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Covered Bridges of the Oxford Area – the Book

I have been playing with the idea of publishing a photography book for some time, and after my experience with producing Madison’s 10th birthday gift, I decided to make a first real attempt.

So what was my first real book going to be about?

Looking back at my recent history, it only makes sense that I do something about covered bridges, and I already had the content from the presentation I did back in October 2012 for Citadel bank.

This time is going to be easier from the standpoint that I only had a limited number of pictures, and a layout with the text.

So after a couple of hours, I was able to put the following together using the simple Adobe Lightroom module, and uploading to

I invite you to take a look, and let me know what you think.

Covered Bridges of the Oxford Area

With this first book done, and I’m sure that I’ll revisit at some point, I am beginning to put together some ideas on themed books.

This time, using Blurb’s SmartBook application to put together my next adventure, namely because it seems to offer far more options and controls than what is available in the built-in Adobe Lightroom module.

In the meantime, let me know what you think of the book!

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Barn door with corn stalks – Digital Art

I am still ‘new’ to the digital art/painting capabilities of Adobe Photoshop CS6, but it has been a lot of fun playing!

Earlier in the week, while out on a GPS drive, I captured the base image while shooting out the car window, and published it ‘as is’ so to speak.

A couple of days later, playing with a new processing technique, I came up with this!

Barn door with corn stalks - Digital Art
Barn door with corn stalks – Digital Art

I’m still fine tuning which images this technique works best, so come back again to see more images!

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GPS Drive – Northern CC

Today, I got out for a GPS drive, to see what had happen after our quick little rain storm that passed through yesterday.

During the height of the storm, the larger than normal black walnuts in our back yard, where falling like small little cluster bombs, hitting the back deck with great thuds, while colorful leaves swirled in the air.

I did have concern that I would miss the fall colors because of this storm, but as I drove around, I did find that many areas in northern Chester County still had a fair amount of green leaves, but not for long.

This is my favorite time of the year for colors, and the GPS drives are just starting!

Hope you enjoy!

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Abandoned Barn – Colerain

During my GPS Drive in South-Eastern Lancaster, I crossed over Octoraro Lake bridge on Rt. 472, and when I neared Colerain on Kirkwood Pike, I decided to turn around in one of the new developments being built.

My GPS indicated that I could easily do a loop and end back on Rt. 472, and as I did, I found this wonderful abandoned barn in the ravine of the development.

After parking and grabbing my camera, I just started to walk around the barn, looking to capture some of the aged beauty of this building.

Hinge and Window
Hinge and Window
Hinge and Weeds
Hinge and Weeds
Window Tetris
Window Tetris
Weathered Silo
Weathered Silo
Empty Basketball Frame
Empty Basketball Frame

Looking at the rest of the development, I am not sure how long this barn will remain…

– Andrew
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Nature Walk at Stroud Preserve

110501 Abiah Taylor Barn from Stroud Preserve 013 tm
Abiah Taylor Barn from Stroud Preserve

Was another Sunday morning in our household, and I had promised the kids that I would take them on another nature walk, but this time someplace new.

In the back of my mind, I knew I wanted to check out the park next to the Abiah Taylor Barn in West Chester.

While sitting on the couch and my laptop open and surfing, I fired up Google Earth to search for more information on the little park next to the barn that I’d seen in December.

Because I had geo-tagged my images from the last visit, it was easy to find the park again, and thankfully the map showed a name, Stroud Preserve, that I could further look-up.

I was easily able to find more information on Stroud preserve, and what I found amazing is that the preserve is actually part of 332 acre Water Research Center created by Dr. Morris W Stroud in the early 1990s.

To get the kid’s approval, I showed him some more of the pictures on Google Earth, and told them about what I had read.

They both seemed excited, so we gathered some provisions, backed up and headed off for our Sunday journey.

As we turned onto North Creek Road, I pointed out the barn, drove a little further, and turned into the parking lot.

Both Madison and Logan were eager to get out of the car and start running around.

I took a couple of photographs of the barn from the opposite direction trying to capture all of the yellow flowers that were carpeting the fields.

We crossed over the bridge and started down the long path that was in front of us.

To the left of us were steep hills blanketed in yellow and to the right some marshland that led to additional fields.

As we walked, I was amazed to see all the various birds flying around and was busy trying to point them out to the kids, including listening to the unique calls such as the red-winged blackbird.

110501 Stroud Preserve 075 tm of yellow flowers
Stroud Preserve – Fields of yellow flowers

While I was setting up another shot with my tripod, a fellow photographer was walking by and we started to chat.

During our conversation, we exchanged information about the preserve, and started to talk about the Flickr and Facebook groups, and finally realized that we both knew each other from the Chester County Flickr group!

Turns out that, Kelly Colgan Azar, is a long time visitor to the preserve and does a lot of ornithological photography in the area.

110501 Stroud Preserve 104 tm - Research Center
Stroud Preserve – Research Center

After a few more minutes of talking, and the kids being very patient while Kelly and I talked, we said our goodbyes and continue down the path.

As we got closer to the split in the path, it was amazing to see that even with all the rain that we have been having, the pond was missing several feet of water which was exposing the pond bottom.

We continued up the small little head towards the barn and once we got to the top we took notice of the sign saying that the area was off-limits because it was a private residence. To the people who live in the house, I am very envious!

Heading back down the hill, both kids wanted to find a path down to the pond to see what they could find, but I had to explain to them, that it was nothing but mud and we would probably get very dirty if not stuck, and it would be very hard for mommy to find us, let alone get us out!

Thankfully, they agreed and we started down the other branch of the path heading south.

Shortly into the trail, we decided to head up the steep path to the top of the hill, and once at the top, we stopped and rested while we drank some water and recovered from the climb.

After arrest, we walked the path along the ridge, and eventually reached the tree line and started down the wooded path.

At first Madison was very scared to go down the path because she feared rolling down through the woods, but her brother happily skipped along the path, causing me to tell him to slow down.

110501 Stroud Preserve 145 tm - Wooded Trail
Stroud Preserve – Wooded Trail

I stood with Madison near the top for a second and pointed out the switch-back nature of the path, and how it would help us get down the trail without injuring ourselves. Finally she agreed and we continued on.

It was really surprising to see how lush the trees were so early in the spring, and the flooring of the woods was covered in Mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum) that were still young and had not even developed flowers yet to bear fruit.

Finally we got to the bottom, turned right and followed the path along the Brandywine Creek, heading once again in the southerly direction. Eventually we had to turn around because of the “no trespassing” signs that marked the edge of the preserve.

We continued along the Creek path, exiting the woods and finding our way back to the main path, taking a right and heading back towards the bridge where the kids wanted to do some more exploring.

Once the exploring was done we headed back to the car, climbed in and headed towards the Highlands Orchard the to get some fresh apples and maybe something else, but that is another story for another time.

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June 3, 2011 – Madison published her First Blog post based on this walk!

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