Professional photographer Ed Heaton of Atglen is passionate not just about his photography business and the spectacularly beautiful pictures he takes, but about his town’s weather as well.
Heaton said he became interested in weather as a kid. “My father was into the weather,” Heaton said, “and I just picked it up from him.”
For years Heaton never told anyone, other than his family, about his unusual hobby. All that changed however two or three years ago when he started posting his back yard measurements to the national weather service and different websites like Weather Underground and Weather Bug.
Once he started posting Atglen’s weather information to the web, the town and Heaton was on the United States weather map.
Atglen’s weather might be on the map, but in Heaton’s own house his hobby is looked at with a dismissive nod. Ed’s wife Kelly confirms her husband is a “weather nerd” and Heaton’s two adult children follow the weather but haven’t developed their father’s deep interest in the weather. “They’ll watch the weather, ask me what the temperature is and all. But they aren’t really into it.”
And that’s OK to Heaton. After all he says, “weather,” to him, “is just a hobby.” Tracking and posting Atglen’s weather “is not earning me any money,” Heaton says without any remorse. Like most hobbies he points out, “there’s a lot of investment in the form of time and dollars with zero return on investment.”
Heaton tracks the temperature, wind speed, and a host of other weather stats, even sun and moon rises and sets with a solar powered weather station atop his house on Atglen’s west end.
On January 1st this year he took it to the next level and launched his own interactive weather web site co-developed from a template with the assistance of a programmer in California.
Much of the information on the Heaton’s weather site comes from his own roof-top weather station in Atglen while other data points are taken from the national weather system using the town’s geospatial coordinates.
He’s hoping the Borough and local businesses pick up on his weather feed. He’s written letters to the Borough encouraging them to post the weather information to the Borough’s web site but notes dryly, “the wheels of government turn slowly.”
As noted in a Parkesburg’s Got Talent post last week, Ed is a professional nature and landscape photographer who lectures and does seminars across the United States. Heaton’s photographic specialty is composition, helping aspiring photographers refine their vision and capture what’s really important in the pictures they snap. His goal is to teach photographers at every skill level to see light and to capture the good or as Ed calls it, the “special” light in every scene.
Ed and his wife Kelly will host a local Photographic Workshop on Saturday April 12th from Sunrise to 4 PM. Participants will photograph the Octorara Creek in and around Mercer’s mill Bridge as take a ride on the Strasburg Railroad photographing the “the wonderful Amish farms and fields surrounding the railroad” along the way.
Registration is limited to just 10 people and costs $325. For more information or to register click here.