KeyStone Balance

Come Together

Today was quite windy throughout midday and early afternoon. I held off from heading out to stone balance, deciding to make a late afternoon start if the winds subsided… Colder temperatures further assured a later start ūüôā I made Indian Creek in Melcroft my destination. FUNky rocks can always be found at this reliable spot as can a beautiful sunset on bluebird days. It took a while to get this worked out. The spine weight was spiraled and micro adjustments were crucial. With the slightest misalignment,¬†this combination of stones would tumble, splashing into the water. Adjusting in the smallest possible increments was the true crux of this build. In the end success was had and the late day and evening presented favorable lighting for beautiful¬†photos and experience.

Featured stone

Originally found this top stone last year. It had a unique beauty that made it shine. I tried using it several ways, but none were ever truly fulfilling. I found it again on Sunday¬†morning…without hesitation I went to work to see if I could illuminate it in a setting as unique as itself. Calm wind and setting helped to see this through. Eventually it succumbed as the winds increased an hour later.

Linn Run 3.26.2016


I did¬†a bunch of creation since my last post, but lacked free¬†time to share…Sooo..I’ll catch up on those at some point. For now ¬†here are some photos from a recent outing to Linn Run State Park. Wasn’t really feeling any of the creek flows, so instead went with this little piece of mossy heaven as a creation spot. The sensation of the moss and soft earth around me while balancing this was friendly and inviting. A polar opposite compared to some of my less than comfortable chosen in-creek destinations.

Ohiopyle Jan 31, 2016

Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park draws many visitors throughout the year. It’s a magical little waterfall nestled away in a stone amphitheater easily accessible within a few minutes of the car. Winter can be an especially beautiful time to experience the loud roar and often mesmerizing view of this relatively small waterfall as it snakes it’s way down to the Youghiogheny River several hundred yards below the falls. At the base of the falls is a pool of water that can hold a rare personality in winter. Commonly ice builds up to create a cone at the base of the falls and if cold enough for a prolonged period of time the entire falls freeze. When the timing is right, conditions can be favorable for the kind of backgrounds that appeal to me. ¬†The kind that create stunning photos which¬†highlight¬†my¬†stone balances¬†properly. On January 13th I visited the park to create some stone balance art as happens on many occasions. Most of the streams were¬†fully frozen offering nothing in the way of stones to balance. As a last resort, I ventured to Cucumber falls and found that the pool below the falls was open enough for me to work. Stone selection was minimal, but through experience and out of necessity I found what was needed to show a different view of this often visited area. Throughout my time working the melting snow and ice caused a rapid rise in the creek as well as rather hazardous work conditions. Large chunks of ice were coming over the falls and landing very close to where I was working. Between that and the increase of spray from the falls my photography session was complete. I stayed to observe/study the location and environment for future adventures. It wasn’t long before the rising water collapsed my creations and erased the location to as it was before my arrival.

Simple tools, simple results

Despite being down a critical piece of equipment, some quality time was spent enjoying the snow and creating some balance prior to the large¬†snowfall that hit our region. For a few days everything’s been under a few feet of snow making time away easier to cope with. The “Frozen” balance was one that was left overnight. The slightest amount of spray from the creek transformed the balance into a an¬†object fixed in the creek. The other three photos are of a different creation that I took a liking to. ¬†I used¬†a Nikon D50 (circa 2005) to shoot these photos. ¬†The batteries are as old as the camera and¬†have barely enough life to snap¬†a few photos in cold weather. ¬†I even used the cold weather trick of keeping them warm with “shake and bake” hand warmers trying¬†to squeeze out¬†as many images as possible. ¬†Luck and a small amount of skill netted several decent shots with a nostalgic “old school” digital appearance. ¬†Not that they’re worthy of massive enlargement, but they work for social media sharing after the arduous task of removing the hundreds of black dirt specs due to the badly neglected image sensor ūüôā Can’t wait to get a proper camera¬†back in my hands!

Real life snowglobe

The last couple days have been spent in the same location along Indian Creek in Indianhead, Pennsylvania.  Close to where I grew up as a child, I find this creek to have some very interesting stones to choose from.  The weather yesterday was a mixture of rain and snow making for less than ideal conditions. Actually downright unpleasant.  I managed to build two balances.  The first one was hideously aweful, the second was a little better.  The first lasted less than a minute and produced 4 photos, the second I improved upon a bit, but also lasted about 50 seconds. Wet, cold, miserable and with darkness closing fast, I called it a day and retreated home for some warm dinner.


Today I returned to the same location and was greeted with somewhat more pleasant weather. It snowed large flakes almost the entire time which felt like a real life snow globe. ¬†The wind was blowing slightly less, which was better. I managed a few balances. The first was an astonishing point balance that may be the most minimal contact point I’ve ever achieved… hard to believe it was done while wearing gloves in a snowstorm? ¬†It lived a short duration of just a few moments allowing a quick examination and a few photos before toppling into the creek. I was going to ¬†rebuild it, but the point was damaged in the topple, rendering it less than ideal in my eyes. The second balance was less appealing in design, but technically more difficult. Balancing it became more of a game of “can I accomplish this before dark” than a well thought out, interesting piece. The snow came down harder producing a thin blanket of snow over the balance. ¬†Despite the balance being less than beautiful in my eyes the moment and experience made up for its lackluster design. ¬†I almost found myself dancing in the creek as the snow fell, then suddenly my hands quickly reminded me that they’d spent far too much time in frigid waters and that it was time to bid farewell to Indian Creek.

Bending reality?


Is this bent reality… I think not. ¬†Just a few special stones that are balanced in place with a little help from Gravity. After getting chased out of the creek by foul weather the evening before (see Broken Dreams post), I went back the following day with clearer skies and the hopes of seeing my newly found, golden colored, friend the Palomino Trout who currently resides in this beautiful section of creek. I had not luck in relocating my mystical friend, but did find a few stones that were rather unique. After realizing the possibility of the bottom three rocks, I knew I was delving into something special. ¬†Several reworkings were required to come up with a final arrangement that satisfied me. I observed and enjoyed the life of this balance for several hours watching the light and color change its personality. Although not the most difficult of balances I’ve accomplished, this has great appeal to me and is currently among some of my favorites of all time… Prints available, simply contact me ūüôā

Broken dreams

Seldom do I use broken stones¬†in the balances I create. Sometimes they present themselves in a way that make them impossible to overlook. In this instance, choices for top rocks seemed to be eluding me intentionally. Low and behold, buried in the creek was this large stone that caught my eye. ¬†I loosened it from the creeks cold water only to see it was cracked, but of interesting shape. ¬†Slightly disappointed by the fracture, I inspected it from different angles, realizing that fate had taken its toll and this stone was presented for a reason. In my mind I equated it to a wishbone. ¬†This was the lucky half and not just a broken stone. ¬†Good things meant to happen and they did…This balance was finished just as heavy rains and night made their presence.


I spent some time creating this stone balance on the deck railing at home yesterday… It¬†survived the night and throughout the day providing us with plenty of enjoyment. The evening turned out to be gorgeous allowing me to capture it in proper lighting ūüôā