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Super Moon 2013

I started posting on FacebookFlickrGoogle+ and Twitter a while ago, so everyone knew it was coming…

Last year, in early May, there was a dense cloud cover over the whole area, but the small group of us, still managed to have some fun with night-time photography.

Back in April, we gathered for the Lyrid meteor shower, but did not see anything with the naked eye, but did manage to do a few light drawings!

Early in the week, the weather reports suggested that once again the Chester County area was going to have clouds, and as Sunday approached, watching the reports, I was skeptical.

By Sunday afternoon, I started to see posts from folks wondering when and where to meet, and it was agreed to meet at the usual location, the Boat Launch side of Marsh Creek.

All afternoon, I was looking at the sky, and by 7:45pm, I left the house.

While I drove along Creek Rd (282) heading north, I could peek through the trees, and began to think that our atmospheric luck was beginning to change.

As I turned right on N Reeds Rd, and looked over my shoulder into the horse field, I was greeted with this –

Hilltop Sunset - Super Moon 2013
Hilltop Sunset – Super Moon 2013

I continued down the park road, and turned into the front parking lot,nearest to the lake, and was looking for tripods.

Passing the first group, I did not see anyone that I knew, and continuing on until I thought I recognized a truck, and then I saw a friendly wave.

After parking, I got out of the car, walking over to Dan and Brian, shaking their hands in greetings.

Canoes at Sunset - Super Moon 2013
Canoes at Sunset – Super Moon 2013

We chit chatted as I unpacked and setup.

It did look like a good night!

Not perfect, but it will do, and for the next two hours, I had some fun with the event!

I knew I could not stay out late, and said my ‘goodbyes’, and headed home.

While driving back along Creek Rd, the brightness of the full moon pierced the leaves of the trees, making me think of a quick picture to end the night.

Eventually, I found myself in the small parking lot across the street from the new Minquas Fire Company Station House.

I was about 5 minutes late, but what are you going to do…

Minquas Fire Company HQ - Super Moon 2013
Minquas Fire Company HQ – Super Moon 2013

From here, I headed home…

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Facebook Profile picture for Minquas Fire Company!

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2013 Chester County Balloon Festival

The last time I went to the Chester County Hot Air Balloon Festival was back in 2011, when it was held at the Embreeville Athletic Fields along Telegraph Road (Rt 162).

Back then, I remember that at the gates closest to the balloons, were packed with people and one could hardly move!

This year, the festival was held at Plantation Field Horse Trials just outside of Unionville, and the venue change alone was awesome! Chester County at it’s finest!

That being said, be prepared to walk, up and down the long public slope that features live music, arts & crafts and food booths.

In the small valley, the balloons were unfurled and prepared for flight.

The extremely long fence line offered great close-up views for hundreds at a time, which was a welcomed change!

Earlier in the year, I contacted the festival organizers about getting some Passes for the Chester County Photography Groups (Facebook, Flickr, Google+ and Twitter) and they provided me with 5 All Access Passes!

I posted that I had the Passes to the groups, and with an hour, they were spoken for.

After several round-robin emails and phone calls, I was able to give John Griggs and Michael Weinstein their tickets for the event.

To say that we were not excited would be a gross understatement.

With the passes, we were able to walk freely in the Launch area, as the hot air was being blown into the balloons as they slowly rose into the sky!

Just before sunset, after most of the balloons had launched, the Shaped balloons began their rise, and a featured balloon was the Patriot – The Space Shuttle.

It is HUGE!

It is 190 feet Tall, 115 feet Wide and weighs 992 pounds! []

It is something that really needs to be seen live!

Some of the earlier launched balloons returned, and set up to do some night time glows for the large audience that was still there.

As 9:30 rolled around, there was a general slow exodus from the grounds.

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Lyrid meteor showers

Lightning Boat
Lightning Boat

I had been publishing details about this event for several days on both Facebook and Google+…

and I was also hoping, that this being the third time, it was going to be a charm for the Chester County PA Photography group…

A hardy group gathered on this Sunday night (4/21)…  the temps in the low 40s, with a slight breeze… to bear witness to the fable Lyrid meteor showers…

  • Shannon Chambers McMahon
  • Margaret Smith Reif
  • Daniel Potter
  • Brian Arters
  • Andrew Seymour

Around 20:30 PM, we setup our camp of tripods, near the middle of the parking lot, on the Boat Launch side of Marsh Creek State Park, and started to peer North-East, looking for the elusive light trails in the night sky.

We knew that the constellation Lyra would be rising around 22:00 PM, and the darkest hours where hours away, at 03:37 AM Monday (4/22), just before the moonset…

A potentially long ‘school’ night for the Parents…

Group Picture of Light Painting
Group Picture of Light Painting

Light Painting

During the general chatter of a meet-up, someone mentioned that they had sparklers with them… knowing, that I have been wanting to do a Light Painting session!

With giddy delight, we lit some of the sparklers, and started to trace words and shapes in the night air.

With a little further guidance, the apprentices took over, and the light ‘markers’ began to dance in the darkness.

Lightning Signature
Lightning Signature

And we experimented!

  • Sparklers – A tried and true favorite of every celebration!
  • LED Head Lamp into Glass Jar –  Please Post the “Heart Beat”
  • LED Flood Light – The magic marker of the night

Many ideas and jokes were tossed about as folks tried different things in an effort to capture something new and different.

Finally, as the Phillies baseball game ended, the last of the group backed up and headed home!

Light Logo
Light Logo

Once again, no new discoveries in the skies of Chester County, but Light Painting maybe the next big thing!

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No Super Moon – Still had a good time!

120505 Super Moon 007
120505 Super Moon 007

Last Thursday, May 3rd, Nina Downing Cazille posted on the Chester County PA Photography Facebook page, a Yahoo! News story, that suggested on Saturday night, that not only was the Super Moon going to be visible, possibly Saturn and maybe a dusting from Halley’s comet!

There was some spirited discussion on who might attend, and much speculation about the weather, since much of the past week or so, has been very cloudy and rainy.

When I woke up on Saturday morning, and looked out the window, only to find the skies still thickly clouded.

This was not good.

With coffee in hand, I went to the Chester County PA Photography page, and started a new thread, trying to finalize the details for our rather impromptu meet-up, later in the night.

Throughout the day, I kept looking at the sky, and try to figure out which way the clouds were moving.

In the mid-afternoon, I took both my kids down to East Ward elementary school, to burn off some energy in preparation for the evening, and when we started to leave, I was beginning to see increasingly larger sections of blue sky, which was very encouraging for a night of photographing the Super Moon.

By the time dinner had been prepared and consumed, the cloudy skies had returned.

Just before I left, I quickly checked the radar for clouds, and the hourly animation strongly suggested that there were big clear pockets of clear sky, coming down from the north, and would be over us within an hour or so.

Using Creek Road (Rt. 282), I got to the boating side of Marsh Creek State Park, within 20 minutes, and was able to find easy parking because many people were already packing up and leaving for the night.

After parking, I started to get my gear, but hesitated from getting it all out, because I still feared that no one was going to show up.

When I reached the predetermined meeting point, I was very delighted and relieved to see several other people standing there with their cameras!

  • Nina Downing Cazille
  • Shannon Chambers McMahon
  • Tony Babcock
  • Elaine Erwin-Babcock
  • I know I am missing some folks!

It was very nice to know that I am not the only crazy one!

After the various introductions, I headed back to my car, and grabbed my gear, heading back to the group to setup for the rest of the evening.

As the night wore one, we talked about various topic, and exchanged various stories about photography, family and life.

We also tried to identify which towns were glowing against the sky line, as well as experimenting with flashes and flash-lights.

At 23:35, when perigee finally arrived, the clouds were still as thick as when we started, but it did seem a little brighter, which could also have been from us standing in the dark for the past three and half hours.

It was not long after, that we packed up our gear, said our good byes and headed home. In reading the subsequent posts on the Facebook page, it seems that everyone had a good time!

– Andrew
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Chester County How to(s)? Information PhotoShare-MakeOver (PSMO) Projects Reference

FTP – PhotoShare-MakeOver (PSMO) projects

In setting up of the “Chester County (PA) Photography” Facebook page, and the Introduction of the “PhotoShare-MakeOver” (PSMO) projects, I may have overlooked some details…

So this Post, is the First in a planned Series, of short FAQ style articles, based on feedback from this Blog, Facebook and Flickr groups that I belong to.

Here goes…

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What is FTPing files? – RE: “PhotoShare-MakeOver” (PSMO) projects

FTP is a fundamental protocol of the Internet, as the name implies “File Transfer Protocol“. It has been around since the inception of the Internet. It is a base protocol for how things work on the Internet. It is your Friend!

– You could also think of it, as the phone line coming into your home, your voice(s) are nothing more than data passing back and forth.

In the good old days, one would have to get into a command line session, maneuver to the various directories, start a PUT/GET, and continue.

Allot of typing, mistakes, etc…

Finally, someone put a GUI (Graphical User Interface) to the protocol, and created an application as an easier way to move files!

Those FTP applications, also known as Clients, are available for EVERY platform, and I believe every OS still has the ability to FTP form the command line…

FTP Clients are the way to go, but deciding which one…

It is my nature to be frugal, so Free is good, and Good Free software that is reliable is even better!

So I offer up FileZilla as my personal choice.

FileZilla is open source software distributed free of charge under the terms of the GNU General Public License.”

Well worth the price!

FTPing – RE: “PhotoShare-MakeOver” (PSMO) projects (Downloading)

This is the easy part!

Most modern Browsers allow FTP downloads with a simple click of a link, and following the various download dialog boxes and screens.

Once you have the file(s) locally on your hard drive, now have fun putting your “touches” to the images!

Don’t forget to Re-Post your efforts to the Group(s)!

FTPing – RE: “PhotoShare-MakeOver” (PSMO) projects (Uploads)

If you would like to be considered for a “PSMO Project“, please contact one of the Group Admin‘s.

For illustration, I am going to use, if you are going to use another website/domain, please contact that Admin for details on Directory, Username and Passwords.

It is estimated that the PSMO files are going to be approximately 50MBs+ in size per image, and need a Common Area for the files to be stored so others can access/download them for the projects.

In the case of, I have setup a Dropbox for the “Chester County (PA) Photography” groups, which is Password Protected for Uploading.

For Username and Current password, please contact the PSMO Admins.

The “CCPP PSMO – Dropbox” can be found here: <>

Again, you need a Username and Password to Upload, and if files are NOT invited, they will be deleted!

If you have the Current Username and Password, you launching your FTP Client, in this case, FileZilla (WinTel).

First Time Setup – FileZilla &

The first time that you use, you will need to follow these steps. but once done, but once Saved, you can return to the Site without the need to go through all these setup steps:

<– These instructions are for the Windows Client –>

Launch/Open FileZilla;

  • Go to the File menu, and select “Site Manager…“;
  • In the “Host Name:” field, Enter “” (without the “Quotes”);
  • In the “Logon type:” drop-down, select “Normal“;
  • Enter in Username and Password;

On the General tab –

  • In the Site Manager window, on the Left side, look for the “New Site” button;
  • Name the new site “CCPaPhotography_UL” (without the “Quotes”);

On the Advanced tab –

  • Nothing needed at this time

Then Click the Connect button at the bottom of the dialog box.

Once you have connected, you should see a index.html file, please do NOT touch this file!

From here you should, find the file(s) that you wish to upload with FileZilla and than Upload (FTP “PUT”) your invited files!

Once you are completed Uploading your files, please let the Admins knows so that an announcement can be made!

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know!

Thanks in advance (TIA),

– Andrew
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