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Roadside

Eclipse Roadtrip

Eclipse Roadtrip

I imagine by now anyone who didn't know there was a Solar Eclipse last Monday has heard by now. I imagine it was probably the most photographed natural phenomena ever. I imagine we'll continue to see those photos trickle off photographer's memory cards for a little while too. While I'm going to share two of my eclipse photos below, I personally found the adventure to be much more exciting. Here's a taste of what we saw on the road to West Virginia ...

note about the music: I recently discovered Event Horizon on Instagram and really liked this track. A special thanks to Shane for letting me pair his music with my Images. You can find him on Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple Music, Instagram, Facebook, and other sites ...


 

Hitting the road ...

Living in Pennsylvania meant that we were around the 70% of totality zone. If we wanted to see the total eclipse we would have to do some traveling. While I had my heart set on Kentucky it seemed kind of impractical, especially given the threat of clouds and storms that would block the view. So I waited and tried to pick a place with some potential that was a little closer.

I finally settled on Valley Falls State Park near Fairmont, West Virginia. The photos I saw of the area looked gorgeous, and I always love a good waterfall scene. It was a really beautiful place which helped my patience while the clouds were blocking the sun.

Valley Falls State Park - Fairmont, WV

Valley Falls State Park - Fairmont, WV

 

The Eclipse ...

The eclipse began just as we arrived at Valley Falls State Park. We were able to catch a glimpse or two at the beginning before the edge of a storm system moved in. We were literally right on the edge of the clouds, but it was better than getting rained dumped on us. That was the situation just a few miles away. The clouds swished by for a while and the system didn't really move much until after the peak of the eclipse. Despite the challenge I was happy to walk away with some photos.

A quick snap before the clouds took over for a while.

A quick snap before the clouds took over for a while.

Wisps of clouds passing in front of the eclipse at it's peak in northern West Virginia 8.21.17

Wisps of clouds passing in front of the eclipse at it's peak in northern West Virginia 8.21.17


Along the way ...

The eclipse was awesome, and Valley Falls State Park was awesome, and there were two other stops along the way that we really enjoyed. On the return trip we stopped at the Youghiogheny Overlook Welcome Center near Friendsville, MD. It provided a nice place to relax for a little with a lovely view of rolling mountains and the Youghiogheny River Lake flowing North towards Pennsylvania.

My favorite stop on the entire trip was the Sideling Hill Welcome Center near Hancock, Maryland. We were able to stop there going both directions. The eastbound rest stop is connected to the westbound via a walking bridge. I definitely plan to return there in different seasons and different weather conditions. This was one of my favorite views in a while, check it out ...

Looking East from Sideling Hill Welcome Center in the morning.

Looking west at Sunset from Sideling Hill Welcome Center during our return trip. 

Route Map and Photos ...

Take a look at the route map below and you can see exactly where we stopped. Zoom in and you can see some of the images I captured at each location. If you're a Google Maps user you can save the map for a future road trip for yourself!! Happy Exploring!


 

Ready for #LifeALLIn?

Skyline Drive 360 - Reading, PA

Skyline Drive 360 - Reading, PA

The first blog post of the year and it isn't even going to be about Lancaster. We rang in the new year with some sick days here at home, so we haven't been getting out much yet. Anxious to get out, but also needing to avoid the cold, we took a little drive up to Reading, Pa so I could capture a 360 video of the infamous Skyline Drive.

Since getting my SP360 setup back in December I've been looking for unique spots for 360 experiments. 360 Video definitely has a bit of a learning  curve, BUT I like to share what I capture as I continue to learn. I've been converting a lot of the videos to tiny planets and such for Instagram. Be sure to follow along over there to see what I'm up to!

 

I find Skyline Drive to be very interesting. We make it up to the area quite a bit throughout the year. In this video I drive down from North to South passing the William Penn Memorial Firetower, a few Overlook pull-offs, and of course the Reading Pagoda. While some of the stonework and other features are in need of repair there is lots to explore and discover, and tons of photo opportunities. Just check out the slideshow below from my Skyline Drive Gallery on http://dochterdigitalmedia.com.

Photo Gallery


Videos

The first video is the 360 driving footage from the north side of Mount Penn. After turning onto Skyline Drive from McKnights Gap Rd I pulled over quickly to turn on the camera. So I began recording at the Northernmost edge of the Park property and filmed until just after passing the Reading Pagoda.


The second video is shorter than the first and flattened. While trimming for Instagram I selected some of the highlight portions of the drive and controlled the perspective using Insta360 Studio.  While I enjoy 360 and using VR headsets three is still much to learn on my end and many advances to come in the technology. I think flattening the 360 footage using Insta360 Studio is a great way to utilize the advantages of 360 video in a format most people use to consume their content (i.e. not looking around frantically with a giant thing strapped to your face). I hope you've been enjoying these short 360 clips. Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know what you think.


For more details on what is available to do on Skyline Drive, as well as information about the Reading Pagoda, The William Penn Memorial Firetower, events, and more simply visit http://www.pagodaskyline.org/

360 Drives 001  Welsh Mountains to Valleys

360 Drives 001 Welsh Mountains to Valleys

As many of you reading the blog already know, I am a huge fan of 360 imagery. I have been contributing Street Views to Google Maps for the last few years and even carried a Google Trekker around Lancaster County (check that story out here). Well after much planning and about a year and a half of waiting I recently crossed the threshold from 360 stills to 360 video. Super PUMPED about that!

Now that I got my hands on my Kodak SP360 Dual Pro Pack I have wasted no time in getting started. There are so many cool ideas swimming in my head already and I'm not going to make you wait to share them. I've always said over the last few years "we're in a constant state of evolution". Ironically, so is the 360 and Virtual Reality world. It has been an amazing industry to watch over the last few years and I'm so glad to be able to get into this format and see what we can do.

I figured I would start things off with some driving tests. So the other day after picking my daughter up from school we took a little drive from Overlys Grove up over the eastern most edge of the Welsh Mountains. Then we headed through the valleys on the other side as we headed towards Upper Leacock. 

Be sure to leave a comment and let me know what you think!! Check out the links below if you're interested in trying a cardboard or slightly better VR viewer. I think it's a really cool experience!

The Route

Along the Road

Along the Road

When I started Amish Road Show the idea was that I would be traveling the roads of Lancaster County and share what I discover. While a lot has changed about the process that is still how I capture a lot of images. Just by going for a drive to see what pops up. Here are a few recent photos captured during my travels.

Cows along Leacock Road, New Holland, Pa.

Yesterday I was following my step-dad to the garage. He isn't accustomed to my sporadic stopping in the road. I noticed he kept going, but the stopped around the corner haha. Anyway, the cows above are what prompted stopping. Leacock Road comes to a T at this field and these cows were coming strait towards me to head back to their barns. Any other time it would likely be there butts pointed my direction, so I took the opportunity to stop and admire the scene. Click, click ...

 

Whoa fred, look at that one!! An Alpaca takes notice of a passing horse and buggy in Ronks, PA. 

Above is another example of some roadside serendipity. The family and I were out for a drive and went looking for some animals. We happened across this Alpaca farm in Ronks and pulled over for a few pictures. Just as we were about to leave I heard the clippity clop of a horse and buggy coming up the road. Snap, snap ...

Sunset reflecting in the puddles on Saw Mill Rd. near Farmersville

For my photography friends, puddles are another roadside favorite of mine. I love going out after it rains to see what kind of puddles are laying around. I've captured a few nice sunset reflections this way. The thing is, if it's been dry, most puddles begin to dry up immediately. Like within an hour. Mostly because our roads and paved surface aren't supposed to collect puddles. They're supposed to drain off, but hey stuff happens and roads get old. The point being that the sooner you can get out after the rain the better. There will still be puddles here and there for hours or days, but the sooner you get out the more potential shots are available. Snap snap ...

 

Farm fresh pumpkns at sunrise along Amsterdam road near New Holland.

Finally, everyone should make a point to get out for Sunrise once in awhile. Not like, on your way to work. No I mean like out for a stroll, ride, or drive with a cup of coffee and no destination. It wasn't until I began taking my photography seriously that I truly began to appreciate sunrise. It's a very beautiful time day and a great sunrise can be a great start to your day. Plus you can find awesome deals on Pumpkins apparently. First pick, click click ...

 

Share your Roadside Photos ...

Have some roadside photos of your own? Share them with us!! You can drop them in the comments here on the blog, or tag #GrandLancaster and share with one of our social profiles below ...

Amish Camals

Amish Camals

Over the last few years there have been more and more Camals popping up at Amish farms. Some say there are health benefits to Camal's milk over Cow's milk. Honestly I haven't dig into it myself, but it does make for a good hump day picture. 

 

Milking Camals on a farm near New Holland, Pa. 

Milking Camals on a farm near New Holland, Pa.