Friday, January 3, 2014

WELCOME TO 2014

Happy New Year to all my faithful followers!

Since my last post about a Problem Here, I've found out that there really are people out there reading what I have to say.  I've even gotten a few comments about it, so I don't foresee stopping my Blog anytime in the near future.  I really didn't want to stop doing it, but if it had gotten as bad as I thought, it was being considered.  So, that ended that.

The Holiday Season for us and all of you has ended now.  All the money, preparation, cooking, etc. is now over.  All of the lights that I had put up outside are now taken down and put away for another year.  The Tree is still up for right now, but will come down real soon.  On Christmas Day, my Wife made a real good Dinner for all the family that came over.  I even helped do some of the preparation, like peeling potatoes, helping do the dishes, and cutting the Ham.  Of course, there was lot's of wine and mixed drinks for everyone.  My stomach was full after all that food was consumed.  My Wife makes one of the best Macaroni Salads, in my opinion, and it was pretty much gone by the end of the meal. We even had food left over, so some "doggie bags" were in order.

This is what our home looked like over the Holiday Season, before I took it all down.

New Years Eve came and went without any kind of party or fanfare.  New Years for us is no real big deal.  We stayed home and enjoyed a nice quite evening without going out on the roads with all those other drivers that are out there.  We didn't even stay up and watch the ball drop in Times Square.  It's pretty much the same thing, only a year later.  New Years Day we had 7 people over for Pork & Sauerkraut that we do every year.  Again, I was stuffed silly and could hardly walk around from all the great stuff that my Wife makes for Dinner.  Helped her clean up after everyone left.  The House is now back in order and Life goes on.

Yesterday, we had a pretty good snow storm that left a good 5" of snow on the ground.  That plus the darn cold weather snap we are having made me not really want to go outside for anything, except what had to be done.  The temp. here was in the low 20's, with a wind chill in the single numbers!  I knew that I'd have to go outside and run the snow thrower to clear the drive way and sidewalks, but I was not looking forward to doing it.  It was blowing snow, windy, and to cold for me!  I did what had to be done, and quickly came inside to some heat.

Since, the cold weather has arrived I have been doing more with my new Scroll Saw to keep me busy.  This is the Train Set that I made out of scrap wood laying around, and using my imagination.  I have made a few other little things to try and get better doing this Craft.  I find it kinda fun to do.  You can make hundreds of different kinds of little things and toys that I have found out.  There are some parts of this craft that I'm not quite ready for yet, such as real intricate work.  This can get real touchy, and I don't have the Scroll Saw for doing that.  What I can do now, is more than enough for right now.  I've just finished making a Flower on a stand, so I'll post that one later.  I think that it's kinda cute!

Until the next time .  .  .  Thanks for reading and commenting.
Les

Saturday, June 18, 2011

WALKING AROUND

Even though I don't seem to get anywhere that has History to it, I'm still "snooping around" in my area and going places that I have known about, but just never took the time to really see what's there.  My camera always goes along with me when I do this, cause you never really know what you'll run into or see.  I've been using my "newly found" Phoenix 28-210mm Telephoto Wide Angle Lens more and more, since I've found out just how to have my DSLR accept this type of Lens.  I'm finding that it's a good all around Lens to use.  Of course, if I find that this Lens is too much for what I want to shoot, I just change Lens's.  Sometimes that's a pain in the ass, but it's necessary.

 Just last week, I was talking with a fishing buddy and he told me about the Spillway in front of the Blue Marsh Dam.  To be honest, I had no idea that this was here.  I had never been here before.  With that in mind I thought I'd go see what's there.  This is just part of the Spillway area.  A nice little pond of calmer water for fishing or just sitting and do nothing.  There are fish in here, too.  My buddy just caught a real nice Large Mouth Bass from this area.

This is looking down at the previous spot I showed you.  The Spillway is just behind me and out of the frame.  Usually you can find a few people fishing here.  Looks like a promising place for fish.  Off to the right is a walking trail that goes for 2.1 miles.  I walked it for just a bit, then came back.  Too long for me.  If I walk that far, I'll be dead before I hit the ground!  There is a sign here that's Posted by the PA Game Commission that say's "No baitfish or fishbait is allowed."  "Only Artificial Lures made of Plastic, Wood, Steel, or other is Allowed."  But, yet I see everyone using a worm, corn & mush.  Can't people read?

Here's another place that I had no idea was here.  It's a Trail that leads to the Stilling Basin.  You can ride your bike, run, jog, or what-ever on the real nice trail that's about 4 feet wide.  No motorized vehicles allowed here.  The parking lot is just behind me.  The sign in the foreground says what you can do and what you can not.  No alcoholic drinks are allowed here.  Guess no Farting or Belching, either!  I'm more than aware that sign's by the PA Game Commission are put here for a reason.  I just wish that people would take the time to read it!

Another view.  This time standing on the Trail and looking out to all the grass lands for wildlife.  The Trail that I mentioned before is off to the right at the top.  I think it goes for just about 3 miles.  No thanks!

While out fishing one day last week over at a favorite spot, the Game Warden came by to check me out.  Yes, I have a fishing license.  Yes, I'm being a good boy.  Where's the fish?  No, that's not my campfire!  Good-by Mr. Game Warden.  See you later.

Until the next time .  .  .  .  Thanks for reading & Commenting, if you can.
Les

Saturday, June 4, 2011

MY "NEW FOUND" LENS

I have noticed something here on my Blog.  The last 2 Posts were not really about anything Historic.  This one is not, either.  What I did notice is that I don't get that many comments from Followers as what I do when I make a Post on History in or around my area.  Is it that my Followers would rather see about things Historic or doesn't it really matter?  This has me thinking.  What should I do?   Well, anyway .  .  . 

For the past 2 or 3 years I have had a Camera Lens called a Phoenix 28-210mm Wide Angle Telephoto Lens.  Even though the Lens is not made by Pentax, the Phoenix has a Pentax Mount that will fit my K100D.  It's a real nice Lens, but it's a Manual Focus Lens.  It's not Auto Focus like the rest of my Lens's.  It's really supposed to be used on my Pentax K1000 35mm Camera, which I just don't use anymore since the Digital Age has arrived.  The K1000 just sits on the shelf all covered up so no dust will get in it.

In the past, I have taken the Phoenix Lens with me and tried to use it.  The problem with it is that I never knew when the Lens would work with my DSLR.  Sometimes it would  .  .  .  sometimes it didn't.  I never knew what would happen when I "fired" the shutter button.  So, with all that in mind, I came across a Web Site called Pentax User.  This site is really for Pentax user's and has all kinds of information.  I decided to join it and started asking questions about the Phoenix in the Forum section.  In just 2 day's I had 4 different Pentax user's tell me, from England & Australia, what I should do to get the Phoenix Lens to work with my DSLR.  All I had to do was change 2 settings in the Menu part of the Camera.  Now, it works without fail.  I will be using this "all around" Lens much more.  It takes some real nice shots, as you will see.

This morning was just beautiful!  I got up around 0545 hrs. and decided to get my Spinning Reel and Camera, go over to my favorite area which is the Ontellione Dam Area where I've taken a number of Images in the past.  This is over-looking the Dam from a Bridge that is no longer used for traffic.  It's unsafe for traffic, but not to walk on.  I shot this because of the reflection on the water from the sky.
This is looking down the Bridge no longer used.

One of my Fishing Area's to the left on this Image.

This Image came out real nice.  Looking back at the Bridge from my fishing spot.  This has a nice reflection off the water, also

Another fishing area.  It was so nice and bright out here.

This is looking back thru just one of the many walking area's that lead to the Dam.  Early in the morning, it was so nice and peaceful here.  No noise.  Just the birds and me walking thru the tall grass.  There are Deer in here, but I have never seen any, plus other wildlife.

And  .   .   .   .  here I am!  As usual, I look like a nit-wit.  I just don't take good Images of myself.  I thought that I'd take this self Image to let you see what's on this end of your Computer screen.  It was starting to get a bit warm.  Had to take off my jacket that I had on before.  I had to set the Camera shutter to "fire" in 12 seconds, thus giving me a chance to press the button, and assume the position.  Yes, that's my car, and I didn't catch any fish.  My luck will change soon.

Everyone of these Images were taken using my "new found lens."  It works so well now.  I just love it.  See what you can learn by asking questions?  How bout' that!

Until the next time  .  .  .  .  Thanks for reading & commenting
Les


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A NICE PLACE TO RELAX

For the past number of weeks, I have not been going to any place that has historical value to it, so I thought that I'd make a Post of some of the things that are pretty close by our Home.

This is the Visitor Center for the Blue Marsh Dam.  The Dam here is used for recreation, boating, swimming, fishing, hiking, and picnicking.  It's about a 10 minute drive from my Home.  The weather was rather hot and humid, so that's why you see a Haze in the Images.

  Built by the Army Corp of Engineers sometime back in the early 80's or before it has lots of area just to walk around in and enjoy what's there for everyone.

This is part of the Dam Breast.  Just what that Tower does, I don't really know.  Probably for pumping water for one reason or another.

There are 4 different area's here that can be used for swimming & having a picnic.  This is looking out over the swimming area from the upper parking lot.

This is taken from another nice area looking over towards the swimming area.  There are plenty of picnic tables and shade trees.

Looking across from the Image above.  This area is also real nice just to walk around in.  Just to the left, but out of the Image is where the Boat Launch is located.

Just another Image of the Lake area.  There are a few picnic shelters located here, but you must rent them well in advance.  I don't really know what the price is to rent one, but they are quite popular to use.  Most of the time people use them for large family gatherings.

Just another view of the area.

The Blue Marsh Dam area is a real nice place just to sit and relax.  If you want to do some fishing there are large and small mouth Bass, plus other species that I'm not sure about.  If you want to do some walking or hiking there are 2 or 3 different trails that you can walk.  One of them is a Nature Trail that I was going to walk around in, but it's 4 miles in length.  I don't think that I can really walk that far!  But then, maybe I could.  
Yesterday was Memorial Day and I went back over here again.  I found that to be a BIG mistake!  The Lake was filled with Power Boats, Canoes, and Jet Ski's.  There were so many people here that they had to have the Park Rangers out directing traffic in and out of each area.  Lots and lots of people out enjoying the Holiday.  There was also another problem that I ran into.  Found that the Park charges $3.00 to get into each area!  I did not know that.  Now, weather they charge a fee just during a Holiday I don't really know.  The last time I was there, there was no charge.

One of the photography shots that I've been trying to do is take a Image of a Waterfall and have the Water with a "Blurred Effect" to it.  I've read about how to do it, so I thought I'd get out and give it a try.  I just happen to stumble upon this Water Fall, that I didn't even know was around here!  I even printed out what to do so I won't forget.  Well, I forgot to take them along!  Dumb ass that I am sometimes.  I tried to remember what settings to set the Pentax to, but all I could do is remember just some of them.  Well, I gave it a shot and this is what came out!  WRONG!  In trying to remember all the settings, I forgot all about "Sun Flare."  See that "red spot" up there?  That's a no- no!  I'm still going to keep this shot and find out how you can get rid of Sun Flare using my PSPX3 Program.  I'm going to keep trying!

Now, this is the same Waterfall as the one before.  Just taken from a different position.  If I must say so, I think I did a pretty nice job this time.  This is why you see a "Water Mark" on my Image, so no one will copy it without my permission.  I would not take to kindly to that.

Until the next time .  .  .  .  Thanks for reading & commenting
Les

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

THE SAFE HARBOR DAM

For the past number of weeks, a friend of mine has been talking to me all about his fishing trips down to Bethany Beach in Delaware.  All about the great fun they had going out and fishing for what-ever they could get.  They caught some nice looking Flounder, some Stripers, and a few Crockers that they just threw back into the sea.  The Flounder's they kept, and found they were real good eating.

In the process of doing all this, I started thinking about getting back out there and do some fishing on my own around this area that I have not done in more than 20 yrs.  I used to enjoy going out and trying my luck at some favorite fishing places that are around here.  Just why I stopped doing it, I really don't remember.  Could be any number of reasons.  Probably just sorta lost interest.

The more I thought about it the more I wanted to take up fishing again.  It's not because I don't have any fishing gear at all.  Down here in the Den I have 7 different Rods and Reels that just hung there on the wall gathering allot of dust.  My Fishing or Tackle Box has plenty of Spinning Lures, Crank Baits, Plastic Worms, hooks, sinkers, and floats so I don't have to really buy anything more.  I even have (2) 12 ft. Surf Rods and Reels for fishing in the surf down at the shore points.  So with all that I decided to get back out there and do what I used to enjoy.  Went over and checked out some of my old fishing spots and found that they have changed a bit over the years.  Allot of over-growth where there was none.  Water seems too be more muddy than it did.  The others have stayed the same, pretty much.  Even after all these years have passed.

This is one of the favorite places that I used to fish at.  Named the Safe Harbor Dam and Power Company this area has some great potential for catching large fish that have been taken from here.  Again, the weather was stupid.  Looked like rain at any minute.

This is looking down on the Susquehanna River that flows from the Dam.  My favorite spot is just below where this Image was taken.  There have been some large Mouth Bass, Muskie, Steel Head Trout, and other fish taken from this area.  This is what I like.  Going fishing for something that can give you a fight.

Looking off to the left above my favorite spot.  Water here was running rather swift today because of the heavy rain we have been getting.  I wanted to go do some fishing below here, but my spot was taken by 2 other fisherman that got here before me.  So, had to go find another place and try my luck.

Would have loved to go over to that Island in the middle of the River and fish, but it would be highly impossible to get over there, unless you had a strong boat with a big engine.  Water is deep, and it runs rather swift in this area.  Another big problem is if the warning sounds that the Dam is going to let out some water down the River, there is no place to get out of the way!

So, I went and found a place that looked pretty good and I gave it a try.  Using a favorite Spinner Bait I fished for about 3 hrs.  Did not get anything at all!  Not even a hit on my Lure.  Even tried my "Crawdad" Bait, but nothing.  Maybe the fish were just not biting at this time.  Maybe too much rain and they all washed down river.  Don't know.  But it was nice to get out there again.  I have this week-end off from work, so maybe I'll go and try another place.  Maybe I'll have better luck.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

THE LEESPORT LOCK HOUSE

Since most of you out there already know that I just love to snoop around in old abandoned places or places that have a History behind them, I've been trying to think of some other places around here or a short drive away that I could show you.  I had already mentioned in a previous Blog that I'm running out of places to see.  Sometimes, for the Life of me, I just didn't remember this place.  Why I didn't is beyond me.  I should have remembered, cause I have passed by it so many times in the past that I may have taken it for granted on being there.

This is the old Leesport Lock House that was originally built back in 1834 by the Schuykill Navigation Company.  This old House was built adjacent to the Schuykill Canal to allow barges to move up and down the canal faster.  It was a important House when the Canal was in full operation.  Restored back to it's original look by the Berks County Parks and Recreation Department and the Leesport Lock House Foundation.  It also served as a stop over for the many barges that traveled up and down the canal.
Here, I am standing on what once used to be the old Lock.  Here you can see the original House and the area around it.

Now, over grown and full of trees and weeds, there is not much of the old Canal left anymore.  In this area is where the barges used to run up and down the canal hauling Coal from the Coal Region Area and points further North.  Coal was KING back in those day's.  The canal carried more than 2 million tons of anthracite up and down the canal through the years of 1859.  However, the canal was starting to become a transportation method that was failing.  For more than 100 yrs. the canal transported coal and goods by a barge pulled along the towpath by a Mule or Horse.  During this time of change the Pennsylvania Railroad was coming into the picture and could transport much more goods and coal at a cheaper and faster rate.  The Railroad, within four years, was hauling three times the amount of coal as the Schuykill Canal.  The canal just could not compete and started to decline until it was no longer.

This is all that is left of the original Lock.  This is where I stood to shoot the other Image of the Lock House.  I tried to read the plaque there on the wall, but just could not make it out.  Too many years have passed for it to be readable.

The Lock House looking from the back.

Like I had stated in the beginning here, I have been passed this Historical place so many times in the past, I just didn't ever think of it until now.  Across the street is the Medic Station and Engine Co. that I used to run with.  Would you believe that they hold Parties and a Strawberry Festival here in these grounds every year?  Wish that I could have gotten inside, but everything was locked up tight.  Guess for good reason.

Until the next time .  .  .  .  Thank you for reading & commenting.
Les

Monday, April 18, 2011

ELLIS ISLAND, LADY LIBERTY, & NYC

Just this past Saturday, it was time for our annual trip to NYC that we always make reservations for months in advance.  The Bieber Bus that we take, along with other friends, is about a 2 1/2 hr. ride to NYC.  The Bus is fairly comfortable, but it does give me a small problem.  Since I stand over 6 ft. tall, I don't get that much leg room.  It starts to get a bit on the cramped side for me, but it's not all that bad.  Charter bus's are not really built for tall people like me.  I just have to endure it for the short time of travel.

The weather did not favor us at all for the trip.  It was cloudy, cool, and a bit windy but we were hoping that the weather would improve by the time we got there.  No such luck.  It got worse!  We were all not very happy with the weather situation, but there was not much we could do about it except make the best of it.  Mother Nature does not always give you what you would like.  So off we went to see attraction's that I've never seen before, but always wanted to.

Getting around in NYC is not really all that hard, if you know what to do and what to take for transportation.  Taking a taxi is expensive, so we took the NYC Subway system that is much cheaper and easy to use once you find out what train to take to where you want to go.  It cost $2.50 for a one way trip down to Battery Park where we boarded the boat to Ellis Island.  Again, since the weather was not good, the pictures that I shot are not the best of quality.  The are about the best one's out of the many that I took, but deleted away cause I just didn't like them.

This is Ellis Island taken from the area where we had to wait to board the shuttle.  About the best I could do with the Image.

Thought that while waiting I'd shoot this Image of the Merchant Marine Monument.  It depicts a sinking ship, while a fellow shipmate lends a helping hand to a sailor in the sea.  You have to look close at the side where you see the other sailor being helped aboard.
Here's Lady Liberty from the shuttle boat.  I'm sure that you all know the History behind her.  Even though the weather is terrible, there are still hundreds of tourists there.  We just added to them!

This is the entrance to Ellis Island Immigration Center.  I was sorta lucky to get this Image, cause there were so many, many tourists there.  Had to wait until the right moment.

Known as "The Great Hall" this is where the millions of immigrants from all over the world started their journey into the USA.  The Park Service has restored the Hall to what it looked like years ago.  There are some things not there today, like the steel rails where everyone had to wait their turn to be processed.  It was like standing in a line at a attraction waiting for hours hoping to start a new Life in the USA.  They all brought everything they had.  All their worldly possessions, which was not much.  The cloths on their backs, and very little money, if any, to start all over again.  You can find out more information about this place at Ellis Island.com
The Great Hall from another perspective.  Up on this level are rooms that have all the History and exhibits that you can walk thru or take a self guided Tour of what is in each room.  From what people looked like, what they brought along with them, and what they had to endure is all here.
Hope that you can read this.

After spending about 2 hrs. at Ellis Island we boarded the shuttle boat back to NYC.  Arriving here this is what the weather turned into.  The camera shows what 7th Ave. & 42nd Street looks like.  Just around the corner was a great Italian place to eat called Carmines.  We always go here to get some outstanding Italian food.  Just after this shot was taken, it started to rain harder.  I went back inside and had another drink!  Having a Jim Beam and Coke is nice, but cost $10.50 a glass.  I only had 2.

It had stopped raining for a bit, so I took this other Image looking back up 42nd Street.  After having a great meal, we walked around a bit, but it started to rain again, so ducked into one of the many coffee shops there and had a nice strong cup of NY coffee.  Had to wait until the Bus was ready to take us home which was about an hour wait.

The trip back home was the same as going up here, but this time it was raining so hard, that you could barley see out the side windows.  How the driver could stand driving in that kind of heavy weather I don't know.  It poured rain all the way home.  Would you believe that upon our arrival home, it stopped raining?  Geez!  How lucky can we get!  By now, my legs hurt, my feet hurt, and we are dog tired.  We are glad to get home to a nice easy chair and relax from our long day.

NYC never stops!  It does not matter if the weather is bad.  GO, GO, GO!  Cars, people, taxi's, trucks, police, and everyone going somewhere in a hurry never cease's to amaze me.  I know what they mean when it's said "The City that Never Sleeps!"  We will go again, as always!  Next time see something else.

Until the next time  .  .  .  .  Thanks for reading & commenting
Les