Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Towpath Hike

Numeral Tree
Today I went for a long hike from the Farm to Deep Lock. I kinda wanted to check out some of the fields that the Szalay's used to farm(meadow below) and I also was looking for old foundations of buildings that used to be around. I like to document some of the history of the Cuayhoga Valley from the 40s-70s because the park does not. They tend to go from the Canal Era to the WPA straight to present time. If I live to be an old man much of the history of more modern farming in the valley will be overgrown and lost. I take many photos that I don't even post(because they aren't that great artistically) but I want to have them for their documentary value.
Old Field

Monday, January 30, 2012

Polaroid 990s - Around the House

StuffBeseler 23c II
I just shot the rest of my first pack of 990 film in my Spectra AF 2. Now that I have tested it out I'd like to come up with a project or theme for the other 5 packs I have left. Suggestions welcome.
Coke and BeerGive a Hoot!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Flash Snow Storm

Mayfield Ave.
It was an above normal temp., sunny afternoon in late January, I went for a walk, I took the above photo ...and I came inside to start editing it. I looked out my window and observed a near-white-out. I walk out my door fifteen minutes later and the sun is peaking through the clouds but everything is covered in snow. I took the below photos.
Kenny Stewart's
Truck IV Crab Apple Tree Winter Study #3
True story.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tri-X 400

Open Study #1
Here it is - my first roll of home-developed film - Tri-X 400 shot with my Minolta X-700 and developed in Kodak HC-110. I scanned them with my CanoScan 9000f.
Not to bad for a first attempt, eh?
Laura @ Work City
Garage II Mirandas on Film

Friday, January 27, 2012

Negative Attention

Changing Bag
I did it. I developed my own film...
Above you see my hands in my new changing bag which is used to take the film out of its canister, spool it on the reel and place it in the developing tank. I had planned on making a room light-tight for this process but it turned out to be too much of a pain. The changing bag was only 20 bucks anyways - and was probably a better bet for total darkness.
When I was researching how long to develop my Kodak Tri-X 400 for(in Kodak HC-110) I found all kinds of different information - but pretty much everyone said Kodak's numbers were too short. I ended using "dilution b" at 68 degrees for 6 minutes with 5 second agitation every 30 seconds. These numbers can get real nerdy, real different and hotly debated so I went with what seemed like averages...
Negative Attention

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dead Flowers/Self Portrait

Dead Flowers
I love those happy accidents I mentioned a few days ago....
Tonight I messing around with my camera, flash, and new lens in my office when I accidentally switched the camera mode. I was trying to take the above photo, cross-lighted with my flash off-camera, but the flipped mode made a 10 second exposure - it kinda looked cool. I ended up experimenting with different shutter speeds(the photo is 8 seconds) and the shake from hand holding my camera made for a unique effect. It works well for these flowers....
Eyes XV
Up close and personal...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Film Vault

The Film Vault I've been shooting film again for about a year now. I've really enjoyed fixing and using my old cameras and seeing the differing qualities exhibited by a variety of film. Starting this weekend(I'm waiting on a part from B&H) I look forward to stepping it up a notch and developing my own negatives for the first time in years. Down the road I want to start making my own prints - I just need to finish up work on my basement darkroom.
I'll of course document all the progress right here and on flickr......

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Couple of Drinks, High ISO

I went out and had a couple of drinks with some friends tonight but I didn't have my flash so I shot some real high ISO photos @ 6400. They are definitely noisy - but still better than an iphone...
It is amazing how well my new lens(Canon 17-55mm f/2.8) can focus in the dark - it really brings out the AF of the 7D.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Old Deere's

John Deere 4020
Today I drove down to our(Szalay's Farm's) John Deere dealer, Cope's Farm Equipment, to drop of some parts to be worked on. I had never been there before so the used tractor lot instantly drew my eye. It was raining, and I was technically working, so I snapped 2 shots - one of each of the most interesting tractors to me.
Above is the John Deere 4020 - it was a game-changing tractor for its power and the most popular tractor of its day.  It was cool to see one in person - they were made from 1964-72.  
Below is a John Deere 2750 which was interesting to me because it was the first John Deere the Szalay's bought after switching from Oliver's. John Szalay said it is one of his favorite tractors ever....
John Deere 2750

Friday, January 20, 2012

Icy Morning

Black and White Ice
I stopped off on my way to work to try and capture the morning sun shinning through the icy trees and weeds. It was quite cold - I shot a bit of film too but my Minolta X-700 didn't seem happy about it....
SnowmobileStay Icy

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mama Don't Take My Tri-X Away!

Mama Don't Take My Tri-X Away
Many words have already been typed across the photographic-blogosphere about Kodak filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy today - my favorite blog, The Online Photographer, did a good job of covering the story.
At work this morning we were talking about how old you have to be to even know the phrase "ah, that's a Kodak moment". Also a nerdy conversation went something like this:
"I hope you are stocking up on Tri-X"
"I ordered ten more rolls this morning"
"Tri-X is the best film ever - impossible to mess that stuff up"
"What about T-Max?"
"F@*K T-Max! I need that grain!"
I hope Kodak finds a way to re-emerge a leaner and more profitable company...and they keep making my beloved Tri-X 400.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Magic Hour, Magic Shapes

Fence Lines
Church and Contrast
Today when I was leaving work there was some beautiful 'magic hour' lighting just beginning. I find that the magic hour lasts little longer in Winter due to the fact that the sun never climbs that high in the sky during the day. My plan was to capture some of the pretty light but instead I ended up capturing some pretty shapes - which of course work best in black and white. 
Yes - I am on a serious digital black and white tear lately - maybe its the roll of Tri-X in my Minolta X-700(waiting to be shot) calling to me....
I took these at Hale Farm.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Spring Dreams

Is It Spring Yet?
Today's unseasonably warm weather lead me into my back yard for the first time in a while - and had me missing it. 'Is it Spring Yet?' is the title of the above photo - not that this Winter has been so bad...but still...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Wine and Eyes

Warm All Over
After diner tonight my girlfriend and I were enjoying a bottle of red wine and a fire. When I got up I noticed the way the glasses an bottles were sitting on the coffee table in front of the fire - it seemed to make for an extremely strong composition and I had to grab my camera. I took a few shots of the glasses and bottle meticulously arranging them for the perfect photo. The shot above was a 4 second exposure - the side lighting comes from the television.
After a few of those I had Laura move into the shot - I took the picture with the lens wide open(f/2.8) to have the bottle in focus and Laura blurred. I thought her eyes on the camera were perfect and her outfit ads a bit of irony.
Wine and Eyes
I couldn't decide which shot I liked better so I posted them both.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Photo Books

Books and Cameras
I read lots of photography stuff - multiple magazines and multiple blogs. Recently though I decided to let a couple of the subscriptions expire and have paired down my blog reading to a few that are indispensable. For years I have been amassing a decent collection of photography books from estate sales, flea markets, thrift stores and friends - I finally started to realize that I have this great library/resource that is just serving as decorations like so many of my vintage cameras. So one of my New Year's Resolutions is to start to actually read them - how novel!
I've started of with a series I have called "Masters of Contemporary Photography" and I'm already into to the third book - its really great stuff. Since I've also been fixing up some of my film cameras and relearning darkroom techniques these books serve as more than just a great history lesson....

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Corrected Follies in Bad Light

Cartoon Gabe
Square Records has to be about the worst place to shoot a musician I can imagine. It is an all white room with beige ceilings and florescent lighting - not to mention half of the "stage" is obscured by a wall. You're meter will be wrong, your bounce flash will have and ugly cast and you can forget trying to shoot it with the natural light. The challenge this night was compounded by the fact that when Steve and Gabe play they are usually hunched over a table. I decided to shoot the whole thing with the idea of Photoshop-trickery in mind. Gabe and Steve both play catchy/poppy music but with loops and strange electronical noises so I figured some different post processing would fit them better than "straight photography" anyways....

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Ring Flash Portrait

Last night I went over to Kyle's house to hang out and shoot some photos. I had just bought a new camera lens(more on that tomorrow) and he had just bought a Photojojo Ring Flash. We used the ring flash on my 580exII flash and then added two flashes 45 degrees behind Kyle on each side for a little bit-o-highlight. In Photoshop I tried something new - I used the high-pass filter for some sharpening and effect - not my usual style but I thought it worked really well with this lighting set-up.  
Strobist as all get-out, eh?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Morning Face

East Light Portrait
When I woke up this morning I saw a golden shaft of light shining on the wall - it was coming in through the small bathroom window. I had to capture it - I call this 'work' "East Light Portrait".

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Ax Men
Today I shot some photos at work from the Case 1150G Bulldozer. I had to bump up the ISO to 640 - higher than I would normally prefer on a sunny day - to get a fast shutter speed because of all the bouncing and vibrations. It was about an hour before sunset, so even though we were really trying to get stuff done, I had to take advantage of the great light. These were all shot with my super-wide angle lens so the perspective is quite distorted...
Dozer Driving  Dave
John Deere 8335RWorking

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Rules

My love for photography began in my High School photography class - shooting my parent's Minolta XG1 and Kodak Tri-X. One day our class took a field trip to Brandywine Falls to learn about shutter speed(blurring water/freezing water). I took a couple friends on a crazy hike down the side of the valley to get some different perspectives than the rest of the class - it was a fairly dangerous hike and we almost missed the bus back to school. Unfortunately, I exposed the whole roll of film while developing it(didn't have the tank lid on right).
Overall I learned a ton from that class - and you should really know the rules of photography(even though like any set of rules they are meant to be broken). 
The Rules
Laura and I were at Brandywine Falls the other day and I was telling her the above story. When we got home and I starting looking through my photos I really liked this one - it follows two important rules I learned in that class - 'rule of thirds' and 'leading lines'....thanks Mr. Pierson!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Buttonbush Trail

Today on the way back from an estate sale in Aurora we stopped for a hike at Liberty Park - neither Laura nor I had ever been there before. We hiked the 1.6 mile Button Brush Trail which follows an old oil well access road. Most of the trail was wet and muddy which made the small bridges(above) kinda humorous. While it was a peaceful and secluded-feeling trail I assume it would be a much prettier hike in the Summer or Fall....