The Silent Town of Centralia Part 1

adventure, art photography, Uncategorized

We recently visited a town called, Centralia. On the surface the town probably doesn’t sound like something you have heard of before, but think again. If you have heard of the video game or movie, Silent Hill, you have in a round-about way heard of Centralia.

Centralia Pennsylvania
Silent Hill

It was through our love of adventure and exploring through geocaching that we found out about this infamous “ghost town” of sorts. So we packed up and headed out to do a 50 cache trail.
What we knew about Centralia before we went….

We knew it was mining town, mostly deserted because of a fire burning beneath the ground that will most likely continue to burn for the next 250 years

We knew the Federal Government took all of the properties that weren’t left by choice through eminent domain.

We also heard we could find “smoke”

We are total LOST and X-Files junkies, so this seemed like a must do.

When we got to Centralia with three teens  / tweens in tow, I parked at the opposite side of the trail that my husband had planned. I saw people and spray painted trees and stopped to see.

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We were going to do a Geo Art Trail in the shape of a flame. On these types of trails, you solve questions for “mystery” caches and when you log them they will make a design, in this case a flame. If you become a geeky cacher like us, you will enjoy seeing the smileys form the art design on your map, like the pig on the Hatfield -Mccoy trail shown below, from a trip a couple of years ago.

The Hog Trial Geocaching Power Trail;
Hatfield McCoy Geo Art Pig Trail

We started to walk up a hill. At this point I had not spoken to my husband about the trail and I honestly (since I picked the place) thought it would be various points throughout town and so on this hot day, I thought we would, “snag a few caches,” get back in the car and go for more. We got the first cache and then he told me how many miles it would be as a loop. I realized  with the hot weather, the clothing the boys were wearing and the kids without water, it was not happening this time, even if we might see Smoke. This was a bummer because this trip was 2 ½ hours away from home. But I could see the writing on the wall. It could go bad, very, very bad in this, “Silent Hill,” town if we attempted it this day with these kids. All jokes aside, I am serious.
We walked back down near the tree’s and someone said, “did you see the highway down there?”

Urban Abandoned Street Art Photography
Centralia PA Graffiti Highway Photo

We headed that direction and were in for a big surprise, that even our teen son would love. An urban artscape if you will. An entire stretch of highway filled with nothing but graffiti. Not the fancy graffiti you see on big city wall, no Banksy’s here. Just ordinary people making their mark with words or silly simple shapes. Some rude, some graphic, some sweet. As a whole however, that was the art. If it would have only been a couple of people that painted something, it would have had that dirty negative connotation. “graffiti,” “vandalism” but for us, this bright colored path with hardly a bare piece of pavement in sight was wonderful.


I had the kids pose on the hot pavement (the trade-off for not hiking the long trail) And to their surprise after cooperation, Karma stopped by with 2 full cans of spray paint to offer them. We each took a turn, even though my contribution was barely an infinity sign with two straight lines.


Our son is an artist is his blood and heart, of course did something cool.

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And when we were finished we passed the paint on to the next group that looked like they found this place my mistake. They were probably here for the smoke, which apparently cannot be seen during the day anyway.
However, we will be returning to Centralia soon to hike the whole trail with another couple. And I am sure we will explore more of the once was town.
For now: a SNEAK PEEK photo of what will be to come in Centralia Part 2. Don’t let the photo fool you, it might not be as colorful. And it won’t be about the spray paint.

abandoned ghost town PA
Graffiti Wall Centralia

A little P.S. One of the best documentary movies we have ever watched is called , “Exit through the Gift Shop.” It’s all about Banksy street art.

The Forest is Calling

art photography, mollysmuses, natural light, nature

The Forest is Calling

Woodland Forest Art Photo
Forest Photography by MollysMuses

The forest is always calling in Pennsylvania. It is beautiful here.  But winter can be long and continuing to feel inspired can sometimes be hard. We still partake in the snow and go out in the gray but when spring comes, it’s exciting to get the camera out and capture all of the new life,  bold color and light that’s directed from God.

On the way home from a very recent geocaching and camping trip we stopped for a hike at a new place, I felt so connected to the moment. I was hoping to shoot GREEN THINGS, for a monthly color challenge. Yes, there was green, lots and lots of green. But I was able to capture so much more. Not just in my camera, but also deep inside myself.

I was really awe-struck by how authentically present I was for that walk and inspired. Nothing outside of the moment on my mind, truly connected to my spirit. It was an AWESOME feeling.

Tree Photography
Enchanted Woodland Forest by MollysMuses

I ended up with a series of green images from the trail. And I felt compelled to create my first topography print. I didn’t want to jump on the band wagon last year with it and even when I heard my inner voice saying, “The Forest is Calling,” I resisted for 10 days. But I couldn’t help it. And I really like it. Perhaps a new series will begin from it, a series of prints of when I remember my spirit.

The Forest is Calling
Forest Photography Print by MollysMuses

How do you connect to your spirit? Maybe it’s the ocean, maybe it’s riding a motorcycle or painting a picture. Maybe you connect while being in prayer. If you haven’t felt that connection in a long time, maybe so long you have forgotten what it felt like (as I had), I encourage you to try some new things and feel it. We were created to feel it.

Edge of The Woods – Nature and Wildlife Photography

art photography, art shows, photography, photography tips

If you love nature, landscape and/or wildlife photography, then this guest photographer feature will catch your eye.

Portrait
Bernadette Chiaramonte-Brown edited by her daughter

I met Bernadette Chiaramonte-Brown, this past December when we were participating in The Crary Art Gallery’s, first PA Wilds Invitational Show.  I was amazed by the rich textures and colors in her photography and started to follow her on her Facebook page, Edge of The Woods Photography, where almost  daily she has something new and beautiful to share. I am in awe of her wildlife photography, I would love to watch her shoot some day. But for now, she will share some tips at the end.

And YOUR challenge for National Photography Month will also be at the end.

Bernadette’s photography life in her own words:

“Waking up in the morning with excitement for the day….how many can relate?

The Edge of The Woods Photography

That sun that has been hiding all night is now just calling my name! All of life seems to feel the same way at sunrise! Birds, flowers, insects, bees, frogs, dragonflies….are all waking up also!

As I jump into my car all equipped with my camera gear, I proceed to take on the early morning world!

Quietly and slowly I start hiking through the woods, towards the streams, search the trees…the skies….all in search of the best surprises of the day!

The Edge of The Woods Photography
Black Bear

Being retired I am so excited to share the beauty and excitement around us.  I know people are usually so busy and just making a life!

Working as a Critical Care Nurse on the night shift for many years has given me an appreciation for doing what you love, NOW,  before a life changing event turns your world upside down!

Anyway, I have a tendency to perhaps see beauty that others overlook! I see every photo as a blank canvas.  Composure is the most important component for me personally. Every photo must tell a complete story in a very short glimpse! With the digital age, everyone has the opportunity to document what they feel is important without worrying about the cost!

I personally have a tendency to shoot many photos at different exposures not only to get it right but a good scene is like a great dessert! You just don’t want to stop enjoying it! When I finally return to my art studio, I delete, delete, delete…only leaving the best!

The ability to lift someone’s spirit or evoke a favorable emotion from my photos is my goal and the reason I use photography as my medium! It is an immediate gratification! I also oil paint but find it difficult to sit for hours/days to complete my canvas. Being a self-taught photographer has afforded me a blank slate to experiment, break the rules and learn in the field.

I also would like you to see the photo that “started it all”! People told me they loved this photo and the rest is history as they say!”

 

Bernadette Chiaramonte-Brown Photographer
Sunflowers and Church

 

 

The photograph that she is most proud of is this one, which I was lucky enough to see in person at The Crary Art Gallery when we were in a PA Wilds Invitational show together.

“I spotted the Amish Loggers working and drove by about 3 times before I got the courage to ask to take this photo. They were very accommodating as long as I didn’t get them in the photo! It has won many contests and has even been made into a puzzle. Right place…right time!!! ”

by Bernadette Chiaramonte
Amish Logging Horses by: Bernadette Chiaramonte

What is on your photography bucket list? “My bucket list includes Alaska, Yosemite Park and Glacier Park. I would love to visit and photograph all the National Parks because of their extensive history and the wildlife they have.”

BEST TIP: “start early out in the morning. Be quiet and patient. Carry the least amount of equipment….”

Favorite Lens:  Tamron 150mm-600mm

Camera: Nikon d800E

FOLLOW HER HERE:

The Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania

The Edge of The Woods Photography

Edge of the Woods… online gallery to shop

NOW YOUR CHALLENGE: Find your favorite nature or wildlife photography piece that YOU have taken OR a nature or wildlife photograph that you would like some pointers on and share it on the facebook thread

It’s All About Snowflakes

It’s All About Snowflakes

art photography, handmade jewelry, Home Decorating, Home Decor, Winter, Christmas, Uncategorized

 

What makes snowflakes so special? They are all one of a kind. If you don’t live up north, perhaps you have never felt the awe and joy of seeing these almost microscopic masterpieces up close.

Sometimes when it’s super cold and the windshield freezes I can see them through the glass. I want to try and capture their beauty through my photography this winter. The thing that amazes me is how tiny, fragile and perfectly different each one is. They are light on the tongue and mesmerizing to the eyes.

Snowflakes are one of the prettiest ways to decorate; they aren’t limited to Christmas but anytime in the winter. Sparkly, sassy, sweet and peaceful they can be all these things.

Here is a little collection of handmade and vintage snowflake things I really love.

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This handmade Christmas Snowflake Dreamcatcher is pretty amazing

 

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I love this fine art snowflake photograph from FirstLightPhoto
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Snowflakes aren’t just for around the home, they are lovely to wear. This simple snowflake necklace is handmade by LaurenBlythe.

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And a vintage set of snowflakes that makes holiday cocktails even better

All of these vintage and handmade items are available on Etsy.