Category Archives: Americana

Danville Kentucky

I grew up in Danville, Kentucky. Danville is located in central Kentucky, south of Lexington. It’s a small town loaded with history. Of course, growing up, I never paid attention to any of these things. Now, when I go back to visit family, I can’t help but seek these places out. I want to share with you some of the historic places and the places that hold meaning. 

Constitution Square

Constitution Square Historic Site was the birthplace of Kentucky’s statehood. The site originally had a meeting house, jail, and courthouse. The cabins currently on the site are replicas of the originals.

Meeting house in Constitution Square

Ephraim McDowell House

McDowell House Museum was home of the “the father of ovariotomy”. McDowell was the first to person to successfully remove an ovarian tumor. The story is fascinating. I recommend reading about it. Visit their website for more info.

Vintage apothecary bottles
A shelf full of McDowell’s potions.

Burke’s Bakery

While not technically a historic site, it’s definitely a landmark. Burke’s opened in the 1970s and is still going strong. With donuts, pastries, cakes, pies, cookies, and more, there is sure to something to make everyone happy. I’m a big fan of the gingerbread men. My mouth is watering just thinking of them.

Burke's Bakery and Deli in Danville Kentucky
The sign for Burke’s Bakery and Delicatessen

Courthouse

The courthouse was finished in 1862. The Italianate style building was erected to replace the original courthouse, which burned down. The large clock tower can be seen from just about every angle in town.

Boyle County Courthouse in downtown Danville Kentucky
The courthouse in downtown Danville, KY.

Danville Office Equipment

Another local landmark, Danville Office Equipment has been in it’s current location since 1975. They sell everything from pens to computers. They also have a service department that started out repairing old typewriters, but now offer service for copiers and printers. My father worked here for over 40 years. I worked there for several years myself. 

Danville Office Equipment in downtown Danville Kentucky
Danville Office Equipment on Main Street

I have been to many small towns in the south. See my Tuesday Trekkin’ blog for just a few of them. Danville is one of the few that still maintains that active hometown feel. Many towns are empty with closed up and shuttered shops and restaurants. It’s great to see a small town maintaining a vibrant, active downtown. 

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City Reflections

Most photographers love reflections. I am no exception. A great deal of my photos are street photography from cities and small towns. My favorite thing is take photos of window reflections. The images are a mix of what’s inside and what’s outside, giving it a sense of place and time. 

Macy's shop window reflecting tables and chairs in Herald Park.
Macy’s shop window reflecting tables and chairs in Herald Park.
A silver dress with red and orange leaves on the inside. City life on the outside
A silver dress with red and orange leaves on the inside. City life on the outside
A colorful tableau in Budapest, featuring a yellow and green phone booth and a well dressed mannequin.
The window of Cafe Gerbeaud in Budapest, Hungary
The window of Cafe Gerbeaud in Budapest, Hungary

Fair Nostalgia

Everybody remembers going to the local fair. It’s warm outside and the day is long. You arrive, buy your handful of tickets for rides and games. I know, it’s wristbands now, but in my day, it was tickets. The music is blaring from the rides and the carnies are yelling out to passersby, “Win a prize!” The smell of corn dogs and polish sausage fill the air. Funnel cakes are obtained and eaten. And at the end of the day, the sun sets and the lights come on.

Ferris Wheel at dusk.

Phoneography

As much as I carry my camera around with me, I do sometimes find myself without it when there is a photo that needs to be taken. Cell phone cameras these days are pretty nice. I won’t get super large prints from the files, but small to medium sized prints will look excellent from these files. Here is a quick gallery of recent phoneography on the train to New York. 

Dining car at night by Sharon Popek
This is what the dining car on the Crescent line looks like at 3am. I was going through to the bathroom, did not have my camera, so I took it with my phone. 
The dining car with a sun flare by Sharon Popek
The dining car at dinner, as the sun was setting. We went in for dinner. I did not bring my camera, because I was hungry and tired. But the sun coming through that window was more than I could resist. Cell phone worked great. 
The NYC skyline from the train by Sharon Popek
The view from the window as we were entering New York City on the Crescent line. The camera was picking up so much dirt on the windows, so I tried the cell phone. I’m happy with this the way it came out. 

Boot Fan

“Boot Fan” is one of my most popular images. It has sold more than any of my other photos. It’s one of my own favorites, as well.  

Where did the boots come from?

Everyone wonders where those beautiful boots were found. They belong to a good friend who is a boot fan. Well, she’s more than a boot fan, maybe addict is a better word. She has great taste, so I’m not knocking it. When I saw her wearing the first pair, I knew I had to do some photos of them. When I got to her house and found lots more boots, I knew we were going to make some beautiful photos.

What’s with the texture under the boots?

When looking around for someplace to shoot the boots. I noticed that she had this big, cool looking rock in her front yard. With it’s gray and red colors and the natural texture of the rock, it made the perfect backdrop. We shot several different setups. Some with boots on their sides and a little haphazard.

A pile of boots
Another pile of boots.

We did some with single pairs. I love these images, but they are not as popular as the Boot Fan.

A single pair of boots
 A Single pair with flowers.

All of the above images are available for sale in my gallery. Click here, to find out more.

Year End Review – Night Photography

I did a year end review of my favorite and least favorite still life images. As promises here are my favorite and least favorite night images. 

Favorite Night Photography

Night photography is my current obsession. As I mentioned in my America After Dark gallery. This image is from the Dragon Lights Festival. There is a color version of this and it’s nice. But I love the way the black and white makes it about the light and dark and highlights the shapes of the flowers and people. 

Dragon Lights Festival flower tunnel
A tunnel of light with people walking through. 

A favorite of not just my night photography, but also my photos from Knoxville. The Tennessee Theatre marquee is lit up and people are walking through town. In the lower right corner is a young girl with a pink jacket, she makes this photo for me. I love subtle touches in photos.

Downtown Knoxville, TN after dark
Gay Street in Knoxville, TN after dark.

The Chrysler Building takes center stage in this New York skyline photo. I took this from the observation deck on the Empire State Building. I had to squeeze myself in between people taking selfies and some lovers making out. But totally worth it!

New York City after dark. The view from the Empire State Building.
New York City skyline after dark. Taken from the Empire State Building, with the Chrysler Building as the central part of this image.

The Daylight Building in downtown Knoxville, TN. I took this while wondering around downtown. I couldn’t find anything that caught my eye. So, I was headed back to the car. And there it was. The single person, the lone bicycle, and the shops all lit up for the night.

The Daylight Building in downtown Knoxville, TN.
The Daylight Building in Knoxville, TN. 

Least Favorite Night Photography

It’s not that I don’t like these images but I feel like they could be better.

I don’t like the stop sign or the car in this image. As we were leaving, I noticed a better angle and it’s been bugging me ever since. I think I will have to go back and get a better pic. Also, eat pizza!

Big Ed's Pizza in Oak Ridge, TN.
Big Ed’s Pizza in Oak Ridge, TN. Big Ed’s has been at its current location since 1970. It’s a local staple and always busy. 

I think I might like this better if shot a little closer to sunset, so the 1907 and the outline of the clock could be more pronounced. Yes, I could lighten it but that would produce an unnatural grainy look. 

Lenoir City street clock
Street Clock in Lenoir City, TN. 

Thank you for visiting my most and least favorite list of night photography from this year. Feel free to share your own end of year blogs in the comments below! 

Prints are available of all images in my Pixels store. Click here. You can also click on the image and it will take you directly to the store.

America After Dark

My current obsession is night photography. I love to see city lights after dark or small town lights. I never carry a tripod with me, so I shoot with a super high ISO or try to rest the camera on something. I use a Sony A7rII and it is great for shooting in low light with a minimum of grain. Although, I have night photos from around the world, this gallery is dedicated to America after dark. 

Knoxville, TN

Knoxville is my home town, so I have lots of images from here. Here are a few.

Downtown Knoxville, TN, featuring the Tennessee Theatre marquee after dark.
After dark on Gay Street, featuring the Tennessee Theatre marquee. This is one of my favorites from Knoxville. 
The Daylight Building on Union Avenue.
The Daylight Building after dark. This is a definite favorite. All of the elements are there, the lights, the single person, and a bicycle. 
The Bijou Theatre Marquee in Knoxville, Tn.
The Bijou Theatre Marquee in downtown Knoxville, TN. 

New York City

When I visited New York, I went alone. At first, I thought I might be too afraid to spend a lot of time out after dark, especially taking photos. But I got comfortable with it fairly quickly. 

Skylight Diner in Midtown.
The Skylight was my go to breakfast place, since it was just around the corner from my Airbnb. The food was excellent and ambiance was everything a diner in NYC should be.
A street scene in New York City, NY.
Street scene in New York City, NY in front of the Heartland Brewery and Rotisserie. 
Looking up at the Empire State Building in NYC.
Looking up at the Empire State Building in New York City. After going up and taking skyline photos and took this as I was leaving. 

Want to see more photos from after dark, click here.

Feel free to comment and share your own images of America After Dark. 

Black and White vs. Color Part 2

I posted about my indecision on black and white vs. color photos. This blog is going to discuss when there is no question. It must be black and white. 

A Good Night for Pizza

This image was taken at night in New York City. Often, images taken at night can have an odd color shift. This image had some pretty green tinges. Yes, I can color correct the image. But sometimes it creates other weirdness or I simply don’t like the image in color.

Waiting for the Train

This is another image that looks better as a black and white. The color just takes away from the subject of the image. 

Avenue of Americas

The street sign for the Avenue of Americas looks better in black and white. The lights glow more. The color version just feels dull to me. 

Thank you for visiting my blog! Feel free to comment and share the link to your own blog. 

Black and White or Color

This is an interactive blog. I would like your feedback and opinion on this images. I have a hard time deciding if I like the black and white or color versions better. Of course, in the end, I usually offer both in my shop. But it is nice to get feedback. So let me which you prefer and why.

New York Public Library

When on the train to NYC, I met a lady who told me I had to go see the Public Library. She did not lie. 

Trefoil Arch Central Park

I love this tunnel. I have seen other photos and was excited when I came across it while wandering the park. I had to wait for a few people to come along and walk through to get this image. I prefer the black and white. It  emphasizes the shapes and textures better. What do you think?

The New York Times Building

When I looked up and saw this, I knew that I had to take a picture of it. I am torn on which I prefer. I like the more modern feel of the color version. But I really like the classic touch of the black and white.

Between the Old and the New

The thing I love most about traveling in large cities is this. When modern meets historic and a classic in between. I can’t pick which I like better. Maybe you can!

Glass House Tavern Sign

I found the simplicity of this sign to be eye catching. Shoe horned in with the big showy marquees of Times Square, it caught my attention. The black and white image feels like classic, like it could have been taken in the early days of photography.


I look forward to your input on these images! Also, feel free to link to your own blog in the comments below.

Prints of all images are available in my shop.

New York City Day 2

See Rhode Island or Bust and New York City Day 1 for the beginning of the trip.

I got online and bought a ticket to the Statue of Liberty / Ellis Island tour for early Monday morning. I had read that mornings were the best time to go. I checked the subway map to plan my route. So, on Day 2 in New York City, I headed out bright and early, looking for breakfast.

Bumps in the Road

Did I mention that it was Labor Day? Holidays change everything. The streets were virtually empty and everything was closed. So, breakfast was a coffee and muffin from the only small market open.

At Penn Station, I discovered that there was construction on the line I needed to take to Battery Park. Battery Park is where Statue Cruises is located. So, the line that goes straight there, was closed. So, some helpful metro workers told me to take Line 2 to a different stop and get on the free shuttle that would go to Battery Park. At the stop, there was no shuttle and the sign said it would not arrive for another 30 minutes.  According to my phone, I could walk there in 20. So, off I went. I took lots of photos on the way. Here are a few. It took me a little longer than 20 minutes. There was construction, thus closing the sidewalk and I had to take a detour.

Boat Rides and 195 Steps

On the boat over, I had a great view. But once we started getting close, people started crowding in front of me. I managed to snag a few shots before too many people came in.

I visited the Statue of Liberty first. I walked up 195 to the pedestal because the elevator was packed and full elevators are on my list of “probably not”. I made it up to the pedestal and got a great view of the city and the grounds below. If you go, you will have to get a locker. Be prepared for frustration and waiting in line for this. Either way, I’m glad I went. It was worth every step.

Ellis Island

I and 50,000 other people decided it was time to get back on the boat and go to Ellis Island. By the time I made it off the boat and out of the crowd, I was pretty tired. But I walked around the place and took some photos.

Back in NYC

After disembarking at Battery Park, I found a kiosk selling cold beer and could not refuse.  I bought a beer and walked around for a bit. Then I returned to the room for a long nap.

After my nap, I found an Indian place for dinner. It was delicious. The garlic naan was spot on.

After walking 11 miles and taking tons of photos, it was time to retire. The next day would be more walking, sweating, drinking, and photos.