an everyday photo, every day | photography • art • poetry

pennsylvania

Bonfire

close-up of fire

Bonfire

What a wonderful picnic get-together last night with the Scott Conservancy on the Kane’s Woods property, lots of food, a bonfire, perfect weather thanks to Jane, whose grant for a perfect evening was apparently approved. Difficult decision which photo do I post tomorrow—wildflowers? sunset? bonfire? moonrise? This of the bonfire was the one that caught my eye.

Photographing fire can be like photographing any other element that moves, such as waves, or rain or snow, but fire has the added attraction of being less than opaque.  A fast enough shutter speed will capture the flames without too much blur, but leave out all the other details. The trick is to focus on a fixed object that has  a little bit of light on it and the rest usually meters and falls into place.

I’ve actually photographed Kane’s Woods at other events and just when I visit to hike. You can use the following links to Wildflowers of a Summer Evening, taken at the 2010 picnic, Home Sweet Home also taken last year, and a winter post called Taking the Measure of a Tree, and especially a photo that links to a short video I took of water gurgling in the stream in the spring, A Walk in the Woods. Also explore slideshows on this site in special slideshows under Local Nature Walks.

I also have a few other photos of bonfires at events at conservation areas, Bonfire at Twilight at Wingfield Pines as we gathered to skate on a snowy night, and Sparks at a similar event at an earlier year.

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A Farm Along the Road

hayfield and farm

A Farm Along the Road

A neat and tidy farm settles in a slight hollow at the end of a ripening hayfield cast against a stretch of woods, fleabane and early yarrow dotting the edge of the field.

While much of Western Pennsylvania is hilly, sometimes unpredictably so, and these narrow two-lane backroads can often lead to surprise drop-offs from the roadside as you round a bend, this area is in the range of the edge of a long-ago glacier that scraped the hills into the valleys and created deep gravel beds. The land rises and falls as if it gently breathes in its sleep.

For its simplicity, the farm was eye-catching and had I but 20 minutes I would have stopped along the roadside and done a quick pastel of it. Alas, I was trying to outrun a thunderstorm and knew I’d have only about 10 minutes before I was soaked, and I didn’t relish the thought of driving in a downpour. I did win the race, but next time I may stop anyway.