Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Year in Review

Here we are - another year gone, another year older, another year wiser? I hope so.
Anyways it is that time again, time for the Two Thousand and Ten 'Zipper City Year in Photographs'. This year's is extra good - because I am extra good, right?
So check it out here and have a great New Year.
Blue Hen FallsSelfNow That's a Pretty Picture!!Nothing is Ever Simple

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lighting Lessons

My friend Mike stopped by my place today to hang out and talk some photography. He has been interesting in getting into off-camera flash lately so we decided to mess around with some of the basics. The above shot is a two light shot - and you can see one of them in his glasses(I should have had him turn his head or tip the glasses down).
We moved the lights around, changed the ratios, and went over the basics of shutter speed and aperture.

Monday, December 27, 2010

More Shallow Depth

Firestone Fence
I seem to be on a shallow depth-of-field kick(see 12/9, 12/10 posts) lately. For some reason I've really enjoyed the aesthetics of shooting with a really narrow focus. I took the above photo while out for a walk today by Firestone High School. (Buy Print)
I've recently been thinking about obtaining  a lens that would be even better for this effect - which by its nature would also be a great portrait lens. I'll post on a few of the options I'm considering soon...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Morning

Chopper Command
This is my Dad attempting to control his new remote control helicopter on Christmas morning.
More Christmas morning photos after the jump!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Cheesy Christmas Card 2010
Here it is - you're annual Christmas Card from us here at Zipper City!
Feliz Navidad!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Great Lakes

Great Lakes Christmas Ale
I was doing some reading about photography when my mind started to wander - I found myself reading the same thing over and over. "Forget this," I thought, "I have some Christmas Ale in the fridge." I happened to pour my bottle into a Great Lakes glass I had gotten from the brewery and I starting thinking about how it would make a cool shot. When this happened I knew I couldn't sip my beer - I had to take a photo first. I rushed a flash set-up and started snapping. I wasn't entirely happy with what I had but satisfied enough to finally go relax and drink my beer(which I'm doing now).
I don't know if I'll get a post up in the next few days(Christmas/Christmas Eve) so I'll say it now - Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I've recently hooked my website up with the services of This will enable me to sell prints directly from my website, Facebook page, and on FineArtAmerica's website and social network. Below is a slideshow of some of the images I've uploaded so far.

Art Prints
I'm currently working on adding a "buy now" button to each blog post so prints of the photos in the posts can be purchased - you will be able to choose the size, matting, and framing options yourself. I'm really excited about how easy this will make it to sell prints - its been a real hassle to get an e-mail, work out payment and size, then figure out shipping.
The below logo/link takes you directly to my full online store and there is a permanent link in the right sidebar("Fine Art Prints").
Photography Prints

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Camera Ornaments

Fish-Eye Ornament
Last night I was taking some long exposures around my apartment of the different Christmas decorations. When I was shooting some of the ornaments on my tree I noticed how my reflection looked in the red glass balls. I changed my settings and shot specifically for my reflection - the results are above - I thought it looked pretty cool.
This is a shot of my mantle with my 35mm cameras all dressed up for Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Well, You Better Hang Up the Phone

....and let him out! Zing!
Well, You Better Hang up the Phone....

I was just messing around in the studio today. I started to photograph some of my estate sale/thrift store finds for a little project I'm working on.

More about that soon...

Sunday, December 19, 2010


The last 5 years in four minutes....

Two clicks, and Pummelvision grabs every photo long buried in your Flickr, Facebook, or Tumblr, and gives you a breathtakingly beautiful, painfully poignant, and utterly simple video summary of your life. It’s remarkable. - via Photojojo

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Medina's Square

Laura and I did some Christmas shopping today in Medina's historic town square. Well, I mostly shopped for myself at the Army surplus store - Whitey's. We have a habit of taking classic touristy shots when we go places - the above shot is our Medina one with the 1870s Medina County Courthouse in the background.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Luxuries @ The Happy Dog

The Luxuries
Tonight I caught The Luxuries at The Happy Dog in Lakewood.
I also ate a delicious hot dog.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

West Ninth

West 9th
Last night I went to visit an old friend who had recently moved downtown Cleveland - the Warehouse District to be exact. It didn't take long for the idea pounded into to us that "Cleveland is a dead city" to be blown to bits. I arrived on a weekday night at 7 O'clock and there was activity everywhere. People going to restaurants and clubs with valets parking cars and people shopping. It was impressive. My friend, Mike, lives in a really beautiful apartment in an old converted warehouse - great balcony, hard wood floors, amazing location and views.
Mike and I don't see each other often enough and when we get together we don't shoot enough - we ramble on and on until it gets late. But we did make plans to get together again after the holidays and do some real shooting - I can't wait - the area is truly photographic gold.  
Before I left I had to get at least a few shots - I used the roof of my car to support my camera for the above long-exposure.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Under Construction

New Paint
I'm in the process, this very moment, of rebuilding the website. Many of the links on the main page are currently "dead"(they will take you nowhere). Also - things will be changing before your eyes - there is really no other way for me to do this. I hope to be done this evening but I might have to finish up tomorrow morning.....bear with me.
*Update* All my links are now functional and the new layout is up - I'm working on the individual pages now.  12/16/10 2:09pm

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Winter Sunset

Winter Sunset
Today I didn't have much time for photographing - I shot the above photo out of my living room window.
I spent much of the day shoveling, Christmas shopping, and continuing the work on the new version of my website. I know that I had planned to have the site done weeks ago but I'm working on adding some pretty cool new features - its taking longer than I thought it would but it will be well worth it....

Monday, December 13, 2010

Old Schools

Old Schools
Today I spent some time working on lighting techniques in my studio. I picked out a few types of objects that would be interesting and different to shoot on a seamless white background. I was working with some glass and white objects - which made it interesting to explore the different way the angles and modifiers changed their appearance. I also shot my old Vans(above) - I was trying to bring out there cool, beat-up texture. I used three flashes - my 580EXII as the key light above and left in a shoot through umbrella, a 430EX directly left at 1/4 power in a reflective umbrella, and a snooted 550ex glancing across the back.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Blimp

The Blimp
Seeing "the Blimp" in Akron (its not the Goodyear Blimp here(this is the former 'Rubber Capitol of the World') the "Goodyear" is implied....there is simply no other blimp - (Fuji, really?!?)) is not that uncommon an occurrence, I've even posted on it before. But today's sighting was special because I was checking out Wingfoot Lake State Park for the first time and across the lake I saw the blimp moored. All of a sudden the engines roared up and the blimp launched into the sky circling directly over my head. The unexpectedness and the proximity made this my favorite Blimp sighting to date.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Indigo Stop

Indigo Lake Stop
Yesterday's accidental photo inspired me to intentionally try the same thing today. I shot this down at Indigo Lake in the Cuyahoga Valley. I used this old looking, vintage-type post-processing but now I'm questioning it. Maybe I'll throw up a vivid, color version too.....hang on, I'll be back......
Buy Print

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Snow Job

Sometime you're not sure why you like a photo or image - you just know that you do. This is one of those shots. I accidently pushed the shutter while bending over examining something in the snow. I like how this photo seems to have a tilt-shift quality about it. I don't know for sure - maybe there is no explanation.
I just like it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

12 Dogs, Dawg

12 Dogs Of Christmas!
Everyone goes on and on about Great Lakes Christmas Ale - and for good reason - its a great beer, but my favorite is Akron's own Thirsty Dog - 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale. I had a pint of it a few weeks ago at the Winking Lizard but I hadn't been able to track down any six packs at the store. So finally I decided to head right to the source - their brewery on Grant Street - I got my 12 of 12 Dogs! They have also recently opened up a bar/tasting room in the brewery which I hope to check out soon(the hours are limited).
Thirsty Dog Brewery
PS - The smell of the brewing Christmas beer was amazing! The whole area around the brewery had the smell - Christmas in the air!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Snow Covered Bridge

Snow Covered Bridge
So I believe this was my best attempt at a wintery scene yesterday. Its harder than you may think to get a good winter shot in the non-stop snow. Between trying to keep the lens dry, tripod firm in the snow, and my fingers from freezing I think I did alright.
I'm about to head out the door for some more snowy action....

Monday, December 6, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree!

Just Right
Although I'm over thirty I've never had a Christmas Tree - so when my girlfriend and I saw a great deal on a fake one at Big Lots we snapped it up. We loved the idea of a real tree but with our combined cat total we figured that would lead to disaster.
I snapped some photos of the set-up using my Sigma 10-20mm lens and my Canon 580EXII flash bounced off the ceiling.
I also got out today and attempted to snap some photos in the heavy non-stop snow we've been having - I'll post on that tomorrow...
Big Lots TreeRed Balls

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Snow Hike

Today my girlfriend, Laura, and I went out for our first snow hike of the year. I didn't snap any real serious shots we were mostly just having fun. I am looking forward to getting out and taking some Winter landscapes this week. Judging by the forecast and how hard it is coming down currently I'll have plenty of chances.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Argus, Kodaks, and Baldas Oh My!

Kodak Junior Six-16Balda Bunde Baldinette
Argus C3Argus C3 Match-Matic
I have finally gotten around to updating my Camera Page starting with the four cameras depicted above. I plan to have my whole collection up by early next week.
I'm still working on the updating the rest of the website as well but I haven't ironed everything out yet - so hopefully I can get that up and running tomorrow. Web design is such a headache - my patients isn't well suited for it - I'd rather be shooting photos....

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Snow Day

First Snow
Today was not only the first of December but also the first significant snow of the year here in Akron at the Zipper City Photography World HQ. The only time I clicked a shutter today was to take the above photo on my way out the door. I didn't have the time to plan any good shots - I was too busy running around. I had some last minute prints to get made and also had some photo gear errands to run. Lets say it was my own personal Snow Day away from the camera.
I've also been working on some changes to the main website which I hope to debut tomorrow - new banner photo should be up too!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Yellow Creek
A combination of things led me to wander around in the woods where Yellow Creek dumps into the Cuyahoga - more commonly understood to be the intersection of Bath and Riverview Roads. The Beacon had an interesting article about the town named Botzum that once stood there and I had visited the spot briefly to photograph the Yellow Creek Culvert - I wanted to do some more exploring. I started to come across some old barn stones and then the below pictured wall - I was thinking I was looking at an old bank barn foundation until I looked down the bank and saw some more stones. The layout led me to believe I had found the foundation to one side of covered bridge that once took Bath Road over the river. It was quite a surprise because the Beacon article said the bridge had been torn down in the early 1900's(the same time the town pretty much disappeared). When I got home I looked at the historic photo of the covered bridge in the paper and it left me pretty sure what I saw was the remnants of the bridge.
Bath Road Covered Bridge
I plan to head back to the area one more time for some more exploration and to get some better photos.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Goose Pond Weir

Goose Pond Weir
Today I hiked the Towpath Trail from the Red Lock/Jaite north for a few miles(see a few posts down for my trip on the section just south of here). Besides the always abundant natural beauty(saw a really cool red-headed woodpecker) there was only one major Canal Era feature. This was the above pictured Goose Pond Weir built in 1826. It was a four-sectioned, 50 foot long structure used to regulate the water level in this section of the canal. There was a high-water wasteway on the north end(far end) to keep the water level at four feet and a flood gate at the south end(near end).
It wasn't my best photographic outing but I'm always pleased to discover another little piece of local history.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Browns Game

Fans Sunset
When going to a professional sport's games I always debate on what equipment to bring with me. Most arenas/stadiums rules state that "professional gear" and "bags" are not permitted(they give you dimensions of the bags you can bring). I always play it safe and bring my camera with the kit zoom lens(a 24-135mm) - its not a great lens but the long zoom range give me the most shooting options. I've never had a problem bringing this with me in my holster-style bag but have yet to push the boundaries and try to bring more lenses and a flash(I'm always parked too far away and don't wanna risk going back to the car). Anyways - since I'm just trying to capture some of the experience of going to a game, not the actual sports action, I'm usual fine with this simple gear set-up.
Laura and IWorking!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Holiday Fest 2010

HolidayFest 2010
It has become a family tradition for me to head to Akron's Lock 3 on the Friday evening after Thanksgiving to see the lighting ceremony and fireworks display. They also open up the ice rink for the season. This year the added a ginger bread house collection in the basement of the old O'Neal's building and my niece and nephews decorated some ginger bread men.
I always enjoy checking out the onsite Akron History Exhibit and Toy Marble Museum too.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Cleveland Gems

West Side Market
One of the great things about having family in from out of town is showing them some of our local gems. Today we took some of our Florida relatives up north to see some of them. We stopped at the West Side Market which hugely impressed them - as I think it would any foodie. I took the above shot by setting my camera on the floor-railing of the balcony(make-shift tripod) and taking a one second exposure - I liked the motion it gave the crowd. 
After a little shopping we walked over to the Great Lakes brewery where we indulged in a few too many Christmas Ales and some delicious burgers. Feeling good we stopped at the East 9nth Street Pier - not the best day to show someone Lake Erie but I think the Great Lakes took a bit of the blustery edge off.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Effects Affect

Before/After Sample
I'm often asked by other photographers what I do in Photoshop and by casual photographers if I "Photoshop". So I decided to post a before/after Photoshop photo. I shoot all my photos in the RAW format on pretty neutral settings. When shooting outdoor non-flash type shots I tend to intentionally over-expose my photos. i find then that bringing up the blacks in Photoshop gives me more contrast. After that I bring up the saturation and vibrance quite a bit and finally sharpen the photo.
I find that many non-serious photographers consider this "cheating" of some kind. The thing that they don't realize is that push/pull processing is something that photographers always did - even in the film days. Photoshop is the digital dark room and using it doesn't equal cheating in any way - the people who think this simply never made their own prints even in the film days. I chooose to use my own tastes in color choices - not my cameras programing - if thats wrong I don't wanna be right.