Steamtown NHS, in Scranton, PA, on the afternoon of 10 December 2011.Spent some time playing tourist this past weekend, showing my brother a little more of Scranton while he was in town visiting.  The best part of the afternoon was Steamtown National Historic Site, which has the finest collection of operational steam locomotives I’ve ever seen, never mind an excellent museum.  I’m not any sort of train nut, but it was still a very enjoyable way to spend a few hours, and quite educational.  These engines were high technology for their time, massive constructs of steel and steam, and their operation is incredible.

Steamtown NHS, in Scranton, PA, on the afternoon of 10 December 2011.Steamtown NHS, in Scranton, PA, on the afternoon of 10 December 2011.So I puttered around Steamtown with the 400D + 50mm f/1.8 Mk I, which was slightly narrow but otherwise the perfect lens.  Nothing too serious, just trying to capture some sense of the engines which really became a study in dark metal and directional light.

Later, we ventured out again to see the Christmas light display at Nay Aug Park.  It’s a Scranton tradition, and a popular one, if the line of cars snaking through the park was any indication.  Aside from being entertaining, I have to admit that the conservationist in me choked, not only at the energy burn required to keep the lights burning, but also on the exhaust fumes that filled the car – and the park – as everyone drove through.  The wonders of the modern era…

Nay Aug Park's annual Christmas lights, and lights in the city of Scranton, on the evening of 10 December 2011.

Of course, the locals weren’t satisfied with leaving the lights in the park and several of the homes that boarder it seemed to enter into competition to see who would claim the title of “Electric Company Customer of the Year.”  I can barely handle getting 180 lights on our tree each year; I cannot imagine hanging enough to blanket the entire house.  And porch.  And yard.

Lights in the city of Scranton, on the evening of 10 December 2011.

Folks down here get into the holidays in a major way.  Far more than I’m used to – New Englanders must be too rigid to go all out like this.  But heck, I like it down here, and I like the festive spirit of the locals.  It really sets the tone for the season.  More to come…

Brent Pennington is a freelance photographer and the driving force behind The Roving Photographer. When he\’s not working with portraiture or promotional clients, he’s usually in the field, hiking, or kayaking in pursuit of nature and wildlife shots.

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