No. 32. Dam Sliding Double-Take

I was surprised when I first learned, earlier this summer, about young people sliding down the Kernsville Dam. A YouTube video about the sliders went viral not long ago attracting hundreds of young people from all over the East Coast to The Peace Rock (see some of my pictures) and the Kernsville Dam. Nevertheless, I decided to have some photo fun to capture the action. Further attention was drawn to The Rock by a drowning (nearly an annual event) in the rapidly moving current  in the river below in July.

When I was in high school in the early 1960s we often swam about a mile upstream at what is now called the Peace Rock, frequently jumping off the 40-foot outcropping into a deep channel of the Schuylkill river below. I never heard of anyone dam sliding. Then again, in those years the boat ramp just upstream from the dam was active and water skiing was common. The lake really isn’t fit for that kind of activity today.

The Rock has become a public nuisance. Roads are blocked by illegally parked cars. There is no parking along a narrow mountain road and there are no facilities. Mountains of trash and human waste piled up. Recently volunteers organized by Blue Mountain Wildlife collected 75 bags of trash in an effort to clean up the area. Read about it here.

State police have announced they will tow and ticket cars and arrest trespassers. See the Hamburg Item.

Jay M. Ressler

Jay Ressler Composite Photography and Encaustic Art He is an outstanding location photographer, with an eye that can capture the soul of a Havana back street as beautifully as the sip of a hungry hummingbird, often with compelling black and white images. But Jay Ressler is best known for artistic expression that lives in layers between opposites. “I like to explore boundaries,” he explains. “Boundaries between consciousness and the unconscious, between reality and imagination, between certainty and skepticism.” He does this by compositing his own photography in multiple layers to produce stunningly original, interleaved images. Using Photoshop, other image manipulation software and a variety of digital effects, he paints one photographic layer on top of another. He takes advantage of textures he's captured along with an array of processes for manipulating light, contrast, and color to tell the story. “Distorting and reinterpreting the literal 'machine moments' captured by the camera is as old as the art of photography,” he insists. Jay occasionally extends his multi-layered approach to encaustic mixed media creations. Based on ancient techniques, the process begins with cooking his own recipes of beeswax and damar resin and applying this medium between the layers of photographic images, along with various pigmented compounds and materials to add color, texture and expression. Either way, the results are riveting. The viewer is drawn into an unfolding, dreamlike scene that might be heart-warming, haunting, gritty, poignant or magical. Sometimes, within the various layers, all of the above. The award-winning photographer/artist has many dimensions himself. He studied advanced digital photography at Pittsburgh Filmmakers and advanced encaustic techniques with leading instructors in the field. He worked as an underground coal miner, steelworker, machinist, labor and civil rights activist, copywriter and commercial printer. He has a BS in Psychology from Albright College.

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