Thursday, December 31, 2020

Top Ten: Sunrise

And, the time has come.  This is the number one photo in the 2020 Top Ten, and it's likely the one that received the most comments ever.

After all these years of bad photography, I can't believe I haven't seriously tackled a sunrise.  That changed in late July.

I parked in the lot of the old Dickson City KMart and pointed my camera east.  I experimented with several settings and a few different lenses.  I struck gold with the biggest zoom lens in my bag.  I popped it on the camera, focused, and the Waymart windmills appeared.  Imagine my glee as I clicked the shutter!

I shared the photo on a few social media platforms and received a great response.  Thank you!  It's one of the joys of getting up early.

Sunrises generally are a sign of optimism, so it's a good way to put 2020 to rest.

That's all for this year's countdown.  Thank you for clicking, and it's on to a new year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Top Ten: Reflections

This is the number two photo of the year-- a Wilkes-Barre skyline shot.

This is a mid March smartphone picture from Nesbitt Park, on the west side of the Susquehanna River in the Wyoming Valley.  It is a few hours before daybreak.

The shot looks back toward downtown Wilkes-Barre.  Those are city lights and the lights of the Market Street Bridge reflecting on the relatively smooth Susquehanna River.  The green splash comes from the Citizens Bank building.

The bank sign was removed in October, and I will miss that little hit of color.  Below is a daytime shot, from late October showing the same area and the missing sign.

It's a great place to stand with a camera.

Tomorrow-- the top photo of 2020 and a new day dawning.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Top Ten: First Try

"Light Trails" seemed to by my theme for the year.

In December of last year, I bought a couple of prime lenses for my camera, a 50 mm and a 24 mm pancake lens.  A 40 mm lens then followed, and that one has become my favorite.  I then spent a considerable amount of time watching YouTube videos on how to use the lenses, plus assorted other tips and tricks.

On a late January morning, around 3:30, I decided to give my newly acquired lenses and skills a try.

The flurries were flying when I was in the Viewmont Mall parking lot.  Interstate 81 runs left to right.  The North Scranton Expressway is beneath it.  Downtown Scranton is glowing at the upper left.

I used the 24 mm pancake lens.  It's a prime lens and doesn't zoom, so I have some ugly weeds and wires in the foreground.  The shutter was open for 25 seconds.  While your eye is drawn to the streaks of light, I really like how the green overhead signs pop in the darkness. 

For the first time experimenting with a new lens and a long exposure, it really wasn't all that bad.

I tried it again a few months later.  This time, it was along Route 315 in Pittston Township.  Walmart is to my right.  A truck stop if on the left.  That part of highway is constantly busy and it was the perfect location to do a little painting with light.

There will be more light trail attempts in the new year.

Tomorrow, "reflecting" on 2020.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Top Ten: Winter on the Mountain

I always try to choose a photo of significance for my birthday, and this is the 2020 choice.

This is a shot of the Reading and Northern building in Fairview Township, with the TV towers of Penobscot Knob in Hanover Township in the distance.

At the time I first published this photo, in January, I said it combines two of my loves-- trains and broadcasting.  Unfortunately, there were no trains here during my visit.  It's a pretty photo nonetheless.  I love the blue sky and the way the towers reflect the morning sunlight.  Plus, it was on a sterling morning in January, before the year really hit the fan.

We'll go streaking tomorrow.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Top Ten: Look! Up in the Sky!


2020 will go down as the year I finally managed to get a good moon shot.

After watching several You Tube videos on the technique, I gave it a try on the morning of August 6.  While it's not horribly difficult, it's also not as easy as it might seem.

I enjoyed the challenge, and I'll be trying it again and again in the new year.

Things will be looking up tomorrow.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Top Ten: Long Distance

You know the story that dominated the year, and it forced your favorite news team to separate for months.

This is a screen shot from the morning of April 13, the day after Easter.  The separation began a few weeks prior, but this was my first time anchoring a weekday morning broadcast with the arrangement.

Mindi was anchoring from her home in Lackawanna County.  Joe was doing the weather from his home.  I was at the office, filling in for Tom.  It was awkward and took a little adjustment.  Any time I felt uncomfortable,  I remembered that there were people who had it a lot worse.
Also, the hair became a bit shaggy during the lock down, as barber shops were forced to close.  It took some getting used to, and I was thrilled when it came off.

Again, if long hair and missing some friends were the worst things that happened this year, there is really nothing to complain about.

We will be aiming high tomorrow.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas!


It's a mix of the old and the new today.  Above is a 1962 newspaper ad.  Below is a picture from the entrance to my alma mater, looking great at Christmas.

I know it's been a lousy year.  Please, take a moment to think about the good things.

The Top Ten of 2020 Countdown resumes tomorrow.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Top Ten: Lone Leaf


We had an unbelieveable stretch of sunny and warm weather in late October and early November.  There were a few windy and rainy days tossed in, and that was the end of fall foliage.  Apparently, this leaf didn't get the memo.

It was one leaf, on one tree, in the sunshine, at the Lackawanna River, off Laurel Street in Archbald.

So simple, and so cool at the same time.  I sent this one off to the drug store to be printed as an 8 X 10.  It's now framed on my wall.

This was a tough photo to position in the Top Ten.  A big part of me wanted to move it up higher, but there are a few other shots that I really liked.

This space will be dedicated to a Christmas note tomorrow.  The countdown resumes with some friends on Saturday.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Top Ten: Moon Over Scranton

This one was taken with a smartphone in early May, in a very quiet downtown Scranton.

One of those things good photographers will always say is compose a photo in thirds.  Well, the left third of the shot is St. Luke's church on Wyoming Avenue.  The empty avenue is the right third.  Any time I look at the shot, my eye immediately goes to the full moon, hanging over the avenue.

I am far from a good photographer.  My camera phone and I just got lucky with this one.

Alone Again, Naturally coming up tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Top Ten: Red Train

There always has to be at least one train photo in the Top Ten every year.

We haven't seen many Canadian Pacific locomotives around here since the company sold its Pennsylvania track a few years ago.

This one was in the Taylor yard in February.  Deep, dark red.  Night sky.  I instantly knew this one would land in the top ten, even though my camera phone had a sharpness and focus issue.

Tomorrow, it's a little math and the rule of thirds.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Top Ten: Looking for Lester


This is actually a picture taken by the woman on the left, WNEP's Chelsea Strub.  It's from late October  I ran in to Chelsea at Nesbitt Park in Wilkes-Barre.  She was going for a jog.  I was there, camera in hand, checking out the network that was broadcasting live from the area.  By the way, as you can tell by the beard, I was on vacation.

The network didn't want any photos of its operation.  Kudos to the Wilkes-Barre Police officers, who reminded the network people, guardians of the First Amendment, that it's a PUBLIC park.

This was a big year for Chelsea, as she entered the rotation of fill in anchors, and she's doing a great job.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Top Ten Honorable Mention: Depth of Field

2020 was the year of trying to "up" my photo game, and attempting different things.

I was experimenting with my camera a few days before Memorial Day.  The focus, part of the pun, was depth of field.  Foreground sharp, blurry background.

This one came out nicely.  It was taken at Cathedral Cemetery on Oram Street in Scranton.

I tried something similar the morning of November 10th, at Marywood University's annual field of flags.  I had some harsh late fall sun angles in the shot you see above.  I tried the shot in a number of different ways, and always came out with a decent result.

Tomorrow, it's the actual start of the Top Ten and the beginning is trespassing with a friend.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Top Ten Honorable Mention: Wings

Regular blog viewers know most of my photographs are of inanimate things-- buildings, trains, vehicles,  landscapes, etc.

Once in a while, I stray from the path.  I went looking for eagles at Merli Sarnoski Park in Fell Township back in May.  I came home with geese.

I was playing with camera settings at the time.  The foreground and the lake are a little soft.  The big birds are sharp and in focus.  It's not a great photo, but, not bad, either.  I was most impressed with the springtime colors.

I hope the birds are big, happy, and healthy, wherever they may be, as we approach the start of a new year.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Top Ten Honorable Mention: Bee!

This the second of this year's honorable mentions.  It's is a shot from June 21-- the first full day of summer.

I was playing around with my camera on the University of Scranton campus on a Sunday morning after work.  I need to improve my skills with a 50 mm lens.  Anyway, the bee fascinated me.  While the 50 mm lens is great for background blur, it's not really a lens for super duper up close work.  I tried a shot on every setting with every aperture and shutter speed until I got one that worked.

Good stuff, even if I say so, myself.

I intend to try more macro shots, properly equipped, in the new year.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Top Ten Honorable Mention: Welcome Back!


I apologize for the placement of this one.  It should be much higher in this year's rankings, but it was a late add, from December 7th.

My friend and weekend partner, meteorologist Valerie Smock took a couple of months off and returned to the operation earlier this month.  As luck would have it, Julie was off. Jon was off, so noon anchor duties fell to me.  It was also Valerie's first broadcast.

She didn't miss a beat.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Top Ten Preview


In some ways, the year has dragged.  In other ways, it's flown by.  Regardless, it's time to review my Top Ten photos of 2020.

They might not be the greatest pictures in the world, but they do mean something to me, and it's worth taking another look, perhaps reflacting a bit now that some time has passed.

Some are screen grabs from projects I was associated with.  Most, I took myself.  I did try to up my photography game this year.  Some successes.  Some failures.  Enough promise to keep trying.

There will be something new this year:  Honorable Mentions.  I shot a lot this year, and I have more than ten photos I really like.  There will be a few here for review,  They are close to, but not quite the Top Ten.

Looking back through the archives, I've been doing the Top Ten review for twelve years.  It serves two purposes.  First and foremost, it's nice to take a little look back.  Second, it fills some slow time around the holidays.

As we know all too well, news doesn't stop during the holidays.  If some thing needs to be said, you'll see it here.  I might also drop some words on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Thanks for punching me up this year.  The countdown starts tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020



It's something I think about every year at this time, and I find it to be one of my more bizarre, yet fond, Christmas memories.

One of my favorite times of the holiday season was the last day of school, especially high school, before Christmas break.  I just loved slamming the books for the last time, throwing them in my locker and running for the door.

It wasn't because I really loved Christmas that much.  I just wanted a two week break.  Things were different when I was a lad.  We weren't the most mobile bunch, so I had two sets of friends-- school friends and neighborhood friends.  Christmas break was spending time with the kids around the house, maybe a backyard football game if it was dry, walks around town to look at Christmas lights and just general hanging out.

There was no email or anything electronic, so the school friends would be on a  two week blackout.  There would be plenty of time to catch up in January.

Mixed feelings hit when I arrived at college.  It was nice to end a semester and take one step closer to a degree.  I'd still be on campus two or three days or nights a week to help run the radio station.  It would be quiet.  All the dorm girls were back at home.  Again there would be time to catch up in January, but I missed them.  I also missed the buzz of an active campus.  Even though it was a small school, we had a solid sense of "community," especially among the communications department.  It was a good bunch, and we never had much of a problem keeping the radio station staffed with live and local voices during the long Christmas break.  Some of us were doing two or three shifts a week and we didn't mind.  We enjoyed doing it.

I do feel sorry for the current crop of college students, everywhere.  A huge part of college is the "experience."  Campuses have energy, and it's gone, at least temporarily.

Now?  Well, there are some special Christmas moments, but it has essentially become just another day.

Kids, enjoy it while you have it.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Math Game


I've become more tolerant of winter in recent years, and there are two reasons for that.

As you age, you will find that time passes more quickly.  The other reason:  recent winters really haven't been all that bad.  The long range forecasts show this winter should follow the trend, but I'm not betting the farm on it-- especially with this week's forecast.

As I write this, the biggest storm in a few years is approaching, followed by a cold snap.  Luck is on my side.  I'll be off when the storm hits and the roads should be fine by the time I have to make my way back to work.  It will interfere in some appointments and errands, but if that's the worst that happens, I consider myself lucky.  Be safe!

It's my yearly thing to do a little math when the temperature dips.  December, January and February are the coldest months of the year-- and often the snowiest.  Remember, we have had some huge snow storms in March.  Be that as it may, each day compromises about one per cent of winter.  We are already 14 per cent in!

For me, January is always the toughest nut to crack.  Some years, it seems like it lasts forever.

We'll do a little more math in a month, when winter is half over.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Andy's Angles: More Failed Photos

Yesterday, I referred to this as a failed weekend, and there is more proof of that here.  To refresh, I'm at the intersection of Green Ridge and Main in Scranton, doing light trails at dawn, on a late summer morning. 

As I noted yesterday,  I was on the same plane as the headlights and they were overwhelming.  While a long and straight stretch of road was appealing, the location just didn't quite work.

I learn more from my failures than my successes, so I'll be back at it in the new year.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Andy's Angles: Fail


It seems only fitting that the last full weekend of photos before the end of year "Top 10" countdown is from a failed expedition.

I really had high hopes for this one, and it looked great in my mind.  I just couldn't pull it off.

I thought the top of Green Ridge Street in Scranton, at the intersection with Main, whould be great for light trails.  You get a really long and straight run from Main, looking all the way into Dunmore.

There were a couple of problems.  First, I waited until it was close to dawn so there would be more traffic.  Light trails don't have much of an effect when the sky is too bright.

The second, it really doesn't work when you are on the same plane as the headlights, and they're coming right at you.  It's better when you're off to the side, and even better when you are up above.

More on this failed attempt tomorrow.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Andy's Angles: Engine


It's the last month of the year.  The annual Top 10 countdown is coming up in a couple of weeks, so it's time to clear out some inventory before the calendar page turns.

This is an unused shot from my early November trip to Honesdale.  The engine, and the passenger cars behind it, were parked along Brown Street.

It's not the most colorful engine I've ever scene, but this is among my favorite models-- mainly for the size and the power it represents.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Horse Trading


It happened early this year and there are no complaints.  It's nice to get the Christmas work schedule nailed down early.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day fall on my normal days off this year.  I easily could have pulled seniority/rank and taken the days off, but I did my yearly thing and volunteered to work.  It gives my younger coworkers, those with families, and those who have to travel a little extra time away from the office.

I don't expect a medal.  I've never been much of a holiday person, and working holidays really doesn't bother me.  Plus, I'll get what's called a "comp day," or another day off of my choosing.  No good deed goes unpunished.

The favor will not be returned on New Year's Eve.  I've done my share.  That is a night I will be off, even though I have no intention to party.

I'll be like the rest of you-- praying for a better year ahead.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Old School


Thanks to streaming, Amazon's Echo, my smart phone, and even my trusty old IPod, I can hear any song at any time.

Yet, I have a habit I cannot break.

If there is a song I like on the car radio, I will linger in the car, even after I've reached my destination, until the song is over.  In the old days, you'd never know when you would hear it again.

I have made at least one adjust to modern times.  When I get home, I call up that favorite song so I can hear it yet again.

Speaking of radio, Howard Stern signed for another five years with Sirius XM.  I'm sure he's being paid a fortune.  I have a subscription, but Stern isn't part of my package.  It's just not worth the cost for his rare appearances.  Stern does produce compelling radio and I might consider subscribing if he goes back to four or five days a week, but that's not going to happen.

And Radio Disney leaves the airwaves early next year.  Kids, it's a streaming world.  Radio Disney owned a couple dozen radio stations and several more affiliates.  It was radio aimed at young people.  Not a bad idea, but it never really took off.  Disney has sold all but one station and it should be on the block soon.  36 people lose their jobs.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020


It's been 40 years,  and it still seems like yesterday.

Like most of America, I was watching Monday Night Football, on this day, when Howard Cosell announced John Lennon was shot to death in front of his New York apartment building.  Dead on arrival.

And the world changed, at least a little.  I grew up with the Beatles.  I loved most of Lennon's solo material.  And now, it was over.

I vividly remember the next day.  I only had a couple of morning classes at Marywood, so I picked up my friend Markie, on a brief break from the Army, and we went on a long drive through the Poconos in the afternoon.  We caught up, talking about college, the military, and what happened the night before.

One of our stops was the Stroud Mall.  Hess's was one of the anchor stores back then,  and it had a decent record department.  It was mobbed by people buying Lennon and Beatles music.  You really didn't need the cassettes and lp's.  The music was all over the radio.

Speaking of radio, I was on the college station later that week.  I adopted the philosophy I still have today:  If someone else can do it better, be my guest.  Have at it.  I knew a fair amount about Lennon the Beatles.  Some of my classmates and fellow dj's knew much more.  They could do the tributes and handle them with skill.  I played some Lennon and Beatles music during my shift, as I always did.  I didn't go wall to wall.  I also felt that, perhaps, listeners needed a little break.

There really is no major moral to the story today.  It was one of the first times in my life when the "adult" feeling set in.  My wiffle ball buddy Markie wasn't a kid.  He was defending our freedom.  Someone I spent hours listening to, John Lennon, was gone.  That Beatles reunion we all hoped for was never happening.  Never ever.  I guess it was similar to the feeling the slightly older crowd experienced when Elvis Presley died in '77.

In an odd way, I'm glad I had the opportunity to experience some things that week.  Fame is not a lifetime pass.  People experiencing loss really fought to cling to something-- even if it was a big disc of vinyl.  Being a broadcaster is a privilege, and people look us to make sense of things, even if we can't.

Above is the relatively new John Lennon mural on the side of a building along Lackawanna Avenue in downtown Scranton.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Scrapple City


"Aerial America" on the Smithsonian Channel is one fine series, and never fails to delight.

Billy Joel's "Sleeping with the Television On" is a vastly underrerated song.

There is nothing wrong with Brussel Sprouts.  Just don't cook them to death.

I ate very little on Thanksgiving this year.  I just wasn't feeling it.

I still use my Discover card.

It just didn't feel like Thanksgiving this year, and I fear Christmas and New Year's Eve are headed the same way.

I still get a major kick out of the WEJL tower lighting in downtown Scranton.

Even though The Globe hasn't been The Globe in nearly thirty years, who doesn't get a sense of nostalgia when they pass it at this time of year?

There is no burning desire to grab a McRib, but I can handle some Arby's.

I can't believe any video game system is worth camping on a sidewalk for three days.

It really seems like all the package delivery services are providing substandard performance this season.

The need to decorate early for Christmas this year is understood.  It's a moot point because I'm not a decorator, and I really can't get in to looking at it until the middle of the month.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Andy's Angles: The Big Picture

Some recent photos here feature the sun coming over the mountain, a bit zoomed in.

Today, we widen out a tad, to show the sky turning from black to blue-- and with the sun just about to peek over the horizon.

It's a great time of day.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Andy's Angles: Trails at Dawn

I've inflicted light trail shots here many times before, but this one has a different twist.

First, it's at dawn on a late summer morning, rather than in the dead of night.

This is the view, looking east on Business Route 6 in Dickson City.

The low angle of the sun really accentuated the utility lines running above the highway.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Andy's Angles: Spillway


Not what I would really call a great shot, but it was a chance to play with shutter speed.

This is shot of the Lackawaxen River spillway at Hawley.  I used a fast shutter speed to show the movement of the water.

Mixed result.  You can see the motion, but I should have used a different lens to get a little closer.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

About the Cover: Trees


I always try for something "Christmassy" for the December header, and most times, it's a Christmas tree.  This year, it's a little different-- many trees.

This is the center of Marywood University's campus, outside the new library and across from the Liberal Arts building.  

I tried the shot on two different days and with my widest lenses, and from a few different locations. I still couldn't get a shot I really liked.  The header photo has a 30 second shutter speed to over expose the lights and get a little more light on the sidewalks.  That part of the effort worked.

Regardless of the way it's photographed, it's a nice display.

Have a good December.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The Christmas Letter


I've been visiting this topic here for the past several years, and this is the 2020 edition.

Every year, I receive a Christmas card from my college friend, Sue.  Great girl, and as I have mentioned here before, one of my great regrets in life was not getting to know this individual until just before we graduated.

Anyway, Sue always encloses a letter along with the card-- a year in review.  Every year seems better than the one before.  Great jobs, great trips, great family, great adventures, etc.  By the way, I know a lot of people hate letters like that.  I love them.  It's a nice way to catch up, and it makes me happy that good things happen to good people.

My issue is what to say in return.  I have been lucky beyond belief, but my life is boring.  I'm not complaining.  The first draft of my response letter appears here every year, and this is the 2020 edition.

Dear Sue:

It could have been worse.

Your friend in Pennsylvania,


👉  I also have to note last week's passing of Abby Dalton.  Check out her resume on  There were dozens of television and move roles over the years.  I knew her best as a semi regular on "Hollywood Squares."  Dalton was a frequent face on several other game shows.

One bit of Trivia:  She was Mrs. Barney Miller in the pilot, but the role was recast when ABC picked up the series.

Abby Dalton was 88.

And, if that isn't sad enough, former ABC News correspondent Tim O'Brien was killed in a bicycle accident in Florida.  O'Brien was a lawyer, and he masterfully covered the Supreme Court for 22 years.  Tim O'Brien was 77 years old.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

It Rocks!


I don't have kids.  There are no children in my family, so I have no idea what the young ones are watching on television these days.

I do consider myself lucky to have grown up when I did.  It was a time when Bugs Bunny and his friends were alowed to beat the snot out of each other.  It was also a time when there was good stuff between the shows.

One of my favorite pastimes is tooling around for nostalgia on You Tube.  I stumbled across a few episodes of ABC's "Schoolhouse Rock" from the 70's.  Two favorites: "Conjunction Junction" and "I'm Just a Bill."  The music and narration were great.  Kids learned more in two minutes than they did in an entire week of English and History classes.  Masterpieces.  They still hold up today.

While ABC was doing that, CBS filled the time between cartoons with "In the News."  They were single topic mini newscasts.  Christopher Glenn narrated.  I don't know who wrote and produced them, but the people responsible talked TO kids, not DOWN TO kids, and that's not an easy feat.

There are rare occasions when television gets things right.

Monday, November 30, 2020


I grew up, and started working at a time when the government mandated that broadcasting companies couldn't own more than seven AM, seven FM, and seven TV stations at a time.  There are now companies that own more than one thousand radio stations and hundreds of television stations.

When I was growing up, you could advertise cigarettes on TV, but you couldn't advertise hard liquor.  It's now reversed.

Later, many broadcasters wouldnt accept condom ads, but they would allow shady operations, like psychic hotlines, to advertise.

You were forbidden to talk about gambling on the air.  Now, there are entire radio networks dedicated to placing bets.

Posessing marijuana was a crime.  Now, it's a state's way out of the financial hole.

Fireworks were banned.  Now, most neighborhood resemble war zones on Independence Day, the days before and the days after.  Follow the money.

What's next?  The imagination runs wild.

Times certainly have changed.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Andy's Angles: A Little Older


Different train than yesterday, but the same goal-- try to blur the background while shooting something big.  Needless to say, this shot didn't come out the way I had hoped, but it's still pretty to look at.

While I do love yesterday's black, green, and gold Reading diesel, this is also one of my favorites.  I can see this one under countless Christmas trees, or taking Uncle Joe Carson on a ride out of Hooterville.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Andy's Angles: Going Big


This is another shot from my mid October experimenting with depth of field and the kit lens that came with my camera many years ago.  The intent was a sharp front of the train with some blur in the back.  I wanted to see how it would work with a huge object.  The technique is mostly associated with portraiture.

Mixed results.  The front of the engine, one of my favorities in the Steamtown collection, was nice and clear.  You can see some deliberately out of focus in the distance, especially the buildings on the right.

I'm sure a better photographer could have done a better job, but it's a decent shot, nonetheless.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Black Friday


Regular readers will remember that Black Friday is always one of my most despised days of the year-- a day dedicated to crowds, noise, excess and stress.

I already heard it once this morning, on the radio.  The broadcaster said Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year.  False!  It's actually the last Saturday before Christmas.  Although, this year, nothing is for certain.

Having said all that, the door of the penalty box swings open this year.  A good Black Friday could provide a much needed boost to the economy and get people working.  I do know many families who view Christmas shopping as a togetherness sport, and we can all use a little more of that.  And during this difficult time, no one can turn down a bargain.

Whatever you do today, do it safely.  Think of all the people working in retail.  Those are tough jobs-- even more so this year.

Good luck.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020


This year has been beyond horrible and there is no need for a review of the details here.

All I ask on this Thanksgiving is to find one tiny thing for which to be thankful.

Make the best of the day.  Be safe.

I'll call you back tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Travel Day 2020


Today is the day before Thanksgiving, traditionally one of the busiest travel days of the year.

I'm sure the current situation will have an impact.  Most colleges and universities are shutting down for the semester, so you have to factor in that traffic.  The experts say to avoid large gatherings, but you can keep people cooped up for only so long.  That recommendation doesn't carry much weight.  It's been months of cabin fever and I do know a lot of people who say "enough."  Early anecdotal evidence shows crowded highways and airports.  In the days to come, we'll see if people actually stayed home and avoided large gatherings.

I'm lucky.  I don't have to travel.  If the weather cooperates, I'll play with my camera somewhere tomorrow morning, but that's a solo activity and in the great outdoors.  It's my Thanksgiving tradition.  I also expect to start working on the annual Top Ten photo countdown.  As of this writing, Thanksgiving morning looks rainy, so the camera might stay in the bag.

No lectures from me other than to say "make good choices."

In case you're wondering, today's photo is Interstate 81 in Dunmore, looking north.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Mine Was Green


I don't know if my folks bought mine at Samters, but I had one of these.

The ad is about fifty years old, and $34 was a bit much to spend on a winter coat.  Heck, with sales going on these days, a decent coat from Land's End isn't much more here in 2020.

I remember it vividly-- sort of a military-esque shade of green, with an orange lining.  It was warm, but bukly and uncomfortable-- and every kid had one.  It was at a transitional time in winter outwear.  Wool was on the way out.  Nylon and other synthetics were on the way in.

I do not recall wearing it long or often, perhaps it was because I was a kid and I outgrew it.

Having a survival jacket was as close as I ever got to the Air Force.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Monday Scrapple


I miss the days when malls had fountains.

I miss the days when malls had stores.

My phones are blissfully quiet now that the election is over.

We had some great autumn days, but as always, fall doesn't last long enough.

That splash of green provided by the big bank sign high atop a downtown Wilkes-Barre building will be missed.

I've never traveled in an electric car.

It's always frustrating when you have the time and the itch to play with the camera-- and it's raining.

It happened at the beginning of September.  ABC' "World News Tonight" went back to a more traditional version of its theme music, and I'm thrilled.  Those four opening notes really get your attention.

Destructive?  Yes, but squirrels are fascinating to watch.

There is nothing like finding a jacket with a tek pocket big enough to hold a phone and a pair of glasses.

David Letterman was on a recent episode of Jimmy Kimmel.  Still wickedly funny.  How I miss him!

During a recent drive through Lackawanna, Wayne and Pike Counties...  there must be a Dollar General every two miles.

America's toasted sub fascination seems to have waned, but the salted caramel thing remains.

Why do we care about what Harry Styles wears?

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Andy's Angles: Man Made Stars

I was doing some test shots from the old Dickson City KMart parking lot in July, as I prepared to make an attempt at photographing a sunrise.

I choked down the f stop to cut down on the amount of light hitting the sensor.  When you do that, this happens.  Points of light become starbursts.  Round in person.  Spikey on camera.

Yes, it's a mediocre shot, but I do like the man made stars.  The scary part is, I'm beginning to recognize the technique in the work of others.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Andy's Angles: Skyliner

Scranton doesn't have much of a skyline, especially a night.  There are some beautiful buildings in the daylignt-- the Lackawanna County Courthouse, the train station, Bank Towers, The Scranton Times building, Community Bank at Lackawanna and North Washington, the Scranton Life building, the Mercantile Building...

At night, they disappear.  However, there is a nice selection lights in the valley as you look down from above.

As a point of reference, look for the three red vertical lights at the center of the photo.  That's the WEJL tower at Penn and Spruce.

This photo will not go down as one of my better ones.  It was taken in late July, so I have some summer time haze hanging over the valley, and the Business Route 6 utility lines don't help.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Andy's Angles: The Lake


It's a little break from trains for the next three days.

I'd hate to say a visit to Lake Wallenpaupack was a disappointment, but I hoped for more.

This is a shot from the observation area along Route 590.  I took it the morning of November 4.  I put some land in the shot, just for a little color and visual interest.

The lake was low.   No boats.  No birds and other assorted wildlife.  Quiet.

The trip wasn't a total loss.  It was a beautiful day and I hadn't been to the lake in several months.  It was nice to get away-- even if it was for a little while.