Welcome to the FAS Photo, photography by Frank Sollecito Blog Page. A collection of short blogs pertaining to something about photographing the places I have been as well as a quick mention to camera gear and image capturing techniques.
I finally put aside time to edit and post some images from my recent vacation to New Hampshire. I could not think of a better place to take my girlfriend Brenda for her first visit to New Hampshire other than the Lake Winnipesaukee region at the foot of the incredible White Mountains. With so much to see and do it’s the perfect place to get out of Dodge for a week. Our main plains were to go smallmouth bass fishing and do some sightseeing, including a day trip to visit Mount Washington.
A couple of nice smallmouth bass right off the dock at Meridth Bay, Lake Winnipesaukee
After a couple of days fishing it was on to Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeastern United States at 6,288 ft. There are several ways to reach the summit, you can hike, take the auto road or the cog railway. We decided to take the cog railway. In operation since 1868 the Mount Washington Cog Railway train literally runs straight up the side of the mountain vs a switch back railway design. As the train ascended above the tree line the brakeman / tour guide gave us a history lesson regarding the cog railway as well as Mount Washington, its surrounding terrain and the harsh quick changing weather conditions. The world’s highest wind gusts were recorded at the summit on April 12, 1934 at 231 miles per hour.
There's a steam engine that makes the run once a day, for the schedule check http://www.thecog.com/
The cog train ascending as it nears Jacob's Ladder the steepest incline of track on the way to the summit.
View from the train ascending Jacob's Ladder
Once above the tree line the mountain terrain takes on a whole different appearance, some spotty patches of grass, but mostly just rocks. Even in the summer the summit can be cold, with the chance of snow being more than just an unlikely occurrence. You are literally in the clouds. The afternoon we visited, the clouds were beginning to move in on one side of the mountain as a storm approached with a 20 degree difference in temperature between the base of the mountain and the summit. It was truly an incredible experience.
A group of hikers making their way to the summit. The summit marker.
This is the original observation post where the highest wind gust was recorded, notice the building is chained to the ground.
The 2 photos above are of the Tip Top House, restored from the original 1853 Tip Top Hotel.
Visitors waiting to board for the trip back to base location.
Our train ride from base station to the summit of Mount Washington not only encompassed the incredible scenery but also the rich history behind the cog railway as well as the evolution of the summit destination and its outposts. It is a trip which I would certainly do again if the opportunity arises.
Our next stop after leaving the Marshfield base station included a visit to the Mount Washington Hotel where enjoyed some refreshments as we sat on the veranda overlooking the golf course with the spectacular backdrop of the Presidential Mountain Range.
The Mount Washington Hotel.
The last day of our vacation we made a last minute decision to take the 3 hour sunset dinner cruise on Lake Winnipesaukee. The beautiful sunset, an absolutely wonderful view of the lake, dinner and live entertainment, we could not have asked for a better way to spend the last evening of our vacation. Just one more reason why I would not have to think twice about returning to this area in New Hampshire.
One weekday this past April, I took a ride to Cape May and Anglesea NJ. Though I have visited these towns so many times during the off season, it's still hard to imagine that from the time I captured these images and in the next months to follow these scenes will transform from quiet, almost desolate seaside towns to very busy vacation spots. There is such a peaceful feeling about most Jersey Shore towns during the off season.
To capture these images I decided to use the monochrome mode feature on my Pentax K5IIs. I normally shoot color images in the raw mode and latter convert certain ones to b&w in post processing. It is very interesting to use this mode. It is a different experience viewing the LCD screen of your camera and seeing the world in b&w, instead of having to visualize your final image from color to monochrome.
Along with my K5IIs I used a Pentax 16-45mm f/4 zoom lens to capture all the images on this blog page. I have used this lens to capture so many images, especially for my nature and landscape images. Shooting in the monochrome mode brought me back to the days when I shot with my two favorite b&w films, Kodak Panatomic X and Ilford HP5. There is a different mindset knowing the images you are capturing are b&w to start of with vs converting color images to monochrome. I really enjoyed using this feature and I'm looking forward to further experimenting with the filter parameters that this mode contains.
This is not a camera review in any way shape or form. Especially one pertaining to a camera that by today’s standards is considerably outdated. Even in its day, this camera was not the highest quality compact camera available, there were quite a few cameras with considerably better image quality. What made this camera so special is the waterproof, dust proof design as well as its compact size.
The newest version of this camera is much more rugged in construction with newer enhanced features, but is bigger and bulkier than my version which I purchase in 2009. Therefore I have opted not to upgrade in favor of its compact design. I love that I can take this camera to places where I don’t want to risk taking a more expensive camera. Even though I have a newer cell phone I still prefer the images from this camera and without a special housing I can shoot photos underwater, in the rain, in the snow, on a fishing boat, or on a sand blown beach. I can even use it to take that occasional selfie.
The slight to moderate sacrifice in image quality certainly outweighs the risk of damaging your more expensive camera. There are some high end digital slr’s and lenses that are weather and dust proof but not fully waterproof. They cannot be submerged in water like this style of camera can. So for all you outdoor lovers this type of camera can make a great addition to your existing collection of photo gear. I know it has for me.
When the snow storm of March 5 2015 hit South Jersey, I was out in the midst capturing images with snow, sleet and rain dripping off my camera. Not once did it enter my mind that my camera would be damaged. So even after 6 years of owning this camera my Pentax W60 still keeps doing what it is supposed to and that is capturing images!
Jim Thorpe ( originally known as the town of Mau Chunk ) is one of my favorite photographic destinations and with the Lehigh Gorge Trail running right into the center of town it is one my favorite places to ride a bicycle. With all its picturesque scenery and mountainous surroundings Jim Thorpe has been called Switzerland of America. Approximately an hour and a half drive north of Philadelphia Jim Thorpe offers a plethora of outdoor activities which include mountain biking, white water rafting, fishing, hiking and paint ball skirmish, just to name a few.
This beautiful little town tucked in the hills along the Lehigh River and gateway to the Pocono Mountains is a must stop destination. It not only attracts those craving outdoor adventures but those also interested in Jim Thorpe' rich history. A history that goes back to its roots as a thriving coal mining town. Victorian landmarks such as the Inn at Jim Thorpe, the Switzerland Hotel, Harry Packer and Asa Packer Mansions and the Jim Thorpe train station are a true step back in time. At the train station you can hop on the Lehigh George Scenic Railway and travel along the beautiful Lehigh river.
As a photographer Jim Thorpe is a never ending, ever changing canvas. With each season and each visit the backdrop is constantly in motion, you can experience a quiet serene travel through time, or be awakened by the shear vibration of connecting to nature and the great outdoors. You can also experience an explosion of color that occurs as summer bids adieu and winter slowly creeps in.
I have been visiting and capturing images at Jim Thorpe for many years and will continue to do so, it's simply a great place to ride a bike, take a walk or take some photos.
Thanks for viewing.
A couple of weeks ago I took a day trip to the Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna river in Maryland. Just below the dam is an island where bald eagles migrate and make their home from the end of October thru mid February attracting huge numbers of photographers and bird watchers alike, they some time stand shoulder to shoulder along Fisherman's Park wating to get a perfect glimpse or image of these majestic birds. In speaking to some of area locals, I have been told during this period as many as 150 or more eagles migrate to this area.
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© FAS Photo, photograpy by Frank Sollecito
Recent PostsLake Winnipesaukee NH and the Mount Washington Cog Railway The calm before the storm Still diggin" my Pentax Optio W60 Images from Jim Thorpe Pa. Eagles at Conowingo Dam Images from Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown Va. Sculptures in the sand Wildlife in my own backyard. More than just works of art. A look back at this past holiday with some night time photos.