Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Farewell 2013

I was trying to think of a way to commemorate the new year here, and got the idea to get some shots in Spring Hill Cemetery to symbolize the passing of the old year. It was overcast, cold, and breezy with fleeting snow showers while I was there, so the atmosphere was perfect for the mood I wanted to capture. And of course I'll use any excuse to go photograph in a cemetery! Heh, heh!

© 2013 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Monday, December 30, 2013


Inspired by the bridge planks shot I took last week, I went wandering around town this morning in search of more texture shots. Here's what I found

Fieldstone house wall, typical of houses built in the 1700s and 1800s
Glass block window
A cobblestone retaining wall
Bare vines climbing a wooden barn wall
An old brick house wall
© 2013 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Friday, December 27, 2013


I went walking in the Dykeman Spring Nature Park today, doing some wildcrafting; I was collecting Staghorn Sumac bobs and Asian Bittersweet berries to add to my feeders to add some extra nutrition to what I feed my bird buddies in the back yard. While I was wandering I was taking pictures. Unfortunately the following two were all that worked. I did them as black & white because it felt right with the snowless world hereabouts being reduced to grays and browns.

The old wooden planks on the bridge over the creek
One of the copses out in the middle of the upland meadow
© 2013 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all my family and friends!

And two music videos to celebrate the holiday:

Photos © 2012 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Friday, December 20, 2013

Winter Solstice 2013

A joyous Winter Solstice and Glad Yule to all my family and friends. This year I've finally gotten around to making a new musical slide show incorporating winter scenes from the Shippensburg area. And the musical setting is Windham Hill pianist Philip Aaberg's "High Plains (Christmas on the High-Line)", from his 1985 CD High Plains. Enjoy!

Photos © 2007 - 2013 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Sunday, December 15, 2013

More Snow

We got more snow yesterday, and this time it didn't turn to freezing rain. We got between 3 and 4 inches, most of that falling between 4 pm and 7 pm. I was off today, and I decided to pass through the Dykeman Spring Nature Park on the way to the grocery store. Here are the best of the shots I took.

Entering the Dykeman Spring Nature Park on the Dykeman Walking Trail
Looking out of the tunnel on the Dykeman Walking Trail
Fox tracks by the Upland Trail
Trail bench on the Upland Trail
A dramatic sky over the upland meadow
© 2013 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Soup's On!

In yesterday's post I included this picture and mentioned my kale and lentil soup. Since then I've had several requests for the recipe. Your wish is my command!

This soup is a sort of combination of Portuguese kale soup and lentil soup. The original plan, on getting ready to head for the grocery store to stock up, was to make Portuguese kale soup, but I noticed that I had a bag of dry lentils in the cupboard and a bunch of celery in the refrigerator. That was when the idea to combine two of my favorite soups came about. Be advised that this is a huge amount, meant to feed me for a week (so I don't have to cook every night when I get home from work). It's also largely an improvisation on basic recipes meant to please my particular taste, so amounts, while fixed for the purpose of this writing, are fairly approximate; you can vary to suit your own taste. So here goes.
1 lb. dry lentils
2 or 3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons crushed or minced garlic
1 1/2 lbs. sausage - Portuguese chouriço, Spanish chorizo, or Cajun andouille - sliced
1 large onion, chopped
5 or 6 stalks celery, chopped
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (2 cans if you like tomatoes)
3 large potatoes, cubed
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
1 large bunch kale, chopped or ripped up (that's how the Portuguese do it)
Season to taste (I use McCormick's Tuscan Seasoning, which has basil, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, oregano, among other things)
So, first cook the lentils in about 2 quarts of water. This usually takes from 30 to 45 minutes. Drain, rinse, and set aside.

In a very large soup pot heat the oil and brown the garlic. Add the sausage, onion, and celery and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until the onion and celery are somewhat tender and a little browned. Add the tomatoes, potatoes, stock, and seasoning. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat back and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the lentils and the kale and simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and serve, preferably with fresh cornbread.

[Notes: The sausage is fairly spicy. The chouriço/chorizo is made with paprika, sweet for the mild version and hot for the hot version. The andouille is just plain hot; if you've ever had gumbo, you'll know what I mean. As for the chicken stock, I always use Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base; I find it easier to make my soup bases from that rather than lug home those big cans of stock. You can use bouillon cubes if you want, but the Better Than Bouillon bases are way more tasty!]

Yes, it's really that easy. But man, it really sticks to the ribs and warms you up on a cold winter's day. Enjoy!

© 2013 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Monday, December 09, 2013

First Snow

We had our first significant snow of the season yesterday. When the snowfall really got going and had gotten deep enough to hide the grass I went walking downtown to get pictures of the town decorated for Christmas and sporting a new white cloak. Overnight and this morning we had freezing rain, and then the temps rose into the 30s, so now there's not much of this snow left. There may be a couple of inches coming along tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

The view out the kitchen window
Branch Creek at King St.
A Federal-style house on East King St.
The Lollipop Shop on East King St.
McLean House all gussied up for the holidays
A nice hot bowl of kale and lentil soup to top off a day out in the cold
© 2013 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Everyday Objects

I've been taking black & white shots of things around the apartment this week. The intent is to isolate the object within the shot and draw the eye of the viewer to the object itself, without the distraction of context or environment. A little tweaking in Photoshop, mainly messing with contrast in the curves function and, in some cases, adding vignetting. I've found the results to be very interesting.

Everyday Objects #1 - Space Heater
Everyday Objects #2 - Kitchen Still Life
Everyday Objects #3 - Mortar & Pestle on Bamboo Board
Everyday Objects #4 - Sugar Cannister
© 2913 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Tuesday, December 03, 2013


I've been working on my black & white photography, tweaking contrast and value to get a "classic" b&w look, getting rid of the bluish tint to the grays and the grayish "mist" that seem to plague my b&w shots. This time I shot in color and processed for b&w in Photoshop's channel mixer function, and then further processing in the curves function. I'm pleased with the results. Here's what worked the best.

Branch Creek at King St.
A bench up on the Meadow Trail in the Dykeman Spring Nature Park
Ganesh and the Laughing Buddha from my personal altar
A view of God's Acre, the historic cemetery in downtown Shippensburg
© 2013 by A. Roy Hilbinger