Linda Benzon Photography: Blog en-us (C) Linda Benzon (Linda Benzon Photography) Tue, 02 Jan 2024 20:26:00 GMT Tue, 02 Jan 2024 20:26:00 GMT Linda Benzon Photography: Blog 97 120 Break of Day and Other New Beginnings A little bit of personal history will help to explain the motivation and emotion behind this photograph. I grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, but moved away after marrying and graduating from college, then lived in several other states over the following 45 years. After 35 years in Pennsylvania, we got the crazy idea to move to Lewes, Delaware. My sister moved here six years prior, and my husband grew up in Ocean City, New Jersey, so this move was like coming home. It was a wonderful decision. Since we made the move, another of my sisters and one of my husband’s sisters have joined us here.

It goes without saying that the Lewes area is a treasure trove for nature photographers. Ironically I didn’t know how beautiful this area was until after we moved here! My childhood experiences with southern Delaware consisted mostly of beeline daytrips to Rehoboth Beach or Lewes Beach in the heat of the summer. I had never explored all the wildlife refuges and parks. But after the move, we got right to that!

So now, on to the photograph. “Break of Day” was taken on my first sunrise trip to Herring Point in Cape Henlopen State Park. As I walked down the path to the ocean, I could see that I had chosen a great day. The light and air were perfect. In addition, there was an unexpected reward for getting up so early. A group of ten high school students were gathered to watch the sunrise together. I assume they were seniors celebrating the end of the school year. Watching them run around, some of them daring to swim on that cool morning, and hearing their laughter took me back several decades. I was just as interested in them as the color creeping above the horizon as the sun was about to make its entrance. To cap off the excitement of it all, just as the sun rose, the song “Here Comes the Sun” projected from their boom box. Now, that really took me back a few years! I took so many photographs, trying to capture the special moment, and “Break of Day” is my favorite. In fact, it is hanging as a large canvas on our living room wall-  a daily reminder of the gifts we have received since we followed through on that crazy idea almost two years ago!


(Linda Benzon Photography) beach break cape Cape Henlopen State Park day delaware dunes henlopen herring Herring point lewes ocean of park sea state sunrise waves Tue, 02 Jan 2024 20:24:00 GMT
No Regrets in Cortona, Italy No Regrets!

Cortona, Italy  

For me the most “out-of-my-comfort-zone” type of photography is making portraits of strangers. I have missed so many opportunities for fear of a negative reaction, but when it does happen, it is my most rewarding work. Case in point-  a recent experience in Tuscany. An intriguing gentleman stood out to me every time I walked past him during our 3 days in the medieval town of Cortona. I HAD to photograph him, and I did. Here are 10 photographs that show my process, and hopefully my progress, in getting over my fear and getting acquainted with this man. (Spoiler alert: As it turns out, he’s a famous artist!) The rest of the story is told with each photo.

With sincere gratitude to Luciano Radicati, for honoring me with one of my best memories of our time in Tuscany.


Photo 1 (day 1): A “street photo”, taken without Luciano’s knowledge. (But then again, he’s an artist, and artists notice everything….) Interesting photo, but I wanted more. I shared with my husband Gary how much I would love to get a “real” portrait of him.

Photo 2 (day 2): A photo of an interesting alley near where I frequently observed Luciano hanging out. I didn’t know at the time that the poster was Luciano’s work, that he was a famous artist, and that his gallery was up the alley on the right.

Photo 3 (day 3): We finally walked up this alley simply because it looked interesting, and we turned into a small art gallery. What a shock it was to see the guy I wanted to photograph! He spoke English fairly well, so we talked about his work. I purchased a small sketch that he had made to prepare for a larger canvas. I asked the artist if I could take a photo of him with the pieces, and he graciously agreed.  The lighting was poor, but I was happy to have made a connection with this intriguing man. That afternoon, my husband and I packed our bags and moved on to our next accommodation in the valley below Cortona.

Photos 4-5 (day 10): Seven days later we returned to Cortona for a wonderful dinner as part of a guided tour of Tuscany. Of course, I used our free time to walk by Luciano’s usual post. He was there, engaged in an animated conversation with another gentleman. I waited a while for a break in the conversation but soon realized that it could go on for hours. I swallowed my fear, excused my interruption, and reminded Luciano that we had met previously. I went on to explain that I really wanted a good photo of him, but the one I took in the shop didn’t turn out so well. He was very willing, and proved how photogenic he is!

Photo 6: I asked Luciano if he would like me to email him the photos I took. He was very appreciative and walked to his gallery to get me a card with contact information.

Photo 7: Meanwhile, my husband and Luciano’s friend had struck up a lively conversation, so I wanted to document that as well as Luciano’s return to his usual post.

Photo 8: When I walked down the alley to stand with the three men, I saw the photo I had been waiting for! I positioned myself, asked permission, and took this photo.

Photo 9: My brother Randy happened to be observing the whole process and took this wonderful photo of me showing Luciano the most recent photo on my camera. Luciano was very pleased.

Photo 10: The sketch I purchased is now framed and sitting in my office as a reminder of this wonderful experience. This is why I am passionate about photography and so thankful for how it has opened so many doors for me!



(Linda Benzon Photography) art artist cortona italy luciano Mad About Tuscany radicati tuscany Mon, 20 May 2019 17:54:08 GMT
J. R. the Woodcarver Pennsylvania Art of the State is a prestigious state-wide competition that in 2017 celebrated 50 years of bringing recognition to artists from throughout the state. It was such a privilege to have one of my photographs, "J. R. the Woodcarver" accepted to this exhibit. And then it was an incredible honor for the photograph to be awarded Third Place Photography! Today I learned that someone purchased this piece. This may be the pinnacle of my photography "career" so I thought it was worth a blog post....

J.R. the WoodcarverJ.R. the WoodcarverFirst Place Photography, Carlisle Arts Learning Center Members Exhibit, 2017.<br/> Third Place Photo 2017 Pennsylvania Art of the State.

There is an interesting story behind this photo. In February 2016, my husband and I fulfilled a dream by chartering a sailboat and exploring the Exuma Islands in the Bahamas. We had read about Little Farmer's Cay, a small island with a fishing village of about 60 residents, most of them descendants of a freed slave and her children in the 1800's... and about a woodcarver named J. R. Tinker. After sailing to the island and reaching land by tender, we had to walk a good way up a dirt road until we reached his humble home and woodworking shack. J. R. was delightful! We talked a while, and he told us that he was 62 years old, a great-grandfather, and for over 50 years a carver of wooden replicas of native animals. I had in mind before we went there that I would like to ask if I could take his portrait. While my husband paid for the owl that we chose, I walked outside the shack to prepare to photograph J. R. framed in the doorway as he exited. Lighting didn't suit for that, but he immediately sat down to engrave his name in the bottom of our owl, and gave me a perfect opportunity to take a photograph. I took one. Then he smiled and I took another. The first is better- so real. I called J. R. to tell him about the award this photograph has earned, and he is thrilled. Apparently he is showing the print that I mailed to him earlier to everyone who comes on the island, so he (and I) are now quite famous on Little Farmer's Cay! This is what photography is all about for me- a vehicle to connect me to fascinating people and places.

Below is a link to more information about Art of the State and images of the pieces accepted to the 2017 exhibit.

Art of the State 2017

(Linda Benzon Photography) Bahamas Benzon Exumas J. R. Little Farmer's Cay woodcarver Mon, 19 Jun 2017 14:46:52 GMT
A Farm in Four Seasons Cumberland Valley PalletteCumberland Valley PalletteWinner, Pennsylvania Magazine 2013 Photo Contest
Winner, Members First FCU 2014 Calendar Contest

In June, 2012, I knocked on a farmhouse door in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to ask for permission to photograph a recently harvested hay field. Little did I know then that over the course of a year I would return many times to the Hawkins family’s property to photograph life on their farm. And little did I know that Bob and Doris and their family would become valued friends.

Midway through the year I was invited to exhibit my work at the Carlisle Arts Learning Center. This was my first solo exhibit, and I learned so much from hundreds of hours spent bringing photographs together to tell a meaningful story in an artistic fashion. Narrowing down a couple thousand images to a few dozen was quite a task. Perhaps some day I will publish a book with more photographs and a bit of the knowledge I gained from many long conversations and participation in everything from birthing cows to spreading manure!

The photographs selected for the exhibit appear chronologically in the slideshow, beginning with summer (including a collection on the birth of a calf) and ending with spring. Following are the comments that appeared in the exhibit brochure to describe each seasonal collection. Additional comments about each photograph are accessible through the website gallery.


Lazy days of summer. . . not on a farm! Bob and Doris’s work begins with the 5:30 alarm and continues until supper is served at 9:00 or later at night. Morning and evening milking and feeding (including bottle-feeding young calves), chopping hay, harvesting corn and soybeans, mucking stalls, maintaining equipment, ordering supplies, growing and preserving food for the family, and doing custom fieldwork for other farmers, are just a few of the items on the to-do list.  Their children, Joel and Joann, have their own families but are an integral part of the farm. Neighboring farmers pitch in too, especially when weather is threatening to ruin a crop. On Sundays, milking and feeding the cows are the only chores, but otherwise there is little down time. A week-long vacation-- never. But there are few complaints. Farming has been part of both Doris and Bob’s families for generations, and (most days) they would not trade it for anything.

A Calf is Born

Breeding cows is an essential part of the dairy farm operation. A cow that is not breeding once a year and producing milk is a financial drain. Calves are called heifers when they are first bred at a little over two years of age (with the help of the resident bull or by artificial insemination performed by Joann). After nine months’ gestation, normally a calf is born without any assistance from the farmer. On the hot July morning when Doris called to say that Mona was likely to give birth soon, I was warned that this could be a difficult birth because the calf was turned in the mother’s womb. No problem. Like an expectant grandmother, I changed clothes, packed my bag, and raced to the farm.

Bob made several attempts to move the unborn calf into position before calling Dr. Don Sunday for assistance.  Soon Dr. Don, Bob, and farmhand Matt were giving their all to ensure a safe delivery for Mona and her calf. Mona was quiet and cooperative, except for deciding to stand up just before delivery. My contribution, besides photographing and keeping my stomach in check, was to stroke Mona’s head and say a few words that I hoped would be comforting to a cow. I could relate, on some level.

About an hour after the vet’s arrival, the calf was born and all was well. The three men left Mona to care for her newborn and went on to other chores. I eagerly accepted the invitation to stay a while in the quiet barn with mother and baby and onlooking cows. Having delivered her first calf, Mona’s status changed from “heifer" to “cow." For five milkings, Mona’s milk is used exclusively for the newborn. After that, the normal routine resumes and the life cycle repeats.


Autumn is commonly known as harvest season, and for the Hawkins family it means long days of up to 20 hours of chopping and storing hay and corn. Joel is largely responsible for “custom work”- harvesting other farmers’ fields. This year’s frequent rains extended the work into December, even requiring Bob and Joel to eat their Thanksgiving dinners in the field. Meanwhile Doris sells hundreds of pumpkins grown by another farmer. The extra income comes in handy, but Doris especially enjoys visiting with families who return year after year.


The pace does slow some in winter, but not by much. Supper may be as early as 8:00. Farm repairs (including new barn roofs) and a machinery repair side-business keep the men occupied.  Joel and Matt are trained mechanics who are very much at home in the clutter of equipment and inventory that have accumulated for decades. Outside, the fields are quiet and the cows are enjoying the preferred cold weather. Inside, Doris spends the days catching up on housework and paperwork for reports and taxes. And everyone enjoys having a bit more family time.


Many people are eager for spring to arrive, but farmers are especially so. Before the workload gets intense, Bob and fellow farmers enjoy the annual State Plowing Contest held at his brother-in-law Jay’s farm. Strict rules and friendly competition blend well with plenty of laughter and grilled donuts. Meanwhile, the minute the ground is thawed and dry enough for tractors, the sequence of real field work begins: spread 400,000 gallons of manure, plow their 200 acres (plus 2000 acres of custom work for others), plant corn and soybeans, and pray for good weather. Before long, the corn has sprouted, and the wheat and barley seeds planted last autumn are transformed to amber waves of grain. Doris plants the kitchen garden and hopes for a good harvest for summer meals and next winter’s spaghetti sauce. Everyone does his part as the cows are bred, fed, milked and cared for in the continuous cycle of life on a family dairy farm.


This exhibit was presented in sincere gratitude to Bob and Doris Hawkins and their family. A special thank you also to John Wright for top-notch printing service and countless hours of mentorship, and to Cathy Stone, gallery director, for inviting me to present this exhibit and walking me through every step.




(Linda Benzon Photography) barn birth of calf calf Carlisle cornfield cow dairy farm farm goat hay hayfield kitten laundry Linda Benzon manure spreader milking pumpkin silo snow tractor Tue, 12 Nov 2013 19:40:01 GMT
93 and Going Strong History of Mr. Tritt I visited Mr. Tritt's small sharpening shop a few years back when my hair-cutting scissors were in desperate need of his services.  Yesterday, dull scissors in hand, I walked the three blocks from my home to his tidy white-shingled house graced by a small flower-filled yard. A series of hand-printed cardboard signs directed me first to the shop out back,  then back to his house where I had started. I opened the chain-link fence gate leading to the side door and followed the instructions posted there: "Please ring bell." I remembered that Mr. Tritt was hard of hearing, so I rang a bit longer than I normally would. Without delay a smiling man in red suspenders answered the door. He welcomed me inside, warned me about his hearing problem, and asked me if I was in a hurry for the scissors. I had just given my husband a haircut, so I was not. "Then they'll be ready by noon tomorrow." Good enough! He handed me a piece of scrap paper and asked me write my name and phone number. We smiled and said our farewells.

This morning (two hours before the appointed time) I was taking my walk (camera in hand as usual) and took the chance that the scissors were ready. Actually, my guess is that they were ready an hour or less after I dropped them off. Following the same sequence of signs and receiving the same large-grinned welcome from Mr. Tritt, he led me on the short path back to his shop to retrieve the scissors. The door was opened, and I felt like I was stepping into a time capsule. A photographer's delight. Did I gasp audibly? The shop was packed full but as neat as the printing on all the signs. Walls, shelves and floor were covered with tools, old photographs, parts drawers, more signs- orderly chaos. I asked Mr. Tritt if he minded if I took photos of his shop, and perhaps of him too. His smile and the sweep of his arm invited me to go right ahead. I took very few actually, and listened intently as Mr. Tritt answered my many questions. His sharpening business started about 11 years ago. He repairs scissors, knives, lawn mower blades and the like. Before that he had a fire extinguisher business for 29 years, with four employees who worked in that same little shop. I think I was able to pick out four stools and work areas. Some garages out back were used to store inventory, but they're rented out now. Mr. Tritt spent a lot of his time then visiting hospitals and businesses in the area to train them in fire safety procedures. "Did you notice the fetting sign?" he asked. Fetting? I had noticed several "fettling" signs and assumed it was another one of those English words that isn't pronounced the way it looks. I never heard of the word and told him so. He remarked that most people haven't, which is why he has the definition written out on each of the signs: trim, clean, adjust, shape- put in working order. I had to ask about the pronunciation. "Oh, that's the way I say it. Not sure if it's right or not."

When his wife Ann died, Mr. Clair decided to sell the fire extinguisher business, and it continues to thrive. I suggested that he had laid a good foundation which has helped the new owners succeed. He smiled and nodded, a little embarrassed by the compliment. As I quickly counted back from age 93, I realized that there must have been at least one more career in his past, and sure enough, there were two. For 29 years, Mr. Tritt worked for the Navy Depot in Mechanicsburg, and before that he served four years in the U.S. Navy. "I did my four years, and then that was done," he remarked. I had already recognized him in the photograph of the young man in uniform, and in another near it showing a somewhat older man in a business suit. Same friendly eyes.

I asked if he had children. "Oh yes, five of them. They all look after me." Do they live nearby? "Pretty much. The furthest is in Boiling Springs," (6 miles away). We both chuckled at that, and he pointed to a photo on a clipboard hanging on a rusty nail almost at floor level. "That's my family. Go ahead and take it off there so you can look at it." I met his wife, alongside his two sons and three daughters (all retired and doing well). He wasn't sure whether he had eight or nine grandchildren- hard to keep count. I asked about his training for all these careers, and he was proud to say he was one of 11 or 12 in the first class to graduate from the "Industrial Program" at Carlisle High School. I asked if he graduated at the top of the class. "Nowhere near," and again a big smile.

Though I sensed I could have stayed and talked a good while longer without imposing on him, I pulled out my wallet and looked at the bill that was next to my scissors on the worn workbench: "1-sissors (sic) 5", subtotal 2.25, tax .15, total 2.40". Amazing. It brought tears to my eyes. I thanked him and assured him I would be back with more scissors and knives, and perhaps a printed photograph or two as well. He seemed very happy to hear that, and looked me straight in the eye as he held out his hand to shake mine before I headed out the door. I can't wait to visit again. Once again, photography has opened doors for me that I never could have anticipated.

P.S. I just looked up "fettling" and found this: "Fettling is a word that is used in several different senses. Most of the uses of the word relate to cleaning, polishing, and maintaining systems so that they will be functional or will remain functional. . . . People may suggest that objects in disrepair just need 'a bit of fettling' to be set to rights." I'm thinking that I could probably stand a little fettling myself now and then. How about you?


(Linda Benzon Photography) Carlisle fettling Mr. Tritt photography repair shop sharpening service Wed, 24 Jul 2013 18:37:58 GMT
Photography Revisited (and better the second time around)

It's been almost two years since the photography bug hit, and there's been no turning back. What started out as a stint as a high school yearbook photographer decades ago and then took a back seat to raising a family, has become a passionate pursuit. The learning curve has been steep. But  seeing a finished image that portrays what my eye envisioned and that is appreciated by others, makes photography extremely rewarding.

This website has been set up in response to requests from family, friends and strangers who want to see more of my work. I thank each one of you for that encouragement. It truly makes me aspire to do even better things in the days to come.



(Linda Benzon Photography) Thu, 14 Mar 2013 18:58:23 GMT