Two New Prints for Firebird Festival 2012

This weekend is,

The Phoenixville Firebird Festival

That’s right folks, it’s Firebird time again. No offense to the other awesome shows I do, but this one is my favorite and it’s looking to be bigger and better than ever this year. The festival runs from 4pm to whenever the bird has stopped burning, usually 11ish. I will be there as always to sell my art. I hope to see you all at the show too!

Like every show I do, I like to premier a new print. But this year, I have two new prints!

The first of these prints is MOUNTAIN CHAPEL an image I had in my gallery for a while now but stood out to me as an image that would make a good print. The subject is the Dahlgren Chapel in Turner’s Gap Maryland. I saw this chapel in the early morning while hiking with my brother along the Appalachian Trail. Am I the only crazy person who takes a full size SLR camera backpacking?

The second print is THE PHOENIX. This is a print of this yearsFirebird! This is the first time I will have a photograph of the current years bird available as a print at the show. Something else I did different this year is to have it as a black and white print. And another first is that it is my first digital black and white available as a print. Normally I do not do digital B&W, but this image looked best as a black and white so I am giving it a go.

I have had two 5×7′s and two 8×10′s printed on the same awesome metallic pearl paper I use for my color images. If there are leftovers of either image after the show, I will post them for sale here on Monday. If you can’t wait that long or are worried that it will sell out before you can grab one, you can always place a special order which I am accepting now. Any special order received before Monday will get to you in time for Christmas.

Also, lets not forget the print of last years bird, EMBERS GLOW, that I will also have on hand at the show. I have an order placed for postcards with my fingers crossed that they will get here by Friday.

So, remember to come out and see the coolest bonfire around as Phoenixville burns it’s ninth Firebird!

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We’re Open!

That’s right folks the site is back up and running and better than ever. New galleries, new shop and a new look. So come on over to check out the redesign and let me know what you think. While you are here don’t forget about getting your loved ones a Christmas/Holiday gift. Art makes a great gift! And if you use the coupon code: CHRISTMAS12 at checkout you can save 10% too! (sale ends December 25th)



Just remember that if you want your order to arrive by Christmas, you need to order it by 5PM EST on December 20th for Priority Mail and Express Mail (Friday is the last day I can ship before the USPS cut off dates.) Due to the extra time needed for Special Orders, you will only have until December 10th to be guaranteed delivery by Christmas.

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Some more site updates…

Yup, some more site updates. For a very short time the store and gallery will disappear from the site and return better than ever. But in the meantime hang in there. If you want to see my images, visit my Flickr page and I still have some items in my Etsy shop. I hope to have the work completed and everything fully operational by Friday afternoon. So, please pardon our dust.


Be back soon!


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Pardon our dust…

I am redesigning the website a little bit before the fall/winter festivals kick into gear. So please bear with me. Redesigning a live site can be a tad hard, so watch out for random parts of the site not working or text that can’t be read. Also the shop is still working for right now if you want to still buy something.

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The fundraiser is over.

Well, my project unfortunately failed. Thanks to all of you who helped by either spreading the word or by making a pledge.

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The Final Stretch…

We are quickly moving into the final stretch for the project and are a far ways off from reaching the goal. From punching a few numbers into my spreadsheet I made for this project, we would need to get 157 more pledges at the $50 range to get our goal. It could happen, it could not. There is still more than 24 hours remaining, so anything can happen.

As I said, I try to be optimistic about these things .

On an awesome note, the local news source, posted an article about the project. I met with Alyson D’Alessandro yesterday and talked with her about my project. I was so happy that she wanted to write about this and that she rushed the story in before my deadline. (hooray Alyson!) Head over to Patch to read her story.

Yesterday had a nice small rush of pledges come in. So I want to thank everyone who has been diligently spreading the news, even if you cannot contribute financially. Thanks.

Please visit and show your support today.

Posted in News, Schuylkill Valley | Tagged Kickstarter | Leave a comment

Transportation in the Valley

I have always had a fascination with the history of transportation. The Schuylkill River provides plenty of that for me.All along the section of the valley I plan to photograph is the remains of the Schuylkill Navigation Company. The Schuylkill Navigation Company used a series of dams to create navigable portions of river and canals that they called reaches. The Oaks reach is mostly still in tact with Lock 60 still able to function (after the Schuylkill Canal Association restored it to original condition). Several dams have been destroyed, while others like Norristown and Black Rock still exist. I know of one lock that sits abandoned near Valley Forge that was once the locks for Catfish Dam, now long gone. If it isn’t too difficult of a hike to get to it, I may take some pictures for this project. I have also discovered the remains of some old canal aqueducts in the Birdsboro area. Aqueducts on canals where used to carry the canal and towpath across other bodies of water. They pretty much are bridges for the canal. While photographing this project I plan to seek out as many canal ruins as I can.

Another major form of transportation in the valley, even today, is the railroad.

Both the Reading and Pennsylvania railroads built lines in the Schuylkill valley. The Pennsylvania’s Schuylkill Valley Branch is pretty much long gone these days, preserved for the most part as the Schuylkill River Trail. But the trail doesn’t follow the line 100 percent. In some parts it is still active branch lines for modern day Norfolk Southern. Others it sits unused with trees and weeds growing between its rails. In one instance the right of way is now the home of US422.

The Pennsylvania line was abandoned mainly for redundancy. In the late seventies, railroads where not doing well and both the Reading (whose mainline was on the opposite side of the Schuylkill from the Pennsylvania line) and the Pennsy (a nickname for the Pennsylvania Railroad) were merged into one company. Since the Reading had a mainline in the valley, the Pennsy (since it went to the same place) was abandoned.

The Reading line today is controlled by Norfolk Southern as their Harrisburg Line. The route through the portion of the valley I plan to cover in this book features the oldest still in operation railway tunnel in the US, Black Rock Tunnel. I have hiked out to this tunnel several times and you can bet some pictures of it will make it into my book. I will also attempt to get permission from NS to photograph the yards in King of Prussia and Pottstown. Also along the Reading line are multiple train stations. Some of them are now private business which would require my permission to photograph, but within the boundaries of Valley Forge are two stations that have a good chance of being in the book. You can see one of the stations in the video above.

As always I want to thank all of you who have made a pledge so far. I am getting nervous now considering I am down to the last three days and have only raised 5% of my goal. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, help spread the word to anyone who might be interested in this book. Send them to It is a direct link to the projects homepage.

And if you haven’t made a contribution yet, what are you waiting for? Well? There is only three days left, now is the time to contribute. Thank you!

Posted in News, Schuylkill Valley | Tagged Abrams, Aqueduct, Art, black and white, boat, Canal, lock, Norfolk Southern, Pennsylvania, Photography, Pottstown, rail, railway, Reading, river, Trains, Valley Forge | Leave a comment

Valley Forge

Whoo, it’s been a busy week so far at my day job, so here is Monday’s post today.

Today I’m going to talk about Valley Forge. Valley Forge National Historical Park has been a focus of a lot of my photography and art since I moved to the Schuylkill Valley almost nine years ago. It of course will be a big part of the book as well.  It will likely be a spread of two or more pages since the park itself spans both banks of the river between the village of Valley Forge and Port Kennedy (King of Prussia) on the south western bank and Perkiomen Junction (Audubon) and Trooper on the north eastern bank. The park has vast grassy fields, historic earth works, historic buildings, forest, Valley Creek and those famous log cabin huts recreated in the style the soldiers encamped there would have built themselves.  There is also the Pawlings Farm with its massive stone barn and the ruins of the farmhouse. The trails and the deer and the foxes. Gah, I can’t wait. I will likely spend the entire day there. If you have been to Valley Forge, I am sure you are curious as to how it will be represented in my book.  If you have never been there, I hope my book will make you want to visit.

If you share my passion for this park in all it’s historic, cultural and natural awesomeness, then please go visit and help support this book today. And wow, thanks to all the people who recently pledged. I sincirely thank you. I liked opening my email the past couple days and seeing all the messages from Kickstarter. So thanks. As always, be sure to let others know about this project. Do you know someone who loves Valley Forge?

Posted in News, Schuylkill Valley | Tagged b&W, black, Book, cabins, coffee table book, Huts, Kickstarter, Park, Photography, project, Valley Forge, white | Leave a comment

Some examples of Black and White

For today’s post I have decided to share some of the few black and white photos that I have scanned over the years. I figured that if you are going to support a project of black and white photos, I should at least share with you some black and white photos.

Not all of the images were scanned to well (sorry if some of them are a bit faded looking due to that) and I have tons more black and white pictures that have never been scanned. Part of what this project will be funding is a new scanner for me. And not just a flatbed that happens to scan film (I have one of those and look what it does) but a dedicated film scanner. The scanner is an important part of today’s film photographer. It is our door to sharing our creations with the internet, the world. It is also the only way to put film images into a book using page layout software.

Please help me reach my goal. If you have pledged already, consider sharing the link: with your friends on social media (or even those people you happen to meet face to face). If you have not pledged yet, please consider doing so. You can pledge any amount over $1 to help me reach my goal. And there are great awards for anyone who pledges over $2. So please help me out. I would love to get this project off the ground. Thanks!

Have a great weekend!!

Posted in News, Schuylkill Valley | Tagged Art, black and white, Book, BW, coffee table book, Develop, film, Kickstarter, Photography, Schuylkill | Leave a comment


No matter what the media, film or digital, a photograph is a photograph. Digital just has a few advantages. Such as I can fit 1,600 images on my SD memory card currently in my digital SLR (a Pentax K7d). The most I ever had on a roll of film was 36. I can have all 1,600 images downloaded to my computer the same day I took them. No paying a lab to develop them (or the time, money and energy to develop myself). No scanning. And I can have them up on Flickr or Facebook within an hour of the image being captured.

So, why am I going to use film for this project? Can’t I just take a digital photo and make it greyscale in Photoshop?

I could do that. It would cut about $500 off my budget (film, chemistry, scanner). But something is lost. That something is magic.


OK, I know that traditional photography is not magic but is science. I know it is all just chemical reactions to light. But when you don’t quite have a strong grasp on science and math (I will admit it, I don’t) it feels like magic. I remember the first time I was in a darkroom developing a black and white image for the first time. I had placed the paper I just exposed in the other room into the tray of developer. Within seconds splotches of black appeared on the page and out of nowhere an image I captured earlier that week with my camera was sitting in that tray. It felt like it appeared out of nowhere. It felt like magic.

Turning a color digital image to black and white, well that happens with a click of a mouse and within seconds on the HD computer monitor before me. It does not feel the same.


Digital feels unlimited. I know when I got a terrible picture. I can delete the bad ones imediately. I have a new habbit of looking at the back of my camera after every shot to see if I got it. I don’t write down my exposure information anymore, the camera knows it and saves it in the picture file. I don’t have to think, I just click. This unlimited nature of digital has caused in me a lot of bad habits. Habits that should not be in this book.

When I take a photo with my K1000 or 3800n, I have to think. I have to look at the light-meter, I have to adgust my shutter speed and aperture acordingly, I braket each shot up a stop and down a stop to make sure I have a good one and I will write this all down in a notebook. All of this sounds so time consuming, but I like it. It makes me think. It helps me know that I am creating a well composed image.

I guess it is hard to explain. So many people just point and click and move on to the next shot. But for me, this is an art. I want to take my time. I want to know I am getting a good exposure without the aid of an LCD screen on the back of my camera. I want to hear the click and the gears whirring. I want to feel the film advance and the springs reset. I want to see the crank advance and the counter click to a new number as I pull the advance lever to the right. I want to take a photograph. I want to feel the film as I load it sightless into a developer reel. I want to smell the chemistry (OK, that is probably not healthy, but I love the smell of developer). I want to hear the chemicals swish as I agitate the tank. I want to see the image magically appear. I want to make magic. I want to make art.

Be sure to visit and show your support today. Thank you. Extra special thanks to all those who have made a pledge already, Thanks.

Posted in News, Schuylkill Valley | Tagged Art, black and white, Book, BW, coffee table book, Develop, film, Kickstarter, Photography | Leave a comment