Reading, Pennsylvania is a beautiful place to visit, during the day. Around 3:00 this morning I decided to go see the Pagoda all lit up and take some photos. I was hesitant, possibly a little scared about going there alone at that time but I went anyway.
I headed up the steep, curvy road to the top and was pre-visualizing the composition (you’re supposed to do that). What I hadn’t pre-visualized was the twenty five, let’s say derelicts, let’s say, behaving badly.
I got out to look around and suddenly they all began to leave. One guy looked at me and said; “Yo you snitched!” I didn’t answer because I wanted to see if he was going to shoot me, but he didn’t, obviously. So far so good I thought, now I have the whole place to myself.
Then thirty seconds after I got my tripod set up two cop cars pulled in with lights flashing. “Parks closed-these people don’t know how to behave-it happens every night,” one announced. I considered arguing with him but the last time I fought the law the law won.
I asked if I could just take a few photos, he sighed and said to make it quick in his best Joe Friday voice. Then I told him that I wanted to climb up the path to get a better view and he just laughed.
Luckily I got a decent shot, and luckily the cops came when they did because I really wanted the gang in the photo for foreground interest, although that probably would have ended badly.
The lessons I took from this are to go to the places that scare you, except for the Reading Pagoda alone in the middle of the night. And to bracket, even with angry cops waiting for you to finish and go home.
It’s hard to appreciate the effort it takes to park like this with such precision until you’ve seen it. First they convince the horse to back into a spot, then they unload the family and send them ahead. The driver now has to unhitch the horse and tie him up to a post, ideally in the shade.
The second horse and buggy driver goes through the same procedure, lining his up perfectly next to the first, and the next and the next. It’s a beautiful thing really although I’ve never seen the reverse procedure, which must be a lot harder.
It seems like an overly complicated way to park, and I’ll have to ask them one day, but they’ll probably tell me: “Sell kann ennichpepper duh.” Which means anyone can do that.
I was experimenting with my new Sony A6000 and ended up at a scout camp with a beautiful pond. I saw that the water lilies had started to bloom and rushed over to take a few photos.
They were only three or four feet from shore, but with my kit lens I just couldn’t get close enough. Then I heard a high pitched voice and realized it was the dragonfly hovering around the flower.
He said: “Get in the water you wimp!” I really didn’t want to take a chance on drowning my brand new camera but for some reason I listened. I rolled up my jeans, waded in and prayed the tripod wouldn’t sink into the mud.
After a while I figured I should quit while I was ahead, and got out when he spoke again. This time he said: “Now get your other camera, its better for close ups.” He was right and we both knew it, so I did.
I took about sixty more photos and was ready to call it a day when he started again. He rambled on about ISO, metering, composition and exposure and made some good points, but soon he started to sound really annoying in that whiny fly voice so I left.
Note: if you meet the teacher at the pond, think twice about blindly following his advice, especially if he’s a bug.
I met Woodie today on a busy street corner in the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I’ve seen him before but never gave him anything, and tried not to look at him when sitting at the traffic light.
Watching him standing there in the rain with his homeless sign, I decided to stop this time. I introduced myself, gave him money for lunch, and asked if I could take a photo. I didn’t ask him his life story because it’s none of my business.
I read an article a while back that the Lancaster City Council was considering an ordinance that would ban panhandling. City merchants also petitioned the city to do something about it, they say it makes customers uncomfortable and chases away business.
“When people give money on the street, it makes the panhandling problem worse,” Dan Jurman, chairman of the Mayor’s Commission to Combat Poverty told the Lancaster Newspaper.
The article went on to say: “There’s also the valid argument that in many cases, cash given to a panhandler amounts to nothing more than a quick drug fix.”
Woodie told me he was hungry, if he gets a beer or two with lunch, or a bottle instead of lunch I have no problem with that. A man is asking for help and I decided to give what I could.
“Your job is not to judge. Your job is not to figure out if someone deserves something. Your job is to lift the fallen, to restore the broken, and to heal the hurting.” Joel Osteen