster.  Steak is on the menu, also.  I can eat most everything, except Liver, Okra, Spinach, Liver Pudding, and Peas.  Not too fond of that stuff.  Liver I can’t get past my nose!

WHAT DO I ENJOY DOING? – I enjoy Photography, as you can see.  I like to play a good game of Golf, when I can afford it.  Read a good book, but it has to hold my interest from the very beginning.  I enjoy going out shooting, once in a while, at a target range.  Just going “out there” with my camera to see what’s new.  Keeping my Home in good shape.  Mowing the grass and what ever else should be done.  Going to a good Concert, when I can.  Making something in my small wood shop when it’s warm enough.

DO I HAVE ANY CHILDREN? –  Yes, I have 1 Daughter named Michelle Lynn born October 8th, 1973, but my Daughter is a whole different story.  I haven’t seen her in 20 yrs.!  I am not happy about this!

WHERE HAVE I BEEN IN MY LIFE? – While serving in the Navy, I was all over the Pacific from Hawaii, to Midway, to the Philippines, to Vietnam, to Japan, to Okinowa, to Pago Pago, to Sydney, Australia, to Auckland, NZ.  I’ve seen things that most people will never see.  Allot of it is good, some horrible, and some bad.  In the US, all up and down the east coast.

Well, folks, that should give you a pretty good idea of what/who I am that writes this.  Any questions?  Just ask.

 

 

SHOOTING RANGE

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Most all of my Life, I have been a owner of Guns.  Everything from Shotguns, Rifles, and Handguns.  I have a Permit to carry a concealed weapon when-ever I choose to do so.  I am a Law abiding US Citizen that believes in the 2nd Amendment.  Being licensed to carry a concealed weapon does not mean that you can wear your weapon anywhere.  Common sense prevails here on this.  I have gone thru many hours of gun safety instruction in the US Navy.  I know what they can do.  I’ve seen what they can do.

I’ve been “snooping around” for a “free” area that you can go shoot.  I’m not too happy with joining a Gun Club, pay their dues each year, abide by their rules, have a Range Instructor present, and then have to join the NRA.  No Thanks.  So, I was told that there was a area up in St. Clair way back in the “empty area” where there is nothing but scrub, coal dirt, and clum.  I found it and the person is right.  There is nothing here but Coal dirt, and scrub.  Who owns this land, I don’t know.  I’m guessing that the Anthracite Coal Company does.

Pictured above is the place I was at.  There are tables to use, targets to shoot at, carpeting at places where you can even sit and watch.  People come here from all over the area just to practice with their weapon.  Old tires, cans full of holes, plastic bottles, shot gun shells and empty pistol cartridges are all over the place.  There is nothing fancy here.  Just a area where you can shoot till you run out of ammunition.  The 2nd Amendment is alive and quite well in the Coal Region’s.

However, there are RULES here that you don’t see.  The local people here don’t like un-safe practice!  If you are caught doing something stupid, you will be told about it by others that watch over this place.  Safety is a big factor here, even though you don’t see any signs.  Common sense is another!

There are no range posters telling you how far away your target is.  You must be the judge of that!  However, to the top of that Coal pile in the distance is about 120 yds.  To the bottom of the Coal pile is about 100 yds.  The Range tables were made by a local resident and donated to the area.  All that is asked of you, the shooter, is to Police your brass, and clean up behind you.  No beer cans or hard booze allowed, even though people that come here from outside the area, do it.  The local’s don’t like that and will tell you to leave if caught!

I enjoyed my time here.  I set up a target about 25 yds. away and shot my Ruger .40cal S&W.  It shoots quite well.  I WILL hit what I’m shooting at.  Their is no doubt about that!

HUGE MACHINES

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Hello to my Followers and Thanks for viewing.

Sunday was such a great beautiful day, so I decided to let my work around the house go by the way-side for awhile.  Grabbed my camera gear and headed up into the Coal Region Area to see what I could find.  You always can find something up here.

Just outside the Coal Mining Town of St. Clair, I found out that there was some big machinery that are used to clear ground in open pit mining.  Just what I was looking for!  It took me a bit to find this place, because when you get out on the back roads in Coal County you can very easily get lost.  Once you get out here you find that there is nothing here, but scrub, trees, and coal clum ( Clum is a word that’s used to describe shale waste & Coal dirt that has been dumped in this area for years.  There are really mountains of this stuff!)  It’s very barren.

I found this area I was told about and to my surprise there were a number of machines here just for me!  The Bulldozer above is one huge machine.  You almost can’t believe how big this is.  I stood inside the scoop and still had room over my head.  I stand 6’5″ tall and the top was at least 3 feet over me!  The Width of the scoop had to be 10 feet long or more!  Imagine what it costs to run one of these things?

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Here’s another look at this huge thing.  This machine could doze away ground by the ton.  It can make short work of a coal area.  This is why strip mining is frowned upon up here.  It does nothing but scar the Land!

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Here’s another one.  This huge coal, ground, and shale truck is called a “Yuke” in Coal Country.  Where it got that name, I have no idea.  The dump must be able to hold tons of material at one time.  It is used to haul material from a open pit mine or other site.  These trucks have massive Diesel engines that must chew up fuel by the gallon.  Would have liked to sit in the drivers seat, just to get a idea of how it feels to drive one of these, but thought it not a good idea.  Just my luck I’d get caught and face a big fine!

500mm Lens

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This is another Lens that I have in my Collection.  It’s made by Vivitar and it’s a 500mm Lens.  Pictured here mounted on my Pentax K100D with a 2x Double.  The Double Lens increases the Lens to a 1000mm.

I was not happy with the results from the 2x.  Seem’d to blur the Image too much.  I was advised by others that have this not to use it.  Just use the 500mm Lens and you will have better results.  I took the advice and tried it out.  Much better than having the 2x installed.

Again, this is not a Lens to shoot hand held.  It would be very wise to use a Tripod for this kind of Lens.  If you don’t, your Image will be blurry, unless you are that steady.

CHECKING OUT MY NEW LENS

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I know that I’ve Posted this Image before, but today I took it out again and gave it a try to see how the Images would come out.  In messin’ around with it, I found that the Lens is very sensitive to touch & any small vibration will cause the camera to shake just a bit, but enough to blur my Image.  With this big Lens set at 480mm, it will be necessary to use a Remote Shutter Release.  This way there will be no shake  .   .  .  .  I hope!

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Ok, so I went over to one of my favorite places where I could get some distance shooting with the long Lens.  The first shot’s I took were at a subject way “out there” using the 800mm setting.  The shake was even worse out that far!  Didn’t like what I saw, so I deleted what showed up.  The one above was taken from the Bridge above the Lake, looking down.  It was about 40 yds. away.  This came out better using the 480mm setting.  Not all that clear, but it’s acceptable for me.  I’ll keep working with this Lens and see more of what it does.  BTW –  The leaves around here are just starting to change a bit.  Nothing eye catching just yet.  Too early.

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I’m over at this place again, yesterday, because I wanted to get “out there” and do some shooting with my camera.  I seem to be drawn here to the Grings Mill area many times hoping that I’ll find something different.  Usually most all of it remains the same, except when the Seasons start changing.  Soon the leaves will change color and Fall will be here.  It is one of my favorite times of the year.  Water here is a bit on the high side because of the rain we’ve had before.  It’s usually not this high.

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At the far end of the bridge that cross’s over the Schyukill River is this old Pump House.  The Pump House dates back to the middle 1800’s and was used, at one time, to pump water from the river into the Union Canal that once was here.  It stayed in operation until the Union Canal was no longer needed.  The Pumps that were here have been removed.  They are no longer needed. Now, the old house serves as a storage area for the Park Service.

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It was such a nice beautiful, somewhat cool day, that I could not resist pressing the shutter button once more.

Images taken with my Pentax K10D using a Tamron 17-50mm AF Lens.

NEW LENS

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One Lens that I didn’t have for my Nikon was a long range zoom Lens.  After looking around for a few day’s I decided to order this Lightdow 420 – 800mm Telephoto Lens that just snap’s on the front of my camera.  It took about a week to get it, so I was anxious to see what this Lens can do.  I got it at a good price, so it’s not real expensive.  I can’t afford those big fancy ones that cost thousands of dollars.  Don’t need those.  I’m not a Pro at this.  It’s a fixed f/stop Lens set at f/8.0.  I can’t change the AP settings at all.  Never the less, I seem to like this, so far.

I can zoom out to 800mm with this for getting close-ups from a distance away.  One thing I did notice about this is that the Lens really is nothing but a “spotting scope” that you can use for target shooting or just plain spotting.  It can be used for any number of thing without pressing the shutter button.  Another thing with this Lens is you absolutely can not shoot without a Tripod support.  The slightest shake will make the Image blur a bit.  I can’t “hand hold” the camera with this Lens on and press the shutter.

I’ll be taking it out “for a walk” more as time goes by, and see how well it really does.

PERRY GOLF COURSE

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Yesterday while out cruising around the many back country roads around here, I decided to stop off and take a look-see at the Perry Golf Course that is not but a 20 min. drive for me.  The Perry Golf Course was built in 1970 and was a challenging course for all levels of play.  It had Par 5’s, 4’s & 3’s for everyone.  A open course to play.  No membership needed.  It was a very popular course around the area for quite some time.  The parking lot always had car’s in it with golfers playing the course.

Over the passing years it remained high on the Golf Course List to play, until in the late 90’s it started to decline for some reason that I don’t know.  I even played here on 2 occasions and found that the greens were well kept, cart paths were smooth, fairways and tee’s were always kept in superb condition.  The green fees were average, paying about $18.00 for 18 holes and a cart rental.

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Like I stated before, the Golf Course started to decline in business.  The next thing I heard was that it had closed, because there was not enough business anymore and the Owners were loosing money.  The Course closed 2 yrs. ago on December 31st.  It has been sitting vacant since then.  Here my Image shows the Club House to the left with the practice green off to the right.  Where the flag pole stands was a area for Golf Carts to rent.

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What remains of the Cart Path for the 18th Hole.  No one is here anymore.  No one to keep the Course lush & green.

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The Golf Cart Rental area now empty.  No Golfers walking around or playing.  Nothing but empty buildings and UN-trimmed shrubbery blowing in the wind.

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What is left of the 18th Green, now taken over by weeds & scrub.  The Flag is gone and the lush green color has long disappeared.  Nothing here anymore, which is a shame.  It felt kinda strange to walk around here.  Nothing here but me, my camera, and the wind with rain starting to splatter.  To me, it felt eerie, to walk in a place that once was so popular.

I was told later on that the property was bought by some big land developer that wanted to built 3 huge ware houses here.  That was years ago.  What happened?  No one has done a thing.  The once nice Golf Course is being reclaimed by Nature, as usually happens.

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Hello to my Followers.  I want to thank all of you for liking my Posts.  I appreciate that.

Here I learning something different using Lightroom CC.  Turning Day Into Night.  This Image was taken yesterday in the afternoon in bright sun.  Following instructions from Lightroom Magazine, it showed me how to do this.  After about 4 tries, I finally got the hang of it.  I think that this is a great effect.

To you all this is just another nice home, but to me it has much History.  This Home was owned by Carl & Dorothy Spacth who owned and operated Burkey & Spacth Funeral Home in Hamburg, PA.  It has been here in Hamburg since the 1950’s.  Carl & Dorothy built this home, so it was not far away from his Funeral business.  They lived here until they both passed on in the 80’s sometime.  The Home has a horse stable in the back to house one of the horse’s Carl had for a few years.  He loved horse’s.  I have been inside this home when I was a young boy and still remember it well.  Who owns it now, I have no idea.

Carl sold out his half of the Funeral business years ago and it is now Burkey & Driscoll Funeral Home.  Since I’ve known Steve, he is the one who took care of my Mothers Funeral back in December of 2004.  Mom also knew Steve well.  That’s why he did the Funeral arrangement for me.  Steve Burkey is the one half owner and I have known him since my day’s as a young boy in Hamburg.  Steve’s Father owned the Burkey Knitting Mills in Hamburg that operated for many years until closing.  The Knitting Mill building still stands today, but it is used for storage by some company that I don’t know.

COAL CHUTE

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Yesterday, I took my Wife up to her old home in Minersville, PA to meet with some of her long time girl friends that she has known since High School.  They were going to have some lunch together at the old Washington House.  So, after I dropped her off, I had a few hours to spend just “snooping around” the area with my Pentax.

Located just outside Minersville on the road to Dunncock is this left over Coal Chute that was once used to load Coal into waiting trucks to be taken where-ever needed when Coal Was King in this area.  Located just behind the shed is a rusty old conveyor that was used to move the coal from one place to another.  You can barely see it because of all the over-growth.  I was not going to climb up there just to get a shot of it.  I’m surprised that the old thing is still standing.  It’s just wasting away into the past.

Like I had stated before, the Coal Region Area is just full of History.  The only problem is knowing where to find what remains.  I’m slowly doing this.

NEW MOWER!

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Well, I finally went and did it!  After months of snooping around at different types of riding lawn mowers, I decided on this Troy Blit 30 in. mower.  The one that I bought looks just like the one pictured above.

All of my Life, I have been mowing grass, with a push mower or walk behind that is self-propelled.  But now, that I’m getting older and just starting to have trouble mowing all the grass here in one session, I have found that it wear’s me out.  I can’t seem to do it all at one time.  Had to mow the front and side of the house and then stop.  Then finish the rest later on or the next day.  I got tired of this.

I had looked around at all the different types of riding mowers and

 the people that make them.  I had to keep the price within reason and I had to watch out how big the mower deck was.  I found that the 42 in. mowers are too big.  I don’t need a big fancy one.  Just one that will store in my shed and not take up much room.  This one fit the bill just right.

At first I had to play around with it to get to know the different controls and the levers that make it work.  I’ve only had this for about a week now, and have used it twice so far.  It works nice.  Has 6 different speeds to it.  The fastest is the setting on 6.  It really goes!  I have it set for 2.  This way I can just mow along at a controllable speed.  It sure does save time compared to before.  Now, I can mow my yard all at one time.

It does have 1 or 2 draw-backs to it.  I can’t mow into a 45 degree angle.  Have to mow around it.  Using the Reverse Lever I have not got used to yet.  Mowing back-wards is not a good thing to do.  It has a 18″ turning radius, so it’s not like one of those zero turn mowers that can get very expensive.  So far, I like this.  Cleaning the mower deck is another thing I have to figure out.  I still have my Craftsman Self Propelled mower for finishing all the spots that I can’t access.

NEW LENS!

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Ah, yes.  Here is something else that I had to purchase a week ago.

This is my new Tamron Lens for my Pentax K10d.  Now, I did have and still do have, a Tamron 28-80mm AF f/2,8 Lens that I have had for a long time.  It was one of my “go to” Lens because it fit most of my photography needs, except getting close ups.  Did not work well doing that.  Last year while out on a photo shoot, I was mounting the lens on my camera to put it on my Tripod, when it slipped out of my wet hand and fell on the ground!  I stood in horror on what I had just done!  Crap!  Not a good thing to do.  I picked it up and cleaned off the dirt.  Better check it to see if anything went wrong.  Camera lens don’t take too kindly to being dropped!

After looking it over, it seem’d to be alright.  Now, ever since that day, when using the Lens I noticed that my Images were not coming out very clear.  Had to think about this and found that the focus on it was not working right.  I’m sure that it was from being dropped that horrid day.  So, I thought about getting another Lens to replace my old one for a few day’s.  I decided on getting a new one.  I like my Images to be as clear as possible.

I’ve used my new Lens a few times now and it works very well.  In fact, the picture I Posted before this, has my new Lens attached to the Pentax.  Note to self.  Don’t drop your Lens’s!!

NEW TRIPOD

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My New Tripod to replace the one that I had before.

The other Tripod that I had used for a long time, broke on me a few weeks ago.  The one leg on it just came apart, I’m guessing from use for a few years.  Tried to make it work, but it just would not hold the camera’s that I have.  So, I decided to order another one.

I looked at a number of them and decided on this one.  It will extend up to 75″ high and has quick disconnects for the camera plate.  Is quite sturdy, but not one of those high priced ones that are out there.  So far, I like it.  I also think that it’s more colorful.  I love red!  It also comes apart and will turn into a Monopod, so I can use both of them when I choose to do so.

A MORNING WALK

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Later in the morning, I went to my favorite place for some photo’s.  The Union Canal Towpath is to the left of the Image.  The problem here was I was “bit up” by misquotes!  The air was filled with the smell of perfume from the Lady walkers that went by me.  Their perfume predominated the air around me.  The smell was a bit strong.  This is probably why I got “bit up”.  Got a number of bites on me.  Next time, I will remember to wear some Bug Repellent.

GREAT WEATHER

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“Out There” yesterday with my Pentax K10d.  Had a much welcome change in the weather.  It was up in the low 60’s.  Allot better than the low 30’s that is normal for this time of the year.

This is one of my favorite “go to” area’s to shoot Images.  Many years ago, this area was once a dumping ground for Coal Dirt dredged up from the river near-by.  Not much hear.  Lot’s of Coal Dirt.  Just full of it.  Not much wildlife, either, but it does have advantages when you just walk around and look.

THE STORY BEHIND THE IMAGE

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Every Image that I take always has a story to it.  This one here is no exception.

I have stated many times that I enjoy going up into the Coal Region Area that is not too far away from me.  There is so much History there to be found and as you know by now, I enjoy “snooping around” in Historic Places.

The Historic St. Nicholas Coal Breaker, that I had Posted about before, is now long gone.  It has been torn down to make room for something.  There is nothing here anymore.  Just a huge empty, coal laden area.  There are some remnants of the old girl still laying around, but nothing really to show what used to be here.

When I took this Image the weather was cold & windy.  I was a bit on the fearful side about going in there.  Was not sure what I’d run into.  You never know.  But, off I went with my Pentax camera in hand, to walk around the empty building.  The ground was quite soft with years of Coal dirt mixed into it.  There is no way you could walk this area and have clean shoes.  Walking the area, your shoes become full of black dirt.  Had to stop here and there to stomp off some of the black stuff.

The Wind blowing around the old creeky structure did not help me much.  It sorta scared me a bit.  The wind made strange sounds blowing thru and around the old Breaker.  I had to stop a number of times to make sure it was just the wind and not something else that I don’t know about.  The large hole at the top of the Breaker made a “howling” noise from the wind blowing thru it.  I was always on the alert for anything!

I stayed around in the area for about 2 hrs. until the cold and the wind started getting to me.  Had to brush off my black, coal laden shoes before getting into the car.  I bid “Farewell” to the old girl and drove away with my heater on high.

MEMORIES OF MY PAST

So, to continue with Post’s about my Past, I thought that I’d give you some information on my Parents.

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These 2 people are my Mother & Father.  My Mother, Dorothy J. Johnson, was born on May 24, 1919, in Roda County, Virginia.  My Father, Wilford Frances Lawson, was born in East Potsdam, NY but don’t know what month.  The year was 1917.  My Mother then moved up to Hamburg, PA with my Grandparents.  After graduation from Hamburg Area High School in 1937, she started working for the PA State Police in Harrisburg until deciding to join the US Army in 1943.  After doing her basic training, she was shipped overseas’s to London in 1943 working at the Allied HQ doing Map tracking on a large board that showed the position’s of all the Allied troops at the time.  During this time is when she met my Father, Wilford Frances Lawson, who was stationed with the 101st Airborne Division.  They dated a number of times, and then decided to marry in Paris, France in June of 1945 (I think).  I came along on March 11th, 1947.

During her time in London, she had told me about the German Bombs that used to fall on London.  The “Buzz Bombs” were the bad ones, that she could remember.  The Germans tried many times to hit the Allied HQ, but never did.  Mom remembers going into an Air Raid Shelter until the siren would sound an “all clear”.  Coming back out of the shelter, she saw many horrible sites.  People laying in bombed out buildings, parts of bodies in the street, and the fire’s created by the bombing.  Mom told me that if you could still hear the Buzz Bomb, you were all right.  It was when you could not hear them that you never knew where is was going to hit.

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This Image is the only one that I have or know that exists of my Parents before I came along.  It was taken in the back yard of our Home in Hamburg, PA.  It’s the only one that shows my Parents together while married.  Then it all changed for my Mother.

It was at this time or sometime after I was born, that my Father just took off, left Mom, never to see him again.  I found out in later years that he never gave Mom a notice of anything.  Just up and left her, leaving her to raise me on her own with my Grandparents until they passed away in 1954 and 1956.  Mom never knew where he went or why he left.  I never knew anything until later years either.  When I used to ask Mom who my Father was she would hardly ever speak of him.  She used to cry when I would ask.  I sorta learned not to ask.  Leave it alone.  Again, I have found out thru Ancestry.com just where he went and what happened to him.  By the pictures that still exist today, I am pretty much the “spittin Image” of him, which I’m not sure if it’s good or bad.  To this day, I have really no memory of him at all.  He was there, did his thing, and left.

Mom must have had a tough time working a job in Harrisburg, PA, coming home on week-ends to help raise me, and then leave again to go back to work.  After my Grandparents passed away, she was left to raise me on her own with no Father figure in the picture at all.

In looking back to then, I must admit that my Mother was always there for me.  I never ever was abused, beaten, or treated badly in any way.  I always had good cloths to wear, taken to church every Sunday, and was reared stern but fair.  Back then I thought that Mom was tough on me, but I learned thru the years that there was a valid reason for that.  She taught me manners.  She taught me many, many things that would come into use in later years.  Much of what she taught me, I still use to this day.

Can you believe that this is me!  Well, it is.  img001

 

FOG

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The weather was not good.  It was damp, cool, and was spitting rain.  However, I took a chance to get “out there” and try to capture some Fog in one of the places that I go on occasion.  I was rewarded with some flooded areas from the rain we had some day’s ago.  A fog was hanging over the water in this desolate area.  My B&W Photography needs some improvement.  Not too bad.   The image was taken with a Pentax K10D.