Hanging Sunset

I photographed a great sunset last night that decided to just hang on forever in the night sky….I shot it from a pond near my parents house and then from the Highway FF bridge over I-44 as well….

Pond Cotton Candy Clouds


Pond Cotton Candy Clouds 2


Pond Cotton Candy Clouds 4


Pond Cotton Candy Clouds 5


Pond Cotton Candy Clouds 7


Pond Cotton Candy Clouds 8


Pond Cotton Candy Clouds 10


Farm Lane Tree


Pond From Gate 2


FF Overpass

All That Glitters…Fireworks in December

After it snowed last week, I took my camera with me to work Friday night, hoping to photograph the Christmas lights decorating Tilles Park as I drove to Penn Station in Rock Hill, a neighboring community close to where I work. I had no sooner sat down to my fire dispatch console at work, when I discovered that there was going to be a fireworks show about the time that I normally go get supper. Clayton was having a winter promotion downtown called All That Glitters, and fireworks would be part of the glitter…I love to photograph fireworks so this was going to be an extra treat for me…and it was only going to last about fifteen minutes so it would fit right into my hour long lunch break. I pulled up the map and figured out where I could easily shoot them from without getting in the way of anyone,  and get back out on the highway to continue to Penn Station without getting caught in traffic. 

I drove down to the south end of the Galleria Mall parking lot and got my camera ready, deciding to use my dashboard as the tripod rest, with the engine shut off, figured it would work out just fine as long as the fireworks could be easily seen in the sky, and I would have some traffic lights and Christmas lights on display in the images as well. As soon as they began firing, I knew something was way wrong…I could barely see them because they were not gaining any elevation at all, not sure if that was due to the extreme cold air or what…the sky was completely clear so I figured elevation would be no problem…but they were very colorful….

Red Burst From Galleria


…and it soon became apparent that I could not shoot from the dashboard, so I picked up the camera, changed the iso to 400 and handheld the rest of the images….did fairly good for having to hold it and hold my breath as well for each five second shot….

Red & Green Bursts


Red & Green Bursts 2




…not sure if the technicians got cold standing out there firing the shells or what happened, but the fifteen minute display lasted all of about seven minutes total…the last few shots finally did gain a bit higher elevation tho….

Finale Bursts Start


Finale Bursts 1


Finale Bursts 3


…from there, I drove over to Mc Knight Road and headed south, which would take me to my supper destination, passing by Tilles Park, where a winter wonderland is set up and beautifully decorated in thousands of Christmas lights….I always pass by and think about shooting some images, this evening I pulled over and did just that…there is a lake near the fence with this neat informative display set up on the far bank….

Winter Wonderland Lake


I`ll add more images as I get them edited up…

Week of Snow Early This Year

Boy, it is weeks like this that makes me really miss fall and summer…I can take the heat better than I can the cold and as I get older, I hate the winters more…although I`m sure I would miss the snow around Christmas cause there is nothing like a white Christmas…I like snow, but I just dont like this extra deep cold that the Russians decided to give us this year. The weather people have been broadcasting the past few weeks about this bone chilling, phenomenally numbing cold air that has been spilling over into the heartland of the United States, right down to the Gulf states, penetrating deeper than ever before into the USA…from the coldest reaches of Russia and for some reason, we have it this year…our winter air normally comes from Alaska and Canada, but apparently the Russians are sharing it with Canada and us this year. I think we should send it back to them and tell them to keep it…I had WGN-TV on the other day and watching Tom Skillett, Chicago`s veteran weatherman, talk about it and show us where it`s coming from and how deep it was penetrating the country here, and he showed us the temps in Anchorage, Alaska, this time of year at 48 degrees above zero….balmy weather compared to what we were getting !!!!  

What I really hate about this type of bone numbing cold air is that it makes you want to do nothing more than stay inside the house. Now, don`t get me wrong, I love my house, especially when it`s cozy and warm inside, but I do like to get out on my days off and go rockhunting as well, but when it gets this cold, I don`t want to go…and then to top off the cold, we get saddled down with snow and ice way earlier than normal, as well. Last week was a couple of inches of sleet under four inches of snow…we were lucky, the two areas I like to go rockhunting at, south of here, had a foot of snow on top of a couple of inches of sleet, and just to clarify for everyone, when it freezes overnight, that sleet turns to ice. I had talked to my buddy Jim Bay down at Eminence and he told me that it took road crews about five days to clean the snow and ice off the roads where you could see and feel the pavement once again, and that was just the main roads, highways 19 and 106…which is all I would need to be clear to drive in there and rockhunt, but then just as they do that and just as my schedule clears up to where I can do that…we get hit with yet another winter storm. Great…just what I need.

The second storm came in last night…good rockhunting friends from Memphis wanted to come up and rock hunt with me this weekend, we had it planned for a few weeks, but this second winter storm changed all that…I didn`t want them driving in to possibly ice first and snow later, so we postponed this hunting trip to a better weekend. We started out with rain most of the day yesterday, then sleet as darkness overtook us…I was up til about midnight last night and we had a few periods of heavy sleet last night. The snow apparently came in after 2 am and lasted til about 8 am, when I woke to find a beautiful winter wonderland outside my windows this morning….

Snow Plow on Elmont Road



…and as I headed to the gym to get a good run/hike in on the treadmill, I approached the tracks just in time for this pretty BNSF train to pass through the gates….

BNSF at Elmont Crossing


…then turned the corner on the other side and saw Main Street in front of me, the barren trees lining the street, now cloaked in the pretty wet snowfall that fell the night before….

Main Street Sullivan


…and that`s one of the things I like the most about snow, the fact that it can take the barren away and replace it with beauty…these trees above look like they are covered in multiple white flowers this time of year…breathtaking as it were….

After my workout, I drove down Hughes Ford Road, where there is a horse farm near the bottom of the hill in the valley, and I have photographed this valley cloaked in ice and snow for the past few years….always very pretty as well….

Hughes Ford Road


…and it didn`t disappoint me again this morning with it`s beauty….the trees standing out with their branches and trunks in harsh dark relief to the all consuming white….usually there are horses out in those fields, but not today for some reason….

Horse Farm Hughes Fd Rd 1214


…there is a single tree down in the field on the left side that stands alone, distanced away from the other trees in the forest to the left and beyond, that always looks so strong and colorful in each season….

Horse Farm Hughes Fd Rd 1214 2


Horse Farm Hughes Fd Rd 1214 3


…and then as I continued on down the road, I saw the stone arch ahead…

Hughes Ford Road Arch


…the entrance to an old farmhouse there long ago…the old house and barns long gone and now replaced with a modern day metal barn built by a friend who now owns the place.  After this, it was a trip to Mikky D`s to get a mc rib sandwich and order of fries.  Hope everyone has a safe and warm weekend.