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North West trails of Marsh Creek State Park

I captured these images during a fall walk along the North West trails of Marsh Creek State Park in Chester County, PA.

These images share some of the views during my 5+ mile walk, and thankfully, the there was no real rain to speak of during my outing.

Once again, the storm clouds added some drama to the scenes.

Hope you enjoy!

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A Fall walk in the Peacedale Preserve

Some images taken during a late Fall walk in the Natural Lands Trust’s Peacedale Preserve in Chester County, PA.

There was a weather front moving through while I was there, which allowed for some very interesting cloud and lighting conditions, and several times, I was able to see some Crepuscular rays.

At one point during my walk, I encountered a real old-timer.

In the middle of the Preserve, there is a huge beech tree, at is 3-4 feet in diameter, and easily several hundreds of years old!

I don’t think I have ever seen a monster like this!

I was also extremely surprised with all the wooly bear caterpillar that I encountered. (Predicting Winter Weather: Woolly Bear Caterpillars)

During my walk, I had to avoid walking on over a dozen of these critters!

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Missing water – Day 2 (Park Rd point)

It has been 10 days since I’ve been out shooting any of the new shorelines along Marsh Creek Lake, so in my planning I wanted to explore an area that I kind of already knew.

Being a Google Maps junkie, I pulled up Marsh Creek State Park from my Favorites, and then the “The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE)” application to check the lighting, to help me to decide where to go on this day.

Looking South-West (Start)
Looking South-West (Start)

Within minutes, I had decided on taking a look at the point where the main facilities for Marsh Creek are located on Park Road. I had walked some of these trails earlier in the summer with both kids, and remembered seeing some viewpoints that I wanted to revisit.

When one first enters the park and looks out over the lake, one cannot be but astonished by all the missing water and new shorelines.

Remains of an old traffic cone
Remains of an old traffic cone

The parking lot that extends out the point, was blocked off, and I was forced to park in the main lot, which is self, was halfway closed.

No matter, I was expecting to do some walking today anyways, so I packed up my gear and headed into the parking lot towards the eastern trails.

When I got to the end of what appeared to be the Park, I noticed a trail heading down the hill, and I decided to follow it.

Clouds Midway - (North-East) 01
Clouds Midway – (North-East) 01

After a few feet, it became apparent that during hurricane Sandy, this trail had become a rushing stream.

At the bottom of the hill, I continued along some animal trails, and eventually made it to the shoreline.

I walked along the northern shore heading West, and as I walked, I was greeted with many items of visual interest.

The shoreline itself was a darker mixture of sentiment, and depending how far in you went toward the water, it became easier to sink. the shoreline around the dam consisted more of real sand, then this thick molasses of lake mud.

Clouds Midway - (South-West) 01
Clouds Midway – (South-West) 01

While walking and looking, I made the observation that there seemed to be more human trash, than what I had seen in my walks around the dam. I saw a lot of plastic bottles of various sizes, along with a couple of shoes, a folding chair, and even a deteriorated orange safety cone base.

As I continued, the clouds began to coalesce into a show of formations that I had never seen before, and I had a hard time capturing the magnificent shapes within the evolving jet stream.

Wood squid on shoreline
Wood squid on shoreline

At one point, there was this thin series of streams, that cut through the rest of the formation, and looks like a gigantic series of cloth folds, stretching from one horizon to the other. It was definitely one of those times when I wish I had a smaller wide-angle lens.

The shoreline steepen as I headed West, and I had to scamper up to the existing trail to the tip of the point. Eventually, I emerged to see a very rocky new shoreline, which I explored for trinkets and a shot or two.

Main concrete dock
Main concrete dock

I returned to the trail, and headed north searching for a new place to start another shoreline exploration.

The shoreline in this area was much wider than areas I have been in before, and is easily accessible because of the sand rock mixture. I also noticed many more tree stumps, which made for some interesting compositions.

it is very difficult to relay to anyone that has never been to these places, what a major change has occurred with this eight-foot drawdown.

Rental building
Rental building

Once familiar places, now looks so surreal and primitive.

As I stood on the deck of the restaurant, I took a series of panoramic shots, that I still need to process, in hopes to further illustrate this tremendous change.

Looking at my watch, I started back up the hill towards the parking lot and my car.

At the maintenance gate for the pool complex, I stopped to capture the final image of the day.

Swimming Park
Swimming Park

Winter has come…


  • Are there any local efforts to clean up the trash and debris while so much of it is easily accessible?

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First Day with ND 3.0 10-stop filter

As part of “Daddy Day Camp”, I took the kids up to Lionville Elementary School to practice their biking riding, in prep for taking off the training wheels.

We first started in the upper play ground, and after parking, I unloaded the bikes, and the kids were gone. I had to coach them a little, but with the follow-up tweaks after Sunday’s outing, both kids were doing much better.

Now I was able to grab my tripod and camera and set up for some shooting.

The wind was rather gusty, and was really nicely formed white clouds against a very deep blue sky, and I had my new filter… Tee hee! wink… wink…

With my first few shots, I felt like a complete amateur, because as I would set one thing that, I’d forget about something else, and the shot would be blown, but I got into a rhythm and finally began to click off some shots.

Most of these pictures were taken at ISO 100 f22 for 30 seconds to 1 minute, the tennis practice image was around 3 second, using the B+W 58mm 3.0 ND MRC 110M Filter.

At one point, I could hear Logan asking me why I was taking pictures of cars, as I set up for my shot looking north on Route 113 with the Devon Rd. intersection in the background.

He was very puzzled, and even more so, when I showed him the pictures later during proofing. The cars just disappeared!

While playing with my new filter, it became very apparent to me, that I was going to need to recalibrate my water shots, and how to do my HDR work with so much potential ghosting issues during processing.

But as they say no gain without pain.

So come back again, and see what new things I’ve done with this new filter of mine!

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Cloud Hunting

As many locals will tell you, the past three days have been filled with some awesome looking clouds, and finally, I got a chance to go out and shoot some…

I had to stop at home to grab my gear, and I also jumped on Google Earth to get a quick idea of areas I wanted to check-out with the clouds being as inspiring as they were!

My first stop, was just East of Shamona Creek Elementary School, which is rather close to where I live, and having just photographed a similar scene just over two weeks ago, I knew that there was a nice overview both North and South.

Cloud Hunting hdr 04 (08/16/2011)
Cloud Hunting hdr 04 – South

The biggest thing that you notice missing, is the big bails of hay, which were one of the focus point in the previous Black and White image conversion.

From this scene, I walked across the street and up a small hill to capture the next image, and I am very happy to have been able to capture one of the birds that was out souring with the various up-drafts.

Cloud Hunting hdr 07 - North (08/16/2011)
Cloud Hunting hdr 07 – North

After this shot, I got back to my car, and headed toward the other side of the school, where I set-up and took some more shoots. (Note: I have decided to wait and HDR process those images when there is real snow on the ground!)

Backing up again, I continued West down Dorlan Mill Road to Creek Road (Rt. 282).

For those that have been following my blog closely, yes, this is the same Creek Road I explored on a Friday in the 101°F heat earlier in July, and very thankfully, it is much cooler this time!

As I drove North West on Creek Road toward Glenmoore, I looked at the Brandywine creek, making metal notes of how the water has risen some, and where I want to explore in the up coming months.

I continued through Glenmoore, and as I was driving and looking, I spotted the following cumulus thunderhead developing, and pulled over to the side as quickly as possible to capture this (7) image HDR capture:

Cloud Hunting hdr 28 (08/16/2011)
Cloud Hunting hdr 28

I took a couple of different angles on this, and as I was, an adult heron fly from right to left in this image, and disappeared into the woods behind the cat-o-nine-tails.

Jumping back into my car, I continued toward Elverson on Creek Road, crossing Manor Road (Rt. 82), and as I started up the small hill, I noticed a group of cows, laying on the ground resting with wonderful clouds in the background.

I quickly turned around, pulled over, and grabbed my equipment.

My fear as I approached the fence, was that all the cows were going to get up and head toward me.

Cloud Hunting hdr 33 (08/16/2011)
Cloud Hunting hdr 33 (08/16/2011)

But alas, the cows seemed content to stay were they were, and I was able to click a few frames before my camera just stopped working.


I wanted to continue, so I headed home to grab my AA battery pack, but by the time I got there, and back out my car, the clouds had changed into pending rain, which the area needs, but is no where nearly as interesting as it had been.

I called it a day, and started the process of transferring my images from the camera on to my computer for further processing.

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After working on the second image, “Cloud Hunting hdr 07 – North”, until 3am this morning, I woke up to find that it had been selected as “Image of the Day” by Parkesburg Today!

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