Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Centralia, Pennsylvania Mine Fire

After hearing about Centralia and doing a little research I had to see it for myself.... This is what a saw.

Here's a little background on Centralia
The ruins of Centralia Pennsylvania no longer exists on some maps. The story began sometime in 1962 along the outskirts of town when trash was burned in the pit of an abandoned strip mine, which connected to a coal vein running near the surface. The burning trash caught the exposed vein of coal on fire. The fire was thought to be extinguished but it apparently wasn't when it erupted in the pit a few days later. Again the fire was doused with water for hours and thought to be out. But it wasn't. The coal then began to burn underground. That was in 1962. For the next two decades, workers battled the fire, flushing the mines with water and fly ash, excavated the burning material and dug trenches, backfilled, drilling again and again in an attempt to find the boundaries of the fire and plan to put the fire out or at least contain it.

All efforts failed to do either as government officials delayed to take any real action to save the village. By the early 1980s the fire had affected approximately 200 acres and homes had to be abandoned as carbon monoxide levels reached life threatening levels. An engineering study concluded in 1983 that the fire could burn for another century or even more and "could conceivably spread over an area of approximately 3,700 acres."

As time passed, each feeble attempt to do anything to stop the fire or help the residents of Centralia would cost more and more due to the fires progression. Over 47 years and 40 million dollars later the fire still burns through old coal mines and veins under the town and the surrounding hillsides on several fronts. The fire, smoke, fumes and toxic gases that came up through the back yards, basements and streets of Centralia literally ripped the town apart. Most of the homes were condemned and residents were relocated over the years with grants from the federal Government although some die-hards refused to be bought out and some still remain in the town. Today Centralia is a virtual ghost town with only a few remaining residents. As they continue to live in their beloved homes now owned by the federal government, people pass every day along Route 61, most totally unaware of the history surrounding them and the sad story of Centralia.

I pulled this history of Centralia, PA off of . A great website for information about the strangest of places in the U.S.


What does a photographer do with his time off?

Well that's easy to answer... He takes his new waterproof camera and heads down to the west coast of Costa Rica to catch some surf for a week. Being a photographer and surfer I needed to buy myself a nice waterproof camera I could take out into the water with me so I could share the amazing views I see. After much back and forth at J&R Electronics in New York, I decided to go with the better option out of the bunch, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS 14.1 Megapixel camera. It boasts a Leica lens, shoots video and is waterproof up to 33 feet which was over twice as much as the others on the shelf. It has a quick start up time and a shortest shutter delay, big pluses when a professional photographer is shopping for a point and shoot. Of course it doesn't match the quality of the Canon 5D Mark II that I'm used to but it's perfect for my needs.

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I wonder if there is such a thing as Photographers Luck? If there is, then I must have it! The couples and venues I've photographed this year has been to say the least, extraordinary. Brooke & Arvie picked the perfect scene for their 10/10/10 wedding, The Old Mill in Westminster, MA.

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What a beautiful venue and what a beautiful couple! I'll let these images speak for themselves!

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Miller Motor Sports Park 2010

Above is a shot of me in my photo vest and my 400mm taken by my photographer friend Viktor Vondracek.

Above is an image of good friend and one time super stock rookie of the year Bill Gillis getting down on his Aprilla 125.

After Bonneville we headed over to Miller Motor Sports park for some more motorcycle fun. After a few days on the flats racing his stream liner down the line Scott hit the race track winning another race in his class.

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