King Frost 2013

The highlight of October in my hometown of Hamburg PA is the annual King Frost Parade.  It has been held for fifty years and when we were kids, the parade seemed huge - it felt like was at least four hours long, with more than thirty high school bands, lots of floats like the "Haunted Hauler", decorated trucks and cars, and the Reading Motorcycle Drill Team.  At least that is how we remember it.

 

Today, it's a lot smaller, but still an important part of autumn in Hamburg.  For the last few years I have spent a couple hours leading up to the parade photographing the scenes as the town prepares for the parade.

 

By the time the parade starts, there are a couple thousand people lining the streets, the kids are excited, and people line up for the hot soup, cheese steaks, pizza, and french fries.  I haven't made any photographs of the parade itself.  I prefer to focus on the late afternoon quiet scenes as the town sets up, with the harsh late October sunlight.  Most of the photographs appear as if the town is deserted rather than getting ready for the annual event.

 

The photograph above is one of three new ones I added this year.  This is an ongoing project where I expect to add three or four photographs a year.

Click here to view the King Frost Gallery.

Brian ReitenauerComment
New Gallery - Joshua Tree National Park

I hadn't taken a photography and hiking trip to a National Park in a couple years due to a very busy schedule.  But in late November I visited Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California.  The park is on the boundary of two of the four deserts in the US - the higher elevation Mojave desert and the lower elevation Sonoran desert.  We spent most of our time in the higher elevation Mojave desert where there is more annual rainfall and more interesting plant life and terrain.  This part of the park is where you find the Joshua Tree and the Wonderland of Rocks.  Hiking at nearly 5000 feet for ten hours a day from sun-up to sun-down certainly took a toll!

Mornings before sunrise were as cold as 28 degrees and by 10am it would warm into the fifties.  By the afternoon the temperature would get into the low seventies.  The first day we had great cloud formations in the skies.  The next three days though, we had nothing but clear blue skies.

People think of deserts as a barren place, but Joshua Tree was anything but empty.  As you will see in the gallery, there was a lot of color, many different types of plants, and great rock formations.  And while the Joshua Tree is the signature plant of the park, I found the rock formations and the hikes through canyons to be the most enjoyable.

Click on the link to view the gallery...  Link to Joshua Tree National Park Gallery.  

At the bottom of the gallery page is an area to add comments.  You can comment as a guest.  You will not have to create an account, but you will need to type in a name and e-mail. 

Enjoy!

Brian ReitenauerComment
The Ski Inn... Best Burger on the Salton Sea

On a recent trip to Joshua Tree National Park, we took a detour and visited the Salton Sea.  The Salton Sea is the 2nd largest saltwater lake in the US - just behind the Great Salt Lake.  Unfortunately, the Salton Sea is no longer the vacation and resort destination it was envisioned in the 1940's and 1950's.  Only a couple hours from Los Angeles, the Salton Sea was going to be the resort hangout of the stars.  And for awhile it was.  

But today, it is a dying, polluted lake that is getting more toxic each day.  It is surrounded by white sand beaches (crushed fish skeletons) and the skeletons of resort towns like Desert Shores and Bombay Beach.  They aren't completely deserted and people still live there.  But the 1,000 people that live in these resort towns are surrounded by the skeletons of houses, roads, and parks.  Grand avenues that lead nowhere, street signs in the middle of the desert, and a fire station standing alone - that is the image of the resort towns around the Salton Sea.   

While in Desert Shores we spoke to the bartender of the local VFW.  Now in her late sixty's she told us about her youth and how she waterskied across the entire width of the Salton Sea - on three separate occasions!  She was quite proud of her accomplishment, she enjoyed talking about her youth, and most importantly of all - she saw Western Shores and the Salton Sea for what it meant to her.  I think she had a very different picture of it than we did.  

Appropriately, she directed us to Bombay Beach and the Ski Inn... home of the "best burger on the Salton Sea".  The image at the top of this blog post is the sign in the parking lot of the place where we had lunch that day.  And I'll let you decide how the story ends on the burger.

Brian Reitenauer Comment