Monday, January 31, 2011

The Beaver Marsh

Beaver Marsh
Today I went for a short walk along the Towpath from the Ira Trailhead slightly passed the Beaver Marsh(photo above). I spent some time trying to capture birds in flight....and proved to myself that I'm not a very practiced wild-life photographer. My Canon 7D is designed to be good at this type of thing - I just need to learn the proper controls and settings.
Another Fish-EyeMile Marker
Above left is one of the mile markers along the Ohio and Erie Canal Towptath Trail - I've been thinking it would be kind of cool to take a photo of each one. I'm sure others have done this but I wouldn't mind doing it for myself...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

New Project

The Start of Something Beautiful...
The three of us(above) took a lots of photos today for a new project. This one is just a little teaser. Check the tomorrow for more.
*Update* Here is the trailer....

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Fish-Eye Fun

Room for Two
My friend Lindsey brought over her fish-eye-style adapter tonight(something like this) - it fits over my Canon 18-55mm lens. It doesn't make for the sharpest combo but it does make for some fun.
Fish-Eye Fright

Friday, January 28, 2011

Succumbing to Social Networking

Why not?
Succumbing to Social Networking
I already have a Flickr page, a personal Facebook page, and I guess my Myspace page still exists out there(in the internet ghetto). So today I finally made the leap into some ZipperCity branded social networking...I started a company page on Facebook which you could "like" here and you can even follow my "tweets" on Twitter(I promise not to over-do it).
I'm going to add all the appropriate "like" buttons and Twitter-stream-stuff to this website over the weekend - I've stared at the computer screen long enough for today. Hope all are having a good Friday!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Last Day in the Sandbox

Last Rolls
One day in my early 20's my friend, Pete, and I were hanging out at his Mom's house(where he grew up). We happened to walk back by his little covered sandbox and noticed something sticking out of the weed-overtaken-sand. We pulled it out to discover it was a plastic G.I.Joe toy tank. We ended up talking about how he must have had a "last day in the sandbox" - for years he loved playing with his tank in is sandbox....but one day he just never went back.
"So what are you getting at camera nerd?" you must be asking yourself now. In the photo above are rolls of 35mm color negative film. They all came out of second-hand cameras I have collected. One day someone took their last roll of film and never went back to the camera - didn't even take out the roll to get it developed. So my debate - should I find out what these lost memories are? Should I pay to get these rolls developed? Would you? When was your last day in the sandbox?
Leave me a comment....

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Make Prints!

Framing Prints
Today I was framing some prints I recently had made by Its amazing how many people I know who never get their work printed in anyway. Prints are different than looking at something on a backlit monitor - the sharpness, the color, the feel of real... For my artistic-type photographs(landscapes, places etc) I find 14 x 11 inches really does an image justice.
I'm always keeping my eyes out for frames that are on sale - I prefer black frames with matting to standard sizes such as 5 x 7, 8 x 10, and 11 x 14 but I'll also pick up anything I find real cheap at thrift stores or garage sales.
If you really fancy yourself a photographer your work should be hanging on a wall or held in a hand.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Film Days Revisited

Minolta srt 101
I've been collecting film cameras for a few years now and the time has finally come to start using them. A few things have happened that have motivated me to get them off the mantel and into my hands. First is that a film camera store has opened up in Tremont - its called Aperture - I plan to make the trip up there this weekend for some 35mm film. I also just realized that my local camera store, Dodd, develops film and gives you digital copies. I'm not sure what the quality will be but I'm going to give the local guys a chance first - if that doesn't work out I'll find somewhere to send the film too.
But the thing that had really been holding me back was that many of my old cameras took mercury batteries that were no longer made - that problem was solved when I found these on

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Walls & Bridges

...well, mostly just bridges....
Station Road Bridge
Today I went for a short walk on the Towpath Trail north from the Station Road Bridge Trailhead(its also the Brecksville stop on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway). The above photo is of the 1881 wrought iron Station Road Bridge - these are the types of bridges which replaced covered bridges in the valley and this is the last remaining one. It was taken apart, refurbished and then rebuilt in the same spot in 1990.
The below photo is the Route 82 Bridge that was built in 1930. Its quite a beautiful, imposing bridge. I took some cool wide-angle shot from underneath it(click my 'read more' link for that).

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday Dress-up

So Hip!
....more messing around with lighting. I decided to play dress-up for this picture. I guess I'm some kinda hip-rocker-type. The light behind me(which you can see in the shot) is a snooted 550ex - it isn't supposed to be visible but this photo was my favorite pose so I used the shot anyway.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Fun No.1 (Grandma)

I decided that from now on Friday's posts will be loose and here we go!
Above is my cat, Grandma, enjoying a stretch in front of a heating vent in my office(one of her favorite places). Alright, that's it - until tomorrow anyways.....

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hinckley Reservation

Whipp's Ledges
I hadn't been out to Hinckley Reservation for a few years so today I decided give it a visit. I drove around the area for a bit and then went for short hike at the Whipp's Ledges(above). It was pretty cold and very snowy - not quite ideal for photos - so I plan to return soon. There are a few places at Hinckley Reservation that I've never been.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Resnik Pride

My brother asked me to come this morning to Resnik Community Learning Center(or Elementary School as we always called them) to see my niece and nephew receive Resnik Pride awards. It was pretty cool that they both got this honor at the same time.
The photo of Zane(above) was my favorite of the day - I added lots of contrast and clarity in Adobe Camera Raw and then a vignette in Photoshop.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Another Day, Another Portrait

Klean Kitchen
Well, I really wanted to go somewhere and shoot today...but the rain just wouldn't let up. I hate 30's and rain - I'll take it colder and snowy any day. So I decided to take some more self-portraits. I used a 580exII in an omni-bounce diffuser and shoot through umbrella for my key light(camera left) and a 430ex bounced off the ceiling (camera right) for some fill light.
I like it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Kodak Duaflex II

Through the Finder
View Findings
Over the weekend I picked up a Kodak Duaflex II at the thrift store for a few bucks. Its an early fifties pseudo-TLR(cameras made to look like the expensive TLRs popular with pros at the time- think Rolleiflex). Today I had a little fun with it. The above shot is down through the large, bright viewfinder and it takes alittle getting used to the reverse image. The one to the left is really my face in the front of the viewfinder(someone asked me if I Photoshoped my face in).
I also picked up another cheap camera - both will be added to the vintage camera page tomorrow.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Wallpaper

Nice Strip!
I had a very busy weekend and didn't get the chance to take many photos or work on this website. Much of that had to do with Laura and I deciding to redo the Zipper City World Headquarter's kitchen. The wallpaper in it is horrendous and we decided to start by getting rid of it. Why was wallpaper ever in style and why is it such a pain to get rid of? No one knows.
I'm sure I'll post some "after" pics in a few weeks when we're done.
Peelin'Laura and I

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Tonight I shot photographs for my nephew's youth wrestling team. I took everyone's individual shot and a team photo too.
Unfortunately I couldn't get my Canon 7D to fire one of my flashes during the full team shot. Having a bunch of restless kids and coaches eager to get on with practice isn't the best time to deal with technical difficulties. I tried to angle the flash on the umbrella stand a little better to get my 7D's flash to be able to trigger it - no luck. Finally I pulled the flash off the stand and had my girlfriend hand hold it so it could "see" my camera. I had no problems with the individual shots when the flashes(I used a 580exII and a 430ex)were close to the camera and I usually do fine with my product photography and head shots. I think from now on I need to use my Pocket Wizards(radio triggers) to remotely fire my flashes when the camera isn't going to be as close to my flashes. Lesson learned.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The May Company

The May Company
A few evenings ago I met with new band, The May Company, to shoot some promo photographs and a few pictures their forthcoming EP. We met up where they practice - at Square Records. Some bands are especially easy to shoot because they are into their own style and looks(I refuse to use the word "hipsters" - oops!) but others are not as into getting their picture taken and can be a little more stiff - The May Company fall into the latter category. The thing I find, though is that bands that don't like to do a lot of posing and model-like-stuff tend to like shots that look less posed anyways. So for this kind of shoot I find it works best to keep the atmosphere light with lots of chatting and just keep snapping - occasionally giving some instructions. 
I went with fairly hard-lighting for the session and then a decent bit of sharping in post processing.  I call the look "newsy".  - May have to trademark that.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Lighting Contraption

Another Self-Portrait
My New Contraption
In last Saturday's post I explained how I double-diffused my flash with a homemade soft box and shoot-through umbrella. Today I had a new idea for my soft box - I decided to fire it into a reflective umbrella(photograph to the right). The effect is similar to what you might get from a beauty dish and when I stood directly in front of it I achieved the catch-lights you would get from using a ring flash(above photo). I really like the contrasty, edgy light I get from this set-up.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sad Mood

Sad Mood
Not really, I'm fine, its an exercise I did for a book I started to read - The Complete Photographer by Tom Ang. The book was a Christmas gift from a good friend and I plan to do all the assignments as I progress through the book. I never (outside of High School photography) received formal photography training so I know this will be good for me.
This assignment was to make a self-portrait that was out of character - thus my sad vibe. I got the idea for the camera's perspective from a shot in the book - though I did alter it a bit.
I used three flashes to light the shot - one bounced off the ceiling, one bounced off the wall directly opposite me, and one in the bounced in the corner behind the bookcase. I'm also working on a series of lighting tutorials online....but more on that later.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Ledges, Again

Dreamy Rocks
I've hiked and photographed the Kendall Ledges countless times....and I did it again yesterday. So this time out I tried to improve on some previous shots, do a little something different with the processing, or look for new angles. On the above photo I added a fair bit of saturation/vibrance and then turned the clarity slider(in ACR) all the way down. I liked the painted look it gave the shot and it was something different for me because I usually try to make my images as sharp as possible.(Buy Print)  I also used my tripod for most of the photos to enable the use of smaller aperture for more depth-of-field.
Main OverlookCornered
Laura laying down on the Main Overlook and some of the sharon sandstone that forms The Ledges.(Buy Print)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Double Diffused

Double Diffused
I was reading an article in a photography magazine about lighting with hot-shoe flashes by one of the best in the biz, Joe McNally. He was diffusing his Nikon SB-900s through more than one layer - a shoot through umbrella and a translucent reflector. I've done stuff like this with powerful studio strobes but never thought to soften my flashes in this manner - I was afraid I would lose too much power. Being that my Canon 580exII is about as powerful as Joe's SB-900 I decided to try and make some extra soft light myself. I used a homemade softbox and then a shoot through umbrella(coming at me from left and up) - I used a second flash to light the background and a bit of my right side. I was happy with the quality of the light and still had enough power for a decent aperture. This little experiment was great because I'll now feel more creative in the diffusers I'll be willing to use on my small strobes.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Riding the Storm Out

Riding the Storm Out
So what do you do in a snow storm? I set up my tripod and took some pictures out of my bathroom window. This is Ken Stewart's parking lot - I really liked the tracks the cars had left behind.(Buy Print)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Porch Fairies

Porch Fairies
Yesterday I went out for a walk around my neighborhood and, as always, I had my camera with me. The sun was low in the sky, "the magic hour" so I was hoping that something I've often seen would take on a new quality - thus making it photogenic. I snapped a few shot that I knew were just average and I approached my house defeated. Walking up to my porch I noticed the shadows on my girlfriend's welcoming fairies. I had my late day shot. I cranked up the contrast and toned down the saturation in Photoshop.(Buy Print)
The photo I was looking for was right outside my door - at least I got some exercise.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Boring Portrait

A Studied Man
I was watching SportsCenter today and I was noticing how I love when they talk to an analyst and he/she is sitting in front of full bookshelves. I'm always trying to read what books he/she has on those shelves. It motivated me to try and take a portrait of myself in front of my shelf. Instead of the dead center, straight forward TV look I figured it would be more visually appealing to stand the way I am in the above shot. I was liking what I was seeing on the preview screen on the back of my camera but when I sat down to edit the shots I found them really flat and boring - I really like the concept of this shot but the results leave me wanting. I think my lighting is what is failing me here and I plan to try and redo this later.
I decided to post this anyways because sometimes you can learn just as much from what you don't like as from what you do like.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Go Buckeyes!

Fiesta Bowl
I took this photo during an upsetting Fiesta Bowl a few years ago. With OSU's 0-9 record against the SEC in bowl games I fear this picture may be relevant again this year.
Here is to hoping its not. OH - IO!!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Slip Sliding Away

Slip Slidin' Away
Laura and I went for a hike today at Hampton Hill Metro Park. The parking lot was very icy(as was much of the path) and Laura was trying out her skill of balance. I used the high-speed burst mode on my camera to catch a series of one of Laura's slides. When I got home I loaded them into layers in Photoshop and combined them to produce the above results. Its a fun effect.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Reubens

My girlfriend and I somehow got the idea that you were supposed to eat sauerkraut and corned beef on New Year's Day....apparently its sauerkraut and pork. Maybe we mixed up the whole cabbage and corned beef-St. Patrick's Day-thingy, regardless - she slow cooked corned beef brisket with sauerkraut. We drank mimosas all day, watched college football and then made reubens. They were delicious - good luck or not!