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Anime Meets Native America   Leave a comment

 

Numerous words come to mind when describing the scene in Lancaster City today. Weird, surreal, and eclectic should suffice. Because today — all within the space of a few hundred feet — I was able to observe a Native American protest and Lancaster’s annual Anime convention-goers.

Anime, to save you the effort of a Google search, is a form of Japanese animation that appeals to both children and adults alike. The result is an annual gathering of individuals who dress the part of their (presumably) favorite animated characters. The costumes give the downtown a decidedly Halloween feel here in April.

The Native Americans on the other hand were protesting a planned natural gas pipeline that will cut through Lancaster county, along with other grievances such as casino corporations fleecing Native Americans, and discrimination against people of Native American descent.

And you thought Lancaster was only Amish people and outlet malls . . .

The result, in photographic form:

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Posted April 26, 2014 by ~ Bruce in People, Street, Uncategorized

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My Favorite Photos — 2013   8 comments

The past year was a pretty good one photography-wise.  It was aided immensely by two trips — a long weekend in New York City and a two-week trip to Utah.  The Utah trip, planned months in advance, occurred during the first two weeks of October and was severely disrupted by the federal government shutdown.  However, we were able to visit some spectacular areas not under federal management, and sneaked into quite a few national parks anyway.  In short, neither the vacation nor the photography suffered too much.  (But that is not forgiveness.  We are governed by children.)

Following are my favorite photos of 2013.  I hope you enjoy them.  And as always, thanks for following my photo blog and for your kind comments throughout the year!

January:  Canada Geese in flight; Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area (Pennsylvania)

January: Canada Geese in flight; Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area (Pennsylvania)

February: Tundra Swans at takeoff; Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area (Pennsylvania)

February: Tundra Swans at takeoff; Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area (Pennsylvania)

February: Snow Geese in flight; Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area (Pennsylvania)

February: Snow Geese in flight; Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area (Pennsylvania)

March: Grave, Unknown Soldier; Annapolis, Maryland

March: Grave, Unknown Soldier; Annapolis, Maryland

April: Sunrise over the Atlantic; Virginia Beach.

April: Sunrise over the Atlantic; Virginia Beach. No color saturation added.

April: Boardwalk and beach; Virginia Beach.  Digital manipulation.

April: Boardwalk and beach; Virginia Beach. Digital manipulation.

May: Street Musician, Central Market, Lancaster, PA.

May: Street Musician, Central Market, Lancaster, PA.

July:  Street scene: Washington Square Park, New York City.

July: Street scene: Washington Square Park, New York City.

July:  Street scene; Washington Square Park, New York City.

July: Street scene; Washington Square Park, New York City.

July:  Warehouse lights; New York City.  Digital manipulation.

July: Warehouse lights; New York City. Digital manipulation.

October:  Melanie is not impressed.  We hiked in anyway.  (Not a great photo.  Just a "screw you, Congress" photo.)

October: Melanie is not impressed. We hiked in anyway. (Not a great photo. Just a “What were you thinking, Congress?” photo.)

October:  Aspens at forest edge; Grand Canyon National Park, AZ.

October: Aspens at forest edge; Grand Canyon National Park, AZ. Digital manipulation.

October:  Eastern edge, Grand Canyon, as we hiked into the park toward Point Imperial.

October: Eastern edge, Grand Canyon, as we hiked into the park from a national forest road, toward Point Imperial.

October:  Point Imperial vista, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ;  It was just us at this overlook thanks to the shutdown.

October: Point Imperial vista, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ; We were alone at this overlook thanks to the shutdown. A 5 mile hike round trip.

October:  Milky Way on the horizon:  at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah.

October: Milky Way on the horizon: at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah.

October:  Milky Way rising; at Devils Den (near Escalante), Utah.

October: Milky Way rising; at Devils Den (near Escalante), Utah.

October:  Monument Valley vista;  Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Utah / Arizona.

October: Monument Valley vista; Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Utah / Arizona.

October:  Dunes at sunrise;  Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah.

October: Dunes at sunrise; Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah.

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October: Slot canyon; near Escalante, Utah.

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October: Slot canyon; near Escalante, Utah.

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October: Melanie exploring a slot canyon; near Escalante, Utah.

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October: Cisco (abandoned town); north of Moab, Utah.

October:  Cisco (abandoned town); north of Moab, Utah.

October: Cisco (abandoned town); north of Moab, Utah.

October:  Cisco (abandoned town); north of Moab, Utah.

October: Cisco (abandoned town); north of Moab, Utah.

October:  Desert scene; near Corona Arch (Moab Area), Utah.

October: Desert scene; near Corona Arch (Moab Area), Utah.

October:  Natural window; near Corona Arch (Moab area), Utah.

October: Natural window; near Corona Arch (Moab area), Utah.

October:  Three Sisters at Sunrise; Arches National Park, Utah.

October: Three Sisters at Sunrise; Arches National Park, Utah.

October:  Panorama; Arches National Park, Utah.

October: Panorama; Arches National Park, Utah.

October:  Desert scene; Arches National Park, Utah.

October: Desert scene; Arches National Park, Utah.

Delicate Arch at Sunset; Arches National Park, Utah.

Delicate Arch at Sunset; Arches National Park, Utah.

Posted January 5, 2014 by ~ Bruce in Landscapes, Nature and Wildlife, Street, Uncategorized

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah   Leave a comment

In early October, our reservations canceled at shut down Zion National Park, we decided to instead camp and photograph the dunes at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Utah.  As we were to discover, the state parks in Utah are fantastic and Coral Pink Sand Dunes is no exception.  Although the dunes are open to ATV riding during the day, they are off-limits to the vehicles until 9 a.m. — more than enough time to photograph them at sunrise.  And after all, sunrise (and sunset) is when you capture the beautiful colors and deep shadows that have made sand dunes attractive subjects to photographers since the invention of the medium.  That Melanie and I were the only people up and stirring as the sun rose only made the experience better.

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IMG_3223-1(Above)  This is actually a contrasty late afternoon photo taken shortly after we arrived.  I like how the hikers provide scale to the image.  As for hiking — well, I love hiking.  But not in sand. In fact, it sucks.  I’d rather take photos of other people hiking in sand.

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IMG_3353-1 (Above)  This is what the dunes look like at dawn, immediately after the sun rises over the nearby mountain.

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(Above)  Another sunrise “kiss” on one of the dunes, this one using a zoom lens.

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Sand_Dunes_Panorama2-1(Above)  This is actually two separate photos stitched together using the panorama feature in Adobe Elements 10.  I have some 5-image panoramas that would make fantastically big prints, but would be too long and skinny to display correctly on a website!  The technique is pretty easy.  Getting there before the sun is the harder part.

Twenty or thirty minutes later the light and colors were gone, replaced by Utah’s harsh sun and cloudless skies.  Photos like this are available to anyone —  providing that you can roll out of bed (or, in this case, sleeping bag) and get there before the sun!

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Posted October 22, 2013 by ~ Bruce in Uncategorized

Dark Skies and the Milky Way   6 comments

Our trip to southern Utah coincided with a new moon phase.  Having been out west before I knew that meant a beautiful night sky that we rarely, if ever, see on the east coast.  It also meant that I had the opportunity to try some Milky Way photography — something that has been on my to-do list for a long time.

Preparations were fairly straightforward.  I did some pre-planning by reading a few excellent celestial photography blogs, including David Kingham’s free online tutorials.  I also had the good fortune of meeting and spending an evening photographing the Milky Way with Jon Fuller, a photographer who lives in Moab and has been published in National Geographic Magazine (among other publications).  We collaborated with Jon and his wife, Paula, and both ended up with some fantastic shots in Devil’s Garden.  Finally, I also downloaded a very cool free app called Night Sky 2 Lite to my iPhone.  It allowed me to pinpoint where the Milky Way Galaxy would rise on the horizon, at 190 degrees south, between the constellations Scorpio and Sagittarius when we were there.  (Note that the Milky Way rises at different times and at different places depending upon the time of the year and your location on earth.  Early October was particularly convenient, as the galaxy rose shortly after sunset).

Although these are first attempts, below are four images that I particularly like, with my notes appended.  The gas cloud that you see in the photos below is what gives each image a “wow” factor.  Unlike the human eye, a camera gathers additive light for as long as you keep the shutter open.  This allows you to see things that the naked eye does not.

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(Above) Location:  Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah.  Exposure: 30 seconds; ISO 3200; Processed in Adobe Lightroom 4.

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(Above) Location: Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah.  Exposure: 30 seconds; ISO 3200; Foreground “painted” by Melanie Snyder with a flashlight; Processed in Adobe Lightroom 4.

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(Above) Location: Devil’s Garden (near Escalante), Utah.  Exposure: 30 seconds; ISO 3200; Foreground “painted” by Melanie Snyder with a flashlight; Processed in Adobe Lightroom 4.

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(Above) Location: Devil’s Garden (near Escalante), Utah.  Exposure: 30 seconds; ISO 3200; Foreground “painted” by Jon Fuller with a very large flashlight; Processed in Adobe Lightroom 4.

Posted October 20, 2013 by ~ Bruce in Travel Photography, Uncategorized

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Brother Joscephus & the Love Revolution   Leave a comment

Wait, what?  Brother Josephus and the Love Revolution?  That was my question when I checked out the band list for the city’s “Celebrate Lancaster” event on Friday evening.  The bottom line was that I had never heard of them, and I even wondered if maybe they were some local church gospel group or something.  I was not hopeful. And in the end, I could not have been more wrong or more pleasantly surprised.

Brother Josephus and the Love Revolution hails from Brooklyn and they are a high-energy, twelve-piece explosion of rockin’ soul music.  The energy on stage was palpable and connected with the audience like very few bands manage to do.  Combine outstanding guitar, keyboard, lead and backup vocals, with a lively brass section and more energy than a three year-old on a sugar high and you have an awesome musical experience.

Kudos to Brother Josephus and to the Mayor’s Office of Special Events for a fantastic Friday night show.  Here are a few photos that I hope hint at the fun and energy.  I wish I had arrived earlier and captured more images of the band.  But I’ve subscribed to their fan list, so maybe next time.

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Posted June 30, 2013 by ~ Bruce in Uncategorized

The World In 1957   2 comments

Thanks to the despicable invention miracle of Facebook, I have been noting the recent and inexorable parade of classmates’ birthdays.  Like millions of others I type in the obligatory, “Happy Birthday, your name here!”.  A somewhat heartfelt gesture and momentary delay of my second swig of coffee.  Actually, birthday wishes are deeply ingrained in my morning routine of finding ways to avoid doing actual work.  After all, if there are no birthdays on which to comment I must find another 5-second avoidance activity to fill the gap.  Come to think of it, it practically ruins my day.  This is why I never follow through on threats to drop Facebook.  I’d have to do more actual work.  (To all my friends and relatives to whom I have recently wished a Facebook happy birthday, it was a heartfelt gesture.  No, really, seriously.  Ah, hell.)

I digress.  So as we stare down the barrel of our 56th such celebration I can’t help but wonder what life was like back then (or way WAY back then as my kids would say).  This happens once a year, and I really have no control over it.  I do Google image searches (I’m too ADD to read the content) and click on whatever catches my eye.  This usually elicits a bevy of Holy shit! responses.  This year I have the urge to share those Holy shit! findings.  Sorry.

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The world was, shall we say, a bit nuclear obsessed in 1957.  The U.S. detonated multiple nuclear bombs in the Nevada desert and even brought in Marines for a little live-action training.  Many of these blasts were within 65 miles of Las Vegas, which in that great American free-enterprise tradition created . . .

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. . . Atomic Blast Weekends in Las Vegas!  (Note mushroom cloud in background).  Yes, you too could pay premium rates for a room facing the test grounds on a scheduled blast weekend!  Radioactive fallout worries?  Wimps.  Go to the Jersey Shore if you can’t take a little radioactivity.

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But wait!  It gets better.  America had a “Miss Atomic Bomb” in 1957!  Her name was Lee Merlin, a Copa Room showgirl complete with cotton mushroom-cloud bathing suit.  Hah!  Take that Soviet Union!  You may have conducted 4 atmospheric nuclear tests in April alone, but our Miss Atomic Bomb was surely better than any furry-hatted Kremlin babe.

On a side note and as a photographer, I really appreciate the camera angle and use of perspective in this photo.  I mean, not only is “Miss Atomic Bomb” much more shapely and beautiful than anything the communists could conjure up, but she is apparently 300 feet tall and designed to strike fear into the hearts of every living Bolshevik.  Take that, comrades!

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Speaking of beautiful women (this is where I switch over to saying “beautiful women” instead of “babes”, lest my wife point out the error of my ways), just like today they were used to sell cars back in 1957.  Except, you know, with more clothes on.  A lot more clothes on.  And pantyhose.  And goofy poses.  Come to think of it, what the hell?

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On April 13th (Hi Denise!) the US Postal Service temporarily halted Saturday deliveries because of . . . wait for it . . . lack of funds!  On April 15th Congress appropriated $41 million (hah! chump change) and Saturday delivery was restored.  And who says history doesn’t repeat itself?  In the words of Yogi Berra (who was still with the Yankees in 1957), “It’s deja vu all over again.”

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In 1957 the schools in a place called Little Rock were desegregated.  As we all know (or should know), President Eisenhower sent several thousand National Guard soldiers to Little Rock to assist the kind citizens of Arkansas in complying with federal law.

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But in other news, Elvis decided to renovate Graceland and installed this metal music gate.  Because, why not?  When you’re Elvis, it’s what you do.

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Speaking of music and 1957, these guys were in a band.  It was called The Quarrymen.  Anyone else think McCartney looks like Alfalfa from The Little Rascals?

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And some guy named Ted Geisel published a book.  One that thankfully was the beginning of the end of the excruciating “See Spot run” method of teaching reading.

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But we were still a cranky nation because of things like this.

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So we held parades in Washington D.C. to show that we had things that could fly, too.

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And because we were really afraid of this . . .

A Swissman in Moscow Leonard Gianadda, 1957 (14)

. . . and of looking like this cheerful bunch . . .

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. . . the House Un-American Activities Committee held the author of this play in contempt of Congress for not ratting out his friends.  But he probably didn’t notice . . .

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. . . because he was married to this woman at the time.  I mean, God bless America!  Amiright men?

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But all’s well that ends well because we had a new toy called “The Pluto Platter”!  Of course those heathens in 1958 ruined it by rebranding it as the “Frisbee”.  But we 57’ers know the real name.

Happy Birthday, (your name here!) to everyone else born in that golden year of 1957!  The good ol’ days?  I’m not so sure.  And Holy shit!, do I feel old . . .

Posted April 12, 2013 by ~ Bruce in Signs of the Times, Uncategorized

Waterfowl at Middle Creek   Leave a comment

Yesterday was a relatively mild Saturday with soft sunlight, thanks to some high wispy clouds.  I decided to hop into the car for the forty-minute drive up to Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area.  I had heard from other photographers that the Tundra Swans and a handful of Snow Geese had already arrived.  Given the warm lighting conditions I hoped to capture a few shots of the beautiful Tundra Swans.  A bonus was when four Canadian Geese flew close by, angled nicely toward the late afternoon sun.  I was able to track them and capture four frames before they disappeared behind some trees.  Common compared to the Tundra Swans, Canadian Geese are nonetheless beautiful birds, especially in flight.

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Posted January 20, 2013 by ~ Bruce in Uncategorized