Tag Archives: Google+

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! [usflagballoon.com]

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.

- Andrew
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Light Painting Meet-Up – Chester County

Light Painting Meet-up by Andrew J Wood (http://www.awoodpix.co.uk)
Light Painting - Andrew J Wood (http://www.awoodpix.co.uk)

For those of you that live in the Chester County PA area, I am trying to put together a Light Painting Meet-Up!

For those of you that are new to the idea, I suggest you take a look at the following example:

So if you are interested, please let me know.

In the mean time, check out either

for the latest information!

– Andrew
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Columbus Day Photography

Looking down the Brandywine - Hibernia Park
Looking down the Brandywine – Hibernia Park

I was lucky enough to have a free day to go out and do some shooting.

The later Summer, early Autumn weather has been relatively warm, and no cold snaps to set the leaves into colors yet, but I was still going to go out.

If anything, just to do some scouting.

So off I went…

I love having a GPS!

After about an hour of just driving around, enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Morgantown, Churchtown and Honey Brook areas, I headed toward Hibernia Park to find the spot I had surveyed earlier in the Summer on another GPS drive.

After parking in the small little lot, I equipped myself, crossed the bridge and down the trail to find a way to creek edge.

What had caught my eye about this section before, was the bigger rocks and swifter water flow.

I was hoping for more color in the canopy over the water, but it was not going to be…

Looking up the Brandywine - Hibernia Park
Looking up the Brandywine – Hibernia Park

Even without the real reds and oranges of Fall, this part of the Brandywine presented many nice sections of water action, and found myself setting up and capturing several section during my creek walk.

As I crawled across a fallen tree, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a single small white mushroom, growing in the hollowed out root ball of one of the trees.

Tree Stump with White Mushroom - Hibernia Park
Tree Stump with White Mushroom – Hibernia Park

Setting up my tripod for this shot, was very difficult because of the angle I needed to see into the stump, and having a stable platform to do the multiple shoots needed for HDR, but I think it was worth it.

– Andrew
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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.

Damn!

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.

- Andrew
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Updates

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!

Waterfall – Longwood Gardens hdr

Waterfall - Longwood Gardens HDR
Waterfall - Longwood Gardens HDR

Originally uploaded by Andrew (SDC)

This image was taken last summer, when I was at Longwood Gardens with my Father.

It is 6 shoots at f29 between 1.6 seconds and 15 seconds.

Processed using Photoshop CS5.

Via Flickr:
A small waterfall located within Longwood Gardens in Chester County (PA).